I’m sharing some thoughts from earlier this Summer – this post was previously published at Crossmap.com
It was the week before my first Mother’s Day – I was 28 weeks pregnant and headed to California to celebrate a “Babymoon” with my husband. We spent several days relaxing together, dreaming about what life would be like when we would welcome our baby girl later this summer.
That same week, Cherlie LaFleur went into custody at Lancaster County Prison on $1 million bail, accused of attempting to flush her 28-week old baby down the toilet after giving birth in her Pennsylvania high school bathroom, only to end up leaving the baby in the trash can.
She went to prison. I went on vacation with my husband. We were both 28 weeks pregnant.
Having walked the same path for 28 weeks, we may have shared morning sickness or other symptoms, but our experiences were starkly different.
Cherlie LaFleur is a 19-year-old Haitian woman who came to the US following the 2010 earthquake. She speaks little English and had little to no prenatal care, and is in high school.
I’m 30 years old, newly married, and surrounded by people who can’t stop celebrating the new life growing inside of me.
Right now, my biggest anxieties center on how I will possibly send thank you notes for the overwhelming number of gifts we’ve received and continue to receive, and at what point my baby will begin to sleep through the night in her beautiful new nursery.
What was Cherlie afraid of? I can’t know, but based on my experience in reaching out to women experiencing unplanned pregnancy, I’ll offer some guesses: how to provide for a child? Her parents’ reaction? How to build a future while continuing her education and supporting a child?
Whatever her fears were, we know the message that our culture was sending her. News reports indicate that Cherlie’s alleged actions occurred just days after the pro-life group Live Action (www.LiveAction.org) released an undercover video from a New York late-term abortion clinic, in which a counselor advised an undercover investigator to “flush” her baby down the toilet if it is born alive during an abortion.
“Some patients will just sit in the bathroom and try and push. Um, don’t do that,” the counselor told the Live Action investigator.
The investigator then asked what to do if the baby comes out while she is at home.
“If it comes out, then it comes out. Flush it…if anything, you know, put it in a bag or something or somewhere and bring it to us,” the counselor said.
My job at Heroic Media (www.heroicmedia.org) is to connect women facing unexpected pregnancies with assistance and practical, compassionate care. I have devoted myself to serving women like Cherlie, using media to inform them about the help available to them at local Pregnancy Resource Centers across the country. I can’t always physically help these women, but the message we share has saved and changed thousands of lives. I wonder what might have been if we’d reached Cherlie with a message of hope instead of the message to “Flush it…”
Would she have realized that she could still fulfill her dreams? Could she have found the encouragement and support necessary to face her immediate life challenges in light of a brighter more hopeful future? Unfortunately, we will never know.
This was obviously a horrendous experience for the newborn, a viable 28 week old child Cherlie left in the trash can, but consider also how demeaning and alienating a message it was to Cherlie herself, that your only hope is to sit alone in a public restroom, deliver a baby, and dispose of it however you can. This is the same message that thousands of women hear every day in abortion clinics across America. It isn’t a message of hope, encouragement, or opportunity.
Let’s change the message now.
This article was first published at Crossmap.com: http://crossmap.christianpost.com/blogs/marissa-cope-she-went-to-prison-i-went-on-vacation-we-were-both-28-weeks-pregnant-3159