Volume > Issue > A Smile From the Womb

A Smile From the Womb

WHEN THE ABORTION ISSUE GETS PERSONAL

By David T. Koyzis | May 2001
David T. Koyzis is Associate Professor of Political Science at Redeemer University College, Ancaster, Ontario, Canada. He is a member of the Christian Reformed Church.

For as long as I have been aware of the abortion issue, I have considered myself prolife. To be sure, I have never carried a placard in a demonstration, never joined a prolife organization, or in any other way become an activist on the issue. I do recall opining to one of my professors at the Baptist college I was attending in the mid-1970s that abortion is tantamount to murder. I do not recall either the occasion for the comment or the professor’s response, but it coincided with a developing political awareness that would eventually lead to a more intensive study of the subject.

Over the decades I have not wavered in my anti-abortion convictions. Nevertheless, the issue was rarely a deciding factor when it came time to vote. As a prolifer I often found myself in the position of having to hold my nose and vote for a candidate with whom I agreed on most other issues save this one. But something happened two years ago that made this more difficult for me to do.

On November 3, 1998, my wife, Nancy, and I were blessed with a daughter, though her birth came much sooner than expected and, as a consequence, brought a heartache that only the parents of “preemies” can fully comprehend. Theresa Dawn Calvert Koyzis was born just over three months prematurely — at 26-weeks gestational age, weighing slightly more than two pounds. I will spare readers the details of Nancy’s early contractions and the shock we experienced at being told she would be giving birth at any moment during what we had expected would be a short hospital visit; mere words cannot communicate the feelings of numbness and incredulity — a sense that we must surely be watching this happen to someone else.

Suffice it to say that Theresa spent the next 10 weeks in two different hospitals, where she received wonderfully attentive care from dedicated physicians, nurses, and technicians. Some of the nurses we knew to be Christians, and one of them even prayed with us in the visitation room adjacent the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). These were dark times for us as we learned that Theresa was afflicted with pulmonary interstitial emphysema, an air-pocket in one of her lungs that made breathing difficult and required steroid treatment. Thankfully, after numerous ups and downs, Theresa would eventually emerge from this ordeal in remarkably good health, blissfully unaware of her own unusual birth and early infancy.

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