An abortion story

This story came to me through a friend.  The author wishes to remain anonymous, but I can attest to the fact that it is a true account and the people involved are good people.  I thought I’d post it to this blog to sort of put a “human face” on a topic that tends to be impersonal to a lot of people.  Please, read it, and digest it.

I have something to say about abortion.

It’s an ugly topic.  Pro-life conservatives call it slaughtering defenseless unborn human beings.  Maybe it is, but I would like to tell all you alleged pro-life individuals reading this that if you had your way 5 years ago then you would have likely sentenced the woman I love and intend to marry to a painful death or at the very least crippled her for the rest of her life.

I grew up in a conservative household in a small town, as a young boy I went to church and heard the rhetoric.  Abortion was wrong.  I knew this, but it was a topic far removed from my young life so I never considered that it would ever matter to me.

When I was 19 I met the woman I am with to this very day.  She has been the light of my life since we met and anyone who knows us will attest to the fact that we are as good together as two souls can be.  We’ve had our trials though.  She is and has never been what anyone would call healthy.  Born with muscular dystrophy it was estimated that she would not be able walk once she reached adulthood.  Her childhood was a constant barrage of medical tests in and out of hospitals working to diagnose her condition.  I know this because I see the scars that early 80’s biopsies produce.  They are not pretty.  However all other evidence of these trips has not been found for over a decade.

As a teenager my beloved moved across the country, and a year later her former doctor retired.  Somewhere during that transition her medical records were lost to the point where we have not been able to locate them yet.  As a result none of the doctors in this part of the country know what disease she has.  She can tell them she has muscular dystrophy, but without any documentation it means nothing.   This has frustrated me to no end as every morning I see her stumble out of bed barely able to stand, and I wonder to myself when her next slip will be the one to confine her to a wheelchair for the rest of her days.  I’ve tried to convince her that she needs to go and have the tests redone, but tests cost money and come with considerable amounts of pain, and while money is something we’ve recently begun to acquire pain she has quite enough of already.

Early on in our relationship we began living together.   The first two years we were not well off, I had found hardly any work and she was barely able to support herself with a minimum-wage grocery clerk job.  Our land-lady forgave us 5 months of rent that we swore we’d pay back but never did because the building we lived in was sold before we could do so.  During that period she was told that her birth-control pills were causing her to have extremely high blood pressure and that to continue to be on them would be hazardous to her health.  This is just one of the many complications her illness has inflicted upon her over the years.  So she went off the pill and without having the money for alternative forms of birth control we attempted to get by with condoms.

It never occurred to us what the real cause was when she got sick.  Constant puking day and night dehydrated and malnourished her for several weeks.  She was unable to work, and with me not working our situation became even more untenable.  Finally after 3 weeks of escalating sickness she went to the doctor and discovered she was pregnant.

Together it took us three days to decide what to do.  Her parent’s were involved and supportive.  Mine weren’t, they wouldn’t understand and I don’t ever intend to subject them to the pain of an account of the event.  They can keep their beliefs, because I’m considerate enough to let them.  It was not an easy decision for either of us, I was prepared to support her as best I could, but at that point the only support I could offer was the emotional kind and we both needed much much more than that.  Her health was the biggest concern, already the constant nausea had weakened her, and none of us had any illusions obscuring the harsh fact that she likely wouldn’t come out of the whole affair standing on her own two feet.

I didn’t go with her the day of the abortion, I can’t exactly remember why, but I don’t think I would have wanted to.  She spared me the details, – though several years later she admitted to me there were complications and she had lost a lot of blood – and when she came home we cried some, and then got back to the process of living our lives.  She immediately got on another form of birth control that was less harmful to her heart and I managed to find a job and we have hardly ever looked back.

These days we are far better off, but it’s been only recently that we’ve actually had the money to begin addressing the numerous health problems she has.  It’s going to be a long road, and I don’t know if she’ll ever be fully functional physically but we still work at it.  We still don’t have her childhood medical records so without them all that can be done is treat her symptoms as best we can, and even then we’re constantly wary that any given treatment might just make things worse.  We choose not to have children currently, but if one were to occur by chance we would not abort again.  We don’t discuss this but it is nonetheless true.

