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Ignorance Is Not Bliss

by Triona

June 12, 2019

This is my abortion story.
I have not been silent and so many people already know this but for those who don’t…

I have two, wonderful, fabulous, and much loved adult children. Both were the result of planned pregnancies. Between these two children there was an aborted pregnancy and here is the story of that pregnancy and abortion.

I was about 12 weeks pregnant. I was feeling pain in my abdomen. I went for a prenatal check up and reported the pain to my ob-gyn.  He ordered an ultrasound. We discovered two things. First, an ovarian cyst was causing the pain.

Second I was carrying an Anencephalic fetus. This is a fetus missing part or all of its skull or part or all of its brain. In my case the skull was missing. This condition is 100% fatal. Most such fetuses spontaneously abort at some point but none of the babies carried to term survive beyond a few hours.

Given the above information, I made the choice to have an abortion.

The abortion was hard enough to deal with. This was a planned baby. A baby I wanted.  I grieved. But what shocked me was what happened when I reached out to friends for support. At this time, 1987, I received a range of reactions to my decision.

Some friends were irritated that I had told them I was pregnant instead of waiting until sometime in the second trimester when risks were less likely and so they would not have known about this problem. They felt uncomfortable with the knowledge that I had an abortion.

Some friends were irritated that I had told them the truth instead of pretending I had a miscarriage. Again they were uncomfortable with the knowledge.

Some friends did not understand about fetal heartbeats. They thought that if there was a fetal heartbeat then the fetus was viable. I explained to those friends that a heart is a muscle that continues to beat as long as it gets oxygen, even if it is removed from the body. My body was functioning as a heart lung machine for a non-viable fetus.

I came away with several realizations.

First, I am so thankful that I live in a state where a woman’s rights are legally acknowledged and enshrined in our state constitution.

Second, society pressures women to keep secret and suffer in silence. This benefits no one. Not only does it force women to go through these tough decisions alone thinking they are shameful but it also prevents the greater community from realizing just how common they truly are.

Third, ignorance is not bliss and only perpetuates the scientific illiteracy demonstrated by those who believe a heartbeat is the first sign of life.

 

 

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