Sunday, February 03, 2008

Walking the Line with a Webbed Foot

In my dream I was busting at the seams pregnant. My stetched skin hurt everytime I stood up because my belly would sag, tugged by gravity. I cradled my arms around my massive stomach to relieve the discomfort. Then I was in the hospital where nothing was happening. The baby hadn't moved in a while and I was terrified that it had died. They found its heart beat on some sort of monitor and relief washed over me. I was desparate to avoid a c-section so I was doing my best to coax it out, massaging my abdomen with downward strokes.

In another clip of the same early-dawn feature, some close friend was telling me that she and her husband had to face the difficult decision of whether or not to abort their web-footed baby. To me a webbed foot didn't seem like a crippling abnormality, and certainly not one that would warrant an abortion. But she explained that in her community everyone had to wear opened toed sandals and that a webbed foot would be detrimental to the child's ability to live a happy life in her community.

Law school has changed the way that even my sub-conscious thinks. At dinner with friends last night (one who is Mormon and the other who tends toward the libertarian) we had been discussing the presidential candidates and the pro-choice/ anti-abortion debate. There was cautious agreement that permitting an abortion when the mother's life was endangered was okay. But where to draw the line. The law is all about line drawing, and the more I learn, the more arbitrary many of the lines that have been drawn seem. We draw lines in our own lives all the time about what we are comfortable with, what we believe is right or wrong, how much we value one outcome over some other.

But after a dream like this, I wake up grateful that my life right now is so simple, so uncomplicated, so free from having to make difficult line drawing decisions myself - let alone for someone else.


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