I am not clairvoyant, I cannot peer into the world of what might-have-been, so I can only speculate.  But we were not ready to become parents in any way shape or form.  The baby would have likely permanently crippled my beloved without even considering that her disease could pull a plethora of complications from it’s lovely hat of misery during her labor.  We had no money to mitigate any of these risks, and certainly none to raise a child, and we didn’t know yet if our paths were to remain together.  A baby at that point would likely have destroyed all three of our lives.

I realize that we are just two people, but our circumstances don’t seem particularly extraordinary.  If the pro-life movement had it’s way at that time my story would be very different, we would not have been afforded the choice to abort.  Even if there might be extenuating circumstances due to her health condition, without her medical records there would be no way of proving that she was suffering any more than a particularly nasty case of morning sickness.  We would have been told that we should have been more responsible to deal with the repercussions, and if those repercussions included her death then such is the price of our irresponsible lifestyle.

In the grand scheme of things I don’t think my story will effect the opinions of many people.  To some abortion is a heinous act resulting in the death of an infant.  They believe that it is too easy a decision to make, that the three days of our agonizing about what we should do, is similar to deciding whether to have pork or chicken for dinner.  According to them, my love and I should be damned to hell for the horrible crime we committed.  To them I have only one thing to say:

“After you.”

Postscript from Lindsey:

The story is raw, I know, and in some ways it is inflammatory.  I respect everyone’s right to comment and express their views, but I ask that you do so with respect.  Any comments attacking the author, his character, or his relationship with his beloved will be deleted, and the commenter will be reprimanded.

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23 thoughts on “An abortion story

  1. I can’t even imagine how emotionally painful that whole situation was/is. My support goes out to Mr. and Mrs. Anonymous, 100%.

    I will say this though, anyone who is anti-abortion should consider becoming a foster parent or adopting. One reason why child abuse is so RAMPANT, is that irresponsible people have children they aren’t emotionally, financially, or physically ready for.

    To demand that people ‘not have abortions’ without trying to do something about the ‘unwanted’ children who live with YEARS OF TORTURE as a result – is like punishing the children for the actions of their parents.

    When I was a kid and I found out about the concept of abortion, I was very very angry. WHY hadn’t MY parents gotten one??? I was jealous of all the ‘lucky’ kids who escaped.

    So I would never, never tell a woman that having an abortion is wrong but I also would urge that anyone who feels that abortion is wrong to strongly consider foster parenting.

  2. That is a heartbreaking story, and Mr Anon is right, it didn’t change my views on abortion, I think that a lot of Pro-Life activists forget that there are more people than a baby involved.

    I am pro-life to my toes, I’m the chairperson of a local branch of a pro-Life counselling agency, My parents growing up also fostered babies. I heartily agree with Hayden, don’t just talk about a solution, be the solution.

    I believe that Abortion is never the answer, I also believe that the Pro-Life campagin need to learn more compassion and less condemnation.

  3. I’m generally in-line with Shush on the issue. I think it should not ever be an easy decision to make, and I absolutely believe that offering counsel is a great thing to do for a person. If bitterness on the whole issue doesn’t consume mr Anon then perhaps he should consider that as an avenue sometime. A person who’s been there might be able to offer a more sympathetic ear.

    What bugs me when people try to make political hay out of this issue. Socially it exists as part of a much bigger problem that can’t be addressed by putting a legislative padlock on a woman’s uterus. If families were more open and honest with each other and children were raised in more sexually aware environments then there would be more support to bring a child to term. But that kind of support and awareness has to start somewhere, and when sexual terms are considered profanity it’s not easy to have the serious conversations and show real support.

  4. I believe that Abortion is never the answer, I also believe that the Pro-Life campagin need to learn more compassion and less condemnation.

