I have always been raised with an anti-abortion outlook because of being raised in a Christian family.
However, just because I was raised a Christian doesn’t mean I actually was a Christian. I had to choose to have a relationship and believe in Jesus as my God. And although I made that decision at a young age, I continually study God’s Word and I love researching culture, history, archeology, and science that affirms my faith.
In the same way, when it comes to abortion, I have researched from a medical perspective and from a personal experience perspective. I have several friends who have had abortions and they either regret their decision and are pro-life or they do not regret their decision and are pro-choice. I have had many debates with the friends who are pro-choice but even though we disagree, we still have great friendships.
Due to a recent conversation with a friend, I started to think about why I am pro-life. There is not one defining moment. Instead there are several circumstances throughout my life where I have had the opportunity to contemplate the pro-life perspective. The following stories are some of the significant experiences that contributed to why I am pro-life. For further reading about the truth of abortion you can go to my list of blog posts relating to the topic (including my opinion on if the mother’s life is at risk). After reading the following stories, I would love to hear your input and opinions relating to my experiences. Feel free to comment respectfully. Any rude and inappropriate comments will not be posted.
I was first exposed to “abortion” when I was around age 5. Although, I fully did not understand what was going on until later. My mom was pregnant and while she was doing a marching band performance during a pro-football game half-time show she started bleeding. Her doctor recommended a D&C (dilation of the cervix then scraping or suctioning out the tissues inside the uterus) because he thought the baby was not going to survive. My mom questioned if this was an abortion and the doctor decided to do an ultrasound to confirm his suspicions and reassure my mom. He immediately was able to see why my mom was bleeding. He saw that the baby was tearing off of the uterine wall because a second baby was pushing him. He told my mom that if one baby died, the chances of the other baby surviving was slim. He put her on strict bed rest for the rest of the pregnancy. She was in and out of the hospital and consistently being monitored as high risk. My mom, family, & friends prayed fervently over the babies and they were born one month before their due date and survived. I would not have my brother and sister if the doctor had not done an ultrasound that day.
I lost my virginity when I was in college and still living in my parent’s home. I went into panic mode not only because I had been planning to wait until marriage but also because I imagined how getting pregnant would affect my entire life. I assumed that everyone around me would judge me for not being the good Christian girl that I claimed to be. I assumed I would be asked to leave my parent’s house. I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to finish college. I assumed that I wouldn’t be able to financially support myself. A couple of days later, I called an OB-GYN office to ask how long it would take for me to know if I got pregnant or not. The nurse gave me the usual “based on your period” response and she recommended Plan B. She told me it would keep me from getting pregnant if I had not yet conceived but she could not assure me that if I had already conceived that it would not cause a miscarriage. I told her I needed to think about it and I would call her back if I decided to make an appointment. I never called her back. I decided that because I made a stupid decision, I would hope for the best but I would have to live with any consequences. I could not justify causing an abortion even if I did not know for sure if I was pregnant. A couple of weeks later I was relieved to know that I was not pregnant. Shane and I got married several months later in August 2002.
2003-2004 I was working as a nurse (LPN) at an OB-GYN doctors office. At the time, the office had 9 doctors and a Nurse Practitioner who were apart of the practice. When I went to the office for my interview, the head nurse saw, under volunteer work, on my resume’ that I had gone to Brazil for church mission trips and she assumed that I probably would be against abortion. During the interview, she confided in me that there were a few doctors in the practice who sometimes did surgical abortions at the surgery center. She also said that on occasion, some of the doctors would give abortion causing pills in the office. She made it very clear that the nurses who are morally against abortion could ask another nurse to take over during the time these patients were in the office. I really wanted to be in the OB-GYN field so Shane and I prayed about it and decided that I should still work there. When I was hired, I confirmed with the head nurse that I was very against abortion and that I would not participate in it at all.
