With A Sinking Heart

I don’t know why I’m surprised. But I am. I’m shocked, horrified, and dismayed.

It’s finally begun. The long war waged against women’s lives has finally scored a huge, awful, horrid victory.

Thank you, fucking Supreme Court, for wishing me dead. Thank you so fucking much.

I’m actually crying as I write this. I just can’t believe it. God. Let me remind you: there is NO EXEMPTION for the health of the mother. NONE.

Fuck.

Comments Closed

Comments

  1. MomtoNoOne says

    So we’ll have to have emergent c-sections then? Or go to Canada.
    I’m confused on the wording too. Isn’t a partial birth abortion a D&C? Is there a distinction made between a medical procedure like a D&C and a partial birth abortion in which case we can still have late D&Cs?

  2. Angela says

    There are no words. Not that I’m surprised. Bush’s MO is to destroy the rule of law; what’s to stop him and his cronies on the Supreme Court now? This scares me to death because if I get pregnant, does that mean I have to die if things go wrong?

  3. says

    Again, I just read about this and clicked right over to see what you had said. This is awful. Just awful. What about all of us future mothers- what if we get sick? I just can’t fathom it.

  4. says

    Please come to Canada! All of you brilliant awesome women! (I know this would not have helped you Cecily in an emergency like yours, sorry.)
    But if you can’t move here, let me know if you all want to set up an underground railroad.
    Shopping trip to Toronto/Vancouver anyone?

  5. Jenni says

    So if I get pregnant again with my chronic HBP but am not so lucky as I was this time and my health is in danger before viability they will just let me die? Or just do a c-section instead, a more complicated and dangerous condition instead? This is pure madness. I have to wonder if some docs will just do it anyway.
    Do many women even do this sort of abortion anyway? I don’t know enough about it, but I know in many cases it is a necesity for WANTED children when things go wrong.
    This administration has no soul and the sad thing is that even if the country suddenly stopped drinking the kool-aid and elected decent leaders we’d have the courts still packed with a shower of conservative bastards until they drop dead. And mean people seem to live longer!

  6. says

    I’m absolutely terrifed. I just hope everything goes okay with my pregnancy. I feel like I’m living in some sort of dystopian sci-fi world, where I’m only valued for my ability to produce babies. Call me naive, but I really didn’t think this would pass without an exception for the mother’s health. I feel so degraded right now.

  7. says

    I’m not how refusing an abortion in ANY case is medically ethical. How do they get around that? It’s a conundrum, and I see lawsuits coming. Wrongful-death ones, probably, and the cost of prenatal care just skyrocketed, too, dontcha know.
    My feelings on abortion are mixed, but I do NOT like being told what to do with my body so that puts me in the pro-choice camp. I think.

  8. says

    Thank you, Ruth Bader Ginsburg for speaking up for the country’s women. Too bad we don’t have more justices like you. Ya’ know…FEMALE justices?!

  9. says

    I am appalled as well, but, I want to address some questions raised above. The law does not disallow second trimester abortions – instead, it is going to require a different procedure (one that requires the dismemberment of the fetus in utero). Doctors groups have stated that the procedure of removing the fetus intact can be safer for women in certain cases.
    So, basically, what the Supreme Court is saying here is, “you can still have an 2nd trimester abortion, but, you cannot have THIS kind of abortion, you have to have a kind that might be less safe, depending on your particular circumstances.”
    It’s assanine and the Justices should not be making decisions that doctors need to make. And, I am sure that they will try to use this ruling now to attempt to make illegal that other kind of procedure.
    But, to be clear on the legalities, this ruling does not outlaw 2nd trimester abortions. (not yet anyway.)
    Waiting for the other shoe to drop,
    Gretchen

  10. wookie says

    Yeah, we all knew that was coming. Doesn’t make it any less painful.
    So what are the alternative procedures that they’re touting, anyway? And what procedure, specifically, are they forbidding, or are they leaving that part fuzzy so that doctors will let women die on the table rather than risk a lawsuit?
    No one benefits from this. No one.

  11. says

    What so infuriates me about this – about the REAL LIVES that will be lost, about the women who will lose their kidney function, their brain function, their uteruses because of this – is that it was entirely forseeable when Bush nominated both Justice Roberts and Justice Alito.
    There were forward-thinking Democrats, especially women, who supported a filibuster to the Alito nomination precisely because they knew that appointing him FOR LIFE to the Supreme Court would have disasterous consequences for women for GENERATIONS.
    All the Republicans enthusiastically supported Bush’s nominee. And, sadly, most Democrats refused to even consider a filibuster. I am SO ANGRY with people like Joe Lieberman who gamed the system to have it both ways — he voted against the filibuster when it really counted, thus allowing Alito’s nomination to come to a vote we knew we would lose. Then when Alito was safely going to cruise to appointment, and Lieberman’s vote didn’t matter, he voted against Alito’s confirmation just so he could claim that he opposed him.
    And even worse, NARAL completely let us down by giving Lieberman a free pass in his re-election, giving him credit for voting against Alito’s confirmation even though it was the filibuster that really mattered.
    I’m just so, so, so disgusted by our so-called allies, and so overwhelmingly sad for the real people whose lives will suffer (or be lost) because of this.
    You were the first person I thought of, Cecily, when I heard the news this morning. I’m so grateful that you are here and that this is a place where women really understand the consequences of these “high minded” political decisions.

