Sunday, April 22, 2007

My Views on Abortion

Updated with links at the end. Updated again with the birth of my son.

Abortion. There's a conversation stopper. While I've always been pro-choice (as far as I can remember), I was never particularly concerned with it as my primary issue. Part of that was because I never really thought (nor do I think) that Roe will ever be overturned. See this post for why. But beyond that, I'm a man. When asked about the issue, my flippant response was that I have decided that I, personally, will never have an abortion. Not exactly a huge committment, given that I can't get pregnant. But it also reflected (and reflects) my conviction that it is a personal choice.

Then I had to wrestle with this issue in my own life. My wife was pregnant. No, it wasn't unexpected. It was about as planned as it gets without using a fertility doctor, though thankfully, we did it the old fashioned way (much cheaper). Things were fine, until about six weeks in. Then she started to have some bleeding. Obviously, this is a great concern. We thought we lost the baby. So one trip to the emergency room later, we find out that no, the baby is fine. We even get an ultrasound, far earlier than you usually get one. There we can see this tiny creature with a tiny heartbeat. Unfortunately, the bleeding just continued, nonstop. For weeks. We were assured that this is common and that it would likely stop by week 10 or 11. Still, we weren't sure. And so we discussed possibly terminating the pregnancy, because it was very alarming for my wife, and also we didn't want to take this further only to find out it wasn't viable. Thankfully, we had such an option. We already had gone through the scare of wondering if we had already lost the baby.

A week passes. She gets another ultrasound. Things still look fine, but the bleeding continued. Then it got worse. Another trip to the ER. Again, they tell her, it is fine, but they told us we should come in if she soaks more than one pad with blood in an hour. So now we have a benchmark. Fortunately, things get better. Another week passes, they do another ultrasound. Things look great. I'm amazed at how much the little bugger has grown just in a few weeks, more than doubling in size. We're getting close to 10 weeks. Hopefully then, we're told, the amniotic sack will be big enough to exert enough pressure to stem the blood loss.

We were watching TV on the bed at home. Then she felt some pain. But she wasn't bleeding. She was cramping. It was very painful, but again, we checked, and there wasn't that much blood. So we did not go to the ER right then, they said one pad per hour. I called my sister, who suggested a hot bath to ease the cramp pain. And that did the trick. Then she started bleeding more. She panicked. She took off to the ER without even waiting for me to get dressed to go with her.
By the time I've joined her there, she is bleeding enough to go through one pad every 10 minutes. Then every five minutes. Her blood pressure is steadily dropping. The machine shows the numbers in orange. Then they are both in red. But all the ER people can do is basically watch her bleed. They don't want to do anything more because of the baby. They do start to give strong painkillers to my wife, but they only help a little. So we go for another ultrasound in the ER. I expected the worse. From the looks on the faces of the people, I could tell things weren't looking good, but they did not want to say anything. And yet, again, the little bugger is holding on and actually is fine even as its mother is bleeding out. So back we go to the ER room.

Now they want to see if she's dialated. I guess if she is, it is game over, but the ultrasound didn't show it and there's so much blood they simply can't see. Now the blood pressure numbers are even lower. I'm not a doctor, but I somehow don't think 60/40 is a good number to see on a blood pressure monitor, even for a moment. My wife is still awake, but a bit out of it from the drugs. They start pumping a transfusion into her, though it can't replace the blood at the rate she's going, or at least, it seems like that to me. We get a nice scare speech about the risks of transfusion. But its not like we can say no. She signs the consent form and they get in the first of two units of blood.

Finally, the ER OB comes in and starts talking to us about the possibility of losing the baby some more. Fortunately, we have already discussed this and thought about it, having already thought we lost the baby two or three times over the past few weeks. Still, it isn't pleasant to think about it.

Nothing is stopping the bleeding. There seems to be nothing they can do. They talk about trying some drugs, but then they decide things are going too fast to give time to let them work. So that leaves only surgery as a possibility. Surgery means hosing her out. It means killing the baby. So obviously, we look into other options. Only now, my wife is so out of it, from blood loss, from the painkillers, that the doctor said she is no longer able to legally consent. Now I'm handed a clipboard. On it is consent to basically give my wife an abortion and kill our future child. And it is all on me, my decision, mine alone. Something I never thought I'd ever face, ever have to deal with. Made worse by being a decision of either kill the baby or potentially watch both my wife and the baby die. The doctors did not say at this point that it was absolutely necessary. Maybe more blood could be transfused in. Maybe she wasn't dilated - they hadn't figured it out yet. Still too much blood. So then there I was, facing the sort of choice that you usually see only in hypotheticals in ethics and philosophy classes. Only it was real. It was my wife. And I didn't have exactly a lot of time to think about it. It was just me and the clipboard. An empty line there, marked for my signature. My wife bleeding right next to me. The ultrasound of my baby, and its heartbeat, fresh in my mind from minutes before. I cannot begin to describe how I felt at that moment. One cannot know until you are in it. I won't even try. I hope I never feel that way again.

As fate would have it, soon after that eternity of minutes, they finally managed to figure out, by touch alone, through all the blood, if she was dilated. She was. Just barely. That made the pregnancy an inevitable loss, they told me. I signed the consent and they took her up for what they said would be a 20 minute surgery. Even more ironically, they took us up to one of the pre-delivery rooms to prep her for the surgery. It turned out to be the very same room we were in before our first (and thus far only) child was born. Oh how the feelings were different this time around. Oh how those feelings were amplified and made worse by the memories of the last time I was in that room. And there they left me, where I waited for word.

I sat there, wondering if I'd at least get my wife back after this. Then 20 minutes passed, and nothing. Thirty minutes. Forty. Forty five. I started to get worried and thought all sorts of horrible things that I will not put words to. Mainly, then, I start to think about the abortion debate. About pro-lifers, in particular. I think about all those meddling politicians that would want to interject themselves into everything that just happened to me, interject themselves between me, my wife, and her doctors. And then I had a strong, visceral reaction. I wanted the mutherfuckers to die. I wanted to rip off their heads and tear out their hearts, because how DARE they play politics with my wife's life? The baby was fine until the end. I wondered if that would have meant they'd force us to let my wife bleed until almost death before they'd let us abort, because well, if she's not near death, then it is just a 'health' exception, and we can't have that! Fuck them. Fuck them all. They can fucking die, as far as I'm concerned. This was what went through my mind as I sat there, waiting to see if, after my baby died, my wife had died as well. I still feel that visceral reaction when I think about it, though not quite as strong - right then and there, if someone pro-life walked in and started talking about it to me, I very well might have physically attacked them. And I'm about as non-violent as one gets.

Finally, the doctors come out and tell me she's fine and headed to recovery. Again, she's in the same slot in recovery as she was after the birth of our daughter. I'm exhausted. It is now 1 am. She will be there overnight. I make sure she's ok and I head for home.

Obviously, I'm still pro-choice. And I do still say that I'll personally never have an abortion. But if anyone tells me politicians should meddle in what should be between one's doctor and one's self, I'll tell them, politely, to go fuck themselves, and then explain why.

In the weeks after this happened, I reflected on some other things as well. While I was upset at losing the little one that I saw on those ultrasounds, it did not feel even 1/100th of how I'd have felt if we'd lost my then 17 month old daughter. Not even close. We did not have a funeral. We did mourn, in a way, but nothing like you'd do with a baby who has been born. In short, just instinctively, we knew it was nothing like that. It was a seed of a person, but it really wasn't a person yet, not in our awareness. Nobody really treats a 9 week old fetus like that. Not even pro-lifers. More food for thought.

Anyway, I wonder sometimes if this is why I decided to actually make my own blog. Because I have things to say. I'm not sure if that is why, but the timing makes me wonder. This all happened very shortly before I made my blog here. So yes, it is still relatively fresh. It is still raw. I still have trouble thinking about it. I wanted to write about it, but just couldn't. I have mixed feelings about even posting this. But I think it will be cathartic. So here goes.

UPDATE: I posted a follow-up here and here. And I have some more recent, good news here and here. And now I have a short post on the one-year anniversary of this. And now my son has been born.

311 comments:

1 – 200 of 311   Newer›   Newest»
Rainbow Girl said...

Wow, DBB, this was a riveting post. I can't imagine how difficult it was for you to have that decision placed in your hands unexpectedly. I am very glad your wife recovered.

Thank you for sharing your experience and providing a personal insight into what it is like to be faced with that decision, as so many women are. It is not very often that a man is in a position to choose and you seem to have a very profound understanding of why pro-choice women get so angry about the state getting between them and their bodies.

thinking girl said...

thank you for sharing DBB. I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad your wife is OK.

I've always sort of thought that pro-lifer men were a strange and misguided lot who were just pissed off that the final ultimate decision whether or not to continue a pregnancy (usually) falls to the woman, leaving them out of the equation and with little control over the outcome, either way. (Of course, this is speculation.)

But I wonder how many would, when faced with a situation like the one you experienced, change their stance in order to save their wives. I'm sure some would choose to continue the pregnancy at any cost, but I'm equally sure some would choose to save their wives over their fetuses.

Kilgore Trout said...

Wow, just wow. I don't know what to say, thank you for sharing. I hope its ok if I link to this post. I've never heard such a personal story from a man's perspective before and I would like to be able to find this again. Thank you again, for that powerful and moving story.

hipparchia said...

wow.

like the others, i thank you for sharing this.

maja said...

So good to read about this from a man's point of view. Thank you so much for writing your story.

Michael Hussey said...

There are so many variables into why someone would have an abortion. To say it is a black and white issue is foolish.

The South Dakota law was vague in issues of the woman's life at risk. Someone in your wife's situation may not have had a choice if the South Dakota law was rartified. That is hardly pro-life.

Lindsay Beyerstein said...

DBB, thanks so much.

It's so important for abortion decisions to be made among the principles involved (patients, partners, doctors)--and not by legislators and judges.

(Sorry if this post is a duplicate.)

Rach said...

thank you for sharing this from a different perspective from the one we read about daily. I'm glad that your wife recovered and sorry for your loss.

DBB said...

Thanks for the comments in support. It was something I just had to share or at least get out. I've talked about it some with my wife, of course, but really I think we try not to talk about it or think about it - I don't think she wants to think about it. I know I have trouble with it. Then it is so recent.

RG: Thank you. Yes, I imagine that men don't have to face this like that very often, which makes it hard for men to understand how it feels to face that situation. As I said, I was already pro-choice before, but now thinking about the issue and pro-lifers makes me angry, even though I do intellectually understand their position.

TG: Thank you. I also could only speculate about why men are adamantly pro-life, though some I'm sure are that way out of a firm conviction that killing a fetus is murder, and it is hard not to at least understand that position. I think what they miss is that the mother is a life as well, and childbirth, even in the best of circumstances, always risks the life of the mother. And one should never FORCE someone to risk their life for someone else (by forcing a pregnancy). I was going to discuss that more in this post but then just could not write any more.

I would hope that anyone in that situation would not just sacrifice his wife. I know I could not.

KT: You're welcome. I don't mind if you link. If I didn't want anyone to see it, I wouldn't have posted it.

Hipparcha, maja, you're welcome as well.

MH: It does scare me to think that the law might have been such that I would have been forced to lose my wife or come very close. That is what really made me so angry. That and the idea that politicians would stick their nose in our private family crisis.

Lindsey, thank you. I agree. I don't want some politician overriding me, my wife, or our doctor. I'd rather just leave medicine to the professionals and the difficult decicions to those whom it directly affects.

I hope this does help show this issue is never black and white, and that where there are so many shades of gray, we are better off leaving the blunt instrument of criminal law far far away.

Anonymous said...

Your situation was extraordinary. I agree that politics should never play a part in these kinds of decisions. However, from a moral point of view, given that your situation was an exceptional one, I see your stance as both pro-life and pro-choice. Ironically, I see your decision as pro-life. You chose the life of your wife- the right choice in my view even though ideally I am pro-life. In my view, pro-choice to terminate a pregnacy is often abused- i.e. "I'm pregnant and don't want to deal with having a baby, caring for it or giving it up for adoption, so let's just have an abortion." That scenario is a far cry from the scenario you went through IMHO. -woodstock-

chickpea said...

DBB,

All I can say is wow. Like everyone else, I have to thank you for sharing such a personal experience. I can only imagine what it much have been like for yourself and your wife during this situation.

banzai said...

I used to think that as a man I had no "right" to have a position on abortion since, as you point out I could never become pregnant.

You show me I was wrong. Way wrong.

I'm sorry for your loss and thankful it wasn't worse. And thankful you shared your story.

Jenn said...

This is amazing and I'm so glad, like everyone else who has commented, to have a good example of a man's perspective on abortion that isn't based completely on speculation or religious rhetoric. It's important. And hard to find these days.

Ric said...

This is an excellent post. Thank you.

Erin said...

I am..was...a pro-lifer. If it means anything to you at all, I think you just single-handedly changed my mind.

Thanks.

e.

Jack Holcomb (jackandmel@socket.net) said...

Thanks for writing this. It resonates with me in about eight different ways.

Just yesterday I heard a report on NPR about a municipality in China that was forcing women to have abortions (despite a more general relaxation of the population control laws there). The story made me furious, and it reinforced that "pro-choice" means exactly what it says, and it ain't "pro-abortion." I cannot imagine a pro-choice person being anything other than furious about state-enforced abortions, because it's precisely the same issue as state-prohibited abortions. The state doesn't belong in this decision, in ANY regard. So your story resonates there and further illustrates that the personal is indeed political.

On an even more personal level, though, your narrative about standing outside the O.R. staring down the barrel of loss, wondering just how much and what kind of mourning is going to define the next few years of your life, really hit home to me. My wife wound up with HELLP syndrome toward the end of her second pregnancy--seizures and organ failure cascading into fetal distress and a brain hemhorrage for my wife. So we got the crash c-section, the emergency brain surgery, weeks of NICU time and months of recovery--but we also got a whole six-pack of miracles. I got the staring-into-the-abyss part, wondering how it would be to raise my four-year-old alone; I didn't have the impossible choices you had.

I feel like I should apologize for being a lucky bastard, but really I just want to tell you how much I admire you for making it to this end of things, and for writing this. Thank you.

hwong14 said...

That was a really amazing story to read. Thank you for sharing it, although I'm sorry you had to go through it. I just read something (sort of) similar in a recent issue of JAMA -- from a physician-husband's point of view. If you'd like, I can email you the pdf. Just click on my profile and there should be a link to my email address, and you can email me and let me know if you want it or not. Thank you again.

Mike Y said...

Thinking Girl:

"Pro-Life" men are not concerned with the health of their wives. You see, wives are just the vessels for their seed. If they must die to foster the seed, so be it.

Yes, I realize that's quite a bit of hyperbole, but that is where all of this stems from. The "conservative" view doesn't exactly hold women in high regard. Yes, there has been a lot of softening of that view, but fundamentally (hah) women aren't the deciders in their eyes.
As bad as that may be, I'm still stymied by the living paradoxes of women who hold those same views.

KC said...

Thanks for sharing DBB. We're in a similar situation with my sister whom I blogged about a few days ago. Glad to see your wife has recovered and hope everything goes well from now on.

Anonymous said...

The amount of mourning you do or don't do really has *nothing* to do with whether someone is a person or not.

