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Standing For What You Believe: An OB/GYN’s Thoughts on Abortion

Lissa Rankin's picture

Okay, I’m gonna go out on a limb here and write a post that literally scares the bejesus out of me. The other day, I was doing a podcast interview with Owning Pink blogger Stacey Curnow, and she asked me how it feels to write stuff like I did in my upcoming book What’s Up Down There? Questions You’d Only Ask Your Gynecologist If She Was Your Best Friend, which is more about me and my vagina than you probably ever wanted to know. In this book, I write about the sexual dysfunction I suffered with my ex-husband, the HPV I contracted from my current husband, the porn my hubby and enjoy from time to time, the elective C-section I decided to have, and yes -- I write about the painful decision I had to make as an OB/GYN about whether or not to do abortions.

But I’ve never had the guts to write about abortion on Owning Pink.

Why? Well, it’s such a hot button issue -- and it can be so divisive. When you start talking about abortion, people who have been respectful, open-hearted, and friendly with each other suddenly turn into sharks. And I’m afraid of bringing that into our Owning Pink community.

But I also don’t want to live in fear, and I don’t want to be silenced. So thank you Stacey, for inspiring me to speak my truth and help me believe that we as a community can tackle anything, as long as we respect each other’s right to agree or disagree with kindness and to honor what another says as true, without attacking.

So here goes.

It’s hard enough when you’re not an OB/GYN to make peace with where you stand on the abortion issue. But when you’re an OB/GYN, it’s even harder. I was raised in a family with three Methodist ministers, attending church at least once or twice a week for my entire young life. Countless Sunday school teachers and pastors taught me that abortion was sinful, and while Methodists tend to be relatively liberal about supporting a woman’s right to choose, that choice was supposed to apply to the faithless, not the church-goers. 

As a teenager, I abstained from sex, not because I didn’t think my cutest-boy-in-school honey was hot, but because I feared eternal damnation and didn’t want to face my mother if I got pregnant. I was raised to be Pro-Life all the way. And when I finished high school, I was. I wanted all pregnant women to keep their babies -- no matter what. 

But over time, I learned that this was not always in everyone’s best interest. What about the woman who conceived as the result of rape and incest? What about the welfare mother who already had twelve neglected children? What about the crack-abusing mother whose child would surely end up in foster care with a crack-baby brain? What about the twenty-five year old whose baby had no brain?

Accepting Nuances

Once I made room for accepting the nuances of these situations, I found great compassion in my heart for the other women who found themselves with unplanned pregnancies. What about the sixteen year old who wanted to be a marine biologist, or the forty-three year old whose fetus had Down’s syndrome, or the married mother of three who was finally ready to live her own life?  What about the thirty-one year old with the cheating husband or the twenty-one year old who used condoms and birth control pills and still got pregnant? At what point does the decision stop becoming a morality quiz and start becoming a real choice?

Of course, I don’t know the answer, but I have learned that it’s not my place to ask the question. I came to truly believe that a woman has the right to choose what happens to her body -- no matter what.

Putting your money where your mouth is

By the time I finished college, I considered myself firmly pro-choice. Which is easy enough to say for lay people, but as an OB/GYN physician in training, you’re forced to put your money where your mouth is. Most people can just stand on one side or the other of the political divide, but not OB/GYNs. We either do abortions -- or we don’t. And in my opinion, if you’re an OB/GYN and you don’t do abortions, you’re a hypocrite who should have chosen another field. No offense, but as OB/GYNs, it’s our job to advocate for women and their choices. If someone doesn’t want to do that, that’s cool with me. But they should choose another field, as far as I’m concerned.

When I was a twenty-five year old medical student, applying to OB/GYN residencies, I honestly hadn’t thought a lot about the issue of whether, as an OB/GYN, I would perform abortions. Most of the best programs offered training in pregnancy termination but towed the party line of “residents may opt out of the training on ethical or religious grounds.”  But almost all of the residents at Northwestern did it. An unspoken pressure discriminated against those who didn’t.

I was twenty-seven years old when I had to decide, and I rocked back and forth between my beliefs.  On the one hand, I believed that, as an OB/GYN in training, I should provide safe, compassionate care for women wishing to terminate their pregnancies.  On the other, I wanted to please my mother. Mom begged me not to do them, but Mom lost, and we made a silent pact never to speak about it again.

