Father confronts pro-life campaigners

I must admit, I hesitated at first when putting up this post. Abortion is an incredibly sensitive issue and as a result is also very polarising. Coming from a country where it is illegal and living in a place where it is free on the NHS, I have experienced both sides of the argument and frankly, do not wish to discuss my own opinions on the matter. What struck me most about this article and the video which goes with it was not so much the matter it deals with but the direction it comes from. Many people see abortion as specifically a women’s issue, which it is not. This, however, is a man’s perspective. I found it very moving.

“You’re killing your unborn baby!”

That’s what they yelled at me and my wife on the worst day of our lives. As we entered the women’s health center on an otherwise perfect summer morning in Brookline, two women we had never met decided to pile onto the nightmare we had been living for three weeks. These “Christians” verbally accosted us—judged us—as we steeled ourselves for the horror of making the unimaginable, but necessary, decision to end our pregnancy at 16 weeks.

After extensive testing at a renowned Boston hospital three weeks earlier, we were told our baby had Sirenomelia. Otherwise known as Mermaid Syndrome, it’s a rare (one in every 100,000 pregnancies) congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together. Worse than that, our baby had no bladder or kidneys. Our doctors told us there was zero chance for survival.

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1 Comment

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One response to “Father confronts pro-life campaigners

  1. captainchrist

    The linked article is fantastic and a really interesting perspective of a controversial issue. I’d imagine, like me, most people have never really thought about the experience of the man in the relationship in instances like this. The image we generally have of abortions is something that would usually contain a young single woman, obviously upset about her decision but feeling she has no choice. I might be very wrong in saying this but I’d go as far as saying that most people would have very little sympathy for people who are forced to take this course of action, unless there is some kind of personal attachment. This example shows how wrong we can be about these things.

    Prehaps this man only confronted those protesters because he felt so helpless as his wife was undergoing, surely one of the most emotionally intrusive surgical procedures possible and he felt so helpless? His own frustration and disappointment had to come out somewhere and it makes me feel good that he was able to calmly take it out on those protesters, who deserve it, and not on someone he loved, or even worse held it inside and just became an angry and bitter person.

    I could not help but feel heartbroken for this couple who obviously wanted a child, but had the courage to make the decision they did. A decision, although at the time it caused a lot of pain and created some very unhappy memories, which appears to be in the best interest of their family. The pain (and dare I say, slight sympathetic stigma…if such a thing exists) that comes with still birth is bad enough when it’s unexpected, but when it’s something that is almost certain then it would be cruel to go through with it.

    My view on the situation might be different if a team of doctors had told them the baby would be born with cystic fibrosis or something like that. As terrible as those conditions are, people have proven they can live with them. But the idea of going ahead with a pregnancy that results in a still birth seems horrible to me.

    Maybe that’s just because I’m from rural Ireland and such events are always mentioned in hushed voices away from the people involved. For the people who go through such an experience there are also instances where there is shame associated with it. It’s a preposterous notion but it exists. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. People who must have been so traumatised when they were affected by a still birth, that they are almost ashamed to be associated with it now many years later. I won’t go into my own personal experiences with it, but it’s definitely the main reason I support this couple, and particularly that brave man’s decision to confront those cowardly people who hide behind the shield of “god”. His simple act of confrontation may have perhaps made those two fools think twice about their actions in the future. They might be doing that with the best of intentions, but as correctly pointed out to them in the video it would fit them better to try and help people instead of chastising the vulnerable.

    Coming from said country, where abortion is illegal and now also living in a country where getting one as easy as getting crutches for a gammy leg, my views on abortion might appear somewhat conflicted. I’d consider myself to be absolutely pro-choice, and if I were of voting age at the time of the unsuccessful referendum I would have voted to legalize it. Buuuuuuut…. if I found myself in a situation where an unexpected pregnancy occurred I’d personally probably be against the idea of an abortion because I know, although it might be very difficult, that having an extremely supportive immediate and extended family would put me in a position to handle the situation. I don’t know (and oddly I’ve often thought about it) whether it’s good ol’ fashioned catholic guilt that wouldn’t let me go down the abortion route or if it just seems like good sense from my point of view.

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