Must read opinion piece in today’s Washington Post — “Facing The Reality Of Choice” by Marie Myung-Ok Lee.
The author–40, married, one child–suffered from “blighted ovum,” a type of miscarriage that develops when a fertilized egg implants in the uturus but does not develop. “Instead,” the author writes, “there was no one home inside my womb, only an empty gestational sac and hormones, somehow tricked, careening inside me.”
Instead of waiting weeks to be admitted to a hospital, Mrs. Lee decided to go to a Planned Parenthood clinic to have the contents of her uturus removed.
But, while politically pro-choice, I didn’t think that my situation had anything to do with the whole abortion debate, and so I put it out of my mind, so much so that when my husband and I drove to Planned Parenthood the morning of the procedure and found our car immediately surrounded by gesturing people, we both thought, “How nice of the Planned Parenthood people to make sure we knew where to park.”
As I exited the car like some kind of odd celebrity, I wasn’t prepared for the older woman who shoved her face an inch from mine and screamed that I was murdering my baby. I wasn’t prepared for the looks of pure hate, no, the looks that could kill. I seem to vaguely recall being warned not to make eye contact, but I did, and I saw what I thought was someone who would gladly murder me to keep me from entering the clinic.
“What baby?” I blurted. Then a real Planned Parenthood escort took my arm, told me not to talk to them and led me inside. The two minutes had felt like a siege.
The article is somewhat marred by the obligatory “balance”–
Both sides of the debate are so heavily sunk into their bunkers. On one side, it seems monstrous that a handful of people, mostly men, decide on a procedure that involves, criminalizes and punishes women, and I know there are conservative, Republican, so-called pro-life women who feel they sit on the morally superior side but then end up having an abortion for the same reasons we pro-choice women are driven to it. But pro-choice people must also acknowledge somewhere in their hearts that this procedure is not the moral equivalent of merely surgically removing tissue.
I believe most pro-choice people, especially those who are parents, do acknowledge somewhere in their hearts that this procedure is not the moral equivalent of merely surgically removing tissue. But short of going around in sackcloth and ashes, exactly how are we supposed to communicate to the world that, yes, it’s not just surgically removing tissue. We understand. But if we say it’s a personal choice, then it’s a personal choice, and unlike the haters outside the clinics we don’t go about butting into other people’s personal choices.
That said, I think it would be wonderful if we could be open and honest about our choices. Mrs. Lee mentions that in Japan there are shrines for aborted and miscarried children, and mothers can go there to openly express their grief without being judged or condemned. That could never happen here. If the Fetus People were to catch wind of a shrine like that, by the next day they’d have it surrounded so they could harrass anyone who showed up to mourn.