I’m fired up right now. Which is kind of shocking because it’s 11pm on a Saturday night and I’ve been working all night, and usually I’m a pile of exhaustoid dust by now. But, I’m gonna run with it.
(I also fully recognize that this post might ruffle some feathers, and while I invite spirited debate, personal attacks and general meanness will get your comment removed. I mean, duh.)
So, recently a fellow blogger took on the very complicated issue of selective reduction – from a theoretical perspective. She mentioned that she and her partner had made a careful and well thought out decision that IF the situation arose, they would likely chose to reduce to two fetuses. She followed this up with very thought out and self aware paragraph about reconsidering going forward with further IUIs when there was the chance of higher order multiples.
There was a comment left on this blog which urged her to reconsider and mentioned something about “killing babies” when discussing selective reduction. She said she found it particularly distasteful for people who had conceived through advanced reproductive therapies to pursue selective reduction, and that if someone went forward with an IUI (or, I assume, other ART treatment) knowing there was a chance of conceiving high order multiples, they should “take the consequences.”
I left a comment in response, but I also really wanted to follow up on my previous posts about how deeply intwined I think ART and other kinds of reproductive choice (like birth control and abortion) are, and why those of us actively TRYING to get knocked up should give a lot of shits when legislation or other rhetoric pops up that is against things that make NOT having babies possible. (for reference, you can see my past posts here and here)
In Colorado, a small but very persistent group has been working to get a “personhood” measure into the state constitution for quite a few years. Every time it’s been brought to the people, it has been defeated easily. This year, the group has changed their tack and have billed it the “Brady Bill” by co-opting the heartbreaking story of a pregnant woman struck by a drunk driver who subsequently lost her pregnancy (at approximately 7 months along.) Of course, this is horrific and there should be (and are!) laws in place that protect women in this situation. Unfortunately, this group is once again trying to define “personhood” as beginning at the moment of fertilization.
The consequences of this are far reaching. It would outlaw ALL abortion at any phase, and could put some birth control into question as well. It would also OUTLAW IVF. It could make it possible for women who miscarry to be investigated for MURDER. It would make medical records PUBLIC. It is super scary.
And I really, really hope it won’t pass. And I do generally believe that the people of my great (and widely “purple”) state will defeat the measure, again. But I also don’t doubt the power of a good sob story, and this is a good one. It’s just being really deeply abused in this case.
Unfortunately, there are bills like this popping up all over the place, and in some places, their likelihood of passage is much greater.
So, here’s what it ultimately comes down to for me:
I am grateful to have the CHOICE to have babies in the way I am. Without IVF, my ability to create a family would be limited. For many of us, it would be impossible. We need these therapies in order to realize our dreams. My choice to bear a child is no better or more noble than another person’s decision NOT to have one.
I honestly believe that if we want to have our choices about our reproductive health respected, we have to respect every one elses. That includes abortion – for whatever reason – whether that is to reduce a pregnancy to a healthier and more sustainable number of embryos/fetuses, or because you just don’t want to have a child. When we start saying our choices are better than others – in a broad and generalized sweeping way – we undermine the choices we have made.
As hard as we have fought to get pregnant, if the situation forced us to consider termination. . .. because of health or some other god-awful unforeseen circumstance, I would indeed consider it. And I would want my choice to terminate a pregnancy to be as supported and as legal as my choice to start a pregnancy.