Sometimes I hear those of a more liberal beat ask conservatives "What are you so afraid of?" Because of course we only disagree with liberal opinions out of fear or hatred or stupidity. A (pro-choice) friend of mine posted this article on her facebook wall, suggesting that we should be all for insured abortion because of this woman's very horrific story.
Heartbeat: My Involuntary Miscarriage and 'Voluntary Abortion' in Ohio
The pain of a fatal diagnosis for your unborn child is unfathomable, and I cannot imagine the grief. I have never faced her dilemma, nor wrestled with the pain of losing a much-wanted baby. I do take issue with Ms. Mann's rabbi, who declares that her baby has not drawn breath, and is therefore not a life:
The idea of "removing" my baby, my fetus, while its heart was still beating was simply unbearable. Was it living? Was it still growing? Would I be stopping the heartbeat, cutting short its life? And what do I do after the operation? Do I bury it? I didn't understand what I had inside of me and I didn't understand what I should do. I called a dear friend, an Orthodox rabbi, who I knew would be both compassionate and firm. After consulting with his rabbi, he said the case was clear. In situations where the mother's health is at risk and the fetus (he explicitly said fetus) is not viable, Jewish law errs on the side of the mother's health. I should have the operation and I should not bury the fetus -- it is not a life.
Perhaps this rabbi is unfamiliar with the Psalmist, who declares in Psalm 139 :13-16:
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
Wonderful are your works;
my soul knows it very well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you,
when I was being made in secret,
intricately woven in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed substance;
in your book were written, every one of them,
the days that were formed for me,
when as yet there was none of them.
As I continued to read, I discovered that there is indeed something that I, as a conservative, am afraid of. Ms. Mann writes:
The next morning I got the following message [from the physician's office], "Because your fetus still has a heartbeat, it has been our experience that insurance companies in Ohio will not cover the costs of the operation. They consider it an optional abortion. Our office suggests that you go to Planned Parenthood, which will only run you $800. If you go to the hospital it will be over $10,000." I was stunned. What did my insurance company want, for me to have a dangerous late-stage miscarriage or go through the risks of labor to give birth to a stillborn?
That last line struck fear in my heart, because I suddenly wondered what would happen in the future if our country continues to devalue the life of the unborn. Could I, in the same situation, be forced to abort my baby because of a fatal prenatal diagnosis? Would I face a time when the lowest cost option is the only option afforded by insurance? Would I have to exercise my "freedom of choice" and choose between an insurance-covered termination or monumental debt so that my child might live as long as possible, and die within the warm confines of my womb rather than at the hand of a physician?
I always thought of being pro-life as being "pro-the life of other people's babies." Now, I think, it would be wise for me to be consider voting pro-life as voting for the protection of my own babies as well, that their lives, created by the one who created us all, end only when He ordains it.