  12. Amy says

    Cecily, you were the first person I thought of when I saw the news about this decision. Its just so terribly wrong that this country is allowing the SCOTUS to make these decisions for all women, instead of keeping the decision between a doctor and her patient, where it belongs.
    Thank you for being brave enough to continue to share your story and put a real face and name out there for people to see and consider when they think about the issue of “partial birth abortion.” Its only through the efforts of people like you — and the example you provide of what is so wrong with today’s decision — that we have any chance of stemming this tide of moral hypocrisy that poses for current conservatism.
    My heart aches for you today.

  13. Amy says

    And, I should add — my heart aches for all women in this country today. Pro-choice or not, this decision represents a terrible threat to womens’ autonomy, and all should be wise to consider it warily.

  14. Melissa says

    I am really sorry.
    Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) already put up a press release condemning the decision. More are following.
    This afternoon, at 3 P.M., Planned Parenthood and several other women’s groups are holding a rally at the Supreme Court. I intend to be there, being lucky enough to work nearby. I’ll be thinking of your story.

  15. jen says

    I am sitting here absolutely so fucking angry that once again, something that a doctor and a woman should decide has been put into the hands of politicians and asshole Supreme Court justices that I’m crying. So, thank you for your acknowledgment of what a terrible day this is. Although I usually don’t feel so strongly about something, I’m this close to hoping that this becomes an issue in one of the Supreme Court judges lives who voted to not help save the life of a woman that they know and love. I can’t believe this has happened.

  16. says

    Gretchen and others,
    The language in the law forbids “partial birth abortion”, a term that is never used in medical science. Partial-birth abortion does not exist, period.
    And while most people believe that the “partial-birth” term refers to the rare D&X procedure, most doctors who are still trained and willing to perform the more common late-term D&E procedures say that the law is worded so vaguely that it could easily be applied to D&E’s as well. Many providers have already stopped performing D&E procedures altogether because they fear criminal exposure.
    CRIMINAL exposure. They fear going to jail for performing a medical procedure that saves health and lives.
    So, yes. We all have a reason to be concerned. Now. All of us.

  17. says

    I’m another one of those who thought of your instantly when I heard the decision this morning. It’s just too horrifying.

  18. says

    I was shocked to read the first reports of the decision. When people told me they couldn’t tell the difference between Bush and Gore in 2000, I could always say the Supreme Court. And they didn’t get it. God, it makes one think the SCOTUS is a bad setup… Despite knowing it was possible, this feels impossible. Implausible. Stupid.

  19. Mandy says

    This is absolutely sickening. How is it possible that there is no exception for the health/life of the woman? I didn’t think this would happen. I guess I am naive.

  20. Stuffinghead says

    Holy shit! Sympathies to my American friends. What a shocking, sad and terrifying decision. Incredibly disturbing that the Supreme Court Justices are not representative of the population of your country. ONE WOMAN?! Holy fuck. Seriously ladies – come to Canada!

  21. says

    What they are doing is condoning murder.
    If they say that you cannot take a baby late term to save the mother they are murdering the mother. Thats a plain as can be.
    Doctors have that help not hurt creed, I cannot see how they can accept this with a light heart.
    d i s g u s t i n g.

  22. Stephanie says

    Thisw is a quote from Thomas (found on Instapundit)
    “I also note that whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court. The parties did not raise or brief that issue; it is outside the question presented; and the lower courts did not address it.”
    Sounds like there is still a way to get it overturned…small hope, but at least it is one.

  23. says

    You know I love you Cecily, and you know I tip toe around this on your blog whilst donning my flame retardent underwear!
    Nonetheless it was early delivery of the pregnancy that was life saving. PBA was not the only option in accomplishing that.

  24. Abigail says

    Oh Cecily. I’m sorry for you, I’m sorry for all of us. It is sobering to know just how much they hate us.
    Shut up Elena.

  25. says

    You are the very first person I thought of when I heard what they did. I have no words.
    Just please, don’t let them define the value of your life. They know nothing.

  26. e-nonymous says

    Next president: Democrat. There’s probably going to be a huge push this time for women to vote. My jaw dropped when I saw this on the news today.
    Let’s not all bash Elena. She’s got a right to her own opinion and probably pro life license plates too.

  27. Catherine says

    Elena: partial birth abortion doesn’t exist, as I’m sure you well know.
    And in Cecily’s case, as you DAMN WELL KNOW, there wasn’t TIME for a more complicated, dangerous prodedure. They needed to terminate the pregnancy immediately, before she died.
    And also,…you know what? Deleting this last part. You are not worth it.

  28. says

    Elena, I am so glad you and your medical degree, and your residency and fellowship in L&D were there when Cecily’s life was in the balance. And that you applied all your years of expertise to reviewing her chart and monitoring her vital signs and such.
    Oh, wait… So you DON’T have the degrees? You WEREN’T there? But you DO know what the options were?
    Well, that makes you just about qualified for the Supreme Court, doesn’t it?

  29. Lisa says

    I was driving to work, listening to the fantastic “Air Talk with Larry Mantle” on NPR, and (being truly fair and balanced, no sarcasm intended) he had a woman from Planned Parenthood and a right-to-life man.
    As part of his closing remarks, the right-to-lifer said that “with our new medical technology” there was “no such thing” as a pregnancy threatening a woman’s life, which is, of course, a blatant and disgusting lie, and I was screaming at the radio like a maniac, “NOT TRUE!!!”
    Ugh, I am so very upset by this turn of events.

