No year more fully changed the course of my life than 2008. That year my husband was recalled to active duty and prepared to deploy. Even so, we decided to proceed with our hopes to build our family.
Our beautiful daughter was born that November, an event that made for a truly thankful Thanksgiving! Her holiday birthday allowed her Daddy to spend a little leave time with us both before he returned to training. (She was nine weeks old when he left for a year, but it wasn’t 2009, the year of his deployment that rocked my life to its core.) And although the coinciding beginnings of motherhood and military life were deeply formative, no single day has left me with more perspective changing life experience than the opening hours of 2008.
You see, before 2008 was yet 12 hours old, I had an abortion.
I spent many years trying to deny that medical fact, as the experience was categorically catastrophic and I had no other choice. Our first baby, so desperately wanted, had implanted too soon. The internal bleeding this ectopic pregnancy caused was physically excruciating. And combined with the devastation of losing my motherhood, an identity I had only been exploring for a week, it left me bristling at the technically true medical term for the emergency surgery that saved my life and cost me my child.
Recently, my eyes have been opened to the great privilege that was given to me on that terrible day: my doctor did not hesitate to provide the lifesaving care I needed. The necessary procedure was not restricted. There was no fear of being sued for treating me or prosecuted for acting before my condition became eminently critical. The right to MY life was never in question.
As our country moves into a post-Roe reality, I admit that I do not see this as a clear victory. It is a complex issue in need of a more nuanced and multifaceted solution than a supreme court can legislate. I pray fervently that as states write their own laws to regulate abortion, logic and compassion will both prevail. I pray that no woman facing a medical complication ever faces the slightest hesitation from her doctors. I pray that doctors are able to treat patients who are not actively coding in front of them before they feel medically justified to proceed. And I pray that our nation enters a time, ideally led by the Church, in which the general flourishing of families is prioritized in both law and practice.
What good is the right to life without the support to thrive?