Christchurch mum – Choosing not to have an abortion

Christchurch mum Harriet Jackson on choosing not to have an abortion
NZ Herald 27 October 2017
Family First Comment: A superb read…
Mum of four Harriet Jackson’s baby died 14 hours after birth due to a severe birth defect. The Christchurch woman chose not to terminate despite being given the worst case scenario by medical professionals – and she doesn’t regret her decision. Jackson wants to illuminate why some mums choose not to terminate their babies, even in dire circumstances. This is in response to the Herald story on a woman who was denied an abortion at 18 weeks pregnant.
“The pressure to abort, and the woman’s obligation to do so is very real. Against the overwhelming trend I chose to keep my baby. Consequently, I am one of those irresponsible women the moral progressives condemn. My choice was not in line with their prevailing philosophy. The progressives seem to be either ignorant of, or repress, the psychological and spiritual impact of abortion. They are seduced by the philosophy of sentience.”
Thank you Harriet for sharing your personal story!

This year I buried my daughter Babette who had a severe form of spina bifida. I found out at a 22 week ultrasound scan. I was offered a termination that day, without having to tell my husband and without a second scan or “cool off” period.

At Christchurch’s Maternal Foetal Medicine Unit I was not given any information about support organisations. Instead we discussed worst case scenarios and funeral obligations. Weeks later, I met with a hospital social worker. She didn’t mention any support groups either.

To end my child’s life because she’s damaged would go against everything I’ve ever believed about what makes a person valuable.

At 42 weeks, my daughter arrived after an uncomplicated delivery. Her birth, and the 14 hours we had with her alive, is deeply imprinted on my life, my husband’s and children’s. Friends have told me that Babette’s story has strengthened them.

There are three New Zealand organisations that would have supported me during the hard times. When I called them, they were not surprised I didn’t know they existed. They say the hospital has their brochures but obstetricians don’t give them out. I know other women, who had less than perfect babies like mine, including a Downs syndrome baby who “would be a burden” if she didn’t terminate. All had pressure from obstetricians to terminate, even when they made it clear they weren’t going to.

Informed consent needs to be a priority in abortion reform talks. In an age of rights for women, social progressives speak with forked tongues when it comes to imperfect babies. Down syndrome, which the World Health Organisation calls a mild disability, is not exempt.

The pressure to abort, and the woman’s obligation to do so is very real. Against the overwhelming trend I chose to keep my baby.

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