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Monday, June 01, 2009

Late term abortion 

This is a late term abortion:
In 1994 my wife and I found out that she was pregnant. The pregnancy was difficult and unusually uncomfortable but her doctor repeatedly told her things were fine. Sometime early in the 8th month my wife, an RN who at the time was working in an infertility clinic asked the Dr. she was working for what he thought of her discomfort. He examined her and said that he couldn’t be certain but thought that she might be having twins. We were thrilled and couldn’t wait to get a new sonogram that hopefully would confirm his thoughts. Two days later our joy was turned to unspeakable sadness when the new sonogram showed conjoined twins. Conjoined twins alone is not what was so difficult but the way they were joined meant that at best only one child would survive the surgery to separate them and the survivor would more than likely live a brief and painful life filled with surgery and organ transplants. We were advised that our options were to deliver into the world a child who’s life would be filled with horrible pain and suffering or fly out to Wichita Kansas and to terminate the pregnancy under the direction of Dr. George Tiller.
We made an informed decision to go to Kansas. One can only imagine the pain borne by a woman who happily carries a child for 8 months only to find out near the end of term that the children were not to be and that she had to make the decision to terminate the pregnancy and go against everything she had been taught to believe was right. This was what my wife had to do. Dr. Tiller is a true American hero. The nightmare of our decision and the aftermath was only made bearable by the warmth and compassion of Dr. Tiller and his remarkable staff. Dr. Tiller understood that this decision was the most difficult thing that a woman could ever decide and he took the time to educate us and guide us along with the other two couples who at the time were being forced to make the same decision after discovering that they too were carrying children impacted by horrible fetal anomalies. I could describe in great detail the procedures and the pain and suffering that everyone is subjected to in these situations. However, that is not the point of the post. We can all imagine that this is not something that we would wish on anyone. The point is that the pain and suffering were only mitigated by the compassion and competence of Dr. George Tiller and his staff. We are all diminished today for a host of reasons but most of all because a man of great compassion and courage has been lost to the world.
And this:
I didn't know Dr. Tiller personally but I know of someone who he cared for from the Kansas City area. She was a young woman who was pregnant with an anacephalic baby, one without a complete brain and had no chance of surviving at birth. After a sonogram identified this situation she was so distraught that her ob-gyn here send her to Wichita to terminate the pregnancy. There was a great physical and psychological risk for her to continue carrying a baby that had no chance of life. Upon arrival with her mother, she had to make her way through the protesters who tried to pull her aside. It was a devastating experience to be attacked in that manner and it was a choice made to save her life and sanity. God bless Dr. Tiller and his family.
And this:
. . . My husband and I are devout Christians, and during that time we prayed and prayed, believing that God was going to heal our girls. Instead, the new prognosis was even grimmer than we had anticipated: The twins' conditions were actually growing worse. Savanna's fluid had spread around her abdomen, signaling a condition called ascites, which has a wide range of consequences, including putting additional pressure on the organs, thereby causing respiratory distress and heart failure. Sierra had a leaky heart valve. The doctor also suspected that they were developing Twin to Twin Transfusion Syndrome, which meant that Savanna was taking blood from Sierra through their shared placenta. Sierra's chance of survival outside the womb hovered at around 5 percent—and she was the healthier of the two girls.
When the doctor who performed this second ultrasound suggested I consider terminating the pregnancy, I grew furious. As a Christian and a married woman who desperately wanted a child, I'd never given much thought to abortion. Like many others, I assumed that only women with unwanted pregnancies had the procedure. I wanted my twins to live. We're not doing that, I thought. There's just no way. But as John pointed out, Savanna was going to die, and when she did, she would take her sister with her. My doctor also confirmed that Savanna's illness could trigger a rare syndrome in me: I was mirroring some of her symptoms and retaining fluids. My body was extremely swollen and I could hardly walk. If I continued the pregnancy, I could put my own health at risk too . . . I have never before been a political activist. But if I have a chance to change even one person's heart by telling my story, that's what I want to do for my girls. I want Savanna's and Sierra's lives to have meant something.
And this:
. . . Instead of cinnamon and spice, our child came with technical terms like hydrocephalus and spina bifida. The spine, she said, had not closed properly, and because of the location of the opening, it was as bad as it got. What they knew -- that the baby would certainly be paralyzed and incontinent, that the baby's brain was being tugged against the opening in the base of the skull and the cranium was full of fluid -- was awful. What they didn't know -- whether the baby would live at all, and if so, with what sort of mental and developmental defects -- was devastating. Countless surgeries would be required if the baby did live. None of them would repair the damage that was already done . . . Though the baby might live, it was not a life that we would choose for our child, a child that we already loved. We decided to terminate the pregnancy. It was our last parental decision.
And I do not understand why anyone would think it was moral to deny parents the right to make their own decision about abortion.

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