The first time

The first time I performed an abortion at Northwestern, I held the suction catheter in my trembling hand, while a voice in my head screamed “Baby killer! Baby killer!” And here I was, about to stick a plastic suction catheter inside the uterus and suck out all the potential this fetus might embody. When I was done, this fetus would be nothing more than cells and tissue ground up in a plastic bucket. I dashed out of the operating room and vomited.

Minutes later, head hanging, I returned, and the matronly scrub nurse winked at me and gave me another gown and a new pair of sterile gloves. I asked for another number 8 suction catheter and jammed it into the uterus like I was spearing a steak. I called for the nurse to turn on the suction and crimson and ivory tissue and fluid gurgled and gristled through the plastic tubing. When I was done, I snuck into a call room and sobbed.

"Doing that sort of thing"

Once I finished residency, I figured my duty was done and I’d never have to do abortions again. But the Universe rarely lets you off the hook that easily. When I started my job in San Diego, I discovered that nobody in the practice I joined did abortions. If a patient found herself with an unwanted pregnancy, she was told that we “didn’t do that sort of thing,” and she was handed a business card for someone who did. I was horrified. 

Thank God, I never had an unplanned pregnancy, but I imagined that, if I did, I wouldn’t want to be shipped off to some stranger who “did that sort of thing,” as if the doctors were too high and mighty to get their hands dirty. We all make our own decisions in life, and certainly, the other doctors in my practice had the right to make their own choices. But I knew I couldn’t work at a practice where our patients didn’t feel supported in their times of greatest turmoil. So I surprised myself by announcing, “Fine. I’ll do them.” The minute it slipped out of my mouth, I felt a pang of regret. What had I done? But I swear -- it’s the weirdest thing -- I honestly feel like God made me do it. I know it sounds crazy, but I felt a true calling to provide loving support and tender compassion, without judgment. My mother never understood, but I was being true to my own authentic self, even though it pitted me against her.

Compassion, not judgment

For eight years, I performed abortions on every patient in my practice who asked me to. I held their hands, wiped their tears, heard their stories, and loved them unconditionally. I knew that they never planned to wind up with unexpected pregnancies, and they needed compassion, not judgment. If my choice made one woman’s painful journey more peaceful, then it was all worth it.

But it wasn’t easy.  A few months after I started my job, I found my name on the front page of the Catholic News as the “new abortionist in town.” I prepared myself to face angry picket lines at work the next day, but praise God, they never came. I never quite felt comfortable in the skin of a doctor who aborts babies. I tried to resolve my confused conscience by extensively counseling my patients to make sure they understood all of their options, practiced smart birth control, and realized the fact that abortions are not without their consequences. The women whose pregnancies I terminated were often more grateful than those whose babies I delivered. I think many of them had already beat themselves up. The last thing they needed was another beating, so I tried to provide a compassionate ear and a shoulder to cry on.

Now,  in my office practice, I don’t do surgeries at all anymore, so I no longer perform abortions. In some ways, it’s easier this way. I don’t have to feel conflicted about how to stay true to my integrity in the face of a duty I find hard to perform. But I have no regrets about the time I spent serving my patients in that way. I would do it all over again, but I’d still struggle. Sometimes it’s not easy to stand up for what you believe in. But it’s always worth it when you know you’ve been true to who you are.

What about you? Have you stood up for something that made you feel conflicted? Have you gone against the grain of how you were raised? Have you stayed true to your authentic self, even when doing so meant you risked being rejected by those you loved?

True to myself, even when it’s hard,
Lissa

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Comments

Dana Theus's picture

An Invitation to Share Your Loving Truth

Greg

You clearly feel strongly about this issue and I want to thank you for sharing your truth here. That is what Owning Pink is all about, sharing our truths, even when they are not pretty or popular. What we find here in Owning Pink is that when we share our core truths, there is love behind them. And pain and fear sometimes, but when they are allowed to be spoken without judgment, there is love beneath them all. I would like to invite you to share the loving truth beneath your comment. What is the love you hold in your heart that makes you see this discussion through the lens of judgment? If you can share that with us we will all be stronger.

