The story that Lynn shares in today’s final segment puts the claim of being “pro life” in sharp perspective.
Relgious zealots have hijacked the phrase ‘pro life’. They rant and preach about “gifts from God” and personhood. Some murder doctors who perform abortions. Some shame women for having sex by telling them that getting pregnant is their punishment. Some force women to suffer and die while giving birth. These are not acts of being for life, these are acts of power and control.
It was the story of Savita Halappanavar’s death that prompted me to research and write about her, and the story of another friend’s life that I will leave for you to consider as you contemplate the real meaning of the words ‘pro life’.
I will never forget being a 20 something marching in Washington to protect abortion rights and watching/listening to Susan Sarandon, very pregnant, with a child by her side speaking to the importance of choice.
Fast forward 10 years and I am pregnant with three … yes, three. I have a tumor in my uterus growing faster than the babies. I am told “lose” one baby, or lose them all and endanger my life due to the way the tumor was attached and the likely blood loss. Or have babies born with severe (maybe life threatening) difficulties due to the predictable very early delivery.
We had a choice — they called it “selective reduction” — a euphemism to make women pregnant with multiples feel better about the decision to terminate a pregnancy- and a term for which I am grateful — or risk outcomes for all babies and myself. We chose an abortion. Not of the whole pregnancy, but of one. I lay on a table, in the doctor’s office, with the ultrasound wand sliding across my gelled-up tummy in what was usually a time for smiles and awe. I didn’t watch as the doctor chose which of our fetuses, at 16 weeks, would be delivered a saline injection and shrivel away, creating life for the others.
Twelve weeks later, at 28 weeks gestation (and a belly that had measured at 40 weeks since their week 18 due to the tumor) and after 3 weeks of hospitalization and meds to stave off their birth for their own benefit, our beautiful boys, now 12, were born. (My blood loss at delivery, due to the tumor, was frightening, so I have been told. My parents and husband were worried they might lose me. I stayed longer than most in the hospital due to the multiple transfusions needed due to the blood loss.)
Both of my babies needed oxygen. They stayed in the hospital 10 and 11 weeks. I drove 30 miles, one-way, every day, to be with my babies.
I am pro-life, motherfuckers. I am pro-life.
[CC Image credit: SaMi | Wikimedia Commons]