First-person accounts of late-term abortion decisions

Andrew Sullivan is demonstrating the extraordinary power of the blogosphere. Ever since George Tiller’s murder, Sullivan has been receiving emails from women who had, or at least contemplated having, late-term abortions.

It’s extraordinary, really:  these are stories we would never hear about, in normal circumstances. But Tiller’s murder, combined with the anonymous platform provided by Sullivan’s blog, has made these stories available to the public.

Here’s a bit of history for you. Years ago, Canada’s abortion law was struck down because of a failed attempt to prosecute Henry Morgentaler. Why did the prosecution fail? It began when Morgentaler chose to be tried by jury. His lawyer proceeded to put one woman after another on the stand. They simply told their personal stories.

It was obvious that Morgentaler had broken the law. But no jury would convict him:  the women’s stories were simply too compelling.

(The Supreme Court of Canada later weighed in, and found other grounds for striking down Canada’s abortion law.)

I am pro life:  I think it’s horrific that so many abortions are carried out annually in the Western world. But after reading some of the letters sent by Andrew Sullivan’s readers, I understand how that jury felt when they acquitted Morgentaler.

I am struck by how deeply these women wrestled with the decision, even after they learned that their babies were profoundly deformed; even after they learned that their babies would be unable to survive for more than a few weeks after birth.

Feminists have argued that having an abortion is no more significant than having a wart removed. Women get abortions for relatively compelling reasons (e.g. a pregnancy due to rape or incest) or for relatively cavalier reasons (e.g. because a pregnancy would interrupt their schooling).

These women were planning to have their babies, and they were sick with despair to learn that the pregnancies weren’t normal. Still — given the circumstances these women describe, it surprises me how profoundly they wrestled with the decision beforehand, and how somberly they continue to regard the decision after the fact.

I previously linked to one of the stories on Sullivan’s site. He has a round-up of seventeen posts here.

There have been four more posts since then:

Anencephaly
A Life Saved By Choice
What Do You Mean, Viable?
The Other Side Of The Abortion Experience

It’s not very uplifting reading material, I know. But it’s a rare insight into such a profoundly personal moment. It’s a privilege, really, to be allowed into the inner sanctum of someone’s life.

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