  30. says

    Ya know, I really wish Bush and his cronies would keep their fucking noses out of MY bush.
    I’m sorry Cecily. I’m sorry for your pain. I know this is ripping your heart out. We will fight this!

  31. Laura M. says

    Oh Cecily, You were the first person I thought of this morning too. I clicked over here as soon as I heard the news. Have you ever read The Handmaid’s Tale, by Maraget Atwood? That’s what this makes me think of, where this country is headed. Its very fucking scary.

  32. says

    The Bush administration is just the gift that keeps on giving, aren’t they?
    Cecily, I wish more people knew your story.
    Ruth Bader Ginsburg, thank you for speaking up.
    And as for second-guessing what happened to Cecily? Oh lord, that is so twisted. Just wondering whether the boys would have lived if she hadn’t… oh yes, that’s right. Not a chance in hell. So it would have made sense to risk her life with a more complicated procedure? Um… right, no also. I don’t think she should ever have to be second guessed for being here.

  33. says

    This sickens me as well. I’m getting thoroughly tired of MEN making decisions that affect the lives of every woman. Especially when those decisions are not based on any fact but instead are weighed heavily on religious beliefs.

  34. marion says

    “I also note that whether the Act constitutes a permissible exercise of Congress’ power under the Commerce Clause is not before the Court. The parties did not raise or brief that issue; it is outside the question presented; and the lower courts did not address it.”
    Yeah, there’s a reason Thomas – Mr. “The Commerce Clause does not give Congress unlimited powers” – mentioned that. There’s also a reason that Kennedy, who wrote the majority opinion, specifically mentioned that the challenge was not upheld because it was made “facially” rather than on behalf of someone directly affected by the law (unlike in, say, Roe v. Wade, in which “Roe” was a woman who couldn’t get an abortion). When two of the five justices voting for something are giving you hints about how to argue the other way, they’re signaling that the decision isn’t exactly ironclad. I really hope that Planned Parenthood’s lawyers are reading up on the Commerce Clause right this second.
    One note: Lawmommy would know more about this, but it’s my understanding that the law they upheld allows the procedure if necessary to save the LIFE of the mother. The issue is that there’s no “health” exemption, supposedly because it would be applied too broadly (whatever). Assuming my understanding is correct, I can’t see anyone being able to support an argument in a Cecily-type situation that she was undergoing the procedure for anything less than life-saving reasons. The problem’s going to be when it’s anything besides an immediately-life-threatening situation.
    Ugh. I prefer my medical decisions to be made by people who have actually attended medical school, thank you.

  35. Genie says

    Cecily, I too thought of you first when I heard this and cried for you and all of us. My baby and I thankfully survived my bout with pre-eclampsia, but this certainly gives me more pressing concern about the wisdom of trying again. Sickening.

  36. Melissa says

    Elena: Not being a doctor myself, I look to the professional groups for guidance. ACOG took a position on so-called PBA (really dilation and extraction).
    While the procedure is gruesome, so too are other life-saving procedures. Heart surgery and transplantation aren’t exactly leisurely viewing.
    But, more than any gut-churning reaction to the procedure’s description, ACOG and other groups support access to it because it is less risky than dilation and evacuation. Less risk of uterine puncture (and secondary infection) or cervical damage which might impede a future pregnancy.
    Having been a woman’s health advocate professionally for some time now, I can say that none of the women I’ve met who have undergone this procedure have done so lightly. They have all wanted — in some cases desperately wanted — to be pregnant. Then, through whatever horrid circumstances, they needed to terminate the pregnancy.
    The procedure does preserve the fetus (or unborn child, take your pick) and some women I’ve spoken with find comfort in seeing the remains.
    No ethical doctor would perform this procedure lightly. No woman or woman’s medical decision-marker I’ve met agreed to it without due consideration. It is done in the very worst of times to preserve hope for better future.

  37. says

    I saw that this morning and thought of you immediately. It is such a big FUCK YOU to women. UnBELIEVEABLE.
    It amazes me that these people made this decision and DARED to say it was in the name of humanity. So, does that mean that the mother is below human status to receive proper care and consideration??! What other option do they suggest to save the mother’s life, or does she matter at all?
    I really can’t stand it.

  38. Charlie says

    One can only wonder what’s next … a repeal of the 19th Amendment?
    Dark days, these.

