By The Editors of EWP
Our hearts go out to the family of Jennifer. They have our deepest condolences.
Jennifer faced her own heartbreaking choice when the baby girl she was carrying, who she had already named, was diagnosed with fetal abnormalities. The diagnosis, as yet undisclosed, was severe enough to compel Jennifer to travel from her home state to Maryland for a multiple-day termination procedure. She was 33 weeks pregnant.
Four days after the termination process began, Jennifer developed complications and was hospitalized with chest pains. Later that same day, she died. She was 29 years old, married, and a had a career. By all accounts she was loved by many people who will miss her terribly.
There are few forms of heartbreak that compare with the emotional devastation of ending a much-wanted pregnancy. For the very last days of one’s life to be marked by that agony is a tragedy within a tragedy. Having faced our own heartbreaking choices, this story hits close to home; we can imagine how heartbroken she must have been in the days before she passed.
We can’t fathom how anyone could wish to compound the grief this woman’s family is feeling, but it’s already happening. Anti-choice activists have elected to pile on her family’s pain by using her death as a political football to score points for “their” side. Their rhetoric is heated, ugly and unquestionably dishonest.
Yes, dishonest. The truth is, the risk of death during labor and delivery of a full-term pregnancy is nine times greater in the US than risk of death during a third-trimester abortion. If abortion opponents were truly concerned about the lives of women, wouldn’t they be doing something to address maternal mortality rates in the US? These rates have doubled in the past 25 years, a problem Amnesty International calls “shocking.” Nothing about this particular tragedy changes these facts.
Jennifer’s mother-in-law told reporters she is extremely upset with the rhetoric coming from abortion opponents. She said this was a wanted baby.
Of course, we know she was a wanted baby. At Ending a Wanted Pregnancy we understand only too well what it is like to be given a prenatal diagnosis so devastating that the humane choice is to spare the baby suffering. While we don’t know the baby’s particular diagnosis, we believe that if it was severe enough that her parents needed to end the pregnancy, well, it was severe enough.
Jennifer’s mother-in-law also requested the anti-choice activists allow her son to grieve his wife and daughter in peace. We hope those vultures can find it in their hearts–if they have hearts–to leave Jennifer’s bereft husband and family alone, now, and forever. No one has any business second-guessing the private decisions of a young family, and doing so only compounds the already overwhelming grief of the bereaved.
Had she survived, Jennifer would have been welcomed and supported by all of us at Ending a Wanted Pregnancy. We have nothing but respect for her and her husband, their right to decide what to do about a pregnancy gone wrong, and their choice to prevent the suffering of their unborn daughter. All of us here have made similar choices.
Jennifer’s family has our sympathy, support and heartfelt concern.
UPDATE: 02-23-13 The Washington Post has reported that the cause of Jennifer’s death was amniotic embolism, a natural and rare complication of delivery. Amniotic embolisms can occur during abortion, natural childbirth or cesarean section.
Editor’s note:We have removed the last names of Jennifer and her family members out of respect for their privacy.