Wedged between two radically different Washington, D.C. events that drew hundreds of thousands – the Women’s March and the March for Life – a silent decision by one marginalized woman shined as a beacon of hope and inspiration for every woman faced with a choice. At Visitation House (VH), a small transitional home in Worcester, Mass. caring for women with crisis pregnancies, love and life confronted death head on – and won.
On January 25th, a young Visitation House resident, Tanya, was rushed to the emergency room escorted by VH staffers. Tanya (not her real name) was 4 months pregnant. Doctors delivered grim news. The baby would likely miscarry and should be taken in her best interest. Keeping her baby placed Tanya at risk of infection, other complications, even death.
Homeless and impoverished prior to entering VH, Tanya encountered a choice at her most vulnerable moment.
Would the convenience and expedience of aborting her baby be a better choice than risking her own health? Or could her baby survive to a point of viability?
To abort her baby would be an immediate solution and would also sweep from the table future implications of raising a child alone — and without a home or job.
Tanya stood her ground. My baby boy has a heartbeat. Nobody takes him unless God chooses to take him first.
She returned home with VH staffers and with strict doctors’ orders: If she spikes a temperature or experiences other symptoms, she must return for the procedure.
The next day, experiencing symptoms, Tanya returned by ambulance to the ER. The medical opinion did not change. Her baby’s death was just a matter of time. We can take the baby now or the baby will die within you. It’s your choice. But losing the baby is inevitable.
Seeking another opinion, and with help from VH staff, Tanya sought a pro-life Ob/Gyn doctor in Boston. With a high-resolution ultra sound, the pro-life doctor delivered a radically different medical opinion. The baby is viable. Symptoms are manageable. And a surprising fact! Is not a boy – but a girl!
Two medical assessments were polar opposites – death and life – and just as polarizing as the two marches in D.C just 400 miles away – the Women’s March, the weekend prior, and the March for Life, the day after.
On January 27th, Mike Pence, the first U.S. Vice President ever to address the March for Life, eloquently and courageously stated:
“Life is winning again!…we will be judged by how we care for our most vulnerable: the aged, the infirmed, the disabled and the unborn… Let this movement be known for love, not anger… compassion, not confrontation… there is nothing stronger than gentleness. I believe we will continue to win the minds and hearts of the rising generation if our hearts first break for mothers and their unborn children and meet them where they are with generosity, not judgment. To heal our land and restore a culture of life, we must continue to be a movement that embraces all and shows the dignity and worth of every person.”
This week ends in heroic triumph for Tanya, her baby and the compassionate care givers serving at Visitation House who took the extra steps for life. No matter what the future holds for Tanya’s unborn child, it is a dramatic illustration of pro-life work in action — saving lives quietly and in support of those in the margins of our society.
In the midst of national optics showing marchers carrying placards stating LOVE TRUMPS HATE, there is victory for:
– LIFE – the chance for mother and the right of her unborn baby to survive
– CHOICE – the right choice (life) over the right to choose (death)
– LOVE – of mother, child and the often unseen, tireless heroes serving at crisis pregnancy centers and maternity homes
– COMPASSION – healing the forgotten, marginalized, victimized, poor, abused, addicted and homeless
And finally, a triumph for every woman who carries in her heart the placard message: LIFE TRUMPS DEATH.
Published in Catholic Free Press, February 17, 2017. Author Christine Farmer.