Pastor Amy Butler, senior minister at Riverside Church in New York, just shared the painful details surrounding the decision she and her spouse made to abort the pregnancy of their second daughter, due to health complications for the baby and her. Butler said she decided to share considerations and the truth about the abortion following the last U.S. presidential debate, during which late-term abortion was discussed. She believes every woman ought to have the "right" to make the decision.
"I wish I never had to live through the loss of my child, but I am forever grateful for my personal decision being just that: mine. I had a choice, and I chose to make the hardest decision and carry the pain of that decision with me for my whole life to ensure that my child didn't suffer," wrote Butler in Religion News Service.
Butler said they were informed their unborn daughter had serious developmental issues.
"[A]ll the doctors came in the room together, stood around the bed, and told me that my baby was severely developmentally compromised; that she would die at birth, if not before, after a very short, excruciatingly painful few minutes of life; and that continuing the pregnancy to full term would be very dangerous for me," she recalled.
She was advised she could either abort the child or wait; Butler said she opted for the abortion because she didn't want her daughter to be in pain.
"I never had a second thought about the right thing to do," she wrote.
"I didn't know how we'd survive the loss, but I did know the right course of action for me, my baby and my family. And the ability to move through that goodbye as a full participant was an important part of just surviving during an inconsolable time."
She stated the late-term abortion she chose was the end of a dream: "The pain was so real and so consuming that navigating my way through the grief, I never thought that I would have the happy, healthy family that I do today. It was one of the most agonizing experiences of my life and a true lesson in the reality that life is not always as clear-cut and obvious as you might think it is."
"Others may characterize that choice as they wish - even presidential candidates seem to be doing that. But it's my conviction that every woman deserves that right in a situation where there are no easy answers, no pious pronouncements, no political solutions that could ever, ever fix the gaping, aching emptiness in her arms," Butler explained.
However, other parents also shared stories of refusing abortion even when their child was not expected to survive birth. Brandon and Brittany Buell recently celebrated their son's first birthday after he was born without a skull.
"Jaxon was our baby, and we only had one shot to do everything we could for him. We would never choose to play God in that situation, when we had been given a child, and it was our job to give him a chance to live," Buell stated.
Read of another instance via The Gospel Herald coverage: "Prayers for Bentley: Baby Born with Brain Outside of Skull Defies Odds After Planned Abortion."
Another case reflects a boy who was born with only 2 percent of a brain. He recently was featured in a U.K. documentary about his progress as his brain is now nearly fully functional, reports Christian News. "We were offered termination five times," father Rob Wall recalled in the new documentary "The Boy Without a Brain." "It was never an option for us. To me, we wanted to give Noah that chance of life."