Yesterday I started in on my unabashedly pro-abortion stance.
There are two sides to this coin, and the other side is grossly more dystopian.
First coin side is the majority of procedures, which take place early in the pregnancy.
It’s no secret that I went through infertility treatment to conceive Witchlette. 4 months of infertility treatment, level 1, and we were blessed with our positive pregnancy.
We were lucky that when things went wrong, I was full term at three days before my due date and our medical risks were sub-marginally greater than typical c-secion risks. The greater risk was doing nothing at all.
My doctor, making sure I understood the risks laid out before me, said in no uncertain terms, that we had options. We could go home and see if the bleeding stopped on its own. If it didn’t, and if the baby was “still viable,” I could deliver. Or, I could just go have her now.
Yeah, the second one.
The reproductive medical team we sought for conception was amazing. They informed me that based on the information they have at the time of starting my treatment, I would likely never ovulate on my own. Anovulatory.
January 2015, I went in for my annual OB exam, showing off Witchlette’s amazing Yule pictures and the whole office fawned over her. It should have been the first day of my menstrual cycle, but it hadn’t come yet. But in my history, I have skipped whole months; that’s just part of being anovulatory. The doctor requested a pregnancy test just in case, and it came back negative.
A week later, I still had no period, but had other things happening (I swear on Ullr’s ring I felt him implant turning left on my way to work). I took a pregnancy test in Target and went right to BabysRUs and bought a “big sister” shirt. That’s how I told Hubby we were expecting Witchling: read her shirt.
There was a week between the doctor’s appointment with a negative clinical test and my positive test in the Target bathroom.
In some states, if a women with a similar timeline needed to make a difficult decision, it would be too late.
Did you know that women are “pregnant” most of their lives?
The first week of pregnancy is counted by the first day of the mother’s last menstrual cycle. The menstrual cycle is counted from the day one of menstrual bleeding of one cycle to day one of menstrual bleeding of the next. Week one of pregnancy is during that menstrual period. Ovulation, the 24-48 hour window of time when a woman can conceive, is ~day 14 for a woman with a 28 day cycle.
If you’re following along, when someone discusses “40 weeks of pregnancy,” the first two weeks are pre-ovulation when it is impossible to be pregnant. The next two are too soon to detect.
My doctor’s clinical pregnancy test was not able to detect my pregnancy on the first day of my missed period. If my last period was week 1, and this was a month later, that puts me at “5 weeks”.
The laws are intentionally vague. Women can’t have an abortion after a certain week pregnant when actually they
In Georgia, Ohio, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Mississippi, for example, the law prevents abortions at around 6 weeks. Missouri is eight weeks.
Most women don’t know they’re pregnant until 8 weeks. By then, it’s too late to change the trajectory. Their lives, their paths, are now altered.
In that week timeframe between my missed period at the doctor and my Target test, I knew something was up. I said as much to Hubby, but anovulatory, so “impossible”. I said as much to a friend who asked, “What are you going to to?” Her implied question was: would I remain pregnant or choose not to be pregnant? My response, “We are in a place emotionally and financially where we don’t have to make that decision. If I am pregnant, I will be a mom of 2.”
I don’t have to make that decision about my life.
But it’s my life.
I don’t walk the path of other women who choose differently. It’s their lives and it’s none of mine, or anyone else’s, fucking business.
The other side of the coin: what happens for higher levels of infertility treatment?
When someone seeks infertility treatment, there are increasingly invasive stages. I, at stage one, took pills to increase my hormones to encourage ovulation and then Hubby gave me a hormone shot when ovulation was due.
Stage two involves the same steps, but sperm is clinically injected high into a woman’s uterus at the time of ovulation, increasing the chance of fertilization.
Step three involves taking a woman’s egg and a man’s sperm and creating embryos outside of the body to be implanted into the woman’s uterus.
Remember my awesome fertility specialists? They watched the number of twin births rise exponentially and realized this was a man-made fertility treatment rise. So they created the “One” program where they would make two embryos, but only implant one. If the first one didn’t work, the medical team would do the second one at no additional cost. If the first one did work, the second one would be frozen and saved until…
Well, that’s the question. What happens to unused embryos?
There are three options:
Storage: Pay storage fees annually, which typically range from $600-$800/year. This is not feasible for most people.
Donation to future parents: Not every woman has healthy eggs which can be harvested. Not every man has viable sperm. Not every person seeking fertility treatment have both biological components. The embryos can be donated to a woman/couple who for whatever reason cannot provide both egg and sperm. There are both open and closed donations, just like adoption.
Donating to medicine: This is where the stem cell research gets muddy. Aborted fetal tissue is not used to ethically research medical science. Unused embryos from fertility treatments can be.
Thawing: Once the embryo is thawed, it can no longer be used for pregnancy. Some people choose to let their storage expire and let the clinic handle the rest. Some people choose to do a ceremony honoring the embryo.
There are some political platforms which don’t seem to understand the nuance here and make blanket statements. Once an embryo is created, it obtains “Personhood” and by destroying it through the thawing process or using it for medical science, one has committed murder against that “Person”.
The dark road I foresee is “small government” who don’t want to interfere with anything except the most personal aspects of a person’s life putting very big stipulations on women.
Once an embryo is made, it must be implanted. Once it is implanted, it must come to term. Once it’s full term, it’s your choice to go through infertility treatment and you must now handle the consequences.
I know a few women who went through IVF and who had numerous embryos made. Harvesting is very difficult on a woman and many eggs will be taken at once to make a number of embryos. The most ethical of practices will implant two-three at most at a time. If a dozen are made because a dozen eggs could be harvested, a woman could have 9-10 embryos in storage. If the woman is implanted with 2 embryos and both come to term, must she now go through that 4 more times, two at a time, to produce a total of 12 children?
That’s not how the practice of fertility medicine works. But if politicians who are not medically trained and are not specifically trained in fertility treatments- including ethical training- I fear this is where we could be heading. That women who want to be a mother will not seek treatment because of the repercussions relating to unused embryos. That women will be nothing more than baby factories- think Birthmothers in “The Giver”.
To those who are “pro-life”, I see your wager.
I raise you:
-Universal Child Care to allow those who have children and want/need to participate in the work force a safe, healthy way to have both parenthood and livelihood.
-Universal Health Care to allow all people the chance to live without sickness in a way that doesn’t tie medical care- preventative or reactive- to one’s capitol income.
-Fully funded, evidence-based, secular public schools to raise all children no matter their class, race, gender, religion which is fully funded without relying on educational professionals to choose whether their students get workbooks or they receive their own medical care and which teaches facts as facts and that these facts come from peer, reviewed instructional materials using researched-based methods and practices.
-A living wage so all people, no matter their socio-economic background can have the relief that their work in whatever industry they work in, will support their life. They no longer have to wonder if working full time in retail will be enough to feed their children and it will improve many mental health concerns.
Until you put your proverbial money where your mouth is on those platforms above, you’re not pro-life because you’re not supportive of the lives who are already here.
And it’s none of your fucking business anyway. It’s not your life and it doesn’t impact you in any way. At. All.
P.S. Wearing your mask is truly pro-life because that choice impacts those around you.