An Army Wife's Life

Once upon a time I was a college student, then I was a teacher, and now I'm a mother. Technically, I'm currently a freelance writer... but really I am an ARMY WIFE. Expect to find... funny (at least to me) anecdotes, thoughts about la vida military, hopes, anxieties, dreams, commentaries on current events.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Woman Writes, "My Abortion is Everyone's Fault but My Own and My Husband's"

After coming across this article at one of my favorite blogs (Sandmonkey), I actually feel physically ill.

This woman blames the Bush administration for her decision to have an abortion:

I am a 42-year-old happily married mother of two elementary-schoolers. My husband and I both work, and like many couples, we're starved for time together. One Thursday evening this past March, we managed to snag some rare couple time and, in a sudden rush of passion, I failed to insert my diaphragm.

Boo hoo! Poor two income couple who has no time together! At least she admits it was her failure to insert the diaphragm. Of course, that is the actual source of the "problem" she is about to have...but nevermind reality. Today middle class people expect to be above reality!

The next morning, after getting my kids off to school, I called my ob/gyn to get a prescription for Plan B, the emergency contraceptive pill that can prevent a pregnancy -- but only if taken within 72 hours of intercourse. As we're both in our forties, my husband and I had considered our family complete, and we weren't planning to have another child, which is why, as a rule, we use contraception [...]

The receptionist, however, informed me that my doctor did not prescribe Plan B. No reason given [...] The midwifery practice I had used could prescribe it, but not over the phone, and there were no more open appointments for the day [...]

But I needed to meet my kids' school bus and, as I was pretty much out of options -- short of soliciting random Virginia doctors out of the phone book -- I figured I'd take my chances and hope for the best.

So, she's gambling on the odds. Yes, they are actually pretty good odds, but she knows that it is possible given the time of the month that she could be pregnant. But she's BUSY BUSY BUSY!!! Why bother to make some phone calls? She has better things to do. Note that she has a "complete" family--she has the full set. She just can't be bothered.

I worried because the odds of having a high-risk pregnancy or a baby born with serious health issues rise significantly after age 40. And I thought of the emotional upheavals that an unplanned pregnancy would cause our family. My husband and I are involved in all aspects of our children's lives, but even so, we feel we don't get enough time to spend with them as it is.

I felt sick. Although I've always been in favor of abortion rights, this was a choice I had hoped never to have to make myself. When I realized the seriousness of my predicament, I became angry. I knew that Plan B, which could have prevented it, was supposed to have been available over the counter by now. But I also remembered hearing that conservative politics have held up its approval.

It amazes me that people who call themselves "pro-choice" refuse to take responsibility for their own choices--what could have "prevented" her predicament would have been to (A) use a diaphragm (or condom, or some other form of birth control) OR (B) not gamble with the unborn life and prevent fertilization or implantation by call planned parenthood immediately after she realized her first mistake.

Apparently, one of the concerns is that ready availability of Plan B could lead teenage girls to have premarital sex. Yet this concern -- valid or not -- wound up penalizing an over-the-hill married woman for having sex with her husband. Talk about the law of unintended consequences.

Oh, the is not like the government is fining women for having sex with their husbands...She faced a hard decision because she CHOSE to have sex with her husband without protection. Would she prefer that the government take responsibility for her reproductive decisions and have her sterilized since "her family is complete" and she is on medications that are bad for pregnant women? Then she would be free from any responsibility for her choices, which seems to be what she really wants.

To this day, I don't know why my doctors wouldn't prescribe Plan B -- whether it was because of moral opposition to contraception or out of fear of political protesters or just because they preferred not to go there.
In any event, they were also partly responsible for why I was stuck that Friday, and why I was ultimately forced to confront the decision to terminate my third pregnancy.

It's Bush! It's the FDA! The doctors! The pharmacists! Anyone but me!!!

[...] trying to get information on how to abort a pregnancy in 2006 is an even more Byzantine experience.

On the Internet, most of what I found was political in nature or otherwise unhelpful [...]

Not the smartest way to find the information, but I just did a Google search for Virginia Abortion and the second link was a list of Virginia providers.

This woman may be educated, but she ain't too bright.

Calling doctors, I felt like a pariah when I asked whether they provided termination services. Finally, I decided to check the Planned Parenthood Web site to see whether its clinics performed abortions.

NOW she calls Planned Parenthood. This lawyer is super brilliant. Not to mention she is killing an unborn child...I suppose everyone is supposed to make her feel good about this.

She also goes on to rail against STATE policy--so now it is Bush, the doctors, the pharmicists, AND the state government.

They did, but I learned that if I had the abortion in Virginia, the procedure would take two days because of a mandatory 24-hour waiting period, which requires that you go in first for a day of counseling and then wait a day to think things over before returning to have the abortion. Because of work and the children, I couldn't afford two days off, so I opted to have the procedure done on a Saturday in downtown D.C. while my husband took the kids to the Smithsonian.

Wow. Again, she can't be bothered with two appointments to terminate her pregnancy. She's just too busy! If I get any "message" from this article, it is that this woman and her husband are too busy. One or both of them needs to reduce their workload since they have two young children and a marriage to care for.

It was a decision I am sorry I had to make. It was awful, painful, sickening. But I feel that this administration gave me practically no choice but to have an unwanted abortion because the way it has politicized religion made it well-nigh impossible for me to get emergency contraception that would have prevented the pregnancy in the first place.

She HAD to make it, huh? Because she had decided her family was complete. Because the pregnancy is high risk (not that she actually had any tests done to find out if there were problems). Because she couldn't be bothered to be responsible for her own choice.

My personal beliefs are that abortion is wrong unless the mother's life is at risk or the baby will not survive outside of the womb--but since I recognize I came to that from a religious standpoint, it is not something I believe we can legislate.

However, I think we can legislate based on science. There are some clear stages here--conception, implantation, viability (although the actual date of viability is constantly changing and up for debate). Certainly a pregnancy should be protected once it is viable. Before that, it is murkier in ethical terms--though morally I personally believe it is crystal clear. It becomes clearer to me now having felt my baby grow inside me.

Now, this woman's fetus was not yet while I find her decision morally repugnant, she does have a legal right. However, her refusal to take responsibility for her own decisions is disgusting. She had choices available at various stages but could not be bothered to exercise them.



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