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Lissa Rankin's picture

Holding space

Dear ones,
I'm having a really busy week but I want each of you to know that it is in my heart to wish to hold space for each and every one of you who are telling your story and sharing your truth with us here at Owning Pink. So please consider yourself hugged, loved, accepted, and supported, even if I'm not here to respond individually to each of you. I am reading each and every single comment and holding you in my heart.
With love and gratitude
Lissa

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Danielle's picture

Bravo

Somehow, my parents raised the most pro-choice little feminist they could, regardless of what my all-girls Catholic high school tried to teach me. (In my biology class, my teacher would say a special intention for all of the babies whose mothers were about to abort them that day before we prayed. And one day, we dissected a fetal pig.)

I worked at Planned Parenthood for a year while I was in law school. I had great respect for the ob/gyn who worked there and traveled the state of Delaware to ensure that low-income women had access to safe surgical care.

And, then, the controversy broke out over a simple t-shirt. A shirt that said "I had an abortion" that was available on Cafe Press. I will never forget the public reaction to that shirt. Rather than realizing that these brave women were showing that abortion affects all faces of women, people thought it was an advertisement that abortion should be bragged about. I think this is when I realized that there could rarely be a true discussion on the topic. It was always yelling.

Your post shows that there can be more than yelling. There are gray areas. And more importantly, there are women in need. Patients.

You are an inspiration.

TMB's picture

I said a prayer and then goodbye

I was that 19 year old girl, the one who used birth control and still got pregnant. I'd skipped a day of the pill, and so we used a condom, my boyfriend and me. What we didn't know was that it could slip off if he stayed inside me too long afterwards, and that's what happened.

I knew within days that I was pregnant, before I skipped my period, before any symptoms at all. Just a young woman's intution, I suppose. The hardest part was waiting the minimum 5 weeks before I could terminate the pregnancy.

The day of, I put my hand on my belly and said a little prayer. Dear Soul, I'm not ready to be your mom just yet. Maybe one day, I will be. Please forgive me and know that you are loved. And then this field of peace washed over me, and I felt calmed and relaxed. It's okay, I was told from somewhere in my heart.

Never once did I regret it, although at times, like now, I've shed tears (of gratitude and appreciation). How I was so spiritual at that tender age, I don't know - except I knew that nothing could kill the soul, and that my unborn soul-to-be was fine and safe, just as I was. The timing wasn't right, and everything was okay.

This was reinforced for me years later when I read Brian L. Weiss's books on souls, in which he touches on abortion.

Now, over 23 years later, I have two beautiful small children, and I'm grateful for the gift of motherhood. Getting pregnant at an age when it was risky (birth defects) I had to face the same possible decision - terminate if there was something horribly wrong with the pregnancy. Fortunately, there was not.

This is the first time I've shared my story publicly. Only a few close friends know about it. I've never been ashamed of the decision, nor trapped by guilt. It's always felt like the right choice for who I was at the time. I atribute that sense of peace to two things: I had thought about what I would do, and under what circumstances beforehand. But mostly, because of that little prayer and goodbye, where somehow my 19 year old self was given the gift of a tender goodbye from the soul of her unborn child.

There's no other way to explain it.

I hope this revelation helps any women out there who've struggled after the fact.

Blessings all. TMB

Megan Monique's picture

Dear Danielle

I share your journey (or at least something similar.) When I was 18 and then again when I was 19 a similar thing happened to me and I chose to have 2 abortions. Looking back now, I do not regret what I chose to do. It was necessary for my vitality at the time, frankly it saved my life. Thank you for coming here and sharing you story. You are heard, held and supported. XO

Melanie Bates's picture

TMB

I just got the chills in reading your comment and specifically your words, "Dear Soul, I'm not ready to be your mom just yet..." What a blessing to be so spiritual and to have such peace at such a young age as you made such a tough decision. That is truly beautiful. I'm so grateful that you shared your story with us. I love Owning Pink for the safe space it provides to speak my whole truth and I appreciate you sharing yours with such love.

