With the controversy and heartbreak over “late-term abortions” sweeping over the country right now, one woman recounted her decision to have a late term abortion to the Huffington Post.
She chose to “terminate her pregnancy” due to a Spina Bifida diagnosis.
According to the Huffington Post article:
On June 18, 2015, we were scheduled for our 21-week ultrasound. I remember the date because it was our anniversary and we thought it would be a fun way to kick off our weekend together. As the ultrasound wore on the tech became increasingly less chatty and more serious, until finally she left the room with a picture she printed from the ultrasound machine. She was gone for what felt like an excruciatingly long time. When she finally returned, she informed us the only information she was allowed to give was that a high-risk OBGYN would be contacting us soon and we needed to see her as soon as possible. Shortly after our ill-fated ultrasound, we received a call from the high-risk OBGYN and scheduled an appointment for the following week.
A few days later we once again found ourselves in an ultrasound room with a very serious technician. Once again, after doing his due diligence, the tech quietly left the room with a print out in hand and, again, he did not return for what felt like a very long while. However, this time, when he came back, he was accompanied by the high-risk OBGYN who escorted my husband and me to a small conference room.
Once seated around a small round table, the doctor wasted no time getting to the point. She informed us that our baby had a severe developmental abnormality, Spina Bifida, in the cervical region of the spine. Her spinal cord was completely exposed just below her skull. I remember immediately starting to cry and my ears started to ring so loudly I could barely hear her as she continued to speak. I struggled to listen as she explained in detail what we were facing.
The doctor told us that it was unlikely that our baby would survive and should she make it to delivery and live, she would be paralyzed from the neck down. She would be confined to a wheelchair and would likely be permanently attached to a colostomy bag and feeding tube; she would be profoundly mentally disabled. The doctor advised us that our best course of action, in her medical opinion, was a therapeutic abortion, and with heavy hearts we agreed.
We left the office with a list of more doctors to call. These were the doctors who could perform my “late-term abortion” in the state of Florida. We called from my car, while still in the parking garage of the medical building The clinic in St. Petersburg was unable to accommodate us and the next one on the very short list of available doctors was in Fort Lauderdale, three hours from our home. We called them and were told we could be seen the following day.
Deciding to undergo a “late-term abortion” is something I never thought I would have to do, and it’s something I would never wish upon anyone else. It is something I think about every day of my life, and I can’t imagine ever not thinking about it. But, as devastating as making that decision was ― and as terrifying and heart-wrenching as actually going through the experience was ― I am grateful I live in a country where, at least for now, a “late-term abortion” was a legal option for me.
This, of course, is heartbreaking. But I would like to share my own story.
Those of you who read this website regularly know a lot about me. I’m 28 years old. I was recently engaged to the love of my life. I moved to the USA from Mexico in my pre-teen years. I used to be liberal, I am now very conservative. I am pro-life.
What many of you may not know, is that as a child I dealt with moderate scoliosis – a curvature in my spine. I realize now that my scoliosis was truly a gift. It was a subtle remnant of what could have been.
When I was young – maybe 9 or 10 or so – we had scans done on my spine to determine what the best course of action would be to treat my scoliosis. Surgery wasn’t on the table – my curvature wasn’t nearly severe enough. We were looking at braces and physical therapy.
The results of my scan changed my life forever. I had what were determined to be “remnants” of what would have been Spina Bifida. Completely unbeknownst to my mother – or anyone – my condition had corrected itself in the womb. Where the effects of Spina Bifida would have been, my body healed itself. I have cartilage where it shouldn’t be. If that cartilage weren’t there, I’d likely suffer from the same symptoms the woman above described in her own child. I would “be confined to a wheelchair and would likely be permanently attached to a colostomy bag and feeding tube.” I would be “profoundly mentally disabled.”
That could have been me.
The doctor had no clear explanation for why and how I was healed. He called it a “medical miracle.”
I just call it a miracle.
It is clear, given the results of my scan, that my body “healed itself” towards the end of my mother’s pregnancy. Late term.
Now… I’m not saying every parent of a child with a “deformity” in the womb should expect the same. I know I’m blessed. I also know that in today’s world, a doctor would have probably spotted my “deformity” …and suggested my mother “terminate the pregnancy.” This family spotted the “deformity” at 21 weeks. At that point in my mother’s pregnancy, I would have still registered as having Spina Bifida.
But I didn’t. They never caught it. They let me LIVE. And today I’m here, planning my wedding, living my life…and that baby is not.
I count my blessings. Every day. Even on the bad ones. Reading the story above, my heart hurts for that family.
My heart hurts knowing that could have been me.