Tips of the hat to Pharyngula and Butterflies & Wheels for bringing this story to my attention. This story, originally from the Texas Observer, is about the Texas Taliban and their new anti-choice law to mandate sonograms and to force doctors to read statements to patients, intended solely to instill guilt and shame. In this case, it seems the law was successful, at least in part.
Because this story is about a couple looking to have a child, for whom abortion seems like a horrible necessity. At least this first sonogram was for good health reasons. I'll never have children myself, so I can't pretend to understand what it must feel like to be expecting, looking forward to a baby, and then get forced into a choice like this. All I can do is offer sympathy, like all of the caregivers in this story, forced into doing things they don't want to do.
Instead, before I’d even known I was pregnant, a molecular flaw had determined that our son’s brain, spine and legs wouldn’t develop correctly. If he were to make it to term—something our doctor couldn’t guarantee—he’d need a lifetime of medical care. From the moment he was born, my doctor told us, our son would suffer greatly.Although the ornery skeptic in me finds it almost fitting that the story begins in a catholic church affiliated hospital, and so naturally this woman's doctor can't help her with this particular choice, for once I feel bad about these doctors stuck in catholic hospitals anyway. I guess they're not monolithic in their support of the church's position. But as the couple moves on to a specialist for a second opinion, I can't help but think that it would take a cabal of childless old philosophers, disconnected from making choices in the real world, to decide that abortion is still the wrong choice here.
Our options were grim. We learned that we could bring our baby into the world, then work hard to palliate his pain, or we could alleviate that pain by choosing to “interrupt” my pregnancy. The surgical procedure our counselor described was horrific, but then so seemed our son’s prospects in life. In those dark moments we had to make a choice, so we picked the one that seemed slightly less cruel. Before that moment, I’d never known how viscerally one might feel dread.Of course, it doesn't end there, not in Texas. After tracking down the one Planned Parenthood clinic in the city that can actually perform such an abortion, the nondescript building with cameras and double-doors and such for, ahem, protection...the staff doesn't want to, but they're obliged to perform another ultrasound. To wait 24 hours after that to perform the abortion. To offer pamphlets and more information about child support and adoption and more sonogram offers (from anti-choice clinics intended to lay on the guilt even thicker, I suppose). And the doctor is obliged to perform the ultrasound and describe the fetus and read from scripts provided by the state, about risks of infection, hemorrhage, infertility, breast cancer.
This last one, as far as I know, is just plain false, but the powers that be in Texas require it anyway. Let it be said that these conservative morons never let things like the truth get in the way, much less the prospect of a new life that can only linger on in pain and suffering as long as modern medicine can be subverted by prolonging it.
Finally, my doctor folded the paper and put it away: “When you come back in 24 hours, the legal side is over. Then we’ll care for you and give you the information you need in the way we think is right.”It's one thing for the conservatives and fundamentalists in Texas to rot in a hell of their own making, but it's a shame they have to drag along millions more folks to suffer along with them. It's a shame that the Texas legislature and, of course, Rick "Oops" Perry, can force a bunch of caregivers to put their patients through more suffering before they can properly care for them. I recommend reading the entire article on the Texas Observer; a few excerpts hardly do it justice.
Joan McCarter's diary this morning had a DKos petition to get the AMA to oppose this sort of legislation. It's in a comment but in case that gets missed, go look, and sign on if you think they should.
Also, TYVM to the folks who did all the republishing, the rescue, and the rec list (!) - I'm happy to have helped some more people find this story.