I’ll be spending today in the hospital.
As it’s the last full week before Passover, some Israelis will be enjoying vacation, others will be frantically cleaning and most will be desperately trying to figure out how to balance work, home and child care when school’s not in session.
But not my wife and me.
We will be headed to the hospital for a D&C. That stands for dilation and curettage, and you can read the details of this gynecological procedure here, if you’re so inclined. Personally, we don’t need to, because we’ve been here many, many times before. By my count, this is pregnancy number 18, and if you know we have three children, well… you can do the math.
Eighteen, of course, is a big number in Jewish tradition. Chai, life (more accurately, “living”), has a numerical value of 18, so it’s a good omen. But sometimes pregnancy number chai ends with no fetal heartbeat at week 14. But hey, it’s not ectopic, so small miracles, right?
So we’re farming out the boys to friends and family, then heading out to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem for this procedure, explained by Wikipedia as “a therapeutic gynecological procedure as well as the most often used method of first trimester miscarriage or abortion.”
Abortion is a scary word. It scares people so much that even when it’s the same procedure to deal with a pregnancy which has self-terminated, people want to wall it off from all other medical practice, from all other women’s healthcare, from the world of fertility. Even when it’s a matter of some pills, it still scares them.
No one has a D&C for fun. No one enjoys them. And obviously, as a man, it’s not my place to discuss the physical pain. But the emotional agony is something I share, and there is only one thing that could make it worse: government intrusion. That is why I react so viscerally to the idea of adding a cleric to the abortion panels in Israel. That is why it sickens me to my core that the man who “would have basically forced women to seek funerary services for a fetus — whether she’d had an abortion or a miscarriage, and no matter how far along the pregnancy was” is now a heartbeat away from the American presidency. Turns out, you can’t count on heartbeats.
I don’t intend to debate Jewish / Christian / Muslim theology on terminating pregnancies, or even the different policies we’ve experienced in Canada, America and Israel. Suffice it to say that I take solace and feel pride in the fact that we are going to a hospital for this medical procedure, and that anyone who needs it has the opportunity to do so in the Jewish state (and have it paid for). Not traveling hundreds of miles to wait days for approval. And to all who would have it otherwise, I wonder: is “life” really your priority?
Think about it. For now, I need to be with my wife.