:: The S.I.C.L.E. Cell ::

my view from the prison of a SICLE (Self-Imposed Child Loss Experience) due to debilitating maternal disease
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:: Friday, February 28, 2003 ::

Everything has changed so much since I was a kid. Everything that is, except Mr. Rogers. When my son was born my reintroduction to childrens' shows began. I admit I was a bit disappointed in programming. I was kind of turned off by the commercial mentality of the cast of Barney, and the Teletubbies I just could not figure out. Sesame Street was still around, but they had newer, "hipper" characters and though my child liked it, I felt a tad alienated. I'm a creature of habit; I still contend the show hasn't been right since Mr. Hooper died.

Once while flipping through channels I came across Mr. Rogers. I wasn't sure if I wanted to watch it. I was afraid Mr. Rogers would be writing hip-hop songs while Mr. McFeely worked for Federal Express. I did not want to taint my cozy childhood memory, but I'm one of those people who just has to look while driving by an accident... so I watched anyway.

To my surprise every perfect thing was the same. Mr. Rogers still changed his sweater and shoes, fed his fish, talked to a trolly, sang the same songs and demystified industrial enterprise via dear ol' "Picture-Picture". And the best part: the puppets had not been updated AT ALL. They looked just as raggedy and unevolved as they did in the 70's prompting me to pledge my eternal allegiance to the show. Come noon, it was mandatory at our house.

I was so excited about the "stagnancy" of the show that I wrote a long letter to Mr. Rogers thanking him for the familiar comfort and for still being there for me. I'm sure I sounded more like a deranged fan than a concerned mother, but I just couldn't help being so personally grateful. Mr. Rogers wrote back, and thus began a precious course of correspondence. In one letter I mentioned my son was almost two and was really beginning to take to the puppets. Of course Mr. Rogers sent him a birthday package in the mail consisting of autographed pictures of himself and the puppets, a T-shirt, a wooden Holgate Neighborhood Trolley and a lovely letter. My son and I sat down and wrote him a note of thanks (my son scribbled, I translated), and here's the absolute best part: Mr. Rogers sent us a Thank You note for the Thank You note! Needless to say, I didn't send him a Thank You note for the Thank You note for the Thank You note! I mean, it had to stop somewhere! LOL!

Oh, Mr. Rogers, you were the best!

In recent years I have wondered how he felt about abortion. You would think that being an ordained minister would clear up that mystery. Unfortunately, these days many ministers support abortion in the name of God, so being a minister isn't an official stance opposing the practice (although it should be). I checked the internet extensively and couldn't find anything. Rogers' personal opinion is pretty well confidential. I have to admit I'm not really sure how I feel about that, but since I don't have that information at my fingertips I choose to go with the messages he sends on his show. Many of his songs support the uniqueness of the individual and the sanctity of life. Here's my all-time favorite (and personal pro-life advocacy anthem):

"I'm taking care of you
taking good care of you
for once I was very little too.
Now I take care of you."

Click here for a listen.

Ah, but now I'm bawling! The loss is slowly sinking in. Mr. Rogers has been my neighbor for as long as I can remember, and I am so grateful for the recent good fortune of knowing him as my friend.

Thank you for the Thank You note, Mr. Rogers... and for everything else.


:: ashli 11:23 AM # ::
:: Thursday, February 27, 2003 ::

I love Charlotte's Web. At the risk of showing my age, I remember how excited I was when the VCR came out for home use. I remember this, not because I was an avid buff of all things technology but because it meant I could rent Charlotte's Web on video tape! (JOY!) And rent it I did! As soon as humanly possible! And I watched it over and over again as my precious 24-hour rental drew to a close. I even took my audio tape recorder and recorded the songs off the TV because I couldn't bear to return the video without a momento. It was a grand, memorable event.

Time passed and childhood treasures like Charlotte's Web were replaced with Tiger Beat subscriptions, Rick Springfield records (yes, records) and glittery hair care products. I grew up and away from my innocence as quickly as possible and was ultimately transformed into someone who secretly would like nothing better than to return to the inculpable child I once was. Of course that is impossible in the literal sense, but I find that through my son I can sneak back in time and live the world again through a child's eyes. It's an unbelievable gift and yet more proof of God's love. I try to honor that. I try to be a good mother in spite of knowing how miserably I failed at mothering my first child.

Some people are under the impression that having another child will replace the lost child and heal all the wounds. The truth of the matter is, you don't remove yourself from the pain of a failed parent-child dynamic by involving yourself in another one. It relates, and at times, it can be too close for comfort.

When my child is in pain, it cuts me to the core. Sometimes I shut off and become the void auto-matron I was at the abortion facility. My gears lock up, and I can do nothing but sit there waiting to reboot. It is stunning. For example, my child likes to roll himself tightly in blankets, and even though he is chronically claustrophobic, he cannot resist packing himself in a cottony cocoon. He did it just a few days ago and as soon as the last inch of quilt rolled over him he began to wail. This isn't just any ululation. It's a desperate cry coming from a tiny person hidden behind a veil: "Mama, MAMA!!! HELP ME, Mama!" I am never ready for this. I dissolve into tears at the blatant revelation of my relationship to him. I am his rescuer. I am the one he counts on for protection and safety. Through a dusty corridor of 7 years I hear the hollow ghost-voice of another of my children echoing, "Mama, MAMA!!!..."

Abortion has its collar on me, its fingers in the pot of my dealings with my child. It's always there, and I'm always trying to hide it. My son will not come out of this unscathed, but I endeavor to spare him every possible agony. I try to make his childhood happy. I try and remember my former life when abortion was last on the list of my perpetual thought agenda. I have been so psychically uncomfortable for so long that it takes earnest effort to rekindle the excited innocence of my past. But every now and again it comes from the gut.

Imagine my delight on perusing massive shelves of DVD's and finding Charlotte's Web among them. For an instant I was me again. Of course I plucked it off the shelf and spirited it home without delay. "You're gonna love this!," I said as I popped it in the player. My child sat riveted as Fern discovered the reason her father carried an ax out to the barn. As she begged for the life of a nursing runt pig, for the very first time I heard her ask, "If I had been very small, would you have killed me?" How could I have loved this story so much for so long and somehow never heard this? I went to the bathroom and cried aching for an alternate childhood where someone had instilled in me the truth about the value of human life and protecting the vulnerable. It did not happen for me, but all is not lost.

My son will know the truth. He will see it in the faces of mothers who are happier for having had their children and he will see it in the face of a childhood friend who would not be here if her mother had kept her abortion appointment. I will nurse him less on the obvious horror of abortion and more on the beauty of innocence and precious life.

May I find the strength to take what piece of unbruised heart remains and give it all to my living child. May God in heaven keep him from knowing in his own life the pain of parenting a child lost to abortion. And may he teach his children that Charlotte's Web is more than just a story about a frightened pig and a clever spider. Let the legacy of abortion end with me.

Tomorrow a tribute to our dear friend and "neighbor" Mr. Rogers...

:: ashli 11:47 AM # ::
:: Wednesday, February 26, 2003 ::

My letter to the editor of a local newspaper:

Why are liberals, whose hearts bleed on cue for women, opposed to legislation that would improve the physical safety of women seeking legal abortion procedures?

I'll bet many readers don't know that in Florida abortion clinics that go all the way up to 28 weeks are not mandated to offer the same standard of safety practices as outpatient surgical centers, hospitals and other doctor's offices. When you consider that second trimester abortions are more dangerous for the woman than first trimester abortions, it is obscene that safety requirements would be lower for second trimester procedures. Abortion facilities don't care about women's health.

The Women's Health and Safety Act would raise the level of safety for women who choose second trimester abortion by enforcing health standards comparable to those in doctor's offices and outpatient surgical centers.

Many abortion advocates oppose such regulation citing the fact that some abortion facilities will not be able to afford to implement newer, safer policies. They reason that some clinics will shut down, and access to legal abortion will thus be limited. The primary focus therefore is not women's safety but the availability of abortion period. Obviously, offices that shut down because they can't meet high standards of safety are exactly the ones that need to shut down.

