This month, Marie Claire profiled two women who both had wanted pregnancies that went terribly wrong. Each woman was offered the possibility of having a late-term abortion; one did, one didn’t. The piece is a powerful testament to why that choice should always be in the hands of a woman, her family, and her doctor, not the government.
In each of the pregnancies, the fetus was found to have chromosomal abnormalities that cause severe defects. If the woman chose to continue the pregnancy, it was unknown how long the baby would live once born, if it wasn’t stillborn.
Both women speak eloquently of their choice. The woman who decided to carry the pregnancy to term reflects on her decision:
Naturally, there were times when I wrestled with my choice, especially when others questioned my sanity. They’d say, “What’s the point of holding on to this baby? Have an abortion. Then you can try again in a few months.” Moms I met in the park were often uneasy and wondered what I was doing. Some parents didn’t want me around their children, because then they’d have to explain that my baby was going to die. And I could certainly understand how they felt.
Yet every time Aubrielle kicked, it was a thrill. I’d hold my belly and read stories to her and Elise. I started to think about what others were going through in life and what problems they had, instead of thinking so much about ours. My marriage gained strength, too: Mike focused, selflessly, on what we needed as a family. One night when I was feeling sad, he held me as I cried till dawn.
And the woman who decided to have an abortion describes her experience:
As we discussed our options, our religious upbringings pressed down on us. Having grown up in the Catholic city of New Orleans and having gone to a Catholic high school, college, and graduate school, I’d always thought of abortion as a decision made by a woman who didn’t want her baby, or by someone who had been raped. I’d always known I would become pregnant purposefully, when I was married. And that’s exactly what I had done. I had no plan for this. In all of the discussions we had in Catholic school about terminating pregnancies, we’d never once addressed reasons such as my own. There was nobody to ask what to do.
Back in May, I cried when I saw the news of Dr. Tiller’s murder and had to listen to all the rhetoric on television vilifying women like me.
Looking back, I know I made the right decision—I wanted to prevent my child from a painful death. But because of my religion, I feel I will never be forgiven for making the choice I made. I no longer feel I can even be called Catholic, another loss altogether.
These situations are devastating, but most importantly, they are personal. Though each of these women came to different conclusions about her pregnancy, they deserve the ability to make their choices freely.