Alexis Pomella: Terminating pregnancy is a woman’s choice
File - In this July 9, 2013 file photo, The abortion debate rages on. Opponents and supporters of an abortion bill hold signs near a news conference outside the Texas Capitol, in Austin, Texas. Planned Parenthood teamed up with the Center for Reproductive Rights and the American Civil Liberties Union filed suit in federal court Friday to block key provisions of a new abortion law that sparked massive protests and threw the Texas Legislature into chaos before it was approved this summer. (AP Photo/Eric Gay, File) Purchase photo reprints »
To the editor:
As a student nurse, much of my learning this year has been dedicated to exploring and debating ethics in health care. One specific ethical dilemma which caught my attention is the decision to terminate pregnancy based on negative prenatal screening results. I strongly believe that this should be based solely on the decision of the mother due to principles of autonomy and non-maleficence.
A woman’s decision about her own body is best left to that woman, not to society or to care providers. A woman’s decision regarding termination is especially prudent in cases in which continuing with the pregnancy could cause harm to her own body, whether it be physical or mental. Many women receiving these prenatal screening tests are women 40 and above, because they are most likely to have a child with a disability such as Down syndrome.
A woman at this age might not have the youth, the time or the patience and mentality for caring for a child with Down syndrome. A woman is entitled to her own choice, especially in circumstances such as these. Furthermore, caring for an impaired child, let alone a fully healthy child, requires extra financial and familial resources.
The term non-maleficence calls to first do no harm. If a parent knowingly brings an impaired child into a world where they don’t have enough money to feed them, provide them with necessities and provide them with the extra health care that they need to flourish, then that parent is going against the moral principle of non-maleficence, because harm is being done.
The birth of a child should be in a manner in which they are brought into a world where they may thrive in the situation they are placed. To bring a child into the world under any other circumstance is ignoring the moral duty of non-maleficence. Clearly in cases such as the ones presented, it is a woman’s moral responsibility and right to terminate the pregnancy. It is ultimately her choice.