I have been seeking out and reading through statutes and codes all morning. I'm not a lawyer or a licensing board, but it seems to me that Florida veterinary clinics are more regulated than Florida abortion clinics. It is absurd that anyone would have to argue that women deserve a safer surgical environment than a dog. Women deserve better. Shame on women's advocacy groups who care more about abortion than women. Floridians who are actually concerned for women should support the Women's Health and Safety Act.


:: ashli 9:26 AM # ::
:: Tuesday, February 25, 2003 ::

Abortion advocates call it a "weapon", but folks like Representative Cliff Stearns call it a womb with a view. Stearns has sponsored a bill that would basically help to provide ultrasound equipment to crisis pregnancy centers. Abortion supporters oppose this. They hate ultrasound because they know the old adage is true: a picture is worth a thousand words (and usually results in lost business for the abortion industry).

Talk is cheap, but seeing is believing. One look at the helpless little person who moves about in utero with a visibly beating heart and most moms realize pregnancy isn't just a state of mind but a reality. The usual response to the ultrasound image goes something like this: "Oh my God... there's a baby in there!"

Planned Parenthood's vice president for public policy says this is anti-abortion manipulation. She doesn't discuss the fact that abortion facilities often do ultrasounds, though they normally refuse to let the mother see who is on the screen. In my own experience, I instinctively turned to look but they whipped that screen around so fast it made my head spin. They were definately hiding the image of my child from me. They knew that if I saw how big and how developed s/he was my credit card and I just might go running out the door. Obscuring the humanity of the child is their business. Meanwhile they call truth a deception against women. THAT is manipulation of criminal proportion.

Technology advances exposing both the reality of the child and the reality of abortion, but in the industry of "choice" truth is enemy number one. Abortion advocates operate by purposely withholding the knowledge women need to make informed choices. They feed us a line about our "right to choose" while keeping information to the barest minimum. They protect themselves with the flawed boast that women, because they are women, know what they are doing without anyone having to tell them. Oh it sounds good, but by golly jerk that screen away, sister. Jerk it away, because despite clever slogans that feed the ego of feminism, they know women are just as confused and fallable as everyone else on this planet. They know that no one always knows what is best for them, that crisis is not the best climate for decision-making, and that being female doesn't exempt us from the human condition. They know that if we see our child sucking his thumb in utero nothing in this world will be bad enough to make us stay in their stirrups. They know, and that is why they quiver.


:: ashli 9:51 AM # ::
:: Monday, February 24, 2003 ::

I didn't watch the Super Bowl, so, until just now, I missed one of the most bizarre and offensive commercials I think I may have ever seen.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) came up with 4 new ads to dissuade people, teens in particular, from smoking dope. They want to make it clear that doing drugs can have tragic consequences. Four of the horrors they highlight are violence, death, terrorism and, of course, pregnancy . Woah, back up the circus truck! Did the ONDCP just say pregnancy?

In a familiar scenario a man and a woman are pacing the floor waiting for the results of the pregnancy test. They look worried. They look like they're in their 40's maybe, so perhaps the clock is ticking and they're having a hard time getting pregnant. We are told that their lives are about to change dramatically. The test is positive. Yippee! But what's this? The couple looks at each other like they've just been given a month to live. The text at the bottom of the screen tells us they are going to be the youngest grandparents in the neighborhood. The woman moves to the side and just beyond her we can see the form of her young daughter sitting on the toilet in expressionless dismay. She is the one who is pregnant, and her mother and father react as though she has just confessed to being JFK's "second shooter". The commercial ends just as the voiceover says, "Smoking marijuana impairs judgement. It's more harmful than we all thought."

WHAT?! Is it me or does this ad advocate abortion more than it opposes drug use?

Teen pregnancy is one of those things like finding out the baby you carry has Down Syndrome: it's not necessarily something you wanted for your child, but it's not the end of the world either. Unfortunately, you'd never know it from reading the ONDCP's website which alludes to teen pregnancy as a "serious long-term negative consequence" that can "cripple a young person's future", and so uh, just say no to hash?

To the commercial's credit, it does say the couple "will be" grandparents (never mind the fact that they already are), so technically it implies this family will not slap a tragedy on top of a challenge by aborting their family member. But one look at the effect the life choice is having and you get the clear message that you do not want to end up like them.

OK, so maybe I'm overreacting as much as the parents in this commercial, but good grief, the way America is innundated with subtle (and not-so-subtle) negative tapes of what it means to bear a child in a challenging situation... well is it any wonder that these days "unplanned" is synonymous with "unwanted"?

The ONDCP is telling our country that on the list of very bad things, a teen having a child is right up there with terrorism and death. With a message like that who wouldn't run to their nearest abortion clinic? When you consider that, in 1999, there were an estimated 52,000 drug-related deaths and over one million abortion-related deaths, promoting the one tragedy to disparage the other is neither compassionate nor reasonable..

Take a look and see if you don't wonder what the ONDCP was smoking when they came up with this thing.


:: ashli 10:01 AM # ::
:: Sunday, February 23, 2003 ::

Yet another Democrat does the abortion shuffle. In a bid for president Dennis Kucinich has recently decided he no longer opposes abortion.

Kate Michelman says such a coincidental metamorphosis is not political. In fact, she suggests that only people who oppose abortion are political while people who switch to abortion advocacy are merely coming to their senses. The logic is more than a little silly.

Kucinich, I don't want a president who, for personal gain, waffles on issues as important as the lives of children and families, and Michelman, for God's sake, deal with your SICLE already. Sheesh.


:: ashli 7:47 PM # ::
:: Saturday, February 22, 2003 ::

Dick Gephardt makes me sick. He opposed abortion for twenty years but became a staunch abortion supporter just as he decided to run for president for the first time in 1988. How conveeenient.

He explains that his former opposition to abortion was simply an unfortunate byproduct of sectarian upbringing in a denomination that promotes the idea that God creates each person, values each person, and wants people to care especially for those most vulnerable in our human menage. What chance did the God of his family Bible have when "some women" with abortion stories convinced him that the issue was one of personal choice?

It's ridiculous that a liberal would try to convince himself that a child's fate is nobody's business while at the same time supporting a plethora of children's programs. And interestingly, the "Young Turk" supports breast health legislation while at the same time helping to ensure a national future of 40,000-50,000 abortion-related breast cancer cases annually.

Pulling the ponytail of the current administration Gephardt says:
"There is nothing moral in strong-arming a personal belief, and there is nothing moral to a presidency that imposes personal morality through acts of government power."

First of all, the majority of citizens did not even support abortion when 7 people imposed the deaths of over 40 million American children on our country, so strong-arming personal belief is exactly what got us into this bloody mess in the first place. Secondly, it is absolutely ludicrous to imply that were Gephardt president he would not use acts of government power to impose personal belief. His attendance at NARAL's yummy abortion dinner was assurance that he most certainly would.

I'm disappointed that he couldn't come up with something better than the equivalent of "No tag-backs." However, he is among the many abortion advocates who reason: "If it's got a good beat they'll dance to it." This wouldn't be so bad if the masses weren't prone to doing just that. I should know; I used to shake it with the rest of them.

While some have little to gain from their errant support of abortion, salesmen like Gephardt have the presidency. His change of heart proves only that a number of people are willing to exchange the ethics of their upbringing for an obscene pandering of votes.

I'm a woman with a story too, Gephardt. I know what you're selling, and I'm not buying.


:: ashli 12:06 PM # ::
:: Friday, February 21, 2003 ::

This post carries a prerequisite: Lynn's story.
You must do the web-work or you will not get credit for today's blog.

(Cliff's notes for the indolent:
A married pregnant woman is horrified and resentful at the idea of bearing her child and so aborts the baby at 24 weeks. 11 years later she proudly proclaims her apathy for the child and is glad she made such a "positive" choice. She ends the piece with the impression that aborting her six-month-old "saved" her.)

Like reading a true crime novel, the story just pains the conscience. I admit, I had a hard time sleeping after reading the web page. Many of the personal stories on the site involve difficult situations that end in abortion mainly because women are afraid, confused, and full of rampant misinformation. Add emotional dysfunction and depravity and you will get this random sampling of quotes:

"[My friend] had to come up with more money for a more complicated procedure, as she was into the fourth month, and did so. She was freed from the larva..."

