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My doctor harassed me to try to get me to abort my baby, but I chose life and so can you

by | Mar 13, 2024

By Chelsey Painter Davis

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission. It also includes the disclaimer that the opinions expressed in this guest post are solely those of the guest author. 

I look like I need abortion. I’m a female in my 20’s. I already have a beautiful little girl. I’m a super high-risk pregnancy. I have been on Medicaid and I’m blind. I bet my maternal fetal medicine specialist thought he was doing me a favor when he offered me one.

When I entered the Oklahoma Children’s Hospital, I thought I was entrusting the care of my unborn baby boy to highly capable hands. With a level 1 trauma unit and the best specialists in the state all dedicated to saving children, I rested assured my son and I were in the safest place possible, but I couldn’t have been more wrong.

It was my 12-week appointment and I was so sure my second pregnancy was healthy, I glided into the ultrasound room full of jokes and smiles. Because I’m almost totally blind, I asked my husband, Austin, to describe the imaging, teasing him by asking which one of us Dallas looked like. But it turns out the life you expect for yourself can be taken away with something as simple as a knock at the door.

“We’re back,” said the sonographer, her student in tow. “The doctor wanted us to get a few more pictures.”

I was confused, but laid back exposing my belly again. “Can I wipe the jelly off now?” I asked when they were finishing up.

“It’s best to leave it on just in case we have to come back again.”

Austin tried his best to reassure me everything was fine, but I knew and I wasn’t laughing anymore.

The next knock at the door was a maternal fetal medicine specialist whom we had not been scheduled to see. I put on a brave face, but as he explained the ultrasound results the world started to slip out from under me. There was a mass so large in my son’s abdomen that when Austin saw it on the screen, he thought it was his brain. Not only could no specialist diagnose it, none of them had ever seen anything like it.

Lifelong disability, fetal cancer, and stillbirth were all serious possibilities for my son. When we asked if there was any way the mass could go away on its own, the word “no” made me feel like I couldn’t breathe. Then we heard the word we thought we’d never hear. “Termination…”

“I don’t do that” fell out of my mouth so quickly it felt like a muscle reflex, but it didn’t even register with the doctor. He just continued on as if my words didn’t matter. As if my baby didn’t matter.

You must continue with swift genetic testing because “abortions get more expensive the longer you wait.”

“If the test comes back positive, you can change your mind.”

“You would never do an emergency C-section on a baby that won’t live that long anyway.”

He used the word “termination” with me eight times. He even called me at home to convince me of his plan of care. I felt bullied, borderline harassed, and hopeless. What was I supposed to do when the one hospital meant to save babies like mine had already decided they were going to kill him?

All of this medical opinion was coming at me because of a picture of my son I couldn’t even see and now I had to wrestle with the fact that a useless photo of him might be all I ever had. Fear and grief were suffocating me, so in desperation I called the closest pregnancy resource center I could find, Hope Pregnancy Center of South Oklahoma City.

When you’re getting bullied, a part of your brain shuts down. You think, “Maybe they’re right. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe I do deserve to be treated like this.” But it turns out all I really needed was someone else to say, “No. You deserve so much more from your doctor. Your baby is not trash.” Thanks to Hope, I found a lot of strength that day. I finally gave enough push back and made enough noise that I was promised that doctor would never speak to me again.

More than two years later, the chapter on my son’s health is closed. On May 4, 2022, at nearly midnight, under threat of tornado, my son, Dallas Austin, was born with non-serious liver calcifications that, contrary to everything we were told in that first appointment, have gone away completely on their own. Now, Dallas is a feisty, redheaded 22-month-old who loves Hot Wheels, hiding from his blind mommy, and blowing kisses. He requires no treatments and no follow ups.

I don’t know what kind of lack of awareness it takes for a doctor to tell a disabled woman that her disabled baby might not be worth it, but it hurt. It hurt more than anything I’ve ever experienced because not only was he calling into question my value as a human being, but also my love as a mother. Sixty percent of women who receive my son’s prenatal diagnosis choose abortion, even though 90% of these babies require no medical intervention.

This never would have made sense to me before, but after the fear-mongering I received, I can start to understand why.

I look like I need abortion because the hardship of my life is the foundation on which the abortion industry builds their narrative of despair. Their lies whisper, “You can’t,” but my maternal heart roars, “I can.” Any doctor can deliver a diagnosis, but only you can decide who you’re going to be. So if a blind woman can choose to be stronger than abortion, then you can too.

Categories: Pro-Lifers