From Australia this week, we learn that women and girls who have an abortion are more at risk of depression, anxiety and substance abuse.
Last night, two characters in the NBC television medical drama/soap opera, “ER,” were confronted with unexpected pregnancies, in the episode titled, “If Not Now.” One “chose” abortion, another did not.
The medical facts in “ER” are usually fairly accurate, although the characters and situations are extreme and set up for all the drama and sensationalism that the writers can milk from the stories. I can only recall a single healthy childbirth – that of Susan, one of the original Emergency Department residents who later became an attending physician (she’s no longer with the show – life was too good, I guess). Even this marriage and pregnancy began with a fling between strangers who later fell in love and decided to begin a family.
The most recent story concerned “Abby,” a 37 year old unmarried woman doctor who is a recovering alcoholic and who has a a family history of bipolar disease, and a 15 year old girl from a religious family who presents to the ER after being the victim of date rape.
First, I wonder whether the writers have ever actually talked to a pro-life, religious person or whether they just read a few pamplets or visited a website for reference. Most of the dialogue between the girl, her parents and the doctors was totally unrealistic and stereotyped. The actual views expressed (“It’s against G_d.” “A new life has begun.” “The baby shouldn’t be punished.” “It’s G_d’s will.”) were accurate, but they seemed to come from wind-up robots rather than real people in a real situation.
A second point is that this was one of the worst examples of “informed consent” that I have ever seen. The doctor – “Luka Kovac,” an attending physician who is also the father of Abby’s child and has other problems in his past– proceeded with placement of laminaria in order to “give G_d the chance to change his mind,” and induce what he called a miscarriage. In effect, the doctor not only deceived the parents of the girl and acted in direct opposition to their wishes (which, evidently is legal in Illinois), but he lied to the girl. This girl believes that abortion is “against G_d,” had not dealt at all with her rape, has a history of risky behavior, and had only found out about her pregnancy that day. She is in danger of severe psychological and behavioral consequences, and the abortion and deception of her parents can only increase her guilt and the isolation from those who could and should be the safest, best and appropriate counselors, support and shelter for her.
Third, what was the hurry???
There was an interesting moment when the woman resident, “Neela,” who was involved in the case asked permission from Luka to present the case to another attending, “who is not Catholic.” Luca reacted with a controlled anger, stating that he is first a doctor who cares for patients without any bias. However, unknown to the resident, he has already been shown as biased toward the position that, although he would prefer that Abby “keep it,” whether or not she aborts their child is her “choice.”
What an awful world where women and girls are placed in the position of “choosing,” all alone and in themselves, whether to continue a pregnancy or to have someone kill their child! Whether for their own good at the time or in the future, for the “good” of the child who is at risk of disease or the result of rape after the mother passes out from drinking, or because the mother is young. I recall the horror and empathy people had for another fictitious character in “Sophie’s Choice.”
“Feminists for Life” is an organization that stresses that most abortions harm at least two people: the child whose life is ended and his mother. Take a look at their website for the “herstory” of abortion.