On Friday, Meredith Isaksen, a poet and English teacher at Berkeley City College, wrote a column in The New York Times about why she had her unborn child killed at 22 weeks – nearly six months.
This is a picture of an infant born prematurely at 22 weeks, just so we’re clear what we’re talking about here.
This is not a fetus or a ball of tissue. It is a fully formed human being.
According to Isaksen, she and her husband found out that “our second little boy was missing half his heart. It had stopped growing correctly around five weeks gestation, but the abnormality was not detectable until the 20-week anatomy scan.” What did this mean for chances of survival? “It was very unlikely that our baby would survive delivery, and if he did, he would ultimately need a heart transplant.”
So instead, Isaksen decided to have the baby aborted.
Typically, there are two procedures used in late-term abortions: dilation and evacuation, or dilation and extraction.
In a dilation and evacuation, the baby may be given a lethal injection to kill it; sometimes, such injections are not used. Then the doctor uses a curette or forceps to carve up the child’s body and remove it from the womb, piece by piece. Then there’s dilation and extraction. Here’s how AmericanPregnancy.org describes the procedure:
The fetus is rotated and forceps are used to grasp and pull the legs, shoulders, and arms through the birth canal. A small incision is made at the base of the skull to allow a suction catheter inside. The catheter removes the cerebral material until the skull collapses. The fetus is then completely removed.
Now, here’s how Isaksen describes the abortion:
As the day of my termination approached and I felt my baby’s kicks and wiggles, I simultaneously wanted to crawl out of my skin and suspend us together in time. I wanted him to know how important he was to me, that the well of my grief and love for him would stretch deeper and deeper into the vastness of our family’s small yet limitless life. He may have moved inside me for only five months, but he had touched and shaped me in ways I could never have imagined.
Euphemisms. Always euphemisms. If the child was that important to her, perhaps she should have given him the chance to live – yes, even handicapped people and people with severe birth defects deserve the chance to live, in a non-eugenic society. Love for a child should not express itself as having a doctor cut apart that child in the womb over real worries about future health problems.
Making the death of her child about her – “he had touched and shaped me in ways I could never have imagined” – is the height of selfishness. Only one person lost his life in that abortion clinic, and it wasn’t Ms. Isaksen.
But Isaksen has justifications. Lots of them:
Such politicians would have you believe that women like me shouldn’t get to make the choice I made. That our baby, despite his tiny misshapen heart and nonexistent aorta, should have a chance “to live,” even though that life might have lasted mere minutes. Even though that life would have been excruciatingly painful. These politicians are ignorant of the sacrifices and blessings that come with carrying a pregnancy (let alone a nonviable pregnancy). They do not understand that a majority of women who have late-term abortions are terminating desperately wanted pregnancies.
First, yes – the child should have had the chance to live, even for mere minutes. Life is precious, and forsaking minutes of it is an easy call to make on behalf of an innocent incapable of speaking in his own defense. Once we begin stating that pain and suffering justify the killing of the innocent, we’re in dark moral territority.
Second, she doesn’t know that her child might not have lived.
Third, women all over America – and their husbands – understand that carrying a child is difficult. Being chopped up in the womb is somewhat more difficult, as it turns out.
Finally, it’s simply a lie that most women who have late-term abortions are ending “desperately wanted pregnancies.” The Guttmacher Institute has found precisely the opposite: women who kill their babies in the womb do so for the same reasons, regardless of the timing of the abortion. In other words, most women engage in elective abortion, even in the late-term situation.
Isaksen says her killing of her baby made her a better person: “Saying goodbye to our boy was the single most difficult and profound experience of my life, and the truth is, it has come to define me. Today I am a better mother because of him. I am a better wife, daughter and friend.”
Presumably, all people who justify their sins believe the same about the cruelties in which they participate.
Isaksen deserves nothing but sympathy for the tragedy of carrying a child with a birth defect. She deserves nothing but horror for championing herself as a moral paragon for pre-emptively destroying that life. And The New York Times and the political left deserve nothing but scorn for taking advantage of this horror story to make the case for the mass killing of thousands of unborn children.