And a baby dying to save your wife's life, when the baby was going to die anyway (or even if it wasn't but you *thought* it was) has *nothing* to do with abortion-on-demand.

Drunkencop said...

Anonymous -- are you blind? Reread the article and this time imagine what would have happened if the law prevented the doctors from intervening. Do you honestly not see what that kind of law would have done?

The Inoculated Mind said...

To Anonymous: you make it sound like abortion is something you get on tap, and all you need to do is put your cup underneath the spigot and fill er up? Abortion on Demand? Please.

Thank you for that wonderful post - it is nice to see another man's deep thoughts stemming from experience on this topic. It is a thorny issue, indeed, but the only people who need be involved in such a hairy decision were the people in that room. You, your wife, and the doctors. If pro-birthers really meant what they said, then they would never have their own children and just "Adopt" embryos.

The Inoculated Mind said...

I just realized that I implied that I had experience, which I don't. I meant instead, that it's nice to see another man's deep thoughts on this topic, especially stemming from experience.

Anonymous said...

I would imagine there are no laws compelling someone to continue to supply tissues or fluids to another person/thing.
So another way of looking at the abortion argument is to say - we're just going to cut the placenta connecting the foetus to the mother, if the state wants to step in an take over care of the foetus after that they're welcome (good luck to them)

Duncan said...

Anonymous:

"The amount of mourning you do or don't do really has *nothing* to do with whether someone is a person or not."

If by this you mean there's no implicit equation for loss, that's fair enough. But if you actually mean mourning has nothing to do with whether the dead was a person, you're talking out of your hat. Personhood is surely a crucial factor in mourning - it's not just the extinguishing of potential development we might cry for, but also the the loss of the actual person themselves. To lecture DBB on the relative values he places on the life of his healthy, growing toddler and that of his 9 week old unborn child is a bit off.

As for this fatuous aside:

"...or even if it wasn't but you *thought* it was..."

The foetus' health would have been something of a moot point if the mother had died.

Keith Sader said...

Thank you for posting this.
Thank you.
Thank you.
Thank you.

David D.G. said...

Having dealt with similar situations in my own marriage long ago (but not quite as knife-edged in terms of the pressure on me as what you faced), I find that you have done a fine job of capturing the issues and feelings I dealt with during those times -- and quite eloquently, I might add.

I am sorry for what you went through, and I am grateful for what you have done here in response, making a profound and practical statement on a highly charged and sometimes murky issue. I am sure you have done a service to many people who will read this, leaving them further educated and/or vindicated, according to their own experiences.

My thanks to Erin for pointing me toward this incredible blog entry, and my thanks to you for writing it. Take care.


~David D.G.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm glad to hear your wife recovered allright, and I am deeply sorry for your loss. What you went through must have been excruciating, and it takes a great deal of strength to write about your experiences like this.

I wish more hardcore pro-lifers could read this and understand that those who are pro-choice aren't heartless baby-killers or godless fiends who don't care about life...nothing in this world exists in those kind of stark, mindless moral terms.

Stephanie said...

Erin...

First - Good Girl. You have proven yourself capable of thinking outside dogma.

I used to be pro-life myself, many years ago when I was very sheltered and naive. It never fails to amaze me that all it takes to change a mind is a story like this one. Taking the conflict down to the level of a single human experience makes it an experience we can all share. Anyone who truly values life must admit to valuing choice as well.

Welcome to the real world, Erin. Life is much more beautiful than dogma will allow.

Anonymous said...

This is of course a very gripping tale and exactly the reason everyone should stay the hell out of the operating room and let a woman & her doctor decide what is best for them. Without restrictions.

My brother & sister-in-law went through something very similar: after trying and trying to get pregnant they finally conceived twins. Everything was great UNTIL... well, you get the picture: around 6 months or so, one of the twins wasn't doing so well and it was determined things were headed in a bad direction fast and the only choice was to abort that one to save the other and even my sister-in-law. It was a terrible decision, but my neice is super cute and super loved.

The radical religious right in this country would have seen her jeopordized because they "believe" there is never a reason for an abortion. Even my fairly conservative father-in-law now gets that.

SaraS-P said...

Thank you for sharing this. This is exactly the reason we need to protect abortion rights. No one goes around saying, "I sure do love abortion!" Unfortunately, sometimes it is a difficult but best option.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like your wife has a dodgy twat

Aaron Kinney said...

Re: Anonymous,

The amount of mourning you do or don't do really has *nothing* to do with whether someone is a person or not.

Nor did the author claim that it did, but regardless, you totally missed the point.

Whether or not someone is a person does not overrule the other lives that could have been destroyed in this scenario. For example, the life of the mother, plus the life of the 17 month old daughter, and not to mention the life of a father.

Anonymous, do you know what its like to lose a spouse, or even worse, grow up without a mother?

This abortion saved at least 3 lives. Indeed, it saved an entire family.

And a baby dying to save your wife's life, when the baby was going to die anyway (or even if it wasn't but you *thought* it was) has *nothing* to do with abortion-on-demand.

Abortion on demand doesnt exist 9 weeks into a pregnancy. Additionally, your complaint doesnt apply here because they DIDNT know whether or not the baby was going to die until it was almost too late, and it just as easily could have been a situation where they wouldnt have known until it was too late. What would you say then, Anonymous? Would you let the mother bleed to death if it wasnt certain if the baby was ok or not?

These kinds of uncertainties over life and death situations happen all the time in hospitals.

Ever wonder why people who work in medicine tend to be more pro-choice than the general populace?

Get a clue! And while youre at it, why dont you go pray to your God and ask him to stop causing uncontrolled bleeding in so many pregnancies and trying to kill expectant mothers.

garth2 said...

thank you.

Shannon said...

I'm surprised you and your wife didn't decide to abort the fetus the minute you thought her health or life might be in danger. Imagine what your young daughter (you know, the one who is actually a living person) would have gone through if her mother had died or been permanently damaged in some way. You came very close to subjecting your daughter to this for the sake of a "seed" of a person.

It is easy to understand how badly you must have wanted this child, but certainly your wife's life is worth the trouble of "trying again" or even adopting if she were unable to have more children after this ordeal. If you disfavor adoption because the child wouldn't be "yours" then your reasons for having children in the first place are clearly very selfish. There is nothing wrong with healthy selfishness, but how can such a person be prepared for the position of being a parent, a position in which your life and happiness mean nothing compared to those of your child?

If I were your daughter, I would be disappointed in both you and your wife for behaving so irresponsibly. If I were your wife, I would divorce you for having such trouble coming to a simple and rational decision in the best interests of your spouse and daughter.

Lauren said...

Shannon, I bled my entire pregnancy. Some days I bled MUCH more than one pad an hour.

At 23 weeks my water broke and I was hopsitalized for 7 weeks.

At the end my son was born at 31 weeks and is now a happy, healthy 2 year old.

I'm sorry that you feel that it is "irreponsible" to fight for the life of your child.

Anonymous said...

I've been there. Not exactly in your shoes, but I lost a little one by no course of my own. My doctor made a misdiagnosis causing it to be aborted. We couldn't sue the hospital (they are federally funded) or charge them with murder, but had I given birth, the child would have been distrastrously malformed, retarded, unable to walk, see or eat on its own. A single mom doesn't make the kind of money to care for a child like that, and the government (and the doctor) would be no help either.
People who haven't been in our shoes have no right to make that decision for us. For me, my God already decided what needed to happen. I'm feel for your sorrow.

JayMill said...

Well, I personally am pro-life. However, I cannot, nor will I ever, nor will the catholic church (at least the catechism, and the pope's official opinion), say that I disagree with your decision. Here is the truth that many people don't believe, in a situation where the mother's life is in danger, as your wife's obviously was, an abortion is not a sin or a murder, its to save a life. Most people look at pro-life people and say, "they would have wanted to have the baby and the mother to die." Sorry pro-choice people, its BS. There are some people, some ignorant politicians who have their heads up their asses who may say that, but for the rest of us, its simply not true.


And before anybody says "if you were in their place...", the argument I've heard 10,000 times, I have been in that place, I used to be pro-choice, I made a decision that I regret to this day, and still think about. I got my girlfriend at the time pregnant, and live with the fact that we both, together decided what to do, and did it. Would I change what I did that day? I don't know, but I wouldn't make the same choice again.

Anonymous said...

This is a great post. Thank you for writing it.

My wife and I were, knock on wood, never in a predicament quite like this one... but, it seems to me that any parents who have gone through a miscarriage, as we have, can no longer have a simplistic, black and white view of abortion.

We're also a mixed-faith couple -- she's a devout Catholic, I'm a sort of mongrel Protestant/agnostic. She has made it very clear to me that if it came down to an actual, literal choice, between who to save -- her or one of her children -- that she would want to die to save her children -- or, to put it another way, she would not want one of her children to die to save _her_. But at ten weeks into pregnancy, it sounds like this was not literally the scenario you faced. I'm glad it wasn't and I'm glad your wife was able to recover!

Anonymous said...

Shannon,
I was in a (potentially) similar but not identical situation to the blogger's wife. My husband did want me to abort because he didn't want to risk any danger to my life. I disagreed. And he felt terrible that I was the one bearing the risk- he would definitely have felt guilty if something had happened to me. It should go without saying that we would both have felt terrible if something had happened to the baby. People make different decisions and assume different levels of risk. That's why these decisions should be left to the parents and doctors. Nobody had the right to make those decisions besides me, my doctors and my husband.

I was lucky that I didn't have to make any difficult decisions but it was a very scary few months. I also think that my inclinations would be different if I got pregnant again since I now have a responsibility to my daughter as well my (previously) existing responsibility to my husband.

My sympathies to DBB.....

Anonymous said...

That takes a lot of guts, to write this story for literally hundreds of millions of people to see, especially about something that's as personal as anything could be in a marriage. It's one of the most wrenching and powerful things I think I've ever read - anywhere - about serious issues.

Thanks for this, and I will add it to my life's considerations of others' for their situation. The best thing of course is that your wife survived.

Anonymous said...

Reading what you had to say was very suspenseful and I can't imagine what you went through.
I don't even know what the right decision was, but the fact remains that abortion is age discrimination, murder is murder and abortion is too.

Ebonmuse said...

That was a powerful, moving story, and I don't mind admitting that my heart was in my throat the whole time I was reading it. I'm truly relieved that your wife made it through the ordeal. Nothing could be a better testimony of why the right to autonomy over one's own body is important.

I also have a comment for JayMill:

"Most people look at pro-life people and say, "they would have wanted to have the baby and the mother to die." Sorry pro-choice people, its BS. There are some people, some ignorant politicians who have their heads up their asses who may say that, but for the rest of us, its simply not true."

Please explain how you reconcile this statement with the Republican-dominated Congress passing, and the Republican-dominated Supreme Court upholding, a law that bans D&E abortions with no exception made for the health of the mother.

Tom said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

I am sorry for you pain and same for all others involved. As abortion is legal may I suggest it is not the cause of your pain? Coming to accept what did happen will be a long painful process and wish you the best on your travel through that process. I am glad you have a little one at home family is so important. Good Luck

I blog at forums.catholic.com as Texas Roofer if you wish to contact me or join the blog it is open to you and all. You may describe yourself the same there as you did here. We all wish you the best of luck in the future with your family

Philip said...

I cannot begin to tell you that I understand what you went through or how hard it must have been or that I fell your pain. But it still does not convince me that it is my choice whether or not to go through with a pregnancy. I believe in choice also. It is your choice to have sex and create a baby. After that, it is in God's hands which are much bigger than mine and he is much more capable than I.

However, this doesn't really pertain to you as you planned on having the child and had complications. I wish this had not happened to you. But wouldn't you agree that your situation and even rape and incest account for little of the abortions being done today. Most are due to irresponsible parents and people who were unable to control their hormones and then become scared when life bites them in the butt.

I can't say what it was like in your situation, but I disagree with any abortion that is done just because you don't want the baby. That was your decision to make before having sex, not after. But in your case, man, I really am sorry and I wish the best to you and yours. And I don't know what religious persuasion to adhere to, if any, but I believe that one day you will see children that have been lost if your soul is prepared to be where their's is. And that is a matter between you and the creator of that child, God. Bless you.

Keanus said...

DBB, thank you for describing your experience. I cannot imagine how I could have coped, were my wife to have ever found herself in a similar situation. While no means common, similar experiences are surely a daily occurrence somewhere in America. Let's be grateful that so far selectively ambitious politicians—mostly white males—have yet to succeed in placing themselves in the ER as judge and jury.

Your situation was early enough that an intact dilation and extraction would not have even been considered so last week's Supreme Court decisioni would not apply. But when the "Partial Birth Abortion" act (the one that the Supreme Court just upheld) was taking shape in Congress back in 2003, the Republicans, then in control of both houses, only called witnesses who had no experience with problem pregnancies. Of those who testified in the hearings only one was an ob/gyn and he (not the gender) had done one intact dilation and extraction (or so I understand). The others, who provided "expert" testimony to the absence of necessity for intact D & E as an option were not even ob/gyn's and had neither performed nor seen an abortion. Such was the informed views of our lawmakers and "experts" who gave us this law and the basis for Justice Kennedy's decision. That is how bad laws get made, through willful ignorance.

We need stories like yours to be told far and wide. People need to know the nigh impossible choice that you faced and that interjecting politicians into the ER is no solution. They are neither informed nor prudent when it comes to medical decisions and should be kept as far away from them as possible. Interestingly every country in Europe has a much lower abortion rate than we have, primarily because comprehensive sex education is widespread and politicians are not permitted to interject political judgement into medical decisions. We could learn much from them.

I volunteer as an escort at a local Planned Parenthood clinic one morning a week. I do not initiate conversations with the patients nor those who accompany them (escorts do not chat with them about why they come, unless they initiate the conversation). But from the patients I've met and seen over the four years I've escorted (probably in excess 3500) and from the clinic's medical staff, only a very small fraction, less than two or three percent, seek an abortion for convenience. Most are clearly under great strain, although nothing like what you and your wife experienced. But sadly they all have to run the gauntlet of harassment from our protesters who seek to intimidate, frighten, impede, insult, misinform (lies are their vebal weapon of choice) and (in their words) counsel without the slightest regard for the patient's feelings. Politicians are no different. They should follow the lead of European parliaments and stay out of medical decisions.

Anonymous said...

"I blog at forums.catholic.com as Texas Roofer"


Just what we need... MORE GUILT.


Take your papal patriarchy and stick it in your ass.

hazmatix said...

I will go back to being Pro Choice, as soon as men have the equivalent right to say

"I respect your choice, Jane Breedbody, to have a child that may, or may not have come from a union of my sperm and your desired hatchling.I would choose differently if it were my body with the urgency to procreate,or if I had any rights here at all, other than to have closed my ears when you said, in the heat of passion"I can't have an orgasm unless you come in me,", and long after you assured me that you were on the pill,and pro abortion, just like I am; so, since you have decided you will keep the child, in direct disavowal of the hard fought Roe-v-Wade deicision, I opt out of paying the next eighteen years of child support/subsidized bad choice, for a child that I would abort."

I would then even actively work for Roe again, instead of eerily encouraging single teen moms,Catholics, and other women who want kids more than they want an adult relationship with a man, to have more useless, confused, half wanted American babies, and sending them to the christian clinics who talk them out of abortion.

Wally said...

