Should a Teen Sue Her Parents to Prevent Having an Abortion?

 

Harris County Courthouse

“Nothing is perfect. Life is messy. Relationships are complex. Outcomes are uncertain. People are irrational.” I thought about Hugh MacKay’s quote after I read the story of the pregnant teen in Texas who’s suing her parents to prevent a forced abortion. I know Texas has some good people, including members of my own family but, OMG, what a state.

So I read this story about the teen who takes her parents to court in order to have her baby and I thought back to a recent trip to a social media website where I saw a picture of an old boyfriend whom I hadn’t seen in over 30 years. As I looked at the pictures on his website, I came across one of his daughters who was now a beautiful adult with a successful career, baby and husband who appeared to be nice. This young lady was also one of the reasons that I had ended an engagement. Her father was my fiancé who entered into a relationship with her mother while I was in college and also dated yet another woman at the same time. Two’s company; three was a crowd and four people was absolutely ridiculous. It was time to move on.

My former fiancé’s “baby’s mama” made a recent comment on the website that having this “baby” was probably the best thing she ever did in her life although (not surprising), she and my former fiancé inevitably went their separate ways. I couldn’t agree more as I looked at pictures that chronicled her daughter’s life.

I don’t know what will be the outcome in Texas as the pregnant teen fights her parents to avoid having an abortion. But I do hope that the same people who are advocating on her behalf will also be there to help once the baby is born. I also hope that her parents realize that certain actions and precautions need to be done, if they don’t want to see her get pregnant again.

Life is indeed messy — but also beautiful.

 

 

 

 

What Happens When a Surrogate Mom is Pregnant with an Abnormal Baby?

 

130304153100-crystal-kelley-surrogate-one-horizontal-gallery

After I read CNN’s  story about Crystal Kelly, I developed a splitting headache. As an ob-gyn physician, a former infertility patient and an adoptive mother, I have walked down that bumpy road towards parenthood. However, Kelly’s story illustrates how complex things can become when the conditions of the pregnancy falls outside of the proverbial box called “normal.”

Kelly needed money and someone wanted a baby. Sounds simple, right? Unfortunately it wasn’t. The baby had several abnormalities and the biological parents wanted her to abort. She refused. She was offered $10,000 to have an abortion and “in a moment of weakness” she had asked for $15,000. The biological parents refused to pay that price. Kelly then had a “change of heart” and decided to maintain her position to keep the baby. The biological couple’s lawyer sent threatening letters warning Kelly that time was running out. In the contract that she signed was a provision that stated an abortion should be obtained in the event of an abnormal baby.

A legal battle ensued regarding who had legal authority over the baby. Kelly was originally in Connecticut where the biological parents had legal custody so she moved to Michigan with her three children, applied for Medicaid and planned to deliver at a hospital that specialized in taking care of special needs babies. In the midst of the legal battle for custody, it was discovered that the pregnancy was conceived by IVF with the use of an anonymous donor’s egg. Therefore, the baby’s “biological “mother was not her “legal” mother.

Once Kelly reached Michigan, she decided that she could not care for the baby and found a couple to adopt the baby. The baby was subsequently born with an abnormal brain, a cleft palate and other severe problems. The biological parents have fought and won the right to keep in touch with the adoptive parents and see the baby.

The prognosis of the baby is not good. She is presently eight months old, requires several surgeries and only has a 25% chance of having a “normal” life. Did Kelly make the right decision? I’ll let you be the judge of that.

 

Should a Pregnant Teen Die in Order to Save Her Baby?

While the debate continues in the U.S. regarding whether life begins at conception, the Dominican Republic has shown what happens when a government says that it does.

In 2009, the Dominican Republic passed a law stating life begins at conception and Rosa Hernandez buried her 16 year old daughter (also named Rosa), as a result.

Rosa was 10 weeks pregnant when she discovered that she had leukemia. Hernandez wanted Rosa to receive chemotherapy in order to save her life. Instead, her doctors were reluctant to give chemotherapy because it would have caused a termination of pregnancy. So both Rosa and unborn grandchild died instead.

Hernandez pleaded with the physicians to no avail. They did not want to be accused of provoking an abortion if the fetus had died. The Dominican government allegedly stated that chemotherapy could be given to pregnant women as long as it’s not given for the purpose of causing an abortion. What an impossible situation. Of course chemotherapy is not given for the purpose of causing an abortion. It’s given for the purpose of killing cancer cells and saving someone’s life. Cancer affects 1 in 1500 pregnancies. Does that mean that all those women have to die?

Rosa’s doctors admitted her into the hospital at approximately 13 weeks but her body rejected the chemotherapy and she had significant bleeding. Despite heroic attempts, she died in the 14th week of her pregnancy and Hernandez’s life will never be the same again.

Insurance companies and government policy should not and cannot treat acute or chronic illness. They are not doctors or nurses. If the U.S. adopts the same policy as the Dominican Republic and 1 in 1500 pregnant women have cancer each year, then 2,667 women could potentially die each year in the same manner as Rosa. Do we really want that?