Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Your Body, Your Baby, Your Choices.

Someone recently asked me if, I as a doula would support a woman through an abortion. I've had to think seriously about that. Where do my personal beliefs have to end, to follow my calling? Do I support a woman having a birth related procedure that I do not believe is right? Does that include having an epidural? An elective c-section? An abortion? Not choosing to breast feed? Circumcising her son ... Or her daughter? Is my practice going to be "woman -centered" or "baby -centered" and are the two mutually exclusive?
I've decided to take the "Your Body, your baby, your choices" stance. As long as you have taken the time to inform yourself about your options, I will support you in your choices. I will help you to gather information, I will give you my opinion if you ask for it, and I will make sure you are prepared to defend unpopular decisions to others, if you wish. I won't sugar coat things for you, and I will try to make certain the articles that I refer you to are as unbiased as possible. Failing that, I will try to mace certain that you at least receive both sides of the issue.

The pro-lifers are right about one thing: Abortion kills babies. We cannot sugar coat this, it needs to be out there in black and white. That pregnancy, if allowed to reach it's natural conclusion, will result in a baby. Where we run into problems is at the point where people start putting the rights of a potential baby over the rights of an existing woman. Taken to an extreme, protecting "The rights of the fetus" could eventually compel every woman to be taken into custody the moment she tests positive for pregnancy, kept in custody until the pregnancy reaches full term, and delivered by a cesarean section.

For the record, I am firmly pro-choice. Your choices do not have to be the same as mine. I chose to disapprove of abortions as birth control. I believe that if your primary method of birth control fails, there is a reason for that. There are other options available to you if you choose not to raise a child that you have conceived and there are differences in choosing to abort a child who cannot survive outside the womb, and one who can. There are VALID reasons to want an abortion, and I do not need to know why you have made the choice you have made, only that you have explored all of the options open to you, before making your decision. (I will happily listen if you feel you need to explain your choice!)

That being said, if you have decided for whatever reason to terminate your pregnancy, I would be willing to be there to support you before, during and after your procedure.


Anonymous said...

Supporting a woman having a birth related procedure you do not believe in can have limits. Comparing an elective c-section or epidural to abortion, which you admit is killing a baby, is absurd. Supporting a woman after she has already made the unfortunate decision to abort is important, but providing support before and during is essentially encouraging the killing.

You are correct when you say that taken to an extreme, protecting the rights of an unborn child could compel a woman to be deprived of important choices. However, the same argument could be used in many other contexts. For example, since the government has no problem allowing abortions, perhaps the might encourage them, and further, perhaps they might be made mandatory in certain situations to preserve resources.

I think the most surprising aspect of this post is the fact that you both acknowledge that abortion involves killing an unborn child and yet also make clear that you are "firmly pro-choice." Certainly there might be "valid" reasons for an abortion, just like there are valid reasons for killing adults, such as self-defense or necessity. In comparison, forgetting to take a birth control pill hardly seems like a valid reason to take another life.

doula_char said...

Ah, but no form of birth control is 100% effective, and I personally know people who have become pregnant on every single form of birth control available. In fact, one woman has become pregnant on every form of birth control she's tried. These aren't stupid or careless women. They aren't teens, and they have had children, so they know what they are doing.

Does the abortion affect them for the rest of their lives? You bet it does. Some to a greater degree than others, but it does affect them.

What it comes down to , for me, is that Roe vs Wade is about so much more than simple abortion. It's about a woman's right to make her own choices about her health, and the outcome of her pregnancy.

BTW, I will not ever post an anonymous comment again. If you do not have the courage of your convictions to put your name, (or at least your handle) to your comment, it will not be published on this site.

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