Thanks so much for posting this. I hope I'm never faced with a choice like this. I hope no one in my family is ever faced with a choice like this.

But yes, I am relieved that, if a crisis were to arise, we would indeed have a choice.

JayMill said...

@ Ebonmuse

from the catholic catechism of the catholic church

2274 Since it must be treated from conception as a person, the embryo must be defended in its integrity, cared for, and healed, as far as possible, like any other human being.

Prenatal diagnosis is morally licit, "if it respects the life and integrity of the embryo and the human fetus and is directed toward its safe guarding or healing as an individual. . . . It is gravely opposed to the moral law when this is done with the thought of possibly inducing an abortion, depending upon the results: a diagnosis must not be the equivalent of a death sentence."



Read this carefully, it says that the abortion is allowed in s situation going towards the safeguarding/healing of an individual (his wife), and it is unfortunate, that there was no way to save both, as I imagine the writer would have wanted.

As for the the democrats, they (at least many of them, not all) are lumped in the group of "heads up their asses." I believe that while they preach the words they say, many would not have wanted both to die, to do so is foolishness and downright insane, IMO.

Anonymous said...

DBB, that was a moving post. While I cannot say that I have experienced the exact same choices or situations that you faced in this tale, I can say that I understand your thoughts.

I am firmly pro choice, for many reasons. One large one is that as you said, it is no ones business except for the people directly in that decision. Contrary to what the "pro-lifers" would have us believe, very few people make that kind of choice lightly. The small percentage of people who do choose an abortion lightly are just as personally selfish as the anti-choicers. It is their selfishness that attempts to control everyone else. As your story poignantly points out, it really isn't a "simple choice".

Christopher said...

DBB, please add my deep thanks to the pile, for sharing such a tale.

The proper role for government in this morass is to provide positive incentives for people to make good decisions. For example, adoption should be easy and cheap, medical care during pregnancy should be free. Whether such incentives come directly from gov't or indirectly, through insurance, I don't care. In the end abortion should not be a decision of convenience, but of medical necessity, as determined (as has been said) by the parents-to-be and their doctors. It's too complex a problem for black/white legalese.

JayMill said...

@ anonymous

I am pro-life, I never doubted that fact that its a hard decision, as I said before, my girlfriend had one when we decided it was the best choice, then read above also at my reply to someone else. No one said, other then the ignorant people (who are on both sides, lets be honest), that it was a light decision. What it comes down to is if you turned right or left at the end of that choice. Thats the separation, thats what makes this such a hard debate, because 90% of the struggle, until the choice is the same.

ellroon said...

Thank you for your story. I am glad your wife has recovered. You would be surprised to find out how many women have gone through this type of experience.
Politicians and intrusive religious fanatics do not belong anywhere near doctor/patient conferences.
You did the right thing.

Anonymous said...

First, thank you for sharing such a personal and traumatic experience. Abortion as a medical procedure is clearly necessary.

Second, legislating against abortion is shortsighted and counter-producive.

Third, Abortion is very common worldwide, and is primarily used as a form of birth control.
Only 5% of abortions are for medical reasons (mothers health, rape/incest, fetal abnormality).
There are 1.3 million abortions in the U.S. each year for 4 million live births. That's about 20% of non-miscarriage pregnancies, and about on-par for a developed nation.

Minority abortions are especially high, with black women more likely to have an abortion and hispanic women 2.5 times as likely.

My concern about abortion is from a socialogical perspective. Especially in the case of minorities, high abortion rates are a strong indicator of poverty and the dissintegration of marriages.

Abortion should be legal and available, but why is it so common? What are we doing as a country to solve the problems of poverty? Why do our social support systems like welfare punish those who are married?

Source:
http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/journals/25s3099.html

Chris said...

Now I'm not going to just ignore how emotional the experience you just went through is. It's horrible and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

However, while I'm not sure where I stand on the whole abortion debate, please realize that most of the "pro-life" stance aren't opposed to abortion in matters of life-and-death (or rape). I can't imagine any (real) people who would disagree with the allowing you the decision you were handed.

I think the main stance is to stop teenagers from just haplessly aborting babies, which is a stark contrast to "planned child ends up costing mothers life." But then again, I can't speak for pro-lifers either. That'd just be my reasoning.

Anonymous said...

This is a very important post. Thanks for sharing something so emotional and important.

My take, though, is that your diminished attachment to the fetus would be similar to that of a four year old child who you didn't know died or was killed in an accident.

You comprehend the loss, but it's nowhere near the loss of a person with whom you've spent every waking and sleeping moment. No loss compared to a person who depends upon you for every one of their emptional and physical needs.

That's the difference.

Your post took a lot of courage. Thanks.

River said...

Thank you for this post, DBB. It is good to see the difficult choice abortion truly is from the perspective of a man. 60/40 blood pressure definitely means something is wrong. I have been severely dehydrated and had blood pressure that low, and it amazed my doctor that I was still walking around.

It is interesting to me - in a rather creepy way akin to picking at a scab - that many of these proposed anti-abortion laws would exempt the life of the mother, but not her health, just as the so-called "Partial Birth" Abortion Act permits abortion to save the mother's life, but not her health.

I have kidney disease, diagnosed earlier this year. If I were to become pregnant (through rape, for example), my kidneys would definitely fail. I have been told this with absolute certainty by my doctors, both by my nephrologist and by my GP. This after my GP had tried for over two years to help my husband and me conceive a child. It was rather a heartbreaking conclusion for the three of us: me, my husband, and my doctor. But kidney failure need not be a life-threatening condition when there are modalities such as dialysis to compensate, and I have no doubt that these draconian abortion laws make no specific exemption for permanent failure of the kidneys. That's only the mother's health, not her life; never mind that she will not live unless she is hooked up to a machine at least three to four days a week (more likely more often, given recent advances in treatment).

If the mother's quality of life means nothing - if the ultimate determination is "will she be able to live somehow or will she definitely die" - then the mother could be subjected to untold indignities and medical procedures without her permission, as long as it kept her alive to birth a baby. Is that the future that anyone wants for women?

Aquagirl said...

DBB, thanks for your post. I wish it was more acceptable and safe for people to tell their stories. JayMill, I am sorry you regret your decision. But I don't understand how that should translate into you getting to make a decision for other people.

Christina said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Christina said...

Christina said...
This is quite a tragic event you and your wife were forced to undergo. I'm certain that no one would wish to be forced to make such difficult decisions! I would like to point out that yours is an extreme situation and very rare. Only 7% of women undergo abortions for the primary reasons of rape, incest, or concern for the health of the mother. Of the 48 million babies that have been aborted since 1973, 3,364,000 were killed for thise reasons. The other 44 1/2 million pregancies were terminated for many other motivations, including the mother feeling unready for child or the responsibility, that she can't afford the baby, it would interfere with carrer or education plans,and many other causes. As you can see these causes are all social.

Just another statistic: In 2003, 1,287,000 children were killed from abortion; that exceeds the number of than Americans that died in the Revolutionary War, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, the Korean, Vietnam and Gulf Wars combined. If you find this hard to believe, I challenge you to investigate the statistics for yourself.

JayMill said...

I never said that I sought to make the decision for other people, simply stated my opinion and why I made it. I don't seek to change the minds of people who have made their choice, but to give people who don't know both sides of the story, you are not fighting to change the person who you are talking to's mind in something like this, but rather the people on the fence. This is a fundamental part of every debate, be it presidential, or on a blog.

Jeff said...

Thank you for having the courage to share your story with the world, DBB. It's important for people to realize that the vast majority of women don't view abortion as some flippant birth control method.

Infophile said...

Thanks for sharing that. I know from personal experience how hard it can be to write down emotional moments like these, so I particularly appreciate that you did so. Let's just hope that some good can come from this; that someone may be influenced to make the right decision in the future.

Piri said...

Well, as several people have pointed out, MOST pro-lifers would still allow for abortions in cases of rape, incest or as seen in DDB's story, when the mother's life is in danger. To pro-lifers who take this stance, I have something for you to consider:
Have you ever had a family member who required psychiatric hospitalization? Let's say your daughter was hospitalized for severe anorexia and her doctor recommended 60 days in an anorexia program in a hospital. Around 30 days her coverage ends! You know why? Because they're not interested in paying to cure her, only in the bare minimum required to saver her life.
I'm very afraid that if abortion law is passed that limits abortions to cases where the mother's life is in danger then women like DDB's wife will die in ER's while waiting to pass the threshold between "normal bleeding" and "life threatening". Who will determine how much risk to take? Once you've entered "life threatening" you've already taken unnecessary risk with the mother's life.

Atheist Dad said...

Thank you so much for sharing. I hope people in our government who are making the laws read this post.

I am pro choice.

Anonymous said...

Do you think pro-lifers really want to prevent an abortion like yours ??

Do you really think that ? That's what I get from your post.

I really can't believe any pro-lifer would say "nope, got to stick it out, thats a life you know".

Anonymous said...

The pro-lifers always want to include exceptions for things like rape, incest, mothers life in danger.

The problem is, the pro-choicers want no restrictions, under 18 no problem, under 16 no problem, just having a bad day, no problem, babies in 3rd trimester, no problem.

Anonymous said...

"fuck pro-lifers"

I don't think pro-lifers want your wife to die, thats why there are always exceptions like rape and life threatening.

I actually doubt this really happened, seems more like a story made up so you can make your little pro-life dig.

Doug said...

Thanks for that. We had a similar incident. It is tough, and (hopefully) makes one stop and think about the implications of having the courts meddle in our lives.

beng said...

Quick poll, is there any sitution where an abortion should not be allowed ?

hatfulofhollow said...

DBB, I thank you for sharing your experience. I cannot imagine the difficulty of your position, and I wish you and your wife well.

What I think many people in the U.S. need to understand is that a choice such as this is not made only by monsters. One can always use statistics to minimize the importance of your story, as is evidenced by the gratuitous comments from Christina. Nevertheless, sheer numbers ignore the complexities of abortion, but they are handy for making a point. Far greater is the impact of a wrenching experience.

Again, thank you for writing.

Steven Kang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

hey dingbat (hatfulofhollow)

Whats wrong with those statistics

3 million abortions for "valid reasons" (life threatening, rape, incest)

44 million for "invalid reasons", dumb bitch just does'nt feel like it.

You don't like the stats because they don't make your point. It's easier to get caught up in the "gut wrenching, heart felt" blah blah of a valid reason to have an abortion.

Anonymous said...

"What I think many people in the U.S. need to understand is that a choice such as this is not made only by monsters"

Do you really think pro-lifers would call this person a monster ?

Why do all pro-killers want to just conveniently ignore all the valid exceptions that pro-lifers are happy to promote.

Oh I know, if you recognized that, you loose a bunch of your rhetoric.

uncle said...

Response to beng...

no restrictions, any restriction is meddling in private lives

beng said...

finally, been waiting for 1

what about full term, the day before a section you change your mind and abort a 7 pound baby girl ?

Aenin said...

Please, people, don't read a powerful story like this and then cut it up into convenient little pieces to further your own agendas.

You believe what you want. You will probably do what you can of what you want. But to look at another person's tale of their suffering and then say that it obviously supports you is kind of insensitive. Perhaps, in saying this, I cross the line myself. If so, I apologize to DBB.

Let us show how we understood his experience, and share our understanding with others instead of attacking.

I understood him as saying that the law should never mandate this sort of thing. If that's so, I think he's right. It would anger me to be told that I couldn't do something by someone very far removed from my situation. Especially when it is a situation as critical as the future of my loved ones.

In an ideal world, until a fetus or baby is old enough to make its own decisions there should be a parent there to make it for them. And that parent would ideally be a responsible person who has the welfare of their child in high regard. That parent will then determine what future that child will have.

The world is not ideal. If the parent is not responsible, then that parent will make bad decisions until they realize the depth of the consequences. If they do. But I can't make blanket rules that will cover every single incident from my own lofty perch.

Share your opinion. Tell others why choice is important, or why life is important. If it's important enough to do, it might be important enough to understand. But let those who are intimately involved make the decision. They're the ones who will have to live with it afterwards.

Perhaps I'm very nearsighted, or a hypocrite for saying all of this. But I sincerely do say "Thank you" to DBB for sharing such a personal experience with us in hopes that we could benefit from it.

dr. luba said...

When I was a resident, we had a patient show up at our hospital with an incomplete abortion (a miscarriage in process). She had signed out of a local catholic hospital because they would do nothing for her except watch her bleed (and cramp).

The correct course of action (medically speaking) is to do a D&C to finish cleaning out the uterus. Otherwise the patient risks anemia and infection.

Because she still had a positive pregnancy test, they wouldn't do anything for her. (Mind you, a woman who has miscarried completely would still have a positive pregnancy test for a week or longer, till her hormone levels drop to normal.)

Bastards.

ahablovesmoby said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

to Aenin, it would be easier to follow your advice if the post did not say things like ...

"I wanted the mutherfuckers to die. Fuck them. Fuck them all. They can fucking die, as far as I'm concerned."

This was not a heart felt post, it was a pro-choice rant. And as such, we should this fucker out for the crap he contributed to the internet.

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, a heart felt thank you DBB for sharing this tremoundously painful experience, and then going on an ignorant and misguided political rant calling pro-lifers a bunch of fuckers.

I bet your wife is butt ugly to boot. Now that was fun.

Jason said...

What a really poor argument for "choice." A very rare medical issue. Yeah, that really justifies the other vast majority abortions that happen for the sake of convenience.

It's unfortunate that you lost your baby. I really feel for you. I do. My wife and I lost our first child and we **did** mourn. A lot. We still mourn to this day, in fact, because we loved that child as much as we love our children who made it to and past birth. The unborn child was a human being, albeit at an earlier stage of development than a newborn - like a newborn is a human being at an earlier stage of development than an adolescent. Would you mourn less for a newborn than an adolescent? I doubt it.

In any case, very few pro-lifers (none that have any real voice) would deny a woman an abortion if her life were in jeopardy like your wife's. You'd be hard-pressed to find any pro-lifer who would say it's better to let both mother and child die than to abort the baby. The doctors tried everything they could to save both lives. It's unfortunate, but we live in an imperfect world where these things happen. Most people understand that and they would not oppose abortion in a situation like your wife's. If you think otherwise, then you probably only know the pro-lifers from misinformation spread by groups like Planned Parenthood and NARAL.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry you guys had such a terrible experience, but something you said is pretty much something I've said for a long time.

So many of the pro lifers are SO concerned for a fetus...but they have no concern at all for the child once it's outside of the womb.

Women don't choose to have an abortion because it's fun. It's not. I haven't had one but have nursemaided a friend through the recovery of one.

Women generally have an abortion because one of three reasons:
1.) They can not afford to be pregnant. They can not afford the time off from work, the risk of losing a job because of being pregnant and not being able to perform as they usually do (and supposedly the law prevents that, but I know WAY to many employers who have turned the clock forward five minutes after someone has left and then fired them the next day for being "late".)
2.) Thier health or life is in jeopardy, or the baby is badly malformed or has little or no chance of any quality or length of life outside the womb.
3.) The pregnancy is the result of rape/incest.

I've talked to many people who've had abortions and why, and it's always been one of those three. It's never been some of the stupid ass answers I always hear out of pro-lifers like "I didn't want to lose my figure" or "it wouldn't be fun to be pregnant or have a kid."

