Social Question

Dr_Dredd's avatar

Would you support abortion under these circumstances?

Asked by Dr_Dredd (10501 points ) January 11th, 2010

Alicja Tysiac is a Polish woman who was denied an abortion despite warnings from physicians that she could become blind if she continued the pregnancy. (Link) She was forced to carry her fetus to term, and suffered a retinal hemorrhage following a C-section delivery. Now her condition requires treatment and daily assistance, and she is significantly disabled. She cannot see more than five feet in front of her, and fears going blind completely.

What do you think of this case? Should Ms. Tysiac have been allowed to have the abortion even though her life was not at risk? Is permanent blindness enough of a catastrophic consequence to justify abortion in the minds of people who are pro-life? What about the development of other conditions such as diabetes?

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43 Answers

njnyjobs's avatar

this is a tough call. However, self-preservation should prevail in all cases. The pregnant woman is already a developed person and have been heavily invested on this earth. The fetus, well is still a fetus.

Let me restate my point that it would be acceptable if and only if it endangers the life or physical well-being of the mother.

MrsNash's avatar

It is difficult for me to imagine a circumstance in which I would NOT support a woman’s ability to choose.

poisonedantidote's avatar

“i changed my mind” is good enough reason for me. so long as its not being used as a form of contraception im ok with it.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I think people who object to abortions on religious grounds—and I accept that they might have those objections, and I can respect those objections—should not have abortions.

Austinlad's avatar

I can summon only one answer: YES, I would support abortion under these circumstances without reservation, no matter what the picket signs read. I’m sure many of you will disagree—this is one of the most polarizing issues of all time, our individual positions determined by our parents and our religion and Church dictates and by politics and on and on—but that’s how I feel.

Qingu's avatar

Yes. Fetuses are not morally equivalent to human beings.

JONESGH's avatar

I wouldn’t support or oppose it. Who am I to tell her what to do?

lonelydragon's avatar

Absolutely. If one is disabled, it’s difficult enough to care for oneself, much less for a child. She already had children, and now her ability to be a good parent to them has probably been compromised. I’m surprised that the doctors didn’t consider this when they were giving their recommendations against abortion. I believe that if a pregnancy will compromise the mother’s health or have an adverse impact on her family, she should be allowed to have an abortion if she so chooses.

deni's avatar

This is so ridiculous.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Interestingly in this case they’ve effectively protected the life of the unborn child by taking away the mothers ability to care, not only for it, but her three other children as well. In what way is that serving the interests of society?

Oh and a unequivocal “yes”, @MrsNash took the words right out of my mouth.

tinyfaery's avatar

I respect and support a woman’s right to choose in ALL circumstances.

casheroo's avatar

I wonder if this is what my friend currently has. She’s pregnant, and HAS to have a c-section or could pop something in her eye and go blind.

I support a woman’s right to choose.

KatawaGrey's avatar

I think it’s ridiculous that she would be denied the right to have an abortion on any grounds.

Justnice's avatar

My friend’s mother became blind after giving birth. It’s so sad that she cannot see her children and she can’t care for them as well as someone who isn’t blind. I think if she knew that she’d go blind that she still would have chosen to keep her baby. But I cannot imagine that being anybodys choice but her’s. It’s not anybody else’s health that is endangered, it’s hers so why should anybody else get to choose. The story of the polish woman is very sad and it’s just an example of the government trying to control something that has nothing to do with them!

Pazza's avatar

Clucking bell!........
Thats gonna divide the collective!....

Let me say first that on a fundamental level I don’t agree with abortion. Though I have to say my wife and I did consider it as an option with our last child, though I’m happy to say we didn’t go through with it, and now can’t understand why we even considered it. Such is life.

This question opens up a whole sub-can of worm like questions like:
Does she have any other children to consider? (looking up I think thats a yes)
What would she have done if abortion had never been discovered to be an option?
Would she have felt guilty if she’d had an abortion and never been able to forgive herself?
If she’d have never found out about her condition would she ever have considered the option?
Is it really a womans ‘right’ to have an abortion? especialy if the pregnancy was origionaly planned?
What about the farthers right to become a farther? if he’s still about? has he been contacted? or family for that matter?

You could probably go on forever, for every ‘pro’ you will probably come up with a ‘con’.

My personal feeling and opinion without all the details is:

She should not of had an abortion as an option, and at the end of the day if she’s got family her other children should have no need to suffer. I don’t think saying I’ll probably go blind is really an excuse for denying life, if it was an extremely high risk of death, then yes, consider the option.

Anyway all siad and done, she’s now partially sighted with a new child, so what really is the question?

Should a government be able to deny abortion?

I suppose for me, no, permanent blindness is not justification for abortion. As a farther now knowing my last child, I would never have been able to forgive my wife if I wanted the child and she went against my wishes.

Pazza's avatar

@KatawaGrey
What about if she just didn’t fancy getting stretch marks?
Or maybe it interfered with her social life?

Do you have any children of your own?
Have you ever had an abortion?

In your opinion (which your entitled to without predudice), do you believe its a womans right because its her body?
And if thats the case, what about the mans right to become a farther?