"Being pregnant to me was an unfortunate medical condition for which I needed treatment."

"[My boyfriend said] 'You HAVE to get rid of it!' He would hear nothing else. I didn’t protest too much, but in the back of my mind all I was thinking was 'oh, shit, not again'... ironically, I ran into one of my co-workers there; we were unable to look each other in the face for weeks afterward... I am forever grateful that I had the choice of abortion available to me, or else there would be three more damaged human beings in the world."

"My husband (then boyfriend) and I marched up to the abortion clinic and got it flushed on Saturday. I'm so glad I had that abortion! I'm just sorry I had to [experience "morning sickness"] with the pregnancy.

"If I had had a child, I would have been an alcoholic, abusive divorced mother on welfare or in prison for murder.

"Handicapped babies don't have homes if they are put up for adoption."

"I went on to finish high school and get a degree in Business Management, something I never would have done if I had been selfish enough to have kids."

"I got my great job that I've been in for almost 19 years when I would have been 7 months pregnant. THAT never would have happened, and I never would have gotten a job that paid nearly as well or had the kind of benefits and job security I'm lucky enough to have now."

"I didn't want a kid; especially at this age (I would have to drop out of college and ruin my life.)"

"Many, many women feel [relieved they aborted a child]--many more than those who regret the decision."

"Personally, I think all this "post abortion angst" that is being projected by women who are "haunted" or "have regrets" is just the latest fashion. It is most likely that those who mew about post abortion "regret" are just jumping on the bandwagon now. In a few years, they'll be "survivors" of something else."

Hopefully this smattering of impoverished quotation is only indicative of the rare individual who would so despise the pregnant condition that they would break the law to rid themselves of innocent human "larva" were abortion illegal.

Take a good look at the women represented here, they are the ones over 40 million innocent children have died for.


:: ashli 10:17 AM # ::
:: Monday, February 17, 2003 ::

It began with a desperate email to a woman obsessed:

"I can't take the HG anymore. I'm finished. Done. It has to end. I have an appointment in three days. I'm pretty sure I'm going to need someone to talk to when it's over. Do you think I could talk to you?"

It is not uncommon for me to receive email detailing individual struggles with the varying degrees of hyperemesis gravidarum (HG). They come from Australia, England, Germany, Hong Kong, all over the globe. I'm consumed with information on HG. I get and give what details I can whenever I can. Online, I've managed somewhat to put myself in the HG "mix", because my child was horribly finished, and I am gripped with purpose. Tragedy and cause go hand in hand, and I can relate to people like the late Maimie Bradley (Emmett Till's mother) who said, "The murder of my son has shown me that what happens to any of us, anywhere in the world, had better be the business of us all." I make it my business; I want to be the advocate I never had. When they come looking, I want to be found. And find me she did...

The email described total parenteral nutrition: she had a tube running through her arm and into a large vein a few inches from her heart. "Digested" formula flowed through this tube and fed her blood directly. This is how she had been living for several weeks, because she had severe HG and vomited an average of 25 times a day. Vomiting blood had become a casual affair, and incredibly, people blamed her for her condition suspecting that she was a whiner or that, down deep inside, she really didn't want a "surprise" baby. Physicians offered options that would keep her alive, but they were less interested in helping her manage the physical crisis of vomiting over 1,200 times in the last 7 weeks of her first trimester alone. Most people don't vomit that much in an entire lifetime. Still she tried to get a second opinion but was told nothing more could be done. Evidently she was getting the "best" care available, but sadly, it wasn't enough. Work became as impossible as life started to seem. Enough was enough. "Uncle" already.

In a long and rambling reply to her email I agreed to be there for her after the abortion but tried to explain what my life has been like since I threw in the towel and made the same decision. Can you imagine describing to a person in her physical state that what she was going through was nothing compared to having her health but not the child she had long since lost sight of? It couldn't have been at all coherent to her, not at her particular juncture. Though necessary, a warning will never have as much power as an option, but I had a few of those too.

I am furious that I (a person with a degree in elementary education) was able to offer a sick mother positive medical options that her doctors could or would not. This was serious business. Life was on the line any way you spun it. This woman needed the kind of real options that slogans and paternal pats simply don't provide. You can't give a Hallmark card to a person in hell and expect it to put out the fire; you have to have a hose and a LOT of water.

I had three days to offer a real option and that was all. That was the deal. One day over that limit and she would have to go five hours away to the same abortion facility that I went to when I lost my first child for the same reason. The pressure was on. I admit I didn't want her child to die, but at the crux of my concern was this sad, sick woman who no longer resembled herself (emotionally or physically) and who believed she had no choice. It was for her I sweated bullets. My silent mantra was not: "Don't kill your baby," it was: "Don't end up like me." I wanted to help her reduce her loss not increase it. That's what love is; it leaves no one behind.

She consented to see a new OB who agreed to try a slightly controversial drug therapy. Worlds rested on a few studies and an unlikely hypothesis, but it worked. Thank God in heaven it worked. It didn't cure the HG, but it was enough to go on. It was the hope she thought had been lost.

Three years ago a little girl was born one fine February day. I watched as her blonde head crowned, and I knew that in some special sense my own first pregnancy was finally being brought to term; staggering grief was bearing tremendous joy. I saw the mother vomit for the last time; I saw the daughter breathe for the first. For them, it was the end of HG and the beginning of the life my family could have had if I had been lucky enough to send a desperate email to a woman obsessed.

Thank you, Melissa, for those three days. I will cherish and carry them with me for the rest of my life.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY, KELSEY! Your life is such an incredible gift!

(Left to right: Melissa, Kelsey, Ben)


:: ashli 2:54 PM # ::
:: Saturday, February 15, 2003 ::

Whenever I have spoken publicly on the topic of my SICLE, invariably, people come up to me afterwards thanking me for my "courageousness". It's a mystery to me. I'm not a courageous person. This is not something I do because I want to. I don't want to. It doesn't fill me with a sense of pride. "Pride" is not the word for what I feel when I tell our story. I tell all, because I'm compelled to. It's dutiful and purposeful and what I'm supposed to do. It's that simple.

The honesty of it...
Personally, down deep inside, there have been many times when I wished I had just kept my big mouth shut. I know other women who have terminated children they wanted due solely to severe hyperemesis gravidarum. Many of these grieving mothers have wanted to avoid dealing with controversy and attitudes and so have told everyone that the expected child was miscarried. There have certainly been days that I have not questioned at all the wisdom of such an explanation. In many ways it would have been much better for myself and my family if we had told the same untruth. People have said the most horribly shocking things to my face, and it is devastating at times. I have to admit, my willing vulnerability schooled me on stereotypes: pro-lifers weren't the villains I always thought they were and pro-choicers weren't do-gooding heros at all. No matter the insults and lessons I could have spared myself, I know a little bit about who I am, and the truth is, I just couldn't live with the implications of not exposing the whole grisly mess.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. once said:
"Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

I have brought myself and others a world of pain. It would be a crime if I tucked it away to privately nurse over a period of ages, protecting myself and allowing nothing positive to come from it. In a very expensive course of study (taught by a 15-week-old child) I learned that it is never OK to procure my own comfort at the expense of another person's life. I know how deadly silence can be, and I refuse to be beaten into it by my own shame or by the sincere desire of others who promote the hell of abortion as a happy little freedom.

This is not a blanket opinion that everyone should tell everything all the time. Truth and vox may be case-specific. But when I know my silence would bring emotional lives to ruin and literally kill innocent people, what choice do I have? This doesn't make me courageous, it makes me a slave. And that's part of the package.


:: ashli 11:38 AM # ::
:: Friday, February 14, 2003 ::

Got into a big ol' fight with my husband last night. He is sick of losing social opportunities every time someone becomes pregnant. I don't blame him, but I know he doesn't understand the way I'm feeling either. He doesn't know what it's like to watch a normal woman happily grow ripe with child. It's not his body that is defective. It's not his body that was prostrate on the table. He was not the child-loving second grade teacher climbing up into stirrups. He was not naked and spread-eagle as they tore our child away. His womb was not pierced by instruments and nascent, cherished fragments of bone. He did not bleed for months or become suicidal. He does not watch women grow as I do. It does not kill him like it kills me.