Eve's picture

This is the first time I've

This is the first time I've been to this blog, and look at the first thing I read. I was raised by a very religious mother, sheltered from knowledge of my own body or sexuality. When I got my period, I had no idea what that was. I know it's hard to imagine these days when every kid seems so sophisticated, but I didn't know what sex was. I had barely heard the word. My parents took me everywhere, and I did not even leave my street alone. Still, despite all this, when I was 13, I was raped by my cousin's husband. I was terrified. All of a sudden, all those whispered fragments of conversations I had overheard connected in my head and I knew this was sexual. (Actually I thought this was sex; it took years of therapy later to understand that while it was sexual in nature, it was not sex.) Then, I realized with even more horror that this is how babies are made.

I don't know for how long after the rape I had a packed suitcase hidden in the back of my closet, in case I figured out that I was pregnant, so I could run away and find one of those abortion places my mother was always signing petitions against. I could never tell her, the woman who didn't tell me what came with being a woman, who didn't mention my body who didn't buy me a bra or pads,who made me think sex was something dirty or hidden, but certainly not discussed. I knew - I just knew, from knowing her - that I would be blamed and not helped. If I were pregnant, she'd either send me away to some long-distance relative or religious home or, worse, make me keep this 'thing' that was from a monster I wanted to forget. I knew there were women somewhere who could help, who would understand, who could offer me comfort and not judge me. Luckily, I was not pregnant, but from that day on, I could never judge anyone for this decision. Three decades on, and I have still never been to a gynecologist, but I thank you for showing yourself to be exactly the kind of woman I had hoped existed, a woman who understands the nightmarish difficulty of arriving at that decision and who has compassion for the frightened girl or woman who finds herself in need of it.

Melanie Bates's picture

Eve...

I can't imagine how difficult that time must have been for you!! Thank YOU, from my heart, for your amazing courage in speaking up and sharing your truth, especially on your first blog visit. You never know who might read your comment and be truly touched by it or truly relate to it. Welcome too, by the way, you'll always have a safe space here.

Doris Butler's picture

abortion

Hi Lissa
You are so right, this is a very divisive subject and I am real proud of you to stand up for your believe. I have a very hard time with the fact that we have so many abortions in the world, however I do not condemn the women who chose to have one done and I count my blessings that I had never been ’forced’ to make such a decision. I do believe they need more understanding and compassion than judgment especially from women. I can not imagine what kind of personal hell they are going through, but I do know that love will conquer all.
Thank you for your honesty
Doris

Ashley @ Nourishing the Soul's picture

Courage - and mixed messages

I am incredibly inspired by the courage it must have taken to write this post, both in reflecting on your decisions and making them public. As you mention, this is such a divisive issue, and I find you amazingly brave to put forth your views.

Overall, I wholeheartedly agree with the choices you have made to be a beacon of hope for women during traumatic and troubling times in life. What a blessing it must have been for them to have a compassionate and open person to help guide ad support them. I have to say, however, that I was taken aback by your statement that OB/GYNs should perform abortions or choose another field. That seems slightly extreme to me. As a health professional (though not an OB/GYN), I feel that we have the same rights as our patients to have our beliefs and values. While I personally tend to share your beliefs, I believe that others have the right to dissent, and these individuals can still provide wonderful and compassionate care to their patients - particularly if their patients share these views. Perhaps the doctor should make their policy of no abortions known up front so that a patient doesn't inadvertently enter a relationship and then feel abandoned if the time comes when an abortion is desired. But I think saying that all doctors must perform certain procedures or use certain techniques, etc. is not respecting the idea of free will and choice that we are trying to advocate in the first place.

Regardless, I am heartened by the overall message of this post and am grateful for your courage in sharing it.

Tracy's picture

Thank You!

When I was 19, I discovered that I was pregnant and getting discharged from the military. I was overseas and would be leaving the man I loved at the time. He and I chose to get married. I spent a week at home with my parents, scared silly to let them know I was pregnant. They were unable to travel out of state so my future husband and I traveled to Ohio where I knew no one. We were married on a Saturday and scheduled for a trip to Detroit on Monday to have an abortion. This was a two-step process. Even though we were now married, it felt like the best decision. It was a hellish journey, physically and emotionally. Hearing and feeling the compassion in your blog post makes me wish I had known someone like you 23 years ago. It took me many years to stop beating myself up for it. Six years later I divorced him. Would I do things differently looking back, probably not. A broader part of me knew I wasn't ready to be a mother at 19. I had a lot of growing up and life to experience in order to become the mother I am today.

