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my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Saturday, March 08, 2003 ::

I don't want to sit and spill my guts today, so I'm going to do the lazy thing and post a speech I wrote for an anti-abortion event a year or two ago. I sent a copy of it to the jail that housed the abortionist who killed my child, but predictably, I never heard back from him. And of course he went right back to victimizing women, children and families just as soon as his fat little sausage fingers were released and could freely grasp a sharp curette again.

If you've been punishing yourself by following along with this blog, you will recognize a lot of the details. There is a pinch of clarification here and there, so it might be worth the read.

"Like so many in today's society, I knew my baby was a human being, but I still went through with the abortion. Such revalation may seem shocking to many who oppose abortion, but let me tell you how I came to commit such a rueful act.

I suffer from a severe form of a rare pregnancy-related disease called hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). This is not morning sickness. It is like being allergic to your baby. The symptoms are akin to going through chemotherapy while simultaneously suffering from food poisoning (24 hours a day)on an endlessly rocking boat for months. When medically neglected, it's no surprise that some women die. It should never get to that point, but sorrowfully, it continues to happen because some physicians refuse to properly care for their female patients.

When I was first diagnosed, I was already in a physical crisis. My husband and I knew nothing about the disease, and it was difficult to be an advocate for myself and our welcomed child. My doctor, who, unbeknownst to me, was having a mental breakdown at the time, did not give me needed information, accurate information or apply much merit to the amount of suffering my disease inflicted. She allowed me to lose over 14% of my total body weight without any intervention other than medication that I was allergic to. She and the other female doctors in her practice did not put me in the hospital or provide the treatments that were so necessary to manage the utterly debilitating symptoms of HG. At the time, I was led to believe that there were no treatments available that would help me. By the fourth month of my pregnancy I was jaundiced (from liver dysfunction), malnourished and severely dehydrated. I was so physically depleted that I began to have mild hallucinations, which I found very disturbing. I begged to be put in the hospital for at least 48 hours but was told by one of my doctors, "This is not a hotel." I threatened that she was leaving me no choice but to abort the child that I loved and wanted; I thought that would elicit some action. She wanted to know two things: who would perform the abortion and when could I come in for my post-abortion exam. I felt defeated.

I went to the emergency room demanding to be admitted. They put me in room 4, and a psychiatric nurse followed. I explained to her that I was so sick that I was ready to abort a baby that I loved and wanted if I didn't get some help. Her response was to force me to admit myself to a psychiatric hospital down the street. I knew the place; it's a lock-in mental facility that houses the people police find ranting naked on the streets at night. She told me if I didn't go, she'd have the police take me against my will. Though my husband and I were terrified, we went but not before a passing physician, shocked by my appearance, prescribed a quick IV for the "obviously dehydrated girl in room 4".

At the mental facility, the intake person took one look at my yellow body, gaunt expression, bloody, vomit splattered pajamas and inability to walk with a normal gait and told me I needed to be admitted to a medical hospital because I was sick, not crazy. When he realized we had just come from there, he told me that perhaps I should take care of myself and that my current physical condition might be my baby's way of saying s/he didn't really want to be born. I didn't agree with his personal philosophy, but I couldn't argue about a solution anymore. I couldn't stand the suffering any longer, my husband was scared I was going to die, and no one would help us. The mental facility was the last straw. Our faith died that day, and our child would soon follow.

Over the years I have had countless occasions to reflect on the sorrowful January night that we lost our first, anticipated child in a second trimester abortion. When I am not jaundiced and dehydrated to the point of hallucination, it is hard to fathom how I could have arrived at such a conclusion. There were positive solutions that I could have employed, but for the life in me, I couldn't see them at the time. Why was my personal life-ethic not stronger? I take full responsibility for my actions that night, but I have come up with some troubling truths about myself and who I was prior to the event. The thing that makes these revelations so troubling is not merely that they involve me but that they apply to so many in our society today.

