My Abortion Story . . Or, Here We Go Again

Photo by Volkan Olmez on Unsplash

I almost never post or comment about anything religious or political, especially about abortion. The reason will soon become obvious. But here we are, once again, hearing about abortion every day, actually it seems like all day long. Some women are sharing their personal stories, while other people are just showcasing how little they actually know about women, pregnancy and abortion.

My story is different, yet not different. Once this issue affects you and your loved ones, you realize how complicated and personal it really is. You realize that you never really know what you would do when you are the one that has to make the choice. You realize that the 15 year old scared kid, the determined college student, the overwhelmed mom and the heartbroken woman who was just told her baby won’t live are all in the same, impossible situation.

So, why am I writing about this? Besides the obvious, looming Supreme Court ruling, it’s because today I saw this article about third trimester abortions in my news feed. National Review’s Mr. Andrew McCarthy is giddy with the knowledge that he’s figured out who the real extremists are. There’s more! He’s also figured how to trap them! It’s simple. Just ask the President if he favors third trimester abortions!

McCarthy starts out by pointing out that cases of rape and incest are difficult, “politically,” for the pro life side. He claims Democrats, ignoring that many Republicans are also pro choice, are using these ‘microscopically rare’ situations to distract from how extreme their views really are. He proposes that “every day, Biden and his flacks should be asked specific questions that will make them squirm and illustrate their abortion extremism.”

It’s pretty easy to get information on the availability of late term abortions. Turns out, many states have restrictions on them. In fact, 44 states prohibit abortion at some point in the pregnancy. Here are some stats from The Guttmacher Institute: 2 states ban abortion at six weeks LMP (last menstrual period), 22 states ban abortion between 13 and 24 weeks LMP, 1 state bans abortion at 20 weeks LMP (18 weeks postfertilization in state law),16 states ban abortion at 22 weeks LMP (20 weeks postfertilization in state law), 5 states ban abortion at 24 weeks LMP, 20 states impose a ban at viability, 1 state imposes a ban in the third trimester (25 weeks LMP onward).

Even without my own personal experience on this issue, I could’ve guessed this and I’m pretty sure Mr. McCarthy realizes that people aren’t waltzing in to a clinic down the street to get third trimester abortions. In fact, I’m betting the number of people getting them is, to use McCarthy’s own words, microscopically small. So, who are these monsters getting third trimester abortions?

I admit, I really didn’t think the abortion issue would ever affect me. I didn’t feel like it was my place to say what other people should do, but I was Catholic and it just wasn’t an option for me. So, even when we were overwhelmed with our first child, the necessity of two incomes just to pay the bills and the typical marriage stress that comes with all of that, we didn’t consider abortion when we were faced with an unplanned pregnancy. We didn’t consider it four months later when we found out our son had a serious birth defect. Our doctor recommended ending the pregnancy. We interviewed a specialist that cared for children with the same condition that our son had, we visited a special hospital that treated those kids and we found a new doctor that encouraged our decision to continue the pregnancy.

Four weeks later, we had some follow up tests and, with tears streaming down his face, our doctor, a specialist in fetal ultrasounds, told us that our baby’s condition had gotten much worse. He said, “he will either die before birth or have an extremely short life span.” Yes, after 25 years, those words are still burned into my soul. We left his office and at the follow up with our OB, we were told that the best option for my own health was to end the pregnancy. That’s one of the worst things any expecting mother can hear. But, it was about to get much, much worse.

Our doctor calmly explained that there was nowhere in our state to get an abortion at this point in the pregnancy. There were two options, maybe three. I honestly can’t remember. But, to be clear, Mr. McCarthy, there were few options and all of them necessitated traveling out of state. We picked the one we could drive to. A friend came into town to watch our child. We made the drive and spent five days in a tiny hotel room under the care of a very kind doctor. Our hearts were broken.

So, Mr. McCarthy, as to your question, does the president favor the availability of abortion, at any point in pregnancy, when neither the life nor health of the mother is endangered? It’s not currently widely available at all times during the pregnancy when neither the life nor health of the mother is endangered. Neither, the President, or his ‘flaks’ as you call them, can somehow change the laws in 44 states.

If you were able to ask President Biden the question, the question that you think will show everyone just how extreme he is, I don’t know for sure what he would say. But, here’s what he should say to you. No one is in favor of third trimester abortions. No one wants to have an abortion in their third trimester. Many states have restrictions on third trimester abortions and there are very few doctors in the country that perform them. And shame on you, Mr. McCarthy, for being so intent on playing gotcha with the Dems the that you would use the suffering of grieving families to score political points. If there’s an extremist here, it’s you.

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I'm a traveler, writer, peace lover and loyal friend.

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Johnna Jaramillo

Johnna Jaramillo

I'm a traveler, writer, peace lover and loyal friend.

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