A Seattle politician who was pregnant with twins but had her son aborted because he would suffer in his life from a number of maladies writes of her abortion in The New York Times.
She’s arguing against limiting the time a mother can abort her child. I am horrified by what she wrote. Just horrified. I know she believes that what she did she did out of love but I can’t begin to fathom the kind of love that says things like this:
I felt my son’s budding life end as a doctor inserted a needle through my belly into his tiny heart. She had trouble finding it because of its abnormal position. As horrible as that moment was — it will live with me forever — I am grateful. We made sure our son was not born only to suffer. He died in a warm and loving place, inside me.
I was six weeks pregnant when I learned I was carrying twins, a boy and a girl. We were elated.
But in my 20th week, during an ultrasound, the technician looked concerned, and we got the first hint that something might be wrong. The next day, a Friday, my obstetrician called to say that the technician had had a hard time seeing the heart of the male fetus. “It is probably just the position,” she reassured me. I wasn’t reassured.
On Monday, I had a second ultrasound and my husband and I spent two hours — it felt like an eternity — with a different doctor and technician. “It looks as if the boy has a herniated diaphragm,” they told us. “All the organs are in his chest and not developing.”
I began sobbing. What did that mean? Would the organs move? Was my baby “fixable”? The clinic staff members were reluctant to tell us how bad it was. They said I needed an M.R.I., which would provide more details.
My world stopped. I loved being pregnant with twins and trying to figure out which one was where in my uterus. Sometimes it felt like a party in there, with eight limbs moving. The thought of losing one child was unbearable.
The M.R.I., at Seattle Children’s Hospital, confirmed our fears: the organs were pushed up into our boy’s chest and not developing properly. We were in the 22nd week. In Washington State, abortion is legal until the 24th week.
After 10 more days of tests and meetings, we were in the 23rd week and had to make a decision. My husband is more conservative than I am. He also is a Catholic. I am an old-school liberal, and I am not religious. But from the start, and through this ordeal, we were in complete agreement. We desperately wanted this child and would do whatever we could to save him, if his hernia was fixable and he could have a good quality of life.
Once we had all the data, we met with a nurse, a surgeon and a pediatrician at the hospital. The surgeon said our boy had a hole in his diaphragm. Only one lung chamber had formed, and it was only 20 percent complete. If our boy survived birth, he would be on oxygen and other life supports for a long time. The thought of hearing him gasp for air and linger in pain was our nightmare.
The surgeon described interventions that would give our son the best chance of surviving birth. But the pediatrician could tell that we were looking for candid guidance. He cautioned that medical ethics constrained what he could say, then added, “Termination is a reasonable option, and a reasonable option that I can support.” The surgeon and nurse nodded in agreement. I burst out sobbing. My husband cried, too. But in a sense, the pediatrician’s words were a source of comfort and kindness. He said what we already knew. But we needed to hear it from professionals, who knew we were good parents who wanted what was best for our children.
The next day, at a clinic near my home, I felt my son’s budding life end as a doctor inserted a needle through my belly into his tiny heart. She had trouble finding it because of its abnormal position. As horrible as that moment was — it will live with me forever — I am grateful. We made sure our son was not born only to suffer. He died in a warm and loving place, inside me.
In having the abortion, we took a risk that my body would expel both fetuses, and that we would lose our daughter too. In fact, I asked if we could postpone the abortion until the third trimester, by which time my daughter would have been almost fully developed; my doctor pointed out that abortions after 24 weeks were illegal. Thankfully, Kaitlyn was born, healthy and beautiful, on March 2, 2011, and we love her to pieces. My little boy partially dissolved into me, and I like to think his soul is in his sister.
I can’t actually believe she used the term “we love her to pieces.” But then confusingly this woman who previously stated she’s not religious at all said that the boy’s soul is in her sister.
I’m not even sure what that means. I’ve heard this kind of talk before. A woman I knew through a friend once told me she was pro-choice because she believed aborted babies’ souls could come back in other babies. When I asked her why she believed that she gave two reasons 1) God was merciful so He wouldn’t allow that baby not to have a life and 2) she was a nurse so she knew about these things. I’m not kidding. She said it.
I heard a man who was not religious at all defend abortion by bringing up the concept of ensoulment coming later so abortion was ok. And he said that the ensoulment wouldn’t come to aborted babies because God knows everything and he’d know that the baby was going to be aborted so he wouldn’t put a soul in that baby. So only babies who get to live get souls.
These kinds of irrational thoughts are necessary to these people to put some sort of wall between them and the horror of killing children. But I think they know. I think that deep down many of these people are suffering terribly. I pray for them.