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Reality of Abortion
Mom with a View

Reality of Abortion

It’s unbearable to see some parents anxiously straining to hear a heartbeat, while others seek to still that beat forever.


There are certain types of hereditary cancers for which researchers have now isolated the problematic gene. This has major implications for the carriers of these genes – and their children. These children are at risk of being born with this cancer, and until this breakthrough the options for parents were very limited. But many parents now conceive a child, have the embryo tested, and abort if it is found to be diseased. Alternatively, they fertilize the eggs in vitro and only implant the healthy ones. They could, of course, carry the sick child to term and deal with the health implications upon birth.

From a Torah perspective, the decision would be made in consultation with a very knowledgeable rabbi.

I spoke recently to a doctor on the cutting edge of this therapy and he told me something interesting. Most of his patients initially choose the abortion method. It seems easier, slightly more natural, and few of them are bothered by religious or moral scruples. Yet when push comes to shove, they all discover that it is a much more painful choice than they had anticipated; a much more emotionally traumatic procedure than expected. In the next round, they all ended up opting for in vitro instead.

It was with this in mind that I read Ross Douthat’s recent (01/03/11) piece in the New York Times, “The Unborn Paradox.” He suggests that, as liberal as everyone claims to be, abortion rarely makes it onto TV or movies. We don’t really want to confront the reality of it. They’re not as comfortable with the idea as they pretend to be, nor as blasé or sanguine as they tell their friends. I think that’s why we use words like fetus instead of baby – when it’s a desired pregnancy, it’s a baby almost immediately. And why we say “terminate the pregnancy” instead of the “kill the…” (Am I letting my emotions show?)

Even in last week’s MTV breakthrough reality show – which apparently dealt with the topic and is cited by Mr. Douthat – the experience is agonizing. The show’s title, “No Easy Decision,” highlights the disparity between the reality of what happens and the cavalier attitude society encourages us to share.

Worst of all, it seems there are many, many parents anxious to adopt these babies – were they only carried to term. People are spending a fortune at fertility clinics, desperately trying to conceive a child, while one in five mothers in the United States is destroying theirs.

Perhaps Mr. Douthat’s piece will be a wake-up call. Perhaps we will finally recognize the hurt we are causing, and how unnecessarily. Perhaps we can reverse or stem the tide.

It’s unbearable to see some parents anxiously straining to hear a heartbeat, while others seek to still that beat forever.

We protect ourselves through the aforementioned euphemisms. We pretend it’s all poor, single, teenage parents. We rationalize that what we’re doing is “better” for the child (while thanking our lucky stars that our own parents didn’t feel that way).

But it seems that MTV (of all places) has stripped away the glossy façade, courageously facing the issue without flinching.

January 14, 2011

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Visitor Comments: 46

(46) Anne, December 7, 2011 2:20 PM

Abortion Survivor

Abortion is legal and I am the face of a survivor. I had "theraputic" second term abortion in 1991 due to health complications. I went through YEARS of Post Abortion Syndrome - this disorder exists. I also suffered from adenomyosis, which was due to my abortion and eventually, had to have a hysterectomy. My daughter, Lorelei, has a tombstone in my family plot that I erected as part of my healing. I did have one other child, by the same father many many years later. But I have become pro-life due to my personal experience. It may be a choice - - - but for those that have made the choice and cannot find forgiveness/healing, God does forgive us and love us. Most of all: love yourself. There is help out there. I personally used Project Rachel and converted to Catholicism. Visit for more information. God bless.

(45) Chani, March 10, 2011 11:26 AM

A woman's/family's decision

As emotional as some stories are, the bottom line is that cases of infertility, lost prospects for adoption, questionable abortions, or the potential success of a child have nothing to do with the halachic and legal prerogative of individual women and families to consider abortion. Further, there are plenty of babies and children available for adoption. Granted, these are not all White perfectly healthy infants, but these babies do exist...and wait. Discussions about abortion will be more productive with less emotion, and more reliance on halacha, an honest review of alternatives, and keeping in mind that women and families are making decisions based on real life challenges that must be met. I'm pro-life yet do not judge or stand in the way of any woman who, when discussion has ended, decides to proceed with what is best for her situation.

(44) Anonymous, February 23, 2011 3:49 AM

So iam going to be 42 and i found out right before Christmas that I was pregnate and I was going to have the baby. My husband and i seperated about 4 days before i found out i was pregnate and i decided that i would tell him once i knew for sure. At the age od 20 i had my tubes tied so it was a shock that i was pregnate after all these years. I was happy but at the same time so scared and i wanted to have this baby more than anything even if I had to do it alone. Everyone has there saying and beliefs about abortions but i will tell you mine. I was called into the doctors on december 28 2010, where i had the most devistating choice to make and i made it alone without my husband even knowing. When I went to the doctors office she sat me down and told me that she got the report back from the detailed ultrasound back and I was so excited to hear how my baby was growing and so eager to spend the rest of my life as a mommy again.. I have 2 older children 23 and 21 and i am a gramdma too. As I waited to hear my news, she asked me if i would like my husband to be there as well and I replied NO, he is working. Anyways to make a long story short, My baby was very sick, it;s spine was not developed at all proper and its brain was not developing as well ..the first thing i asked the doctor was...will he or she ever have a chance,,,have kids a family go to school, marrried and she replied , Iam so sorry your baby will not have a chance at all in life....he or she would not have much brain activity,,,would not ever walk, crawl, use arms legs nothing and with that I got an abortion. There was no way that I would have brought a child into this crazy would knowing that it would never have a single change. I think about it everyday and I know that I did the right thing for the baby, my husband , my kids and myself. So is abortion right in this case your damn right it is. My husband was also glad that i made the choice i did.

(43) Anonymous, February 14, 2011 9:12 PM

Walk in Their Shoes

No one has the right to determine what is best for any woman other than that woman, herself. She knows what her circumstances are and what choices she can live with. I am a professional and a single mother. I had to make that choice and I chose to have my daughter and raise her myself. Fortunately for me, this occurred at a time when I was older and more settled in my life, both personally and professionally. My daughter has gotten all I can give her as a single parent and has developed into a wonderful young woman. I can't honestly say, though, that my decision would have been the same had it occurred at a much earlier point in my life. One thing I can say is that my attachment to my unborn child at 5 weeks was significantly different than the one I had with her at birth. Had my circumstances been different, I don't believe there would have been any way I could have given her up for adoption. So for those of you who have chastised women for aborting because of infertility issues, you aren't taking into account that the pregnant woman might not choose to adopt out the child - and therein resolve their problems, as well as those of all the infertile or same sex families. Also consider that this child might just end up being neglected or abused. I represent children like this and it is heartbreaking. Many of these children are ultimately either removed from their parent's custody when they are too old or too harmed to be easily adoptable or, even worse, remain with their parent and end up in prison. And in that regard, why don't some of you who want more children consider adopting a child who has been freed by the courts or by their parents. Every county in every state has many children who need loving and caring parents. Or do you only want a healthy newborns who don't have any history or special needs? Maybe you should ponder this before taking a holier than thou position against a parent who needs to live forever with their decision.

(42) L., February 2, 2011 1:01 AM

@Mirah, Well said

It was so refreshing to read Mirah's comment. I've said exactly the same thing in discussions I've had. No one ever says, "Hey, I'm getting an abortion today and then catching a movie." It is extremely offensive. No woman, whether they regret it or not, is ever cavalier about the decision. Women shouldn't be made to feel shame about decisions they have every right to make.

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