Y’all know I’m pro-choice, right?
Like, I haven’t mentioned that I could fairly be called a pro-choice militant approximately 738.4135 times before, have I?
So, you know, when it comes to what may be a new variant of the Zika virus and its effects on the developing embryo and fetus, I have no issue whatsoever with an affected woman deciding to end a pregnancy.
I also—militant that I am—have no issue with a woman deciding to continue a pregnancy and to raise a child with microcephaly.
Microcephaly can have devastating effects on the person, but not always: Ana Carolina Caceres was born with microcephaly, was pronounced profoundly damaged by her doctor, and now works as a journalist. Not everyone will be as healthy as Caceras, of course, but she notes that with family support, medication, and five surgeries, she now leads a good life.
Caceras is insulted by the notion that a diagnosis of microcephaly should automatically lead abortion, but allows that, in the end, that choice should be left to the parents.
The most important thing is access to treatment: counselling for parents and older sufferers, and physiotherapy and neurological treatment for those born with microcephaly.
And for all of the talk of the necessity of women avoiding pregnancy (which, shees), what of those who for whatever reason (choice or lack thereof) do give birth to children with microcephaly?
So in addition to discussing better access to contraception and abortion for women in affected regions (which, frankly, should have been available long before the effects of the virus hit), let’s also talk about the support that these women, these children, these families will need in order to maximize those children’s chances for their own good lives.
I get and ought to get no say in what happens to the embryo or fetus in another woman’s body, but once that fetus is born, in whatever shape she’s born, we owe it to her to treat her as a human being.
What happened to her may or may not be a tragedy, but she, herself, is not.
She’s one of us.
h/t for Caceres piece: JonH at Lawyers, Guns & Money