NOT One-Size-Fits-All, or What Would You Tell a Pregnant 10-year-old?

I turned in my primary election ballot this morning. Folks can still request an advance ballot until tomorrow, or they can vote early at the courthouse for another week. Election day is August 2. For those who might be confused about the amendment issue on the ballot, I think it boils down to whether you trust the legislature to protect the health and future of everyone, or just the unborn? In other words, what would you want for a pregnant 10-year-old rape victim? As I think about my own innocent grandchildren, ages from 1 to 12, the answer is clear to me. A child at that age should not be forced to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term.

Nobody I know is “pro-abortion”. We are, however, pro-choice. Abortion is an option that is tragic, but it is not a simple, right-or-wrong, black-or-white issue. We must keep legal abortion available as an option for women–and girls–in crisis pregnancies.

Before you write me off as a “Baby Killer,” let me assure you I am not. I hate to see anyone or anything hurting. All my life I have befriended the friendless, rescued turtles crossing highways, and taken steps to avoid hurting most other living things for as long as I can remember. (Exceptions: mosquitoes, ticks, and flies.) It is preposterous to think I could choose to end the life of my own unborn child. It’s simply not within the realm of possibilities.

But this is not a simple thing. It’s not a “one-size-fits-all” issue. It is not “one solution for every situation.”

There is not a person on earth who can anticipate all the different factors facing a mother who is considering abortion. Each situation is unique and must be considered individually by those involved—the distressed mother, her family, and the medical team. The rest of us have no right to interfere or to judge.

I come to this realization through a sequence of events unique to my own life. And I wonder, how many of those so quick to condemn other women facing dismal choices know what it’s like to lose a baby?

I do. I lost two. Not through abortion, but through natural deaths. They were both stillborn. The babes would both be 39 and 40 now and not a day goes by that I don’t miss them. They were very much loved and wanted, but it was not to be. I do believe God loves them too and I find comfort thinking they entered his benevolent care the moment of their deaths. We can’t forget what lies beyond.

How many women quick to condemn others for a difficult decision have ever been offered the option of ending a problem pregnancy through abortion? I have. Twice.

After the first baby’s death, the best my medical team had to offer was frequent sonograms during two subsequent pregnancies. They would then recommend an abortion should things start to go wrong.

I declined. Note again: I DECLINED. I couldn’t have opted for an abortion on either one. Instead, I chose not to have any sonograms at all. If something was to happen, I didn’t want to know it.

I am grateful to this day, however, that I was offered the choice. The decision was ultimately mine to make, and nobody else’s. My choice was to cherish every moment I had with my children, for as much time as we had together.

I lost the second baby too. But the third pregnancy, six years later, left me with a precious girl who now has two healthy girls of her own.

I wonder other things about those outspoken critics of pro-choice folks. How many of them have felt the knife-twist of agony to hear that an un-named teenage girl has chosen an abortion for her child rather than allow you to adopt the infant? I have. And I grieved anew for another baby lost. (But I still support her right to choose.)

How many critics have opened their homes to raise a child brought into the world by others? I have. The adoption and the parenting of my daughter proved to be one of the most challenging decisions of my life.

How many have opened their homes, offering shelter to young women wrestling with an unwanted pregnancy? Instead of condemning the unknown young woman who chose abortion over adoption, I became an advocate for girls in crisis situations, offering my home to house them until delivery. I hoped that my actions helped reassure those women that their unborn child would be treasured in an adoptive family.

How many have experienced conversations with a woman who, after hearing my story of loss and adoption, tearfully confessed to ending an unexpected pregnancy years previously. She agonized over her decision and felt a need to apologize to me, an adoptive mom. I offered her my shoulder to cry on and my compassion.

There is nothing simple about this issue.  I’ve never encountered a child as young as age 10 who had to confront the question. I have heard, though, that there were recently three 11-year-olds in my state whose parents sought to end their pregnancies. It should be an individual choice, not something politicians can dictate.

I’m glad I was offered a choice. I chose life for my children. It was God who had other plans for some of them.

With the temperature of our planet climbing beyond the point of no return, there is much more to be concerned with now. I choose life again—life for all of us, born and unborn, children, youth, adults and the aging, people on every continent and island nation, the threatened species on our beautiful and diverse planet.

Preserve individual choice with compassionate support for distressed mothers and let’s move forward. We have a lot of work to do. I am not a baby-killer. I don’t want to be a planet-killer either.

2 thoughts on “NOT One-Size-Fits-All, or What Would You Tell a Pregnant 10-year-old?