    But it seems that Ms Anon was likely to have extreme health problems, or even die, if this went on. How can it never be the answer, even in this situation?

    Its too simple to speak in absolutes.

    I feel for this couple. Abortion is a horror that I hope never visits me. I don’t think I would have the guts to make that decision, I would pussy out and have the kid.

  5. I have to give my support to Mr and Mrs Anon. It doesn’t matter where my personal beliefs are, I can’t judge anyone unless I am in their shoes.

    That being said, I almost had to make that choice once, But fortunately that decision was taken from me. I am pro_life and pro-choice. I don’t think abortion is a good birth control method but then again I don’t think it should be outlawed.

    Lindsey, I was just wondering if the missing post was valid or should I forget I saw it? Take care.

  6. @Kelli: It’s still valid, I just posted it and then thought better of it, and decided to do a permanent page linked from the side bar and THEN write a post about it. Do you need my email again?

  7. Lindsey; since I am a living example of being part of the solution I will try not to step over the line.

    Here goes…

    It seems to me that the author from the git-go is saying “I wanted to live my life the way I wanted. Yes I made some poor decisions. So what it’s my life.”

    There are so many half truths in this story.

    Fourth paragraph: there must be some agency to not only help financially but more importantly too help “document” this lady’s medical condition. Is there a muscular dystrophy society that will come to her aid?

    Fifth paragraph: No work? Day labor maybe? He says here that her birth control pills were hazardous to her health. Later in the post he says she starts taking a different pill. Which is it?

    Sixth paragraph: He first states “several weeks” of puking making her dehydrated and malnurished. Then he says after three weeks of excalating. Which is it several weeks or three weeks? He also says in this same paragraph that he is not working and she cant work now because she is so sick. Still not working but he allows his sick girlfriend support him?

    Eighth paragraph: He remembers every detail except why he didn’t go with her to get the abortion. Now let’s remember this is three days after she was “Constant puking day and night dehydrated and malnourished her for several weeks.” Now again it’s several days after her abortion and “She immediately got on another form of birth control that was less harmful to her heart and I managed to find a job and we have hardly ever looked back.” Wow a just over the period of a few (or several depending on which time line you choose) they found another birth control pill that will not kill her. Too bad they didn’t try that before the condom thing. They could have avoided this entire ugly episode.

    Now if I am to believe the rest of his post as it relates to the afore mentioned sections it looks to me as if the abortion actually partially healed some of her ailments.

    I certainly believe and actually want these medical procedures to be available to protect the life of the mother.

    I’m not buying this story for a second.

    It’s okay for someone to tell such an inflamitory story but we certainly wouldn’t want to look at it logically.

    Now you can delete this post.

  8. My opinion that abortion is never the answer is just my opinion, I havenever been in a situation where that will have to be challenged(a hopefully never will be).

    That doesn’t mean that I don’t emphasise with this couple, I do. My heart breaks for their situation, for the child that was not born, for the sick woman, for the husband, for the agonising decision that I’m sure they didn’t want to make.

    I cannot and hopefully never will judge someone who has an abortion.
    My opinions on abortion at the end of the day are just that, my opinions.

  9. M54: Well, first off- I DO know this person well and can assure you that he isn’t lying. He does now have a well-paying job and is supporting his girlfriend, they were *very* young at the time this happened.

    As for your “which is it, several weeks or three weeks?” It’s a common journalistic ploy to invoke first a vague term and then a literal one, as in “a majority of Doctors proscribe pill X- eighty percent say it’s their first choice.” I don’t think that his vagueness is because he didn’t remember and then he lied about 3 weeks, I think he said the same thing two different ways in order to not have that paragraph be redundant. It would get tiring to read the same number over, and over, and over.

    Honestly, I’d rather that he tell the truth and he say that he can’t remember the EXACT reason he gave for not going, but that he didn’t want to go, than that he lie.