  39. Mallory says

    Hi all-
    This is my first time posting on this site. I randomly came across Cecily’s site while doing a random search on tattoo designs. God had a weird way of bringing me to this site, my tattoo artist was named Sweet Cecily. I am currently reading the blog like a book. I started at the very beginning and now I am at about August 2006. I truly feel like there was a weird higher-power thing going on that brought me to this site. I am sober like Cecily and dealing with infertility issues. Through reading her blog I have connected to other blogs in this infertility sphere and have finally found some healing around my own issues with infertility.
    But my issues with infertility are very different than Cecily’s. I have a disease called Marfan’s Syndrome. There is a 50/50 chance I could pass the disease which is genetic to my child. I have heart complications from this disease and my current estimated risk if I were to get pregnant today is that I would also have a 50/50 chance of living, or worse. I can still physically get pregnant. So this decision today absolutely horrifies me. I am not quite sure what to do. Should I move my bum to Canada a.s.a.p. should I call my OB/GYN and inquire about sterilization?
    I have known that the country was moving this way and I always swore that I would get out and fight. That I would pull out my soap-box and rally for women’s rights. I just read the post about the MS. Magazine sign-up if you have had an abortion or support the rights and about another woman fretting about whether to publish her story under her real name or not. I was too scared to sign the MS. Magazine sign-up, for fear of possible results. Today I realized that fear is not a possible consideration anymore. I must stand for my beliefs no matter what.
    Side Note: For people still coming and posting about Cecily’s choice with the boys two years ago, I would like you to do one thing for me before you post again. Go work in a NICU (neo-natal intensive care unit) and take care of a baby that was born at 22 weeks gestation, and tell me if your opinion is still the same. I have worked in a NICU and have seen women who spout Pro-life beliefs until they see the tiny child they forced into this world to early. I have seen those same women run away from the NICU and it is the volunteer’s and the nurses who hold those babies while they die. It is not an uncommon reaction from parents with babies in the NICU.
    Sorry for such a long post,
    Mallory

  40. says

    I’m too angry to read all of the comments but noticed mention of The Handmaid’s Tale. The first thing I did when I heard the news was call a friend’s voicemail. “The Handmaid’s Tale…its happening.” was all I could manage to say.
    We’re doing a pro choice bowl-a-thon next weekend and my kids and I will be thinking of you. Picturing Bush on the ten pin (if the front pin is indeed the ten pin), but thinking of you.

  41. Sarah says

    Cecily,
    Long-time lurker here. I understand where all of you are coming from, and so I don’t want to add to any of the hurt, but I do have a question. In the media reports that I’ve seen and in the copy of the bill that I’ve read, there is an exception for the life of the mother.
    The text of the bill that I’m looking at is here: http://news.findlaw.com/hdocs/docs/abortion/2003s3.html
    The relevant section is:
    “This subsection does not apply to a partial-birth abortion that is necessary to save the life of a mother whose life is endangered by a physical disorder, physical illness, or physical injury, including a life-endangering physical condition caused by or arising from the pregnancy itself.”
    Is there something that I have missed or misunderstood? Please do let me know if that is the case. Thank you!
    Sarah

  42. says

    I never speak about this topic, since I blog publicly and fear maniacs firebombing my home or harming my kids in their fervor to preserve “life.”
    But the biggest irony in the CNN piece was the Bush Administration’s statements about supporting this legislation as part of “building a culture of life.”
    Hmm. Let’s see. “A culture of life.”
    Is building a questionable (at best) body of evidence to send our nation into war, with no plan to get us out of there and faulty/inadequate equipment to protect the troops, thereby ending THOUSANDS of lives to end part of a “culture of life?” (Not to mention how much more danger our citizens are in as a result of this war, as opposed to before we started it).
    Is choosing the life of an unborn child while denying his or her mother the right to save herself part of a “culture of life?”
    How about letting Cecily die with her beloved boys, thereby also denying Tori the chance to show up and delight us all with her smile?
    Or what about fighting handgun and automatic weapons regulations? What purpose do either types of weapon serve in a “culture of life?”
    That haughty hypocrisy makes my head spin, it really does.
    Cecily, I’m sorry you’re crying today; thought of you right away when I saw the headline.

  43. marion says

    Sarah: That’s indeed in the bill. I think one issue, though, is over the question of what constitutes a threat to LIFE as opposed to a threat to HEALTH. Cecily’s situation was life-threatening – as in, her body was shutting down. The problem comes when the situation is less clear…especially when you have health-threatening situations that could easily become life-threatening situations.

  44. says

    The other practical effect of this law, even though there is a narrow exception for the life, not health, of the pregnant woman, is that doctors simply won’t perform the procedure under any circumstances for fear of criminal exposure.
    Do you really think that many doctors will risk jail time, will risk having a jury decide whether a condition like Cecily’s was actually LIFE threatening rather than HEALTH threatening?
    If it’s dangerous for politicians and supreme court justices to be making medical decisions, most doctors I’m sure think it’s even scarier for the average uninformed jurist to make such a determination.
    The sad fact is that few hospitals even had doctors who were trained in this procedure BEFORE today’s ruling. Cecily was lucky in that regard. Fewer and fewer medical students who are considering becoming OBGYN’s are being trained in abortion procedures at all. In this climate – where you could be shot or jailed for practicing medicine, who can blame them?

  45. says

    I read part of the Supreme Court ruling (it’s so long–I didn’t have time to read it all). There is an exemption for the life of the mother. I can’t really understand how a woman’s health could be jeopardized unless this particular form of abortion is performed. Can you help me understand?

  46. Lost says

    Cecily, I am truly sorry for the loss of your babies.
    I don’t want to get flamed or harrassed or anything here … but I’m lost.
    Wasn’t the ban on PBA already in place (since 2003), and the Supreme Court upheld the decision? Why is it any different today than it was in 2003?
    I’m honestly not trying to be flippant, but why is everyone in an uproar over this? Your health insurance company has A LOT more control over your medical needs than the government. Shouldn’t you be more upset with the greedy insurance bastards who only care about their big, brick buildings and multi-million dollar salaries, while our level of care keeps getting lower and lower as costs continue to skyrocket?

