The radio station I listen to each morning was reporting on a story from Hawaii of a mother who was diagnosed with cancer when she was five weeks pregnant. The way the story goes, assuming the radio show got it correct (which isn't always the story), the woman is a mother of two young children. She finds out she has cancer-a treatable one apparently-but also finds out she is pregnant, just over a month.
The doctors tell her that she has to have treatment for it immediately or she will die. She can not have treatment while pregnant, so she has to end the pregnancy or choose to die. There was no guarantee she would make it through the pregnancy, she was going to die if the cancer was not treated.
Quite the dilemma.
Two small children and a husband who love and need her...or a five week old fetus.
She chose the fetus. The baby was born, healthy I assume, and the mother died.
The debate was whether this was a selfish act or a selfless act. It's a bit of both, I'm sure.
It was selfish of her not to put her husband and two children first. Their needs come first. She might have woken up every morning sad about the loss of the child she'll never know, however, her children are now waking up every morning without their mom. She might have died a little inside from the guilt of what she felt was murder, but the child she gave birth to will die a little as it grows up knowing that the mother of the family is missing because of him/her. And how will the two siblings feel towards this child? And the husband? There is no way to avoid a slight amount of resentment towards the person who is alive because their mother/wife is dead.
It was selfless of her to believe that another life is more important than her own and the future-baby that will come from this five-week old fetus has more to offer the world than her own life.
I am not a big advocate of abortion, but that story was a hard one. It'd be interesting to see how the father copes in all this...left with his intense sorrow of losing his wife, and is now a single parent of three children, who are also feeling the intense sorrow of losing their mom (or in the baby's case-never even knowing its mom).
It's almost like one of those really hard questions you get when you play that game with someone to test how much they can push their boundaries, such as "would you give up a leg for the chance to have a million dollars" or "would you take off ten years of your life to be your ideal weight." My old officemate and I would play this game during a slow afternoon, with random people we met at work. It was always interesting to see how people justify things. I don't think we could ever have come up with the question as hard as the dilemma this woman faced. It's so tragic and sad.
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