Women who have abortions do take the subject very seriously, and nine times out of ten, the decision is actually boils down to what kind of life the child itself will have. Growing up homeless and in poverty, or with horrible defects, or with a parent who is in poor health or unable to care for the child properly.

As someone who was born to parents who were in thier late 40's (I was an "oops" baby) I know what it's like to grow up knowing you weren't wanted. That you basically ruined two other's peoples dreams, lives and plans. And with severe health complications. I would have much rather my mother had aborted as many doctors had urged her to do. I know a lot of other people who feel the same way.

I'm glad you guys still had the choice open to you. I despair of the many states like SD where that choice is taken away, up to and including rape and incest victims. (I still can't believe they claim that children of incest are actually SMARTER than children not of incest. That is just...WTF?)

Chorus of Chaos

Anonymous said...

The general pro-life argument for this post seem to go something like this: "Hmm. We are sorry this happened to you. But you know yours is a rare case; One of that 7% or so. Most people abort for, well, [something]. We wont dream of stopping you from saving your wife's life".

But there is this to consider:

1. Pro-life groups are by-and-large lobbying for a blanket abortion ban. (For example, the partial birth abortion ban has no exceptions for mother's health)

2. So the 7% (about 3 million or so according to one of the posters) who abort primarily for medical reasons are to be denied the option and put at more than a little risk.

It does look scary that groups are willing to risk the lives of such a large number of people in order to satisfy some moral imperative.

PS: How many pro-life organizations spoke up against the absence of health exception in the partial birth abortion ban? I am curious since most of these posters seem to never dream of putting this poor man's wife at risk? Did any of the organizations think along the same lines?

Mike said...

Sure, I can think of lots of circumstances where an abortion would be wrong.

But that does not excuse putting yet another piece of grief in the lives of those who are already facing a situation grim enough to warrant an abortion.

The term "pro-choice" is a bit odd - a choice will be made, whether you or I or anybody else like it or not. Somebody has to choose when an abortion is neccessary. Who should make that choice? As for me, I'd rather rely on mothers and fathers than legislators and judges.

Dominic said...

t did this have to do with abortion laws ? The recent supreme court decision was about late term abortions. I has nothing to do with your recent experience. A Late term abortion would have meant that a viable baby would have had its skull crushed in the vagina before delivery. Now a viable baby would have to be delivered. It has nothing at all to do with your situation. No anti-abortion law would place the life of the mother at risk in the way you are implying.
Stop making mountains out of molehills. Be happy you are both safe and healthy.
How did I even get here ? oh reddit

LCR said...

My heart goes out to both you and your wife for what you endured but it was especially gut-wrenching to read your thought process as this impossible decision was placed in your hands, alone, after your wife became incapacitated. Of course, there was only one choice to make, but having to actually sign that piece of paper while still holding the hope that all would be well must have been unbearable.

I have been lurking here on your blog today, following a link from Pharyngula. I normally don't comment much, but after reading some of the absolutely HORRIBLE, judgemental, holier-than-thou comments, I just had to jump in and offer my support. The absurdity and near-criminality of those who would dictate from the peanut gallery what a woman or a couple should do with their reproductive lives is mind-blowing. Everything is in black & white and everything is an absolute. They simply can't imagine that circumstances could exist where abortion might be a necessary, though no less wrenching, choice.

I notice that the negative (to put it politely) comments usually from cowards unwilling to attach any identity whatsoever to their remarks. Seems like there ought to be a rule that if they are going to spew that nastiness, they ought to be required to own up to it so that others can respond. I know of some blogs that require registration for comments. You may want to consider it.

Finally, PZ Myers, who writes the Pharyngula blog, has a fun way of dealing with the individuals who can not keep it civil. He "disemvowels" them, by removing all of the vowels from their comment. By doing so, he manages to keep the comments and the discussion civil for all and creates some entertainment value from those nasty trolls!

Jane said...

Thanks for the post.

To anyone saying shit about the OP, or any comments in here...a blanket ban on abortions, even with exceptions, will be misused and abused in every way. Doesn't matter.

FYI it's common knowledge that the latest ID&X "partial birth" abortion ban passed only because THIS TIME AROUND there was a provision for the health of the woman involved. The first time around, everyone but SCOTUS was all too happy to pass it around without any sort of provision for the health of ANYONE involved. All the bullshit reasons given about why the ID&X procedure was banned over the vastly more common and CLEARLY grotesque D&E are wrong. You think pulling a fetus out in a breech position and sucking out the soft brain matter is sickening? Apparently cutting it up isn't as sickening..right. You know, cause there are multiple procedures for late-term abortions, and the one that was recently banned is not a common procedure at all. Whatsoever.

Women are going to have abortions whether or not you want them to. Rest assured, if I was in a really bad situation where I became pregnant despite using a condom, despite using NuvaRing hormonal contraceptives, despite using Plan B...I am getting an abortion, be it safely at the local Planned Parenthood, a drive down to Mexico City, or a back-alley abortion that might possibly kill me.

It's none of anyone that's not the woman, the man, or a healthcare professional's business to get involved, except only to protect their constitutional (yes, constitutional, go look up roe v. wade etc.) right to an abortion. and the only thing a government should be doing is protecting that right, not restricting it.

I'm not for making blanket statements about pro-lifers, but if you're going to remain pro-life, please keep that to yourself and don't force it on anyone who doesn't care for it.

Anonymous said...

An extraordinary story and intriguing debate. I wonder, is there such a thing as a pro-life atheist? So many of our country's problems arise from those who fear the disapproval of The Magical Bearded Man in the Sky. Religion is the grandest placebo ever conceived.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad your wife is doing well and I'm sorry for the loss of your baby.
As a father of a 1 yr old baby girl, I value the life of my baby more than anything else on Earth. She is the most important thing there is, I would have to say equal to my own wife.. my baby is a part of me, she is my own blood, my offspring, she is genetically closer to me than my own wife. My baby girl will love me more as she is growing up than my own wife ever will.. the love between a daughter and father is, in my opinion, greater than between a husband and wife. Agree with me or not, that is my opinion.. and my baby girl is only 1 yr old. All she can say is "da da", but I know she loves me and I love her infinitely so.. my wife, I love also infinitely so, but sometimes it's rocky, sometimes it's up and down and we aren't always as close as we'd like to be, but I will always love my baby girl infinitely. When my wife found out she was pregnant, which was an accident, her instant reaction was that she wanted an abortion. There we were in the bathroom with the home pregnancy test kit in hand reading positive for pregnancy and she gets all histerical, crying and raving on and on about how her life is now ruined and how she can't go through with being pregnant, etc.. I told her it's her choice, but if she kills my baby (has an abortion) that I would divorce her in a heartbeat and I would never speak to her again. I thank God that I was able to sway her foolish and immature, emotional and illogical thinking, and she decided not to kill our baby girl. We are still married to this day and my wife and I both love our baby girl more than anything. In fact, if we did not have our baby (if my wife never got pregnant), I am pretty sure we would not still be married... having the baby has brought my wife and I closer in our marriage and has given us something greater than our love for each other (which is very strong), but now we are a family and we mutually love our daughter. If I had allowed my wife to abort our baby or I had not cared enough to take a firm moral stand based on what I believe is right, then today (1 yr and 9 months later) I would have been robbed of the single greatest joy I have ever known in my entire life. My baby girl is the most beautiful gift God has ever given me and the one thing I am most thankful for. I would give my life in a heartbeat to save my baby girl and how any mother would hesitate to even think otherwise is beyond me. I would not only give my own life to save my baby girl but I would kill or spend the rest of my life in prison if I had to, or pay any price no matter how high, to protect the life and safety of my innocent child.

I strongly disagree with your view that the loss of your unborn baby is any different than your already born baby. I don't see the difference. It's just a matter of a time shift. What if someone had gone back in time and killed your baby girl while she was still in the womb, knowing what you know today? Knowing the joy of your born child? Why is it any different for one child than another? You are just trying to make an excuse so you don't have to suffer as badly emotionally, you are trying to rationalize it. I don't mean to be rude or harsh, but I think you are bending your thinking in your own favor just to make it easier to get over this loss. The fact is that born or unborn, you still lost a child and I don't believe that it should be viewed as any less of a loss either way.

Fortunately you still have your wife and one child. It's probably too risky for you and your wife to ever try having another child naturally, but there are so many children you can adopt, so there is no shortage of that option.

I am strongly pro-life (of the baby). I would always choose the life of my child over my own life or anyone else's life, including my wife. Harsh? Think about it. What's more precious, an innocent life of a child who has their entire life ahead of them or a grown adult who has had a fair opportunity to live their life and have whatever experiences they have been blessed to have?

In your case there was no way to save the baby, they tried, they did everything they could but because of the dilation it was an inevitable loss and I'm terribly sorry for that. But I congratulate you on your efforts to do everything within your power to at least try to save your baby, even to the point of losing your wife. And I applaud you for hesitating as to whether or not to abort.

I am not against aborting if there is no possible alternative to saving the mother.. but if the child can be saved at the loss of the mother then I would choose the child. There is no logic to losing both, but it's a risk worth taking, to take it as far as you took it should happen in every case, in my opinion.

What I am strongly against is pro-choice people arguing that a woman can get pregnant (accidentally, by being careless and irresponsible) and have the simple option of going down to the abortion clinic and in essence, "making the problem go away." This is murder in my belief. I feel that once there is a heartbeat, then that is a life. Killing a fetus with a heartbeat is murder, plain and simple. It should not be a choice any girl or woman can simply make without a very good reason (their own life is in danger). Even in the case of rape. Two wrongs don't make a right. In fact, adding the killing of a baby (abortion) in addition to the horror of a raped woman only makes the overall tragedy even worse.

I don't see your connection between the laws and being pro-choice. If the law says "every effort must be made in every case to save the life of the unborn fetus, and only in the case of the certain death of the mother would an abortion be permissible." Then what is wrong with such a law? It would hopefully prevent at least some portion of the constant murder of unborn babies in this country.

It's not a choice to murder an unborn baby for no reason at all, it's a crime.

Anonymous said...

In my case, I can't make a final decision on abortion... Here are just a few thoughts/opinions:

- Sex is an act aimed at creating life. The recreational use of sex could be seen as an abuse of the act.
- If you want a baby, have sex. If you don't want one, don't have sex.
- Having risky sex thinking that, if an "accident" happens, abortion will be a solution is irresponsible.
- Saying that the condom/pill did not work is no excuse.
On the other side:
- Someone owns his body.
- Rape victims becoming pregnant should be allowed to have abortion.

Also, there are thousands of couples who cannot have children and who would be happy to adopt one! There are baby "drop boxes" in many cities...

In the end, people should be RESPONSIBLE human beings! If they do something/anything, they should assume their responsabilities!

Reiki 4 Life said...

wow. just wow. i am so sorry for your ordeal but so glad your wife is ok. and you are right...it does sound like a hypothetical ethics question...i do agree that this is very much a personal choice and one that i hope not to have to make.

be well...

Dobcroft said...

For the pro-lifers that consider that life is sacred from the moment of conception consider the following. Most conceptuses will end in early abortion before their mother will even know they are pregnant. What is god thinking?

Anonymous said...

The fetus heart starts to beat at about 22 days after conception. This is when I believe life begins.

If you catch it before then it's just multiplying cells... but once there is a heart beat, that means life.

Another argument might be when the brain is fully developed. But that really doesn't even happen until about 21 years of age, so there is no argument there!!!

Melange Idees said...

I've been pro-choice as long as I can understand the issue.

DBB, this was heart-wrenching, and I respect and admire your sharing the story, as much as I wish I had rights on this page to yank the obvious trolls and people disrespecting your experience and the pain that comes from it.

That said -- the people here who insist that nobody pro-life will ever, ever, ever say that the mother's life is forfeit, and the child more important?

I actually had someone say it to me. The husband of a co-worker, someone intelligent, whom I admired and respected a lot told me, "The mother has already had her time on earth. She has already lived a life. If she dies, it just means her life is done. The child is more important, and takes precedence."

To the people who think that pro-choice people want abortion legal so that abortions can be had willy-nilly at the drop of the hat? Sorry, that's not correct.

People who are pro-choice want all the alternatives available, because pro-choice actually means "whatever choice works best for [you] -- up to and including having the baby, or having the baby and giving it up for adoption, or whatever other consideration your situation warrants." I don't know a single pro-choicer who doesn't believe in sex education, better pre and post-natal care, better contraception, easier and less expensive adoption, and/or better predictors of the sort of life a child will have once it is no longer resident in the womb. [and for that matter, the ones I know don't seem to know pro-choicers of this stripe either]

Pro-lifers who conflate pro-choice with pro-abortion are just fighting from the below-the-belt emotional standpoint, and doing so erroneously.

My personal stance is that if the fetus cannot survive on its own outside the womb, it does not get the rights of a person, and it certainly should not get the rights superceding the rights of the woman on whom its existence is dependent.

Pro-life laws, are, unfortunately, anti-woman, and I'm grateful DBB did not have to end up on the wrong end of that.

Nancy Lebovitz said...

To 5:19 AM anonymous: Your relationship to your one year old daughter might be running entirely smoothly now, but there's no guarantee that this will continue for the next decade or decade and a half.

Please consider now that there is no perfection in this world, not even for father-daughter relationships--I think you're at grave risk for freaking out if your daughter isn't permanently nuts about you.

A small request--I can understand wanting to be anonymous, but please choose a nickname so that you can be told from all the other anonymous people.

Nyd said...

DBB, thank you for sharing such a raw, personal experience. All my best goes to you and your family.

Amadeus said...

I just want to comment on the notion that the government shouldn't stand between people and their doctors. Much as I hate that myself, the fact is that we do love when governments stand between ourselves and people who are trying to do us harm.

The logic of the pro-life argument is that babies deserve government protection just like anyone else.

(for the record, I'm neither pro-life nor pro-choice)

Sara said...

Others have already mentioned this, but your story also illustrates the dangers of the trend towards public hospitals being bought by Catholic hospital systems. Sometimes a Catholic hospital is the only hospital available in a city, now.

and in a Catholic hospital, you would not have had to make the choice you did. Because most of them have a policy that they will not perform a D&C until it can be shown through serial blood tests that the fetus is already dead (falling HCG). The operative principal is "Two natural deaths are a lesser evil than one murder." Removal of ectopic pregnancies are barely permitted by the sophistry of arguing that the *tube* is removed to save the mother, and the pregnancy "happens to be in the tube at the time."

Anonymous said...

Hey dumbo, amadeus, if your neither pro-life or pro-choice, that means your pro-choice but for some reason afraid to admit it.

Kaethe said...

Thanks for your story. You've given me some insight into what my husband must have gone through during the labor and emergency c-section of our first child.

I'm sorry for your loss, but delighted your wife recovered.

Anonymous said...

Youre wrong about Roe v Wade. One more republican nominee to the supreme court and it will be overturned. And the next Pres should get at least two.

Anonymous said...

I deeply respect the pain you went through and am thankful to you for writing your story for the public to see. The more witnesses to the folly of government interfering in medical decisions the better, I think.

That said... The following is not a slam at you, just an observation of trends that you didn't cause.

