This article is so powerful that it pretty much defies comment. It is a first-person account of a pregnant woman in Texas who learned that her son would be born with horrible, painful birth defects, if he survived long enough to be born at all. Thanks to the vile misogynists who run the state, she was made to suffer several further rounds of emotional torture before she could avail herself of the only viable option, an abortion. All I can say is that the Republicans who support these laws are monsters. If you vote for them, then you’re a monster too.

Here’s the opening, but no excerpt can do it justice. Go read the whole thing.

Halfway through my pregnancy, I learned that my baby was ill. Profoundly so. My doctor gave us the news kindly, but still, my husband and I weren’t prepared. Just a few minutes earlier, we’d been smiling giddily at fellow expectant parents as we waited for the doctor to see us. In a sonography room smelling faintly of lemongrass, I’d just had gel rubbed on my stomach, just seen blots on the screen become tiny hands. For a brief, exultant moment, we’d seen our son–a brother for our 2-year-old girl.

Yet now my doctor was looking grim and, with chair pulled close, was speaking of alarming things. “I’m worried about your baby’s head shape,” she said. “I want you to see a specialist–now.”

My husband looked angry, and maybe I did too, but it was astonishment more than anger. Ours was a profound disbelief that something so bad might happen to people who think themselves charmed. We already had one healthy child and had expected good fortune to give us two.

Instead, before I’d even known I was pregnant, a molecular flaw had determined that our son’s brain, spine and legs wouldn’t develop correctly. If he were to make it to term–something our doctor couldn’t guarantee–he’d need a lifetime of medical care. From the moment he was born, my doctor told us, our son would suffer greatly.


  1. #1 joemac53
    March 16, 2012

    I do not know why lawmakers think that pregnant women have no brains. I have a wife and three daughters. If something like this is introduced in my state, I’m going to punch the lights out of my rep, even if he isn’t the one to do the introducing.
    I would only do this to make myself feel better. I don’t believe violence would really solve anything.
    I hope my kids don’t ever have to go through this anguish.

  2. #2 BobFromLI
    March 16, 2012

    Jason and Carolyn, thank you for taking the time and trouble to detail the pain that this barbaric law inflicts. Here, on Long Island, we have a PP clinic. There is some old male fool out in front every day with a sign that says that abortion is murder. What he doesn’t know hurts us all.

  3. #3 MartinM
    March 16, 2012

    It is a first-person account of a pregnant woman in Texas who learned that her son would be born with horrible, painful birth defects, if he survived long enough to be born at all. Thanks to the vile misogynists who run the state, she was made to suffer several further rounds of emotional torture before she could avail herself of the only viable option, an abortion.

    As amazing as it sounds, the vile misogynists in Oklahoma recently passed a bill which is even worse. There, a doctor who discovers that his patient’s fetus is suffering from some serious condition may now withold that information from his patient. Kansas and Arizona are working on their own versions.

  4. #4 Blaine
    March 16, 2012

    I encourage everyone to read Sarah Blaffer Hrdy’s books:

    1981 – The Woman that Never Evolved.
    1999 – Mother Nature: A history of mothers, infants and Natural Selection.
    2009 – Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origins of Mutual Understanding

    Women are always one generation away from losing their rights. Why do monotheists fear women?

  5. #5 JimR
    March 16, 2012

    Good satire on this in Doonesbury this week in most papers.

  6. #6 SLC
    March 17, 2012

    Re JimR @ #5

    Jerry Coyne has been posting the Doonesbury cartoons on his blog.

  7. #7 Navigator
    March 19, 2012

    Yes, the article defies comment, because the state legislature of Texas is unspeakably vile! But I’m sure for their wives, mistresses and daughters, they would revert to the bad old days, when rich women could go to Europe for a “vacation with friends”. For everyone else, the rusty hanger in a back alley.

  8. #8 Hrt95
    April 5, 2012

    I don’t understand why she felt bad about being subjected to the sonogram for the 3rd time. Doctors, these days, make such outrageous mistakes that you need 10 sonograms to make sure that they are actually eliminating a “defective” baby and not a relatively healthy one. That’s one thing. It’s actually strange that she immediately jumped to the conclusion only after 2 tests. Must be one of those rapid turnarounds.

    Another thing that’s really appalling is that the baby cannot be “corrected” after it’s born, because American doctors, who live in a counry that brags about their intellectually superiority, do not have the capacity to cure this type of baby. However, Americans do find time to bully you until you commit suicide. Wow!

    Thirdly (new word for you), why can’t people who call themselves the best, and great, have such serious problems accepting a baby with developmental peculiarities.

    Forthly, perhaps, before you decide to bring life into this world, you should look around and see where you are bringing it into. There is no guarantee that an absolutely healthy baby will not get damaged after it’s born at any age, and become disabled or disformed. It happens quite a lot. It’s an extremely cruel world, and you may not want to have any kind of children at all. It would be painful to watch them being abused and brutalized for no reason whether they happen to be “perfect” or not.

    I think there is no need to feel bad about having an abortion is you are pro abortion anyway. Is this lady one of those anti-abortion Texans? Therefore, she felt forced into it by fetus’ illness? Did she feel bad about aborting a “baby” or the fact that she had to abort an ill “baby”?

  9. #9 Elte
    April 6, 2012

    The Republican War on Women… (American) women…

    And why didn’t God create men only, and have them reproduce asexually? With no sonogram, abortion or childbirth required!

    Isn’t that alone quite sufficient to indicate that God does not exist?! What happened to inferential evidence obtained through the induction method. It’s not false.

  10. #10 Runee
    April 6, 2012

    In order to steer the topic of this article towards the purpose of our debate, I’d say, it’s highly unlikely that god would create women in a way that we have to grow a baby inside our bodies. Not only that, God, supposedly, made childbirth excruciatingly painful, during which there is always a risk of death or infection. The whole idea of a baby feeding on your body for 9 months, makes me cringe.

    This is another piece of inferential evidence that points to evolution. The mechanisms of evolution are not as intelligent as creationism would be, therefore, we have what we’ve got.

  11. #11 Brimshack
    April 13, 2012

    The men of Texas must be cowards to let anyone treat their women in this manner.

  12. #12 Kei
    April 16, 2012

    You have to also consider the fact that the abortion doctor might feel bad about aborting fetuses, especially, in this type of situation. When you’re judging from your perspective, it obviously seems quite different, but the doctor is the one who has to tear apart the fetus. I would think it doesn’t feel particularly good to perform such procedures. This hospital did attempt to discourage her from having an abortion. May be it’s not such a bad thing if you want to have a baby anyway.

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