Thursday, August 2, 2012

on choosing to end a pregnancy for medical reasons

I shared an article from The Washington Post on this blog's facebook page.  And then things got stirred up a bit and feelings were hurt.  Let me clarify my thoughts a bit here.

The article is, "The Kind of Woman Who Needs a Late Term Abortion."  The article is about the push to ban abortion after twenty weeks of pregnancy in the District of Columbia and the writer's experience with a late term abortion because of her son's medical condition.

I want to stress that I am pro-life.  I was pro-life before I lost Charlotte and now I'm really pro-life.  I don't agree with ending a life.

And I don't agree with all of the politics in this article, but I think the writer has a good point; there are circumstances where a mother or a baby's life is in danger and medical action has to be taken. I think the terminology needs to be changed.  I think using the term abortion, or serial abortionist for women who miscarry multiple times, is hurtful and incorrect.  I know it makes it easier for insurance companies and medical offices, but it also creates a large gray area for women and families.

This part of the article really spoke to me:

Meet, too, the many real women I know who belong to one of the saddest groups in the world: those carrying babies for whom there was no real hope and who made the heartbreaking decision to end their pregnancies for medical reasons. Meet the women among this group who had gotten, they thought, safely to the middle of pregnancy, who had been planning nurseries and filling baby registries, only to find they would need to plan a memorial service and to build, somehow, a life in aftermath.

We are not reckless, ruthless creatures. Our hearts hurt each day for our losses. We mourn. We speak the names and nicknames of each other’s babies to one another; we hold each other up on the anniversaries of our losses, and we celebrate new babies and new accomplishments, all bittersweet because they arrive in the wake of grief. We extend our arms to the women who must join our community, and we lament that our numbers rise every day.
I know people who have carried to term with a fatal diagnosis.  I know people who have chosen to end their pregnancy because of a fatal diagnosis.  I don't pretend to understand how either one feels.  And I don't judge.  The Bible exhorts us to love like Jesus and that's what I try my hardest to do.  Love.  Extend compassion.  Understand that I have a grasp on losing a baby less than two hours after birth, but I don't know the ins and outs of a terminal diagnosis at the twenty week ultrasound.
I'm sorry if feelings were hurt.  I'm sorry sharing the article caused questioning of my heart and beliefs. My intention was to acknowledge the families who decided to end a pregnancy for medical reasons because I feel they are too often left in the shadows, cloaked in shame and a lack of understanding.
My heart is with every mother and father who has lost a baby and my blog, as well as the facebook page, exist so we can come together and heal.  I apologize for the misunderstanding and hurt feelings.


  1. I read that article but didn't have time to comment at the time. I think it offered an incredibly valuable and important perspective. Too often I have seen others (and myself as well) rush to judgement and lump all mothers who have abortions together, and that article showed a very different side of motherhood, one where loss takes a different path, but the mothers described in the article are still mothers who have lost babies, and their grief is just as real as mothers whose bodies aborted spontaneously, for example.

    Thanks for posting - that was courageous and a very valuable discussion starter.

  2. For me, personally...I can't ever, ever, ever see a reason I'd choose to end the beating of a heart before it did on its own.

    But then again, can we ever really see those reasons until they are staring us in the face?

    So I don't judge. Ever. As you said, it's commanded to us not to, and any situation that involves those decisions breaks my I can only imagine the feelings of the mothers in those shoes.

    And all I can do is love and pray for them.

  3. I really appreciate you posting this. Unfortunately, I am one of those moms who had to face the decision of carrying to term with a diagnosis of "incompatible with life" or induce. I've been reading your blog for years now and feel like I know where your heart is so it didn't really offend me but I appreciate you sharing this.

  4. Lori said it perfectly the way i would have I totally agree with her. I'm sorry your post created tension and I know that you meant well, hopefully others now realize that too! ((hugs)))

  5. Things truly aren't always so black and white, and this article paints that picture. Too often I see all out HATE spewed by women in the loss community especially toward womeon who have had abortions. I think it's important to step back and realize that sometimes it truly is about less pain and suffering for the child. I don't speak from personal experience but have heard the pain in stories told in group counseling sessions. I wouldn't dare judge.

  6. It's impossible to judge in these situations - this is one of the most heartbreaking decisions a parent could have to make. Which, for me, is all the more reason why it should be parents rather than politicians making the decision on whether to carry a pregnancy to term.

  7. Once we came to the conclusion that there was nothing left to do for George, after all the medical intervention had failed and we were told he would have little to no brain function, we were given the option of terminating. I was 27 weeks at the time and they literally said if it is going to be done you need to do it in 2 days because we were pushing the boundaries for termination, even for medical reasons.

    We made the appointment and then cancelled the next day. We decided to let him die on his own even though because of his condition there was a serious chance that my health could be affected. It was. I got really sick and ended up having an emergency c-section to save my life. I don't regret my decision for a single instant but those two weeks were the hardest of my life and the fact is that if I had not been monitored closely I could have died.

    No mother should ever have to be faced with that kind of choice. There is not a right answer. Only one that hurts slightly less than the other.


thank you!


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