Anyone motivated enough to do a Google search will observe that women have been using the Internet to tell the story of their abortions for over a decade now. There are even more abortion stories out there in traditional print. Oddly, you don't see this sort of congratulatory/sympathetic response going on for them that we've seen here for you and for other guys telling similar stories. What we see are woman-hating trolls using their stories as a springboard for hate speech. "You slut," "You murdered your baby," "Why don't you just use birth control or keep your legs shut," "How could you get an abortion, I had a baby with that problem and they're fine," so on and so forth.

But when a man tells such a story he's a hero and a saint, and even changes pro-lifers' minds. What IS that?

The other thing bothering me about this post, which is closer to home for the OP, maybe (but still not a slam), is the way everybody's arguing that abortion should be kept legal because What If A Woman's Life Or Health Is Threatened. Um, duh? Even your average antichoicer seems OK with life and health provisions, provided the latter aren't "abused" in their eyes. It's not exactly going out on a limb to proclaim that abortion should be kept legal for these reasons.

Here's one for you: How about the general notion that NO born human being should be forced to become OR to continue being life support for another human being without the supporting person's consent?

We already have legal precedent for this with blood and organ donation laws. Even if it's your own child and she'll die without your kidney, you can say No and face no legal consequences whatsoever. And it's funny: I have yet to see prolifers organizing blood donation drives to demonstrate how important it is to use our bodies to save the lives of other people. I guess folks needing body part donations aren't as sexy, or maybe they aren't "innocent" enough. Or maybe it's that men can donate as well as women can, and of course nobody wants to turn MEN into biological slaves.

Either we should start making blood and organ donation mandatory (we can just throw out the parts of people carrying infectious diseases, or donate them to science), or we should make abortion completely legal, full stop.

And yes, that includes abortion "on demand." Which, by the way, would be EVERY abortion ever performed in the United States; since we don't have compulsory abortion here, the woman must DEMAND one to be done.

This is truly pro-choice (the abortion side of the choice, anyway). This is truly valuing both women and children, because mothers who want their children treat them better.

As for adoption, I personally do not believe in guilt-tripping women into giving birth just so some childless family doesn't have to adopt an older child or a child with problems. When I gave birth to my daughter and they brought her in to me afterward she was crying. I said her name and she shut right up and waited for them to hand her to me. Babies know who their mothers are and expect to be reunited with them soon after birth. I firmly believe that taking an infant from its natural mother just to make some rich white person happy is abusive to the child, and it traumatizes the natural mother as well.

There is also the point that first-trimester abortion is on an order of magnitude several times safer for the woman than giving birth is. When you insist that a woman give her child up for adoption you are asking her to risk her life and health only to have her heart broken at the end and to be treated like an interloper by the adopting family (which does happen, more often than not--adopting parents who treat the natural mother as a member of their family are the rare exception, NOT the rule) and if she changes her mind later, she's an evil bitch. No thank you. We've got six billion people on this planet. Women are not brood mares.

Sorry for the rant, but the only reproductive choice I haven't made yet out of birth-and-keeping, birth-and-adoption, and abortion, has been abortion. I know whereof I speak about most of this. I'm tired of antichoicers going around with their "Let them eat cake" attitude about us mothers. They can make their own damn choices and leave me to mine.

Anonymous said...

In my case, I can't make a final decision on abortion...

Well, I guess I would urge you to consider which of the factors you listed should be determined LEGALLY, by courts, rather than according to individual conscious.

-Should the courts in the United States really be in the position to dictate that people ought to believe that "sex is an act aimed at creating life. The recreational use of sex can be seen as an abuse of that act"? Or is that sort of moral question better left to individuals and churches? If the government is allowed to dictate what sex means, what's to stop it from dictating that meaning in a way you don't morally agree with?
-Does the government really need to control people's sex lives, or is that a private matter? S
-hould the government be in the business of "punishing" people for their irresponsible sex acts by forcing them to bear children? Who would this official "punishment" serve?
-Is the government or private charity ready to establish humane orphanages for the millions of unwanted babies who are currently aborted annually, who far exceed the numbers of couples willing to adopt?
-If the fetus has rights that the government should recognize and protect by the law, why are those rights at all affected by the fact that it was conceived via rape? Doesn't this amount to a "scarlet letter" that is terribly unfair to the fetus?
-should we allow an organism that has no thoughts, feelings, or emotions to control a fully grown human being?

Anonymous said...

to JayMill: (He's prolife, but thought the blogger made the appropriate choice. He also said that he doesn't want to make the decision for others.)

I would like to point out that if you recognize that there was a choice involved, then you are actually pro-*choice*. You respect that the blogger had to choose, and you are supporting that choice.

"pro-choice" doesn't mean that you want to have an abortion. It means that you want people (and their doctors) to have a choice, instead of having it dictated to them.

You can be "pro-choice" and truly believe that you would never have an abortion. You can even say "I'm personally pro-life, but I see that there are times when someone might need to abort". In my book, that makes you pro-*choice*.

See, the thing about the pro-life position, at least politically, is that abortion is equated with murder. If we outlaw murder, then we must outlaw abortion. There is no "choice", and so you get crazy laws that say the health of the mother doesn't matter, and the judgement of the doctor doesn't matter.

Furthermore, if people want to restrict "abortion on demand" then they should craft appropriate laws. The fact that they don't seems to indicate that they are not being intellectually honest.

Life is complicated. That's why we need the freedom to make our own choices.

-swan

ellroon said...

Swan, I'll take your theme even further. The logical response to heavy handed anti-abortion laws is to make condoms and the birth control pill free or at least available to all cheaply. (Note I'm not even getting into the morning after pill nor RU486.) Why not work hard then to prevent anyone getting pregnant or making someone pregnant? There should be no resistance to this, right?

But there is.

Because, for many of the anti-abortion or 'pro-life' people, it's really not about saving a baby, it's the sex. If a woman has sex, willingly or not, she deserves what she gets. And a baby should be used as punishment for her sins.

It is punishment not prevention.

Anonymous said...

Amazing how widely some people can miss the point. Listen to these people saying, "*your* reason for abortion is okay, but all the others are wrong".

Yes, this particular medical complication is rare. Yes, some pro-lifers will conceed to various cases where it is "okay" in their eyes to abort a pregnancy. What disgusts DBB, and disgusts me, is the self-centered thought that it is up to YOU to decide which medical procedures are permissable and which are not, in the lives of perfect strangers, based on your own personal armchair knee-jerk reaction.

If you didn't understand that, read the story again. These people went through a very tough experience, and made the best decisions they could, yet with the knowledge that complete strangers would want to STOP them from making those decisions. Actually, legally stop them. With no understanding of what they were going through, dismissing their pain and suffering and loss.

If you're a "pro-lifer" and you want to pat DBB on the back and say, "hey, don't worry, *this one* was okay", good for you! You get the Actually Managed to Empathize With Someone Else award! But when you go on to say, "but every OTHER abortion is wrong and should be outlawed, because the following reasons are not valid", congratulations on making yourself the ultimate moral arbiter over what is right and wrong. Please tell me how you managed that, because I thought it was none of my damn business.. I don't know the situation of the 16-year-old girl who needs an abortion, just because she is young and unmarried does not make her decision automatically wrong, and she shouldn't have to pass YOUR personal ethics test in order to make her own decisions over her own life. If you offer a pass for this situation, but not for others, what on earth gives you that right?

Especially you, Beng, and fuck you. No woman on earth would voluntarily go through all of the trauma and effort of pregnancy for 9 months and then lightly change her mind about it the day before delivery. The idea that you would BELIEVE a woman would ever ever do this just shows how little you think of us. You can't possibly tolerate the idea of a woman making her own medical decisions because you believe we will do pointlessly evil things for no reason and at great cost to ourselves. Just to inform anyone else reading, because I know you're not going to listen, the ONLY reason an abortion takes place so late in the pregnancy is stories like the one told here, where something has gone terribly wrong. When we talk about "Pro-Lifers" being misogynists, we're talking about Beng.

If you want to respect women and couples facing a complicated pregnancy, for any reason, let them make this call THEMSELVES. Even if you, personally, insignificantly, believe that they're wrong. Anything else is handing over our rights to self-determination over to the government and assuming that they'll do a better job, a dangerous and condescending position to take.

Thanks for sharing your story, DBB.

-lizvelrene

Anonymous said...

"I thank God that I was able to sway her foolish and immature, emotional and illogical thinking, and she decided not to kill our baby girl."


If my SO was the type of person who said that my thinking was foolish, immature, emotional or illogical, I'd leave. I might have the kid anyway, but I would not stay.

No wonder your wife didn't want to have a kid with you. No wonder you had to threaten divorce. If it were me, I would have taken you up on it. Maybe things worked out for you. Maybe you didn't tell your wife what you were thinking about her out loud.

Do some people just not get it? Women are people. We have lives like everyone else. We go to work, go to college, and have hopes and dreams like everyone else. We aren't mindless incubators. We aren't sluts that change our minds in the 24 th week. We're the ones that get pregnant and have to deal with it. 'It' being losing a job, having no daycare, paying for prenatal care and hospital bills, a boyfriend/husband leaving, having to drop out of school, health risks (pre-eclampsia, c-section, gestational diabetes), a lack of paid parental leave... We all know that list goes on and on. None of those things are an 'inconvenience'. Most of them are important to either being able to take care of yourself or being able to take care of a child.

Don't like abortion? Don't have one. Want to stop other people from having them? Address why they have them. Nearly half are due to people not using birth control. Comprehensive sex ed, subsidized birth control for people with low income would be a start. Or having the morning after pill more readily available would probably cut down on the number of abortions (it suppresses ovulation and doesn't interfere with an implanted blastocyst). Or we could try taking the economic sting out of having an unplanned kid.

Women are people. You cannot force anyone to give their life and health and future so that someone else can live. Not legally. Not unless you start legalizing forced blood 'donations', or bone marrow 'donations', or kidney 'donations'.

Would anyone like mandatory legislation that insisted that they had to donate a kidney to someone who needed it, and pay the medical bill, so that someone else could live? How about giving up part of your liver? Even for an innocent child? I didn't think so.

JayMill said...

Pro-life vs Pro-Choice

As pointed out above, somebody stated that I leaned towards pro-choice, I disagree and here are my reasons why. I believe that the author was right in his choice here, he had to choose between his wife and loosing his child, and loosing both, the choice is obvious to anybody with a brain/soul. To accurately describe the way that I feel here is where I think abortion is murder;

A woman who has casual sex, whether she used contraceptives or not (side note; I disagree with the catholic church on this), she made a choice that has possible consequences, one of which is becoming pregnant. If she is healthy, and the baby is healthy, she should have the child. If she is unable to afford the child, the waiting list for able families who CAN'T conceive and want to adopt is huge, sometimes years, while the baby often waits less then 2-3 months. Why should that child, because it IS alive, have its choices taken away? What about its chance to make this world a better place? Why does it no longer deserve those things, because the mother doesn't feel like it.

LinuxGirl said...

I'm so glad you saved your wife, and I'm so sorry that you had to go through this.

Thank you for posting your story, it brought to light something my boyfriend and I never thought we would have to consider.

Anonymous said...

A woman who has casual sex, whether she used contraceptives or not (side note; I disagree with the catholic church on this), she made a choice that has possible consequences, one of which is becoming pregnant. If she is healthy, and the baby is healthy, she should have the child.

What about a married woman who becomes pregnant accidentally when she doesn't want to be? Does this still apply to her? Married women do get abortions, you know. Also, should a woman who has "casual sex" and gets an STD be denied medical treatment too, since she must "accept responsibility" for her actions?

If she is unable to afford the child, the waiting list for able families who CAN'T conceive and want to adopt is huge, sometimes years, while the baby often waits less then 2-3 months.

This a red herring. There are millions of abortions every year. There are not enough adoptive parents to take them all. Many of the abortions are by minority women. White adoptive parents in the US are already refusing to adopt transracially. Realistically, if abortion were banned it would result in state-run orphanages.

Why should that child, because it IS alive, have its choices taken away? What about its chance to make this world a better place? Why does it no longer deserve those things, because the mother doesn't feel like it.

A fetus doesn't actually make choices. It doesn't have a cerebral cortex, in the vast majority of abortions, which occur before the first trimester.

Thaily said...

Cathartic, or enraging if you consider the bull these pro-liars are spewing even when faced with such a powerful and emotionally charged story. They have such flagrant disrespect their title, "pro-life", is a mockery of their true convictions.

They would have let your wife die even if the fetus wasn't viable, rather than abort the latter, merely to satisfy their own self righteousness.
Just do a Google search for "The Only Moral Abortion is My Abortion" and you'll find a slough of links with stories from abortion nurses and doctors who've performed abortions on pro-lifers who ranted about the staff going to hell and not wanting to wait in the waiting-room with "the sluts who are going to kill their babies".

I can't imagine how afraid you two must have been and how hard the choice must have been, though personally I firmly believe you made the right one. After all, your existing child needs a mother too.

All I can do is wish you and your wife the best!

JayMill said...

What about a married woman who becomes pregnant accidentally when she doesn't want to be? Does this still apply to her?

Yes, it does, because she still made the choice to have sex, she made the decision, and her child shouldn't have to pay for it

As for adoptions, perhaps people should think a bit more before having sex. It should never just be something for the hell of it. The fact that there as you said "Millions of Abortions" is a problem. Again, this is my opinion, not a fact.

A fetus doesn't actually make choices. It doesn't have a cerebral cortex, in the vast majority of abortions, which occur before the first trimester.

Just because it can't make choices now, doesn't mean it isn't a life, and won't have the ability to in the future.

ab said...

thank you for posting this. a story like yours can make people stop and think. and we, as a society, need a lot more stopping and thinking.

daria said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I've always been pro-choice and I share in your frustration over what our law-makers are doing and/or attempting to do with regards to abortion. I am very sorry that it was brought to fruition for you in such a horribly stressful way.
Best of luck to you and yours in all that you do.

DBB said...

Again, thank you all for your thoughtful responses. I just added another blog post to address some of them and also to share a happier story also related to this first, perhaps just because I needed to think of the positive after sharing the negative.

I appreciate everyone's sentiments and I am humbled that my story has touched so many. I never imagined it would.

Jill said...

Thank you. Just...thank you.

Thank you for pointing out that human reproduction is a very complicated process. Sometimes things just go wrong, and when they do, there isn't always time to go to Fat Tony Scalia to get a special dispensation. Sometimes things go wrong and you have a miracle, like Jackson Jones. Sometimes you don't. But the idea that your wife might have had to bleed to death in some states rather than terminate a pregnancy that would have terminated anyway if they had let her bleed to death is appalling, and points out that there should never, ever, ever be a point where the woman ceases to matter and becomes nothing but a receptacle for what is still only a potential human being.

rasqual said...

I certainly sympathize with your situation, as a father of four. However, you're utterly misconstruing the pro-life position if you characterize it as even remotely advocating anything like posing a legal framework that would have proscribed your decision. Such misunderstandings can be pretty startling to pro-life advocates. Pro-choice supporters, of course, are quite pleased and support this kind of slander.

I don't mean that you were intentionally slandering pro-life. But a lack of genuine understanding can lead to tragic unfairness in how we represent others' positions.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for this story. These are exactly the kinds of stories that need to be told. I'm so sorry for the ordeal you went through.

The current abortion ban on the non-medically termed "partial birth abortion" could easily have affected your situation. First of all, it could have been a procedure the doctor could have done safer over another regarding the abortion. And of course, as you note, this ban might have killed your wife, as doctors might have had to wait until she was really at death's door before proceeding.

