Top Stories

Open letter to readers: Today and tomorrow

By Lynda Waddington | 11.17.11

Wednesday was a difficult day for The American Independent News Network, which is the larger entity that operates The Iowa Independent. Our chief executive and founder announced two of our sister sites would close and their content would be moved to The American Independent.

ACS lockout continues; plan emerges to repeal sugar protections

By Virginia Chamlee | 11.15.11

A recently introduced bill could have far-reaching impact on the U.S. sugar industry, including American Crystal Sugar, a farmer-owned cooperative that locked out 1,300 Midwest workers on Aug. 1.

Cain campaign: Farmers know more about regulations than EPA

By Andrew Duffelmeyer | 11.15.11

The chairman for Herman Cain’s Iowa effort says the campaign “relied more on the word of farmers than Washington regulators” in deciding to run an ad containing claims the Environmental Protection Agency says are false.

Mathis wins, Democrats maintain Senate control

Liz Mathis
By Lynda Waddington | 11.08.11

The Iowa Senate will remain under the control of a slim 26-25 Democratic majority when it reconvenes in January 2012.

Press Release

PR: Nation should work to address veterans’ challenges

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

BRUCE BRALEY RELEASE — As US involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan ends, it’s more important than ever that our nation works to address the challenges faced by the men and women who fought there.

PR: Honoring veterans, help in hiring

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

CHUCK GRASSLEY RELEASE — A difficult job market is challenging the soldiers, sailors and airmen who have protected America’s interests by serving in the Armed Forces.

PR: In honor of America’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

TOM LATHAM RELEASE — No one has done more to secure the freedom enjoyed by every single American than our veterans and those currently serving in the armed services.

PR: Honoring and supporting our nation’s veterans

By Press Release Reprints | 11.11.11

DAVE LOEBSACK RELEASE — Veterans Day is an opportunity to reflect on the service of generations of veterans and to honor the sacrifices they and their families have made so that we may live in peace and freedom here at home.

Open Letter to Obama: A Personal Perspective on Late-Term Abortion

By Lynda Waddington | 07.08.08 | 12:48 pm

Dear Sen. Barack Obama,

You recently spoke with Cameron Strang, publisher of Relevant magazine. During that interview, Strang asked if you could clarify your position on “third-trimester and partial-birth abortion,” and you replied:

“…I have repeatedly said that I think it’s entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don’t think that “mental distress” qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions.”

Your response leads me to believe that you’ve either never had a one-on-one discussion with a woman who has had a late-term abortion, or that you’ve been too uncomfortable to ask such a woman difficult questions concerning not only the procedure but what led her to make that choice. Because a president needs to be given as much first-hand knowledge as possible as he develops policy, I’d like to help remedy this deficiency.

Thirteen years ago I had a late term abortion.

That’s the concise sentence I use when I don’t want to talk about what really happened. It takes all the emotion, all the family turmoil, all the medical terminology and all the grief, and packages it nice and neat. The listener is momentarily left speechless — long enough for me to walk away. Few follow as I retreat because only a select few really want to get beyond the politically charged debate that’s fueled by marketing consultant jargon such as “partial-birth abortion.”

Since by sheer virtue of space I cannot possibly offer you everything you need to know in this letter, I am making a promise that if you call or if we meet I will not give you any pat responses. I will do my best to open old wounds and allow my personal experience to become your own. In case you elect not to make good on this offer, I will provide what I can here.

Thirteen years ago I was married, living in a midsize southern town and caring for my then-3-year-old daughter. We attended church each Sunday, and I taught Sunday school and sang in the choir. I was thrilled when I learned that I was expecting a second child, and we announced the news to family and friends.

Around 20 weeks into the pregnancy my obstetrician scheduled a routine ultrasound at a nearby rural hospital. The technician was chatty as we walked from the waiting room. After we arrived and cool gel had been placed on my abdomen, she continued to talk as she moved the wand back and forth. A few moments later her movements slowed, she stopped talking and her skin paled. The ultrasound machine, which had originally been placed where I could see the image on the screen, was moved out of my line of sight. Her fingers began quick movements on the keyboard.

At the end of the exam, I was given a warm cloth to clean the gel and was asked to wait in a nearby chair. Soon a different worker came into the room and told me that I’d need to return the following day for a more intensive scan. I agreed and left.

The scene drastically changed the following day when I arrived for the second scan. First, my obstetrician was the one who met me in the waiting room. When we walked into the room with the equipment, I was quickly introduced to two other doctors and a woman who would be performing the scan. I immediately felt like a bug under a microscope. No one paid much attention to me. They all gathered around the ultrasound screen — something I was never allowed to view — and spoke in soft voices while pointing at the pictures.

When they had finished their work, I was told that they needed to review the scan. I was instructed to go get something to eat and then meet my doctor back at his office a short time later. I was nervous and confused, but didn’t see the point in arguing. I left and lit a candle in the chapel. Then I walked around the downtown area until time to meet with the doctor.

Nothing seemed uniquely odd when I arrived at the doctor’s office. The nurses and receptionist greeted me as they had throughout the pregnancy. I was asked to sit in the waiting room for a short time before I was called back. Instead of being placed in an exam room, however, I was ushered into the doctor’s office. He sat behind a large desk and motioned me into a brown leather chair opposite him. He didn’t start the conversation by telling me how sorry he was. Instead, he began by telling me the findings of the ultrasound scan from that morning.

He looked me in the eye and said, “Anencephaly.” I looked back at him, hearing the word but not understanding its meaning. “That’s the worst of the neural tube defects,” he said and paused again. I just stared at him and nodded. “Severe spina bifida would be bad enough, but the anencephaly…” He looked at me and then toward a box of tissues.

“Lynda,” he said, “do you hear what I’m saying?” I nodded again. “Anencephaly,” he repeated as if that one word should give me all the information I needed.

He looked as if he wanted to shake me, to force me to understand the word so that he wouldn’t be forced beyond the shield of medical terminology.

“You know, I thought about this yesterday after the first scan,” I told him. “I realize that there is probably something wrong with our baby, but whatever it is, I plan to deal with it.”

He looked down at his desk blotter and then said in a very soft voice, “There will be no baby, Lynda. This baby is going to die.”

