Early or Late, Abortion Should Always Be a Woman’s Choice

By Donald A. Collins | 28 November 2018
Church and State

From the state level to federal policy, Republicans have managed to pass restrictions on reproductive health and its funding, and critically confirmed Catholic justice Brett Kavanaugh to the US supreme court.

As a long time subscriber to the Wall Street Journal, I am daily impressed with its stellar ability to report the news fairly and allow its opinion columnists their full ability to opine, usually somewhat right of center.

Today, the OP ED piece by Molly Jong Fast entitled “The Late-term Abortion I Didn’t Want” reflected what for me was a truly surprise conclusion, one which can get full adherence from abortion providers for women everywhere.

After being told her late term fetus was likely to have a fatal disease, she and her husband “won the lottery” and the baby was born without their inherited genes implanted; her son is now 14, a healthy freshman in high school.

But then her final paragraph says it for all those committed to total abortion choice as well as to those who may have grappled a long time with the abortion issue: “We arrived at the genetic counselor’s office to learn our (test) results. It turned out we won the lottery. My baby was not affected, not even a carrier. He was born the following January, a strapping 9 pounds, 5 ounces. He is now 14, a freshman in high school. Having him was the greatest decision I ever made, but being forced to carry a terminally ill baby would have been the greatest tragedy of my life. That is why I am committed to keeping second-trimester abortions safe and legal.”

You can read her full column here.

The Late-Term Abortion I Didn’t Want

By Molly Jong-Fast | 26 November 2018
The Wall Street Journal

A Federal judge last week struck down a Mississippi law banning abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy. Even supporters of abortion rights may wonder why a woman would need an abortion so late.

I was 24 when I accidentally got pregnant. I come from a family of well-educated New York feminists who had babies in their 30s, and many of my friends were scandalized by the idea that I would carry the child to term. Some even suggested I have an abortion. But by the time I went to the obstetrician, I was prepared to be a mother. I was delighted to see the fetal heartbeat and that little round smudge of a nose. The doctor did some routine blood work. Later I got a call from a nurse: I needed to come in.

My doctor, serious but chipper, had a very worried look on her face as my husband and I sat in her Fifth Avenue office. She told us: “You both carry a Jewish genetic disease called Canavan’s.”

“OK,” my husband said, as I tried to digest the news. The doctor went on: “Canavan’s is fatal. Canavan’s babies don’t live past 5 years old. Since you and your husband are carriers of Canavan’s, you have a 1 in 4 chance of having an affected fetus. You cannot carry an affected fetus to term. The fatality rate for Canavan’s disease is 100%.”

By this point, I was crying. “You’ll go and have a chorionic villus sampling,” she explained. The technology has since improved, but back then you could only have that test between 10 and 12 weeks. “And when the results come back you’ll be in your second trimester.” She paused, then said something that felt like a rebuke: “Unfortunately, I’m not trained to do second-trimester abortions, so you’d have to find someone else.”

Growing up with an outspoken feminist mother, we had talked a lot about the importance of choice. Yet most of my thinking on abortion had been theoretical. I never imagined I’d be a married woman who needed an abortion I didn’t want, and couldn’t find a doctor to give it to me.

For the next 10 days I thought about the idea of getting rid of a baby I had grown to want desperately. A Canavan’s baby would have seizures, its brain would deteriorate, it would become paralyzed and blind, and eventually it—he—would die. He would spend years in agonizing decay, and we’d have to watch every day of it.

I wept every day. I thought endlessly about odds and what they meant. Seventy-five percent seemed good one minute; the next minute, I was devastated.

We arrived at the genetic counselor’s office to learn our results. It turned out we won the lottery. My baby was not affected, not even a carrier. He was born the following January, a strapping 9 pounds, 5 ounces. He is now 14, a freshman in high school. Having him was the greatest decision I ever made, but being forced to carry a terminally ill baby would have been the greatest tragedy of my life. That is why I am committed to keeping second-trimester abortions safe and legal.

Ms. Jong-Fast is author of “The Social-Climber’s Handbook: A Novel.”

Former US Navy officer, banker and venture capitalist, Donald A. Collins, a free lance writer living in Washington, DC., has spent over 40 years working for women’s reproductive health as a board member and/or officer of numerous family planning organizations including Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Guttmacher Institute, Family Health International and Ipas. Yale under graduate, NYU MBA. He is the author of From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013.

From the Dissident Left: A Collection of Essays 2004-2013

By Donald A. Collins
Publisher: Church and State Press (July 30, 2014)
ASIN: B00MA40TVE
Kindle Store

Back in 1991, the NGO Don Collins founded in 1976, International Services Assistance Fund (ISAF), co-produced a TV quality 22-minute film called “Whose Choice?” which Ted Turner arranged to broadcast on September 21, 1992 in prime time on his then independent Turner Broadcast System (TBS). Other outlets such as PBS and several of its affiliates Collins and his colleagues contacted then refused to run it because of its forthright treatment of the abortion issue, arguing for all women’s right to choose not to have a baby. ISAF has made a new edition of that DVD. The purpose for reissuing this 3rd version of “Whose Choice?” was simply to show the historical urgency that attended those times, still blocked and attacked over 40 years after the Roe v Wade decision in 1973. This video is available for public viewing for the first time.

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