The whole thing is bizarre, I know it. An aversion to pregnant women is fairly common in women who have lost children prenatally and in women who have aborted children. I've got the double-whammy. I can't really explain it. I suppose it's just sheer envy although there do seem to be strange and complicated rules. For instance, I don't have a problem with women in traditional crisis pregnancies. Those kind I love to be around, because I can employ my pain to prevent them from experiencing the same; they take one look at my life and run screaming from abortion. On an honest level, this of course validates everything my family has been through. I'm in if for the women, I'm in it for me. What's the difference if it saves them from the SICLE cell.

I'm not bothered by pregnant women who are having medical problems. I feel very protective of them and want to help them in any way I can. I don't have a problem with a pregnancy if it comes after a loss. However, (here's where it gets complicated) if that pregnancy is successful, that woman isn't "allowed" to get pregnant again. She has to suffer like I do or I secretly resent it. I tell myself I don't feel this way because if I do feel this way it makes me a complete jerk. Life has to be fair: everyone has to be miserable or I'm not happy.

For an honest (not pretty) picture of what this is like, I have to confess that I have even caught myself just barely hoping a person would miscarry or get so sick for so long that they would be tempted to kill a child they want to get out of the illness. I'm shocked when I think these things, because I know I don't mean them. I know, where it counts, that I don't want any child to die, I don't want anyone to have to go through what we did, and I will do whatever I can to prevent such things from happening. I know my secret moments of malevolence are just an insincere component of the entire grieving process (or some troubling part of the post traumatic stress disorder I've been diagnosed with due to the illness/abortion combo). It's probably just my alienation and longing for people I can relate to. But I hate this. I don't want to be this way. I don't like diminishing our social calendar. I am deeply grieved by fleeting intervals of hopefulness that someone's pregnancy will go awry when it is contrary to everything I genuinely believe in. I want to be who I was before all this madness and despair. I want to be like everyone else who can not understand what I'm going through now.

When I was pregnant with my first child, my best friend was trying desperately to get pregnant with her new husband. It had been a year, but it just wasn't happening. I got the "flu", and she brandished a pregnancy test. I only complied to humor her and try to be sensitive regarding her obsession with all things pregnancy. But I was pregnant, surprised and delighted that I had won the ultimate lottery without even trying! She never spoke to me again until the baby was dead and gone. At the time I thought she was a monster for bailing on me. Now I completely understand. I was a mirror for her sorrow. When she looked at me I forced her to view all her own pain. She had lost a child at five months, had the second child and could not get pregnant again. The combination of pregnancy-related traumas made her a little "off" in certain situations. Take severe debilitating pregnancy illness, miscarriage, incompetent cervix, an unwanted permanent moritorium on family-building, abortion (the triple-decker doozie of them all) and plug them into the algorithm and what you'll end up with is a rather large bag of pecans.

Abortion clinics should provide a warning to husbands who are "allergic to nuts". I think it's one of the reasons so many relationships fail. 75-80% of couples break up or divorce within a year after an abortion. It has been six years for us, and I think my husband's immunity is finally waning. You see, it's ongoing; the feral horror of abortion somehow never ends.


:: ashli 10:31 AM # ::
:: Thursday, February 13, 2003 ::

Just got word that yet another friend is pregnant... again. Yippee.

The first thing I feel when I hear the news (and I hear it a lot) is anger. I'm totally jealous and resentful because my body is this piece of junk that is so defective it made me kill my own child. I can't have more children, because my illness would terrify my son and because I'd be on complete bedrest for 28 weeks like I was with my living child. I'd be in bed prison because severe hyperemesis gravidarum (HG) would keep me there for the first 15 weeks, and my incompetent cervix does not offer early release for good behavior. I have an incompetent cervix because I aborted my first child in the second trimester and the abortionist ripped my insides out.

Even though cerclage has not been proven effective, my doctor says it's mandatory in my case because severe HG and an incompetent cervix don't mix. The force of my projectile vomiting could literally send the baby shooting out of me onto the bathroom floor where my horrified preschooler and I could watch him/her die helplessly. Not really my idea of a family Kodak moment. With such a possibility, I may as well have had a hysterectomy.

I feel like Salieri, because God gave me an incredible yearning but very little ability to fulfill it. All of the desire and yet improper plumbing (and a financial statement that doesn't support the idea of adoption). What ever shall I do?

I shall force out a smile and say "congratulations" even though the news punches me in the stomach with a fifty pound fist and ruins me emotionally for the rest of the day. I shall persevere when I don't understand or like who I've become. And I shall survive when others have to stretch to find compassion for me though they really feel I deserve every nasty thing that could possibly come my way because of what they think they know about the SICLE cell.


:: ashli 7:44 PM # ::
:: Wednesday, February 12, 2003 ::

What do Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Ed Asner, Joanne Woodward, Jane Fonda, Alice Walker, Al Sharpton and Babs Streisand (just to name a few) all have in common? When they are not busy advocating peace, they are advocating violence.

The signers of the "Not In Our Name" (NION) anti-war declaration are telling our country that the weapons of mass destruction crisis with Hussein can and should be solved without violence. Meanwhile they are all for solving the challenge of an unplanned pregnancy with one of the most sanguine, mutillating forms of violence available.

I went to Los Angeles' NION website and found this little gem:
"Have we 'forgotten' what it looks like? For those who may not be aware: THIS IS WAR."

Babs et al might want to check out the Center for Bioethical Reform's website. "Non-violent" Americans could stand to be reminded that "THIS IS ABORTION."

Another beauty on NION's site is a James Nachtwey (photojournalist) quote: "Any picture of war seems to be like a plea to stop it. There are very few war pictures that endorse war."

The same could be said of abortion pictures.

Don't get me wrong, folks. I love a good peacenik, but for God's sake be consistent. If solving challenges by killing an Iraqi citizen is inappropriate what kind of solution is disemboweling an American child?

At a NION blab-a-thon Sarandon got all choked up as she claimed:
"...the U.S. government has hijacked our pain, fear and loss... to spread profit at the cost of human life." Good grief, lady, do you even hear your abortion-advocating self? Celebrities and politics...ugh.

In the last 15 years, Planned Parenthood, the nation's number one abortion provider, has made over $454 million of pure profit. The industry has definately hijacked our pain, fear and loss to spread profit at the cost of human life. It's all about the dough.

The NION "peace-loving" celebs who support the utter violence of abortion do so in the name of choice and in the name of women. To them I would like to say:



:: ashli 11:33 PM # ::
I was in traffic when I heard Louis Armstrong singing "What a Wonderful World" on the radio today. Curiously, I started tearing up. A couple of tears even got ripe enough to fall. I get sad a lot (like when I watch those sappy Nick Jr. cartoons with my son in the morning) but I don't usually turn on the waterworks. The "new me" is perplexing.

This song sort of threw me. My immediate thought was that I must be mourning the loss of the idea of a "wonderful" world, because surely, knowing what I know now kind of puts a damper on things. After all that has happened in my world, I'm finding it a little UN-wonderful lately. On top of the nearly 5,000 tiny Americans who legally lost their lives today, I started thinking of other terrorism and the recent scary potential of Saddam, bin Laden, and/or Kim Jong (take your pick/s). My five o'clock traffic report: "This song is untrue and stupid." I might have gotten away with it too, if it weren't for meddling lyrics that wandered my mind all over the map...

Trees of green... Ok, so green's a good color. Alright it's my favorite. I like how trees have rings that tell their age. I like to swing in the hammock and count bird's nests. I like how trees look like skeletons in winter and how you can climb them and swing on them and eat from them. I think woodpeckers are just the neatest things. They take little tiny beaks and saw through giant trees. We have them in our yard; they peck our Dogwoods to pieces. The Dogwoods are gorgeous. Their blossoms smell downright heavenly. OK, Louie, trees are cool.