I’m not exactly sure what I did immediately after that. The next thing I remember is driving the 30-some miles toward home. I had a packet of information from the doctor’s office on the seat beside me. At the top of the packet was the phone number of another doctor who was expecting my call later that day.

I did call that doctor, and, when he gave me the same information as my original doctor, I phoned another doctor. Then I contacted a fourth and finally a fifth. I was ready to drive or fly, beg or steal whatever it took to make this child “OK” again.

On the day that demolition teams leveled the tattered remains of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, I gazed out from the windows of the University of Oklahoma Hospital. I knew the doctors at that facility had a great deal of knowledge when it came to neonatal conditions. I also knew that they were probably my last hope.

The differences in what happened that day and what had taken place in the weeks before were striking. The screen showing the ultrasound images was not only turned to face me, but it was moved very close and provided me the very best view of anyone in the room. After the initial diagnostic scan was complete, all staff left the room except for the one doctor. He sat on a stool and wheeled around so that he could be right at my bedside. He showed me images from the scan we had just taken and held up pictures from “normal” scans. One by one, he went through each of the differences, explaining each in graphic detail. When we had finished with the scans, he sat them on a nearby table and grabbed a stack of books that contained medical pictures — photographs of infants who had similar defects as the child I was carrying. He went through those slowly as well, allowing me time to ask a question or to turn away and cry.

By the time we had gone through it all, I finally understood. The child I carried remained alive only because of his connection to me. For all practical purposes, I was serving as a life support system and, as soon as that system was removed, he would die.

Several days passed while my family debated the decision on whether or not to terminate the pregnancy. In the interim the doctor from the university hospital took my case before a state medical board for permission. Because the term of my pregnancy was well outside the state’s legal limits for abortion, a special ruling had to be made. The doctor explained that receiving such approval would not require me to go through with terminating if I decided not to do so, but would save time if I decided that was the route I wished to take.

We did eventually make the decision to terminate the pregnancy instead of carrying to term. It wasn’t a decision we made lightly. It wasn’t a decision that brought us relief or joy. We just knew that for us — for our family — it was the best of several horrific options.

When I phoned the doctor the next day to let him know our decision, he had news of his own to share. The state had denied our waiver, mandating that we would have to carry until either the child died or my body began labor on its own. The doctor provided our family with the name of a doctor in a nearby state that did not have the same legal requirements. Had the state board permitted the waiver, our insurance would have been obligated to pay for the procedure. Instead, it took us several more days to raise enough money to pay the out-of-pocket medical expenses and the travel expenses.

The procedure took two very long and agonizing days. This was not because I was in a state of physical pain, but because of the emotional toll. Whether a loved one’s departure is expected or not, it is never easy to say goodbye.

I’ve learned a great deal in the 13 years that have followed. I’ve met other women who were also forced to say goodbye to children because of anencephaly, a neural tube defect that results in the absence of brain and skull. Some of those women, like me, chose to terminate their pregnancies. Others opted to carry to term. We all grieve our losses.

For a long time I felt guilty, that maybe I took the “easy way” out of a difficult situation. After all, I did not have to stand in line at the grocery store while strangers made small talk about my pregnancy. I didn’t have to answer difficult questions from my three-year-old daughter. I didn’t have to lie awake for nights on end dreading the time when my body would ultimately betray me and begin labor.

When I finally broke down to a friend who had carried her anencephalic child to term about my personal guilt, she cried and told me that she had always thought she had taken the “easy way” out. Because of her strong desire for her older children to have a solid support system, she felt as if she could not terminate the pregnancy — that family and friends would not accept the decision and that, therefore, they would not make themselves available to shoulder the family’s grief afterward.

The two of us have come to understand that there is no “easy way” out of the situation we were handed. We both did what we thought was best for our families at that moment in time.

I’ve been asked on several occasions to share my experience with late term abortion. To date I’ve spoken with people who run the gamut of views in the reproductive health debate.

When I end my story, it is always with the question that I would like for you to answer now:

“If your loved one was placed on life support and attending physicians said there was no chance of life continuing without the machines, who do you want to make the decision as to when and if life support is removed?”

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  • grammyk

    For those parent & families with an unborn baby that is destined to die before or shortly after birth, there is another alternative to late term abortion or carrying a terminal pregnancy with silent grief that is becoming more available throughout our country. Perinatal hospices support families with a terminal prenatal diagnosis. Even a pregnancy this difficult can be a beautiful, profoundly meaningful, and healing time in their lives.

    Be sure and follow the news links The stories of those families who obtained the support of perinatal hospice are amazing and uplifting. It is so wonderful this choice is becoming more widely available with each passing year.

    • wscds

      Thank you for this life-affirming comment and the link. My experience with my anencephalic daughter was life-changing in the most positive way. Her brief but beautiful life has continued to bless us and strengthen our faith in God's providence. With every challenging pregnancy comes an opportunity to love more deeply and selflessly, if only we will risk our hearts.

  • Tiresias

    I am pro-life. However, some “pro-lifers” are not looking to end such an abortion. This is really a non-case as far as I'm concerned. There should be a legalization of this procedure. It's all debatable, but I feel if a fetus never reaches a state of consciousness and never will, the life never began in the first place. There are many radical, extremist “pro-lifers” out there. Just as there are extremist Muslims. These extremists account for a small portion of Muslims and likewise, these extremist pro-life advocates represent a very small percentage of “pro-lifers”. I feel in order to help one another out (pro-choice to pro-life and vice versa) it is important to recognize this. As I said at the beginning of this post, there is a large populous of moderate “pro-lifers” that would not consider this case an abortion in se. This sector of “pro-lifers” is more concerned with the health of the mother in this case, and similar cases. Abortion clinics are not medically regulated. There are many health issues and risks involved. There is no ethical code that abortion clinics or doctors must adhere to. Bottom-line: It isn't safe. (I'm not accusing any doctor or abortion clinic of being unethical.) Before a tangent ensues, let me say that I want to see this type of abortion regulated and debarred of the term “abortion” and more accurately referred to as what it truly is. (Mind you, I'm not entirely sure what I would call it. Abortion, however, seems inappropriate.) I want to see this procedure covered my medical insurance. I don't feel women should be ripped off by abortion doctors when the only other option is to agonizingly poor over a child that ceased to be a child after 26 days.

