Here’s an interesting article from the Ottawa Citizen by McGill University ethicist Margaret Somerville. (H/T Laura Welch)
Anna explained, “Everyone in Quebec thinks that abortion is normal; nothing to fuss or be upset about; the obvious and easy solution to an unplanned pregnancy.” But, when she unexpectedly found herself pregnant, she didn’t feel that way and sought support to continue the pregnancy. Everyone told her, however, to “get on with it” – have an abortion.
Anna, first, asked her mother whether she would help her, if she had the baby. Her mother flatly refused, saying, “I do not want to waste my life babysitting.” Her male partner said he “wasn’t interested in a kid” and their relationship has since broken up. She tried to get an appointment with her gynecologist to discuss her options, but the first available one was two months away. She then contacted an abortion clinic, which gave her an appointment in two weeks, at which time Anna was nine weeks pregnant. She said, “I went to them to get information on abortion, to know more about my options, the consequences of an abortion. I was open to getting an abortion, because that was what everyone around me recommended I do. I saw abortion as an option, but was really not sure. I was hoping for some answers.”
Anna met, first, with a nurse for a “consent interview.” She said, “The nurse told me that at this stage of the pregnancy the fetus is just a bunch of cells. I also asked her if the abortion would have any impact on my health, my future pregnancies, and so on. She said abortions had no impact at all, no consequences at all, that all that I had read (to the contrary) were myths. The nurse said, ‘In two weeks, it will be as if all this never happened’.”
Anna changed into a hospital gown and was taken into an examination room where a technician proceeded to do an ultrasound. Anna asked what the fetus looked like and could she see the ultrasound. She said, “The technician told me she was not allowed to show me the images and I was unable to see the screen,” which showed the fetus. At nine weeks gestation, it would have had a beating heart. The technician then picked up the printout of the ultrasound, but dropped it on the floor. She scrambled to gather it up quickly, saying, “You don’t want to see this.” But that’s exactly what Anna did want.
Anna says she was left “waiting alone in a little room in the blue gown,” before a nurse took her to the operating room, “where they gave me the sedative injection. At that point I was just crying, I was just thinking of all the reasons people told me I had to get the abortion, and that I did not have any help anyways, so I was crying. The doctor asked me if I was here on my own will and I said, ‘Yes’, while crying. So they gave me a double dose of sedative to calm me down. At that point, I felt it was pointless to protest further and that I couldn’t back out at that stage and would just have to go ahead.” So, she closed her eyes and let the abortion proceed.
Do you think that this woman was informed about what she was doing? If not, then how was she able to give her informed consent?