    And as for the “first she can’t take the pill then she can?” That’s your own misinterpretation of what he said. He said she immediately got another form of birth control that was not harmful to her body. It may mean a different kind of pill, as different kinds use different hormones and thus have different side effects, it may mean she started using the patch which is slow release and has less risks, it may mean she started using the diaphragm, it may mean she got an Intra-Uterine Device, it may mean any number of birth control. If you’d like, I could ask him for specifics?

    And no, the abortion didn’t “heal” any of her ailments, but it certainly relieved the stress of the pregnancy, which exacerbated them.

    Now, to reiterate, this is the story of an acquaintance of mine. As I didn’t know him at the time it took place, I can’t attest to the literal details of several things, but I can say that I always knew when he and his Miss started dating he was having a hard time finding work, I always knew that she had muscular dystrophy and sometimes it complicated their life kind of painfully, and I always knew that bringing up the possibility of their having kids made him uncomfortable. So while I can’t attest to the literal truth of his story I can attest that knowing him, and knowing this, it explains an awful lot I had questions about, and knowing him and knowing our friendship, if he asked me to post something that turned out untrue he’d know the cost.

    I don’t think he would do that.

  10. Okay, let me first apologise for the tone in which I posted. It was uncalled for and I should expect better of myself.

    Upon further reflection most of my response had little do to with Mr. Anon.

    Again, upon further reflection, the thing that bothered me the most about Mr. Anon (specifically) is that everything that happened to him and Ms. Anon was someone elses’ fault.

    He further generalizes that every person who is pro-life has no compassion and would rather Ms. Anon die or be crippled worse than have a medical procedure to better ensure her health and safety. Nothing could be further from the truth.

    I think until Mr. Anon is able to show the same compassion he and Ms. Anon so richly deserve that he will in all liklyhood aleinate those who wish to help him most.

    Again, forgive me for being such a jerk.

    Lindsey; thank you for calling “a spade a spade.”… as usual. lol

  11. I am with a few, before judging one should see what can be done to help the situation. If you are against abortion what are you doing to help the mothers, what would they do if in the same situation facing the same thing. I admire 2 x Anon above it takes courage to face a life of illness as she does, it takes courage to have a partner with illness and it takes courage to make that decision.

  12. I would like to comment here – both on Mr. Anon’s very wrenching story, and on some of the comments that have been left, but I really can’t bring myself to commit anything to the screen that can’t be edited or deleted by me personally.

    I’m not angry at anyone, but I fear that if I say what I’m thinking, it might come across that way – no tone of voice, no facial expressions (etc.) is a *huge* challenge when trying to discuss difficult subjects.

    I will say this: my heart goes out to the Anon’s.

  13. Mssc54: Thanks for taking time to think more deeply about what was bothering you, and I totally see where you are coming from. The tone of the story does make it seem as if Mr. and Miss Anon were helpless victims of a set of circumstances that left them little choice. I can sense your unasked questions. Could family have taken them in? Could they have made better choices prior to the pregnancy that would have left them with more options? Did they petition any charities to help them?

    If I may speak on Mr. Anon’s behalf, it’s apparent he feels he made the best choice, because otherwise he wouldn’t have made the choice he did. It’s also apparent that he probably feels that the situation was outside of his control. After all, he was doing his best to make his own life and make responsible decisions. He used birth control, they tried to avoid a pregnancy, it happened anyway.

    The truth of his story being in that it WAS a difficult situation, one that left him with very few options. Had the most important thing to him been the survival of the baby they would have chosen differently. Had the most important thing to HER been the survival of the baby, she would have risked her health and life.

    But you and he are not so alike, in that while your morality requests a certain standard of you, Mr. Anon has a different standard. And Ethics state something very different in this case than morality does. Ethics say that the health and wellbeing of the mother should not be thrown away for the sake of a pregnancy which may not, in the end, be viable.

    And Yes, Mr. Anon’s tone was confrontational and haughty. If I may tell you a secret, Mr. Anon is a bit of a haughty person. It can be annoying at times.