Your post was amazing. Thank you for that personal glimpse into WHY these decisions need to remain between a woman, her loved ones, and her doctor. NOT politicians.

- Anna

Faith said...

What an incredible story. I am so sorry for your loss.

You must be a very strong person to be able to take such a personal situation and show it to the world to prove the more general and valid points about anti-abortionists and their propaganda.

My best to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm going to send some of my male pro-life friends this way. I don't think you're story will make them understand -- they're pretty thick -- but it might help.

I have a medical condition that would make unlikely that I could have a safe pregnancy, so the current abortion ban has me slightly worried.

Thanks again for sharing.

Anonymous said...

A gripping story, very well told. My best to you and your family.

Berlzebub said...

rasqual:
I certainly sympathize with your situation, as a father of four. However, you're utterly misconstruing the pro-life position if you characterize it as even remotely advocating anything like posing a legal framework that would have proscribed your decision. Such misunderstandings can be pretty startling to pro-life advocates. Pro-choice supporters, of course, are quite pleased and support this kind of slander.

I don't mean that you were intentionally slandering pro-life. But a lack of genuine understanding can lead to tragic unfairness in how we represent others' positions.


Then, I don't believe you truly understand the pro-life position, yourself. They want to take the decision out of the hands of the woman and the doctors, and put it into the hands of the law. Which is wrong. If you want to be pro-life (whatever that means), fine. Then, don't get an abortion. However, when you start telling others what to do, that's where the line must be drawn.

-Berlzebub

Lizzie said...

Thank you for this post, DBB. I was quite literally on the edge of my seat. I'm so glad your wife survived, and I wish you and your family all the best.

I wanted to take a moment to echo some of the thoughts "Chorus of Chaos" voiced above. He or she cited three main reasons why women have abortions; this is the first: "They can not afford to be pregnant. They can not afford the time off from work, the risk of losing a job because of being pregnant and not being able to perform as they usually do (and supposedly the law prevents that, but I know WAY to many employers who have turned the clock forward five minutes after someone has left and then fired them the next day for being 'late'.)" That also doesn't take into account the cost of proper prenatal care, loss of earning potential because she has to drop out of school, the possibility that she might have to find a new place to live because her parents (the dorm, the sorority, etc.) are kicking her out for being so irresponsible, and so on. Women in situations like these are not just blithely trotting down to the local Planned Parenthood to "make the problem go away."

Furthermore, those of you who have cited statistics about the ostensibly low percentage of abortions that are performed for reasons of rape, incest, or medical emergencies--where are you getting those stats?

On top of that, there was an ad aired in my home state during election season that alleged that since Roe v. Wade, one out of every three pregnancies has ended in abortion. I find that statistic very suspicious, and I can't help but wonder if it includes miscarriages--the medical term for which is "spontaneous abortion."

Also, to change tacks for a moment, my understanding is that the recent PBA ban includes exceptions to save the mother's *life*, but not her *health*. There's a very big difference there. Someone who's permanently comatose is still alive, after all. And incidentally, do you *really* think there are a whole lot of women out there who are aborting babies at 24 weeks just for shits and giggles?

Finally, yes, I'm one of those militant pro-choicers who thinks a woman should have the right to choose abortion, period. Of course, as another commenter pointed out, I also think she should have the right *not* to choose abortion. I understand the pro-life point of view, but ultimately it just doesn't make sense to me to get courts and laws involved in medical procedures.

Gregory said...

Thank you for the story. Wonderful. Painful. Illuminating. It was an act of generosity to share this with us.

It's increasingly clear to me that the Pro Lifers posting here generally share a stunning absence of empathy and reason.

A happily pregnant person or couple has invested the developing fetus with their own hopes, dreams, the promise of unconditional love and the expectation of joy and discovery. These are not trivial investments.

To be forced by circumstances to abort that fetus and all of those hopes etc., is a terrible thing. I have nothing but sympathy for DBB's pain and suffering.

And nothing but CONTEMPT for those who would compound that pain and suffering by suggesting (or legislating...) that the act is also, somehow, murder. Or that any act not actually hurting another person in some fashion is somehow worthy of becoming a crime.

Abortion is not 'murder'. It's a medical procedure, performed on the pregnant individual as per her best interests as determined by her with the consultation of her doctors, (possibly others at her discretion).

Sometimes procedures - and the decision to have one or not - are 'easy'. Sometimes not so much. Depends on the circumstances (which are best evaluated by the people involved, not y'all).

To 'murder' requires that you take a human life. 'Life' does NOT begin at conception unless you're arguing that there is some mystical infusion of a magical, intangible and apparently priceless 'soul'. In which case we're talking theology and it has NO PLACE in a rational discussion.

A fetus is (IMNSHO) not a human life (and lacks independent legal or moral status) because they do not exhibit the higher brain function (and mechanism)that defines what it is to be a person (legally/medically). Not so much 'brain dead' as brain 'absent'...

A human brain requires neurotransmitter hormones, myelinization of nerves, a cortex etc. in order to function. These elements do not develop until into the third trimester.

Before that, Fetuses simply do not have the equipment required to be 'people' in any non-religious sense of the word.

In a legal/moral sense, the fetus would be best looked at as a growth or collection of organs within the body of the mother. Any medical procedures carried out upon it (as with any medical procedure) would require the informed consent of the woman...

I further think that decisions about even really late term abortions MUST remain with the mother and her doctors etc rather than with some fractious majority or minority that thinks it 'knows best'.

Because the alternative is not acceptable...

We men cannot abdicate responsibility here. "It's not our problem" is bullshit. Either you support letting women make the decisions that are best for THEM or you think it is best left to some buttinski what happens to your wives, daughters, friends.

Pick a side.

Peace. Sort of.

Gregory (GMH)

Red Jenny said...

Lizzie,

There's also the fact that many women aren't in control of their own lives and sexuality to begin with.

There's a huge gray area in between mature consensual safe sex and rape.

For example, many women feel obligated to have sex (and do you think the prolifers would allow for exceptions in the case of marital rape?). Women, try telling your husband you don't want to have sex because you aren't ready to have a baby for the next few years.

Here's another scenario: many women are in situations of domestic violence. They have little control over whether or not their husband wears a condom. Often they have no access to money for birth control. And pregnancy would be a hugely dangerous situation both for the mother (pregnant women often find a large upswing in the instances and ferocity of beatings) and the child (a child who witnesses domestic violence is far more likely to be abused, and will likely grow up very traumatized).

Or it's a young woman who was pressured into sex one night (again, this doesn't quite fall under the category of rape) and gets pregnant. One small mistake and without an abortion her life and future could be ruined. Her parents could disown her. She might lose that college scholarship.

Even in the case of incest, how can this be proven? If it has to go through the courts, most victims of incest will not be able to bring their father/uncle/whoever to court. Usually in cases of incest families don't believe the victim and they keep their secret for a very long time (sometimes forever). There is too much FEAR - I mean serious, paralyzing fear - to take the man who has done such horrible things to them to court. And, oh yeah, what if they can't afford a lawyer?

I point out these scenarios because these are the kinds of stories you are dealing with. Each abortion is a very specific situation that cannot properly be covered by a law. That is why it must be the choice of the mother, in consultation with her doctor, partner, whoever she chooses to consult with.

Then there's the simple fact that sex isn't evil, but a natural process. What on earth is wrong with women enjoying sex? If birth control is free and widely (and confidentially) available, the instances of unwanted pregnancy will drop. There will still be some cases, but far fewer. Why are so many prolifers also those who argue for abstinence-only sex education? If they truly wanted to prevent abortions they'd focus on promoting birth control.

Sorry for the rant.

DBB, thanks for telling your story. Like so many women out there, you show these decisions are not made lightly. I am happy to hear your wife is ok.

Chuck said...

DBB, thank you. I cried when I read this story, because your experience was the fear that I held inside every time my wife was pregnant.

After all, I married Dee because I love her and want to spend the rest of my life with her -- not because I wanted her to bear my children.

I told Dee before we got pregnant the first time that if I ever needed to make a choice like yours there was no question that I would act to save her life.

That pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, and like you I still feel a certain sadness over the child we never had, but nothing like the sense of loss that I would have felt had Dee died in a misguided attempt to keep a failed pregnancy viable.

A week before my wife's miscarriage my best friend and his wife decided to end their pregnancy. Their child had a rare disorder that meant that while it would be perfectly healthy in the womb, it would die shortly after birth. The only chance it had was a heart-lung transplant within hours of being born.

Rather than go through the torture of bringing a child with no chance of life -- other than the hope that some other person's child died at exactly the right moment -- they decided to end the pregnancy.

That is the torture that I think of every time I think of "rape, incest, and the life of the mother" exceptions to abortion. Her life was not in danger -- she would probably have had a normal pregnancy. The fetus was viable -- it would have lived right up until the time it was born. But the entire 9 months would have been a death watch for a child that, absent a tragedy for another family, would never had lived.

Despite what those who are "pro-life" would say there are very few women (or men) who decide to abort wily-nily with no thought other than their own convenience. I don't doubt that most "pro-life" people hold their conviction sincerely, having come to them after serious thought about the morality and consequences of an abortion. I just wish they'd give those of use who are "pro-choice," or that have decided to abort a pregnancy, the benefit of the same consideration.

As someone said earlier there is always a choice made about ending a pregnancy. I trust the people in the room with that choice a lot more than I trust a bunch of legislators thousands of miles away.

Thaily said...

Additionally I believe a lot of the pro-life sentiment comes from old-fashioned sexism.

A man is allowed to enjoy sex.
A woman may not have sex for the sake of "mere" enjoyment, pregnancy and anti-abortion laws are used to punish "sluts" for having sex for ANY reason other than for making children.

Ealasaid said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story. It's so wonderful to hear a pro-choice man speak out. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Economist for Truth said...

My sincerest sympathies to the couple involved. That must have been very difficult. I'm glad the wife is recovering.

Obviously, when the life of the mother is at risk, it is justifiable to intervene, even if the baby dies. That is what pro-lifers believe. Only a thin veil separates pro-lifers and pro-choicers when the health of the mother is in danger. The nuance between the two is this: pro-lifers recognize that the standard abortion procedure is not the appropriate surgical intervention to be made in such a case. Another approach should be used that doesn't seek to kill the unborn baby so directly. Yes, it may have the same ultimate result of killing the baby (as a secondary effect), but you wouldn't use the standard abortion procedure (which is simply a seek-and-destroy mission against the unborn child). For pro-lifers, the intention is not to kill the baby but to allow surgeons to access the hemorrhage and to stop it. If anything could possibly be done to stop the hemorrhage while saving the baby, it would be done. But if the two are mutually exclusive, it is justifiable to take an action that would save the mom and have a secondary effect of killing the baby. Intentions and the means of action are important in a civilized society. (For example, intention makes all the difference between first degree murder and self-defense. Likewise, if you need to put your sick dog to sleep, you would choose a means of action that results in the least amount of suffering possible for your dog. Intentions and the means of action are important in a civilized society.)

Medical research has shown that there is no health condition of an expectant mother that absolutely requires the standard abortion procedures in order to save the woman's life. None. There is always another way to save the woman's life, a way that is more respectful of the unborn baby, even if the baby has to die as a secondary effect. That's the basic reasoning of pro-lifers. That's why pro-lifers believe that all forms of abortion can be banned without the risk of criminal prosecution in the case where a woman's life is in danger.

Anonymous said...

Economist for Truth:

How extraordinary that you refer to this thought process as "reasoning."

Rogue said...

I am so sorry. What a horrible experience to have to live through.

I am glad your wife was all right, however.

rasqual said...

"If you want to be pro-life (whatever that means), fine. Then, don't get an abortion. However, when you start telling others what to do, that's where the line must be drawn."

"If you want to be abolitionist (whatever that means), fine. Then, don't own slaves. However, when you start telling others what to do, that's where the line must be drawn."

Sign me "Wilberforce be damned" or "Horton ├╝ber alles"

;-)

armagh444 said...

DBB,

Just to add my voice to the crescendo of support . . . thank you for sharing this.

I did end up posting a rather lengthy set of thoughts on the post and some of its comments over on my own blog. I hope you don't mind.

Either way, based on the other posts on your blog that I read (after coming here to read the post linked by Feministe, I read some of the other posts, and well, how am I supposed to resist reading more from another attorney who loves RPGs?

Infogleaner@cox.net said...

Your comment:

It was a seed of a person, but it really wasn't a person yet, not in our awareness. Nobody really treats a 9 week old fetus like that.

(end comment)

That was a living human being who died that day. And I'm not suggesting you have a funeral or grieve for weeks on end. But don't play this delusional word game of dismissing a human as "a fetus". You can't stop there, if you do. Try this: Last week's mass murder at Virginia Tech wasn't 32 persons. It was "32 former fetuses" who died. Does that sound better?

The pro-abortionists are being really dishonest by promoting a person in their 9th week of developement as somehow LESS than HUMAN.

jj said...

JayMill said: "Yes, it does, because she still made the choice to have sex, she made the decision, and her child shouldn't have to pay for it."

Yes, absolutely, punish that dirty slut, make her pay and pay and pay. Imbecile.

DBB - I'm sorry for what you and your wife went through, and I'm glad she's recovering. Thank you for sharing your story.

Anonymous said...

To Shannon (the one concerned with irresponsibility):

If it is irresponsible to continue in a pregnancy with bleeding that *might* result in poor health for the mother, then it is equally irresponsible to get into a car (one of the leadings causes of accidental death in our country), eat fried food (a primary contributor to heart disease), or do anything that *might* result in premature death. By this logic, it is just irresponsible to have a child at all because you might die and leave the child an orphan.

This is a wonderful post - thank you, thank you! and best of luck with your family!

Leeann said...

Thank you so much for sharing this story. I think it does more than anything I've ever read to highlight the personal nature of this decision and the potential dangers of anti-choice legislation. I'm passing it along to many of my friends.

Rowan said...

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I would always choose the life of my child over my own life or anyone else's life, including my wife.

Does your wife know that you feel this way?

mazaru said...

Thank you for posting this. I'm sorry for your loss, and very glad that your wife is ok.

JP said...

Thank you for this post, DBB. You have done us all a great service in sharing this story.

In response to those pro-lifers who have benefited us with their great wisdom today:

This is your ethical distinction. You are welcome to it. I understand. It is important to you. It is important to all of us to see wanted, healthy children enter this world. But when your ethical beliefs lead to a reduction in funding for women's reproductive health services, or legislation that denies women access to safe abortions, then your ethical beliefs are infringing on mine. Your support for these laws infringes on the reproductive rights for all women, not just those who are pro-choice. You are diminishing the quality of health care for your sisters, and daughters, and wives, and mothers. It is not just about abortion, it is about trusting women to make decisions that are right for them - whatever that decision may be. And if you disagree then all I can say to you is, respectfully, Get Your Own Damn Uterus.

Elizabeth said...

All of the pro-lifers on this thread seem very misinformed about their own movement.

The Partial Birth Abortion Ban has NO HEALTH EXCEPTION.

There are many reasons a woman may need an abortion when her health is threatened but possibly not her life.

They include gestational diabetes which can lead to blindness, HELP, preeclampsia, eclampsia, and cancer.

And yes I do believe you want these women to die. Or that you are just stupid. Because when abortion is restricted, women die.

