Sundahl: Experience at clinic after miscarriage helped shape view of abortion
PROVO, Utah — A life devoted to her family and faith has presented Heather Sundahl with some trials.
“I have four children and I’ve had four miscarriages,” Sundahl said. “I watch the TV show called ‘The Midwife,’ and anytime there’s a miscarriage or still birth, like, I’m there again. I’m there again. And I’m remembering the pain and the sadness, and it’s just scary.”
In 2004, she suffered her third miscarriage and was given surgery called a D and E — commonly known as an abortion — on the labor and delivery floor of a hospital.
“It’s like, what is the worst thing we can do to you while you are in this crisis, while you are grieving the loss of this child — let’s make you listen to babies and let’s make you see the moms with the balloons and the flowers,” Sundahl said.
Then, a year later, she lost another baby at 17 weeks.
Her doctor’s recommended she go to a clinic that offered abortions.
“She said, ‘Well, we can do it at the hospital, but they really know what they’re doing and it’ll be a much easier experience for you and you will heal faster if you go to this clinic.’ And there was such cognitive dissonance in my head. I’m like, ‘I can’t go to an abortion clinic; that’s not who I am.'”
Sundahl listened to her doctor and went, only to be greeted by protesters.
“I was already nervous, and there was a man who had this big poster and he started calling me a baby killer,” she recalled. “On the one hand, I felt like I wanted to explain, well no, that’s not me. Like, I’m not like them. But I thought, I am using the same service that these other women use, and it just made me a lot less judgmental.”
She went on to have another baby, but never forgets how the experience at the clinic changed her views on women having access to abortions.
“The story’s more complicated than that. And I feel like, because of my experience, having gone to an abortion clinic with a miscarriage, that I can maybe show people that things aren’t quite as black and white as they think.”
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