By Valerie Jane
With all the hype and the conversations on here an important point about the abortion issue has been brought up. It began with a conversation that PIP and I are having. I thought it would be important for us all to think about it.
Most of us believe that life of the mother should be a factor in legal abortion. But who decides life? Is it life or death? Or is it quality of life? ...
In March of this year the European Court of Human Rights awarded Alicja Tysiac $33,000 in damages after she was refused an abortion. According to medical news today
three ophthalmologists in February 2000 told Tysiac she would go blind if she were to give birth to a third child. None of the doctors would refer her for an abortion procedure. In April 2000, Tysiac had an appointment at a public hospital in Warsaw, Poland, where a gynecologist said there was no medical reason to have the procedure. Tysiac gave birth via caesarean section in November 2000 (noticias.info, 2/8). According to BBC News, after her c-section, Tysiac experienced a retinal hemorrhage (Repa, BBC News, 2/7). Since then, "a panel of doctors concluded that her condition required treatment and daily assistance and declared her to be significantly disabled," court documents said (Bowley, International Herald Tribune, 2/8)
According to the BBC
She now wears glasses with thick powerful lenses but she cannot see objects more than a metre and a half (5ft) away. As a disabled single mother, she struggles to raise her three children on her meagre state pension.
Now, I am simplifing things, I know. But would this be considered "health of the Mother" being in danger?
Now, I know this has the potential to be a heated debate. I will say now that I reserve the right to stop comments on this if things go to far. Be good! Or else....
To me life must mean exactly that...life.
To me abortion is only a viable option if it is in the context of doing everything possible to perserve both lives.Posted by: Lauren at April 19, 2007 5:08 PM
As I said earlier, I think that she should at least be granted a form of compensation because her disability was brought on by a pregnancy.
But I haven't come up with a satisfactory answer to the real question. Because quality of life can encompass a whole lot of stuff...Posted by: prettyinpink at April 19, 2007 5:12 PM
Awww that baby is so adorable.Posted by: prettyinpink at April 19, 2007 5:23 PM
Valerie is that your adorable baby again??? SOMEONE IS PROUD lol. so cute
Anyways, I think in this case she should have been allowed to get an abortion, and if she wasnt then she needs the government to start paying her alot more money. If they are going to force her into this position then they need to provide for her and her three children.
I guess it boils down to this, if she had to have the baby then they have to help her out (alot more than they are doing now)
In my opinion she definitely should have been allowed to get an abortion, if this problem was discovered prior to viability. Blindness/disability is pretty severe. Quality of life is vitally important.
Other examples: what about a woman who discovers she has cancer while pregnant and requires aggressive chemotherapy? (and the fetus is not yet viable, so an immediate C-section to try to save both is not an option, also you can't do a C-section safely too early in pregnancy anyways). Also quality of life I think should include mental health -- even most people who support abortion bans support exceptions for health, life, and RAPE/incest. I can't imagine the incredible mental trauma of having to carry a rapists' child (though some victims make this choice, and should be supported, it's just impossible for me to imagine forcing that pregnancy on a victim against her will, it would be like victimizing her twice).
I'm glad you brought this up Valerie. These kind of gray areas are the very things that tend to push someone philosophically to one side or the other.Posted by: JustAnotherJane at April 19, 2007 6:07 PM
JustanotherJane brings up a good point. Rape and incest are a given. That is the majority vote in any pole that abortion should be allowed for these. So this is just for Health Of The Mother. This way we don't get side tracked.
Thanks for bringing that up!
**************************************Posted by: Valerie at April 19, 2007 6:19 PM
Me? Proud? Never!
hehehe... Yep, that's her again! I'm shameless!Posted by: Valerie at April 19, 2007 6:20 PM
Was this woman suffering from a medically treatable condition requiring care and treatment that just wasn't available and could such care have prevented her blindness? Exactly what was her medical condition? You also have to be very careful about taking a lot of these accounts at face value. I have seen distortions time and again, especially when it involves abortion. The media had its own agenda and was not anxious to let inconvenient facts get in the way of a good storyline. I would advise that you always look for the story behind the story and never trust the media to be completely honest or knowledgable.Posted by: Mary at April 19, 2007 7:11 PM
Nice one Val!
No name calling, good back-ground information source, and a question that is not rhetorical or loaded. Although I typically come here to stir it up, so to speak, I now feel kind of obligated to at least humor with a reasonable response.
Disregarding that self-determination/bodily-autonomy ethics don't require a health issue in order for the mother to seek an abortion, so long as the fetus is not otherwise viable, the easy answer is still yes, the health of the was clearly in danger. I think however, you are wondering if becoming effectively blind is a compelling enough reason to justify terminating a pregnancy. Again, the virtue of the pro-choice position is that each mother should be able to make that decission for herself, based on her own morals, and thoughtful consideration of her own costs and benefits. For me, easy as that may seem considering my gender, if I had a strong and supportive family, had carried the pregancy relative late, fully intending to deliver and excited to do so, I think I might sacrifice my eyesight for the kid I was growing attached to with each passing day. However, if I thought that the cost and burden on the extant family was going to be too great given existing burdens, a lack of support, and a generally unstable family situation... I might be compelled to end the pregnancy and try to save what I already have.
Posted by: Cameron at April 19, 2007 8:06 PM
Yay cameron is being good ha ha ha.
Anyways I like that too Valerie, no name calling from anyone makes it a much better discussion.
