I am now 24 weeks pregnant. Twenty-four weeks and still no closer to knowing whether I will carry a healthy baby to term. With every day, with every kick, with every scan, with every “Congratulations,” the hope builds, and the fear builds with it.
This date marks the start of the period I find, ethically, the most challenging. From this point, were my baby to be born, the chances are it would survive. Thanks to medical science it is now likely a viable independent being. Partly for that reason, it would now be illegal to abort my child if it were healthy. And here the discrimination begins. Because if the child is disabled – whether seriously, life-limitingly like Benjamin, or (in practice) mildly, treatably, cosmetically – I have the right to an abortion until birth. Sixteen weeks during which ‘normal’ children are afforded the protection of the law and disabled children can be terminated at will.
I find this abhorrent, unjust, uncivilised. I am also shamefully grateful for it. If it weren’t for the get-out-clause it gives us, I would not be pregnant right now, we would not have taken the risk. I just pray I never have to invoke that right.