As parents we have many things in our parental bag of tricks that we use to fill the time in the car with our kids so that we don’t hear the inevitable chorus of “Are we there yet?” as we are pulling out of the driveway. For my kids and me, singing along with songs on the radio was a free, potentially hilarious and fun way to pass the time in the car.
Except for one song. My kids loved it, but it was gut wrenching for me. In the early 1980s Pat Boone’s song Let Me Live was one of my kids’ favorites. In the rearview mirror I could see my six year old, Katie, head tipped back, wispy blond hair flying, eyes closed, singing at the top of her lungs, “Let me live, let me walk into the sunshine, let me live…” And I cried. Every. Single. Time.
Why? Rewind to the backstory.
I had hoped 1976 would be a better year for me. My bad marriage had crumbled and I was finally embarking on a career I enjoyed; designing and making jewelry for a firm out of New York. I had just come home from my first diamond buying experience in New York City where I had been invited to a cocktail party in Harry Winston’s (of Tiffany & Co.) penthouse. I was rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. I was beginning to feel hopeful about the future. Then I started to feel sick. Really sick. Every morning…
I went to Planned Parenthood and took a pregnancy test. When it came back positive it felt like a death sentence. A death sentence to my hopes and dreams. A death sentence of being tied to man I thought I was leaving in my past along with all the hurt and pain.
When I told him I was pregnant, we discussed the situation. The people at Planned Parenthood had been so sympathetic and had offered another alternative that they had laced with hope. So we decided the only course of action for both of our futures and our individual happiness was to abort. Based on the information from Planned Parenthood, it seemed to be the only rational, logical course of action at that time in our lives.
We had both grown up in denominational churches, gone to church camp, been in youth group, had sung in the choir and yet, unbelievably, came to the conclusion that abortion was the logical decision for our situation.
We received counseling from Planned Parenthood about the rightness of our choice, and make no mistake, it was a choice. Yes, we were told, it was the responsible thing to do. Yes, we were told, it was the only smart thing to do in our situation.
I made an appointment to have the abortion on a Friday at a Planned Parenthood clinic in a nearby town where no one would know me. When my boss asked me why I needed the day off, I told him I had to have my sinuses drained and needed the weekend to recover so I wouldn’t miss more than one day of work. Everything was planned. Everything was set. Just another day on the calendar. Just another appointment to get done and out of the way.
At our final meeting with Planned Parenthood before the “procedure,” we met with a counselor we hadn’t met with before because rather than delay the procedure we decided to meet with whoever was available.
The young man we met with was prepared with his canned spiel about the procedure itself. It was a very clinical presentation, one that he’d obviously given dozens of times. In a bored, half-hearted manner he showed us the various sized instruments that would be used to gradually force an opening so a vacuum-like instrument could be inserted that would suck out the unwanted fetal tissue.
“Do you have any questions?” He yawned, obviously hoping to be done. Yes, I had a question—a question that had been wriggling around in the back of my mind for a while. I asked him, “Will this procedure hurt the baby?”
The disinterested young man’s demeanor changed immediately. He leaned forward and hissed, “What do you care, lady? You’re killing the baby.” As soon as the words came out, he clapped his hand over his mouth and looked behind him. His face paled as he stumbled around verbally and ended the appointment.
I am convinced that he never intended to say those words and that he truly didn’t know where they came from. But I believe I know where they came from. I had family members and friends who were praying for me. If, in the Old Testament, God could speak through a donkey, He could certainly speak through a young Planned Parenthood jackass who had been trained not to use the words “baby” and “kill” let alone in the same sentence.
That conversation weighed on me. The night before the scheduled abortion, over dinner in a crowded restaurant, we made the decision to cancel the abortion and have the baby. Seven months later, our beautiful, amazing, God-given miracle, Katie, was born.
So when little Katie used to sing, “Let me live, let me walk into the sunshine, let me live…” I cried because she almost didn’t get that chance. I still cry. I cry out of shame for how stupid and foolish I was. I cry for gratitude because family and friends, who understood the seriousness of my decision, cared enough to pray even when I was being stupid and foolish. I cry for joy as I’ve watched Katie grow into a beautiful, godly young wife and mother.
And I have to ask another question: At what point?
At what point was she not Katie? Was it at the point of the moments or even hours before she was born? Was there a definitive point as she was growing in my womb? Or when her heart started beating eighteen days after conception?
AT WHAT POINT WAS SHE NOT KATIE? (Yes, I’m yelling.)
I believe that there was never a point in time, from the moment of her conception, that she was not Katie. From that very moment, that nanosecond of conception, life sparked, her DNA was established and her path as a growing, developing human being with God-given potential began.
(I’m going to make this political now, so feel free to stop reading if you stand firmly on the pro-choice platform because you are not going to like or agree with what I have to say. Political views cannot change the facts of my story or how it shaped my own opinions and viewpoints.)
This election cycle has been the nastiest, most difficult one I’ve lived through, and I’m no spring chicken. I’m not going to hold my nose and vote. I’m not going to vote for the lesser of two evils. I’m not going vote based on the myriads of opinions flying around the political arena like swarms of gnats, or in some cases venomous and violent vultures. I am going to vote for a platform, not a person. I’m going to vote for the platform that chooses LIFE! I don’t care about track records or accomplishments or scandals.
What I do care about is that millions of babies, not fetal tissue…babies…human beings…have died on our watch through abortion, no matter how it is justified.
I care that we are about to change the course of our nation. We are at a crossroads. We have an opportunity to chart a course that might save lives or a course that will continue to destroy many millions of other Katies.
I don’t desire to present the grisly facts about abortion here, although if you are not aware, it is important that you at least educate yourself about what abortion truly is before you spout political rhetoric.
I share my story reluctantly because I know I will open myself up to haters for my opinions and for my stand. But I do so because I hope it may save lives.
If you are facing an unwanted pregnancy, do your homework on abortion and try to see past the sugar-coated garbage/verbiage of a woman’s right to choose. Think about that unborn baby, not fetal tissue, that is growing inside you. Think about that child, that human being, whom your body is protecting, who has no voice and no choice if you abort. There are many good organizations who can help you through an unplanned pregnancy.
Can you answer the question: At what point?