    On the issue of abortion, Barack Obama is a revolving door. He has no clear policy on the matter and there is a large amount of ambivalence and hypocrisy that comes along with his rhetoric and actions regarding this topic. He publicly flaunts the passage of popular laws and reform in front of the media, but clandestinely signed an act behind closed doors in the first weeks of his presidency to give millions of dollars to agencies promoting international abortions on the anniversary of Roe V. Wade, and the day of the pro-life rally in Washington D.C. (Riot prevention? Perhaps. Inflammation of one side or the other doesn't seem like good politics to me though. Especially at the onset of a presidency.) Obama doesn't have a clear stance on the issue. I don't believe the comment cited in this article is targeted at such a case. I would also refer to this as a medical anomaly. There's a big difference in aborting a child that cannot remain vitally function and aborting an autistic child in the third trimester of pregnancy.

    Ultimately, however, I don't think it wise to look to Obama for answers. Petition your state law-makers. Don't waste your time on the President. He has his own agenda. Abortion should never have been legalized. It should be regulated for the health and safety of the mothers. The states need to make clearer declarations on what constitutes a third trimester abortion and cardinal need. (I'm non-affiliated politically in the United States. If my statements lined up with one side or the other, it was unintentional.)

    • Ashley1975

      You bring up a very important point about articulating what this procedure really is, and I feel that anti-choice advocates are all to happy to label it “abortion” because of the extremity of the procedure. Thank you for voicing this.

  • spike2

    This is a very gut wrenching..and necessary letter that was written by a loving mother. I have a child with epilepsy who is on very strong medication to control her seizures. It causes severe birth defects…she is now in her 20's…imagine her decision to not even try and have a child for fear of severe birth defects.

    Mrs.Waddington is a kind and sincere woman bringing perspective to a very difficutl subject. She shines light on a very dark subject that no woman wants to have befall her.

  • smeyers

    Thank you for sharing your story. I too had to go through this with my first baby, 14 years ago. She was a beautiful baby girl that I gave birth to at about 20 weeks. The decision as of when to have her, what to do, was it right, was it wrong, were they absolutely sure, what would everyone think, should I carry her full term, could I donate her organs, was it wrong to want to keep her with me as long as possible and at the same time not want to put myself and my family through a full term pregnancy, all of those things, were so hard. I have felt so much guilt about the “easy way” also and your story has helped me put that in perspective. There was no easy way. This was truly the hardest decision I have ever had to make, the hardest news I have ever heard and the saddest time of my life. I share my story when I think it will benefit to help others understand that blanket statements about late terminations are not good. People need more information and families need support during and after this time. This decision was not a “no brainer” or a “given”. It is a very thought out, heartfelt, prayed about decision.

  • lhayes09

    The truth is, none of us are getting out of this world alive. We will all die eventually. It's not fancy rhetoric. It is just the plain-old-truth that many people don't care to hear about.

    It is not up to a so-called Doctor to terminate your life just because your are going to bring heart ache to others. Do you really believe ANY heart ache was relieved? No. Just more created. All the 'what if's' are going on now. What if they were wrong? What if this one would have made it? What if they suddenly found a cure? The 'what if's' create more heart ache, and it is a sad cycle to go through. It has been 13 years or so, and the poor woman is still suffering.

    Postponing any child's death is what most mommy's would do. I'm not villainizing this woman for her decision. She knows what she did. If she has to try to justify why it is right and make excuses to herself, her family, her friends and the rest of the world via this outlet, then she knows darn well it is wrong and is probably hoping there are others out there just like her, so she is not alone. I feel a terrible sorrow for her and her loss. She would have had the loss either way. Many people will lose children. It is a horrible thing to experience.

    When you get to choose the date of your childs death…..that is just unforget-able, but not unforgive-able.

    While the Pro-Choice Advocates are not condoning Tiller's death, you have to admit, there are extremists on both sides of the fence. Tiller was an extremist and so was the person who killed him. They both need a lot of prayers.

    To end ones life is to say that one has passed, one has died, or in the hospitals, they say, expired. Whether natural or not. In our society, we have labels for when they are not deceased from illnesses such as heart attack, stroke, asthma attack, etc.or other natural causes, such as age, we label them homocide, suicide, genocide, infanticide, etc.

    When one,or more persons, deliberately take the life from someone else, yes, sad to say, it is murder. Just because the baby is still inside the womb, doesn't make it any less of a baby.

    Sadly enough to say, yes, abortion is legal….And the woman in Roe v. Wade, is now a Pro-Lifer, because she realized what she did and speaks out against it, so other young women don't make the same mistake. We all need to realize our mistakes in this world and try to help and guide others, so they don't make our same mistakes.

    People who consider abortion ok, are the ones who lack empathy.

  • leavewomantochoose

    “When you get to choose the date of your childs death…..that is just unforget-able, but not unforgive-able.” Who isn't forgiving? YOU? Are you in a position to forgive this woman? Playing God perhaps? And learn when to hyphenate for goodness sakes!

  • stopthemadnessnow

    It is a tragedy what you had to go through and how insensitive the obstetrician was who informed you that your child had Anencephaly and I believe in the eye’s of God what you finally chose to do is not intrinsically evil, but you have to admit that the current abortion laws in this country do allow intrinsically evil and heinous crimes to be committed by the thousands every day. I know of personally when I was younger that certain teenage girls in my neighborhood were very loose and bounced from guy to guy and whenever they got pregnant they had an abortion. I know of personally women who were told that test indicated their child had an 80% chance of having Down syndrome but they went through with the pregnancy and their child was perfectly normal. And even if a child is born with Down syndrome, does he or she have any less right to be able to pursue ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”? I have grown up with a neighbor who had Down syndrome and he was a beautiful, happy talented young man who knew the names of every person all up and down our long street.

