Choice

“[A]ll women should have the right to decide whether and when to become a mother. Every woman should have the right to shape her own life and the right to care for herself and her family with dignity.”

Does this sound like a statement you could support? Believe it or not, this is a direct quote from the National Network of Abortion Funds and I stand behind what they say with every ounce of my being. Yes, I believe in a woman’s right to control her body and choose what path to follow.

This weekend, a self proclaimed right-to-lifer demonstrated his support for the sanctity of life by entering a house of God and assassinating an usher in that church. That man, Dr. George Tiller, was an abortion doctor. He was one of the few doctor’s in our entire country that would provide late second trimester/early third trimester abortions. Prior to this Sunday, Dr. Tiller had been shot, had his clinic repeatedly vandalized, and had protests not only in front of his clinic but in front of his home…all for providing a LEGAL service. Despite this harassment, he continued to provide this service because he believed it was critical to the health and well-being of women to have this option. Now, this option has been removed from a whole segment of our population unless another doctor is brave enough to continue in his footsteps.

Yes, I am the mother of three boys. Yes, I was devastated and mourned each one of my 8 losses even though they were all first trimester losses. Is this outlook at odds with supporting a woman’s right to choose? HELL NO.

I’ll let you in on a *little secret. Once up a time, I was one of those fertile people that drive people going through infertility bat-shit crazy. I got pregnant after I missed a couple of birth control pills…and I had an abortion. I won’t go into the reasons why. That isn’t relevant. What is relevant is that the decision was not made with a light heart. The decision was made after a lot of discussion, a lot of tears, and it was made by both Vic and me because we deemed it best for us. And, despite the sorrow it caused me going through the abortion, I do know it was for the best. At not even 8 weeks pregnant, I was already having spikes in my blood pressure. And, I did end up being diagnosed with pre-eclampsia when I was pregnant with Marty (my 2nd pregnancy). When I was was pregnant with Marty, I didn’t start showing signs of pre-eclampsia until the last 6 weeks of my pregnancy. If I was already having spikes in my blood pressure at 8 weeks along, I have no doubt I was headed for a full blown eclamptic pregnancy and I probably would have faced the heart break of a late 2nd trimester or early 3rd trimester termination. And, when you progress to full blown eclampsia, termination is not a guarantee of saving the mother’s life but continuing the pregnancy is a guarantee she will die. Looking back at my decision to have an abortion, I can accept the argument that my reasons for it may have been weak or shallow. However, they did not seem that way at the time and still do not seem that way to me. And, knowing what I know about my medical history and pre-eclampsia, I fully believe I made the right decision even if it was for the wrong reasons. The availability of an abortion saved me from a lot of medical trauma and, if that first pregnancy had continued, I believe a late term termination would have been necessary to save my life. I hope and pray women are never forced back into having a choice between an unwanted or medically dangerous pregnancy or a visit to a back alley clinic.

I have to admit, when I started having loss after loss, I went through a brief stage where I wondered if that wasn’t God’s retribution for my earlier choice. But, a talk with my pastor and a reminder that Lutherans don’t believe in a vengeful God put those doubts to rest. I am horrified that SOME (not all) right-to-lifers are calling on a vengeful God and using Him for the justification to assassinate men like Dr. Tiller. If you are a Christian, you believe in the Bible. Most right-to-lifers proclaim them selves Christians. And, the new testament in the Bible they profess to follow says that it is no longer and eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth. Well, whether you support the right to choose or not, the assassination of Dr. George Tiller definitely falls into the realm of an eye for an eye and is wrong.

I am open to debate on this topic. I am not open to people who show up here spewing hatred and vitriolic rhetoric. If you are polite and well spoke in your beliefs, I’ll be happy to address them. If you are nasty about it, there is always delete.

*yes, this is what I was referring to in this post…not how I intended to tell the story but necessary considering what happened this weekend

BTW, both Cecily and Julie have brilliant posts on this topic.

20 Responses to Choice
  1. Shannon
    June 1, 2009 | 2:22 pm

    Wow, what an amazingly honest post. And good for you, for posting it and for standing behind your decisions.

