This Woman Bravely Discussed Her Late-Term Abortion On Reddit, And What She Had To Say About The Experience Was Powerful
Reddit user isitpinkisitpink faced a harrowing ordeal this week. At her 20-week anatomy scan for a very much wanted pregnancy, her baby, whose name would have been Gwendolyn Rose, was diagnosed with Triploid Syndrome and severely stunted growth, among other genetic abnormalities. Even if the baby survived long enough to be born, she would not be viable outside of her mother's body. At 23 weeks, isitpinkisitpink terminated her pregnancy. This, in and of itself, requires a tremendous amount of fortitude to endure, but then she did something truly extraordinary: She took questions about her abortion on Reddit the very same day that it happened. In so doing, she gave voice to the thousands of women who have had to make similarly difficult decisions about their own families and health every year.
A picture of grace, isitpinkisitpink wrote eloquent and devastating answers to all questions, including one about whether she regreted her decision:
No. I don't regret it. I am pro-choice because I m pro-life. Does that make sense? My little girl would never have a life and attempting to give her that could take mine away in the process. It would be dangerous to attempt it.
Instead, she passed painlessly inside me and was never alone. She will be cremated and spread in a garden at the hospital where they scatter all the lost babies. To me, that is more dignified than bleeding out in the bathtub and having her go down the drain.
Approximately 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will have an abortion by the age of 45. Of the more than one million abortions performed per year, only about 1% of those occur in the second half of pregnancy (after 20 weeks). In spite of the small numbers, 42 states have bans on so-called late-term abortions, and a mere 14% of Americans believe late-term abortions should be legal (despite the fact that 61% believe first trimester abortions should be). The truth of the matter is that the vast majority of late-term abortions are the result of heartbreaking decisions made by grieving parents who, in addition to navigating their own sorrow, are forced to push their way through legal obstacles put in place by Conservative law-makers. isitpinkisitpink highlighted some of the challenges she herself faced...
The legal limit for terminations in Ohio is 24 weeks. But that doesn't mean a doctor has to perform them—that is his or her individual choice. There is only one doctor in our city who is willing to do it. ... The problem in all of this was that because the hospital where the operation would be performed is Catholic, the doctors had to submit written explanations of my diagnosis (incompatibility with life outside the womb) and the necessity of the procedure to the CEO and the ethics board, focusing on the dangers of letting her pass naturally. They had every opportunity to say no, no explanation required. My fate was entirely in the hands of some faceless boardroom who never met me and had no vested interest in my wellbeing.
I did not find out that I was approved until yesterday. It was a harrowing wait. Had I not been approved, I would have had to go out of state, which would have added a whole new set of challenges to all of this. But overall, everyone I worked on the front lines, so to speak, with was very compassionate and treated me with dignity. I didn't have anyone question me or make inappropriate remarks so I am very thankful for that.
So many forms, questions and paperwork. I feel lucky that I had my husband with me and I'm an adult and capable of handling these things. How the fuck a poor scared little girl would get through this on her own is beyond me.
I truly believe that if more of those opposed to late-term abortions could talk to the women who have gone through this experience, or who are faced with the decision, the vitriol we often see spewed by politicians and clinic-picketers would by mollified in the face of increased understanding, as evidenced by the AMA itself. Many commenters who identified as pro-life offered isitpinkisitpink compassion and kind words. Redditor Obarna's comment epitomized their general sentiment:
Serious pro-lifer here. [I do not take issue with this.] I think being raised in ultra-conservative families, some of us might be quick to judge this without first understanding that many times the exceptions are becoming more the norm as abortion rates continue to drop.