We had to end a failing pregnancy

Kyle Maxwell

I never thought my journey to fatherhood would start with aborting a wanted pregnancy.

Just a few months after being married in the majestic beauty of the mountains to the east of Albuquerque, my wife and I stood in the bathroom waiting to see the results on our first pregnancy test. The tiny digital display showed one word: Pregnant.

We waited excitedly for our doctor visits to begin. In the first ultrasound we saw merely a blinking dot of a heartbeat. Just a few weeks later we saw our baby, now the size of a lime, with recognizable arms and legs rocking back and forth soothingly on the screen.

My joy quickly turned to fear. The fetus had more fluid than normal behind the neck, which is correlated with a range of genetic disorders. A week later, chorionic villus sampling (CVS) confirmed a whole chromosome genetic disorder that often causes pregnancy loss, but can be managed with a reasonable quality of life, if the baby makes it to term.

Enduring my wife’s terrible morning sickness, we chose to give our baby girl a chance and wait to see if she could survive.

As early as possible, we went for a full anatomy ultrasound to see if the internal organs were forming correctly. They were not. The medical tech listed half a dozen conditions including severe hydrops. We had to ask the doctor before they rushed off, “Will our baby make it to birth?” The answer was quick: “unlikely.”

My wife was still barely able to eat because of the morning sickness, which lasted all day. We knew we could not take any more of this than was necessary. We had to terminate the failing pregnancy.

After the procedure, we were given resources on pregnancy-loss support groups. At the time I did not know if that was necessary, but grief comes in stages, starting with denial. Even now, six years later, the memory of our loss brings tears to my eyes.

With the reversal of Roe v. Wade I am filled with fresh hurt and sorrow, the same pain I feel with renewed vigor each year on the due date we never reached. America has returned the right of the states to oppress the individual and control their medical decisions.

Do we really think that people are carelessly using abortion as birth control? Is former President Trump accurately describing it as being “ripped from the mother’s womb moments before birth”? No, these inflammatory statements are designed to enrage people to the point where they will not think clearly.

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… Having to choose to abort already hurts enough. We cannot accept these false narratives.

New Mexico has become one of the last bastions of reproductive care in the southern United States. We need to protect our rights; we can’t let more clinics close. We need to vote in primaries and local elections, speak out, and get involved. … Protect love and family, keep the freedom of choice.