  47. kathleen999 says

    I find this whole thing appalling. Why can’t they just say, “unless the life or health of the mother is in danger, according to the judgement of her doctor?” I don’t see how that would be a problem.
    This whole thing sickens me. I predict that soon all abortions will be illegal, so we will once again seeing desparate women getting butchered by non-doctors performing them.
    As to doctors being afraid to perform them…I love my OB/GYN. She told me if they become illegal, she won’t stop doing them. She’ll go to jail first. She feels that strongly about choice. She also does not like the idea of abortion, as at my scan with the boys she said, “It’s hard for me to understand how anyone could have an abortion after seeing a baby move.” But she still feels that it’s right for her to do them safely instead of women dying.
    I am not a big fan of abortion as regards birth control, but as saving the life of a woman, I feel it is an important option. And I don’t feel I have the right to dictate anyone else’s choices, either, just because I generally don’t like the idea of abortion.
    But you know what? I don’t think anyone likes abortion. Even women who have them. But keeping them legal is an important option.

  48. says

    A pregnancy that is not wanted by the woman carrying it, no matter when and no matter why, is a pregnancy that she should not be forced for any reason to continue with.
    This is a chilling decision.
    Does anyone really believe that if a woman cannot gain access to a safe, legal abortion that she will not then be able to gain access to an unsafe one?
    History has already proven that they will. Often with horrific consequences.
    Or is that okay?
    These are questions that I would like to ask the male judges and have them really have to answer.

  49. Sarah says

    Lost -
    The ban on intact dilation and extraction was signed in 2003, but it was immediately suspended until the court cases could be resolved. So yes, a lot has changed since then.

  50. Dana says

    Awful.
    38+ million people voted for American Idol last night, how many do you think even know the most minor detail about this?

  51. says

    Actually, NARAL is complicit in this decision because they did NOTHING to apply pressure to politicians to filibuster Alito’s nomination to the supreme court.
    Now that Roberts and Alito are on the court, they’re on FOR LIFE. And what’s even more scary is that the oldest and sickest members of the Court now are those that were dissenters in this decision. One is 87. EIGHTY SEVEN. If he dies while Bush is still in office, God help us all.
    Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake really eviscerated NARAL today for their complicity in this decision – for supporting politicians who don’t really support choice when it counts:
    http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/04/18/dont-reward-failure-by-giving-money-to-naral/

  52. says

    Maura,
    I assumed from the wording of the decision that the court was clarifying the law to specifically exclude the more common D&E proceedure. The law itself was unclear, but wuth the court decision clarifying it (if it does indeed do that) it seems Doctors would not need to fear that proceedure.
    For the record though, I do find the decision horrifying. I also see the problems that will arise when this proceedure is truely needed to save the LIFE of the mother and the Dr.s are all to scared to do it. Sad. It is only slightly encouraging that some of the assenters seem to be coaching the opposition on how to defeat the law. I hope they learn form it.
    I also think it will backfire on those trying to prevent abortion. Now doctors may push women to do the D&E earlier, before the banned proceedure becomes necessary, so there’s a chance a pregnancy that might have made it just long enough to reach viability will be terminated because of the lack of a safely net of this less risky proceedure. *sigh* the whole thing just sucks. I can’t believe we let Bush appoint two uber-conservative justices without even putting up a fight. Every single Democrat that didn’t oppose these appointments is to blame for this too. It’s just too much to take it. I fear for us all.

  53. courtney says

    Cecily, I know it’s a lot to ask of you, but I wish you would write a piece for the mass media detailing your story. A happily married, church-going (ok, now) mother-to-be who experienced this truly horrible thing and was saved by a late-term abortion. It’d be a great op-ed in the NYT or that My Turn page in Time/Newsweek (?).
    But I guess you’d probably get death threats.
    I’m just so, so depressed by yesterday’s ruling. 6 years into a Bush presidency, and it just keeps getting worse. Sarah Vowell once said on the Daily Show that the whole Bush presidency was a big lack of imagination on her part – she hadn’t even thought to worry about some of the bad things that were going to happen. It’s how I feel, every day.

  54. says

    I thought of you immediately upon hearing this ruling and trying to find the ACTUALLY term for the “Partial Birth Abortion” procedure on the internet.
    It’s a D and X, and the internet is FILLED with anti-abortion groups positively thrilled to tell about it in every gory detail. They say it’s NEVER MEDICALLY NEEDED. Yet the FACOGG people — actual doctors — have found it to be and have a protocol for its use as you sadly know.
    I am deeply ashamed of this Supreme Court, and I hope when the flood gates of legislation open the rush of water gushing back drowns them.

  55. grumpygirl says

    cec, i think thousands of women thought of you today. *far* more that the “huge” (ha ha) women who get these life-saving procedures.
    i blogged about this, i don’t think i can retain friendships with those who voted for bush. some of whom i actually like.
    i want to do something more than sign a petition… how can we get you on dateline? how can we get you a meeting with george bush. how do we get you to testify before congress? i mean this, i’m not rambling. you are the only woman i know whose voice could make a difference, who could show the real face of this lifesaving procedure.
    i’m already sobbing for those women who will die. to quote bob marley, “get up, stand up. stand up for your rights.”
    what can we do to help you get your story out there.

  56. Denzylle says

    I rarely comment to bloggers who get so many comments, for a number of reasons.
    However, why can’t doctors refer to a situation such as yours, where the mother’s life is at risk, as a ‘delivery’, rather than an ‘abortion’?
    I appreciate that the ‘mechanics’ of a ‘delivery’ such as this might be different. There might not be time to induce a vaginal delivery or to perform a C-section, but it *is* still a delivery of a kind.
    I also appreciate that that’s not the point, that the new law would still be wrong, and that finding a way around it is not going to change things in the way that tackling the legal system might.