I eventually told my parents. My Mom was sad that I didn't tell her what was going on. She would have supported me, whatever the decision, 100%. I think that's the only thing I would have changed if I had it to do all over again.

I've been with my current husband for sixteen years. We have two beautiful children. I keep the doors of communication wide open with them. I squirm when other family members have made comments over the years like "So and so better not come home pregnant 'cause I'll kill her!" I want my children to know that if they are faced with that kind of situation, they can talk to me. I won't judge or condemn because I know what it's like to walk in those shoes. I want them to be aware of all their options and make a choice that's best for them.

Today I am able to stay true to what's best for me, no matter how unpopular the choice or decision is to a loved one. You should have been a fly on the wall when I disrupted the omnivore paradigm in the household by going vegetarian! Being authentic isn't always easy. You'll meet resistance from those that don't want you to change and those who think your going about living your life all wrong. Isn't that what living authentically is all about? It's living your life the best you can with what you've got right in front of you.

Thank you Lissa for being the person that held these women, comforted them, listened, and showed them their choices. Thank you for allowing them the space to do what they felt was best without condemning or judging. I think the world would be a bit rosier if we all practiced more allowing.

Melanie Bates's picture

Thank you Tracy!

I'm really struck by your words, "today I am able to stay true to what's best for me, no matter how unpopular the choice or decision..." That seems so key, the best decision for you to stay true to yourself. What an inspiration. It also sounds like you are truly a wonderful mom in creating a safe and open space for them to be true to themselves. Thank you for sharing your story.

Maressa's picture

You're an inspiration!

Thank you for speaking your truth, Lissa, and for putting this out there for the world... You know I agree 100% with your stance: compassion, not judgment... I hope that more OB/GYNs will take a tip from you and see their jobs as first and foremost advocating for women and their choices. As opposed to advocating for drug or medical equipment companies or personal, individual moral and religious beliefs. xoxoxo

Lissa Rankin's picture

Shileen, thank YOU for YOUR courage

It's a big step to speak out for your own personal truth, especially when you know you will rub up against the opinions of those who you care about. Trust me, I learned this with my mother! But speaking your truth also helps you realize who really matters in your life. I spoke- and lived- my truth with regard to this issue, and my mother loves me anyway. It wasn't easy, but we long ago made our peace about this. We both get to be authentic, stand for what we believe, and go about our days. If someone rejects you because of what is true for you, do you really need that kind of influence in your life?

And yes, there are shades of gray-and still are for me with regard to this issue.
Thank you for your validation and for speaking up for what you believe.
Warm hugs
Lissa

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Shileen's picture

Lissa ...

Your transparency is such a breath of fresh air. I appreciate the courage it took for you to post this article. Nothing like really putting yourself out there!! Big hugs!!

Within my circle of influence most are Pro Life, which of course I support. However, I have never taken the stand like so many people I know. If I am true to myself I cannot because of the shades of gray as you have pointed out. And even when reading your article and writing this comment, I can hear the voices of so many I respect who say otherwise that there are no gray areas ... I can hear the shouts, the judgement, etc.

Even though I am Pro Life, I have often wondered if I were in one of those gray areas, what would I do? I don't know.

And I can tell you that if any of my friends and maybe even family members were to read my response to you? They would be shocked!! Ha! Oh well! It is what it is!

Well, anyway, your authenticity has caused me to step back and take a look at my own. Thank you for that! Thank you for your loving spirit.

Have a joy filled day!!

Shileen

Lissa Rankin's picture

Hit Home

Dear Anonymous,
I knew when I wrote this that there would be many many women who have had abortions who would read this- and that it might be hard to read. So thank you for speaking out. Frankly, I thought more people would come forth and share their experiences. And thank you also for honoring your choice, for being real about it, for feeling deeply, even now, and for validating my role in this tough issue.

You have my support- always. I have absolutely no regrets about what it is I chose to do to support women like you.

Blessings, love, and healing
Lissa

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Anonymous's picture

Hit Home

Thank you for sharing your experience so openly and honestly. Even though it brought tears to my eyes, you expressed yourself beautifully.

