Sunday, June 15, 2008

Pressure for Abortion for Obese Women

Another outrageous form of discrimination that some fat women are subject to is pressure to abort their baby.

They are told that pregnancy at their size is soooo dangerous they need to abort now to save their own lives, or the doctor strongly implies it is too dangerous to continue the pregnancy. Or they are told that the baby is sure to have birth defects and so it's better to just end the pregnancy now, or that being pregnant while fat would likely kill the baby anyhow so they might as well take care of it now.

Of course, fat women have been successfully having babies for YEARS. But you'd never know it by reading the typical scare tactics on the internet, or the scare tactics that some doctors use against their fat patients.

Here are excerpts from emails or stories I have read over the years, slightly edited for grammar, spelling, or identifying information:

  • "I also was told I could not have kids. Then when I got pregnant I was told by various doctors for various reasons that I should abort."
  • "[The doctor] even suggested that we consider having an abortion because the likelihood was great that this was going to happen....We had 2 weeks to decide about the abortion because legally you have up to 24 weeks to abort the baby."
  • "[The doctor said:] 'No fat woman can ever have a healthy pregnancy. Besides, if you did get pregnant, I'd order you to have an abortion. But that's a moot point anyway, because you're too fat to get pregnant.' "
Sometimes the pressure to abort comes from families instead of medical professionals. Many families have their own psychological weight issues (ironically, sometimes the most fat-phobic treatment comes from people who are fat themselves) and so subject their family members to horrific tactics and bullying when they want to have children.

  • "I am severely overweight and was terrified about possibly needing to abort. My family has been worried also, so they are not excited about this pregnancy. I have been sobbing for days, worrying about possibly ending this pregnancy. I have yet to see the doctor. I just made an appointment today, and I promised my family if he leaned towards terminating the pregnancy because of my weight, I would do it."

And these are only the stories women have written to me about. How often does this happen and go unreported?

I do not believe that most fat women experience pressure to abort......but it is horribly appalling and TOTALLY INEXCUSABLE that some do.