Abortion Isn’t Always A Simple Case Of Wanting Or Not Wanting A Child

// Surgical Theater by Olivier Peulen

We ask about terminating the pregnancy. The doctor looks down at her notes and replies, “It’s late, but you still have that option.” Steve and I exchange clueless looks.

“Go home and sleep on it,” she says, as if sleeping is an option.

After the abortion, I fall into a depressive stupor. I spend days wracking my brain, trying to figure out what I might have done to cause my baby’s defects. Was it because I kept forgetting to take my prenatal vitamins? Could it have been the two beers I drank at the Indigo Girls concert before I learned of my pregnancy? Maybe it was my twice-a-week tennis lessons?

Twenty-eight years later, in March of 2017, I’m driving down Highway 1 in Southern California listening to NPR’s All Things Considered when I hear a story that makes me bolt upright. Scott Pruitt, Trump’s former Environmental Protection Agency administrator, is lifting a ban on the pesticide chlorpyrifos. Numerous studies — including one longitudinal study on the neurodevelopmental effects of indoor pesticide exposure — have linked the chemical to neural tube defects and brain malformations.

You go to the body’s resources to build a baby, and fat is one of those resources. Studies have shown that, for instance, dioxin — the active ingredient in Agent Orange — has been detected in body fat and seminal fluid 30 to 40 years after exposure.

Mekdeci goes on to explain that certain enzymes are known to play a role in the detoxification of the body, and some individuals lack these enzymes. She suggests that I submit my 23andMe raw data on the Genetic Genie website to see if I am one of those individuals.

It matters because while the right is engaged in an all-out assault on reproductive rights, it is also engaged on an all-out assault on evidence-backed science that in meant to protect our nation’s public.

It matters because I want to do everything in my power to ensure that what happened to me doesn’t happen to you.

Essays, anthologies, and memoirs, oh my!!

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store