42 and pregnant: how a sonogram image changed an older mother’s decision to abort
May 4, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - In a profound testimony to the power of ultrasound images, a parenting.com contributor tells the story of how she came to terms with an unexpected first pregnancy at the age of 42, after wrestling with the temptation to have an abortion.
The writer, who identifies herself as “Nancy,” has two daughters that she and her husband adopted from China after years of unsuccessful fertility treatments had left them still childless in their late thirties. “Neither of us felt strongly about seeing our genes played out in a child,” she wrote, adding that she had “never been a baby person…Somehow adoption just suited us, and I’ve always been proud of our mixed-race family.”
When she found herself expecting a few years after adopting their second child, Nancy was unable to share the instinctive joy of her gynecologist, who exclaimed that her pregnancy was a miracle and proposed champagne. At the time, she says, she felt unequipped to care for a third child, one who would be her first newborn, since both girls had been older babies at the time of the adoption.
“Our 2-year-old, Bea, still wakes up several times a night,” she writes. “Whenever I drag myself out of bed to comfort her, I can’t help but think how much harder a newborn would be. How will this aging body care for a baby?”
Her husband, John, shared her inner turmoil over the pregnancy. Both of them felt that their family was complete and that a biological child would now seem “an intrusion, a strange add-on” to their multicultural family.
Despite her conviction that abortion felt like “the right thing to do,” she says she noticed “hesitation” and “strain” in the faces of her post-abortive friends when she reached out for support.
Ultimately, though, it was the “termination consultation” at the abortion clinic that was the turning point for her.
“Two minutes into the conversation, I know I don’t have the heart to go through with an abortion,” Nancy writes. “Maybe I never did. I look at the sonogram screen and am shocked to see the baby has arms and a head. Four weeks ago, in my doctor’s office, it looked like a grain of rice. I walk out into the sunshine and realize I’m having another child.”
Two weeks later, she says, she was packing up old clothes to give away to charity, when her daughter Roma protested that they needed to save some of the items for the baby. They had not yet told the little girl about the pregnancy.
“Everything is going to be okay. More than okay,” she concludes. “Blessed? I think so.”
While similar stories are repeated thousands of times a year in Crisis Pregnancy Centers across the country, not all women are fortunate enough to have the opportunity to view an ultrasound once they have entered the doors of an abortion clinic. At least 24 states have some form of legislation regulating the use of ultrasounds during abortion procedures, but requirements vary widely.
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A recently enacted Virginia law requires abortion-minded women to undergo an ultrasound at least 24 hours prior to an abortion, and be given the opportunity to view the ultrasound image. In Arkansas, however, physicians are only required to inform a woman of her right to view the ultrasound image if they are planning to use the technology while performing the abortion.
Opponents of such legislation argue that women who have come to an abortion clinic have already made up their minds and do not need further information.
However, according to Americans United for Life (AUL), a pro-life organization that has been at the forefront of supporting ultrasound legislation, Nancy’s account is one of many compelling anecdotes that reveals the powerful impact ultrasounds can have on a woman’s decision, even when administered at an abortion clinic.
“Mothers know the power of an ultrasound,” AUL spokesperson Kristi Hamrick told LifeSiteNews.com. “Women, when they see their unborn child, can feel a great love for them and connection with them, and that does influence their decision making.”
She added that the organization supports ultrasound legislation not just because it changes women’s minds about abortion but because it protects women’s health by diagnosing potentially serious medical conditions, such as ectopic pregnancies.