Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Blog for Choice 2013: A Little Brother

Anonymous Guest Blogger (Member, BSSRJ)
This post is part of Blog for Choice 2013, launched by Boston Students for Sexual and Reproductive Justice (BSSRJ).

When pro-choice advocates say “it’s not a baby, it’s just a bunch of cells,” I wonder whether they know what the joy of a wanted pregnancy feels like, and whether they’ve witnessed the pain of losing a child.  I wonder if they can understand why for me, being pro-choice is entirely compatible with thinking of pregnancy as the start of life.  I wonder whether it’s possible for pro-choice advocates to understand how the right to abortion is just as important for people who want to get pregnant as for those who do not.
I was supposed to have a little brother.

When I was a toddler, my parents were thrilled to conceive again.  After years of fertility problems, they hardly believed their luck -- first a healthy girl, and now with my mom nearing 40, a little boy on the way.  They named him after a beloved grandfather and shared the news with family and friends.

I can imagine my father’s face when he first heard about the results of the genetic test, because over 20 years later he still lowers his voice and looks pained when he tells me.  “The doctor said he had never seen a baby with such severely malformed chromosomes survive past birth.  He said even if our son was born alive he would die soon after, probably in pain.”

Although my mother’s health was not in danger, my parents decided to terminate the pregnancy late in the second trimester.  They hoped this would be more humane for my brother, and would allow them more time to heal and maybe try again. Though I never saw him in person, my mother showed me photos of my brother’s misshapen body and face when I asked about him years later.  She keeps them with his death certificate and her hospital bracelet in a small album in her study.  He was buried with other miscarried and aborted babies at the hospital.

Without Roe v Wade, my parents would have been forced to continue a doomed pregnancy, and to watch their child suffer and die in labor or shortly thereafter.  The loss of this precious time may have even prevented them, as older parents, from being able to conceive my sister the next year.
I was supposed to have a little brother, but I have a wonderful little sister instead.  And I have parents who still mourn their lost child, but who were free to do what they thought was best for their family because our laws protected their freedom of choice.

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