If Abortion Were Illegal: A Glimpse of the Reality


abortion illegalImagine getting pregnant, only to be diagnosed with cancer. Now imagine it getting worse. Much worse.

In a story that should give women everywhere pause, Michelle Harte was forced to travel out of the country to have an abortion because she was living in Ireland, where the law only allows abortion in cases where a hospital has determined a mother's life is at risk if she continues with the pregnancy. Ironically, her own doctors had advised her to terminate to proceed with cancer treatments, but the ethics committee that had final say on her abortion said no. 

By the time all was said and done, the delay in cancer treatment allowed the disease to spread in her body. She's now been declared "terminally ill." If she dies, she'll leave behind her daughter, motherless.

Harte's story came out this week after the story of yet another woman in a similar situation blew wide open the problems with governments having the ultimate say over a woman's womb. The European Court of Human Rights ruled that Ireland breached the "human rights" of that woman -- currently known as C -- by refusing her an abortion, forcing her to seek care outside of the country as well.

To put this in perspective, just this week, doctors began talking about the very real possibility that Americans delaying childbirth will increase the number of pregnant women facing a breast cancer diagnosis. The doctors recommended women get treatment for the cancer as soon as possible ... and outlined the risks of sticking with the pregnancy.

Put the two situations together along with a third: imagine the right-to-lifers get their way. Seventy percent of evangelical Christians in this country are in favor of completely overturning Roe v. Wade. There would be no room for "well, if you're sick, you can choose." American women would face Michelle Harte's horror -- the choice, followed by the stress of traveling while terminally ill, plus the stigma. As her partner Neil Doolan told the Irish Times:

She was very unwell. She was very stressed out, physically very weak, nauseous, and vomiting.

It's easy for the right to life contingent to mark abortion off as the easy out for loose women and stupid teenagers. But women like Michelle Harte crop up every day. Moms who were doing nothing wrong, but are treated like criminals trapped in the jail of their own bodies. 

Women die when they can't take control of their healthcare. How is that any better than aborting a fetus?


Image via PinkMoose/Flickr



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Katie Sasso

It's heartbreaking when a woman chooses to abort her baby. That is something I am adamant about. It doesn't mean sometimes it's not medically necessary I just believe in a perfect world no woman would have to. I don't believe in abortion myself, don't think it should be done except in medical emergencies. But that being said I don't judge a woman who chooses that because whether she does or doesn't abort her baby her life is changed forever and that's for her to deal with

nonmember avatar Anon

So you found two cases where a board apparently made mistakes in determining that the mom's life was at risk and disallowing an abortion. No mention of the millions of babies of healthy women who are killed; nor of the women who die in connection with abortion. How balanced. So you want pro-lifers to believe that it's worth losing millions of babies' lives to save a couple of moms who should have been saved anyway by laws already in place but misused. Sorry.

nonmember avatar Allboys

What about the third option nobody talks about. Refuse the doctors advice. Seek out homeopathic treatment then get dropped from OB care for refusing to follow medical advice. Be unable to find a midwife because you are now high risk and her insurance wont allow her to care for you. In short order your a pregnant cancer fighter who is looking down the barrel of either a forced unwanted unassisted birth or go back to a doctor who does not respect your autonomy. The problem is when your pregnant you have two choices in this country kill your baby or follow every order your doctor gives you. Even though when talking about cancer treatment the drugs will be harmful to your fetus. WOMEN need the rights to their bodies when pregnant. This is not just a pro life/pro choice issue. There is much more at stake here than that.

nonmember avatar Pete

Murdering a child is never good!

jmtmn jmtmn

Also, keep in mind the fact that the number one cause of death in pregnant women TODAY is murder. Prior to Roe V. Wade that number was triple what it is today. Women having the right to choose has saved the lives of an untold amount of women. Whether you fear for your life bc of cancer or for any other reason you should have the right to choose your own life. That is what the Pro-lifers should think about once in awhile-- the people whose lives would be lost if they had their way.

mommix4 mommix4

Ever heard of birth control? Or not having sex? I can't stand it when I hear that women abort their child cause its unwanted or unplanned. When you have sex you can have a baby. Not ready for a baby? Great don't have sex or take birth control. Do I hate the women that choose to abort?no not at all why would I? I feel sorry for them cause that will haunt them forever.

0Jenna0 0Jenna0

Wow, the compassion in the comments is just overwhelming. Glad none of you have control of my body. And I'm not even totally pro-choice. I personally would never get an abortion, but I've seen it necessary for medical reasons, and I really believe that is the only justifiable reason to have an abortion, but I also don't want a bunch of heartless fanatics telling me or anyone else what to do with my body.

qrex912 qrex912

@ Mommix4

Exactly. I am NOT talking about rape cases here, I am talking about consensual sex that led to a baby. Yes, you made that choice. Maybe your birth control failed, maybe you forgot it altogether. Well, that's just how life goes. When you have sex, protected or not, you take the risk of becoming pregnant. In that case, yes, you should carry that baby to term. Its not as though adult women do not know how babies are made. nine and ten year olds know that.

If you don't want a baby, don't have sex.

I also don't hate anyone, I don't hate women who have gotten abortions. They face huge emotional and mental, sometimes physical repercussions. Nobody deserves that. Because human life is equal and alway important, whether its a man, a woman, a murderer, or an unborn, innocent child. Life is important.

mommix4 mommix4

And the problem with allowing abortions for medical reasons is that some people say a handicap child is a medical reason for abortion. What is the right medical reason? Where do we draw the line?

Theresa Tree Goddard

I just met my neice who is 26 yrs old, and NEVER, knew muy sister was raped, or gave her child up 4adoption.....I have 7 live children, didn't know I was I an alocholic, and ended up pregnat....some have dui's I had an oopsie...said :'God you got me into this mess...THINK U R SO POWERFUL..GET ME OUT...I'm an early person and ended up in Edgehill Newport RI, and was only able 2 go 2 chapel, and went there, met a guy, who was hiding out cuz it was his mothers birthday, and he saw met...long story short...he adopted that son, and we've been blessed with God Grace for almost 28 years>>>>>>gooooo Pro life...Pro Soul....

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