There it was. The second pink line.
My heart sank.
I stood outside the exam room and took a deep breath. She was thirteen.
She knew as soon as she saw my face when I entered after knocking softly. She started sobbing uncontrollably. Her mother sat in the corner and looked sea sick. She was holding onto the edge of her chair for dear life, knuckles white, waiting for the world to turn upside down and topple her over.
“You are pregnant.”
Her mother dissolved into angry shouts about her whore of a daughter.
Not an auspicious beginning at all. Babies should be greeted with joy and love and excitement. My heart hurt.
“I know it seems unfair for me to ask, but have you thought about what you want to do with this pregnancy?”
Her mother spoke up before the patient could, her voice charged with bitterness. “She will have this baby and put it up for adoption. She made her bed, now she has to lie in it. We don’t believe in abortion.”
The girl glanced over at her mother then back at me, helplessness in her eyes. Any discussion about other options was met with a stoney glare from her mother.
She died during the childbirth.
Should she have had an abortion? I don’t know. It is not my place to decide.
The world used to be a stark black and white for me before medical school and residency. Everyone is welcome to their own personal opinions about abortion. I respect and will defend your right to believe any way you wish. But before you make decisions for anyone else about their access, I implore you to walk with me for a while in the blurry fringes where the gray resides.
It is such a polarizing subject and it makes me very nervous to speak up on it but I am bothered by some of the political rhetoric of late. I hear the hate spewing forth from both sides of the fence and wonder if and when love will ever win.