    (Aside to Mr. Anon- you know I love you anyway 😉 )

    e2c: Understood. It can be so frustrating! But we all do our best.

  14. Abortion is completely illegal in Ireland (Eire). In Northern Ireland (part of the UK), it is almost entirely illegal. There have been some truly shocking test cases in Eire over the past 15 years, including one in which the person wishing to have the abortion was a 12-year-old girl who’d been raped, was in state custody, and who stated that she would commit suicide if she were denied the right to leave the country to terminate her pregnancy.

    I do not think anyone would really want to have to face such difficult choices with federal law breathing down their neck(s). And even though the case in question might seem atypical, sexual abuse is all too common… so take it from there.

    Who deserved the law clamping down on them in this case? Surely not the 12-year-old.

  15. Hi, I’ve been reading this blog for a month or two and this is the first time I have something to say. I am pro-life personally and pro-choice politically. About two years ago, I took my best friend, who was 19 years old and with an abusive boyfriend, for an abortion. From that experience, there have been a lot of emotions to sort out and I have met many other women who have had abortions:
    -My co-worker who works 70 hours a week at a dead-end job because she only has a 5th grade education because her mother never finished homeschooling.
    -My mother who aborted a child before me because the father left her after she became pregnant.
    -A women who was in an abusive marriage and already had two little boys and knew she would never be able to get out of the marriage and support another kid.

    It really burns me when I walk by an abortion booth and hear someone say “…and they’re killing them…”. Most women do not want to abort they’re children. They are not cold-hearted killers. They do it because it is the only option since society doesn’t offer them enough support when it comes to caring for a child.

    These are my thoughts for political pro-lifers. To decrease the number of abortions, stop the condemnation, protesting and rather useless voting in this area and HELP THESE WOMEN. It seems a lot of people don’t want to see these women have abortions, but they don’t want to do anything to help them with whatever means they need to raise a child either. Society is letting women down. Churchs, who so vehemenently oppose abortion, are letting women down too. One would think the Law of Love should really be coming into play here.

    Here is another thought regarding abortion. Nowadays, birth control is very popular. Well… birth control pills are classified as abortifacients. At any given time, birth control is working one of three ways: 1) preventing ovulation, 2) making the egg inviable and 3) preventing the fertilized egg (aka developing embryo, conceptus, baby) from attaching to the uterine wall and receiving nourishment. Fertilized eggs do not attach to the uterine wall until a week after conception. So these pregnancies are being aborted at just one week. I read an estimate once that 1 million abortions are committed surgically each year; meanwhile, 4 million abortions are committed by birth control pills each year. Is there a difference between a pregnancy terminated at 1 week, 5 weeks or 10 weeks? If your going to make surgical abortion illegal, then you may have to make birth control illegal too.

    Oh well, to sum this up. It’s going to be impossible to stop abortions. And there are going to be times where it should be an option. Society isn’t prepared/doesn’t want to care for the all the unwanted children out there. If the needs of these women and children were being met, that alone would reduce the number of abortions significantly without checking any ballot box. Sorry for the long comment, but I just have lots to say on this subject.

  16. e2c: thank you.
    Katherine: Welcome to the neighborhood. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment, and thank you for your compassion.
    Joseph: Your comment will be redacted, as the first link you provided serves little to further this discussion aside from it’s inflammatory nature. You seek to make your point not through well reasoned argument and compassion, but through shock value.

    Not on my blog.

    If you wish to explain your views you may do so, with temperance and logic. It’s hard enough for people who have had abortions to be honest about their experiences without having pictures of aborted fetuses thrown around.

  17. Joseph I too am pro life. Although your “facts” are accurate the way you present them I feel is like a Christian trying to lead one to a life committed to the Savior by screaming “YOU’RE GOING TO BURN IN HELL FOR ALL OF ETERNITY IF YOU DON’T STOP…” Kind of the vinegar verses the sugar approach.