@Dr_Dredd
You bugger, what a nightmare question!
A great one non the less.

Blackberry's avatar

I would support it anyways, but I guess this question is more for pro-lifers so it doesn’t matter lol.

tinyfaery's avatar

When a man can carrier a child then he can decide wether or not he wants to keep a baby. Women are not incubators.

delirium's avatar

@tinyfaery I would easily go as far as to say that a fetus is essentially a parasite. A potentially wanted parasite, but a parasite all the same.

tinyfaery's avatar

True. It fits the definition. So women are not unwilling, parasitic hosts.

delirium's avatar

Yep, it is something taking her bodily resources without consideration for her wellbeing. It is not, in any shape or form, a symbiotic relationship like most seem to think. It’s dangerous and shouldn’t be forced upon anyone, unless that person doing the forcing will let us inseminate them with tapeworms. :)

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

All circumstances – I’m with @tinyfaery

casheroo's avatar

@tinyfaery Heck, I’m a parent and I compare it to having a parasite…I affectionately refer to a fetus as a “tapeworm”. It is what it is.

Supacase's avatar

It is her decision to make. Personally, I would not put my eyesight about my daughter’s life, but that is just me.

rooeytoo's avatar

I support a woman’s right to choose in all circumstances.

Men who feel their right to be a father should carry more weight than the wishes of the woman who would have to carry the fetus should be sure to discuss this before they unzip their trousers. And if he and the female have different ideas about this subject, then keep them zipped. Unless as @tinyfaery said you are a medical miracle and can carry the child yourself.

Cupcake's avatar

The decision to have an abortion should lie between the woman and her physician.
Not the government. Not the media. Not people waving signs on street corners.

In every situation.

OpryLeigh's avatar

I agree with @MrsNash and yes, I think she should have been allowed an abortion if that’s what she wanted. I am appalled that she was denied it especially in such circumstances that her health was at risk. I see no sense in giving a fetus more rights than a fully functioning (both in body and mind) adult. I would be interested to know how far gone she was, I couldn’t find any info of that in the link.

Pazza's avatar

If women arn’t incubators, they shoudn’t get up-the-duff!......

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Pazza can you rephrase that?

Pazza's avatar

@delirium
I’m glad I don’t know any heartless women.
I agree that a fetus is a parasite, but I wouldn’t class it a ‘burden’, or as a bad parasite.

If what your saying is the case, then when a child is born, its still a parasite, so are you saying that once that child is born, that if its unwanted you can just abandon it or KILL IT?

@Leanne1986
I’m appalled at the attitude of some of the women on fluther, if you don’t want a child, then don’t bend your legs over your head and get shafted. Women are pretty damb quick to ask for child maintanence because its THEIR child and HE’S the farther, but when the boots on the other foot and a women wants an abortion and the farther doesn’t, the ‘But its my body!’ trump card is always played. frankly thats FUCKING BULLSHIT!.

Children are not a ‘RIGHT’, they are a privalege, a responsibility and a gift. Anybody who thinks different should be forcibly sterilised!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Pazza yeah it’s the women who are ‘damb’. clearly, you have no respect for them as ‘getting shafterd’ is the best you can name sex. and maybe you can hold your breath for a moment from generalizing and understand that there are plenty of people who support father’s rights as well but a woman that has the burden of pregnancy and labor should have a bit more say – we’ve had interesting discussions on this topic here on Fluther, you should search for them…and while children can be a responsibility or a gift, one doesn’t have to think the same about fetuses.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

I guess that I wouldn’t classify a fetus as a “parasite”, even though it technically meets the criteria during that phase of its development. That’s a pejorative term, and bound to turn off even some who would otherwise be pro-choice.

No, I’d call it “an investment”. And that’s why I give the mother-to-be the choice of how to handle or dispose of the investment, because she is the one investing all her time and her body—potentially her whole life—into that. The male makes one relatively small, though significant, deposit (so to speak), and the woman is required to see it through. In the meantime, he can (and at times does) go off and make an indefinite number of other “deposits”. So I don’t think that his choice is paramount, or even equal to hers.

And really, what is the sense for society to force a mother to be a mother when she doesn’t want to be? Don’t we already have enough unwanted children in the world? Is there a shortage now?

So if a woman discovers that her life and health is at risk from her pregnancy, then of course she should be informed, and she should be allowed to make the choice whether to take the risk or not. And the choice should be hers alone, with the best medical advice—and spiritual advice, too, if she wants —that she can get.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@Pazza You’re right, rape victims should have thought about the consequences before they allowed themselves to be raped in the first place. I seriously think you should read what you typed before pressing the answer button because that post made you look pretty “damb” ignorant and, on the flip side to what you said, maybe the men should also take some responsibility and think before getting their dicks out that there may be a chance that if the woman gets pregnant she may decide not to keep it and he will lose his rights to the unborn fetus in favour of the womans decision to terminate the pregnancy. If he’s so obsessed about his rights then he should reconsider having sex as well just as you are saying that the woman should. It works both ways. You sound like an extremely sexist individual.

