Draw the Line

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New York

Topics: Access and Affordability, Reproductive Health
Area of Life Affected: Family Relationships

A Better Chance in Life

In 1995, I was hit by a car and almost killed. I was in a coma for a week, and required 4 surgeries on my knee to be able to walk again. Prior to the accident, I had been an avid runner and skier, and it was devastating to learn that I would never run or ski again. I was also highly educated, earning both a bachelor’s and master’s degree with honors from Ivy League schools. I spoke and wrote and was fluent in 3 languages. Although I still knew English when I awoke from the coma, I had lost the other languages. I had to teach myself how to write again – 18 years of school and I could barely write my own name.

“Outlawing something does not make it go away.”

Several months into my recovery, I realized I had not had my period since the accident. My neurosurgeon had no interest in this fact, and the gynecologist I subsequently consulted told me that I would never be able to have children as a result of the accident. My fiancee/first husband and I therefore stopped using birth control, and sure enough, I got pregnant.

Recovering from such a horrific accident, and dealing with both a body and mind that no longer worked as they had before, and in constant pain, I was unable to handle a diagnosis of pregnancy. My knee was in constant pain, and had been for the 2 years since the accident, and the doctors would not give me enough pain medication to control the pain because they “did not want me to become addicted to pain killers.” I guess they would rather that I commit suicide from the unrelenting pain. Finally, I had enough, and consumed the entire bottle of sleeping pills that had recently been prescribed and filled. I fully recognized as I took them that they might kill me (please, God, let me come home to you now!), or might make me sleep for several days, or maybe just overnight.

My fiancee was telling me to “just get over” the accident, and the devastating loss of physical and mental abilities that appeared as if they would never be regained. He felt that I should be happy to be alive, even though I was in constant pain and unable to do a fraction of the things I used to be able to do. I was 30 years old when the accident happened – I was not willing to live the next 40 to 50 years this way.

I eventually woke up, late the next day. I soon got my period, and therefore assumed I was no longer pregnant. I had already scheduled an appointment for an abortion (fortunately I lived in New York State), and I showed up for the appointment, just to make sure that I was medically OK. They confirmed that the pregnancy was over, and that it had completely passed through my system. Had it not done so, and had they been unwilling to assist me, I would have gladly jumped off the roof of my seven-story building, hopefully to my death.

Those people who think they are preserving life by outlawing abortion are sadly mistaken. They choose to ignore the reason that Roe v. Wade was passed in the first place – women were repeatedly taking their own lives because it was a better alternative than carrying an unwanted pregnancy to term. Despite what they think, outlawing something does not make it go away. All it does it force people to resort to any method possible to achieve what is necessary.

If the government tries to force all pregnant women to carry to term, some of those women will kill themselves to avoid that sentence, and a greater number will attempt to kill themselves or at least to terminate the pregnancy. Although it is quite clear that many politicians believe women have no worth beyond their ability to carry a pregnancy, most women will never allow themselves to be enclosed in that little box.

Almost 20 years later, I have now married a compassionate man, and we have 2 deeply loved sons together. Life is still not easy, but our children were wanted, intentionally conceived children, and they have a much better chance in life than an unwanted child would ever have.

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