    You know, some of my family members are ardent anti-abortionists. They know I’m pro-choice, and can’t understand this as I’m trying so hard to make a baby. Funny, I can’t understand why my fertility issues would automatically make me against another woman’s right to choose? I mean, aren’t I choosing my own fertility now??? I am lucky in that I never had to make the choice between giving birth and having an abortion; but the thing is, I don’t see any reason to limit others’ options based upon my own preferences.

    And another thing I don’t understand: How could anyone take a life in a church? How is that justified in their minds? What, that their murder saved countless others? Huh. I don’t believe that. It’s sick.

  2. Cecily
    June 1, 2009 | 3:05 pm

    Thank you for sharing about your experience with this issue… it’s such a tragedy.

  3. Another Dreamer
    June 1, 2009 | 4:55 pm

    Thank you for sharing.

    (*hugs*) Well versed post. And I stand behind you hun. I actually thought that this might have been what you referred to in the last post, but I didn’t want to speculate because I knew you’d open up about it when you were ready. I know how hard it is for you to put yourself out there with this.

    I am also Pro-Choice, and I believe that woman should have that option for so many reasons. And I am, after all, making a choice to become a mother, just as I think it’s important people have the choice not to be.

  4. Emma
    June 1, 2009 | 10:28 pm

    You have all my love and prayers! I went eclamptic while in hospital being induced with Christopher (my first baby). It went from a casual, happy experience to the terror of a full anaesthetic caeser in the space of about 20 minutes. Neither Christopher nor I would have survived without modern technology, as the induction was not progressing at all after about 36 hours.

    You are the only person who could make your decision, and I know you would never leap rashly into such a decision. God loves you!

  5. battynurse
    June 1, 2009 | 10:57 pm

    Great post. I too believe in a womans right to choose. I don’t know what choice I would make in any situation until or unless I’m in that situation. I also don’t believe that because a certain choice may not be right for me means that I can tell everyone else what their choice should be. I respect others who disagree but get so frustrated when those who disagree can’t respect me. I agree also with your thought that the whole eye for an eye thing is wrong as is the whole idea that to kill someone whom you believe is doing wrong in a church is just horrible.

  6. Anonymous
    June 2, 2009 | 12:20 am

    While I could never have an abortion or believe in it (unless my life were at risk as well as the baby’s) i believe it is a woman’s right to choose.
    I went with my friend to a clinic. She was early enough that they gave her pills. I spent the next 2-3 days with her to make sure she didn’t hemorage when she passed the baby. It was my duty as a friend to be there for her and not judge.
    Thank you for being brave and sharing. i believe abortion isn’t really a right or wrong thing. i do believe that women should be made to see pictures of aborted fetuses and the silent scream. i was amazed that the baby moved away from the needle. then if after that they decide to go through with it then it is a personal choice.

  7. Beautiful Mess
    June 2, 2009 | 1:39 am

    Good for you for speaking up! I truly hope nobody gives you any grief about it. If you believe you made the right choice, then you did. I’m so very proud of you Kristin and am very thankful to have you in my life! I’m going to have to come back to this, maybe in a post because I have a lot to say about abortions. Thank you for opening the door.

  8. Margaret
    June 2, 2009 | 1:33 pm

    HUGS sweetie. Powerful post. Thank you.

  9. Dora
    June 2, 2009 | 1:56 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I hope that through hearing about personal experiences some minds will be opened about this issue. I’ve never been faced with this choice, but I believe it is a choice as valid as my choice to build my family with donor gametes.

    This is a tough community in which to be militantly pro-choice. I’ve always felt strongly about this issue and I put my heart and body on the line defending it several years ago. Operation Rescue led a major offensive on my city years ago. I trained as a clinic defender and escort. I was honored to help the abortion provider in my neighborhood keep its doors open during the siege.

    Dr. Tiller was a good and brave man. We need more like him. But who will step forward after this assassination?

  10. Carrie27
    June 2, 2009 | 2:32 pm

    I also had a feeling that this is what you didn’t know if you should share or not.

