Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A Father's Abortion Story

Abortion is never an easy choice to make.  It is particularly tragic when one must make the choice to abort a wanted child. Aaron Gouveia and his wife, at 13 weeks of pregnancy were told that their baby had Sirenomelia. Otherwise known as Mermaid Syndrome, it’s a rare (one in every 100,000 pregnancies) congenital deformity in which the legs are fused together. Their child had no bladder or kidneys. Thier doctors told them that the survival rate was zero.  I cannot imagine the searing pain that must have ripped through this couple.

On what was probably the most painful day of their life, they arrived at a women's health center only to be accost by pro-life birth activists, "You're killing your unborn baby!," they screamed at the already heart broken couple.  Without knowing the back story of the Gouveia's, they had tried and convicted them because the pro life movement isn't really about helping women -- but forcing their bodies to perform like brood mares -- even in the most untenable situation.  Aaron helped his wife into the clinic and while she had the procedure, he went outside to confront the two with his camera phone in hand.



They barely acknowledged that what they did was wrong and when one woman realized she was being recorded, she turned her back to the camera and complained about him interfering with her first amendment rights.  They even threatened to call the police on him and called him "an angry father".   Honestly, I don't know how he kept his rage in check to confront these women, but I thank him for showing such courage on what had to be one of the worst days of his life.

Aaron wrote an essay for the Good Men project, in which he encourages people to stand up to these bullies in non-violent ways if possible.  Terrorizing and shaming women is impeding on their right to have a perfectly legal medical procedure.  It is one thing to decide that an abortion is not acceptable for yourself and another to demand the same belief system of others.