They say it’s the third rail of blogging. They say touch it and die.

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.

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55 Responses to Abortion

  1. Lauren says:

    Respectfully, I must say that I completely disagree with the premises you’ve laid forth.

    You said “either I have the choice to chose my life above my son’s, or no one does.”

    This is simply not the case. Pro-life supporters have never advocated that a person be forced to die in order to continue a pregancy.

    If the mother’s life is in danger, actions must be taken in order to perserve the most life.

    You made the choice that perserved the most life. This is a pro-life stance.

    There is a dramatic and important difference between ending a preganncy that will result in the death of both the mother and child, and ending a pregnancy that will result in death to neither party.

    I was in a similar situation. I had a c-section at 30 wks because we were developing an infection due to premature rupture of membranes that had occured at 23 weeks.

    My son survived, but had he not I would not, nor would anyone within the pro-life community, consider my actions to be an “abortion.”

    I am terribly sorry for your loss. I in no way wish to add to your pain. I just feel it is very important to make a distinction between the perservation of life that influenced your decision and the specific destruction of life that characterizes voluntary abortion.

    These issues seem to have become conflated, but I do not believe this to be a true reflection of either situation.

  2. abandonedcouch says:

    I just stumbled upon this while lurking in Busted’s blog.

    I read these blogs discussing infertility and loss with so much guilt, never commenting because I feel I don’t deserve to talk to the women who struggle so much to have what I willingly gave up; that I don’t deserve to share in their joy or to mourn for their losses.

    My circumstance was much different than yours. I no longer regret the choice I made, but every day I regret the choices I made that put me in that position. And I will never forget the guilt and sorrow I felt after the initial relief subsided.

    That being said, thank you so much for this post. Thank you for standing up for every woman who’s made this difficult decision, regardless of circumstance. Thank you for your bravery and your honesty.

  3. From Here To Maternity says:

    I was pro choice, and after struggling to conceive I still am. I also have no patience for people who are not pro-choice and part of that impatience has to do with my religious beliefs. I was raised to believe that God gives us freedom of choice, it’s the reason he gave us free will. Therefore if God has given us free choice then what human being has the right to tell me I can’t choose in the name of god. It’s a hypocrisy I still can’t wrap my head around. I worked at a clinic that performed the procedure and one day a girl looked at me in tears and said, “thank you for not treating me like I am a bad person, I just can’t..” I told her she didn’t need to explain and held her hand throughout. It is because of that experience that I will forever fight for a woman’s right to choose.

  4. Duck says:

    Thanks for posting, it can never be easy when we let it all hang out, but, it does help others, so thanks.
    and hugs.

  5. I am so proud of you as a woman and as a writer!!! You made us all better when you wrote this post. After Dr. George Tiller (the abortion provider in Kansas) was murdered in his church one Sunday morning this summer a friend of his (one of the few other providers in the midwest) said, women must start coming forward. Abortion providers cannot be the sole face of abortion in this country. It is the single most common outpatient surgical procedure for women but we have been shamed and intimidated into silence about it. Obstetrical residents no longer want to become abortion providers. Many medical schools do not teach the procedure. Where will we go to get safe medical care? I have been mulling over writing about the 2 abortions I have had and breaking my blogging silence about it. You pushed me. You inspired me. Thank you.

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