I knew that I wanted to be an attorney in the 3rd grade. The simple mind of a third-grader is resolute. My class took a field trip to the courthouse, and the courtroom captured my imagination. I thought to myself, this is where the truth is made known; the place where wrong is made right.
Life went according to plan and I was admitted to the University of Denver law school in my mid-twenties.
Shortly after my acceptance, I took a pregnancy test. I stared at the little, plastic stick in my hand.
As the double pink lines appeared, fear and anxiety overwhelmed me. A newborn in the first month of my first year of law school had not been part of the plan.
I’d like to tell you that I didn’t consider abortion. I did.
I’d like to tell you that I graduated from law school. I did not.
My husband was the calm voice of reason, committed to both our baby and our dream. I left law school a few days after discussing my situation with the Dean. Although the Dean was supportive and encouraging, I was conflicted and distressed. It hurt to decline my seat, but I knew personally that I could not manage the needs of a newborn and the financial demands and academic rigor of law school. I knew it wouldn’t hurt as much as losing my baby would.
Though I had made my decision, it took an early sonogram—showing my baby’s flutter of a heartbeat—to convict me about the importance of never taking a life through direct abortion.
In that little heartbeat, an entire world was unfolding for someone else. I saw my own humanity. I realized I was once in my mother’s womb—that same gestational age. My hopes and dreams were once contained in the infinite mystery that would be ‘my life’; even as I was once just a zygote, an embryo and a fetus. At every moment, in these stages, I was a human being who had a right to life.
Weeks later, I suffered a spontaneous miscarriage at three months while away from home. My coworker drove me to the emergency room. As the sonogram was under way, I sat up suddenly, and glanced at the monitor—startling the technician. She attempted to turn the monitor away from me—too late. I lay back down and said, “There is no heartbeat.”
I didn’t have my baby. I didn’t have law school. I didn’t have motherhood. I didn’t have my husband with me.
Profound loss can be an intimate encounter with grace.
I had an epiphany. It came to me in my newfound, “unexpected” wonder of the gift of life that was so apparent at the first sonogram. I wanted to behold it, again. It was similar to the wonder first encountered in that courtroom, in 3rd grade—the beauty of truth.
The undeniable heartbeat in my first sonogram also helped me see through the tortured animus and contaminated logic that pervades the pro-abortion rhetoric.
The argument “my body, my choice” proclaims reproductive autonomy for women by enslaving them to the instruments of dominion—namely, manipulation, coercion, and ultimately, violence. How does reproductive “freedom” find its origin in sexual and reproductive tyranny?
The epiphany led to a new outlook on my purpose in life. I saw the honor of motherhood; the gift of children as a blessing—the gift of life as a supreme gift.
Although I did not return to law school, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in Bioethics after raising three young children as a stay-at-home mom.
Through both of these pursuits, I fulfilled my old calling as a lawyer.
As a student in Bioethics, I will soon advocate as a bioethicist for respect of human life.
As a mother, I am an advocate as well. There is a profound connection between the role of lawyers and mothers in their roles as protectors of the innocent. In the womb, a human life awaits a just end, in silence. To give the gift of life is to be a guardian of the true good, a servant of justice, and to give a defense of the impoverished and defenseless. Every pregnant woman, in one sense, will be the prosecution, the defense, the judge and the jury; for every child in the womb awaits a just verdict.
Fortunately, many mothers, bioethicists, and lawyers for life defend justice and true liberty. Together, we work to make the truth known, make wrong right—just as I dreamed of doing in third grade.
Sarah Huntzinger is a wife, mother, and Bioethics student living in Colorado.