I've always held to the thought that pro-choice does not mean pro-abortion, no matter what the anti-choice crowd will tell you. It means giving women the power to make their own choices -- be it abortion or continuing on with a pregnancy. And never has a case so well illustrated that point than that of the woman who went into the operating room expecting to have a hysterectomy and ended up with an abortion she never wanted.
That Suzanne Doherty was already the mother of three girls doesn't change anything. She was never told that she doctors had discovered she was 14 weeks pregnant, at least not until it was too late. Doctors had already performed an abortion, along with the hysterectomy she'd requested.
This is the very crux of the abortion debate: the woman's right to choose. She should be able to choose abortion if that's what is right for her. She should be able to choose carrying to term if that's what is right to her.
But the power should always be in her hands.
In Doherty's case, had she known she was pregnant, the choice would have been to keep the baby, to add a fourth child to her family. Instead, her doctors wrested that choice away from her. They found a male fetus in her womb, and instead of backing out, waking Doherty up and asking her opinion on how to proceed, they made the "choice" for their patient. They terminated the pregnancy and proceeded with the hysterectomy as if it was just another day on the job.
As a woman, as a human being, I find that unacceptable. I've been given choices by doctors on matters as simple as whether I want an ointment for a rash or a cream. Heck, in a grocery store, we are often asked "paper or plastic." We are given the ability to make choices on the most banal of topics.
Why not something this important, something life-changing? Why should abortion -- either pro or con -- be in the hands of anyone other than the woman it affects most?
What would you have done in Suzanne Doherty's place?
Image via ProgressOhio/Flickr