Saturday, January 26, 2013

A Stunning Answer to a Difficult Question

It has been well-documented in this blog how much The Lady F and myself love our daughter Lafawnda (for any new readers, no, we didn't name her that any more than my parents named me The Old Fossil).  We are so please with both of our children that the buttons just fly off our vests.  We love and support life.  We are way pro-life.  We love our pets, we love our kids, we love our parents, we love ... 

But, life is not without serious questions and complications.  When the Lady was pregnant with Lafawnda, one of the tests showed her Alpha Fetal Protein out of normal bounds.  I am certainly no expert, nor do I wish to really get into research on this, but it raised the possibility of complications for the fetus and it required an amneosentesis.

We were informed of the things that might be found out, gender being one of them.  The answer we gave them was an easy one for us, for we had no gender preference for the child and wished to find out at the moment of birth.

A second thing that might be found out was a bit more difficult, for it was possible this was a result of the child having Downs Syndrome.  We decided between ourselves immediately that we would carry the child to term if this was the case and would raise it with love.

But, the third thing that was discovered in the Lady F was more troubling by far.  Her own mother was left on a church doorstep and we have no familial history for her at all.  It turns out that my wife was found out to be a Tay Sachs carrier.  Now, for clarity, this was found out at the same time as the AFP test, but was not part of it, it was totally separate.  The decisions were all before us at the same time, though.

Tay Sachs is an extremely cruel and painful disease that causes the onset of mental and physical deterioration beginning at the age of 6 months and continuing until the age of 4 years or so, the time of the child's death.  These children never have a chance at either survival or of life quality until their painful deaths.

I had to be tested to see if I was a carrier also, for it is a recessive trait that is conferred by both parents.  And, before I was tested, we made our decision, that if I was shown to be a carrier and if we could determine that the trait was passed along from both of us, we would abort the fetus.  Fortunately, it never came to that, for I am not a carrier.

I bring this up because we have a debate going on in this country about whether abortion in this country should be legal.  In Arizona right now, a bill is being debated that might turn it into state law that aborting a fetus from a rape is - and I find this insane - tampering with evidence!  Wow.

The effort is to make it absolutely impossible under all circumstances to have a legal abortion.  As we know from past history, many people do abort for reasons I would never choose, but I have shown you one situation under which I would choose it.  And I realize that many zealous factions from the religious right would have that choice taken away from my wife and myself.  I strongly disagree.

I am not a fan of abortion.  I hate the very idea.  But, there are times that I feel it is the most acceptable option.  I also feel that the only one who can ultimately make the choice is the mother and that the choice should fall to no other.

I also agree with Bill Clinton.  Abortion should be legal, but it should be rare.


  1. I wish more people viewed abortion as you do. But sadly, too many people think of abortion as just another form of birth control.

    1. @Delirious

      There are various ways to know that life is sacred and various ways to lose your path. To be human has many complexities and I do not know easy answers to the needs of others. I don't know how many, if any, can really just take it as a form of birth control if you really delve to their core.

  2. Powerful piece, Old Foss.

    FOS (father of my son) made it very clear to me well before we even considered becoming parents that he would not be able to cope with a 'disabled' child. 10/10 for honesty. Considering that we (most certainly I) do come from strong stock the assertion was irrelevant. By the same token he refused to even consider adoption - my own romantic notion being that,in addition to having our "own" (genetically), we might give happiness to an unwanted child through adoption. Never mind. Doesn't matter. It's always the one who say 'NO' to something who has the last word.

    In terms of obstetrics my age not only deemed me to have an amnio, with regards to FOS I had no choice. As it happened we produced a bright spark, no toes missing. All I know is that abortion is partly made too much of, partly too little. To call it some type of "post coital contraception" makes me laugh. I have yet to find a woman who makes light of the emotional impact of an abortion. Call it an accident, pop a pill. Sure, some of us are more rational to tick it off as not much more than having a molar extracted. Don't be fooled.

    And let's remind ourselves that nature itself is the greatest abortionist of all times. When it [nature] has its feelers out you will abort/miscarry. Survival of the fittest and all that.

    My own credentials? I was conceived (indeed born) out of wedlock. My mother was offered an abortion. She declined. And lived with "the shame". Now bloggers have to live with the fallout via my comments. Lucky you.

