In the Wake of the Pro-Life March… An Emotional Journey

​I am about to embark on a very touchy and controversial subject in the wake of the Pro-Life March that was held in DC…. My thoughts on abortion. I feel that it is my duty as a woman to put a few things into perspective for both sides based on my own opinion, observations, and life experiences. I always try to put a great deal of thought and rationale into these subjects because each side wants to control individual rights and morals. There has got to be a middle ground on which both sides can agree, and I intend to try and find it by standing on the fence and looking at both sides. 

You see, the Pro-Choice people want to force the Pro-Life people to fund things via their tax dollars that they find morally abhorrent. On the other side, the Pro-Life people want to force the Pro-Choice people to give up their freedom to choose what is right for them, even in extreme cases. We can only live the life that was given to us, and do what we feel is right for ourselves. Nobody, on either side, has the right to dictate what should or shouldn’t happen to another person, because everyone lives a different life with different lifestyles. 

I consider myself Pro-Choice, but with moral restrictions because I don’t seem to fit in with the “social norm.” I feel this way based on my own life experiences because to be honest, I am extremely lucky to even be alive right now… I should have been dead twice over, but I am here because I do have that choice and freedom. I went through not one, but two terminations in my 20’s. The first one was when I was finally free of my ex-husband who I already had two girls with. He was a very drunk and very abusive man 95% of the time, and one night when my daughters (who were VERY young at the time) were up north with my mother, he had raped and beaten me so brutally that I was almost unrecognizable. He had pretty much left me for dead as I lost consciousness and he ran out of the apartment. Luckily, the downstairs neighbor had heard the commotion and called the police, who arrived very quickly. I came to find out later that the sirens were the reason for my (then) husband running out. I woke on my living room floor to the faces of cops and paramedics shining a light into my eyes to make sure I didn’t have a concussion. Finally they sat me upright, and let me call a friend I worked with to come and take me to the hospital since I didn’t want to go in an ambulance and I had to answer the officer’s questions anyway. My friend arrived as the officers were finishing up with their “photography session” to document every cut, scrape, and bruise on my body. 

We arrived at the hospital an hour later, and the doctors stitched me up nicely. They didn’t do a rape kit since 1. I knew my assailant and 2. “marital rape” wasn’t taken seriously then. Believe me, it IS a thing… and something I wouldn’t wish upon my worst enemy. Shortly after that, I went to spend two weeks with my parents in Southern Utah, and they tried to no avail to get me to stay there with them for six months to establish residency and file for divorce. I couldn’t do that, however. I had a support system in Nevada, and I knew I had to come back to face my demons and get my life together, so back I came, and stayed with my friend while I went through the divorce process. It was during this time that I found out that I was a couple of weeks pregnant, and also found myself in a position to make the most difficult decision of my entire life… do I go through with this pregnancy that was a byproduct of terror, knowing that it would tie me even more to the man I was fighting tooth and nail to sever all ties with? I already had to children with him, and as a newly single mother, I most likely would have ended up going back for the duration of the pregnancy since I wouldn’t be able to work and cover my living expenses while raising the kids I already had? Or do I terminate the pregnancy and eliminate the risk of one day being the victim of murder? I chose the latter because in finding myself well and truly on my own for the first time, this was the right decision for me at the time. In hindsight, I can’t hold any regrets due to the circumstances at hand. Had my (now) ex found out that I was pregnant, there’s no way he would have let the divorce go through uncontested, and I most likely would have ended up back at square one. I would NOT become a victim again. Period.

The second time was a year and a half later with my 2nd husband, which surprised us both, since he was a Naval Veteran and had a mishap on his ship, thinking he could never have kids. We were quite shocked and happy, since we had just gotten married. Granted, he never wanted kids, and was gracious enough to be a father figure to my girls since they were a little bit older by now. My oldest was 4 at the time, and the idea of an infant terrified my (then) husband, but he started getting used to it. Then things took a turn for the worst with my health, and I started hemorrhaging and lost A LOT of weight. This was very dangerous considering my size, since I’m only 5’1” and 110 lbs. I lost ten pounds and my hip bones and ribs were starting to show. So we rushed to the OB/GYN only to find out that the fetus had not connected properly to the womb, and I would be lucky if I made it to 5 months… no doubt losing the baby AND my life. The thought of my two girls growing up without a mother made this decision a no-brainer for me, and I took the doctor’s advice and terminated. Of course, this put a major strain on my marriage, and after only being married for a year, we divorced and we each went our own way.