Red roses... well those are pretty nice. I pretend I'm not impressed, but I am. They just take more work than I'm willing to give. My neighbor has a graveyard rose. She says it survived the environment without any special care (save for an occasional watering with tears). Roses teach us that pleasure and pain are a perfect marriage; you can't have one without the other. Handle with care or get nipped. I like the way rose petals are soft and velvety. They remind me of my mother's hands which always smelled like Rosemilk. I like the free bouquets my husband gets to take home when his band is packing up at the end of an affluent wedding. I like how I can't decide which is more beautiful: the rose or the rosebud.

Skies of blue... I like the way the blue colors of the sky sometimes graduate from lighter to darker hues like a pousse cafe. I like how birds sometimes fly so high that they look like ants in a view from the ground. I like to watch bats spiraling through the air while they chase mosquitos as the navy sky turns black. I like to watch the parachuters jumping through the blue on Saturdays as the hobbyists angle for areospace in their newly-assembled ultralights.

Clouds of white... It's charming how clouds look like cotton candy and how they are sometimes shaped like recognizable objects. My favorite clouds form buttermilk skies on windy days. I like how you can follow them across the blue canvas as they compose their pictures like giant white Colorforms. Clouds and sky... simple and wonderful.

Blessed days... The sunlight streams into the window shining rays on the floor for my bald-headed cat to wallow around in. He cracks me up; he's such a wacky sight slithering on the carpet like a backstroking snake. Sometimes I plop down next to him on the floor for a moment of sunny warmth before the foot-stomping four-year-old "terrorizes" the room with his energy and "outside voice". I love to grab my boy and tickle him under the open window as the scent of wisteria wafts in from my neighbor's Edenesque yard. We like to go over and rob her fig tree on a hot summer day. She and I make "strawberry" jam with the figs and share stories. My son swims in her pool and we make picnics on the grass in the heat of a summer afternoon.

Sacred nights... God, I love a Southern night. Crickets and tree frogs and dancing fireflies... you can close your eyes and live forever in just one moment of sweet nocturnal symphony. You can feel the ages of natural history whispering their secrets above the trickle of a nearby journeying stream. I like the blanket the darkness covers the world with. I like night's kind effort of downplaying the glaring mistakes of the day. It's a merciful indication that sleep is on its way.

Rainbows... well, who doesn't like a good rainbow (and why are there so many songs about them)?

Peoples' faces... People are so interesting. I watch them at the library or the park and wonder about their lives. Some seem so disturbingly happy while others seem hardened and sad. I secretly say prayers for the latter and hope they're ok while simultaneously scolding myself for begrudging the jocular set.

Shaking hands... I adore the way people are so cheerfully surprised when they recognize someone they know in a public arena. They hug or shake hands and they really are genuinely delighted. I ponder it, and yes, every expression DOES disclose love.

Babies...Lord, watching babies in the hospital's nursery window... is there anything more beautiful than a window full of little pink squishy-bottoms? Itty bitty huggie-butts to hold and squeeze and love! One look and you want to cradle them like an angel, protect them like a lion. They still tuck their arms and legs in wondering what kind of place it is they've suddenly been thrust into. Louis Armstrong has the answer.

Today in the car, I thought I was crying because the world pretty much sucked. It's hard to be positive when you're in a lot of pain. Though if I really believed the world sucked, I'd probably support abortion, and I don't. Corny as it sounds, this really is a wonderful world. Louie knew it and, in spite of everything, I know it too. My first child is missing out on every wonderful thing this world has to offer, and that is a source of great sorrow.


:: ashli 1:17 AM # ::
:: Monday, February 10, 2003 ::

South Florida...
It's only just February, and the oranges are hanging nearly ripe on the trees as I travel down the interstate. I look out the window at them, and my heart sinks. I get nervous; I feel like crying, but I don't know why. I feel I'm traveling a million miles away. I'm going to spend 28 hours apart from my son, but somehow it's like I'm leaving him forever. I see the trees with their fruit and I panic. It's lunacy and I know it. It's the oranges, the fat, growing fruit floating secure in mid-air. They are with the tree where they belong, and I am in the Shadowlands.

What is this madness?

It was January 30, 1997. A cold snap chilled the air. I had yellow skin and felt like I was dying. I was terrified and sad. I looked out the window as we traveled down the interstate. Miles and miles of asphalt and white paint and nothing. Except for the oranges. I remember them well. How capable the trees as their "children" clung to them. I felt mocked and betrayed as my bough was breaking; I believed I could not hold my fruit any longer. Still the oranges floated cheery and round and perfectly suspended in light that faded from the sky and from my life.

All the way home the next day were the orange trees, cradling their progeny in memory of the child I left crumpled in a bell jar. Out of the frying pan and into the fire; I knew the boat I was in. No turning back. The road I traveled was more than a million miles from where I began. Untenanted and razed I drove away from my wee bonny forever.

I see the trees with their fruit and I panic. It's lunacy and I know it. It's the oranges, the fat, growing fruit floating secure in mid-air. They are with the tree where they belong, and I am in the Shadowlands.


:: ashli 9:52 PM # ::
:: Friday, February 07, 2003 ::

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."


:: ashli 7:33 AM # ::
:: Thursday, February 06, 2003 ::

We begin with an excerpt from a friend's email yesterday:

"Did I tell you that I met the 'compassionate' husband of a woman who was aborting at 31 weeks (7 months) on Saturday? (Married, flew in from Dallas. Mother-in-law flew in from India.) I called 911 & the cops because, according to Florida abortion statutes, it was an illegal abortion. Cops didn't know what to do with it. They actually sent the security officer (off duty OPD) out to talk to me instead of sending a detective. I called the clinic from a payphone about an hour after I left and told the clinic worker that it was illegal for them to dispose of the baby's body if she was born alive. I reminded them of the Born Alive Infant Act and insisted that they call 911 if the baby girl survived the abortion. And do you know what she said? 'Well, of COURSE, Patte . . . that would be the obvious MORAL thing to do!' She sounded irritated that I would even SUGGEST that they would NEGLECT the health and well-being of a FETUS. It was all I could do to not go off on her. But, what's the use? I just hope that hearing herself utter those words.. the irony wouldn't be lost on her.

I found out that almost two hours AFTER I left, Fire & Rescue came and took someone to the hospital. I'm working all the angles to get the details of the medical rescue. Perhaps the clinic was forced to transfer the 7 month laboring woman to Orlando Regional Medical Center to deliver there. In that case the infant would have been put in NICU if she survived. OR perhaps the baby girl was born and transferred for care. I have made dozens of calls to find someone who cares. Hitting wall after wall. ( BTW: There was a Orlando Police detective right there at the abortion clinic all morning. He had been dispatched to collect the remains of a child aborted due to rape. They will use the child's body as physical evidence to convict the rapist. The detective was there from 6:30 until past noon waiting. I begged him but he refused to speak with me about my concerns over the illegal abortion of a viable infant taking place RIGHT where he and the other OPD officer were standing. What's the use of abortion laws if they are un-enforcable?)"

Aborting a 31-week-old child is all well and good in Kansas, but it's a big no-no in Florida.

Two years ago this same friend told me about a woman who aborted a 28-week-old baby at another James Scott Pendergraft facility. The woman's cousin drove her with his three young children in the car. He had offered to adopt her child, but she said the baby was not a "love child" and should not live. At the facility they injected the little girl's heart with a chemical that sent her into cardiac arrest killing her. Ms. Baez was instructed to take pills that would bring on labor and to come back in the morning. The cousin, his three young children and the mother went to a seedy hotel room to wait it out. In the wee small hours, Baez began to go into labor. The baby was born on the bathroom floor, the cousin delivering. In a videotaped interview he reveals his shock at the baby's development. He fixates on the child's full head of dark hair and indicates the position of her perfect little arms and legs. He laments that while he was on the bathroom floor looking at this child his own little child walked in on the scene: her dad is holding a dead baby and her aunt is on the floor moaning in a puddle of blood. "Whatever you do, don't look at it!" he instructs the mother as he leaves the bathroom to escort his child out and somehow explain. A few seconds later a piercing wail comes from the bathroom. The mother has looked.

