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‘Choice’ doesn’t always mean abortion

I have a friend here in Israel who found out she was pregnant when she went in for a neurological workup at the hospital several years ago.

She was single. She worked hard and played hard. Having a baby was the last thing on her mind.

“You need an MRI,” the doctor told my friend in English as he looked over her chart after they did an initial blood draw. “But don’t worry, it won’t affect the baby”

“The who???” My friend stammered.

“The baby.”

“What baby?”

“Nu? You don’t know you’re pregnant?”

“Uhhhh do I look like someone in the know?”

The doctor was religious. He had a black yarmulke on his head. My friend said she assumed he’d judge her for being single, pregnant, and totally freaked out.

But instead, the doctor smiled.

“Is this a ‘Mazal Tov’ or ‘Oh shit’ moment?” he asked her.

“I’m not sure…” she answered.

“Look,” he said “you get to decide what you want to do. If you want to have a baby, that’s fine. And if you don’t, that’s fine too.”

My friend felt relief flood through her. She knew abortion is legal here in Israel, but davka at the very moment where she was vulnerable and uncertain and a little afraid, the doctor made her feel like not only was he NOT judging her reaction, but that he also UNDERSTOOD her ambivalence.

And by giving her permission to think about her choices, my friend ended up keeping her baby, and today has a beautiful five-year-old girl who is very much wanted.

About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer, author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel, She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems. She now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors and talks to strangers, and writes stories about people. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She also loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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