How much respect do you really have for life if you see babies as punishment for sex? What have you done to make life easier for poor people? The #1 reason women get abortions in the United States is because they can't afford to raise the child. And before you say "adoption" think about this: Abortion is SAFER than childbirth.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for writing about this. The exact same circumstances happened to my wife and I in November. She was 12 weeks. Bleeding, having contractions. She was bleeding so heavily the whole ER bed was red. It was a horrible ordeal.

So when I read about the "Partial-Birth Ban" in the papers last week, I thought back to that night. In our situation, the law would have dictated we take some course of action. Our backs would have been against the wall of that law. Can't abort if the "baby" is viable...well, unless the "mother" is gonna die. Mofos! That's such crap. I don't want a law telling me I have to wait and see. I don't want to have a doctor have to toe the line of a crazy law. A lot of pregnancies end before term. Especially as women who are older than 35 are trying to have babies! Look around! Everyone I know who has had a kid in the last 5 years is 35+! This shit happens.

I can't read any more about the "ban" now, it makes me far too angry for the mild mannered person I am.

Politicians and Pro-lifers don't know what I felt watching my wife on that bed bleeding. I'm angry that someone who doesn't know me or even love her, can hold such power over us, take away our decision. The law was going to have to be considered in my wife's case. A loophole in the law would have had to have been employed to save her life.

My wife is pregnant again. She's 11 weeks on Monday.

DBB said...

Anon - so sorry to hear about your wife and your prior pregnancy. But congratulations on your current one - my wife and I are going to try again very soon, perhaps in a few months.

Obviously I know exactly how you feel. It is scary to see so much blood. I don't know exactly how close my wife was to serious danger, not being a doctor, but I do know that, at the time, SHE believed she was going to die. And that is enough for me to think it too.

It was hard to think about it, but I needed to, I think. I also then thought back to the first pregnancy, and posted about that here as well, I think partly to have some happy memories and have them take back some of the territory they lost - like the memories in the pre-birth room and recovery.

I hope you have many happy memories ahead of you.

Nathaniel said...

I feel the need to disagree with "Nobody really treats a 9 week old fetus like that. Not even pro-lifers." Actually, such behavior I wouldn't dare put past my former U.S. Senator, Rick Santorum.

You have my sympathy, condolences, and best wishes for a happy future with your family.

Steph said...

Anomymous said: "In my view, pro-choice to terminate a pregnacy is often abused- i.e. "I'm pregnant and don't want to deal with having a baby, caring for it or giving it up for adoption, so let's just have an abortion.""

And Phillip said: "Most are due to irresponsible parents and people who were unable to control their hormones and then become scared when life bites them in the butt."

Both are completely wrong. Studies show that 82% of women who get abortions do so because they're working poor - they have full-time jobs, but no daycare or healthcare, so they can't afford to have the baby, and they can't afford to take care of it once it's born. They chose abortion because it's their only viable financial option.

Abortion is fundamentally a poverty issue - lift people out of poverty and the abortion rates go down.

Melle said...

My brother and his girlfriend are expecting their first child this summer. Needless to say, reading your story I couldn't help but insert him into your shoes. "There but for the grace of God..." and all that...

You sum up my feelings on who should be making the decisions well -- politicians, militant religious groups, etc. -- how dare they...

Mike said...

Something the "I'm pro-choice but abortion on demand is wrong" faction needs to realize is the amount of difficulty that comes with legal entanglements.

When there are laws that get into whether an abortion is legal in one situation but not another, you have to deal with legal issues on top of all the other stuff going on. And your doctor has to deal with legal issues on top of all the other stuff. All of this at the worst possible time.

Damned few people get abortions for frivolous reasons.

The questionable benefits of having professional decision makers (politicians, judges, review boards, whatever) make the call rather than those intimately concerned are not worth adding to the burden of one family in a life or death crisis.

Jonquil said...

"Medical research has shown that there is no health condition of an expectant mother that absolutely requires the standard abortion procedures in order to save the woman's life."

This is bullshit. Look up 'eclampsia'. I know a woman who lost a much-wanted pregnancy -- she'd undergone major infertility to achieve the conception -- because eclampsia made it a clear choice between her life and the fetus's.


I don't think you're reading the medical research. I think you're reading pamphlets from the pro-lifers. There's a difference.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing this. I think Anti-Choicers have this misconception that the majority of abortion decisions are flippantly made. As if a woman just wakes up during a pregnancy and thinks, "Eh, this can go."

There are SO many other factors besides incest, rape, and near-death situations that NO ONE can understand except the woman making the decision. It should be hers to make.

I am so sorry you had to go through this. I'm sure it was hard.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this story. It is completely heartbreaking - I wish no one ever _had_ to make a decision like this, but I watched my own parents walk that knife's edge with a medically dangerous pregnancy, and even though I was young I remember how hard it was for all of us.

I had to give up and scroll past most of the comments, because it is infuriating that people think they have the moral right to judge such a personal decision. Which, I suppose, is the wider point.

-purpleshoes

Microferk Designs said...

My sympathies to you both. I also had 2 miscarriages- one which left me hemorrhaging, one that wouldn't and was letting toxins entire my body. I had D&Cs for both as well. I can understand your myriad of reactions to a *t* and hope you never have to lose another, nor know the terror of possibly losing your wife. ((healing vibes)) ~miki

Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a horrible, scary experience for you and your wife.

As a pro-life individual, the scenario you described experiencing was a life-or-death situation. I don't think I would consider huge amounts of blood loss, cramping, etc. as a pregnancy that would have been viable at that point.

Understandbly, the doctors and nurses were giving you options that, to me, had nothing to do with the abortion debate.

If this same situation were to come up in a hospital and abortions were illegal, the treatment would have been the same. There is a difference between a pregnant woman who is suffering severe complications (and likely complications that would not allow a pregnancy to go to term) and a pregnant woman who is just wanting to terminate a perfectly-normal, perfectly-healthy baby.

I'm sure if you go back to pre-Roe V. Wade, you would have been given the same options. The medical decisions, if you had not been there to decide for your wife, would have been to treat the patient...in this case, the woman...and save her life. Not let her bleed to death.

I pray for you and your family during such a difficult and tragic time.

Trevor said...

I'd have to say that what strikes me the most is your use of the term, "mourn". That is what sets you apart from the rest of the Pro-Abortion crowd. That is what makes you a normal, non-politically charged nut-job.

It implies so much that without debate or discussion, you didn't just kill your "fetus" at the drop of the hat. You agonized of the decision effecting the life of your new child and your wife.

I have been and continue to be pro-family. I support the traditional family. I support the family structure and the family's right to exist.

Thank you for sharing, albeit a very rare instance, your personal, dramatic, and emotional story.

Wally said...

Thanks for this, mate. It's never occurred to me that I might someday be in the situation you described; much as I wish I had the strength of imagination and empathy to commit myself to preserving the right to abortion on the merits, identifying with your story - as a guy who wants to start a family of his own, sometime in the next couple of years - is a small step in the right direction. Your description of the final hospital trip got me where I live. I suspect it says something (good or bad) about us mere humans, that political movements are born on the strength of such identification - but regardless, stories like yours connect people in ways beyond politics.

Thanks for writing this. And to you and your family: good luck.

Raging Red said...

Trevor, have you ever heard a woman say that she terminated her pregnancy "at the drop of a hat?" I'm going to assume the answer to that question is no, in which case, you have no idea whatsoever how much a woman debated or agonized or mourned when she had an abortion. Try reading some personal accounts from women who've had abortions to find out what they went through.

sourcreamus said...

Thank You for posting this, there is just too much rational thinking going on in the abortion debate. We need more raw emotion, name calling, straw men, and discussions of rare scenarios. Just like you, I get enraged when people disagree with my political opinions. How dare they! If they didn't enjoy being evil so much they would see how right I am. The more I think about their disagreement the angrier I get, and the angrier I get the more right I become.
Thank You for your courage in speaking truth to power.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and your family.

Anonymous said...

The question was: What about a married woman who becomes pregnant accidentally when she doesn't want to be? Does this still apply to her?
And JayMill replied: Yes, it does, because she still made the choice to have sex, she made the decision, and her child shouldn't have to pay for it

So what exactly are you saying? That anyone who has sex should then be forced to carry any and all babies produced by accident? Even if they are careful, accidents happen. Birth Control fails on occasion, but when a condom breaks, a pill is missed, or you are one of those people who fall into the 3% who just might get pregnant anyway, that is no one's fault. Or is your point that the only times people should have sex is when they are attempting to procreate? I am about to get married, but we don't want kids right away. You think we should abstain until then? And then when we have done our "marital duty" and produced our children, we should stop having sex until I hit menopause? Or am I wrong for not wanting to have more than a certain number of children at all? Or hell, those people who are married and don't want kids at all…should they abstain their whole married lives because by "choosing to have sex" they have accepted the responsibilty of having kids?

I guess my mistake is assuming that people marry for love, not to pop out kids. I agree with the people who say the issue is not just abortion. It's about sex.

David Tarleton said...

Thank you so much for sharing your feelings about this. It must have been very difficult for you and your wife. I send you the best wishes.

Anonymous said...

My husband and I decided to abort last year. I had bleeding and my belly was always crampy. My husband and I suspected there was something wrong with the baby. We found out that the baby had a fatal genetic disease. We decided that if she lived to be born alive, she would suffer more than we considered acceptable. I was 16 1/2 weeks pregnant already. The most experienced doctor my ob/gyn knew worked at an abortion clinic rather than a hospital. It was heartbreaking to sit in a room with women who didn't want their babies. I didn't judge them for their choice, what I'm saying is that I live in a major city and the best medical care I could receive in my situation was in a crappy clinic. There was another woman there who was carrying a deceased baby, she was 18 weeks along. Her doctor hadn't told her she was being sent to an abortion clinic so she arrived with a family member and her young son. The clinic's staff didn't ask any questions, they started yelling at her to get "the child" out of the clinic. It was so sad. Placing limitations on medical abortions is unacceptable since every circumstance is unique. Getting proper care is already hard enough.
I am sorry for your loss.

Anonymous said...

My heart goes out to you and your wife. What an ordeal you have been through. Be well.

Perilous said...

Your wife is an incredibly lucky woman.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am very, very glad that both of you made it through such a nightmarish time, and you have my sincere, heartfelt condolences for the loss of your pregnancy.

More people like you should be parents.

I wish you and those you love the best of good luck and sunshine for all the days of your life, with only enough rain so that your flowers bloom the brighter.

Peace.

Gregory said...

"The pro-abortionists are being really dishonest by promoting a person in their 9th week of developement as somehow LESS than HUMAN."

I'm dishonest, am I?

You are asserting that a 9 week old fetus is actually a full Human. Yes?

By what *bleeping* criteria? I provided criteria for my counter assertion, so let us do please hear yours:

What makes a non-sentient, non-viable, quasi parasitic growth in a woman's abdomen a 'Human', exactly? Is a cancerous growth Human? How about an organ? A liver, say. Independent legal and moral status? Why not? living tissue, human DNA, substantial mass... What's the difference?

Don't tell me "it's obvious". EXPLAIN it to me. Try to avoid any of the more pathetic logical fallacies in so doing.

I suspect that the answer (assuming you had the guts or intellectual honesty to even try framing an answer) would prove ultimately to be theological* ("god gave it a soul!" "My bible says abortion is wrong!"), or at best irrational ("well, er, it kinda sorta LOOKS like a human" or "it WILL be a human").

And I assert that YOUR (or anyone's) theology has no place in legislation and social policy that affects the lives and happiness of so many indisputably living humans struggling to get by in our world.

* BAD theology too. I see no rational reason to believe in a soul, but even if one chooses to, it seems terrifically wasteful to install one at conception as 20% to 40% of these are spontaneously aborted naturally (or, if you subscribe to such foolishness, aborted by god).

Traditional Judeo/Xtian theology traditionally associated the 'soul' infusion with the moment of 'quickening' (around 18 to 24 weeks). Which is STILL way before the developing fetus is (IMNSHO)'rationally' an independent human 'life'.


Gregory (GMH)

DBB said...

I thought those naturally occuring abortions were over 50% of pregnancies - in which case, if you are religious and claim souldom at conception, you have to admit that most souls in heaven are from several week old zygotes, outnumbering everyone else there by a huge margin, when you consider that they also claim that not everyone who is actually born makes it to heaven when they die... Or instead of trying to untie that hard knot of theology, you can just go with atheism...

Sharon said...

I was routed here from Miniver Cheevey, another blog that I only just recently discovered. DBB, I can't thank you enough for sharing this. I wish I could make every so-called pro-lifer read it. I wish it were published on every op-ed page in the nation. Thank you for sharing this very painful experience.

miss elaine said...

You know, for all the filth that anti-choicers are spreading around here, none of their hysterical "women are sluts" rhetoric is as important as the comments like this:

I am..was...a pro-lifer. If it means anything to you at all, I think you just single-handedly changed my mind.

Thanks.


Amazing. You did that.

Ted Slater said...

Thank you for letting us into the difficult experience you endured. I, too, am sorry to hear of your loss and the painful months you and your wife went through.

FWIW, most pro-lifers are entirely understanding of your decision. It's a difficult one, but most pro-lifers support a mother's decision to abort a baby in self-defense (also known as "life of the mother").

Amanda said...

Wow ... just wow. I've posted a link to your blog on my own because your story is amazing and powerful- and horrible.

I am so glad that your wife was ok and I am terribly sorry for your loss.

Thank you so much for sharing.

kate said...

An absolutely amazing and heart shaking blog.

It is pro-CHOICE- NOT pro-ABORTION, (lifers GET IT RIGHT) the important operating word is CHOICE.

How about this lifers? Change it around, what if women in this country were FORCED TO GET ABORTIONS - terrifying yes? Just as terrifying - BEING FORCED TO BEAR CHILDREN !

Again GET IT RIGHT lifers - IT'S MY BODY MY CHOICE and ONLY MY BUSINESS.

The other posters have it right - the PRO LIFE movement is not about LIFE, It is about punitive measures being meted out to women uppity enough to practice and embrace their own (healthy) sexuality, and to assert individual decisions about when, if, and how to procreate.

Again, though, GREAT blog - i will be passing it on.

Warning-Flammable said...

Oh man. Your story is utterly heartbreaking. I wish you never had to make such an awful choice, but I'm glad your wife has made it.

Anonymous 5:19 - If I knew you, I'd kick you in the face. Telling your wife that if she has an abortion, you'll leave her, is a horrible thing to do. Maybe she had a reason to be upset - did you ever think of that? When did you ever consider the fact that she is also a human being, and should be able to make choices about her own body?

I'm pro-choice, if it matters, and I would be aboslutely horrified to find out if my husband/boyfriend valued the 'life' of an unborn child so much greater than mine.

PlazaJen said...

I appreciate this post, and I know the experience had to be gut-wrenching. I wrote a piece on my own personal experience here, observing a friend go through the agonizing process & the pro-lifers who challenged both of us every step of the way (after all, they didn't know who was there for an abortion - we were both women.) It firmly cemented in me a death grip on my rights, and may they never be taken from any of us.
I'm so glad your wife survived.

Chrissy said...

Thank you for sharing this.
Really.

Rebecca said...