The cousin rushes in for more damage control. Baez is crying hysterically saying, "Oh my God, she's so BEAUTIFUL! WHAT HAVE I DONE? WHAT HAVE I DONE???" He's freaking at this point and just loses it. "You've killed your baby, THAT'S what you've done! You got exactly what you wanted!" He wraps the baby in a towel and calls the abortion facility. The answering service picks up. "Just bring it in when we open," they advise. The cousin lets them know there is NO WAY they are all going to go to sleep in a room with a dead baby and that he is going to call an ambulance. This alarms the abortion service; the woman on the phone says to bring the baby over right away.

The children stay at the hotel as the cousin whisks the mother and dead child to the facility. (The cousin says he is still haunted by the sound of the baby rolling across the van floor and thudding into the walls every time the vehicle turned.) They arrive at the darkened clinic where a "nurse" is there to meet them. The employee unwraps the baby, takes one look at her, and runs to the toilet to vomit. The cousin goes to console her and make sure she's ok. They are told to leave, and that is that.

The cousin wants to tell someone of the ordeal so he meets with my friend, Patte. She videotapes his confession and tries to get the abortion investigated because there is some question as to the baby's age. The police won't touch it. They insult her on the phone. She persists and the records are requested. But what's this? No record exists? How convenient. Just as convenient as my record from a sister facility.

My record states that after a second trimester abortion, I had "scant" bleeding and 15 minutes later "none". Meanwhile in reality, I hemorrhaged so badly that I passed out, was given anti-bleeding injections, and was advised not to leave town: "Go to a hotel and call us once an hour until it is clear you are out of danger." I bled for months. When I finally saw a copy of my records I was floored. I don't think they lied to protect themselves, because they could have killed me and it wouldn't have been illegal - just a medical complication of abortion (sometimes referred to as "therapeutic misadventure" on maternal death certificates). I think it was just sloppy record keeping. I believe they filled out records prior to or long after the procedure. At the facility, it was standing room only on second trimester day. They had a lot of charts to complete. Why not just fill them out very quickly at the end of the day? Sloppy. It made me wonder what else might be awry at the abortion business.

I wanted the incident investigated. AHCA refused. The representative couldn't even bring herself to say the word "abortion" much less try to get justice for a woman who had aborted her child in the second trimester. I fought it, sending medical documentation that the bodies of women with HG have a compensatory mechanism in which blood volume is doubled. The AHCA physicians reviewed my case and determined, "It is quite common for heavy bleeding to occur after a second-trimester abortion." AHCA's final verdict: it was my word against his. I guess it's against policy to consider that I have never been to jail, while the man who performed the abortion (and signed off on the record) was serving a prison sentence for extortion and fraud. And I certainly had no witnesses since Melissa, the employee attending me at the clinic, OD'd and killed herself. AHCA blew me off in the biggest way just like the legal system ignores my friend when she tries to seek justice.

Abortion facilities are virtually untouchable, and they are getting away with murder.

The truth will never make you popular. Hang in there, Patte. You're fighting the good fight.


:: ashli 1:27 PM # ::
:: Wednesday, February 05, 2003 ::

First, I'd like to say "Happy Birthday!" to a pro-life zealot who has referred to abortion as "the horrible crime of child-murder" and wanted to "eradicate the most monstrous crime". Were she alive and active today, her anti-abortion fanaticism would surely invoke the ire of pseudo-feminist groups such as N.O.W. and N.A.R.A.L. NARAL, by the way, has just changed their name to "NARAL Pro-Choice America" hoping to upgrade their image by telling our refreshingly patriotic nation that America is pro-choice and NARAL is the queen of it. (Is it possible that they slept through last November's elections?) Call them Cleopatra. When you have to resort to subliminal messages to sell your philosophy I think it says something about your philosophy. At any rate, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Susan B. Anthony, feminist extraordinaire! You prove that pro-life feminism is not an oxymoron and that despite what others say, feminism at its very root most certainly does NOT equate abortion advocacy but quite the contrary! Kate Michelman, take note.

OK, next I'd like to say congrats to a friend who just became a beaming new aunt. Her sister had a scare last week (at 35 weeks pregnant) when the baby didn't pass the "kick test" for a day. She went to the ER where they couldn't find a heartbeat and thought the baby was dead. At the last minute they found it, and zipped Mom's tummy open to rescue the vulnerable little girl inside. Her birth is quite miraculous, not merely because she almost died, but because she was even allowed to live to 35 weeks in the first place. You see, aside from being the cutest little doll in the NICU, my friend's new 3-pound sweetie pie just happens to have Down Syndrome (DS). The parents have known for quite some time, but they accepted and loved their child just the way she was. In fact, because she has special needs, they found even more compassion for their child, not less. Their love has blessed them. (See "Love 101" at the bottom of my Feb. 2 entry.)

I know these days some courts have determined that the mere existence of certain children is a crime. I'm referring of course to the so-called "wrongful birth" law suits. In these cases parents complain to judges that their children should have been aborted. "We want money!" they angrily demand. If the doctor didn't catch the thickened nuchal skin fold on the sonogram, it is argued, the OB has revoked the woman's "right to choose", and the mother nearly always says she would have aborted her living child. I wonder how these parents go home and tuck the kid in at night after standing in a courtroom all day talking about how they would rather the child be dead. Two parents just got away with it in Canada. Lydia Zhang says the birth of her daughter (who has DS) "totally disrupted our plans". God forbid the birth of a child disrupt anyone's plans. The parents won $325,000.

How many of you caught Dateline NBC last month? Greg and Tierney Fairchild, abortion supporters, found out their first child had DS. They worried about the "unfair burden" the child would place on their imaginary "future children". They found out their baby would have to have heart surgery, and they were really leaning towards abortion. At the last minute Greg decided to call an adoption agency to find out how hard it is to find homes for children with DS. The agency said it was easy. Actually, I have a friend in Utah whose in-laws ONLY adopt children with DS. She told me there were adoptive parents waiting in line for these kids. The Michael Fund is one such waiting list. In Greg and Tierney's words: "One of the things we hadn't considered was that . . . someone else would love to have [this child] and was prepared to handle it." "[I]t even makes you question yourself. What is it exactly that I'm so worried about, if there are people lined up to adopt this baby?" Other people set a good example. They wanted this "unwanted" child and so established the intriguing concept that she might just be worth having. Greg and Tierney acquired knowledge and hope and were able to overcome their fear and disappointment with love. Their daughter has been a blessing to them for four years now.

In 1995 however, Linda Boom, a high school teacher, did not get to enjoy such a blessing because she believed her child would not have the kind of life worth living. She chose second trimester abortion as the final solution. In her case the method of choice was amnioinfusion. In this procedure, the abortionist removes some of the amniotic fluid and replaces it with a chemical solution (often a salt solution that burns the child to death). With Linda there was a procedural blunder and the solution got into the maternal bloodstream. Instead of poisoning only the baby to death the abortionist also poisoned Linda to death. Before she died she complained of "burning up all over". This poor woman lost her child and her life in a legal abortion. She succumbed to fear and disappointment and ended up paying a very dear price.

Our schizophrenic society is not blameless for the tragedy. On the one hand we are "ultra-sensitive" to those with special needs, coining new and more politically correct terms for them by the hour. We try and convince ourselves (and them) that our concern for them is genuine. On the other hand, we're elitists. We think their lives are hopeless or at least not as good as ours and we certainly don't blame people who don't want to be burdened with them. Even among those who generally do not support abortion there's a strange consensus that abortion for fetal anomaly is totally acceptable. I managed non-ambulatory kids one summer. I had a student with DS in there and though he threw tantrums and preferred junk food over vegetables like every other kid on the planet, he still smiled and laughed more than I do. Who is to say whose life is better lived?

My husband and I thought our son had DS because of what a perinatologist told us at a 20-week appointment. The nuchal fold was chubby, and he said that only 1% of the children he saw with our son's measurement DIDN'T have DS... meaning 99% did. "Go ahead and get an amnio today so you can 'take care of it' as soon as possible," he said. I think he was a little disappointed when I told him I'd let him take my arms and legs before I'd let him take my child. Meanwhile, the teaching hospital is equipped for special needs access. "We care about the person with special needs and so we have this special ramp... this ramp you can use to wheel your pregnant carcass up on your way to abort your 20-week-old DS baby per the good doctor's suggestion." It didn't end with doctors. We talked to others who said that when their children were born, instead of sending flowers, people sent apologies. One person told me some particularly cruel comments another mother made at a playground. Another said her doctor was disgusted that she wouldn't abort her child. Yeah, our culture really "cares" about those with special needs. Is it any wonder moms like Linda Boom get the impression that DS (or anything else) is hopeless and cave under the pressure and fear?

