Interrupted Life

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Let me tell you about the sleeping habits of a four-and-a-half month pregnant woman. Truthfully, just one word can describe this state:




My bladder seems to be the size of an acorn, so if I dare to take one single swig of a beverage after 9 p.m., there’s no chance I’m going to make it through the night without answering the call of nature. (And that’s after I make a pit stop at midnight after sleeping on the sofa for awhile.)


(Last night I had the poor judgment to drink a 20 oz. cup of water, so I knew I’d be awake later.)


Once I get up in the night to use the restroom, my need to keep from tripping, falling, reeling, and generally maiming myself in a half-sleep state while navigating to the bathroom on the far side of our spacious abode and back to bed wakes me just enough to keep sleep elusive.


So I read the news. Right now I’ve got four news readers I view in the wee hours of the morning: NPR, FoxNews, Associated Press, and Fluent News. I read the stories, post what I find interesting to my facebook profile, and eventually fall back asleep for a bit of time before good ‘ol Mr. Sunshine peeks through the window and maliciously wakes our well-rested, highly energetic children.


After my potty voyage last night I kept running across different versions of the same story: the legislation requiring women seeking abortions to view an ultrasound of the baby with its beating heart before committing to the procedure. Because of the timing of the gestation, often this requirement would force women into a transvaginal ultrasound instead of the “squirt on the belly” we see so often in movies and such.


(And, yes, if you’re not familiar with the vocabulary of “transvaginal ultrasound”… find the root words… it describes what it means.)


Oh, the writing world is terribly upset about this transvaginal ultrasound issue! It’s a violation! It’s indecent! It’s wrong! Why must women be constantly subjugated like this?!!!


While reading these stories I became more and more confused for a few reasons:

  1. I’ve experienced a transvaginal ultrasound during each of my pregnancies and the process is much nicer than the joy of a yearly OB/GYN appointment, hands down.
  2. How do they think the baby got in the tummy in the first place? This is not virgin territory.
  3. How do they think the aborted baby is going to get out?
  4. If this were any other procedure and not so controversial, wouldn’t you WANT to have as much information about the process as possible? If I had a tumor being removed from my arm, I would love it if an utrasound took place, it would give me more confidence that the doctor knew what was going on!


It’s probably not a surprise to any of you that I’m politically pro-life. It may surprise you to know I’ve only recently switched camps.


For most of my thinking years I’ve been pro-choice, mostly because I believe the government should mind its own business and figure out how to do things like balance a budget, run programs efficiently, and contribute to the greater good of our society through positive role modeling instead of exhibiting case after case of behavior I would punish my kids for displaying. And make sure the bridges on federal roads throughout the country don’t collapse.


Anyway, yes, I switched sides after giving birth myself. The process of having Uno convinced me, without a doubt, that the embryo, that fetus, is human from the very start. Because I’m a skeptic, over the years and pregnancies I’ve run little experiments, writing down the “sense” I get from a daughter in the womb… and my “sense” of their personality from as early as two months pregnant has been accurate as I meet them and watch them grow outside of my  body.


When I read stories or comments about abortion I get frustrated because most of the time the language is so inflammatory the issue immediately becomes political, persuasive, and attacking. When you point out inaccuracies and generalities in the opposite argument (whether pro-life or pro-choice) people label you as close-minded, judgmental, and slightly stupid.


All of that is less than helpful to find any kind of common ground between the two polarized sides.


I’ve already made my point about this current set of fiery remarks regarding a transvaginal ultrasound. But here are a few more I have about the abortion debate in general:


  1. Men, it’s ok for you to have an opinion. Yes, it’s a woman’s body and a woman’s choice, but you’re a human and that baby is a human and it’s ok for you to have a voice. Men have been badgered into a corner so much on this issue they literally think they can’t say anything except, “It’s not my body so I can’t say.” That’s just not true.
  2. The highly touted instances of rape, incest and threat to a mother’s life as rationale for abortions… well, they’re just not that common. The cases are such a small percentage of the number of abortions being performed each year in the U.S. that, if it were a scientific study, the numbers would be disregarded as irrelevant. Kind of like if I told you hummingbirds are attracted to your sparkly eyes and want to peck them out with their pokey beaks. Could it happen? Sure. Is it likely? Hm… not so much. So call a spade a spade… abortion in this country is overwhelmingly used for birth control because a baby would be an inconvenience to the parents.
  3. Beware the slippery slope. A non-satirical article, published recently by moral ethicists in the Journal of Medical Ethics, makes a case for “after-birth abortions”, saying newborn babies are not “actual persons” and do not have a “moral right to life”. The academics also argue that parents should be able to have their baby killed if it turns out to be disabled when it is born. If this idea — and it’s not a joke! — bothers you at all, examine your motives. Why is this a problem? What does this mean you believe about humans? Read this article, which gives more background. It’s fascinating.
  4. What are women actually “winning” by the right to choice to have an abortion? Shouldn’t the real choice come in choosing when to have sex? With whom they will have sex? In being educated and knowing their personal cycle well enough to recognize signs of fertility? How does silencing an innocent voice offer proof of feminine empowerment?
  5. Why do people protect animals with more fervor than fellow humans? Think about Michael Vick… PETA… goodness, gracious, the whole Animal Cops of Houston and whatnot! I’m not against protecting animals… but what about protecting babies? Why do we seem to care more as a country about putting mascara in rabbits’ eyes for animal testing than we care about viable babies being chopping up and thrown away in the trash? What about the viral KONY2012 video? How can we be outraged at injustice against children in a far away country and not think through the disregard we have for a child in our neighborhood?


Whatever side of the issue you land upon, my request is you truly think about it. Because abortion is such a polarizing issue many of us don’t want to think about it. What we really want is for people to shut up and stop talking about it — and, frankly, there’s a lot of misinformation being spewed by people who want to make a point at any cost so it a takes a commitment to seek out truth.


But as far as the transvaginal ultrasound goes… more power to them. Sign me up for 12 if it lets me skip the yearly…!

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One thought on “Interrupted Life

  • July 24, 2012 at 2:56 pm

    I read this when you first posted it several months ago, but I didn’t have anything to say, even though I agreed wholeheartedly. Since then, I have had plenty of time on my hands to remember something from my childhood. First of all, my dad is a huge Phil Keaggy fan (Christian singer/guitarist 1960s – present). When I was little on long road trips, we would listen to all of Keaggy’s tapes/CDs twice before anything else, and one of my favorite songs was “Little Ones.” At 8 years old, I thought it was a pretty lullaby, but I didn’t really understand it. One day, I asked my dad what it meant. Written in the early 1980s, it was a plea for the pro-life movement. My dad told me as gently as possible that it was a song about “people killing babies before they were born.” I was appalled. As a big sister three times over I already knew that was wrong without anyone else telling me so. Didn’t everyone else know it, too? What kind of barbaric people were we?! Since then, I have cried every time I heard that song. I know my feelings weren’t scientific or rationally developed, but they have been the feelings I stand on. God has created something, and human or not, who am I to destroy it? My simple belief has been solid, but it opened up gray areas a few times. I always turned to God’s Word, but one day I stumbled upon the book “Unwind” by Neal Shusterman. This book (which I think everyone should read) posed a science fiction solution to abortion that has made me think long and hard about what our nation (and others) has gotten itself into.

    I have always believed that even the smallest children know more than we give them credit for. Every child I know would agree that it is wrong to kill unborn babies. No politics, no agenda, just a love for the life that God has given.

    Thank you for writing this and asking people to think.


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