By Cecily Kellogg

Last Sunday morning, a man walked into a church in Wichita, Kansas and shot to death Dr. George Tiller. Dr. Tiller was volunteering as an usher that Sunday, so he was standing in the lobby of the church when the gunman entered. Unfortunately, Dr. Tiller’s death didn’t really come as a surprise; his medical practice centered on performing abortions, particularly late term abortions, and he’d been attacked before. Regardless of the near constant threats and harassment he received, Dr. Tiller was committed to his work. Why? Because he believed that “abortion is a matter of survival for women.”

It was for me. In October of 2004, I was pregnant with my sons Nicholas and Zachary. With great joy and expectation, my husband, my best friend, and I visited my doctor for a normal growth ultrasound. I was nearly 23 weeks pregnant, hovering at the start of the third trimester. Within moments it was clear something was wrong; one of the boys was still and had no heartbeat. When I met with my doctor, routine screening revealed the worst: the symptoms I’d been experiencing that I thought were normal with a twin pregnancy were actually evidence that I was sick -- very, very sick. I was immediately admitted to the hospital with severe preeclampsia, and though my doctors tried mightily to slow the progression of the disease, by the morning of October 27, 2004 a group of doctors stood at my bedside and delivered the worst news I’d ever received.

I was in advanced kidney failure. My blood pressure was skyrocketing, and it could not be controlled with medications. My liver was beginning to decline. The horrific headache I was experiencing could no longer be treated with pain medications because they were afraid it would depress my ability to breathe when I began to have the seizures they expected at any moment. I would soon likely suffer a stroke or a heart attack. In other words, I was going to die unless the pregnancy was terminated. Immediately.