During my time there, I cared for women during their pregnancies, including when they miscarried. I remember one woman came in to confirm her miscarriage and brought the passed tissues in a baggie. I think that she was about 11-12 weeks along. The baggie was given to the nurses so that we could send the tissues to the lab. In the bag, there was a perfectly round circle of tissue (about the size of a half dollar). The nurses gathered around and we held it up to the light. We could see an amazing outline of a baby. I will never forget that image. My heart ached for the woman and for the tiny baby that I held in my hand.
Several months later, one of the doctors had given a teenager (I don’t remember how old she was but probably 17-18 years old) the abortion causing pills. She went home to complete the process but the pills did not work properly so she came back into the office. The doctor completed the process in the office. We heard the girl’s cries of pain from down the hallway. And of course, it was the responsibility of the nurses to send the tissues to the lab and clean the instruments used during the procedure. I was not prepared for the wave of emotions I felt. I was angry at the doctor who did the procedure in the office. I was in shock that it had actually happened the way it did. I felt bad for one of the other nurses who had no clue that some of the doctors did occasional abortions. I resigned later that week making sure my boss knew that I felt that the whole situation was completely unacceptable.
In February 2005; I found out that I was pregnant. I had always wanted children and was very excited. I called and told a lot of my family and friends as soon as I found out. My excitement was soon crushed with pain and bleeding. At first the doctor didn’t say for sure that I was having a miscarriage. But as a nurse who had worked in the OB-GYN field, I knew what was going on. In my pain and while I was still hoping for the best; I wrote a poem called My Valley. We chose the name Kendal during this time, based on the poem which I wrote “as I walk through the valley of death”. In one name book; the meaning for Kendal is: “Ruler of the valley.” When I found out that I was pregnant again in November of 2005; I was cautious and did not let everyone know. So when I miscarried again; I did not have to explain to a lot of people who offered their congratulations like the first time. During that time and for several months after; our marriage was in turmoil and we almost got divorced but during the time we were trying to reconcile we got pregnant for a third time in May of 2006 and Kendal was born 9 months later. I believe that God used that pregnancy to keep us together.
During my time of grieving, I found it very difficult to read articles or hear news related to abortion. It physically & emotionally hurt to know that there were babies being discarded when there were people like me who wanted a baby so badly. Yes, I was eventually able to have my own children but there are many couples who for whatever reason cannot have children and would give anything to adopt and love an unwanted baby. Some day I would love to do the same.
Audrey was induced and born in 2009. I had a smooth delivery but after the epidural wore off and I tried to get out of bed for the first time, I started hemorrhaging and passed out. The doctor determined that I had retained placenta and they manually tried to get it out. I was in extreme pain and went in and out of consciousness. I stayed in the hospital an extra day because I had lost a lot of blood and they were making sure that I wouldn’t need a transfusion. At my 6 week postpartum exam, I was still bleeding on a daily basis since the delivery. The doctor scheduled me for an ultrasound which was several weeks later. The ultrasound showed that I still had placenta in my uterus so she gave me Misoprostol (abortion pills) in order to cause my uterus to contract and hopefully expel the remaining placenta tissues. I cannot emphasize enough how incredibly painful this process was. I was in a lot of pain for several days that even Percocet could not alleviate. I have experienced the physical pain of abortion without actually having an abortion.
When this process did not work, I ended up having a D&C to scrape the retained placenta out of the uterus. This procedure is often used after miscarriages and for 1st trimester and some 2nd trimester abortions. I had general anesthesia during the procedure. Unfortunately, anesthesia is often not used during abortions. When I went to the doctor for my follow-up, he did an ultrasound to make sure that the procedure worked. It did not. There was still retained placenta tissue still visible. So I had a second D&C (the doctor used an ultrasound during the procedure to confirm that it was completely removed). Finally, after 6 months of bleeding, medications, surgical procedures, pain, depression, etc, I was able to recover from Audrey’s delivery.
