Mother Bullied to Abort Unborn Twins?

A wave of online support has forced a Texas hospital to rethink its bedside manner.

pregnant stomach
Should a mother of unborn twins have the right to fight for their lives? (Photo: Maria Teijeiro/Getty Images)
Nichol Nelson is the Editorial Director at TakePart. She has worked in national digital and print publications in both New York and Los Angeles.

There wasn’t much hope at first. Last Friday, blogger Diana Stone, a Texas wife and mother of a small toddler girl, found herself suddenly facing a horrible reality: Her water had broken, and she was going to miscarry her 18-week-old twins.

“I’m losing the babies. :( Please pray for us,” she tweeted.

The twins were at least six weeks away from viability, with underdeveloped organs and lungs. With the risk of infection high and the current chances of survival nonexistent, doctors advised Stone to induce labor.

But what happened has sent ripples of outrage throughout the “mommyblogging” community, and called into question what, exactly, the term “pro-choice” means. After careful consideration, Diana and her husband, Sam, opted to take a “wait and see” approach. It’s possible the leak will seal, and with strict bedrest, it’s conceivable that she could carry the babies long enough to give them a chance at life. Last Saturday, she tweeted:

We changed our minds. We chose not to induce. I can’t make a decision like this when they’re alive. I’m going to fight & try & give my all–and if God chooses to take them he will in his time and I’ll know I did my very best to hold on. It’s all I can do.

According to Stone’s blog and the editors at Babble, her doctors at University Medical Center in El Paso, Texas, weren’t supportive of her plan, calling her “an idiot taking up an expensive hospital bed” and telling her husband, Sam, “I know how pregnant ladies are. I don’t know who told her those babies will make it.” Her medical team refused to offer her a bedpan, insert an IV drip, or tilt her bed—all common practice in cases like hers.

When Babble editor Katherine Stone (no relation) posted about the situation yesterday, hundreds of supportive comments poured in, asserting that Stone’s choice to wait and see was just that—her choice, and that she deserved to be supported.

From commenter TooMuchGood:

Regardless of how you feel about babies in utero, the fact remains that these are her children. This is her body. It is her choice. She is not in any danger at this moment and any woman who is willing to fight like hell for her children should be supported. The comment by one doctor that she is “taking up an expensive hospital bed” is cruel and putting her at more risk with his absurd comments and the stress they bring. He should be fired.

Commenter John echoed those thoughts:

I am outraged at the treatment this woman has suffered at this hospital and at the hands of these MDs. What happened to the Hippocratic Oath these doctors swore to? This isn’t a matter of pro-life or pro-choice, nor should it be whittled down to such.

In just a few hours, Stone was back online with markedly different news: A patient advocate had stepped in, she received apologies from the doctor, and was now getting support from the hospital. She wrote, in part:

It has been a total change here, and we are so thankful to all of you.

We almost lost our twins 72 hours ago. At any time things could change. I realize this. There are massive risks, huge hurdles to overcome. And we may not.

But that’s ok.

Our choice to fight and not induce at 18.5 weeks or any other time (unless I am in imminent danger or go into labor) is just that – a choice. And for the past 3 days, we continually had to fight for that choice. Over and over, shift after shift. Dr. after Dr. It was so hard to keep our spirits up only to be told every few hours how slim our chances are. We knew – but honestly we made a choice and wanted to stand firm in our decision.

Thank you. From Sam and I and my family. From Bella. From our boys. No matter how this turns out, no matter what the outcome today, tomorrow, weeks from now, I can look at them and know that everything was done to get them to wherever they are at that point.

Do you think Diana should be able to choose the type of care she receives? What does “pro-choice” mean to you?

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