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Woman shares story of abortion 20 years later

By Natalie Shepherd

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    MILWAUKEE (WDJT) — This is the preemie hat,” said Chris.

20 years have passed.

“He was less than a pound,” she said.

And still Chris holds onto the tiny hat baby Ben never got to wear.

“Don’t hesitate to call us if you need anything, even if it’s just a gallon of milk,” said multiple supporters to Chris.

She’s kept it all these years.

“They’re meaningful, I mean, part of it is, this is all I got,” she said.

Chris, who preferred not to use her last name, was already a mom to an 18-month-old in 2002, and pregnant for a second time.

“So, 20 years ago, I was eagerly awaiting my second child, and my water broke at 18 weeks. When that happens, an infection sets in, and the infection is fatal,” said Chris.

She struggled, deciding what to do.

“And I had to accept that, if I didn’t terminate my pregnancy, and save my life, my 18-month-old child was going to be motherless.

Chris — choosing an induction abortion — which uses medication to start labor — to deliver her baby, holding Ben for the first and last time.

“I think there would be people that would hear your story and say, well, that’s not an abortion. So many people say that. They’re like that’s not really an abortion, Chris, and I’m like, no, it really is.”

That’s why Chris started telling her story — to show the impact on women and families.

“I think it’s important now for me to speak out and explain it does impact them. That abortion is part of a continuum of care that women need to navigate pregnancy and childbirth,” she said.

Without Roe v. Wade — an 1849 law in Wisconsin makes abortion a felony.

In Chris’s case —

“What that says is that two doctors have to agree that the life of the woman is in danger. It’s very, very ambiguous,” said Chris.

Because she was able to make that decision — she had another baby a little more than a year later. A choice she hopes other mothers have, too.

“I regret a little bit keeping this private for so long,” said Chris. “But maybe the story has more impact now that people can really understand the gravity of what’s at stake.

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