Warning: I’m pretty sure this isn’t going to be a popular opinion. I don’t usually keep mah trap shut when I feel strongly about something – big shocker there! – so why should this be any different?
People are simply losing their shit about the New York State bill that was signed into law that allows abortions up to full-term. Opinions are everywhere, and most of them are the voices of outraged people who fear that New York State is about to lose its moniker, “The Empire State” and become “The Infanticide State”. I’ll admit, on the very face of it, the words are shocking and carry a very, heavy weight when you think about the reality of it. I was initially taken aback; when you read the words, “full-term” your mind conjures up immediate visuals of sweet, cherubic newborn babies, swaddled in blankets and smelling of baby powder.
Then, the more analytical, common-sense part of my brain said, “Wait a minute. Read the whole thing.”
Who in their right mind thinks that this law is for simple birth control and “killing of babies”? If your answer is “Religious and Evangelical Right-To-Lifers” I would then insist that you revisit my words “in their right mind” and then answer. I know, the rusted ass turd holding the Oval Office (and the nation) hostage right now threw out the words “babies ripped from the womb” into the mainstream, but you need to first consider the source and then remember that he has allegedly paid for a few abortions, if you want to believe pretty credible sources. I don’t know anyone that disgusting or heartless that they’d carry a child to full-term, or near, and then decide, “Yeah, I can’t be bothered” and decide abortion is the answer. People can be hateful and I am a pretty harsh critic of most humans, but even I believe that this isn’t a line most would cross. No, this law won’t hurt innocent babies or allow irresponsible whores to continue to be whores. It will assist parents in making the most humane, loving, difficult decision when they have an unviable pregnancy. It will allow them to make it without the shame foisted upon them by others or the questionable legalities. It will not assuage their own, personal pain or pangs of guilt, but those are human conditions we all experience and are as such, ours to own.
Late-term abortions are mercy killings, as much as I deplore the term. Is it killing if it gives peace to the afflicted? We have such a tumultuous, terrible struggle with the idea of euthanasia or even putting our sick pets down; this is a whole other kettle of fish. Why is it somehow more merciful and compassionate to have your vet inject your pet with something to end their suffering, or to allow a terminally-ill person to make the same choice? Why is it completely unthinkable that a parent or parents should be allowed to make the same, agonizingly heartbreaking decision to give their unborn child the same measure of peace?
Here’s a simple explanation, if you’ve been reading and you still want to say, “But….”:
The Reproductive Act only does three things:
– Decriminalizes abortion. Neither a woman or her doctor can be jailed for performing this procedure.
– It allows them to remove a fetus beyond 24 weeks who has died in utero (or has a malformation making it unviable), thus making a tragic situation maybe a fraction less devastating than it already is.
– It will allow other qualified health professionals to perform the procedure. And not in your run-of-the-mill Planned Parenthood Clinic, either.
This does NOT allow the abortion of a healthy full-term baby from a healthy mom, no matter how many Bible thumpers tell you it does.
I’ve recalled all the sad stories I have read and heard, secondhand, about babies who were born with unsurvivable conditions; babies whose mothers carried them to term, heartbroken by the knowledge that their child, if it survived the birthing process, would only live for a few minutes or an hour. Babies with conditions so terrible, the doctors were certain that every moment, as fleeting as it would be, was going to be filled with pain and agony. I’m not talking about chromosome abnormalities or even physical limitations; I’m describing malignant tumors, brain malformations, and fatal organ abnormalities. These aren’t just “quality of life” conditions. They are terminal, and by terminal, I mean that every moment these babies spend, both inside as well as outside the womb, is characterized by unendurable suffering.
Think about that for a moment. Is there anything worse for a parent than when their child is in pain? From simple colds to broken bones and even the unthinkable: a serious, life-threatening condition or injury; a parent will do anything to “make it better.” Now, imagine carrying a child who you have yet to meet, but who you have grown and nurtured, shared hopes and dreams for, and anticipated his or her arrival so excitedly; the love you feel for this little stranger who is also not a stranger is infinite and all-encompassing.
Then imagine an ultrasound, thought to be just a look at your baby; maybe this is a 20 or 21 week appointment. When the technician goes quiet and then leaves the room, returning with a more senior colleague, you are gripped with a fear so great it threatens to swallow you whole. They tell you that something isn’t right. There are urgent consultations, more tests, and then a final, terrible sit-down with experts. Your baby, that growing, kicking, part of you, is missing part or most of his or her brain, or has a malignant tumor that has tentacled into their brain, lungs, heart, and spine. Your baby will perhaps breathe at birth, but your baby will feel nothing but agony. Your love cannot fix this. Modern medical science cannot fix this. There is only pain, and then the memory of your child taking a first breath and then a last in the haze of perhaps an hour or less.
Would you want that? Or would you want the pain to end for your child as quickly as possible? Could you survive weeks and months of carrying a child who you know is in agonizing pain and who will die in your arms as soon as you deliver? Every time your baby kicked, would you want to lose your mind, wondering if that was because they were hurting and there was nothing you could do to make it better?
I couldn’t. Maybe you could. Maybe you just believe that’s how it has to be. That’s your right. But this same right, in the other direction, should be extended. Your beliefs are yours. Mine belong to me. And there are others who don’t feel the way you might, and they deserve a choice without repercussions. Abortion is legal in all 50 states. Each state has its own set of rules. In some, abortion is illegal after 20 weeks. In others, it’s 22 or 24. I would also state that abortions at this stage are not the typical, $400 procedure one receives in a clinic. They cost upwards of $20,000 and while the baby is injected with a drug to stop its heart quite painlessly, the mother still has to deliver. I would fervently hope that any serious medical conditions that would affect the viability of a baby would be discovered before the second trimester is over, but that is not always the case. And that is absolutely heartbreaking. But why compound that pain by saying, “Sorry, we know your baby is going to die and is in pain as we speak, but you need to give birth naturally, as was intended”?
There is also the language within this law that provides for the termination of a pregnancy if the mother’s life is at risk. I, personally, don’t know a single mother who would make that choice willingly. I had a high-risk first pregnancy and had my doctor asked me to choose when I was diagnosed with pre-eclampsia, I would have told her to get fucked. I know that I was never more frightened when I was told that both our lives were in danger and that a cesarean section needed to be performed right away. Had you asked me then, in my petrified state, to choose in the event of a catastrophic event, Zachary would be telling you this story; not me. There are mothers whose lives are at a significantly higher risk, where one or both lives could be lost, and I can only imagine how hard that is. While some might argue that this makes things more manageable, I would argue that it is much more complicated than a simple decision. But isn’t it at least comforting to know that no one else can make that choice but you?
Isn’t that the point? Your body, your choice.
There are some things that the government, and churches, and perfect strangers should “scroll past”, as technology dictates these days. As I dictate, it’s a bit blunter:
Mind your own, fucking business.