Editorial Comment: I wrote about this on Tertia's site, and decided to include it here as a way of helping people who stumble on to my blog understand my feelings and opinions. Tertia asks several inter-related questions about abortion (including implying what our stance on abortion is): When does life begin? How does this play against abortion? And of course, at what price life? Is it life at all costs? And whose life takes precedent?
This was my response:
Here you have gone & done it again - a taboo subject; a subject that is divisive; a topic that can make friendly folk become bitter opponents.
I have my own opinions, and I am loath to out myself. Not because I don't have an opinion that I feel matters, but more because I feel that too many people JUDGE so quickly without walking in my shoes. In fact, I came here a few times to see what was written, and it was 0 comments for a while. And then I though, I must write something.
My choices are not necessarily what someone else would agree to, but that is where I am passionate. My opinions and choices should be private and mine alone. And those of someone who disagrees with me should belong to them alone. No matter if the opinions are pro-life or pro-choice. I feel a doctor's decision on whether to perform abortions should be the doctor's alone. I feel that if you have taken an oath to practice medicine, and have seen life come into the world, and leave the world, and choose your life's work to be a part of that process, then you should be considered able enough to judge for yourself whether you can take part in the procedure.
So I have these opinions about privacy, choice, and life, and then I think, how pitiful that we've finally come to a point in history where I'd be more comfortable proclaiming my sexual orientation, if it were not the "norm," in a public forum than I would my opinions on abortion. Such a sad statement. So, I'm not going to shy away, because - frankly - I think that a vocal group is over-shadowing a lot of us who don't want to hear the fury of their wrath. So here it is:
I am pro-choice. I believe that I have the right to know what is best for my body and my life. This extends to the greater continuum of life, as I also believe that I should be able to decide when my life has come to a point where it is time to die. I also believe that if you don't believe this, that is ok. I choose to disagree with you, but you have the right to your opinion.
How can I be an IVF veteran, with multiple miscarriages, and believe in the sanctity of choice? Because, when you use science to create the potential for life, you value it immensely, and you understand the precarious nature of it intimately. At every step along the way, every few days, you know that the potential life you want to bring into the world is the next blood test or ultrasound away from not being there any more. And if I were in the position to make the decision to have an abortion, then it would be with heavy heart and life long personal implications that I would walk into doctor's to have the procedure.
So, when does "life" begin?
I haven't the slightest clue, particularly when I review the thoughts that you've posted. With the flicker and doppler sound that you see & hear at 6 weeks, it is hard to dismiss that heartbeat. But remove it from my uterus, and it has no chance at living.
I've lost pregnancies at so many stages along the way, it seems. 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 4 months. With each passing week the potential for life is more tangible, and the loss is more painful because a relationship is established and growing.
I don't think that there is an arbitrary line that can be drawn in the sand about when "life" happens. Especially in the later stages of pregnancy, when the balance between life and death is so tenuous. With regards to IF treatments, my convictions are that it will never be "at all/any costs," so if the treatment is that way, the pregnancy would be too. In fact, I have made a promise to my husband that potential life ≠ actual life. If that battle were to play out in our lives, my actual life would be the deciding factor. I've felt the same thing in talks with my surrogate to be. Her actual life is more important than the potential life of our child(ren).
As always, I'll happily discuss any points you might like to make, but I will not tolerate disrespect or rants. Remember, my OWN opinion is that we are all entitled to agree to disagree.