  57. Slim says

    Yet another reader who thought of Cecily first when I heard the news.
    Thanks to Maura for the heads-up on NARAL. I had planned to donate in response to the ruling. I will still be donating — but not to that pack of invertabrates.

  58. don't understand either says

    The way this procedure was explained to me, (and I’m not saying this is correct–but this is the way it has been explained to a lOT of people), is that the purpose is so that a LIVE child will definately NOT be born.
    (ok-duh, in an abortion-that’s usua;;y the goal-right?), BUT–the distiction here is that (the way that I have been LED to understand)-the child COULD survive, unless it is killed in this way.
    There is a big difference between aborting a child that could NOT survive on it’s own, and one that COULD.
    My understanding is that out-lawing this procedure in the way that it was done prevents aborting viable children.
    There is a sub-culture of moms who say that they need to prevent pain and suferring of thier child, when the child has a condition. Some of them choose this method instead of delivering a sick baby.

  59. says

    I can’t get my head around the logic behind this law.
    Surely if they were going to go after the abortion laws they would’ve started with early abortion? As far as I know nobody gets a late-term abortion for anything other than severe health reasons? Clearly in this instance the mothers have no rights whatsoever?
    Please, please let the UK not follow the US example :-(
    It’s like we’re heading for the Victorian era again, next they’ll be branding people with scarlet letters and burning them for witchcraft!
    It’s enough to make me want to put my head under the blankets and never come out again.
    A

  60. still don't get it says

    What they are doing is condoning murder.(NO. THEY ARE SAYING DO NOT MURDER A CHILD THAT COULD BE DELIVERED ALIVE-THAT IS ALL)
    If they say that you cannot take a baby late term to save the mother they are murdering the mother. (THEY ARE NOT SAYING THAT. THEY ARE SAYING TO DELIVER A LIVING BABY-NOT A KILLED ONE)Thats a plain as can be. (yes-it is)

  61. Katie says

    I thought I agreed with Gretchen – that this law only applies to the D&X, while Cecily had a D&E. But then Maura clarified that the law is really vague, and could be applied to both. The articles I read (at CNN.com probably) did not state or imply that! They made it sound like this was only banning the D&X. While that is still an infringement of freedoms, it would still leave options (D&E).
    As Cecily knows, I am very pro-life, and am repelled by the idea of abortion in any case except to preserve the mother’s life, but I am also very upset when any of our freedoms are removed. As a TRUE Conservative, I believe in SMALL government, not this. I didn’t get worked up about this at first, but I do realize that it could affect ME. If I had an ectopic pregnancy, we (my husband and I) would absolutely want to have it taken care of. If abortion bans continue to be passed, we could end up like countries where they are not allowed to treat even ectopic pregnancies until after the fallopian tube has burst.

  62. says

    I also nearly cried when I heard this. And, now donating to the ACLU and PP. Again.
    I wrote letters to every single senator about Alito. And it didn’t do one whit of good.
    The ‘life’ exception, as I understand it, is in fact the root of the problem. What if the mother will merely lose her uterus? It’s not life-threatening, after all. What if she will lose her sight?
    Kathleen999, when I heard this, I was very afraid that doctors would have to start going to jail again. Good for your OB: she sounds like a woman of conviction.

  63. miss info says

    A pregnancy that is not wanted by the woman carrying it, no matter when and no matter why, is a pregnancy that she should not be forced for any reason to continue with.
    (THE WOMAN IS STILL FREE TO END THE PREGNANCY AT ANY TIME. SHE IS NOT FORCED TO CONTINUE THE PREGNANCY. IF THE PREGNANCY IS UNWANTED–IT CAN BE TERMINATED-BUT.
    INSTEAD OF KILLING THE BABY-THE BABY IS DELIVERED. LET’S TELL THE TRUTH HERE-OK?)
    I’m very sorry for Cecily’s loss, but I think we’re all real confused here. There are a lot of posts here like the above-which are just not true. There are woman who desperately want thier babies, but make the choice to terminate the child’s life before it can be born because they have been told that upon birth, the child will have nothing but horrible pain. It is called a heartbreaking choice. In Cecily’s case–it seems that she really had no choice-(except to live or die), but the posts here address neither. Even though it is sad, we need to discuss this truthfully.

  64. says

    To clarify for some of the sane commenters, life and health would be a dispute, not so much in Cecily’s case, because in preeclampsia, after viability her boys might’ve been delivered alive, and there would be less dispute that she was dying, but in other cases.
    Since her boys were 22 weeks, they were delivered prior to viability, and if alive, would have lived for for only a very short time and died suffering, so it made sense to end their lives then instead of subjecting them to endless painful medical procedures.
    For the other cases, D&X is quite often needed for babies with hydrocephalus or severe cranio-facial disabilities who cannot be delivered vaginally with their skull and brain intact.
    My son was diagnosed at 21 weeks gestation, so I could end the pregnancy and deliver him after induction then. But any later in the pregnancy and a D&X would have been the only way to get him out short of a very risky radical c-section & hysterectomy, ending my child-bearing options forever.
    As for the definition of health vs. life? A regular D&E involves using a currette blindly, risking uterine perforation, infection, hemorrhage, adhesions, scar tissue, & ovarian artery damage/failure.
    Not much of an option, IMO.

