A new article about abortion is going viral. Titled “Interview With a Woman Who Recently Had an Abortion at 32 Weeks,” the article by Jia Tolentino, published on Jezebel, is more than 8,000 words long. Published on Wednesday, June 15, the article about an abortion undergone by a woman they call Elizabeth has gotten 588,000 views since that time.
An eerie illustration by Jim Cooke opening the article speaks of the sadness to follow. The rendering shows a black baby casket with no baby, only a hole in the bottom. Such a controversial article that begs for a frank and honest conversation about abortion has garnered 1,280 comments thus far.
— Longreads (@Longreads) June 15, 2016
It begins with 35-year-old Elizabeth speaking about her rearing in the south, her marital status of two years and her current residence in Brooklyn. Elizabeth and her husband endured a heartbreaking miscarriage at the 10-week point and were more than happy when they got pregnant a second time.
However, that joy turned to worry when Elizabeth learned at 31 weeks that the baby boy in her womb likely wouldn’t survive and breathe outside the uterus. During the following week, Elizabeth traveled to Colorado and got an injection to begin the third-trimester abortion process.
For more conservative folks like Elizabeth’s father’s side of the family, she tells them that they lost the baby at 32 weeks.
Curiously, a test during her pregnancy revealed that Elizabeth’s uterus was shaped like a heart instead of the normal pear-shaped uterus. They even had a 4D ultrasound where they saw their baby boy waving at them. Before long, though, they learned that a specific protein that resides in the fetus was in Elizabeth’s blood — but at four times the average rate.
At the 31-week mark, the baby’s growth had stopped. He was not swallowing as a baby in utero should. Doctors suspected that the baby must have had some sort of muscular problem. Eventually, Elizabeth was told that the baby’s life wasn’t viable — “incompatible with life” were the exact words.
— Essence Magazine (@essencemag) June 16, 2016
Elizabeth made it clear that if she thought there was any chance for her baby boy to survive, she would not have had the abortion. She resigned herself to the fact that the baby boy her and her husband wanted wouldn’t be born healthy and perfect as they wished. In their grief, they drank glasses of bourbon and toasted their baby boy.
The total cost of the abortion was $25,000 cash and it took four days to be completed after Elizabeth got the shot in Colorado to stop the baby’s heart. The doctor claimed that the baby couldn’t “contemplate pain” when she asked him if the shot would hurt the baby.
After getting the injection, Elizabeth cried for a long time. Before long, the baby’s heart stopped.
All in all, the experience is a pulling back of the curtain that isn’t always seen or known about late-term abortions. Elizabeth went on to describe the labor process of delivering her child.
“So they gave me the epidural, and I passed out. I woke up super-early the next morning with contractions. It hurt really badly. They were like, ‘Huh.’ And so they basically topped me off. There was a little thing where they could inject more medicine directly into the epidural into your spine, and they kept giving me what they called ‘top-offs,’ but I kept feeling the contractions, and they were getting worse and worse and worse.
“So basically, the combination of the epidural not working and me not being able to push meant that this doctor essentially had to pull the baby out. So she was inside of me. She was inside of me almost up to her elbow. It was beyond. I almost don’t even remember. I know it was blindingly painful, so much so that I asked for a break because I was sure I was going to pass out. She gave me five minutes, and then she said, ‘I’ve got to go back in there.’ All told, I was in labor for 24 hours.”
[Image via Shutterstock]