    Strange about the abortion discussion going on in the States, a country considered by so many as leading the world. By not legalizing it you'll go the way of the bendy steel coat hanger. Fact is (see my credential above) if you were never born you will not know the difference just as we do not after we have died. And of course it should always be the mother's decision. As much as my heart bleeds for some fathers who are not given any say in the matter. Yet, it's her who not only carries for nine months but forever.

    I am so very glad it worked out for you, Lady Foss and the deliciously named Lafawnda.


    1. @Ursula

      The father is ever so close to the child. He should ideally have a loving and respectful relationship with the mother where solutions are worked out together. In the real world, this is often not the case and I believe that because of her intimate relationship with the child gestating in her body, the ultimate decision must be the mother's. I do not say this at all lightly.

  3. Coming as I do from a so called backward country mired in ancient religious beliefs and battling its own internal religious strife, but for all that where abortion is legal and is advertised widely, I find it strange that countries so called exactly the opposite to that of mine, are still battling this old conundrum. This question comes to mind - "Why do Conservatives seem to believe that outlawing guns won't prevent gun violence, but outlawing abortion will prevent abortion?"

    And since we are in a fessing up situation here, let me share a story too.

    I was all of 18, living alone and trying to make my way in the world to the best of my ability when my girl friend got pregnant. Abortions were not legal then in India and this was disaster of the greatest magnitude for both of us. I tried to borrow money from a couple of relatives who I thought would help considering the enormity of the situation, but both flatly turned me down and suggested that I marry the girl. The problem was that she did not want that option due to her own family problems. I solved the problem eventually through a very dangerous and expensive illegal procedure.

    Later, after I had stopped being a nogoodnick, and I became a respectable member of the family, the same two relatives asked how I had solved the problem and I explained. I was also able to forgive them for their stand as when they explained it when I was much older, it made sense to me.

    I am not neutral on this issue. I am pro choice as I saw first hand what the girl went through before the solution was found.

    As I have said many times before, things happen and so far in my case, they have been experiences that have taught me to accept what comes my way without being judgmental and it works.

    1. I am pro choice, but I understand where many conservatives are coming from. They believe the child is a full person at conception and they believe abortion of them is murder. The moral choice for them is clear and I respect their vantage point. Where I break with many of them is that the world is as it is and their efforts drive abortion back into the back alley. I also find them inconsistent in not being crusaders for the care of children from unwanted pregnancies. I also see many of them going way too far in trying to ban abortion from rape, from situations like Tsy Sachs, from situations endangering the mother's health.

      Beyond these matters, I personally feel it is up to the mother. Period.

  4. I have never been in this position, so really have no right to make comment or judge others. In my heart of hearts I do feel that abortion should be legal, but it should be rare.

    1. @Grannymar

      I can endorse everything you said.

  5. I am against abortion as a means of birth control - and I am pro choice. No government should have the right to dictate to any woman regarding her body. Like you Fos, I see both sides of the equation and can understand where those who believe life begins at conception are coming from. I do not happen to agree with that notion - to me "life" begins when the unborn has a reasonable chance of survival - which makes me against late term abortions. Basially third trimester is out other than veery rare circumstances in which the mother's life is in grave danger. And by that time the child has a reasonable chance of survival if delivered early so it is almost a moot point.

    In a similar vein - we have no way of knowing of course but I wonder if Lynn & I would have had kids if we'd known about her HD. As it stands now we have children each with a 50% chance of inheriting the gene (they both refuse to be tested) and thus the disease - and if either of them have HD each of their kids has a 50/50 chance of having HD. If I had any real knowledge of what this disease/condition is all about I cannot with any degree of honesty say I would have wanted kids knowing Lynn had it.

    1. As you know from my post, I totally understand what you are saying. Life can offer us brutal choices to make.

  6. I remember too well the days before abortion was legal. I have friends whose lives were endangered by back-alley abortionists and may we never go back to such awful times. Around the time I was working for the airlines, there were many young women seeking abortions and would fly to somewhere like Mexico City for them. This was okay for the wealthy, but it left those without the money to use the old coat hanger or quinine way. Terrible, terrible, terrible.

    I believe in a woman's choice and I have a difficult time with those righteous bastards on the pro-life side who believe they have God on their side and there is only one answer -theirs.

    1. @Maria

      Considering what the implications are all the way around, it is no wonder that people have such strong feelings. I also know of a woman who almost died in my mother's generation from a back-alley abortion.


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