I’ve been thinking about abortion. It’s not the first time. It was a post from a while back on some one’s blog, and another and more after that. It was the Alberta College of Physician’s and Surgeon’s who are trying to set rules around referrals for abortion. Simply trying to say that you must refer a patient. You don’t have to perform the procedure, but if you have a straight request, you have to refer them to a Doctor that performs the procedure.
I’ve heard rhetoric and hate, and horrible things. From both sides. I’ve heard people scream about oppressing women, I’ve heard people cry anti-choice and anti-life. I’ve heard horror stories from both sides, it’s all ugly. It’s all abstract.
And perhaps it is this: we forget, real people are involved, with real stories, and in some cases, real heartache. We forget who is listening. We forget, abortion is not abstract if you’ve been in that place. There’s nothing abstract about it. Women who have abortions are short and tall and fat and skinny and married and single and young and old and educated and not. Whatever they are, they are real people. Who have real feelings and make real choices. Whatever, whomever they may be, they are not theoretical.
When I thought about writing this post for the first time, I thought about a friend of mine. Who had an abortion. I remember her when I talk about abortion. I remember that she is not some degenerate, that God loves her, that she is still a wonderful friend and a great citizen. She’s smart and funny, kind, compassionate, and I will stand up and say that I am proud to know her, I was then, and I am now. She’s still the same person. She hasn’t changed.
But, no. Her story is not mine. I have a story.
On December 8th, a resident walked into my hospital room. I will never forget it. Mr. Spit and my mum had gone home, to eat and shower and pack some things. I was in the room with my midwife. She’d given me a shower, the Magnesium Sulfate was hooked up. And this resident walked in my room.
She took her surgical cap off. She sat down and picked up my hand. She said “I need you to sign a consent form to be induced. I have to tell you that in all likelihood your baby will die. I have to tell you that at this point, given his gestational age and weight, and given the pre-existing complications, he will die. Most likely before he’s born. Do you understand?”
I nodded. She handed me the pen. I signed my name.
I, Cheryl-Nancy Elizabeth.
I signed my name. I gave full, free and informed consent. I had options open to me, and this is the choice I made. I consented to kill my child.
I had an abortion.
I will stand up with thousands, hundreds of thousands of women. I will say that we made the best choice we could, at the time, under the circumstances. I’m not sorry if you don’t like my choice. Frankly, I don’t care. Perhaps you think I’m morally bankrupt, perhaps you think we all are. Perhaps you are able to make distinctions between my case and someone else’s. I will say that those distinctions are completely artificial. I will say that I am not flattered when you tell me that you think I had a socially acceptable abortion. I will say that you are dead wrong when you tell me that I didn’t have an abortion at all because I was dying. I will say this: either I have the choice to chose my life above my son’s, or no one does. Either we all have choices, or none of us do.
When you fight about abortion, when you say that I am an exception, when you say that we are wrong or horrible or morally degenerate, when you want to take away a woman’s right to choose what to do with her body, would you remember –
That’s my face up there. That’s me you’re talking about.