Abortions are a necessary medical procedure for women — as Kadijah Runge's story tells us, writes Nathan Jasper.
CONTROVERSY HAS once again spread throughout America.
This time, however, it's not something that can just be shrugged off or dismissed. This is a serious matter. As most know, there are new abortion laws that their lawmakers are trying so desperately to pass. In some states, abortion will be illegal after the six-week mark during pregnancy. That's right around the time, if not before, most women even find out they're pregnant.
If anyone gets an abortion after the 6-week mark, not only will the mother face possible jail time, the doctor that performed it can get up to 99 years in prison. A couple of states even want to restrict abortions in the cases of rape or incest.
Think about this: your 11-year-old daughter was raped by her stepfather. Because of the new laws, she will be forced to carry the child to term and give birth. How is that even remotely logical? Obviously, the rape is not the fault of the woman. But she will be labelled a "murderer" if she has a backdoor abortion and will most likely be thrown in juvenile detention or even face real jail time.
Kadijah Runge, a mum from Australia, recently spoke with me about an experience she had. But first, before we get ahead of ourselves, let me give you a little background.
Kadijah was with someone when she had her son Kai. She was 19, nearing 20 and ended up leaving this man after he laid his hands on her. He physically assaulted her and verbally abused her multiple times.
Just like any good mother would, she left to protect her son. She became the single mother of a boy who was born with multiple congenital issues ranging from spinal to renal to respiratory to cardiac to ENT. Over the next year, Kai had to undergo countless surgeries and hospital admissions.
From the day he was born, Kai faced death. His oesophagus wasn't attached to his stomach and had to have surgery as a one-day-old baby. Kadijah couldn't even hold him for a week. Kai was in ICU for a little over five weeks before finally being released. Five days after that, he was right back in the hospital. He had caught RSV and his lungs were so full of mucus that they stuck together.
Kadijah couldn't do anything but sit and wait and cry. She was terrified that she would lose her son. Kai had to be on an oscillator for an entire month, completely sedated and muscle-relaxed, covered by a plastic sheet to blow warm air constantly around him because his temperature was 95 degrees Fahrenheit, the point at which hypothermia begins. The oscillator is what ultimately saved his life.
Oscillators are set at 300 breaths per minute compared to the standard ventilator which is set for just 50. Kai had so many blood tests that he had to have a transfusion because his little frail body couldn't keep up. Finally, at 13 weeks, he was able to leave the hospital. Three months old, he was pushing a mere seven and a half pounds. But, Kai proved to be a fighter. Somewhere inside, he wanted to live.
One Year Later
Kadijah discovered around this time that she was pregnant again. This was, by all accounts, an accidental pregnancy. She used protection, but the condom failed. She had tried to take steps to avoid pregnancy but it happened anyway.
There was no "Plan B" in place because she never anticipated she needed a plan B. At this moment, she had a huge decision to make. She could have the baby and risk dying all over again; risk the new baby having the same genetic disorders as Kai; risk not being able to provide for both children, one of them already being high-needs.
She had promised herself that she would not potentially put another child through the absolute torture that Kai had experienced. She had to make a choice and her decision was to have an abortion.
Kai had to have a spinal surgery the week before Kadijah had her abortion. Once again, Kai's life was in peril. This only cemented Kadijah's decision once and for all to abort her pregnancy. There was no promise that the second child would grow to be any different and, on top of that, the man she became pregnant with had a disorder of his own. More than likely, her second child would have been born with a disability.
In Her Words
This choice was not made lightly. I still lie awake at night sometimes, apologising for the fact I couldn't care for the child that fetus would grow into. I was a girl with a son who I'd already given birth to and needed me and my attention more than anything else.
If I would've carried that baby to term, not only would I have willingly been risking dying from the pregnancy like the first time, not only would I have knowingly taken the chance that child would have congenital problems, I would have been bringing a child into this world that I was financially unable to care for and that wouldn't have the opportunities or support that any child should be given.
I love being a mum. I would've loved nothing more than to have that second child. It just wasn't feasible. It would have been detrimental to myself, Kai and the potential baby.
According to these new laws in the United States, I deserve to be imprisoned. For what? Making the right choice by the life that would've resulted from me choosing to go to term. This is going to result in more unwanted children in homes and in the system. This is going to result in backdoor abortions which will kill women. This is going to result in a mourning mother who miscarried and will then be prosecuted as if it was her fault.
Governments have no place interfering with a woman's body
No government should be able to strip basic human rights away from a woman. As you can see, abortion is not all black and white. There's a lot of grey area that is being willfully ignored and overlooked by the lawmakers of the U.S. We need to take a stand against corruption.
Each individual woman should be the only ones who have a say in what happens with their bodies. Abortion needs to be legal and there needs to be assistance provided for women who undergo these procedures.
People like Kadijah need security that they won't be imprisoned for doing what they know is right. Both in the U.S. and elsewhere in the world.
Nathan Jasper is a film critic and aspiring author.
This article was published by Soapboxie and is republished with the author's permission.
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