First of all, I apologize for not signing my name to this note. Even though these events happened twenty years ago, it’s still too vulnerable to talk with people about. But given the threat posed by Measure 106, I feel that I need to share what happened.
My husband and I were expecting our second child, and we were thrilled as the pregnancy progressed, with every indication that the fetus and I were doing well. When I was about 16 weeks along, my husband and I went for an ultrasound. I won’t forget the look on the ultrasound tech’s face, or the words our obstetrician spoke: “severe brain abnormality.”
My doctor told us that if we continued the pregnancy, the fetus might die before delivery. If it survived, the brain abnormality would cause the head to be too big for a vaginal birth. I would need a C-section. Most likely, the child would never be able to feed itself, control bowels or bladder, walk, or talk. It would lead a short and painful life before dying in a few years.
Our doctor suggested that we consider an abortion, and our clergy supported the decision. (Our doctor told us that, in Biblical days, the baby and I would both have died in childbirth.) We made a painful decision, but it was the right one.
What frightens me is what would happen in Oregon were Measure 106 to pass. The procedure was done in the hospital, under general anesthesia, so it was expensive. We had good health insurance and could afford the co-payments. But Measure 106 would prohibit use of state funds for this abortion. (The only exception it makes is if the life of the mother is in danger, which was not the case for me.) A woman on the Oregon Health Plan, or a State employee such as a teacher or law enforcement officer would be forced to pay for this herself, and if she couldn’t afford it, she’d have to carry the pregnancy to term.
Measure 106 would force the mother to have a child, then watch that child suffer and die. (Ironically, taxpayers would have to cover the hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical costs for the pregnancy and the care of this severely ill infant, though – of course – the money isn’t the point here.)
Please vote No on Measure 106. It’s just plain wrong and would have a cruel impact on women in our state.
Anonymous, Portland, OR