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View Diary: My reproductive wake-up call (197 comments)

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  •  great diary (none)
    My thoughts have just been truncated by the great diary-master in the sky who saw fit to delete my lengthy masterpiece opining on all issues raised in this thread.

    So for penance, I'll give you the abbreviated version.

    The gradual erosion of reproductive rights is a real and serious issue.  When I was in medical school ten years ago, medical students were taught absolutely nothing about abortion, nor were we permitted to observe such procedures.  Even women who had suffered fetal demise and were having labor induced so as to pass the fetuses were off limits to the med students.  I don't know how much training the OB/Gyn residents were getting in those areas, but my impression was that a resident would have to express a particular interest in that area before they were allowed to have much exposure or experience.

    But sometimes, real life intervenes.  An OB/Gyn resident that I worked with at the time was pregnant.  She and her husband had one child and were very happy about this pregnancy.  I happened to be in the OB clinic the day that she came in to have an ultrasound.  Unfortunately, the ultrasound showed that her baby had a severe birth defect.  It was the type of defect that is not uniformly fatal, but that usually causes severe lifelong disability.  They were devastated, but in very short order decided to end the pregnancy.  I have no doubt that every single resident in that program felt that situation very personally.  Yet whether they were pro or con on the abortion issue, they rallied around her and her family and supported them 100% in their time of tragedy.

    I remember thinking at the time--"thank god she has the option of chosing to terminate the pregnancy and the place to get it done."  I know she was in the 2nd trimester, and even 10 years ago, it could be difficult to arrange a 2nd trimester termination.

    I'm a Pediatrician, and I love babies and children--they are my life.  But every time I think of the abortion issue, I can't help but think of the other side of the coin.  Yes, there is a prospective life out there, but there may also be a 12-year-old girl who was sexually abused, or a high-school student with promise who stupidly didn't use birth control, or a college student whose birth control failed, or a mom on government assistance who already has more mouths than she can feed, or a married woman whose fetus has severe birth defects.  Who is the best person to make a choice in any of these situations?  If you ask me, it's the owner of the womb, and no one else.

    And just so this will be long enough to be pendantic, I want to make one other point.  By citing the examples above justifying abortion, I don't by any means want to limit the circumstances in which I think it should be legal.  That is one of the Republican tactics for eroding abortion rights.  Limit the medical circumstances for which it would be approved--or better yet, force the woman to tell it to a judge (most likely male) who would decide if it was justified or not.  The examples I mentioned were only to make a point--there can be innumerable reasons that a woman might chose to end a pregnancy.  The government has no business being involved in that decision.


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