It took much too long to find the above video.
It was easy finding videos from parents who chronicled how they help their children cope with genetic illness. It was easy finding memorial videos from parents who lost their children to genetic illness, either through stillbirth or during the precious few hours, days, or months afterwards. And it was easy finding videos from parents who were advised that their prenatal diagnosis was “not compatible with life” and forged ahead anyway.
But videos from parents who terminated their pregnancies in the face of a poor prenatal diagnosis are very few and far apart — even the one above probably wouldn’t exist without the backdrop of advocation for reproductive rights. Why?
Parents who defy poor prenatal diagnoses and raise their children can publicly “share” their coping and reap encouragement and admiration; parents who lose their children can publicly mourn and reap support on their way toward “closure.” But a video about choosing to terminate a pregnancy for medical or genetic reasons would very likely be condemned as the work of godless, selfish “baby killers” who “took the easy way out.”
Can Dana Weinstein, featured above, not be a source of support for others in her situation? Or is she simply supposed to shrug it off and pretend it never really happened? Ms. Weinstein clearly has not — though it’s been more than three years since her termination, she was able to recite every word her doctor had told her about her baby as if she were reading them from a teleprompter.
Is the decision not to bring a severely challenged child into a world of suffering and premature death not worthy of admiration? Is the resulting loss of the child not worthy of condolences?
It’s time to end the silent suffering about poor prenatal diagnosis termination. And it’s very gratifying to be able to report that there are communities of parents and medical personnel who have refused to have their needs exiled or isolated.
A Heartbreaking Choice.net and After Abortion.com provide support about medical pregnancy termination: public and private discussion boards, personal stories, grief counseling, and descriptions of common prenatal diagnoses. Below are some local resources.
Monmouth and Ocean Counties:
HART- Healing And Recovering after Termination
Monmouth Medical Center, 255 3rd Ave
Long Branch, New Jersey 07740
Contact Judy Rokeach or Ivy Leight (732) 923-6527
Newark NJ Area
FATE (Feelings After the Termination Experience)
Center for Human & Molecular Genetics
90 Bergen Street, Suite 5400
Newark, NJ 07101
Contact: Gisela Rodriguez at 973) 972-3302
rodriggi @ umdnj.edu
Time for Healing
Mercer Campus of Capital Health System in Trenton, NJ
Meets one Sunday per month from 7-9 p.m.
Contact: Carolee Watkins, M.S., Genetic Counselor
(609) 394-4072, ext. 2
Links by phone with other parents also available
Bergen and Passaic Counties
Good Samaritan Hospital
Rt. 59, Suffern, NY 10901
Contact Pamela Magi, RN (845) 368-5297