I have to agree with cameron, if that were me I think I would give up anything for my baby except my other children. I don't think it is fair at all that her two other children have to suffer for this.
great post Valerie. I wish *others who I will not mention* could be as successful in getting their point across eloquently without throwing out mean-spirited insults in every other sentence.
and only because I know a mom never gets sick of hearing this, your baby is absolutely beautiful.Posted by: Amanda at April 19, 2007 10:45 PM
But her other children don't have to suffer. This mother could just as easily give up her baby for adoption.
Also, is it three kids she already has or two? If she was so concerned about her financial situation and being unable to care for another child, some form of contraception would have been a great idea.
But now, because she made some bad choices, she wants the government to pay for it.Posted by: SH at April 19, 2007 11:33 PM
Hey now SH -- contraception isn't 100%, she could have been using contraception perfectly and still get pregnant.
Also, did she know before she got pregnant that she would have likely become blind/disabled if she got pregnant? The article doesn't say so we can't assume that. She only wants the government to pay for it because in her view, the government stopped her from PREVENTING her disability (since they denied the abortion), hence the argument that the government is now responsible for the consequences of its action, not hers.
If she hadn't had a good case, with appropriate medical testimony, I doubt she would have won the case. Plus, for the pro-lifers here, if this really saved a life, then isn't a life worth the 30 grand she got in her lawsuit?Posted by: JustAnotherJane at April 20, 2007 12:01 AM
It could also be that she didn't know she would become BLIND from getting pregnant until too late.
i think you missed the whole point. The point was she was in danger of losing her vision if she finished out the pregnancy. She could not get an abortion, it was illegal where ever she is, and now she is BLIND.
she can't work at MOST jobs that pay decently and even MOST that pay shitty. So yeah, the government should have to pay for her because THEY made her finish the pregnancy
I agree with the court's decision. It's not even about if she wanted an abortion, it's about not having the possibility. The government is responsible for that, so they have to pay. It's only fair.
If I hurt someone and they become blind as a result, I'll be punished. (And I'm not saying, pregnancy is a disease or injury!) The woman wanted to make a sensible decision on what's best for herself and her family and was refused the opportunity to do so. Someone must pay for that.Posted by: Ingrid at April 20, 2007 4:22 AM
Valerie....your baby is so cute. What amazing expressions...haha.Posted by: Alyssa at April 20, 2007 7:27 AM
Here's one thought that hasn't come up.
What medical condition would she have that a C-section would cause blindness but not an abortion? I can't see how an epidural would cause a retinal hemmorage.
We have alot of students here that may be able to find out.
The problem I had was the lack of information in this story. Did she know before she got pregnant that this would happen? How bad was her eyesight before this all started? Does she have any other medical conditions that may have played a factor in this?
As for blindness. Why can't she have a good job? Many people who are blind have very good jobs. Helen Keller, Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Louis Braille, Ann Sullivan, Sir Frances Joseph Campbell, Thomas Rhoades Armitage, Martha Arnold...
This list goes on and on and on. Most on this list lost their eyesight after birth) There are special computers for the blind, seeing eye dogs, braille is everywhere. Whay can't she work.
FYI - There is a reason this story stood out to me. You should see how thick my glasses are. My right eye is considered legally blind. Now, glasses do correct my vision better than hers, but my eyesight still gets worse with every year. Now I have black "floaters" in my right eye because of a weakness in the tissue.
Does this mean I should have a bad job and not be able to raise my children? My husband travels for his job. 2-3 weeks of everymonth (he's home on weekends) it is just me and the kids.Posted by: Valerie at April 20, 2007 10:50 AM
No, we just mean it would be more difficult. And it's especially hard for people who aren't BORN blind, because they are used to sight. I mean it's not the end of the world, or impossible, it is just really difficult.
And since somehow the pregnancy is the cause and she couldn't have an abortion she should be somewhat compensated for what she might have to endure to raise her kids.Posted by: prettyinpink at April 20, 2007 11:03 AM
So - Is the genereal opinion here that this woman's eyesight falls in the catagory of "health of the Mother"?
This question is asked in the hypothetical sense of abortion being illegal with the exception of rape/incest and Health of Mother.
OR - is the general opinion here that this does not fall under health of mother however the government should compensate her for this?
(no right or wrong answer here - just curious as to how we all think here.)
personally I am for the 2nd option.Posted by: prettyinpink at April 20, 2007 12:23 PM
"What medical condition would she have that a C-section would cause blindness but not an abortion? I can't see how an epidural would cause a retinal hemmorage."
While I completely agree with you that there are a lot of unknowns in this case, the key factor sounded to me to be gestational age. The doctors said if her pregnancy had continued, she could go blind. I could imagine a more developed pregnancy could result in vascular complications as the baby gets bigger, swelling/pressure increases. So maybe that was what was putting her at risk, not necessarily which procedure used to remove the fetus/baby, but how long they waited to do it. just a guess.Posted by: JustAnotherJane at April 20, 2007 6:33 PM
This might be a stretch for the Internet sleuths here, but has anyone thought of perhaps finding a way of contacting this woman in question and getting some answers to the questions posed on this blog? Maybe just getting in touch with the writer of the article would be enough. Being that it's Polish in origin, language would be a HUGE hurdle. I would agree that the media doesn't have it 100% correct and unbiased 100%of the time, so perhaps some detective work would be in order.
I know, I know, but who's got the time or interest...?
Very good point. I didn't think of that but it is medically possible that is what the problem was.
Carder - Another good point. I'm 1/2 Polish, I'm going to see if I can't get the Polish articles translated by my Polish relatives. The 'older' relatives were born and raised there. We still have family there....ooohh..I may be able to do what you said. I'll let everyone know if I find out anything.Posted by: Valerie at April 21, 2007 8:12 AM