    After experiencing or reading about a case of Anencephaly, to just make a blanket statement that all abortion should be legal and left to the decision of the doctor and the mother is sheer madness. The reason we have legislature to enact laws and courts to review individual cases is because a simple black and white law does not justly cover all the variations that can cause a crime to happen. We don’t just cut off a person’s hands if they steal, or necessarily throw them immediately in jail. What if it was a hungry child stealing a loaf of bread, a court and jury of peers would hopefully come up with a better solution. There are doctor’s who have started abortions, lopped off an arm of the unborn baby, realized she was further along then first thought and demanded more money from the woman having the procedure. When she could not pay, she was thrown out of the office. (later, her child was delivered with one arm and lived). There have been cases of doctors who meticulously plan and kill their spouses. Obviously doctors should not have a cart blanche authority to make life or death decisions without any review of law. And if you read the news, obviously there are mothers who make very selfish decisions and have abused, sold or even killed their own children, so mothers too can’t have cart blanche authority.

    Everyone is so shocked when a newborn infant shows up suffocated in a plastic bag in a dumpster and the media cries out for justice and people ask how such a heinous thing could be done by a mother, there are plenty of agencies and ways to give this beautiful little child up for adoption. But what’s so terrible? Suffocation is much less painful than being ripped limb from limb by a doctor, yet if the mother had enough money and went to a doctor, he could do this in some states 10 minutes before birth and there is no crime, no outrage. It’s no wonder why our society and especially our children who grow up with these hypocrisies can become confused and have very little respect for life and perpetrate crimes like Columbine.

    The obvious answer is that our elected legislature has to write laws that greatly limit under what conditions abortions can be done. The law should specifically allow for possible certain late abortion procedures like Anencephaly, when there is no brain stem at all and absolutely no chance for survival. Another possible option in the law could account for when the LIFE of the mother is almost certainly going to be lost. Another possible option could be rape or incest, but DNA samples should be taken and if the rapist is ever found, charges must be filed, woman can’t just say their boyfriend ‘raped’ them but they don’t want to press charges in order to get an abortion.
    Thousand of perfectly healthy, quite developed unborn children are being ripped limb from limb every single day in this country under protection of the law, and every one of those unborn babies have a beating heart and they feel and react to pain. Shooting that doctor was a crime and it should not have been done. But butchering thousands of babies every day, millions every year just for convenience and ease of just saying ‘it’s up to the mother and the doctor’ is a heinous crime beyond any the world has ever known. As our forefathers said, “We hold these truths to be SELF-EVIDENT, that all men are CREATED equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are LIFE, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” A fully developed baby is not CREATED when he or she comes out of the birth canal, so butchering a baby before the moment of birth is still MURDER. Certainly there are relatively rare cases where extreme deformities either ensure that the baby is not going to live, like in the case of Anencephaly or some cases where the mother will almost certainly die, and therefore also the baby, but these cases can be selectively allowed by law instead of just throwing open the floodgates and letting over ONE MILLION babies in the U.S. alone be aborted each year, most for little reason more than convenience.

    • phantomreader42

      Your post is full of lies, and you are falsely accusing an innocent woman of murder. Isn't your imaginary god supposed to have some sort of problem with bearing false witness?

      Oh, yeah, your cult never has bothered following that rule when it got inconvenient.

      • ugga24

        Actually the large majority of her arguments did not invoke her religion as evidence or support. Your attempt to pigeonhole her as a religious fanatic is weak. Oh yeah, using your brain (as you pretend to do) must have been inconvenient. Spitting your hate is always much easier right?

  • ugga24

    “If your loved one was placed on life support and attending physicians said there was no chance of life continuing without the machines, who do you want to make the decision as to when and if life support is removed?” Pulling my life support is nobody's decision. That's the whole point of protecting life. When it's my time to die, I will die. It's nobody's descion to make. When it's time to happen, it will happen naturally on its own. I understand the position you were put in and the ensuing decision you were put to were difficult. Regardless, your desicion was wrong. Rationalize all you want, in the end you did take the easy way out and you should be ashamed of it. You feel guilty for a reason.

    Pro-inconveniencers always use the unusual circumstances like yours to argue their point. Although their point tugs a bit at the heart, it is wrong, and is also the rare exception. I know over twenty people who have had an abortion. None of them were for extenuating circumstances. They were all done out of inconvenience.

    Here is a real simple solution to abortion. All actions have consequences. The primary purpose of sex is to impregnate the woman, who, if successful will eventually have a child. Don't act shocked when you get pregnant after you have sex! First, if you are having sex for recreation, understand that a possible consequence is that you could get pregnant and that if you do get pregnant it is your responsibility to that child to love and raise it. If you want to prevent that possiblity and the possibility of an STD use BIRTH CONTROL INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO CONDOMS. Big shocker, if you do you probably won't get pregnant. If you do, act like an adult and live with the consequences. If you are raped, take the morning after pill to prevent conception. If birth presents a health risk to the mother or child, have a cesarian section. If your child may be born with a deformity or handicap, deal with it! Abortion is and always be murder. Abortion is and will always be an easy way out of a most likely inconvenient and possibly extremely difficult situation. But that's life, no one said it was easy.

    • Ashley1975

      Did you even read the letter? Lynda wanted her baby, and conceived it deliberately, hoping to raise a child. And by the way, not all rape victims have access to morning after pills. There are countless instances of underage rape victims not being able to get those pills because they can't drive, can't find their voices to tell anyone they're being abused, can't get away from their abusers, etc. Not all rapes are isolated instances– consider the cases of children being abused by their parents, or by other people close to them. Or the trauma that can affect a victim of a violent crime. They may well be in shock for days, unable to make clear decisions.

      Do the research before spouting your pat answers to people's horrific traumas, talk to rape victims, or people who have suffered their babies dying inside them. Everyone knows sex is for procreation– not one person on this thread is advocating abortion as birth control, and I have never once heard any pro-choice advocate say that they supported such a thing.

      Here's a real simple solution to your know-it-all perspective– talk to people who have been there instead of judging so arrogantly, and see why they did it. Then put yourself in their positions– if it were you bringing a child with no head or spine into the world. What would you do? Your 20 examples may be far and away from a drastic situation like Lynda's, but it's still their choice, and none of your business what they do. Everyone's situation is different, and until you walk a mile in their shoes, you have no idea what kind of decision-making process it is. Your approach to this argument seems to be that life is just black and white with no shades of grey, and that is simply not reality.

