A Life and Death Decision

June 2nd, 2009

I was so saddened by the murder of Dr. George Tiller on Sunday morning as he ushered for fellow parishers at his church. I don’t know why crazy acts of violence like this so tip me off balance, it’s not like this is the first such incident, but they just seem so cruel and senseless to me. Kill someone because they kill someone. Is the eye for an eye mentality really the best form of judgment and best means to civil obedience?

I have a rather interesting perspective on abortion. First, it’s not for me. In a perfect society it wouldn’t even be necessary. Yet because we live in an imperfect society, I believe it’s necessary that we have legal, safe abortions available and I hope that they will continue to be available.

Secondly, while I was rotating though OB/GYN as a physician assistant student I assisted an attending physician with a D&C, dilation and curettage. The patient had been pregnant and the fetus had died in utero at 16 weeks. As the attending MD evacuated the contents of his patient’s uterus, my job was to filter the fluid and reassemble the fetus to be sure that we got everything. “Had a horrible experience of a patient passing a leg once,” the attending told me. “Now I make sure everything is accounted for before I’m done.”

That experience had a profound effect on me. I reconstructed that little body with tears streaming down my face. I saw firsthand how well developed a fetus is at just 16 weeks. I’ll never forget that experience and from that day on knew that I could never terminate a pregnancy. Turns out that was not even an issue for me as I had trouble sustaining pregnancies. Isn’t it ironic how life works??

Perhaps you are angered at women who terminate pregnancies because you are doing all that you can to sustain your pregnancy and save your baby. Perhaps you feel guilty because you terminated a pregnancy in the past and you are wondering if the precarious little life you are working desperately to save is payback for past transgressions. Whatever your position, I’d just like you to think about how we could make things better.

We are sexual beings and until we come to grips with sexuality in a healthy and responsible way, sexually transmitted diseases and unintended pregnancies will persist. As parents, educators, community activists and concerned citizens we can help create healthy, responsible attitudes towards sex. We can do it – without all the killing. But we cannot remain silent and we cannot assume that someone else will do it.

If you don’t want to speak out publicly about your views start small, in your little corner of the world. The little one that you are carrying will one day be a living, breathing, sexual being. What are you going to tell your child about sex? How will you teach your child to be responsible about sex? How are you going to equip and educate your child about his or her sexual responsibility so that they won’t ever even have to consider an abortion?

In between the baby registries, birth plans and college financial planning, please take a little time to consider how you want to broach this very delicate topic with your child. Write a little something down and put it away. It may seem hard to imagine now, but your decision today could one day be the difference between life and death.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *