A mother can still be pro-choice

Today, I stumbled upon an extremely eye opening article titled, “My 28-week pregnancy and a 20-week abortion ban: why choice still matters.” The writer explains through her personal experience with a high risk pregnancy and premature birth of her child, she is pro-choice.

From theguardian.com. The writer, Jessica Valenti, and her child, Layla.
From theguardian.com. The writer, Jessica Valenti, and her child, Layla.

She first begins to explain at 28-weeks (7 months) she was diagnosed with a life threatening disease, pre-eclampsi. According to the Pre-eclampsia Foundation, this is “a disorder that occurs only during pregnancy…that affects the mother and the unborn baby…characterized by high blood pressure and protein in urine.”

In doing my research, this condition has its severities. When it is most severe though, it can result in the shut-down of the mother’s vital organs, causing severe problems with the unborn baby, which can result in premature labor. Simply put, when a woman is pregnant, blood flow to the unborn baby is vital, therefore when the mother gets pre-eclampsia blood flow is reduced to vital organs including the uterus due to hyper-tension, which causes high risk problems for mother and child.

Pre-eclampsia is only one of many pre-natal disorders that are quite life threatening for mothers, which the writer mentions. She states that because of her terrifying and unpredictable experience with premature labor due to her disorder–and thankful she and her child are alive and well– her feelings towards later-term abortions is even more complex before she became a mother, but more pro-choice than ever before.

The issue this article tackles is the 20-week abortion ban bill, signed by Mississippi’s governor recently and the spreading of this bill. The law will only allow abortions in cases of possible death, permanent injury or severe fetal abnormalities, but what the writer states is how can the law and medicine determine exactly what validates these instances? How severe is severe when it comes to fetal abnormalities? Or how permanent is permanent when it comes to injuries?

As she states,

“Parents facing pregnancies with a fetus too sick to live, parents who must make awful decisions about the quality of life they would want for their child – these parents should not have to jump through legal hoops. Women who are sick should not have to prove that they are “ill enough”. Only 1.5% of women who have abortions even have them after 20 weeks, and whatever the reasons they need those abortions, their choices are far too nuanced and personal for us to ever believe we could create a policy around them. These are decisions for families to make, not politicians.”

With my sister being around 4 months pregnant and eager to meet my beautiful niece, the topic of abortion is rather touchy for me. I cringe at the thought of complications such as severe pre-eclampsia, premature labor, fetal abnormalities, etc. However, if those instances were to become a reality for my sister, I would fight to the end to support whatever decision she and her husband would make in determining what is best for the baby and their lives.

As the writer states, many anti-choice activists are baffled by women who have children or have not had abortions, to be in support of pro-choice, like her. “They can’t wrap their heads around the idea that women have both abortions and babies – and that one of the top reasons women give for getting an abortion is out of concern for their existing children.”

When it comes to abortion, there is no simple, straight-forward answer. I truly believe that pregnancy is a miracle and an amazing, gift and phenomena that a female’s body can carry out. With so much joy pregnancy can create, we also forget that it puts a woman’s body at high-risk for any complication imaginable; which in the grand scheme of things is worth bringing life into this world. However, why is legislation the one given the power to determine what extent a women can go through in order to give life?

Every situation in life is unique, especially pregnancy; no pregnancy is the same. So why does legislation aim to make it black and white? Especially with complicated and higher-risk pregnancies, it is a mother and family’s decision to determine what constitutes abortion, not the law’s.

Now that you know my stance, I would thoroughly enjoy hearing yours.

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