Abortion is a messy and complex issue, and I think this writer did an excellent job of conveying the difficulty of the decision, and I think in the end she and the father made an important choice that was best for the child. It's well worth a read, wherever you fall in the abortion debate. My heart goes out for those who must make this sort of choice, who grieve for what was lost, but in the end, make a decision based on love as well as logic.
A Peaceful Death: Aborting my son was not about when life begins, but how to end it humanely. By Phoebe Day Danziger
My story is not unique—I am part of a group of 20-odd other mothers who have also terminated pregnancies for medical reasons, and many of us have shared remarkably similar reflections and perspectives—and yet there is not an easy language for situations like ours. These types of late-term abortions for medical reasons occupy an uneasy place in the mainstream dialogue about abortion. Opponents of abortion may argue that terminating my pregnancy violated our baby’s human rights and that if anything, we should have continued the pregnancy and opted for palliative care at birth. The more surprising and hurtful responses, however, have been from people like my staunchly pro-choice friend who told me that she was jarred by my use of the word son to describe our fetus, as though the moral basis for abortion depends on denying the fetus any semblance of humanity, no matter how close it is to the point of viability, no matter how the woman herself chooses to define her relationship to the fetus. I’m not sure I explicitly thought of our fetus as our son until the day of that ultrasound, but after entering a situation in which we had to consider medical decisions that included imagining our long-shot, best-case scenario as trying to get our little boy through a year or two of preschool before getting a kidney transplant and starting on lifelong immunosuppressive drug therapy, there was no way to think of him otherwise.
Why does any of this matter right now? In recent months, there has been high-profile legislation across the country seeking to ban abortion after 20 weeks or earlier. This is precisely the point at which many fetal anomalies are diagnosed in a pregnancy. My own state, Michigan, recently passed a bill prohibiting insurers from providing coverage for pregnancy termination, with no exceptions for circumstances like fetal anomalies or rape, unless women have purchased a special policy in advance, as though this is a situation anyone would anticipate and plan for. The rhetoric surrounding abortion focuses primarily on the question of when life begins—is the fetus a baby at six weeks? 12? 20?—and whether women have the right to make choices about their pregnant bodies. In our case, abortion was a parenting decision—the most important and powerful one I have yet to make. This might not be comfortable or convenient for the pro-choice narrative, but it’s the truth. Some aspects of abortion might rightfully be best considered in the context of when life begins, but in situations like ours, the most salient fact was how and when life should end.