  65. says

    Kathleen999: ‘But you know what? I don’t think anyone likes abortion. Even women who have them. But keeping them legal is an important option.’
    This is the thing though isn’t it, there are no circumstances where abortion is fun! Even in the case of an unplanned pregnancy, the act of aborting stays with the parents/mother forever.
    I don’t believe that anyone could take the decision lightly, least of all if their own life or ability to have further children would be at risk.
    Any infringement on the rights of the individual will ultimately affect ALL of us because once the line has been erased, the path becomes clear for further infringements.
    I don’t know the American constitution very well, could someone clarify whether 1 of them covers a persons right to choice?
    Thanks!
    Amy
    Amy

  66. says

    The point the majority of the Supreme Court skirted is that this has ONLY been performed as a medically necessary procedure for the last 4 years. This has not been a choice – it has been the only option to preserve the precious life of a woman.
    When did women become second-class citizens after an nonviable unborn fetus?

  67. Jules says

    You were the first person I thought of when I heard the horrible news. This is a complete disgrace.

  68. says

    To the repeat poster with a penchant for capitalizing and coming up with creatively fake email addresses:
    I wish you would go talk to a NICU nurse, or a doctor, or, you know, look up a textbook on human development. You know what organs turn out to be essential? As in, can’t live without them? Heart and lungs. Guess when lungs become maybe possibly kinda viable? 24 weeks. So you know what happens to a 22-weeker born alive? Pain, pain, pain, needles, pain, tubes, death.
    If you do talk to a NICU nurse, you might find out that one of the most heartbreaking things they will even experience is taking care of a 22-weeker. But why would you do that? It’s much more satisfying to write in all caps and call people names.
    As an aside, this has nothing to do with Cecily’s case– she was too sick to survive a delivery.

  69. danielle says

    As a physician with L&D experience I understand Cecily’s situation and as horrifying as it was for her it was necessary to save her life. End of story there is no need for further discussion.
    However, there is an exemption in the law that allows the procedure to be done if the mothers life is at risk. The distintction between health and life threatening is very significant. Anybody can claim it will adversley effect their health and therefore be allowed the procedure the law is an attempt to stop that.
    Wether you believe it or not there are women who opt for partial birth abortion as birth control for whatever reason and not out of necessity. It has been seen firsthand.

  70. says

    I know a bunch of people have already said this but – when I heard this on the news yesterday I thought of you – I’m outraged at this decision but not all that surprises. It fits with what the current administration is all about.

  71. Mallory says

    Amy who signed her post with an A-
    Didn’t you hear about the teacher who was fired and the basis for the action was a claim that she was a witch? I read the article on AOL news, I will try to find it as I can’t remember all the details. I do remember being horribly surprised to find out that it was a U.S. public school, I can’t remember what state or town it happened in, but I will try to find out.
    Great times will live in uh?

  72. says

    I wish, with all of my heart, that some people would actually do some damn research before posting nonsense like this: “THEY ARE NOT SAYING THAT. THEY ARE SAYING TO DELIVER A LIVING BABY-NOT A KILLED ONE”. Also, that they would take their nonsense off to the right-wing forums where it belongs, rather than posting it on a woman’s personal blog in which she has revealed incredibly sensitive personal stories.
    Cecily, I salute you. And hug you, unless that’s inappropriate.

  73. says

    Sorry, but I don’t for a minute believe that “Danielle” is a physician. “Partial birth abortion” is simply not a term used by physicians.
    I also simply do not believe that any physician would suggest that health is not important, that preserving fertility, or avoiding placental abruption, uterine rupture, cervical damage, kindney failure, stroke, etc. are not important.

  74. danielle says

    I am sorry to disappoint you but in fact I am a physician in pediatrics and I have learned to use plain english when discussing medical material with people outside of the field.
    I think what you cannot understand is that many of the things you described above ARE considered life threatening. A stroke, uterine rupture, kidney failure and eclampsia are all considered life threating. Why because you can DIE from them.
    I feel Maura you simply wanted to attack instead of really hear what I was saying.

  75. says

    Danielle – I’m a registered nurse who used to work in abortion. I have seen one patient in that time who had multiple late second trimester abortions because she refused to use birth control and lived such a disorganised lifestyle that she never presented earlier for termination. I also saw her 6 living children existing in a quite dreadful home situation because she could not get her act together in any regard. Did it make me feel sick that she repeatedly had late-term terminations? Yes. Absolutely. Did it challenge me personally and ethically that she could choose that? Yes. Absolutely. But did I want her to have more children? Absolutely not – the very thought terrified me. Every time I saw her I was grateful that we had a system that allowed her to make that choice.
    Nothing about abortion is pretty, nice or easy – but neither are most fields of medicine as you should know if you’re a physician. All fields have difficult decisions to be made, ethical situations that not everyone is comfortable in. That’s part of the job. I have worked in many fields of nursing now and I only felt as conflicted looking after that woman with the multiple terminations as I have looking after patients on life support who really should be allowed to have a peaceful death instead of multiple painful medical interventions for hopeless causes. So at what point do we draw the line? In my experience it’s never easy.
    I think if the law allowed for the retention of the mothers health then that’s something that should be decided between the woman and her doctor. If there are genuine cases of abuse of that law then it could be sorted out in court or the professional association affiliated with that field.

