I'll never forget it. We were in a meeting at Planned Parenthood and they were revealing their plans for the largest abortion clinic in the Western Hemisphere.
Everyone was cheering and clapping. I think a couple people were even crying from the joy (?) they felt. Maybe it was joy. Maybe it was their conscience not letting them escape their true sadness that they could never reveal. I don't know.
Either way, it was a big day. We were going to be the leader in abortion services. We were going to be able to schedule 75 abortions per day/6 days a week. We were going to be the abortion giant. In fact, my supervisor kept saying that we were going to “run the largest abortuary in the United States.” We would all just crack up because we thought the made up words pro-lifers used were absolutely hilarious. We knew they said them in an attempt to be disrespectful, but we just loved it. The fact that they came up with their own sort of language to describe what we did made us revel in our work.
Someone asked if we would be expanding our abortion services. What she really meant was whether we would be aborting babies further along in gestation. The answer was not one that I wanted to hear.
Most prochoicers have a line in the sand concerning abortion. There are very few abortion supporters who believe in abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. Now, you won't hear any of them deviating from the talking points. They would never say that they had a problem with abortions past a certain gestation…but in their heart of hearts, most people do make some sort of distinction. For me and for many others like me at the time, my line in the sand was viability. Once a baby was considered viable outside the mother's womb, I didn't think abortion was right. And as far as I knew, babies weren't viable until at least 24 weeks.
Then one day I was reading a story in People magazine. Yes, I know…very scientific. Anyway, there was a story in there about a little girl, named Aaliyah Hart who was born at just over 20 weeks gestation, survived and was completely healthy. Well, there went my 24 week line. So now I had to push it back to 20 weeks because of baby Aaliyah. I had proclaimed to everyone (my family, my friends, my coworkers) that I would never work at a facility that terminated babies past the point of viability, which was now 20 weeks. Here’s an article about her birth.
But then my boss answered this question about “expansion of services.” Excitedly, she told everyone that we would now be expanding our services to aborting babies up to 25 weeks gestation. Everyone cheered again…everyone but me.
Oh no. What would this mean for me? We are now talking about viable babies here. I said I would never do that. But I'm going to have to do it. And not only am I going to have to do it, but I'm being groomed to be the next COO of this affiliate…the affiliate that will open the “largest abortuary in the United States.”
Looking back, I think that was the first crack that let light in. I had always believed that I would retire with Planned Parenthood. But I remember going home that day and telling Doug that I wasn't sure if that was going to happen. It was the first time I could imagine not working for Planned Parenthood.
The other day I was browsing through the internet and noticed an article that was titled “Baby given 1 percent chance of survival turns 12 after mom refuses abortion.” That made me think of baby Aaliyah, so I clicked on it. I couldn't believe it. It was a story about her! She had turned 12 and this story had written about her life. You can read it here.
That little life that had such a profound impact on mine. Never underestimate the power of anyone's story…anyone's life…even a life so tiny, so fragile. Thank you, Aaliyah Hart, for bringing light into my life.