By Gina Liggett
I came across this compelling story as a Letter to the Editor in a local Colorado newspaper, Ft. Collins: Now. This personal story of a couple's sorrowful situation of an unsuccessful pregnancy would become a courtroom nightmare and a medical crisis for the woman under a law granting personhood to fertilized eggs.
Proposed amendment would limit options for parents
by Lynne Hull
I am writing out of concern about the proposed "life begins" proposal, Amendment 48. It looks simple and straightforward. It is in fact an enormous step back to the puritan past.
Recently a young friend of mine, in her mid 30s, married, building a career, new owner of a townhouse in a good neighborhood, looking forward to starting a family, discovered she was pregnant. At first very excited, but increasingly ill, she went to her doctor, who discovered the fetus was not growing, not thriving, possibly damaged and unlikely to come to full term. My friend was having "an incomplete miscarriage." There was really no chance for the fetus survive, it had stopped developing and had started to miscarry but the process was going very, very slowly.
After a few more weeks of growing illness for my friend and no change in the fetus, her doctor suggested three options: to simply continue to watch and wait (while she continued a slow and inevitable miscarriage for who knew how long), to use a drug which would cause a fairly quick and uncomfortable miscarriage at home (essentially causing contractions), or come in to the hospital for the immediate surgical removal of the fetus. It seemed to both her and her husband that far and away the kindest thing for all of them was the surgery, even though it had been a wanted pregnancy that they were hoping for. They chose to do the minor procedure to free my friend up for an attempt at a healthier pregnancy more likely to result in a healthy baby. Only a few months later, this has happened and my friend and her young husband are looking joyfully forward to a baby next year. She mentioned that it seems to be fairly common among "older" young mothers who have used birth control for several years to lose the first pregnancy.
If Amendment 48 is passed, her experience would have been much different. Not only could she not have been freed of an unhealthy situation, her health could have deteriorated badly, and the fetus could have taken months to die or could have been born badly deformed. Isn't one of the purposes of modern medicine to improve our life and health, not degrade it? Also, if Amendment 48 is passed, she might not have had the time to build her career, afford a house, and mature into a wonderful future mother. Several of the birth control methods she used for that time could become illegal. Young women who find themselves raped, drugged or unexpectedly unprepared will be deprived of the morning after pill, which currently offers them protection.
Why would we want to take our medical and health professions backward in time with this medieval attitude, and endanger the health of our young women?