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Seeing an Ultrasound makes “Choice” ring hollow

by | Sep 24, 2011

By Dave Andrusko

I had seen the story headline, meant to read the piece, but did not until I read a pro-life review of the story which appeared on a pro-abortion blog. The woman who wrote about her abortion experience was 21 at the time and the political point of the site is to trash Crisis Pregnancy Centers and ultrasounds.

But the woman herself is far more ambivalent. While the objective of the website is to tell the reader how horrible any organization is that does not handle a crisis pregnancy like an assembly line, as so often is the case the truth of the grief and remorse that so often accompanies an abortion forces its way through.

She tells us that she never anticipated ever having an abortion, even though she’d always been pro-choice. But when she became pregnant, “I was pretty sure from the beginning what I would do.” And what made the decision easier was that she would have a “medical abortion”—take a couple of pills and that would be that. After all, she figured she was only two or weeks along.

The core of her story is what happened when she had the ultrasound. She is shocked to learn she is three and a half months pregnant.

“Then she turned the monitor to me. I have so many little brothers and sisters. I was with my mother the first time she heard my younger siblings’ heartbeat. There was a heartbeat now, too.

“By that point, I was crying hysterically. …

”I clutched my hand to my stomach and in the sonogram screen, an arm lifted. I took my arm away and the arm went back down. ‘Put your hand back up!’ the older woman said. I did, and the tiny hand went up again. That’s the moment that I can’t get out of my head, to this day.”

She left, knowing that she would have an abortion. She would grow angry at the CPC, believing she was misled about its intentions. But she is not angry in the beginning (perhaps because she was too busy crying). She talks to her (now ex-) boyfriend who is.

“He took the sonogram from me, and said he’d take care of it. I never saw it again, though a few months later I remember looking in one of his drawers and seeing something that looked like it could be it, upside down. But I didn’t turn it over.”

In fact her anger does not begin until she aborts her baby. 

“I’m not saying it’s ever easy for anyone, but all I could think about that day was the sonogram and that hand. There were tears streaming down my face when I was going under. I remember the anesthesiologist telling me, ‘Don’t worry, it won’t hurt,’ and I remember thinking, That’s not what I’m crying about.

“I don’t know if you’ve ever been put under, but when you wake back up, you finish your last thought. I woke up sobbing.”

You can’t read her story without your heart breaking. Her ex-boyfriend “wasn’t particularly supportive of me during that time.” (When she became pregnant they had only been together four months. She tells us he “cried” when she told him she was pregnant. What a jerk.)

Everything about her story tells us that even before the abortion she had gotten way in over her head, and part of what she feeling was remorse probably over violating her own moral code.

In the abstract being “pro-choice” is just a label. She would have been able to keep her abortion, so to speak, ‘abstract,’ had she not seen the ultrasound. But now she sees a baby who even in these early stages is responsive, interactive, and alive.

Our hearts go out to her, and to her baby.

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Categories: Ultrasound