Here is a copy of the speech I gave at the Silent No More event at the capitol last month:
"My name is Ashli ****, and exactly six years ago my husband and I lost our first child in a second-trimester abortion at Orlando Women's Center due to a severe, debilitating pregnancy-related maternal illness.
At 4 months pregnant, my HMO and physicians deserted me leaving me to deal with a slew of medical problems, among them: liver dysfunction and serious metabolic disturbance. Attempting to elicit better health care, I threatened them all with abortion, but this never phases anyone who doesn't consider a four-month-old gestating child an actual living human being. Treatment options existed, but they were niether divulged nor available to me, so I finally gave up and traveled to a second trimester abortion facility where everyone calls you "sweetie" before lying to you about fetal development and killing your child. To their credit, I signed papers that told me I might suffer emotionally, that abortion has been linked to breast cancer, and that I might die. Heck, these papers even called me a mother, accuracy that was not reflected on the record that omitted the hemorrhage (not to mention the incompetent cervix) I experienced afterwards. My record also doesn't list the name of the hospital I was sent to because we were instructed to go to a hotel until it was clear that I was out of danger. Having no shred of faith left in hospitals and doctors, we complied and went to the hotel to see if I would live through the night or bleed to death in the tub.
There are no words to describe the agony of destroying a child you want and certainly no way to verbalize the emotional desolation of living with it. Suicide becomes a daydream, a fantasy of escape, but so it was with abortion, and that lesson was too expensive to have learned nothing.
I am among the roughly 1% of women who terminate due to severe, physical maternal illness, so I have heard the excuses well-intentioned people have made for me. Excuses help the least. However, time has hung its faithful cobweb on crisis desperation, my faith enables me to live in the present with the knowledge that my child is with Christ and no longer suffering the sanguine assault of the legal mutilating mortality that is the D&E procedure, I am writing a book on the illness, and I have helped others miss appointments they made to abort the most darling children you have ever seen. I have been honored with the first breaths of these children as well as the happy tears of mothers seeing their faces for the very first time. These are the only tears women should cry.
Time, God, and helping women are but a comforting salve, for there is no cure for the fierce suffering of child loss that is simultaneously unwelcome yet self-inflicted. I have not gotten over it, but I realize I must get on with it.
One in four women experiences child loss through abortion. It has not made us equal but it has abandoned us to physical and emotional suffering somewhat exclusively. I am here to offer my dissent and to proclaim the truth that women deserve better than abortion."