      • ugga24

        I understand that Lynda initially wanted her baby. My point in reference specifically to her was that she has to understand and embrace the consequences of her actions whatever they may be. Including a handicapped or deformed child. That's life. Deal with it. I had an aunt who was born a vegetable and lived to be 23 years old. Her life created both challenges and rewards for all involved. If given the chance, not one person in my family would have aborted her had they known the outcome of her birth. So have I ever walked directly in her shoes? No. Do I know their weight? Yes. And then some.

        As for my suggestion to use the morning after pill for rape victims, if it is unavailable to some then make it more available. Make it a standard part of a police rape kit. For those that are still unable to gain access to it and become pregnant, it is unfortunate that the choice of conception was taken from them, however it still does not justify the taking of a human life. Just because a child is born from an ugly act does not make that child's life ugly. It may make the environment of that child's life more difficult, then again it may make their life that much more beautiful both for themselves and for all those whose lives they touch.

        Don't lecture me about people's horrific traumas. I've had my own, the biggest of which I still deal with everyday 21 years later.

        Actually abortion is birth control, that's the whole point, and unfortunately for most people who seek them it was the first time birth control has been used. The circumstances you champion as reasons to justify abortion, rape and deformities, are the rare exception. Over one million babies a year are aborted. Assuming that even ten percent of these abortions include the variety you champion and failed birth control, according to the research I've seen that would be an exaggeration. But even if it weren't that would leave 900,000 children dead per year for no other reason than that their parents failed to used proper birth control and didn't want to be inconvenienced. That's pretty disgusting if you ask me.

        Actually I have talked to several people who have been in a situation similar to Lynda's, and if I were in Lynda's shoes I would have had the child. And yes it is my business what decision people like her make. If fact it is all of society's business, the same as when a cancer patient is euthanized, a death row inmate is put to death or an abortion doctor is murdered. This is a society that values life, I just don't understand why some people think they get to pick and choose which ones they value.

        The reality is that life is black and white. It's people's weaknesses, insecurities, emotions, etc that can cloud it and make it seem grey. It's not. People with strength and convictions know that, people who are willing to deal with life head on and not run from the parts of it that are ugly or difficult.

        As mentioned before, if I'm a vegatable on life support, I have every confidence due to my experiences with them that my family will know exactly what to do.

        • ReginaFilangee

          “yes it is my business what decision people like her make. If fact it is all of society's business, the same as when a cancer patient is euthanized, a death row inmate is put to death or an abortion doctor is murdered.”

          No, it's not your business to force a woman to carry a fetus without a head to term, give birth to it, watch it “die” and then have a funeral for it if she would rather prevent all of that by terminating the pregnancy as soon as she learned that the fetus was non-viable. Not living. Not yet born. HER business….no one else's. All of the other examples you cite involve humans that have already been born and were in fact, alive. Neither situation applied here. So, it's none of YOUR business. The fact that you think it is is the height of arrogance. You may have made a different choice had you been in the same situation. No one would deny you or chastize you for that, just as you have no business doing so for THIS woman's CHOICE. It's her business (along with her doctors) and hers ALONE.

          You are, in fact (despite your claim to the contrary) interjecting your religious opinion into your arguments. The beginning of life cannot be pinpointed by science. It is therefore a BELIEF. And each of us is entitled to our own beliefs and the ability to act upon them without interference of others' BELIEFS.

          • ugga24

            So because it's the woman's body it's not mine or society's business? Why is it then if someone were to kill this pregnant mother, that someone would be charged with the murder of both the mother and the unborn non-life? Why are we as a society angered when a pregnant mother abuses drugs or alcohol when pregnant? It's her body right? Those drugs and alcohol can't affect that non-living thing growing inside her body right? Oh that's right, it doesn't affect just her does it? It affects her unborn CHILD!

            Why do my opinions or beliefs have to be religiously motivated and yours do not? I have not at anytime injected any religious beliefs or opinions into my arguments.

    • ReginaFilangee

      “Abortion is and always be murder.”

      You cannot murder something that is not alive. This woman's fetus had NO BRAIN. It was not, and was never going to be, alive.


      “If you are raped, take the morning after pill to prevent conception.”

      Just as you believe that ALL abortion constitutes murder (your opinion, not scientific fact), there are just as many people who believe your sentence condoning the morning-after pill constitutes murder every bit as much as does abortion. What makes YOU right and THEM wrong???? You don't believe the morning-after pill constitutes murder, but many others do. The fact that the beginning of life cannot be scientifically, irrefutably, without question be PROVEN beyond a shadow of a doubt is what makes that discrepancy (between you and them) possible. By the same token, that's what makes it possible for others to believe that YOU are in the wrong when you say that all abortion is murder. It's that discrepancy which is why it is left up to the individual woman and her doctors to decide that on a case-by-case basis, and why it is no one else's business until the fetus is actually born and becomes a child.

      • ugga24

        If it was not alive then why was it aborted?


        Simple logic here. Pro-lifers believe life begins at the point of conception. I am suggesting using the morning after pill to prevent conception. It would therefore not be considered murder by any person who is pro-life.

    • ReginaFilangee

      Oops, forgot this one:

      “If birth presents a health risk to the mother or child, have a cesarian section”

      Yes, let's! Let's have an even MORE invasive and much higher-risk surgery!!!! Great idea.

      • ReginaFilangee

        Not only that, but babies born by c-section before a certain stage never survive. Never. After that, there is a decreasing mortality rate with stage of gestation.

        If the health issue of the mother (eclampsia, seizures, a whole host of MANY other possibilites…which is why it's best left to the woman and her doctor, because ALL situations cannot be pre-identified and pre-okay'd) deteriorates to a point of no return without termination before the fetus can even POSSIBLY survive outside the uterus, then your argument “for” c-section is moot.

        • ugga24

          As much as we like to think science in general and medical science in particular is an omniscient practice, anybody with common sense knows it is not. One simple rebuttal to your argument is human error. What if that doctor misdiagnoses a condition in the mother or baby that he considers life threatening that is actually not? How would you feel if you found out later that you had aborted a perfectly healthy child or that your life had never been in danger?

      • ugga24

        No, what I'm suggesting is replacing a life-threatening vaginal birth with a surgery that is considered safe and performed on a routine basis. It is a great idea, that is exactly why people have them. I'm not sure what's so hard to understand about that.