This section was UPDATED in January 2017 to include experiences/information that happened after this article was originally published:
One question that often comes up in my discussions/debates about abortion is about birth control. I personally have used several methods of birth control throughout my life. My belief after much research is that if it can prevent conception that it is not causing an abortion. If it is preventing a fertilized egg from implanting then it is causing an abortion. Most hormonal methods of birth control when used correctly do a combination of preventing fertilization and preventing implantation. SO there is no guarantee that it will prevent fertilization. For that reason, my husband and I decided that we would go off of birth control 3 years ago and do natural family planning & withdraw (neither of which are 100% birth control but we were ok with it if we should get pregnant). As far as Plan B goes, if it is taken immediately after the rape happens then I would assume it would prevent fertilization and therefore not cause an abortion. If the woman waits then there is no guarantee of that. So, my opinion on that is pending each particular situation.
While off of hormonal birth control, I miscarried two more times (this makes a total of 4 known miscarriages because of pregnancy tests that confirmed the pregnancies). This emotional roller coaster caused a stronger desire to have more children. So, I started researching adoption. During Fall 2015, Shane and I started the state’s CYFD foster and adoption process of applications, background checks, and classes. Half way through the classes schedule, Shane felt very strongly that it was not the right timing for us to foster and/or adopt. I think he was overwhelmed by the process. There were unknowns coming up for his military career and with our financial situation. I actually was going to continue the classes without him because I was so emotionally wrapped up in the process but just before the next class, I decided not to go out of respect to Shane. I cried for days.
In February 2016 (around the time we would have completed the CYFD classes), I had another positive pregnancy test. About a week after I took the test, I had went to the Emergency Room for bleeding and cramping. My ultrasound did not show a pregnancy in the uterus so the OB doctor suspected an ectopic pregnancy. He was very concerned for me and offered the option of termination to prevent tube rupture. I opted to tolerate the pain and wait. I knew the exact day we conceived based on how I tracked my cycle & sex with natural family planning so I knew that the pregnancy was still very early. I was under strict orders to rest and return to ER if pain got worse. Two days later, I had another ultrasound which was still inconclusive. I was still bleeding and cramping but my quant level had not decreased even though it was low. We waited again. Four days later we repeated the ultrasound and a sac was seen in the uterus. At that point, it was confirmed that I did not have an ectopic pregnancy but miscarriage was still a possibility.
I started a routine of having ultrasounds every 4 weeks throughout the entire pregnancy (most women have 2 ultrasounds during their pregnancy, one in the 1st trimester to confirm implantation and one around 20 weeks for anatomy scan). I also had a full work up to see if there was a reason for my past miscarriages (they did not find anything). I was very sick with dehydration, non-stop nausea and vomiting, weight loss, etc. until around 14 weeks. I continued to cramp and bleed until around 20 weeks. Every ultrasound I had showed a healthy and growing baby even though my body was not tolerating being pregnant very well.
Had I terminated with the initial hospital visit, I would not have my perfect son, Kaleb, today.
Sometime in 2010, I started this blog website. I used my writing to help me get through some difficult times in my life and marriage. I started interacting online with other bloggers and following pages that interested me. A few of those blogging friends kept me updated on abortion related statistics, politics, news, etc. Although I have always considered myself pro-life, I started feeling burdened to be a voice for the unborn. I started posting about abortion on my blog and on facebook. I started having real conversations with friends who disagree with me in order to know their perspective. I had a desire to help women who are contemplating abortion or who have had them in the past.
When we moved to New Mexico, I found out that there is a Pregnancy Resource Center in our town. They provide free pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, STD testing, counseling, resources, classes, etc. to women and girls who have unplanned and/or crisis pregnancies. I have not yet been able to volunteer directly with the clients (due to timing and other commitments) but I have taken the peer counseling training, have helped raise money, helped with the fundraising banquets, participated in awareness runs/walks, etc.
My hope is that someday I can truly make a difference in the life of a woman with an unplanned pregnancy. There are other options available to women that are not often talked about (adoption and keeping the baby). There is counseling, resources, and help available for women who choose options other than abortion. And there is counseling, resources, and help for those who have had abortions in the past. My purpose for being pro-life is not to condemn or judge those who have had abortions but instead to help others see that there is value to all life born or unborn, young or old, etc.