Last night, Donald Trump portrayed women who have late-term abortions as barbaric, cruel, and, worst and most ugly of all, cavalier about the lives of their babies. As I sat there, listening to him, I understood at a level many do not, just how much damage he was doing to women in this country.
Put aside, for a moment, his sexual predation and his name-calling of women who disagree with him: His attack on the women who undergo late-term abortion is the cruelest moment in one of the ugliest presidential campaigns in our history.
Based on his statements at the third presidential debate, Trump would have you believe that there are hordes of women out there who carry their child for 39.5 weeks and then decide, on a whim, to have them killed because, what? They are suddenly selfish? They suddenly decided they wanted a boy and not a girl? Or because their husbands told the American people that they don’t find women attractive once they have babies?
[Trump's] attack on women who undergo late-term abortion is the cruelest moment in one of the ugliest presidential campaigns in our history.
This is simply not the case. First off, in almost all states, you cannot get an abortion after 26 weeks (and often before) except under the most dire of circumstances. Second, the numbers don’t bear him out: Only 0.08 percent of all abortions are done after 24 weeks according to the Guttmacher Institute’s best estimate, and virtually none in the final couple of weeks.
But as Secretary Clinton rightly pointed out, the women in that 0.08 percent are not indecisive, or barbaric, or cavalier. They are women experiencing hell on earth. I know. Because, for a short time, I lived that hell.
It took my husband and I six years to get pregnant. But from the moment, days after the IVF, when we knew I was pregnant, everything in our lives became about our expected child: who he would be, how he would laugh, how much we would love him.
Except we were already in love, and that love grew every day he did.
Then, one day, the doctors did a genetic test on me which showed that our boy had damaged chromosomes ― terribly warped strands that meant that he would almost certainly not survive the pregnancy. If he did, he would be born with severe physical and mental defects, and in excruciating pain. Most of the babies born like this live only a few days. A handful make it a year with constant medical intervention and unfathomable, constant pain. None survive to adulthood.
Doctors did a genetic test on me that showed our boy would almost certainly not survive the pregnancy.
My precious son, who we worked so hard to conceive, was facing this future. We were told that the test was 95+ percent accurate, but that they were doing a second and more accurate one to confirm the results. Our world dissolved into a nightmare. He was well beyond the first trimester. Terminating the pregnancy ― sparing my tiny boy this hellish ordeal ― meant a procedure that would have taken two days...two days of knowing, of feeling, my baby dying inside me. But it was still a better fate than what he faced.
Without Roe v. Wade, I would have had to carry him, feeling him move inside me ― the constant reminder of the waiting tragedy ― and hope for his death, hope for him to be spared the terrible pain that awaited him. For those days, I saw myself, my body, as little more than a walking casket for my beloved son. I wanted to tear my own skin off, to punish myself for having somehow failed him so badly. My husband, bearing up as best he could under his own pain, tried to help me. But there was no help. For nine days, I could do nothing but sob and sleep and curse myself.
Thankfully, we were, in the end, released from this hell. The second test came back and told me what my son (kicking and stomping) was also telling me: He was fine. He is now a very healthy 21-month-old who I am grateful for and celebrate everyday. But while we were saved from that fate, many women get the same result we did and the second test just confirms the impending suffering and death of their child.
Making their heartbreaking ordeal more difficult is just about the least compassionate thing I can think of.
Anyone who would mislead the American people about the nature of such a procedure does not deserve to be president.
Anyone who would add even an ounce to the suffering me and my husband endured ― either in how they talk about late-term abortion or in advocating roadblocks or an outright ban ― is a monster. Anyone who would trivialize the tragedy that such women face cannot claim to be Christian (or moral in any sense). Anyone who would mislead the American people about the nature of such a procedure ― how it is used and what it means to the women (and their partners) who have to avail themselves of it ― does not deserve to be president. We already knew that Trump was heartless, but making women caught in such a horror out to be cavalier, aborting their babies just days before birth? It is the cruelest thing he’s ever done. At least in public.
This man cannot be allowed to appoint justices who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Women should never be forced to die for their pregnancies, nor forced to be, as I might have been, nothing more than a living, breathing casket.