"I heard a voice from heaven saying, 'Son, let this woman be a bride to you in the restoration of my people. Let her be a mother for these people, regenerating souls through the salvation of spirit and water.'" (Hildegard of Bingen, Scivias)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

PPD Abortions

Another significant reason for late (mostly second trimester) abortions is poor prenatal diagnosis/fetal disabilities of varying severity and compatibility with survival till natural delivery. The ableism of our culture makes these one of the most commonly approved hard cases (generally described as defective, deformed, etc.). But they can be especially traumatic for women precisely because the babies are generally wanted (sometimes conceived at great expense and physical suffering via IVF) and because they are large and developed enough to be clearly seen on ultrasound, felt kicking, have gender known and sometimes names given.

And the abortion is frequently experienced not as a free choice but the only choice due to pressure from society in general and medical professionals; lack of perinatal hospice options in most places; stigma of married couples choosing adoption placement; economic and health care injustice making the lifetime burden of caregiving huge; and sexism placing the major emotional, physical ,and professional child care load on women--and ensuring that if they refuse an abortion desired by the father they risk carrying it alone and impoverished. Lots of room for common ground work between disability activists, prolifers seeking fewer abortions, and true prochoicers seeking fewer pressured ones.

Jane the Actuary has a couple of in depth posts on late abortion and hard cases. These issues are a huge part of my theological study and ministry experience and I hope to blog in much more depth about them, but in the absence of time due to work pressure just reproduce my comment there above to open the subject and give you a sense of my approach.

Names and labels are part of the polarizing and paralyzing mess on this very difficult issue, but if pressed I would identify as a prolife feminist who believes that--at least in our profoundly sexist society which inflicts the vast majority of the huge lifetime cost (in every sense) of babies created by two bodies on only one of them--the procedure should be safe, legal, rare, and as early as possible.

The ideal solution, which is surprisingly little advocated by anyone, would be the creation of uterine replicators to divorce the removal of embryos and fetuses --the only thing directly willed by women choosing termination--from their presently unavoidable death (or danger from prematurity).

The brilliant (and Ignatian) Vorkosigan novels by Lois McMaster Bujold make this technology central to some future societies, with fascinating reflections on the results for gender relations, economics, etc. In one case directly relevant to Jane's posts she depicts them being used as a nonviolent, win win solution for raped women soldiers and the children forced into their bodies and spirits by the misogynist male violence that is still such a huge part of our own country and world.

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