an After abortion

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Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Abortion around the world

In Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, A Perfect Baby.

The doctor slid the ultrasound scanner in circular motions over N.'s stomach. He chatted breezily as he described the fetus in her womb, she recalls. "Here are the eyes. And, you see? Here's the heart - good, good." And then he suddenly went silent. "Hmmm, there's a problem," he finally murmured quietly. N., a 27-year-old Tel Aviv woman who was looking forward to becoming a mother for the first time, felt paralyzed. "Up to that point, in all the weeks of my pregnancy, I'd convinced myself that all my fears were just stemming from personal anxiety - and now they were suddenly coming true," she says. And then the doctor explained what the problem was that he'd seen: "It's a boy, but his penis is very small."

After a second examination, the doctor was unable to make an unequivocal diagnosis. N.: "Afterward he said that maybe it was a girl, but in the end he concluded that it was a boy. He said [the problem] didn't appear to be related to any illness, but to be on the safe side, he recommended terminating the pregnancy. He basically told me that I should abort the baby just because he had a small penis."

N. is still in the early stages of her pregnancy and is deliberating over what to do.

The article goes on to contrast attitudes toward genetic testing, and abortions when the child has a medical condition, in the Israeli and German medical communities. It's a fascinating, long article.

Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake, from the Belfast Telegraph, reviews a new biography about Lucia Joyce, daughter of James Joyce. Lucia had an early abortion and "first became a psychiatric in-patient in 1934 and then spent 30 years in a Northampton hospital."

Sydney's Catholic women are far more likely than women of other religions to have an abortion, according to figures published in today's Sydney Morning Herald.

The paper says the statistics were provided by Sydney's main abortion provider, Australian Birth Control Services.

Almost half of the clinic's 6000 patients last year identified their religion and of this group almost 40% said they were Catholic. A further 23% identified themselves as "Christian", while fewer than 5% said they were Protestant. Seven% were Muslim and 5% were Buddhist.

An analysis of women who have had more than one abortion at the clinic since it opened in the late 1980s found that Catholics account for almost 45% of those who identified their religion.

Clinic medical director Dr Geoffrey Brodie speculated that the figure may be even higher because Catholics may be more reluctant than other patients to divulge their religion.

But ethicist and director of the Melbourne-based John Paul II Institute for Marriage and Family Dr Warwick Neville said he would not have expected the number of Catholic women to be so high.

"The church's consistent teaching is that abortion in any circumstance is gravely wrong. [But] the church can never impose its teaching and nor does it seek to police it," he says.

"Where and how people are able to take [the church's teaching] on board and apply it to their lives, the church has no control over.

"But someone who says, 'look, I'm just going to go for an abortion', no one in the church either has any control over that or any understanding as to why they would do that."

That's an unfortunate quote. No one in the Church has "any understanding as to why they would do that"? It isn't true. But if it were true, the remedy to that level of ignorance would be to talk to women who have had abortions.

Abortion at 19 caused life-long infertility for Russian woman.

At age 55, a Russian woman finally learned the cause of her life-long infertility -- the bony remains of the baby she had aborted at age 19 was still lodged in her uterus. Galina Skvortsova learned the news from her gynecologist after an examination to determine the cause of an unrelated condition.

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