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.

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