by Amanda Hennessey
At the beginning of the summer I had to renew my First Aid and CPR training. Those who have taken these courses know that when someone needs first aid you have to take into different factors. For instance, if someone is choking and cannot make any noise (full blockage) you should administer abdominal thrusts (formally known as the Heimlich maneuver). This is when you scope your hands, in a J-motion, into the person’s abdomen in order to dislodge the object. The factors which change how you should do this are: if the person is very short or a child (get on your knees), if the person is taller than you (get them to go down on their knees), or the person is obese or pregnant. In this last instance what you are supposed to do is do chest compressions, but what if the person has an open wound on their chest and it is impossible to do chest compressions? The instructor gently put it that, “without the mom there can be no baby” or rather that the child cannot survive if the mother does not survive. We would just have to do the best we could. The pregnant situation came up a few other times in CPR as well as in using the defibrillator. Ever time without fail someone would ask questions about the unborn child: if the treatment would hurt the baby, where should we compress so as not to hurt the child, etc… The instructor had an alternative places where we could do compressions or place the pads of the deliberator, but she would also reiterate the phrase, “no mom, no baby.”
I completely agree with what the instructor had to say; it is true that in situations like these we should do our best. I am also happy that those in my class were so concerned about these hypothetical babies. What did get me thinking is: would their points of view change if they knew that this hypothetical mother got into her accident on her way to an abortion clinic?
What makes some babies worth worrying for and others not? Is it just that some are wanted versus others that are not? Or that we are not sure that they are wanted? Or that we are afraid to get sued if we save the mom and kill the baby…?
My CPR class made me frustrated in this regard because to me in seems so illogical that many can care about saving these hypothetical babies and yet in reality these same people support the “freedom of choice” enabling mothers to terminate their children.