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:
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.