  76. itwastoolateforme says

    I’ve seen it too. What I’ve seen is woman waiting to get on a bus that takes them to the place that does late-term abortions. 7,8,& 9 months pregnant.
    So-that’s what most people think the point is. Until you have a friend who has lost a child (and, it just so happened it was an in-vitro child very wanted), and they get sent to that same place.
    So, you have medical reasons (and a non-viable child) and then you have babies who are capeable of living even if the pregnancy is ended.
    If they didn’t get the terms right-
    they should fix it. But how can we not give those kids a chance–kill them, because that is what it is?
    That is the whole point of the law. Not to hurt women or children.
    Or even to take the choice to not be pregnant away.
    No one can argue that it is not killing at the point that we are talking about. A viable baby who could live outside the mother. That is what we are talking about.
    How painfull is it for the people that those who want to kill viable healthy babies hide behind? Sick people with very sick (wanted) babies.
    Because that is what they are doing. How hard would it be to fix the law? Not very. But there are those who want to make sure that a child is not born (alive) even if it is healthy. That is why they use that procedure. If someone waited that long~ it really is another life (not her body, but someone else’s). Let’s not confuse this with sick woman and children.

  77. Amy says

    To “itwastoolateforme”,
    You need to get you better information. Under Roe v. Wade, once a fetus has passed into the realm of viability (which would certainly encompass the 7th, 8th and 9th months of pregnancy), abortions are not allowed. The entire point of Roe is striking a balance between the rights of the mother and the rights of the fetus/child. Once that child is viable, the ruling holds that its rights equal or trump the mother’s rights vis a vie her body. Thus, there are no places in this country that can legally offer an abortion of “convenience” to a woman in her third trimester. Only women pregnant with babies that cannot survive or are already dead are given the option to abort at that point.
    Just wanted to clarify that.

  78. Emily says

    Agreeing with Amy, what that means, “Itwastoolateforme”, is that those women who were hugely pregnant who you saw going into an abortion clinic were probably carrying dead fetuses.
    They probably wanted to deliver healthy, happy babies, and they were stripped of that by some complication.
    And now you’re judging them. Ugh.

  79. danielle says

    I can understand how you feel about the patient with multiple late term abortions. I have seen it too.
    Working in peds it becomes very discouraging when I have a 17 year old preg for the 2nd time and saying ‘oh its ok ill just have another abortion” I really do try to get them to understand the big picture. It tears me up to see this happen when there are so many loving women who try so hard to have healthy children.
    I understand that the line seems blurry deciding life from health but truthfully there is ALOT in the medical field that rides the blurry line. And with the exemtpion for the mothers life I think you are aware that life threatening becomes clearer in crisis. If I dont do X patient will die or suffer a consequence that can lead to their death.
    As I said I do agree with the decision but I dont feel it applies to Cecily as she was clearly in a life threatening situation. I do not for one second judge her for her choice and I hope she has peace and glad she has her beautiful daughter and husband to help.

  80. says

    “It tears me up to see this happen when there are so many loving women who try so hard to have healthy children.”
    I understand what you are trying to say, but one woman’s fertility decisions should never be loaded with responsibility for the fertility misfortunes of others. I have heard lots of people make the statement you made. But I have never heard anyone claim that contraceptive technology use would be OK with them as long as everybody were as fertile as they wished. It’s counterproductive to let your opinion about the need for late abortions hinge on the fact that some women have fertility problems — it just holds your own eventual reasoning about the topic hostage to a future that may never come.
    Again, I do see what you are saying. Just offering that we have to go further, *despite* experiencing personal heartbreak when we see people make decisions we are uncomfortable with.
    Separately, it amazes me that a person would take their own experience of a very rare woman “using” late-term abortion for a non-life-threatening reason, and declare that since it has ever happened at all ever ever ever, therefore the procedure of IDX itself is somehow tainted. To imply that the only way that IDX will be allowed to stand as a lifesaving medical procedure is if it has NEVER ONCE been used by a selfish woman who “just wants an abortion” still leaves women open to dying. OK, so I’ll grant you that maybe you very occasionally saw very late birth-control abortions. Does that mean that other women must now surrender the use of this somehow impure procedure? (Let’s not even address the fact that, if you work in a facility that provides very-late terminations, of course you will see women with every reason for having the procedure. Because most places don’t provide them! Statistically you will see it all, because it’s the only place to go!)

  81. danielle says

    Goodsandwich-
    If you are referring to me I did NOT say I am against the procedure itself (nor did I refer to it as impure) when necessary because of women using it as late term contraceptives. I have reiterated multiple times that i know Cecily had no choice.
    I am against the assumption that every late termination is for life threating cases.
    I am also against the assumption that it will not be provided when deemed medically necessary. There is no doctor who wants to perform this procedure just as there is no doctor who wants to see their patient die a preventable death. (granted I cant assume to speak for everyone)

  82. says

    I cried too. The feeling of living in a country that would blatantly disrespect my privacy, health, and rights like this is sickening.

  83. says

    Read from the top down, so I read the other posts before I read this one. Stunning post!
    It’s sad isn’t it? That the abortion issue is such a touchtone of the women’s rights movement. So many folks think it’s abortion itself and lose sight of what it truly is: the right to CHOOSE. There by the grace of God go any of us. Fortunately I haven’t been in a position to make that choice.