In the name of choice, over 90% of gestating children who have DS are not allowed to live in our world. So many mothers become mourners. However, there are still a few people out there who accept and love their children for who they are and don't judge valueless the life of a person with DS no matter what others may tell them. These parents don't want the mere concept of a "normal child", they want the actual child they carry. Instead of viewing their pregnancy as a curse, they take the blessing. People like Emily's mom reap what they sow, and that makes them (and their children) the luckiest people alive.

Congrats, Betty, on your darling new niece.


:: ashli 11:26 PM # ::
:: Tuesday, February 04, 2003 ::

In a paper aptly titled "Stuff 'n' Nonsense About Abortion", Heather Mallick refers to Dr. Henry Morgentaler as "distinguished". She fails to really elaborate on what actually distinguishes the man. In his own words: "I have personally been responsible for some 100,000 abortions in Canada, and I'm quite proud of this accomplishment... This is my calling in life; it's my art!" He goes on to say, "I should be given a medal for the compassionate service I have performed for women in this country." 100,000 Canadian women surgically raped and emptied of life and HM just can't get enough of it.

HM wants this malevolent creature awarded for his twisted efforts and wrote a paper on it that somehow bothered three members of Canadian parliament. According to the three, they were troubled by the fact that abortion has been linked to breast cancer, emotional and psychological trauma, substance abuse, child abuse, sterility and more. "Ridiculous," HM replies as she sticks out her forked tongue and claims abortion is rubber and they're glue.

"They're stooges," she explains. She argues that abortion can't possibly effect them, because two of them are men and one is an older lady (whose clothing HM makes fun of). Newsflash: men and older ladies are not islands unto themselves. They have mothers, sisters, daughters, cousins, aunts, friends, co-workers, etc. who are hurt by abortion, so they are not immune to the negative backlash. I don't understand HM's duplicity, for in her school of thought, it IS actually ok to be a man with an abortion opinion as long as you are aborting 100,000 children. Otherwise, men are not allowed to comment on the subject. Nor are old ladies who can't have babies. How about 4th graders who can't have babies yet due to being 9-years-old? Do they get an opinion? Because I remember being in despair when my mother aborted my baby sister or brother back in 1980. I was learning how to write poetry about fuzzy little chipmunks, making Christmas wreaths out of red and green tissue paper, and dealing with the fact that my mother was in another town killing my sibling. People have to be ovulating to care and respond? Is that all you got?

HM says she knows for a fact that abortion doesn't cause stress leading to child abuse. She does not believe in a sense of yearning for what she refers to as "cells [women get] rid of". I have more news for her. A child I wanted died in a D&E. S/he went away forever. I will never see him/her, smell him/her, hold him/her, know him/her. That life is over and gone. The grief is impossible. And then there's the other thing...

In sworn testimony abortionist Martin Haskell says, "And typically when the abortion procedure is started we typically know that the fetus is still alive because either we can feel it move as we're making our initial grasps... It's not unusual at the start of the D&E procedures that a LIMB is acquired first and that that LIMB is brought through the cervix and even out of the vagina prior to disarticulation and pryor to anything having been done that would have caused the fetal demise up to that point... When you're doing a dismemberment D&E, usually the last part to be removed is the SKULL itself..."

Ah, let's be fair, HM is very technically correct in referring to the baby as "cells" in the way that you and I are also "cells". But typically, we don't refer to human beings with skulls, limbs and beating hearts as "cells". That's just wishful thinking on the part of the abortion supporter. I'm not saying I ever thought my child was "cells", but I was encouraged to believe that s/he was the size of a walnut and that s/he would be anesthetised (like that made it acceptable), but I had no idea what a D&E really involved (besides killing). Now, of course, I know. If someone had shown me color illustrations I think I would have run screaming from the building.

Aside from dealing with the loss of my child from my life, my new D&E knowledge causes me significant anguish and rage. It is a known fact that people under intense emotional stress may have a tendency to lash out. My fury over all this is just under the surface; it has shortened my fuse. It became crystal clear that I had to find healthy ways of dealing with it after I took my open hand and smacked my son in the head when he was 18 months old. He headbutted me in the face, and I just was not prepared to deal with anymore pain. POP! I lashed out. You'd think you wouldn't do that because you wouldn't want to be a child-abusing jerk. But when you know you have vivesected your other child; you realize you already sunk as low as you could possibly go with that one act, so all bets are off; popping your toddler in the head isn't too debasing for you. Fortunately, I had enough awareness to immediately identify that my actions were unacceptable and stemmed from my own self-loathing as a mother who killed my child's sibling. No one suggested these things; I just knew. I got professional help right away and never repeated such unhealthy behavior. Abortion doesn't affect males, it doesn't cause child abuse? Is that all ya got?

HM claims that people like me are "anti-choice". Sounds alarming, but it means nothing. If I'm anti-choice, is she anti-life? Or, by her own standards, if she is against a man's choice to rape a woman in a dimly lit parking lot, isn't she anti-choice? Isn't pretty much everyone anti-choice when it comes to certain things that are being chosen? "Anti-choice"? Is that all ya got?

She says people like me think women deserve "abortions with a jagged soup ladle and no painkillers". Is that really what we think or is that what abortion supporters SAY we think. Is that all ya got?

On the subject of abortion and substance abuse, HM talks about all the drug addicts she knows and how she has interviewed them in their drugged state (after "smoking and snorting"). When she asked them the question of whether or not abortion has any connection with substance abuse "they didn't understand the question." Well good grief, if you're talking to people all hopped up on smack are you really gonna be surprised if you ask them where the john is and they don't understand the question? Is that all ya got?

Drawing from first hand experience HM recounts her day at the Morgentaler abortion facility. She describes the women leaving the place as "chirpy". Well I have to admit that when I left, I was still so completely doped up on Valium that I presented with confabulation myself. Hello, anyone with medical knowledge knows that confabulation is not uncommon post-operatively. At the time, I was also kind of glad that I hadn't died on the table (because I was so ill) and very glad that my HG hell was "over". If she had been there she would have said I was "chirpy" too, but she didn't follow me to the hotel where I sat in a tub hemorrhaging from a legal abortion. She didn't see me in the silence of the night trying to force the un-openable window open so I could leap from the top floor and smash my "chirpy" frickin brains out on the sidewalk below. Considering post-op confabulation and relief that you didn't die (or any other kind of immediate relief) as indication of what abortion means to a woman's life without longitudinally studying her over the course of her life? Is that all ya got?

HM is incensed by the mention of the well-studied abortion breast cancer link (ABC link). She calls educating women about their cancer-risk "cruel". I guess she doesn't think that women have a right to know that 16 of 17 statistically significant studies report increased risk of breast cancer among women choosing to abort their children (only one says otherwise) or that 7 studies report a more than twofold increased risk. She fails to mention (or, GASP!, maybe she doesn't know) that some of these studies were done by abortion supporters who were disappointed to find the link, but not so much that they would hide it and lie to women. As Dahling put it, “I would have loved to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid, and our data is accurate. It’s not a matter of believing, it’s a matter of what is.”

Wake up already. This is not new news developed to counter legal abortion. This stuff was around as long ago as 1970 when the World Health Organization gathered data that suggested an increased risk of breast cancer associated with abortion. Still HM claims the ABC link is ridiculous and cites her neurotic newspaper reading and avid fact-collecting as credentials lending to her authority on the subject. She says breast cancer is caused by having breasts. Is that all ya got?

I have to say the woman is a witty writer, and if I hadn't been so horrified by the blatant inconsistencies I might have even laughed a couple of times. When I started this journal entry I was pretty miffed, but after having chopped it down to bite-sized pieces I am filled with curiosity and lenity and am beginning to wonder just how far some people will go to convince themselves that the horror they support (and have perhaps been through or helped others to go through) is really in some miraculous (yet irrational) way a good and heroic thing. Some people bend over backwards to have an abortion and a smile. And that million dollar smile advertises for the next woman. What an unbelievable pity.


