Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Personal Story

It's been a heart breaking week.

And how quickly organizations and the media have jumped to frame issues in their political context -- even as opportunities for fundraising. Gun control/gun access. More treatment for mental illness/more restrictions. Abortion -- yes/no. I've wished for more moments of silence, less talking heads.

A friend and colleague wrote this this morning, about what's at stake in yesterday's Supreme Court decision. I asked her permission to share it with you.

"When I heard the news, I did not move to my usual stance of policy concern. I thought first about December 23, 1998 while Brian, my husband and I waited for Jacob to be born after "induced labor". He had not formed necessary parts of his urinary tract in the 20 weeks of pregnancy thus far. After numerous medical tests putting his and my life in danger - all for the possibility of saving him. It was conclusive that his kidneys had failed and his lungs would never develop - he could never function outside of my body. Our choice to induce labor was medically and politically defined as abortion.

The Supreme Court ruling, if in effect when we had Jacob, would have prevented us from inducing labor. We would have had to wait until he "died" (as in no more heartbeat sustained only by my body serving as a life support machine)- making me carry him potentially to term and putting my health at risk. People don't think about cases like ours when they hear second trimester abortion ban. They just think about "reckless young women" who don't want their babies (don't get me started on issues of class, access, and sexuality education).

Consider the emotional stress and possible life threatening consequences of facing each day not knowing what would happen to Jacob or me as we waited. And pro-life folks say what about the pain of the fetus, IF that is a potential of in utero nervous system development - I can't imagine suffering through days, weeks or months, with no funtioning kidneys, shrunk space, bloated belly, and possible toxicity unknown for days in between check-ups. After he would have "died" - they would have done a D&C to remove him and we never would have had the opportunity to meet him, take pictures, and hold him as a whole-loved son. He would have been in pieces and treated as waste.

Makes me think that folks who stand in one extreme corner or the other do not have a deep enough experience of the complexity of "honoring life."..

In honor of Jacob - I felt compelled to not sit silent today."

In honor of my friend, the baby that was not to born, and the thousands of women who have faced similar agonizing moments and the tens of thousands who will, we cannot be silent today.


uuMomma said...

Amen. Thanks to you and your friend for sharing this.

ms. kitty said...

Debra, I wanted you to know that I have nominated you as a blog that makes me think. You can see how it works at Ms. Kitty's.

Debra W. Haffner said...

Thanks, Kitty! I couldn't find it on "Thinking Blog" but I appreciate your nomination!