I am so honored to stand here alongside my adoptive mother and share why I too refuse to be silent about abortion’s impact on women and their families. In 1989, my birth mother, a woman from Honduras, found out that she was pregnant. She was already a mother to six children, and they lived on government assistance.
My birth mother tried her best to care for her family through her work as a part time maid in New Orleans, but she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, a type of psychosis that made functioning virtually impossible. To make the situation worse, she didn’t have good access to mental health care or the ability to follow through on taking her medications.
Another pregnancy was not happy news, and she decided to seek the help of an abortionist who had “lower costs”. At 26-weeks, he delivered me breech. I wasn’t breathing when I was born, and he refused to give me medical care. He told my mother that I would be a mental vegetable. He advised her to let me die. But in a miraculous decision, my mother fought for my life. She threatened to sue him if he continued to refuse to get me medical assistance. I was sent to children’s hospital where I lived because of my mother’s persistence.
I later learned that the same abortionist who delivered me was under review for preforming botched abortions around the same time I was born.
I wish I could go on from here and say that life was great. But it simply wasn’t. And the truth of it is that many women who seek abortion are women living life like my birth mother; that is, the economically disadvantaged, from minority communities, living in abusive home environments.
This was certainly the world I entered into after I was born. My mother had more children after me, giving her a total of 11 children. I experienced first hand the ramifications of poverty, malnutrition, and sickness, eventually even contracting Tuberculosis.
Unfortunately, abortion is presented as a solution to women like my mother, to spare their children from suffering. And what I hear when I hear that is the following question: Wouldn’t you rather have died than to have your difficult upbringing? And the answer I say again and again without hesitation is no.
The choice my mother made to fight for my life was the best one she made and because of it, I have an amazing life. I was adopted at the age of nine after spending nearly 8 years in the Louisiana foster care system. My memories with my adoptive family all outweigh those dark days in my childhood home. I was able to go to college, get married and most recently met my first child, Jesse who’s here with me today. And if abortion had taken my life, it would have taken my son’s life also.
I hope you can commit with me again in 2019 to be silent no more about abortion until the day that every child is protected by law.