The Kermit Gosnell film raised more than $2 million from 26,574 backers to produce a lurid movie dramatizing the Gosnell trial in what will most likely be anti-abortion propaganda.
Having a severely premature baby strengthened my support for every woman’s right to choose.
At 23.5 weeks I started spotting, and in a matter of hours found myself in a downward spiral from doctor’s office to ambulance to hospital with a level 3 neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) on the other side of town. My cervix was dilating, the baby was coming, and I was diagnosed, in the insensitive language of medicine, with an “incompetent” cervix. For almost 24 hours they worked to stop the progress. I was positioned with my head lower than my feet, in the Trendelenburg position, to try to enlist the help of gravity. I was given magnesium sulfate to slow preterm labor and dexamethasone, a steroid, to speed fetal lung development. I was hooked to a monitor that showed I was having contractions that at first I couldn’t even feel. We found out by ultrasound that it was a girl. A nurse sat by my bed all through the night.
Sometime the next morning the doctors discovered that my membranes had ruptured and that it was not going to be possible to put off delivery. They also discovered that the cord lay between my cervix and my premature daughter, meaning that natural childbirth would be fatal, and if we planned to try to save her life we would need an emergency c-section.
Whether or not we planned to save her life was not a given. Sober-faced doctors laid out in detail what our choices were. We were told that she had no chance of survival without extraordinary medical intervention. We were told that she had about a 25 percent chance of survival if we resuscitated, and that if she survived she had an over 75 percent chance of significant disability and chronic medical need.
We had a choice. We could accept what was happening—that we were losing this baby we so very much wanted, deliver her, and hold her briefly in our arms while her heart, if it was still beating after delivery, stopped. She would go, peacefully, painlessly, and we would begin the grieving process. Or we could resuscitate, intubate, and head down the uncertain and complicated road of medical intervention.
I couldn’t let her go. Lying there pumped full of magnesium, scared and tired, I couldn’t let go of the idea of that child I had become attached to over those almost six months. I couldn’t let go of my expectations of parenthood. I couldn’t accept the inevitability of grief. And so I said, “Do everything you can.” The NICU team was called, I was whisked to surgery, and we began the next stage of our journey.
The thing about being anti-abortion is that for most people, it is about making easy choices.
Once you’ve defined terminating a pregnancy (which is, by the way, the most likely natural outcome of a pregnancy) as “killing a child”, it really is a no0brainer. “Should I be for baby killing, or against baby killing?” is not a question most people need to ask themselves, or stop and think about.
Even better, this bit of mental gymnastics inexplicably leaves millions of people and the laws of many countries in favor of “baby killing”, which means there are that many million people you can feel better than.
You haven’t done anything. You have not improved anyone’s life. You have not made the world a better place. You have not helped any living soul on the planet, but already, you are better than millions of people.
And if you decide to “do something” about abortion?
Carry a sign.
Put some pennies in a box somewhere.
Reblog out of context, mislabeled, or misleading pictures of babies, fetuses, and parts of pregnant bodies.
Now you’re a superhero. Now you’re a crusader. Now you’re fighting the neverending battle for truth, justice, and precious little babies at Christmas.
Of course, if you really believed deep down inside that millions of actual babies are literally being murdered all the time, you wouldn’t be putting pennies in boxes, would you? It’s convenient to your self-esteem to be able to tell yourself that the stakes are as high as the lives of babies and the soul of a nation, but it’s convenient to your lifestyle that you know, deep down inside, that they really aren’t.
If you’ve got a lot of time and passion, you can go down to a reproductive health clinic (where there may or not actually even be any abortions performed, and where there are certainly a myriad of other necessary health care services being performed) and scream misogynistic insults at anybody who braves your gauntlet .
Maybe she’s getting a pap smear.
Maybe she’s getting an ultrasound for the baby she plans on carrying to term.
Maybe she’s going to terminate a pregnancy she really wanted, but can’t have.
Maybe she’s going to have an already dead fetus removed from her body.
Maybe she’s going to have an abortion because she’s pregnant and doesn’t want to be.
It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter to you. All that matters is sides: you’re on the right side, she’s on the wrong side. And you get to engage in the most vile impulses that wrack the human brain: shouting, screaming epithets, hurling accusations, attacking the vulnerable, reducing another human being to a mass of tears and convulsions and you can do it guilt-free because you have constructed a reality where this person in front of you, whatever might actually be going through in their life, is a proxy responsible for the deaths of millions of tiny precious little babies and you, you are the fearless Soldier of Good who will save them.
Being anti-abortion is all about the easy choices.
That’s why you don’t hear about many “pro-lifer” who decides to bravely die rather than terminate a life-endangering pregnancy, trusting in God to decide whether parent and/or baby shall life.
Oh, yes, they’ll find people who make the decision to carry on with pregnancies that are high-risk, and they laud these people as proof of the lies of the pro-choice movement… never mind that there are many pro-choice people who make the same decision. That’s the nature of choice.
I’m not talking about high-risk pregnancies. I’m talking about situations where it’s not even a risk any more. Where are the martyrs to life? I can show you pro-life women who went and had an abortion when it was convenient for them, not even medically necessary. And it’s not hard to find pro-lifers demanding that other people carry a diagnosed dead or fatal-to-the-parent fetus to term because “doctors can be wrong”. Where are the pro-lifers who make this choice for themselves?
When the wives of conservative politicians have an abortion to end an ectopic pregnancy or other similar condition, it gets reduced to “a medically necessary procedure” that’s certainly not an abortion, no, don’t call it that because if there are two things the pro-life movement is sure about it’s that abortion isn’t a medical procedure and that it is never necessary.
But anyone else undergoing the same procedure? That’s an abortion. And it’s wrong.
Because the pro-life movement is about making easy choices and easy judgments. It’s convenient crusading. Invent an enemy so unconscionably horrific that you can’t help but look good and feel good opposing them, so widespread and close to home that you don’t have to give up your life at home to combat them, and so ultimately harmless that there is literally no risk to you in standing up to these horrible, bloodthirsty monsters.
But if it happens that you need an abortion, you’ll have one. Because you’ve been making the easy choices all along. And if you get pregnant and choose to keep it, in spite of… whatever… you tell yourself that’s a triumph against choice, when in fact it’s a triumph of choice.