Well: today is Our Lady’s birthday, ie the birthday of the woman who at the supreme moment of human history said “yes” to life – so why not another blog on this subject in the aftermath of the failure of the Dorries/Field amendment?
I encountered two stories yesterday, both offering an alternative perspective to that offered by eg the ubiquitous Anne Furedi of the British Pregnancy Advisory Service and her legion of feminist supporters. The first story, from US commentator Sheila Liaugminas’s blog, concerns a 21-year-old single mother from Chicago, Amanda Schulten, who has learnt that she is carrying conjoined twins. Scans show that they have separate heads but share a heart, liver and lower torso and the doctors have told her that their survival is very unlikely; if they don’t die before birth, they will die soon after. Abortion is advised.
This young woman, a devout Catholic (I hear the sneers of pro-choicers at this point) has chosen not to end her pregnancy despite this medical advice. She believes her twins have been given to her for a purpose, however short their lives will be, and is keeping a blog about her decision and the progress of her pregnancy: check out amanda-faithhopelove.blogspot.com. The Chicago Sun-Times, which broke the story, makes it clear that it does not agree with Miss Schulten’s decision, arguing that keeping the twins alive for their brief lifespan will be a huge burden on the state and that their quality of life will be minimal.
Yet, interestingly (and I can’t see the Times or the Guardian over here adding this comment) the Sun-Times concludes its editorial with “We defend her right to choose [life]. What she chooses is her business.”
My second encounter was with a friend who told me that she had just learnt her daughter was pregnant. My friend is an atheist, a feminist and “pro-choice”; the daughter’s relationship with the father is shaky and likely to end; the father himself has many problems; they have no money and nowhere to live; all in all, a classic “crisis pregnancy”. My friend made it clear that the whole thing is a very bad show; her own house is small, her daughter is difficult, the father is unsuitable and she has no wish to give up her own independent lifestyle to look after the baby (as she fears will happen).
When she concluded there was a pause. I remained silent. Then she said: “Look, I don’t know what will happen, but I’ve also told my daughter that I will support her over the baby, that she can stay here with me and that we’ll manage somehow. After all, we’re talking about my grandchild.”
As Sheila Liaugminas comments in her blog: “We tend to forget that carrying a crisis or difficult pregnancy to term is the other choice.”
Let’s not forget it.