Thank you for sharing your story. I feel for you. And I understand your anger. Every time someone says "pregnancy isn't dangerous", I go out of my mind. Pregnancy almost killed me. I was terribly sorry that my pregnancy ended, but I'm rather glad that I'm alive - and so are the two children I risked life to have later. I had the choice to have those children, despite the risk, and I made it willingly. But no one should insist that other people be forced to take such a chance. And it is a chance. Every time.

Oh, and pro-lifers? We fixed the sex risk problem by getting fixed. Not something I would advocate for everyone, but my husband didn't want to risk losing me, so it was the right choice for us. That's all good and moral, right?

sharon said...

Always fascinating to see what people do with their grief.

I've had 3 children. Each time, I told my husband to save the kid. Each time he refused. That was his choice.

Your grief must be terrible to deal with but lashing out at pro-lifers and stereotyping them won't help you. You might want to talk to a grief counselor.

One person said they didn't understand women who are pro-life, a comment that is both stupid and incredibly sexist. To be blunt, I am pro-life because I'm a woman. I know what it feels like to have a baby in you, and it is the best feeling in the world.

I don't know which pro-lifers would say your wife should die rather than kill the baby, but that doesn't mean there's no grief for the loss of the baby. Maybe THAT'S the difference between pro-life and pro-choice.

Nina said...

That experience made u stronger. And your wife as well. It also bonds u more. U r young and have time to have other children. Please be strong psycologically and physically for your daughter.
I'm a kindergarden teacher from Greece; 25, no kids. I'm very interested in the issue of abortion; would reasearch the rights of children but have no knowledge about laws.
Maybe you could post about the rights of children FROM CONCEPTION till 6 years old?
Thank u so much for sharing what u ve lived.

Mornington said...

DBB, thanks for sharing your own insights and emotions, you're a brave man to share this. I'm glad your wife is recovering, and I wish you and your family all the best.

Anonymous said...

God, listen to all these stupid pro-lifers. Every time, EVERY TIME a woman carries a pregnancy to term she is risking her life. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child to term is forcing her to risk her life, absolutely no exception. The origin of the pregnancy is utterly irrelevant

Anonymous said...

In response to the anonymous directly above me... no kidding. I wonder how they think the magical life exception works. Do the doctors have to have a meeting with the State in order to get permission first? Do they have to worry while they'll performing the abortion on an almost-dead woman that maybe she isn't almost-dead enough to proceed?

I mean, if you can't abort until you've already got one foot in the grave, that's already going to be too far for some women to recover. And I've got a blood disorder that could just whoop me dead at any time during a pregnancy--which I've had the good fortune to discover before I've ever gotten pregnant, but I know some women don't develop it until they're already pregnant and possible many months into said pregnancy. If they're not in certain danger of death do they get the option, or do they have to be on the verge of dead already?

And when you've got a woman bleeding in the ER, do you really want the law hanging threateningly over the doctor's heads? Huh, actually, given the way that the anti-choice movement has nudged its way into pharmaceuticals etc, and pharmacists are denying women contraceptives, do we really want to have doctors who exclaim that their hands are tied, the law won't allow them to refer women who are near death for abortions because they aren't "near death" enough?

Prolifers support killing women whether they want to admit it or not. Some of them do it out of ignorance, I'm sure.

Anonymous said...

"most pro-lifers are entirely understanding of your decision. It's a difficult one, but most pro-lifers support a mother's decision to abort a baby in self-defense (also known as "life of the mother")."

I don't buy that any more. They support laws that have the potential to limit women's choices in cases that might be a matter of life/death. I've also seen far too many prolifers who thought women should hold out to the bitter end before deciding to save their lives, and I'm sure many would support legislating it until enough bodies piled up that it turned out to have been a Really Bad Idea.

It's ridiculous to force women in risky but not necessarily life-threatening pregnancies to carry. It's unrealistic and childish to the extreme to think that women will not be killed if they are forced to do that. I've heard of enough cases of where women practically died and aborted to save their lives, and prolifers sat around questioning whether the abortion was "entirely" necessary in this case or that case. Leave it up to the people in the crisis, I say, and leave the forking government out of it if you want to save women's lives in this case.

Seriously. Unless they support first trimester abortions, and late term abortions where there is an exception for the HEALTH, not the life but the HEALTH of the mother, a pro-lifer effectively supports laws that will result in the deaths of women. And by that point, they may as well start calling themselves pro-choice.

sharon said...

God, listen to all these stupid pro-lifers. Every time, EVERY TIME a woman carries a pregnancy to term she is risking her life. Forcing a woman to carry an unwanted child to term is forcing her to risk her life, absolutely no exception. The origin of the pregnancy is utterly irrelevant

Well, no, actually, the origin is NOT irrelevant. It's much more understandable for a person to want an abortion from a rapist rather than their husband. Yes, every woman who carries a baby to term is risking her life. But very few are unaware that there are risks.

And I could say "Look at all these hateful pro-choicers," and it would make as much sense.

I wonder how they think the magical life exception works. Do the doctors have to have a meeting with the State in order to get permission first? Do they have to worry while they'll performing the abortion on an almost-dead woman that maybe she isn't almost-dead enough to proceed?

Are there any actual examples (say, in the last 10 years) of this happening in the U.S.? Somewhere? Anywhere?

When pro-life supporters talk about restrictions to the life of the mother (the sort of that would never pass constitutional muster), they aren't talking about some standard that wouldn't be obvious. Clearly, if a woman is bleeding profusely, blood pressure dropping, etc., an abortion would not be considered against the law. Again, this is all a red herring. Such a law will not see the light of day in this country.

And when you've got a woman bleeding in the ER, do you really want the law hanging threateningly over the doctor's heads?

Actually, doctors have "the law hanging threateningly over" their heads anyway. It's called malpractice.

Prolifers support killing women whether they want to admit it or not. Some of them do it out of ignorance, I'm sure.

No, pro-life supporters do not support killing women. They also don't support killing babies.

Elizabeth said...

Actually Sharon, to quote Stephen Breyer from oral arguments in Ayotte v. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, Health Exceptions are not obvious:

"Well, let's imagine a real circumstance. A 15-year-old walks in at 2:00 in the morning on Saturday into the emergency room and the doctor looks at her. She's pregnant. She has this very high blood pressure, whatever. And the doctor thinks to himself, he think, well, immediate abortion. No question. Immediately deliver the child. If I don't, I don't think she's going to die but she'll never have children.

"And he's thinking that. What's supposed to happen? He calls up Pam Hedlagagio or Pam Livingston and there's no answer. It's two in the morning. And there's, you know, one of those things, leave a message. Okay? Shall I call your parents? No. They don't know I'm pregnant. Now, what's supposed to happen?...There's no health exemption in this statute."

So a law without a health exception, like the partial birth abortion ban would not allow the doctor in this hypothetical situation to perfrom an abortion according to Justice Breyer.

Anonymous said...

sharon said... April 26, 2007 9:44 PM

A good example of what I meant by stupid pro-lifers. Again...and I'll say it slowly so you can comprehend it...EVERY TIME a woman carries a pregnancy to term she is at risk for fatal complications. It is immoral to force someone to put their life in danger against their will and whether she got pregnant because she genuinely wanted a child or got pregnant because she was a slut who couldn't keep her knees together does absolutely nothing to change that fact.

Oh and did I mention it's none of your business either way? You stupid cow.

Anonymous said...

Your story is one situation. The other situation is the mother who is using abortion as birth control. Which do you think is more common? I'll give you a hint, it's not yours.

Anonymous said...

Your story is one situation. The other situation is the mother who is using abortion as birth control. Which do you think is more common? I'll give you a hint, it's not yours.

I'd rather that people use abortion as birth control (that's what it is after all) than to have thousands of women giving birth to babies they don't want.

Unless of course you plan on adopting all of them.

Anonymous said...

DBB,

Thank you for your story. I fear that I might one day be left in your shoes. If so, i can imagine the same thoughts racing through my head just as they did for you.

Choose Life!!!!! said...

DBB,
This should help put things into perspective>


Gianna Beretta Molla (1922-1962)

Gianna Beretta was born in Magenta (Milan) October 4, 1922. Already as a youth she willingly accepted the gift of faith and the clearly Christian education that she received from her excellent parents. As a result, she experienced life as a marvellous gift from God, had a strong faith in Providence and was convinced of the necessity and effectiveness of prayer.

She diligently dedicated herself to studies during the years of her secondary and university education, while, at the same time, applying her faith through generous apostolic service among the youth of Catholic Action and charitable work among the elderly and needy as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society. After earning degrees in Medicine and Surgery from the University of Pavia in 1949, she opened a medical clinic in Mesero (near Magenta) in 1950. She specialized in Pediatrics at the University of Milan in 1952 and there after gave special attention to mothers, babies, the elderly and poor.

While working in the field of medicine-which she considered a “mission” and practiced as such-she increased her generous service to Catholic Action, especially among the “very young” and, at the same time, expressed her joie de vivre and love of creation through skiing and mountaineering. Through her prayers and those of others, she reflected upon her vocation, which she also considered a gift from God. Having chosen the vocation of marriage, she embraced it with complete enthusiasm and wholly dedicated herself “to forming a truly Christian family”.

She became engaged to Pietro Molla and was radiant with joy and happiness during the time of their engagement, for which she thanked and praised the Lord. They were married on September 24, 1955, in the Basilica of St. Martin in Magenta, and she became a happy wife. In November 1956, to her great joy, she became the mother of Pierluigi, in December 1957 of Mariolina; in July 1959 of Laura. With simplicity and equilibrium she harmonized the demands of mother, wife, doctor and her passion for life.

In September 1961 towards the end of the second month of pregnancy, she was touched by suffering and the mystery of pain; she had developed a fibroma in her uterus. Before the required surgical operation, and conscious of the risk that her continued pregnancy brought, she pleaded with the surgeon to save the life of the child she was carrying, and entrusted herself to prayer and Providence. The life was saved, for which she thanked the Lord. She spent the seven months remaining until the birth of the child in incomparable strength of spirit and unrelenting dedication to her tasks as mother and doctor. She worried that the baby in her womb might be born in pain, and she asked God to prevent that.

A few days before the child was due, although trusting as always in Providence, she was ready to give her life in order to save that of her child: “If you must decided between me and the child, do not hesitate: choose the child - I insist on it. Save him”. On the morning of April 21, 1962, Gianna Emanuela was born. Despite all efforts and treatments to save both of them, on the morning of April 28, amid unspeakable pain and after repeated exclamations of “Jesus, I love you. Jesus, I love you», the mother died. She was 39 years old. Her funeral was an occasion of profound grief, faith and prayer. The Servant of God lies in the cemetery of Mesero (4 km from Magenta).

“Conscious immolation», was the phrase used by Pope Paul VI to define the act of Blessed Gianna, remembering her at the Sunday Angelus of September 23, 1973, as: “A young mother from the diocese of Milan, who, to give life to her daughter, sacrificed her own, with conscious immolation”. The Holy Father in these words clearly refers to Christ on Calvary and in the Eucharist.

Gianna was beatified by Pope John Paul II on April 24, 1994, during the international Year of the Family.

Homily of John Paul II

Anonymous said...

So the moral of the above story is...women are nothing more than incubators for babies?

Sorry, but I have other aspirations. Like many other women, I have a brain and can think for myself, you see.

via Delicious said...

Wow. Thank you for sharing.

Brian

The following is for an alarming amount of the commenters here.

The above is all that is really needed. This is not your blog, soapbox, streetcorner or pulpit. I just spent an hour and a half reading (and in some cases rereading with a facial expression made up of 1/4 disbelief, 1/4 anger, and 1/2 outright horror) the comments of this post.

Among the characters playing bit parts: religion (of course), atheism (for rebuttal), sex demonization, slavery (makes me want to use the term wage-slave more often in conversation), poverty, incest, organ donation, the Virginia Tech Massacre. Oh, and the Pope.

I am violently opposed to ANYONE telling me what my opinion should be. On ANY subject. My opinion is my own, my body is my own (even my liver and lungs), my vices are my own, my choices are my own. How dare you stand in judgement of me or any of my choices or beliefs.

You are welcome to your own opinion on anything. The second you try to force your opinions or beliefs on me I will see it as an assault on my person, and I mean to defend myself.

Just accept that both of us will have different opinions and we'll get along fine.

to DBB -
If you made it to here, I apologize for taking up room on your blog to talk about my belief system, even that vaguely. I'll go ahead and be ashamed for an alarming percentage of the other commenters too, since they can't comprehend being ashamed for themselves.

sharon said...

women are nothing more than incubators for babies?

I'm always fascinated by this "women as incubators" argument. Acknowledging this wonderful, unique biological function that women have doesn't make women "incubators." But it does mean that such life and death decisions have far-reaching social implications. In other words, abortion isn't a decision that affects only individuals; it affects societies, as well, which is why virtually every society regulates it in one way or another.

I thought the point of the comment on Gianna Beretta Molla was that she dedicated herself to her children even at the risk of her own life. I think there are a lot of women who feel this way (I know I did).

For the pro-choicers: don't project. If I say I think a lot of women are willing to risk their lives for their babies in utero, it isn't the same thing as saying other women don't love their children or are bad people. One of the worst things about the abortion debate (from the pro-choice sites I read) is the utter mischaracterization of pro-life supporters. We are not monolithic in our beliefs. There are people who believe in no abortions and people who believe in some abortions (just fewer than we have now). Only a tiny fraction of pro-life supporters believe in violence (as opposed to the way pro-life supporters get characterized). And many pro-lifers work with pregnant women and women with children to make their lives better (they just don't think the government should be doing this). Some have a lot of children, some have a few. The main difference is that they believe life in the womb is as precious as life outside of it and that most of the time abortions are performed for a lot of reasons we would reject as reasonable under other circumstances.

DBB said...

I thought the point of the comment on Gianna Beretta Molla was that she dedicated herself to her children even at the risk of her own life. I think there are a lot of women who feel this way (I know I did).

You know, no one has a problem with that if it is her choice. In fact, that is a pro-choice point to make, and is an important one. She CHOSE to risk her life for the baby. It was her CHOICE. Would the story even be told, would she even be considered a "saint" if it was instead that she was FORCED by the government to have the child, held in chains, and then she died afterwards? Or would that instead be a horror story of government sticking its nose in her private business, essentially murdering her for the sake of her child?

tinahorn_cae said...

DBB - I'll add my thanks to you for sharing this story.

And also note my fear that, if abortion is completely outlawed, does that mean that every miscarriage will have to be investigated by the police as a possible homicide?

Anonymous said...

men don't reveal their feelings this way. The whole story seems staged.

Anonymous said...

I checked out this supposidly "guy's" profile, and this is "his" only entry.

I'm thinking this is a fake story done by a fake guy who knows nothing about men, but wants to make women feel like victims.

I agree! This story and profile seems fake.

Anonymous said...

Those darn feminist LOL! Trix are for kids!

I agree! This story is totally staged to make the fake guy look bad and the fake mom look like a victim.

Anonymous said...

Now that I've reread the story, I can see how everything is slanted and staged. Damn! You can't trust anything written on the internet now days!

DBB said...

Nice to see anonymous having a conversation with himself. Aside from not being able to figure out how to read a blog (which currently has 44 entries starting back in February), he/she/it also apparently thinks my wife is imaginary.

Why do you feel so threatened by what happened to me? Hmm...

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