I look back on all of this now, and while on one hand, I will always wonder how these kids would have turned out… it weighs on me every single day. Then I met a good man, with whom I have been with for almost 20 years now. A little over 12 years ago, we found out that we were going to have a little girl, and although it was a difficult pregnancy toward the end, we had our beautiful and brilliant Cheyenne on February 4, 2005! She will be 12 years old next week, and she blows me out of the water every single day. I look at her and know that my past decisions paved the way to my bringing this wonderful and talented girl into the world, and therefore I find that I can’t dwell on things that happened 2 decades ago.

You might be wondering why I am opening up about this now with my dark past, but I am hoping this will shed a light on why I feel the way I do. Women go through things like this every day in every walk of life, and can do so safely with the decision of Roe v Wade. However, I also feel that a termination should not be used as a form of birth control, nor should a woman terminate past 12 weeks. Life is truly a gift, and should be treated as such. Should Roe v Wade ever be jeopardized, I hope that other women who have had similar experiences step up, speak out, and tell their stories, because let’s face it… without this protection, the loss of life will be much more than anyone might think.

Now on my thoughts of Pro-Life people. I fully understand and respect their stance as well, because with Government funding of places like Planned Parenthood, those funds are taken out of taxpayer’s dollars, thus forcing people who are strictly against abortion to fund something they find morally reprehensible. I can completely understand. Taking Federal funding out of the equation does not mean that PP would have to close down or go away. It does not mean that they can no longer practice. It merely means that they need to find funding through private donations. They provide some great services, which seem to conveniently be forgotten about. They provide annual screenings for women, they DO provide short term prenatal care at a very low cost for new mothers who are pending on their insurance (whether it be Medicaid or Private), then they refer them to an OB/GYN when their insurance is approved to cover it. My oldest daughter, who is now 24, had to go to them when she first found out that she was pregnant with my granddaughter, and they provided her prenatal care and ultrasounds until her insurance went into effect. My beautiful granddaughter will be two this April! I add this because I want you to understand that places like this can also be detrimental to female health and wellness.

I just read that the Chili’s Restaurant chain was going to donate proceeds from their sales to Planned Parenthood, and they ended up having to squash the idea, because they were losing business. Again, it was forcing people who are against the idea of abortion to put their money to the one thing they do not want to pay for. Granted, the idea that Chili’s had was a good one, as they were only trying to help, but instead of donating proceeds from their entire menu, the better strategy would have been to put one or two items on their menu that would go for donations, so that Pro-Life people would have the choice as to whether or not they wanted to order those items. 

In my honest opinion, I feel that both sides have become too politically motivated in their movements. I understand both sides because I have been there. The more I think about it, the more I realize I’m not on EITHER side, because I have been through extenuating circumstances and I know how it feels post abortion. I have come to a peace with myself that I am not the strong person I have become despite the things I have been through, but BECAUSE of them. This is why I wish both sides could come to a middle ground… almost a truce of sorts, and an understanding of each other. The group mentality doesn’t work for me, because I could care less about what one group or the other may think about me. Each side is trying to force their beliefs on one another, and that creates a social divide that in time if not addressed, will be beyond repair. 

This is the first time in almost 20 years that I have allowed myself to relive the horror and fear I felt in both instances, and it cuts me to the quick as I type this. Let me be clear in saying, this is the raw reality that will hopefully get both sides to understand the repercussions of overturning Roe v Wade. Live and let live, and remember that you do not live in another persons situation. You live in your own. Respect one another and their personal choices. If you don’t believe in abortion for any reason, that is perfectly fine and your decision… but you don’t get to choose what I do with my personal rights, choices, and beliefs… because that, my sweethearts, is called “Dictatorship.” 

~Kristi S~

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