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Thread: 'I faced anti-abortion protesters at the Kansas termination clinic'

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    Elite Member Honey's Avatar
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    Default 'I faced anti-abortion protesters at the Kansas termination clinic'

    Lynda Waddington. Photograph: Lynda Waddington


    I was warned there would be protesters. Don't make eye contact and don't engage or confront, I was instructed. I had every intention of obeying, but my eyes betrayed me and found the face of a woman standing on the kerb.
    She was roughly my age and as we moved closer I could see her dark fringe, which almost fell into her blue-green eyes. Her mouth and the mouths of all the people within the small crowd were moving, obviously saying something, but I heard nothing more than a dull roar.
    The whole scene was surreal, as if I was watching it on a screen. We began to move faster, along the edges of the early morning assembly. But before we could step away, the woman with the dark fringe brushed my arm and I met her bright eyes.
    "Don't do this," she said. "You don't have to do this. Your child can live."
    I stared and, for the briefest of moments, wished to be her. I wanted to be that blissfully ignorant again and live in a world where there were clear answers with no horrific outcomes. I wanted to take her hand and let her lead me away to a place where reality could never touch my family.
    There was a tug on my hand, a protective arm around my shoulder and I was moving again. Behind me, under a chorus of yells, I heard soft praying. I began to pray too, but I already knew my pleas would go unanswered.

    I had spent the past few weeks searching for medical answers that didn't exist. The son I had carried for more than five months would never have a chance at a "normal" life; in fact he would not have an opportunity for life at all. As had been explained to me by several distraught obstetricians, he had severe defects that were incompatible with life, the worst being anencephaly, an absence of a portion of the brain and skull. My body was also producing an excess of amniotic fluid.
    While I had the option of carrying to term, it was unlikely my child would survive to that point. If "foetal demise" occurred and my body did not begin labour, I could face significant health risks. Every physician I consulted advised that ending the pregnancy was the best of our family's grim options. Whatever I did my child would die, and, as a grisly bonus, either action could result in long-term damage to my future ability to conceive and carry a child.
    The entire situation was so unfathomable that I spent weeks in search of someone, anyone, to tell me that it had all been a huge mistake. Before this, when a routine ultrasound indicated something was wrong, Down's syndrome had been my primary fear. Now I longed for my child to have a life challenged with that chromosomal disorder. A challenged life would have still been a life.
    That was why, 14 years ago last month, my husband and I left our then three-year-old daughter with friends, and walked through a small crowd of protesters to terminate a deeply wanted pregnancy through late abortion.

    When I entered the clinic, I was embraced by a thin, middle-aged nurse who swept my husband and me into a small office. There were unforeseen complications with the procedure, so it was completed over two emotionally agonising days. When I woke up afterwards I made the decision to view my son's body. Even as I made the request I hesitated, because I knew that the picture of the perfect baby I carried in my mind would be shattered for ever. On the other hand, I knew I couldn't leave without seeing him for myself. The nurse I'd met that first day stayed by my side, while another brought him to me, wrapped in a blanket. The anomalies were just as they had been described. I held him close, whispered his name and did my best to try to let go of the hopes and dreams I'd had for him.
    The death of a child is like a shotgun blast to your chest. In the beginning, you just numbly stare at the raw hole, wondering what happened. Then the pain takes hold and every other aspect of life is obliterated. With time, the raw edges scab over, but it never fully heals. Unfortunately for American women living in such a politically charged climate, such wounds are often reopened.
    According to the popular wisdom spouted by anti-abortionists, women like me who have late-term abortions are promiscuous, neglect birth control and are then either too lazy or too ignorant to schedule an earlier abortion. This rhetoric, elevated to obscene levels, has become even louder since the killing of Dr George Tiller, the US abortion doctor who was shot last month in Kansas, where I had my termination.
    Although I don't recall ever meeting him, and I don't believe he provided my abortion, I have volunteered to share my story because Tiller ultimately paid for his service to families like mine with his life. I have done so because I know there are still misinformed or blissfully ignorant people on the kerb.

    First person: 'I came face-to-face with protesters at the Kansas clinic where I had to terminate my pregnancy' | Life and style | The Guardian

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    Elite Member Jezi's Avatar
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    but, but... there is NEVER a good reason to murder a baaayyybeeeee!!!!

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    Elite Member katerpillar's Avatar
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    Exactly. This is why I never listen to people's bull about outlawing all late-term abortions. Almost all of the time, they happen because of serious reasons like this to do with the mother or foetus' health. It's not as though they're flaky women who suddenly decide to get rid of the kid halfway into their second trimester just because they're having a fat day.

    Poor things. Terminating an unwanted pregnancy in the early weeks must be bad enough - but when it's a wanted pregnancy in the later stages, I just can't imagine. Especially when jerks without the slightest bit of compassion for anyone that isn't a foetus misrepresent the issue.

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    That's the thing. No one carries a pregnancy that long and decides 'on a whim for convenience, etc' to have an abortion. Most of the late term abortions are deeply wanted children that have a severe defect.

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    Quote Originally Posted by scooter View Post
    That's the thing. No one carries a pregnancy that long and decides 'on a whim for convenience, etc' to have an abortion. Most of the late term abortions are deeply wanted children that have a severe defect.
    When my friend was having her son, something was coming up in the ultrasounds and tests that was indicating a specific deformity and defects. I can't remember all the details but basically, if her son had it he would not live, would be born without a formed face and that was IF she even managed to carry to term. She had the final test the day before the cutoff in finding out since it was so sudden. This is a child that she wanted, planned for and her and her husband were over the moon to have. Thankfully, he didn't have it (he did have some minor heart issues) but she spent all that time agonizing over the thought that she would have to abort and in her case, she HAS to have a c-section, which would have made for more issues.

    I don't know if there are ways to set up guidelines surrounding abortions. I despise the thought of women using it as birth control but there are times when it is necessary and I don't want that solution for a need taken away.
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    Quote Originally Posted by mklady View Post
    I despise the thought of women using it as birth control
    It's none of your business if women do or don't use abortion as birth control.

    If you don't like the idea, then make those decisions for your own body.

    Is it right to feel disgusted by a vasectomy? No, I bet you wouldn't even consider it. Why is it okay to treat women's bodies like public property? Honest question there, I really don't get it. We don't do that to men - their bodies are there own, no matter what choices they make.
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