Granted, this case from the Ottawa Citizen is not representative of every woman seeking an abortion, but it does raise the question of, “What constitutes choice?”. Here are some highlights from the article:
Anna, first, asked her mother whether she would help her, if she had the baby. Her mother flatly refused, saying, “I do not want to waste my life babysitting.” Her male partner said he “wasn’t interested in a kid” and their relationship has since broken up. She tried to get an appointment with her gynecologist to discuss her options, but the first available one was two months away. She then contacted an abortion clinic, which gave her an appointment in two weeks, at which time Anna was nine weeks pregnant. She said, “I went to them to get information on abortion, to know more about my options, the consequences of an abortion. I was open to getting an abortion, because that was what everyone around me recommended I do. I saw abortion as an option, but was really not sure. I was hoping for some answers.”
What answers did Anna (not real name) get?
Anna met, first, with a nurse for a “consent interview.” She said, “The nurse told me that at this stage of the pregnancy the fetus is just a bunch of cells. I also asked her if the abortion would have any impact on my health, my future pregnancies, and so on. She said abortions had no impact at all, no consequences at all, that all that I had read (to the contrary) were myths. The nurse said, ‘In two weeks, it will be as if all this never happened’.”
Anna changed into a hospital gown and was taken into an examination room where a technician proceeded to do an ultrasound. Anna asked what the fetus looked like and could she see the ultrasound. She said, “The technician told me she was not allowed to show me the images and I was unable to see the screen,” which showed the fetus. At nine weeks gestation, it would have had a beating heart. The technician then picked up the printout of the ultrasound, but dropped it on the floor. She scrambled to gather it up quickly, saying, “You don’t want to see this.” But that’s exactly what Anna did want.
So, Anna was told that her 9-week old baby was just a “bunch of cells”, that after 2 weeks she will be as good as new and she did not have to worry herself with those pesky ultrasound images. That’s great information! Choice wins the day! But all kidding aside, this girl wanted information and was not given any so she had an abortion.
Anna said that “the attitude in Quebec, that ‘of course you should have an abortion, it is of no consequence’, is not true.” She explained, “I feel terrible. I can’t go to work. I’ve started seeing a psychologist. I feel guilty.” She mused, “I wonder why Quebec is like this.”
It’s not just Quebec. These lies about abortion travel all over the world. This is not a case of a woman exercising her choice to have an abortion, this is a case of a woman who did not have support and felt that abortion was her only chance. And, since she was told abortion was more like getting your tonsils removed than the killing of a human being, she thought “what’s the harm?”. I wonder how many more woman there are like Anna, who experienced the wonders of “choice”.