It's been 28 years, five months and twenty days. I was 17.

To this day, having to make the choice sometimes feels like no choice at all.

Tinamarie's picture

Conscious Love Sometimes Hurts

Dear Dr. Lissa -
Thank you for speaking out on this, and for pointing out something I never thought of before, how emotionally draining it is to do what you sometimes do, knowing a woman's heart is as much involved as is her reproductive organs.
Sometimes it really really hurts to be so conscious, and live an authentic life. No wonder many folks numb out, or just refuse to ask the hard questions and make the hard choices. Thank you for having courage and compassion, as a doctor and as a woman.
Respectfully, T

Jen Davenport, RN's picture

Thank the Universe for Dr's/Women like you.

I concur with Mel about the cringing and smiling. You are one brave and wonderful woman. It touches my heart more than you can ever know. Our spirits/selfs are infinate. Our bodies are just now. I once read somewhere an opionion that our bodies are kind of like a train-car hooked together in a long line of opportunities (not the best of similies); but if we don't make it to the train depot in time, we'll just catch the next one. We are WAAAYYYY to important to only get one shot at earth. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do, for all us.

Jen Davenport, RN's picture

Thank the Universe for Dr's/Women like you.

I concur with Mel about the cringing and smiling. You are one brave and wonderful woman. It touches my heart more than you can ever know. Our spirits/selfs are infinate. Our bodies are just now. I once read somewhere an opionion that our bodies are kind of like a train-car hooked together in a long line of opportunities (not the best of similies); but if we don't make it to the train depot in time, we'll just catch the next one. We are WAAAYYYY to important to only get one shot at earth. Thank you for all you've done and continue to do, for all us.

Jen Davenport, RN's picture

oops

sorry for the double post lol

Kimberly Johnson's picture

This is a really poignant

This is a really poignant post. One that really asks that we take action on our beliefs. I am really impressed with yout strength and your heart's ability to expand to hold the many contradictions that are part of being human. I recently met a friend who told me of an abortion she had- she was married, already had a child, was 6 months post-partum and simply knew that she could not do it. I was stunned at my reaction which was admiration that she knew so clearly what she was capable of (and not) and brave enough to act on that, regardless of opposition from everyone including her husband. Your description of performing the first abortion is powerful, and really made me think about how far I am willing to go with my convictions, and the difference between acceptance and apathy.
Thank you!

Lissa Rankin's picture

You all are the best

I wrote this over a month ago and was so hesitant to post it. I'm not sure what I was afraid of- I put myself out there on the internet so publicly, why not? But this one does cut to the quick for me. Thank you all for being so gentle and supportive, especially you Fred! It really means a lot to me and speaks volumes about the sacredness of what we've created here, that we may talk about such a polarizing issue and do it with love.

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Fred's picture

You. Are. My. Hero.

What a week you have had. You've taken on a major corporation and now this. Wow sister. I gave you a standing ovation for the former. I don't know what I can do to top that. But, I am standing here now, cheering you on at the top of my lungs for your courage to write this piece today.

For what it is worth, I'd like to share my own thoughts on this topic. It is, as you say, an intensely polarizing issue. It is an issue that creates a visceral reaction on both sides of the debate - the right to choose and the right to life.

Where do I stand? No surprise, but I support and will do everything in my power to protect a woman's right to choose. It is her decision, and her decision alone. It's not my decision. It's not your decision. It's not the decision of the neighbor across the street, or the person who lives three blocks over. It's a woman's decision to choose. She has the right, good or bad, to make decisions about her own body.

I find it ironic that many people who say that government has overstepped its' boundaries and has gotten too big, would want to insert themselves in the most private and personal decision a woman human can make. That makes no sense to me.

But, I also understand the position of the pro-life camp. I agree with them. We have to give life a chance, and create a world where there is an opportunity for every living thing, and that includes the unborn. Life is sacred. Life is precious.

I believe that you can embrace both sides of this argument. There are shades of gray in life. The shades of gray reside in the personal torment of each individual facing such a decision. What we need to do as human beings is to respect the decision. And we need to show love and compassion, especially when a woman makes a decicion about terminating a pregnancy that we might not agree with.

It's her decision. Not mine. Not yours. It's hers.

