I am pro-life. I believe that opting to kill your baby in the womb is murder. While I do not believe that to be any “worse” of a sin than, say, lying in the eyes of God, it is still wrong.
Yet, I allowed the doctor to kill my baby.
Honestly, I still feel guilt about that. Growing up, all of the pro-life discussions and sermons I heard would ridicule laws that said, “except for cases to save the life of the mother.” I believed with my entire being that God was the only one who had a right to decide whether the mom or the baby should live. I believed, and still do, that moms who choose not to pursue cancer treatment, for instance, in order to save their baby’s life did the right thing.
But what about a situation where God decides the baby cannot live simply by where the baby implants? What about an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy? This is a situation where the ending the pregnancy is necessary to preserve the life and future fertility of the mother. If the situation is caught early, like it was for me, the growth fo the baby can be stopped chemically. If it is caught too late, then nature takes its course and the baby explodes inside the mother, rupturing her tube and potentially killing her while almost certainly killing the baby. Either way, the baby dies.
While I still feel some guilt, I have come to peace with the fact that we did the right thing. Jeopardizing my life would not have given my baby a chance. My baby had no chance. Saving my life was the right and moral thing to do. I appreciated having a pastor who confirmed to us what we felt in our hearts and what our (pro-life) doctor told us. We did nothing wrong.
Yet, in my desperation to find someone who was pro-life and agreeing with me after last November, I spent time on Google. All I found was articles condemning me for having an “abortion” and not leaving my life in God’s hands. For an already heartbroken momma, that was the most painful little bit of “advice.”
This experience has caused me to change ever so slightly in the way I view the pro-life issue. I am still pro-life. After seeing my perfectly formed baby with its tiny hands and feet at just 12 weeks gestation, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that it is a person. Yet, I also believe that it is not always so cut and dried as preachers and advocates want to make it seem.
Are there other “save the life of the mother” situations where a viable baby would be killed? I am sure there are, although at this point I am not sure what they would be. But for my situation, my baby could not have lived. That part of the discussion is almost always left out on these pro-life issues. Even the recent “personhood” bill in Mississippi did not have it in there, although in later press releases the proponents claimed ectopic pregnancy treatment would be preserved. But, it gave me pause to consider whether I would be able to vote for a similar bill should it come to my state (not that it would happen in Illinois).
Perhaps we can be strongly pro-life without being so dogmatic about the rarest of situations. You cannot know what someone else experiences until you walk in his or her shoes. You cannot know all of the details of any situation until you have been there.
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