  1. Thank you, Anne, for your thoughtful comments and for your position on abortion,. I will vote yes on the amendment, for the following reasons. Planned Parenthood has not been truthful to women and has withheld information on the development of the child within. Moreover, they have offerred abortion to “undercover” patients who absolutely knew that they were not pregnant. This amendment is not intended to deny women their right to terminate a pregnancy. What it will do is stop third-trimester dismemberment abortions during which the child is torn limb from limb and then the head crushed to allow the child to be completely removed from the womb. (Dismemberment abortions are certainly painful for the infant, though he or she is soon returned to God who created him/her, and surely comforted by that reception.)However, the dismemberment abortion is also painful to the mother, physically as a violation of her body, mentally because in order to continue these procedures, the operators must harden themselves emotionally. As shown in the movie, “A Matter of Life”, the question that must be answered is: Is the fetus hman, and if not human, then what is it?? I would encourage you to view the movie; I think it demonstrates real compassion for all concerned with the difficult decisions involved in every unexpected pregnancy. Thank you again for your thoughtful essay. I respect your views.

    1. I did a bit of research on the two objections Connie raised. One, relating to Planned Parenthood, is puzzling to me. The mission of Planned Parenthood is to help people live full, healthy lives—no matter their income, insurance, gender identity, sexual orientation, race or immigration status, and to provide medically accurate education that advances the understanding of human sexuality, healthy relationships, and body autonomy. Their motto is: Care, no matter what.
      If a person seeks help from Planned Parenthood, I would assume she is needing help with information or access to birth control in order to successfully plan a family at the time best for her situation. If a person seeks help who is already pregnant, it is logical to assume that one question would be if the person intends to continue the pregnancy. If she does not, what option besides abortion exists? If someone who was not even pregnant was pretending to be pregnant, as an “undercover” patient, this amounts to entrapment. The patient was far from truthful about her own situation. What would you expect as advice if you state you aren’t ready for a family but you are already pregnant, even if you really are not?
      As far as the late term procedures, it appears that Connie, like so many others, has reacted in exactly the way those who put out literature and movies intended, recoiling in horror and ready to remove rights and freedoms from others because of it. She and I are old enough to remember what it was like before legalized abortion. But we might not have the comprehensive picture.
      Please understand that in Kansas, late term abortions are already regulated. Beyond 22 weeks they are banned. There have been exactly zero late term abortions in the state in the last few years. The amendment itself is not even needed since abortions are already highly regulated in the state. The only reason to further amend the constitution would be so that the extremists in the legislature would be able to do a complete ban on abortion, no exceptions.
      In looking up information on the horrible cases of late-term (after 21 weeks gestation) abortion, I discovered this page with abortion statistics. has a long list of statistics about abortions in the US. Here’s a sample:
      The stats clearly show that giving women the right to choose not only reduces mortality, it actually brings down the incidence of abortion itself.
      There were 195 abortions per 1000 live births in 2019.
      There were a total of 630,000 abortions in the US in 2019.

      Before 1973, abortion was strictly restricted in America by law. Which also meant that there was a thriving back-alley abortion industry.
      It is estimated that up to 1.2 million illegal abortions every year in the US in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1955, almost 700,000 illegal abortions were performed in America. In 1967, almost 830,000 illegal abortion procedures were performed.[2]

      Illegal abortions were a leading cause of pregnancy-related deaths. In 1965, there were 200 cases of deaths due to illegal abortions reported in the US. That contributes a shocking 17% to the total of around 1200 pregnancy-related deaths that year. Please note that this is the reported number. The real figure is likely much higher.

      Around 92% of legal abortions in recent years occur in the 13-week gestation period (first trimester), while only 7% occur from the 14 to 20-week gestation period[6].

      Abortion after 21 weeks is rare. Around 1% of abortions happen after 21 weeks of gestation in the US.

      According to the Federal Reserve, 40% of Americans cannot come up with a $400 emergency fund and do not have enough savings to pay for abortion expenses. Abortion in the first trimester can cost around $500 and in the second trimester can cost $1200 or more. Saving up to pay for the abortion is likely another reason for delayed and late-term abortions.

      One big reason for late-term abortion is the late discovery of pregnancy. Women who come to know of their pregnancy after eight weeks of gestation form a significantly higher proportion of the women getting an abortion after 13 weeks or the first trimester. It does take time to make a decision as big as this.

      Another reason for late-term abortions is access to the right medical facilities. Women who had an abortion after their first trimester are much more likely to have traveled more than three hours for the abortion, as compared to women getting an abortion in the first trimester (21% versus 5 %). Although this can also be a result of women seeking more privacy when getting an abortion.

      The number of abortions per 1000 live births has seen a declining trend. This ratio used to be 225 abortions per 1000 live births in 2010 and it has come down to 195 in 2019.

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