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Why Choice Needs Your Voice More Than Ever

Since the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas, I’ve struggled to speak up effectively about choice in this country. Feministe has some ideas about how to put your money where your choice is.

But it seems to me there should be more we can do.

It isn’t as though I don’t find the life of an unborn child precious — because I do. Keenly, painfully, and fully.

There is another side, though: rape, incest, abuse. As a criminal attorney, I saw the worst of humanity’s actions far too closely and personally.

The anti-choice folks like to demonize any and all abortions or actions which put the unborn child’s life at risk, and anyone who would seek one.

What they don’t say? Medical decisions can be incredibly wrenching and highly time-sensitive. That they can save lives that might otherwise be lost: the mother and sometimes a child.

…this attempt is focused on the twin who is fully contained in the uterus, since the one who is almost inside the vagina has no realistic chance of achieving viability….

Inducing labor before membranes have ruptured, or before there is a maternal indication such as infection, is technically an elective abortion. This hospital, like most hospitals in the metropolitan area in which they live, has a strict no-elective-abortion policy, which forbids her obstetricians from rupturing her membranes and initiating labor….The sole hospital that does not have such an abortion policy is a university teaching hospital several miles away. Telephone calls are made, a direct admission is arranged, and the woman’s husband drives her to the teaching hospital, where labor is induced. The twins are delivered the next day. They are stillborn.

The above author was also the father of these stillborn twins, one of whose lives might have been saved had the membrane rupture been performed to induce early labor.

You can imagine the hell these parents endured, the agony of having to consider risking the end of such a feeble life of such a desperately wanted child in order to save the other. But that choice was denied them by outsiders whose faith told them that medical science took a back seat in a hospital.

A decision that condemned the viable child to almost certain death.

But the greater tragedy here, to my mind, is the straitjacket that a religious worldview imposes on the complexity inherent within clinical medicine. Our world sometimes presents us with situations that cannot be simplistically categorized as pro-choice or pro-life…

That is the crux of it: life is messy and hard to wrestle with in all its shades of gray. Anyone whose world seems black and white, or who finds discussion about abortion easy to pigeonhole? They are either dishonest or clueless about what life can be like for anyone else.

Your choices should be just that: yours.

Because only you know the anguish, the love, the terror, the joy, the pain, and the hope of your individual choice. Hard and fast rules need not apply, because life’s most painful difficulties aren’t exactly tidied away simply to satisfy everyone, now are they?

Choice needs your voice, now more than ever.

Christy Hardin SmithCommunity

Why Choice Needs Your Voice More Than Ever

Since the murder of Dr. Tiller in Kansas, I’ve struggled to speak up effectively about choice in this country. Feministe has some ideas about how to put your money where your choice is.

But it seems to me there should be more we can do.

It isn’t as though I don’t find the life of an unborn child precious — because I do.  Keenly, painfully, and fully.

There is another side, though: rape, incest, abuse.  As a criminal attorney, I saw the worst of humanity’s actions far too closely and personally.

The anti-choice folks like to demonize any and all abortions or actions which put the unborn child’s life at risk, and anyone who would seek one.

What they don’t say? Medical decisions can be incredibly wrenching and highly time-sensitive.  That they can save lives that might otherwise be lost: the mother and sometimes a child.

…this attempt is focused on the twin who is fully contained in the uterus, since the one who is almost inside the vagina has no realistic chance of achieving viability….

Inducing labor before membranes have ruptured, or before there is a maternal indication such as infection, is technically an elective abortion. This hospital, like most hospitals in the metropolitan area in which they live, has a strict no-elective-abortion policy, which forbids her obstetricians from rupturing her membranes and initiating labor….The sole hospital that does not have such an abortion policy is a university teaching hospital several miles away. Telephone calls are made, a direct admission is arranged, and the woman’s husband drives her to the teaching hospital, where labor is induced. The twins are delivered the next day. They are stillborn.

The above author was also the father of these stillborn twins, one of whose lives might have been saved had the membrane rupture been performed to induce early labor.

You can imagine the hell these parents endured, the agony of having to consider risking the end of such a feeble life of such a desperately wanted child in order to save the other.  But that choice was denied them by outsiders whose faith told them that medical science took a back seat in a hospital.

A decision that condemned the viable child to almost certain death. (more…)

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com