It’s a sad day for those of us in favor of abortion rights. The Supreme Court today upheld a 2003 federal law banning so-called partial-birth abortion procedures. This despite the fact that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the premier association of OB’s in this country, argued that in certain cases the procedure is safest for women seeking an abortion after 12 weeks gestation. Planned Parenthood and ACOG are saying this decision potentially threatens most abortions after 12 weeks, although there is another procedure that remains legal. The law does allow the procedure if the mother’s life is threatened, but not if her health is in jeopardy.
This issue has me thinking about prenatal testing and the fact that a pregnant woman doesn’t learn of the health of her fetus until after 12 weeks. While it is true that often a woman can decide whether or not she wants to keep a pregnancy before 12 weeks, for many of us there is a second round of decision-making that comes into play when we undergo prenatal testing. Having just experienced this myself, I can say that even the most wanted pregnancies can be called into question if those tests results indicate serious physical or mental problems with the fetus. We were lucky when we learned our baby was healthy, but I’ll tell you, I cried I was so relieved when I got the results.
For some, the prospect of caring for a severely disabled child and adult itself feels life threatening. It’s infuriating to think of these old men who probably never changed a f-ing diaper in their lives imposing their opinions about whose life matters more on all of us. This kind of decision is never easy. But women and their doctors should be the ones to make it.