Monica Wilcox's picture

Stepping over the Fear

Wow Lissa!! What a brave and honest post. I'm so glad you shared the turmoil and difficult decisions you've had to make to provide the best care for your patients. Doctors often get portrayed as emotionless machines; going through the procedures with little connection to the patient. How nice to be reminded that there is a human in that white jacket who may care a great deal.

What I LOVED most about this post is how you stepped over your fear of being judged and gave us such a great, personal, gut wrenching story about a very difficult issue. Is there anything better than watching an individual conquer one of their fears? Do you think the Universe smiles every time a fear is trumped? I do and I think It's smiling today.

SO glad you took the P-leap.

Much love,

Caren's picture

Lissa, Your words never cease

Lissa,
Your words never cease to inspire me. I was so moved by this. I have always been Pro-Choice and never waived from this view. I am also able to respect those who aren't hoping they in turn will accept my views.

It cannot be an easy decision for doctor or patient, so I am grateful to know you did what you feel you needed to do. Those women were lucky to have you on their side.

I think for me, I have always gone against the grain of how I was raised. I march to the beat of my own drum. But along the way I have always had the support of my loving family to see me through. No matter the changes I go through they are there for me.

Thank you for being authentic. Such an inspiration.

Living authentic,
Caren

Stacey Curnow's picture

Thank you for speaking your truth (even if your voice shakes)

Hello dear Lissa!

Thanks so much for sharing this story - I remember well talking with you about telling this story and sharing one of my favorite quotes, "Speak your truth, even if your voice shakes."

I worked in the only abortion clinic in our town for years, and I never met one woman who was happy to exercise her right to end a pregnancy, but she was always grateful that she had that right, and expressed appreciation for the kind and respectful care we offered.

Thank you, again, for speaking your truth (even if your voice shakes). Much love, s

Stacey is a purpose and success coach who helps you give birth to your BIG dreams. To find your purpose and passion, check out her FREE eBook, The Purpose and Passion Guidebook.

Melanie Bates's picture

Lissa

What a brave and beautiful post. I found myself both cringing with you and smiling at the fact that you've spoken your truth so beautifully and with such candor. Bravo for having the courage to share and make it so easy to "see" you and this difficult issue.

Lissa Rankin's picture

Thank you Dana

I appreciate the support- and I hear you about where you disagree. And honestly, I guess I agree with you too. What I should have said is that I have yet to meet an OB/GYN who isn't pro-choice, but most of them don't do abortions, which bugs me. But yes, ultimately, we should all have the right to choose- right? True empowerment is the right to be authentic, to stand for what we believe, and to be supported in doing so, eh?

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Dana Theus's picture

((((((LIssa)))))))

Yes, even doctors have the right to be authentic. And politicians and bureaucrats and business execs and mother's-to-be. If only everyone respected everyone else's rights to that authenticity - and each other's boundaries - we wouldn't have this mountain of social rules built up around us all that needs to be dismantaled. So we start here. One doctor at a time:)

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Dana Theus's picture

Brave, Brave, Brave

Lissa

Thank you for writing this and sharing your story, painful as it is. You demonstrate the very deepest meaning of compassion here. The gift of compassion is not truly given when you - the compassionate one - stand aside, it's most meaningful when you stand in the heart of the pain and give it anyway.

I can't imagine how I would react in your situation but I like to think I would do the same thing and be the same way. For myself, I think you expressed it when you said Of course, I don’t know the answer, but I have learned that it’s not my place to ask the question. If we are truly all free beings, which I believe we are, then we are all free to make our choices and live with their consequences, absent the judgement of others. It's never this easy, of course - no matter which side of things you're on - but it's most important that we try in these most difficult situations.

The only place I think I disagree with you is when you say that you think all OB/GYNs should feel this way. I respect the difficult position your profession is in and I would no more ask a Dr. who believed to their core that s/he served his patients best by not taking what s/he considered to be a life - than I would ask you not to support the women in this difficult position. I know a lot of Dr.'s probably chicken out and simply opt not to be controversial, not practicing their beliefs at all. While I understand they have other fears, I respect their choices less. But for those that truly believe it is wrong, I don't condem them.

It's a difficult issue all the way around. Thank you for sharing your truth with us and trusting us with it.

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