A reader writes:
My choices were to do nothing, undergo termination with less than definitive diagnosis, or wait for the definitive diagnosis, and then go to New York or Colorado, or, I guess, Kansas.
If she lived at all, she was destined for debilitating and probably inexplicable pain and suffering (at least three and probably more major surgeries), and a short life. There would never be any surgery for her brain defect, and if she was chromosomally abnormal, most doctors would refuse to do surgery, and she would simply be allowed to die. When we scheduled the termination, they did an amnio to get the definitive diagnosis, which turned out to be a rare and unsurvivable trisomy (#22 if you are interested — it is so rare that the geneticist got a little excited because she had never personally seen it). The last time I saw her on the sonogram screen, her heart rate had decelerated to below 100, which is abnormal for a fetus. I believe that she was sustained as far as she was by me, and that she was already starting to die.
I was haunted for a while that I had to decide before I knew for sure that death was inevitable, and once I got over the grief of having done that, the experience only deepened my belief that abortion should be the province of individual men and women. I think I speak for a lot of people when I say that I have concluded that a decision to undergo abortion or continue a pregnancy is often made instinctively, with a nearly primal conviction that it is the right thing to do under the circumstances. Trying to impose a rigid moral framework based on an extreme notion of equality of personhood doesn't even begin to speak to the complexities of what most people experience when trying to decide this question for themselves.