    I also believe that women should have a choice. There are too many outside influences that can lead to the decision, and I would assume that the majority of women who do make the decision to abort have not done so lightly.

  11. A Mom in Jacksonville, FL
    June 2, 2009 | 5:15 pm

    Kristin—Good for you posting your honest thoughts about a heated topic.

    I too am pro-choice (despite having been raised by stern Catholic pro-lifers.) Your post depicted my feelings exactly—I believe that women should have the right to “shape her own life.”

    I also agree that Dr. Tiller’s community is now at a great loss…and the professoinal void likely won’t be filled for quite some time.

  12. just me, dawn
    June 2, 2009 | 8:42 pm

    what a brave post to write. sending you a big hug. I too believe in a woman’s right to choose. we are not put on this earth to judge one another but to love one another.

  13. ~Tammy
    June 2, 2009 | 10:57 pm

    Your openess and honesty are refreshing. I didn’t read all the comments prior to mine, but what I skimmed seemed matured and well stated, not vindictive and mean spirited or judgemental.

    Sending you big hugs!

  14. Yoyo
    June 3, 2009 | 3:00 pm

    What a brave and honest post. I believe we each have a right to choose. Choose to share or not share our experience, choose abortion or birth, choose to kill or not…but for each choice we make we must then stand the consequence, as I am sure Dr. Tiller will.

  15. ~Denise~
    June 3, 2009 | 9:59 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I came across your blog on a google alert for preeclampsia. And I am deeply moved by what you have written. Thank you for your courage and willingness to share. This pro-choice mom, and pe survivor, agrees with you.

  16. Soralis
    June 5, 2009 | 1:45 am

    I am a little behind but I thought I would comment anyway.

    You are an amazing woman for sharing your story.

    I was always a let people make their own choice kind of person, after our 11 years of infertility I think I am currently confused on this topic. I don’t want to judge what other folks do I believe if we all make the decisions based on what is right for us at the time that’s all that matters.

    Hugs

  17. Nina
    June 6, 2009 | 9:47 pm

    On my blog, I go into my own story. A brief overview is this: My baby was diagnosed with anencephaly (a lethal fetal anomaly) at 18 weeks. I chose to terminate my pregnancy due to the risk of maternal complications. What most of the militant pro-lifers don’t realize (or don’t want to admit) is that abortive procedures weren’t meant for birth control, they were put in place for people like you and me who were at risk for distress, medically. This is why the supreme court ruled the way it did in 1973, and continues to uphold that ruling today. If abortions were illegal, we could both be dead, and for what? So that we could die along with our non-viable fetii? Everyone has to make the choices that allow them to sleep at night, and they have the right to do so without judgment. I defy anyone to make the choices we’ve had to make and deal with them any better than we have. What people also don’t understand is that there is truly a very small minority of people who make the choice to terminate as birth control. Most of us have some sort of medical anomaly forcing the issue. You are a brave, strong woman, and I admire you for your choice.

  18. MrsSpock
    June 7, 2009 | 4:02 pm

    How brave for you to put a face on choice. I’ve volunteered at Planned Parenthood for a few years, including as an options counselor. I am grateful my local area has nearby options for myself and my family, if we should ever be faced with such a choice.

  19. Verna
    June 8, 2009 | 7:55 pm

    Wow Kristin…long time no see and I was moved by your post. Living in Wichita this is the main subject of the town. I work at a TV station and the idiot who murdered him is gonna shoot himself in the foot..I can see it now! Anyway, moving post…You are brave for sharing your secret with us and I can understand your reasons and believe you made the right choice. I am pro-choice in case you are wondering!

    Holler at me 🙂 Ive added you to my facebook finally!

  20. Queenie. . .
    June 9, 2009 | 9:26 pm

    This is still such an important issue, and one that feels sometimes like it’s slipping away, as so many women seem to take choice for granted today. When it comes to the endless restrictions being imposed on abortion, I wish more politicians would talk about stories like the women here have, about the REAL reasons behind late-term terminations. It always seems to get lost in the rhetoric. It’s SO important that women have a choice.

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