    • Anonymous

      At the point at which you’re only surviving because you’re on life support, it IS your time to die. The interference with your ‘natural’ death isn’t from the people wishing to pull the plug, but from the medical interventions used to keep you past your expiration. These interventions have become increasingly invasive, common, and effective…and if you could ask the people on the receiving end, you might find they were unwanted, and not so much an act of compassion as of selfishness and cruelty.

      But hey, way to show some compassion yourself! This author chose to discuss an incredibly difficult situation and her incredibly painful decision, and you ridiculed her for having had to make a choice you yourself probably never have. And even if you had, YOU AREN’T HER. You can’t speak to her situation, you can’t know how she suffered, you clearly don’t understand that her choice was influenced by her love, not only for the child she thought she’d raise, but for the family she had, and you apparently have all the empathy of a rock.

      Humans don’t play the cards that they’re dealt. We make medical advances that allow survivability far beyond anything nature grants. One side of that is that we can intervene and improve the chances of a pregnancy resulting in a healthy baby. But the flip side is, we know far earlier when something has gone disastrously wrong, and what the outcome is likely to be. To look at someone facing that situation and bash her for making the best choice she could for herself, her family, and yes, her unborn child-who-wouldn’t-be, is obscene. She didn’t discard an inconvenience, she acted as a mother should.

      What a shame there is no prenatal test for a simple sense of compassion. I suspect there’d be fewer pro-life extremists, demanding that women accept their punishment for having had sex, having blighted ova, having health issues, or dealing with economic issues that make rearing a child the poorer choice. But thanks for demonstrating that one doesn’t have to be religious to still be a nut.

  • MotorCityCopper1

    How dare you. People have their views, but for you to say that the easy way out is wrong. The morning after pill? The morning after pill was not out at the time i was raped. What do you have to say now? She did ahst she felt was best for here situation. You are not surpose to judge anyone, that's God's job. I

    • ugga24

      “The morning after pill was not out at the time i was raped. What do you have to say now?”

      I already answered this in another post:

      “As for my suggestion to use the morning after pill for rape victims, if it is unavailable to some then make it more available. Make it a standard part of a police rape kit. For those that are still unable to gain access to it and become pregnant, it is unfortunate that the choice of conception was taken from them, however it still does not justify the taking of a human life. Just because a child is born from an ugly act does not make that child's life ugly. It may make the environment of that child's life more difficult, then again it may make their life that much more beautiful both for themselves and for all those whose lives they touch.”

  • Bodhisattva1

    UGGA24, I am going to take a guess and say that you've never been raped, never been pregnant, poor and alone, nor have you ever been carrying a dead baby in your uterus. Enough said. You have no right to tell another person how to handle their pregnancy nor their body. Shame on you for your lack of compassion, for your harsh judgment of others. You obviously feel very passionate about your beliefs. (So nice to live a life so black and white.) So, if you should get pregnant, I support your right to have that baby, whether or not you have the means, the intelligence or the compassion to raise it well.

    • ugga24

      “UGGA24, I am going to take a guess and say that you've never been raped, never been pregnant, poor and alone, nor have you ever been carrying a dead baby in your uterus. Enough said.”

      Enough said? Not really. I may sound incompassionate because I've gone through things in my life that make your argumens and this woman's tale pale in comparison. So do I feel sorry for her? No. If she were a strong woman with strong convictions maybe she would have had the strength to do what she can obviously tell by what she wrote was the right thing. The only horrific tragedy of this tale is the part where she tells her readers she wasn't strong enough to do what she knew was right. So she would have had to carry a baby that would not live after birth. I'll sound incompassionate, but boohoo. Shame on me for my harsh judgement? Shame on her for not being strong enough to make the decision that she knows is right. I don't understand how just because she faced a difficult situation she's somehow entitled to kill a child. As I keep saying, life's not easy, deal with it. She's a grown woman who hasn't learned how to be a grown-up yet. Isn't taking the easy way out what we teach our children not to do? And yes, thanks for asking, I have two children who I devote my life to.

      And yes, I do have the right to tell another person to handle their pregancy or body because their decision also affect the body of the child. Our government is filled with laws that do just that. Laws that prohibit one person from infringing on the rights of others from non-smoking laws to murder. She does not have the right to infringe upon the child's rights.

      • Bodhisattva1

        “I've gone through things in my life that make your argumens [sic] and this woman's tale pale in comparison.”

        Okay, UGGA24, I'm open. Let's hear your story.

        • ugga24

          If I thought the telling of my story would assist my argument, I would.

          • Bodhisattva1

            It might if you have had your children despite difficulties (rape, incest, teen pregnancy, poverty, abuse, retardation or deformities…). Nonetheless, you are entitled to your privacy and I will not pursue this line. I do think, however, that you should tell your story to someone, and re-tell your story…over and over and over…until you are empty of your story. For it is only when you are empty that you can be filled with compassion and love for yourself and others.

            Your passion in your views is clear, and an attempt to dissuade you from your “argument” would be futile. I will ask, can you see the difference between the legal decision of the courts to allow or disallow abortions and the moral decision to have, or not to have an abortion? It may seem a subtle difference, but a very important one.

            Perhaps your time would be better served if you spent it volunteering for Catholic charities, fostering a child, or working for an adoption agency. Perhaps you could counsel friends and families on their options concerning pregnancy. There is a lot of productive work to be done to encourage “pro-life”, I have found that anger, hate and moral superiority do not endear people to your cause. Try to catch your bees with honey.

          • ugga24

            An interesting and unexpected reply Bodhisattva1. I commend and appreciate it. I had decided I was done posting here but your response has coaxed another out of me.

            My story has been told. People are interested to hear it but those wounds have healed. Telling it is no longer theraputic. I've grown because of it and moved past it. Anything more would just be dwelling in the past.

            I understand the difference between the legal and moral perspectives. I'm also very aware of the many laws our nation has upheld in the past that would be considered immoral today, from slavery to women's rights. I hope our country and legal system will come to their senses and this law will fall by the wayside as well. Despite all of the other argumens I have made the one that I will always come back to is that our rights and our ability to choose lies in our decision to have sex and possibly conceive. After conception our rights end and the rights of the new life we are bringing into the world begin.

