"There is difference and there is power. And who holds the power decides the meaning of the difference." --June Jordan

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Gretchen Voss: "Why I Chose Abortion"

One of yesterday's feature articles on msn.com totally made me cry. The article (reprinted from an issue of Marie Claire) was "Why I Chose Abortion" by Gretchen Voss, and in it she tells her painful story, speaking on behalf of parents who have made the agonizing decision to terminate their pregnancies due to fetal abnormalities.

"I asked over and over, Are we doing the right thing? Our family -- even my Catholic father and Republican father-in-law, neither of whom were ever pro-choice -- assured us that we were. Politics suddenly became personal -- their daughter's heartbreak, their son's pain, their grandchild's suffering -- and that changed everything."

"Seven months later, in November 2003, 14 weeks into my second pregnancy, I gently rubbed my rounded belly, tears rolling down my cheeks as I watched George W. Bush sign the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act on CNN. It would be at least two more weeks before I could learn via ultrasound if this baby squirming around inside my womb was healthy or not. Taking in the scene, I understood that if this baby were plagued with the same genetic defects as my last, any choices I had were being taken away from me."

I can't even possibly imagine how anyone could not support reproductive rights for women after reading this heartwrenching story.


Anonymous said...

I read that story in Marie Claire . . . in the next issue, there was a letter from a reader about how Voss didn't have the right to "play God" and how she missed out on the "precious moments" that her child would have lived painfully through had she carried her pregnancy to term. It was disgusting.

But yes, it was a great article.

Tracey said...

Wow. Just, wow.

Anonymous said...

The thing was that the writer had apparently had a very similar situation, and that was the choice that SHE made. Personally, I think that Voss made the choice that I would have made, but the fact is that it's a deeply personal choice and I can't imagine judging anyone for making any choice in that situation . . . the fact that a person who WENT THROUGH IT felt like she could judge another woman who made a different choice just boggled my mind.

Anonymous said...

i wish there was more discussion with disability activists in the reproductive justice movement. i'm pro-choice but i will never be able to fully support abortion when so many of my brothers and sisters never get the chance to live because their life is deemed unworthy.

(too lazy to sign in) :)

Anonymous said...

i don't think i phrased that right.

it's more of how the value of OUR lives, as eating breathing living disabled people, is viewed when things like assisted suicide and abortion are accepted by society with no thought otherwise. (individual choice, fine, whatever, not everyone is able to being parents but the general consensus that abortions are especially okay when babies are disabled is not good)

if the reproductive justice movement could have more dialogue about that, i think the two communities (crip and repro rights) could really be strong allies.

stacey again :)

wellie said...

...he told me that he kept my note, along with other letters of appreciation, in a large bundle, to remind him of why he does this difficult work. And he keeps that bundle right next to his stack of hate mail, which is about the same size.

this got to me. these doctors have such tenacity and strength.

Tracey said...

Cara: Yeah, I'm with you. That's the whole point of "pro-CHOICE". I would hate it if someone who made the choice to keep a child ever felt judged for their decision as well.

Stacey: "the general consensus that abortions are especially okay when babies are disabled is not good" - SO true, and thank you for pointing that out. I'm pro-choice all the way, but it does get under my skin when someone could claim to be "pro-life" but still think that fetal abnormalities are an exception.

assembling: Gosh, I know. I imagine it's hard enough to be a doctor who doesn't provide abortions, but at least most people respect and admire what they do.

Anonymous said...

Everything Gretchen described feeling in her article is exactly what I felt when I went through this. I never in a million years imagined I would have to make a choice like this-it changes you forever.