    Choose life? Which one? I mean if (medically speaking) only either the mother or the unborn baby could possibly survive the birth… should we kill the mother or the unborn baby? For me it’s a difficult question but easily answered.

    Is it at all possible (in your current understanding) that Romans 8:28 could be part of this?

  18. Hi. I’m the author of the story, and I’m pleased the discussion this has started. Some have questioned the authenticity of my story so I’ll answer a few questions. I never attested to remembering the events perfectly… and I only have my own side of the story to relate. Discussing this story after the fact with my girlfriend related a few more facts that I didn’t remember properly. I have to admit her problems weren’t entirely MD related, at the point she went in she was 2 months along. My inconsistencies on the amount of time she was sick are due to the fact that I honestly don’t remember. She puked a lot… I was more concerned with holding her hair and being worried about what was wrong, and it’s hard to remember how many days of work she missed.

    I’m now told that it was her 2nd trip to the doctor that they discovered she was pregnant. The first trip they suspected she had liver trouble that was causing the illness, I suspect that’s because her mother has dealt with liver problems for a long time. They scheduled some blood work, and it was when they were reviewing the results that she found out. I’m told also that the baby wasn’t where it was supposed to be, which wasn’t part of the MD, and invalidates my point about her lost medical records, her doctor was recommending she abort even without them.

    The second type of birth control wasn’t a pill at all, it was a shot taken once every 3 months, which was a completely different hormone. The shot isn’t ideal either but it’s allowed us to get by.

    As for why wasn’t I working? I wasn’t. Hard times happen, even to hard-working people. Starting out like that is tough, we wanted to be together and we couldn’t do that by moving back together with our parents. Selfish? Yeah probably, but we made it work out in the end.

    As for the inflammatory tone, I’d like to say it’s more towards the politics of it all then the people who strongly believe abortion is wrong. I thought I believed abortion was wrong too at one point, then I became involved in one and I was forced to re-think the whole thing. I was faced with the fact that the baby we had made together could hurt my girlfriend if we tried to carry through. So when I read blogs from conservatives I otherwise respect greatly and they talk in absolutes about how abortion is killing babies, I can’t help but feel like they’re calling me a baby killer. I love to talk politics, I really do, but when that topic is brought up it’s so intensely personal to me… I just don’t think it should be politicized. Maybe that’s guilt or regret that makes me feel offended, but the fact is I defend our actions at the time.

    I’d like to thank Lindsey for posting this for me and letting you discuss. I wanted it posted because I felt the story should be told despite being unable to attach my name to it. We’ve not discussed the abortion with people since it happened, it’s not exactly something you announce, my parent’s don’t know to this day, and many of our friends might be offended that we kept such a secret from them. So unfortunately I cannot attach my name to the story, but I am willing to face those here who would have questions or challenges.

  19. Re. my previous comment about the Irish teenager, I inadvertently got a little mixed up about her age. She was 14. However, in 1991, another girl (in the 1st Irish text case of its kind) facing much the same situation was… all of 12. And a *lot* of religious people were (still are) trying to prevent cases like these from being dealt with in a compassionate manner.

    It’s not that I have no sympathy for the “pro-life” arguments, because I do. But where things fall flat for me is in the mud-slinging, the accusations (blanket) and the refusal to see people as individuals who are often faced with terrible situations. If people on both sides of this issue would actually sit down and *listen* to each others’ stories, I think we would find that there’s a LOT of common ground…. But sloganeering – and politicizing these kinds of issues – doesn’t exactly (IMO) do anything to help people get past the barriers, stereotypes, prejudices and hurtful words and attitudes.

    Somehow I think that the “What would Jesus do?” response (or, more accurately, “responses,” since he ministered to individuals in need) are probably not what most of us might imagine them to be – and I’m very much including myself in that “us.”

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  21. This is such a touching post.. it brought tears to my eyes! 😦
    … Abortion according to me is a couple’ combined decision or choice according to their circumstance. Nobody else has any right to interfere in it or blame them for what they choose to be right for them.

    http://4mgiselle.wordpress.com

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