            Actually “You catch more bees with honey” is one of my favorite sayings and one I repeat often. If I have come off as angry or hateful that was not my intention. Perhaps if I did come off that way it's because I get so tired of people complaining about their situation or lot in life when 99.9% of the time they put themselves in that situation and are too lazy or weak to get themselves out of it. Same way I feel about abortion. “Honey, you put yourself in that situation knowing full well all of the possible consequences and now you want out? And who has to pay the price?” Laziness, ignorance, arrogance and weakness all do anger me, and I feel it's a combination of all four of these characteristics I despise that leads a person down the path of abortion. I used to laugh at it but now live by the saying my father would always repeat to me, that life is 10% what happens to us and 90% how we react to it. It's ironic that what most people complain about as being their hard times are insignificant in the grand scheme of things and that there are a lot of people who are a lot worse off than they are.

            I normally don't put so much time or effort into something like this but I guess I do feel pretty passionate about it. Normally all my time goes into being the best parent I can to my two children. If I offended anyone I apologize, but I also hope that maybe someone who didn't agree with me heard what I had to say.

          • Bodhisattva1

            It sounds as though your father was a wise man. I see your “arguments” quite clearly. I cannot dispute them. I only realize that “truth” is different depending on one's perspective and that we all, each and everyone of us, has a different perspective.

            I would agree that people are better off taking responsibility for their own actions. I believe that women who have had abortions do not, generally, make that decision lightly and that it is they who “pay the price”. It is their path and their karma. The woman who came forth and told her story in this article tells of her pain and she is, indeed, living her karma. Whatever your belief, you must know that each woman faces her “God” (conscience) when she decides to have a child, or not. Neither choice is easy, nor is living with that decision.

            Thank you for this dialogue. Your passion tells me that you must cherish your children, and they are, indeed, lucky to have you.

    • RachelSummers

      Well said, Bodhisattva1–it seems your name suits you. ^_^ *hug* May you be at ease in all things.

    • ben815

      The baby in this case was not dead in the uterus. In addition, not only are late term abortions legal for medical reasons, they are legal on demand all nine months of pregnancy. There are just fewer abortionists willing to perform them on infants that would otherwise live. Go to the EPOC abortion clinic website — they will inject a healthy fetus with heart stopping drugs and deliver it stillborn up to 23 weeks, an age where other premature infants have lived to healthy childhood. Are there sometimes medical emergencies requiring abortion? Sure – but not at the rate we are aborting. You do not have to be a woman, be pregnant, or have carried a stillborn infant to stand on principle of civil rights for human life. IThe black and white world you are talking about it the world where we do not limit abortion for the sake of protecting ALL abortion. That is the rigid, uncompromising and fundamentalist view that follows the bible of Roe v. Wade, that must not be questioned despite its contrived noncense and calls for the sacrifice of innocent human lives for the greater “Good” of society.

      • Bodhisattva1

        Your points are well made. I was not aware that late term abortions were legal is so many states, and with so little restriction (or, according to what you have written, no restriction). It is not black and white…either side of this discussion, so it is good we are having the discussion.

        • ben815

          Thank you for writing me, I wrote that post very quickly. Let me explain why abortion currently has no restriction. Roe v. Wade decided in 1973 legalized abortion on demand until “viability” and the companion case, Doe v. Bolton decided on the same day legalized it after “viability” as long as there is an exception for the health and life of the mother. The problem is, there are abortionists (of course, because it is a business) who are willing to interpret “health” as really anything at all, including “mental distress.” There are not too many abortionionists willing to justify killing a “fetus” that either might otherwise live or would live, if given another week in the womb.

          The only abortion “restriction” we currently have is the ban on partial birth abortion, and the Born Alive Infant Protection Act, which states an infant must be regarded as a person under the law, viable or not. The 1975 law in Illinois, where the bills were brought, had been weakened considerably in 1993 by a consent decree signed by Roland Burris, and it only covered infants deemed “viable” by the person aborting them. Since viability is open to interpretation, we have the problem of some premature infants getting medical treatment and living to healthy childhoods at an age younger than others are legaly aborted.

          These laws only restrict the way in which an abortion is performed, but do not limit the right to an abortion at any point in pregnancy. Currently, there is an abortion clinic in Florida (EPOC) that advertises same day pill abortions 3 to 24 weeks and you can visit their website. Read their mission statement. They inject the fetus with heart stopping drugs before inducing a still birth. The partial birth abortion is a barbaric act never necessary for the life or health of the mother and can in fact be dangerous to her.

          The other laws consist of various state laws on parental consent for minors, informed consent, (in Texas we have to read a pamphlet on fetal development before an abortion) conscience clauses for health care workers who do not want to participate in abortion, and I believe Medicaid will not pay for elective abortion.

          Those are the laws “restricting” abortion. No law can restrict the right to abortion at any point in gestation, because of the Supreme Court ruling that required the health exception after viability. Many people are not aware of this and assume abortion is regulated.

          I have just completed a paper on the subject; I think it is fairly informative and interesting. Obama states there is no argument against abortion except a religious argument but this is simply not true. The best argument is one of civil rights, and that is the case I make in my paper. I wrote it for friends and family because there is a lack of knowledge, and lack of effective debate and this issue is vitally important.

          You are correct about many issues not being black and white, but on the issue of civil rights there is no gray area, and this was displayed perfectly during our history leading up to the civil war. There are no exceptions to “all men are created equal.” Once you make these exceptions, all human value is opened up to arbitrary judgment. That is not a religious argument, it is an argument of common sense.

          I will mail you my paper if you would like me to. I really appreciate you writing to me; hardly anyone is willing to really discuss this issue without anger. I would value your feedback.


          Mary Garmon

          Fort Worth, Texas

          • Bodhisattva1


            Thank you for sharing this information.

            Perhaps the answer is in education, and less in regulation. Don't you think that women would make better choices if they understood 1.) the fetus in them is alive, 2.) the details of the procedure, and 3.) that there are alternate options?

            I'm very happy to know that you have taken a step in this direction. Perhaps you should get your paper published? You could start by putting it out on the internet as a download-able .pdf. You could post it here. I would be happy to read it.

            I'm feeling a sense of transformation. There is much more gray in this matter than I realized…and, as you point out, some very black and white patches as well.

