This was, without question, the most devastating day of my entire life. But things would get worse; much, much worse. That dreadful day of my abortion was filled with pain and sorrow but at the time I really did not understand why. I shared this story with Lisa in hopes that she would not make the same mistake. Our text message conversation went on until late that night when both of us were too sleepy to continue.
Several days later when my phone rang I recognized Lisa’s number from our text conversation. When I picked up the phone a cautious young woman ask, "Mary?"
My heart felt as if it would explode. I thought I may never hear from her again.
"Lisa!!!" I exclaimed.
"Well, no." She said. "My name is Bryonna. I made up the name Lisa because I was afraid of what you would think of me. I was afraid of what you might say to me."
I lost track of the time but we must have talked for three or four hours. Bryonna told me of how she had been to several doctors. Because of her Cerebral Palsy none of them had been very encouraging. In fact, that would be an understatement. Her primary care doctor had laid out some very grim scenarios including losing the use of her legs.
Pro Life Utah is helping raise money to help Bryonna with her medical expenses.
Trying to make light of it Bryonna said, "Ok doc, what is the chance of survival?" With a straight and sober face he had replied, "I don’t know."
He told her that she could suffer oxygen deprivation during labor that could leave her, in Bryonna’s words, in the vegetable garden. Still undeterred by the bleak picture the doctor painted, Bryonna told him that she did not want to be selfish in this decision. There was, after all a third party involved.
Once again the doctor’s face was stoic. "It wouldn’t be selfish. It would be smart."
He handed her a salmon colored piece of paper before walking out of the room. Bryonna looked down at the paper to see a list of abortion clinics.
I was overwhelmed by her stories. She was a bright, articulate and funny woman. I felt a bond with her almost immediately. I thought of myself as solidly pro-life allowing for no exceptions and yet I found myself very unsure of what to say to her. I desperately wanted to protect the life within her, but at what cost? How could I possibly advise her? However, she wasn’t interested in my moral dilemma. She wanted to know more about what had happened to me.
"Well" I began, "after my abortion my life seemed pretty worthless. I lost myself in a fog of alcohol and pot for about a year. If I wasn’t high, my heart hurt so I just stayed high."
I told her that eventually I got on with my life. About five years later I was pregnant with my beautiful daughter. This was long before the internet so I would read about each stage of my baby’s development in a large and colorful baby book, following along week by week. At eleven weeks I was sitting at the kitchen table reading about the miraculous life that was growing within me. My baby was about one and a half inches long and almost fully formed. Her little hands and feet were complete with little fingers and toes. She was kicking and stretching and possibly even hiccuping!!! Her heart was fully formed and her brain was developing with incredible speed.
My sense of awe and wonderment was suddenly interrupted by a cold, hard realization. This was the same point in my pregnancy that I had once had an abortion. My awe and wonderment turned to shock and horror. I sat there trying to comprehend what I was seeing. Questions filled my head. How could this have happened? Why? This didn’t make any sense. The counselor’s words echoed in my mind. "…a clump of cells the size of a pencil point." What? A wave of emotions swirled like an angry storm within me but eventually left nothing but inconsolable grief.
This is a true story that is unfolding even as I write this. Even I do not know how the story ends. But we do know that Bryonna’s medical bills are mounting and she has been unable to work. Please consider donating to this courageous young woman.