:: ashli 11:59 PM # ::
:: Monday, February 03, 2003 ::

Yesterday was a long day of dealing with an achy little fellow who rattles when he breathes and moans softly while drinking hateful licorice teas meant to lower fevers of one hundred three. My child has the flu, so of course, in the back of my mind, I'm terrified he will die. I never was this reactionary before I found myself with a rare disease, before death came knocking in various forms for my children. The second, you see, died quietly in a drama-less missed miscarriage on Christmas day. His/her death was easy to percieve as I stomached a bite of bread for the first time in weeks. Having heard the rumors about abortion and miscarriage, I was not completely shocked. In the back of my mind, I had been holding my breath terrified my child would die. I held my breath through the arduous gestation of my living son, through the precarious first year, and now through every day of our lives.

When my child is sick I secretly need oxygen. He once had pneumonia; I scarce drew breath. He is 4 and I pretend I can still feel a fontanelle for the brain buldge sign of encephalitis. I also check for meningitis in physical neck maneuvers that would make any fitness guru proud. "And side, and side, and front, and back!" I know no sane mother is checking her child for these things. I also know no mother can BE completely sane after what I have been through. Fear will always be lurking under the surface; death will always be looking for more pink and blue confections.

So yesterday, at the end of a long stretch of teas, tinctures and worry I welcomed the numbing Prozac of sleep. Instead of the rejuvination of a pitch black slumber, I awoke in a dream, my legs in stirrups once again. I saw the surface of my abdomen and the outline of instruments rolling back and forth underneath pink flesh. Scraping and cutting, tearing and suctioning, tugging and tugging. The hidden instruments moved until my skin began to bruise and separate just under my ribs. Adipose tissue rolled out like glistening yellow carpet. The viscera were liquified by some unseen spinning trocar yet the instruments raged on. Was this abortion or embalming? Was there a difference? I saw my naked body jolting violently back and forth, like the drugged-dead woman I had cringed to see in a clandestine porno as a teenager at a party. I was being violated and raped, torn apart and ruined when my alarm clock sang out.

In the dark of the morning I opened my eyes, the aftertaste of the dream still clinging uncomfortably. Instinctively, I wanted to check my abdomen to make sure it was still intact, but that would have meant touching it - a thing I avoid since that January night. There's something about a crime scene I don't want to go near. My prayer, "Lord, FIND ME in my desperation," was answered by the raspy breathing coming from the small form laying next to me. A new day dawns. I kiss my child's soft, warm brow and take my mourning breath.


:: ashli 12:34 PM # ::
:: Sunday, February 02, 2003 ::

Today the subject of dads (and parents in general) came up again in friendly conversation. Someone went to my website and read about my dad's idea of how important the work ethic is. It's so important (to him) that when my illness became disabling and threatened my job status, he advised me to abort saying, "You CAN'T lose your job." He knew my husband had a good-paying job. He knew I had $30,000 in the bank from a recent inheritance, but somehow staying home to fight out my illness was absolutely unacceptable to him. I will never forget the urgency in his voice as he adamantly stated that I couldn't lose my job. Losing my second trimester child, his grandchild, was somehow not an issue at all.

In 4 months of raging illness he came to visit me for one <24hr period. At an average rate of once per hour he encouraged me to abort my child saying, "You don't have to do this, you know," as if I was being silly entertaining all this unnecessary trouble. "In the time it would take to pull a tooth, all of this suffering could be over." What an unspeakable carrot to dangle in front of a tortured body. He got one of his friends to call me and tell me how quick-as-a-flash a D&E was. I asked her how she felt about killing her child. Shocked, she said the child was already dead. Dear old dad had neglected to inform her that he was involving her in an abortion coup. (These two later had an affair, but my dad never questions his ethic.)

I'm not saying I was blameless, but I was extremely vulnerable in that physical state, and my dad was somewhat of a beacon. When so utterly sick, I reverted to a child somehow and commended my care into his hands. His urgency about the job was infective and frightening and the lure of a "five-minute cure" proved to be unbearable. For the first time in my adult life he made himself my "friend"; he took my vulnerability and turned it into death, because by his moral compass losing someone to share your life with is better than losing a job.

Four months after I lost my child, my perpetually tipsy father confided that he too had lost a child in an abortion. He thought he would be helpful by relating that he sometimes wondered about that child. Thanks, Dad, for your role in inducting me into your sad and twisted club where we could be pals unto eternity lamenting the "necessary sorrow" together. Well we are not pals; we will never be pals since the day you defined your perception of my intrinsic value by telling me that my child, a part of me, your grandchild, meant less than a job teaching other people's little children their ABC's. You killed me, Dad, when you needled and encouraged me to kill my child. We can never exist when your apology is that I am abnormal for hating you for it.

That unpleasantness being rehashed and done... I find that I am not alone in the negative parent-child dynamic of the abortion experience. I witnessed it with my own eyes when a particularly intimidating mother literally dragged her frightened teen into Orlando Women's Center by the shirt. And over the years I have heard it time and again in broken-hearted anecdotes. I remember a friend whose mother told her abortion was the consequence of her sin of premarital sex, and that she should pray to God for the strength to abort her 25-week-old baby girl. This mother told her daughter that if she died on the abortion table that also would be a consequence of the sin of premarital sex (no mention of the wrong of abortion from this sin-obsessed, Steven King Carry-esque mother). Those of course are glaring examples, but just as insidious are subtle encouragements.

In the last two days one friend writes to say her father said the same thing as mine, while another friend tells me how "ironic" her father was. He supported her first choice to abort, but when she chose to make adoption plans for the next child, dear ol' dad withdrew his support. Since she wasn't going to abort, he wanted her to KEEP the baby; he was worried about the effect that losing a child would have on her life. Consider his concepts of loss and mercy. I don't think my friend really knows what to make of it. Earnestly sitting down to contemplate it all might cause more anxiety than it's worth dealing with at this point. It's easier to call it "ironic" and move on. But it's more than ironic, isn't it? It's a poverty.

The parent who encourages abortion doesn't understand the philosophy they impart. Instead of giving their child the perverted message that human life is expendable, they think they are being compassionate. Perhaps they don't consider that half of the gestating child's genetic material comes from the mother and so, to encourage the mother to abort is, on some psychic level, equivalent to parent-sanctioned suicide (not to mention the worst kind of surgical rape). After all, how much can the daughter be worth, if her daughter is worth nothing and even deemed refuse? Oh, it's a double-edged sword, my friends, and it cuts both ways.

In this day and age when techonolgy and intellectualism abound it seems absurd that anyone would need to know the basic definintion of love. However, it is clear that people are being twisted, whether by federal law or the social law enforced by their own parents and peers. For those who want to know what compassion is, I end today's entry with a catchy little number I like to call "Love 101":

Love 101...
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails." 1 Corinthians 13: 4-8

Abortion is not love. And without love we have nothing. That is all that's left of us, dear Daddy.


:: ashli 12:01 PM # ::
:: Saturday, February 01, 2003 ::

My introduction (and credentials for this subject) can be found here. The story and site haven't been touched in 6 years due to a book I've been writing on the subject, so you'll have to forgive me if the text is desperate or naive. One day I will go back and ameliorate it. One day...

Getting Started
I am grieved by the tragic news this morning. For a second I was back in 10th grade, sitting in Ms. Aller's French class, when my careful effort not to learn anything was interrupted by the muffled announcement emanating from the PA: the Challenger had exploded on takeoff killing everyone on board. Today, as then, I am saddened by the recent loss of life. The nation rightly grieves for seven unique individuals whose days are at an abrupt end, and we are unable to forget the many who are left in the aftermath of each individual's death. I can't help but think also of the roughly 4,000 others who lost their lives today in America, and I wonder who among them were the astronauts of tomorrow. I consider all who this night will begin the uneasy sleep of self-imposed child loss and stunned grief. Who will remember them and be their comfort? I am looking at things from a different vista than the one I knew in 10th grade, and I wonder if the resulting numbness will allow me, ten years from now, to remember where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news today.


:: ashli 9:22 PM # ::

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