          • ben815

            I tell you what, if you will give me a mailing address I will mail you a copy. With citations it is about 60 pages. I received permission from a number of publications or individuals to use photos or reprint articles for this paper but I did not specifically ask permission to put it online, so I will do that. In the meantime I would be very interested to know if you find it practically useful. The simple fact you are interested and thinking on the topic encourages me that people are not just totally polarized on the subject.

  • stopthemadnessnow

    A few questions for pro-choice advocates: If a worshiper of Satan wanted an infant for a human sacrifice and so kidnapped a 9 month pregnant woman and then performed a partial-birth abortion on her and then released her unharmed, if he were later caught should he be tried for murder? Why? Because he was not a doctor and didn’t have a license to ‘kill’? What if he was a doctor (who happened to worship Satan)? I think most if not all Americans would say he should be charged with murder. But why? Obviously he should be convicted of a crime of kidnapping and maybe some kind of charge for taking away something from the expectant mother, but how can you accuse him of murder if the ‘sacrifice’ was done exactly like a partial-birth abortion? Is it only murder because this baby was wanted by the mother? What if the Satan worshiper’s lawyer could prove the sacrificed baby had spina bifida or Down syndrome? Should that be able to justify the case that he could not be charged with murder?

    A similar hypothetical case can be made for rape. What if someone is kidnapped and raped and not released until just after the baby is born, should the mother have the right to be able to kill that baby because it is a painful reminder of the horror she went through? Obviously not. But what if she was dropped off at a hospital by her kidnapper just as she was going into labor. Should she be able to request that the doctor delivering her baby to pull it out by the legs first, not allow the head to come out and then stab it in the back and suck its brains out as is done in a partial birth abortion because the product of rape should not be allowed to live? I think (or at least hope) most people would say no. So now keep backing up the clock, 2 weeks before delivery of this healthy baby, should she have the freedom to choose to kill it?

    The majority of Americans feel that partial-birth abortion should be illegal except in extreme medical cases. So did the majority of the House and Senate when they passed the partial-birth abortion ban that Clinton vetoed but later Bush passed. If the abortion decision should always be the right of a doctor and a mother, then what is the argument against the mother and doctor deciding to kill the baby moments AFTER it’s born, like as soon as they see he or she has a birth defect? If it’s privacy of medical information and a mother’s decision, then what’s the difference between seconds before birth and seconds after birth? Just because the baby has taken that first gulp of air? Obviously ridiculous.

    So if at least you’re not for allowing obvious infanticide at the choice of a mother and her physician, then the real question is where do you think the law of the land should draw the dividing line between just a medical procedure and a heinous crime? What should be the determining factor that gives a baby protection under the law? Some obscure answer like what Dr. Tiller of “somewhere in the third trimester”? So that’s the question that pro-choice people have to answer, where should the line be drawn between nothing and life protected under the law? And what is your justification?

    • Heather Lewis

      “A few questions for pro-choice advocates: If a worshiper of Satan”

      You lost me there, as Satan isn’t real, and “satanists” don’t actually worship any such being. They actually just enjoy carnal pleasures.

  • ben815

    This story represents exactly the reason for limiting late term abortion to medical neccessity. The truth is this pregnancy was difficult and tragic, and this is the risk anyone takes who becomes pregnant. The abortion right was not infringed upon, the fact that it was not easy to obtain means society is paying attention to when and why we abort a late term fetus, and there are civil limits to how they can be treated. The very fact of the matter is there are two very different situations involving late term abortion. One, where an unborn infant's best interests are carefully considered before allowing merciful death or life saving intervention, another where the infant's best interest are not considered but rather seen as something to legally overcome. I'm sorry for the tragic loss and pain of those with terminally ill unborn children, but that tragic reality does not justify unlimited late term abortion. Obama's claims for narrowing the health exception are ridiculous and mute, as his Freedom of Choice Act he co-sponsored, which will be introduced again in some form or another, removes all limits to abortion. He is full of sweet words to charm both sides, words that don't have any substantive meaning at all.

    • Heather Lewis

      You act like women decide to get pregnant like they decide to take a job.

  • ben815

    One more thing — any question that comes up involving the treatment of a late term infant can be compared to a fully born infant for perspective — what kind of civil society would “put to sleep” an infant for a handicap or because they were the product of rape? In addition, we must ask ourselves, what kind of civil society would set aside a fully born infant to gasp for breath several hours before dying? That is exactly the society Obama would have, having voted down protections for such infants as Illinois Senator. These infants he calls ” a small percentage” of all abortions are surely not worth sacrificing for the greater good. The next step is putting down elderly people who are “non-viable” and have no quality of life. -m garmon

  • ben815

    I tell you what, if you will give me a mailing address I will mail you a copy. With citations it is about 60 pages. I received permission from a number of publications or individuals to use photos or reprint articles for this paper but I did not specifically ask permission to put it online, so I will do that. In the meantime I would be very interested to know if you find it practically useful. The simple fact you are interested and thinking on the topic encourages me that people are not just totally polarized on the subject.

  • ben815

    I tell you what, if you will give me a mailing address I will mail you a copy. With citations it is about 60 pages. I received permission from a number of publications or individuals to use photos or reprint articles for this paper but I did not specifically ask permission to put it online, so I will do that. In the meantime I would be very interested to know if you find it practically useful. The simple fact you are interested and thinking on the topic encourages me that people are not just totally polarized on the subject.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for commenting

    It is just remarkably sad that so many families have had to face this. I think the last statistic that I read was roughly 1,500 anencephalic children each year in the United States

    Hugs and positive thoughts right back at you. I’m glad you posted here, but wish it were under different circumstances.

  • Anonymous

    Oh – and just fyi… the Freedom of Choice Act specifically codifies a mental health exception.

  • Dale T, Cedar Rapids

    Thanks Linda Thank you for sharing your deeply personal and emotional story.  It should be mandated reading for every man and person who stands in the way of allowing women their right.

  • Dale T, Cedar Rapids

    Thanks Lynda Thank you for sharing your deeply personal and emotional story.  It should be mandated reading for every man and person who stands in the way of allowing women their right.

  • Anonymous


    We each deserve the right to make those decisions for ourselves — drawing from medical information, as a part of our own religious belief system, leaning on our own families.

Categories & Tags: Reproductive Rights| | | |

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