Just for the record I never said that I was against rights for the fathers but that is not what this question was about.

Pazza's avatar

Now thats better, points well made instead of that other ignorant shit some people posted. Fight fire with fire I say.

The only thing I didn’t agree with is the parts about fetuses not being a child, since you can get an abortion up about 20 odd weeks where when the child is hovered out of the womb kicking and screeming and is clearly a child.

As for rape, then apart from the obvious nightmare the person has to go through, the first thing they would do is a pregnancy test, so having an abortion when the fetus is just a cluster of cells is going to be the best option.

As for me being ignorant, well I thought I’d better attack people more directly as I (in my humble man without a womb opinion) that saying fetuses were parasites, and women weren’t incubators was pretty ignorant also.

shit, I just clicked the button without thinking again!

HasntBeen's avatar

Wow, I’ve defended the pro-choice view so many times against heavy opposition, I’m forced into a bit of vertigo to find a whole thread where pro-life gets so little support!

Would anybody abort a fetus at 8+ months? For those who say they support the right to choose under all circumstances, can you imagine aborting a healthy baby at that stage? That seems pretty close to crazy, to me. It’s illegal everywhere, in addition… it violates every culture’s sense of right.

An embryo becomes a baby via a gradual process. There is no sharp line in the sand, but that doesn’t mean there’s no distinction between the two either: morally, the price has to keep going up as the child develops. The operation has to become harder to justify as the single-celled organism becomes more and more like a living, healthy baby.

Both sides in the abortion debate are guilty of absolutism at times: taking a rigid position which attempts to steamroller over the other side’s strong points. The authentic “pro choice” position isn’t absolute, it just recognizes that the woman’s rights have to be factored in to any understanding of the ethical issues.

augustlan's avatar

Great question… I almost wish there were more pro-lifers on Fluther, so we’d get more input from them! As most have already said, I would support abortion under these circumstances 100%. And in most other circumstances, too.

@HasntBeen I would think that at 8 months, the decision would be whether or not to take the baby early in order to save the woman’s health, rather than whether or not to abort. All three of my children were born via early induced labor in order to preserve my health (I have kidney disease). As you say, it’s a delicate balancing act. How soon is too soon for the baby’s health versus how late is too late for the mother’s. I am grateful that my children and I came to a mutually agreeable date. :)

OpryLeigh's avatar

@HasntBeen I don’t think many pro-choicers would support an abortion at 8 months because (and I’m living proof of this) a baby can survive out of the womb at that stage. I would also hope that by 8 months the mother would have already made the decision to continue with the pregnancy until the baby is born. If at 8 months a woman decides to abort simply because she has changed her mind then, yes it should be illegal. I agree with what @augustlan said about if the mothers heallth is a factor.

KatawaGrey's avatar

@HasntBeen: I am very much pro-choice but I wouldn’t support that. I support the woman’s right to abort a fetus and I believe once the fetus can survive outside the womb even with a large amount of medical care it is no longer a fetus but is officially a human with all the rights thereof. I realize that this definition of what constitutes a human can be pretty blurry which I why I fully support abortion in the first trimester. Personally, I think if I was pregnant I would not be able to get an abortion after the first trimester for this reason.

Also, does anyone know the least amount of time a woman has been pregnant and given birth to a child that did survive? I have a friend who was born 3 months early and survived. Has there been any shorter gestation periods than 6 months?

HasntBeen's avatar

I agree. But people need to be careful when they sound off as pro-choice: when someone makes statements like “I support a woman’s right to choose in all circumstances”, they are making the mirror-mistake of their opposition—turning abortion into a black-and-white, all-or-nothing absolutist issue.

The fact is that there is no sharp line between “this is a fertilized egg with little or no rights” and “this is almost born”. The development is gradual, and our thinking about the problem needs to reflect that reality. But most people think about it in black-and-white terms, very simplistic. If the pro-choice people do that, they play right into the hands of the pro-life absolutists, and everybody starts screaming about their favorite definition of “life” or “rights” or “human being”, instead of having an intelligent discussion about the ethical and ontological issues.

A fetus is not a parasite—it’s potentially a living, independent being. Potentially. It’s sort of a human being. Sort of. When should it acquire rights to be protected, how much rights, and under what circumstances should those rights be secondary to the mother’s rights? Not easy questions. Simplistic answers on either side are not helpful.

HasntBeen's avatar

The point is, we have firebrands in the East shouting “mother’s rights rule!” and firebrands in the West shouting “fetus’ rights rule!”. Where are the firebrands in the middle? Both sides have valid points, who are the advocates for balancing those rights? Really, it’s hard to get too firebrandy about “the middle road”, but someone who really sees the totality of this issue has to stand there, and be counted… even if they piss off everybody else.

Cupcake's avatar

@KatawaGrey babies survive at 23–24 weeks gestation with aggressive medical intervention

tallin32's avatar

A little torn on this one. As a blind parent, my initial reaction is that the assumption shown here on Fluther that a blind person can’t take care of a child is complete, total bollocks. As someone in favor of reproductive choice, I say that, yes, she should have had the right to choose.

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