I want to write about abortion, but I am reluctant to do so, basically because I am a man. I don’t know what it is like to be pregnant, because I can’t know. By the same token, I cannot know what a woman feels when she gets an abortion. So, whatever I say may seem inaccurate or misguided. That being the case, if you choose not to read this essay, I understand. Go ahead and click on something else.
Thirty-two years ago, my wife developed intense abdominal pains. We went to her gynecologist, and the doctor determined that she had an ectopic pregnancy. A fertilized egg was growing in her fallopian tube. The physician recommended immediate surgery to remove the embryo. My wife was shocked by the diagnosis, and she wondered if there was a way to save the unborn child. There wasn’t. The doctor told her that if nothing was done, the child would die, and she would die.
My wife had the laparoscopic surgery. It saved her life. Because my wife had the surgery and survived, our daughter was born a little over a year later. Because our daughter was born, my wife and now I have our toddler grandson running around the house, simultaneously bringing us blessings and chaos.
My wife had an abortion. It can be argued that the unborn child would have died anyway. It can be argued that, if we had done nothing, my wife would have died along with the baby, and I would have become a widower to care for our oldest son alone. However, we did in fact consciously choose to destroy the fertilized egg.
Even after all these years, we grieve over this event. We would not make a different decision now, even if we could. We did what had to be done. It still hurts. It will always hurt.
When I think about women who consider having an abortion, I think about my wife. I think about the trauma and the sorrow. I think about the years required to have the wounds heal.
I think about having compassion and empathy for suffering that I can never understand.
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