Empathy Lives In The Gray Area : Some Thoughts On Roe V Wade

The first time my wife and I became pregnant was April of 1998. We’d been trying to get pregnant for a year with no luck, but then it happened. We were ecstatic. We got married just two years prior, had built a house, both were gainfully employed, and were a pretty good aunt and uncle team to our niece. We felt we were ready to procreate.

But on a routine first trimester visit to the OB there was no heartbeat. Nothing. The doctor wanted to do an ultrasound to make sure things were moving along as they should be. What we found was a blighted ovum, which means there’s a gestational sac but no embryo. The embryo never developed.

A house was built, but there was no one moving in.

We were devastated as plans were made, names were drawn up, color schemes in the works. We were ready to be parents, but the universe decided something else. A D&C was scheduled , or dilation and curettage. Basically they dilate the woman and then use a spoon-shaped instrument called a curettage to scrape the uterine lining and remove what would have been where the embryo would develop. Instead, just and empty sac causing pregnancy hormones to develop in a woman that in fact won’t be giving birth.

The other option was to just let my wife go home and count down the days till she cramped painfully and miscarried. To avoid the physical, emotional, and mental trauma of that, the D&C is a quick, painless procedure. It allowed us to start the process of healing emotionally and mentally. And for my wife, physically.

Two years later, almost to the day, we were in the hospital again. That time because my wife was giving birth to our oldest. She’s now 22-years old and a college graduate. We couldn’t be more thrilled at the human we created together and the amazing life she’s built for herself. She was wanted, and was being brought into a world that welcomed her with open arms and open hearts. And there were two more kids that we brought into the world(in 2003 and 2005) and I honestly can’t imagine my life without them. No matter how hard it got over the last 22 years, never a regret. It’s that feeling as if I wasn’t completely built as a human being until those three kids were in my life.

But that’s my life.

The overturning of Roe V Wade isn’t saving the unborn. It’s putting women in danger needlessly as every state now has the right to ban abortions. So if a woman needs an emergency D&C in order to save her life she can’t have it. She may have to travel a state, two states, or five states away in order to get the medical treatment she needs. By then it might be too late. Or making a woman carry to term a baby made through rape, incest….or a child carry a baby that they’re too young to carry to term. Or forcing a woman to carry a child that will not survive out of the womb. Who’s being saved in that situation? You’d rather have a DOA birth and cause that heavy a trauma on the mother. If she chooses to carry that child to birth is her choice. But others would prefer to not have that trauma. It’s traumatic enough their baby is not going to live.

Or even just a woman who doesn’t hear a heartbeat at a 12-wk visit only to find out about her blighted ovum. So instead of having the option of a D&C she’s being forced to miscarry at home. Or work. Or driving to the store. A D&C is considered an abortion, therefore if we’d not had Roe V Wade in 1998 that option would not have been on the table for my wife and I. Nor would it have been on the table in 2001 when we went through this all over again. Another blighted ovum and another incredibly heavy sadness and disappointment.

I know there’s plenty of people celebrating this “victory” for the unborn. But it’s not just people ending pregnancies because it was an unwanted pregnancy(and if it’s that, then that should be the individual’s choice.) This is about saving the mother’s life if her life is in mortal danger due to a dangerous pregnancy. This is about parents making the heartbreaking call to end a pregnancy because their child formed without essential organs. This is about cases of rape, incest, sexual assault, and forced pregnancies through marriage and religion. Or just someone who is in no shape to be a parent due to mental instability, drug problems, or financial means.

This isn’t just about saving the unborn.

This is about rights; women’s rights, reproductive rights, personal rights, and personal freedom. I find it both ironic and disheartening that so many Pro Life voices are just as vocally prominent in the gun rights conversation as they are about abortion rights. They want their unborn and they want their AR-15s. The same gun that took the life of 19 children and two adults just a month ago in Uvalde, Texas. Those lives didn’t really matter, I guess. Pro-life, to a point.

I’m fearful of what’s next to be taken. I’m fearful these are moves from a partisan Supreme Court that is acting on idealogy and not constitutional law. I was already worried about what kind of future my kids will have in the country I love and call home. If it doesn’t fall into the tiny box we call our point-of-view then it doesn’t matter to us at all.

We’re all about personal freedom until we’re not.

As George Carlin once said, “If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fucked.” I would never choose abortion in my personal life, at least I don’t think I would. But it doesn’t really matter what I’d choose. It’s not my choice to make for a woman, as a man, and certainly not for a woman I don’t even know. Who the hell am I to tell someone in Nebraska or South Carolina that they can’t have an abortion? That’s exactly what the Supreme Court is saying to women across the country as of yesterday, 6/24/22.

I guess all of this was meant to say that you can be a person with a family and kids and still be thankful that medical options are available for women to terminate a pregnancy if she feels she needs to. My life story and experience isn’t going to change anyone’s thoughts on abortion . Minds have been made up, and the lines have been drawn. Nobody sees the gray area anymore. Just black or white. Empathy lives in the gray area. It’s the place where while we may not understand a person completely, we can empathize with their struggle. We can leave judgement at the door and just connect on a human level. A person makes a choice. We may not agree with their choice, but it should be their right to choose.

My opinion, based on my personal experience.

2 thoughts on “Empathy Lives In The Gray Area : Some Thoughts On Roe V Wade

  1. Wow–thanks for sharing your story.
    You hit it that there’s so much gray area in this situation around abortion. The gray area is why, even when I was raised in a conservative, fundamentalist bubble and taught to be anti-abortion, when there were petitions circulating campus regarding keeping abortion or some thing related to it, I would actually sign. I myself never thought I would get an abortion or consider it, but even when I was taught to despise it, I felt that life throws curveballs and you can plan all you want but sometimes things happen and abortion needs to be an option. I also felt that getting rid of abortion would lead to a slippery slope of getting rid of the pill, IUDs, etc. because of the sheer numbers of folks who think a crazy myriad of things are abortifacients.
    I’m actually drained just thinking about this. I can’t believe we’re here, and as a “recovering recluse,” I suppose I’ll just crawl back under my rock and stay there, because the idea of dating and being more sociable now REALLY terrifies me.
    I hope some consciences grow and develop, and a ton of people that applauded this realize how terrible it is and try to reverse it. I hope they realize that their pursuit of power at all costs is going to destroy them as much as it will the people or principles they hate so much. Just might take a bit longer.
    Now I want to put in “Inherit the Wind” and listen to some of Henry Drummond’s monologues about society.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It a cut and dried right and wrong world nuance is not allowed. Life is messy it’s all nuances and gray not that the robed and privileged would know. Thanks for your ability to be so vulnerable.

    Liked by 2 people

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