Up until the point of my own ordeal, I had been "pro-choice" and staunchly so. I agreed with the popular, flawed logic that abortion was never something I would personally be involved in, but it was fine if other people wanted to stoop to such a level. I attended rallies that promoted abortion, donned a clever sounding abortion supporting bumper sticker on my car, and successfully ducked the "disgusting" Center for Bio-Ethical Reform's GAP project at Florida State University. (How often I wish I had not avoided the display.) The shocker is, I did know that gestating children were living human beings. (Why do you think I avoided the display?)

I knew that gestating children were real and very precious, otherwise I would not have made the delineation that abortion was personally unacceptable. I knew that it was not in my heart, that I was not capable of such a thing and, as an elementary school teacher, I knew I loved children and would never want harm to come to them. But the fact remains, I supported abortion. I am still perplexed that I could be so insensitive and vain, because it is out of character for me. If you had asked me if it were acceptable for a neighbor to choose to break her toddler's arm to alleviate the stress of a crisis, of course I would have said no and been shocked and offended at the mention of such a ridiculous scenario. But ask me about abortion and I would have uttered a continuous stream of abortion advocating rhetoric about "choice" and "rights" and the blood-curdling devolution of the coat hanger abortion. All of it obscenely flawed, all of it pathetically unresearched, all of it blindly accepted hook, line and sinker. Hear me when I reveal that ultimately, I knew what abortion did to children but somehow didn't care. It is so unlike me, so not who I thought I was. How could I ever have advocated something as unjust and cruel as abortion? How can those who identify themselves as Christians, and who are otherwise concerned and loving people, support such malice and victimization?

In high school we learned about slavery. Our history texts described unbelievable events in which people with dark skin were not regarded as people at all but as property to be bought and sold and abused as a slave owner determined. I remember absolutely balking at the idea that any human being could have before them the evidence of arms, legs and crying eyes and yet determine the person a property with no individual rights. For perpetuating such a unethical, hateful idea as slavery, I judged the people of a bygone era with an ease unsurpassed. Worm-eaten hearts beat in the chests of those archaic devils, and I believed that deep down inside they knew just exactly what they were doing but ignored their consciences for the sake of political correctness and convenience. After all, dissenters were alienated, and a plantation full of cheap labor could profit a slave owner with the kind of financial life he wanted for himself and his family or even deliver him from a crisis. Even in the 11th grade, I had enough moral sense to recognize malevolence when I was exposed to it, yet all the while I suffered the same type of clueless, crippled ethic. And my abortion advocating beliefs didn't disenfranchise just anyone, no: my beliefs targeted little children. (God help me, my virgin vote was cast for Clinton.) Words cannot express how horrified I am by my previous internal composition. To say that my experience has been humbling is a gross understatement.

Now that I am on the other side, I can see how senseless I was and how unintentionally but truly destructive. It's no consolation, but I thought I was helping people. In reality, I was killing them with my "kindness". This is particularly hard to swallow, because I have always imagined that I was not gullible. I have also always deemed myself innocuous and tender. But something was insidious enough to burrow its way under the skin of my consciousness and into my heart. It had to be a mixture of my own fallibility and the politically correct "choice" propaganda that is spoon-fed to those of us born around the time of the legalization of abortion (and after). For what it's worth, I am deeply ashamed of myself and terribly sorry for the part I played in so many deaths including the death of my own child. It is certainly fitting that it happened to me, this unfathomable loss. But it is not fitting that it happened to my child who had no voice or legal right to choose his or her own destiny. It is beyond my capability to resolve. It is something I will simply have to find a way to live with.

I submit that abortion is the most important issue of our time. I can only hope that one day a young girl in the 11th grade reads about, and judges with an ease unsurpassed, the barbaric people of a bygone era... people like me who somehow convinced themselves that it was OK to take the life of a growing human child."


:: ashli 2:51 PM # ::

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