1973: When the Bough Began to Break…

By Katie Reid

I was born in 1973. The year, the womb became the most dangerous place in America to live. Five months and seven days after Roe v. Wade, my parents got to meet and hold me for the first time.

I always found it remarkable that the first four months I was alive I was a person, and then, in the stroke of a pen, some strangers declared that for the next five months my personhood no longer existed, not even three fifths remained.

One day I was precious, the next day – disposable, the property of my mother to do with as she wished.

How could I be a person one day, lose it the next, and yet still be alive, still living, still growing? How could I, as I got older, as I began to kick, grasp, grow nails, and move around, how did I lose the rights I previously held?

I never could make sense of it, but I was one of the fortunate ones, I got to be born and meet the world. Four years later my baby brother or sister was not so blessed.

I’ve always wondered about that baby I would have grown up with and loved.  Well, I’ve more than wondered, but I was a child.  What could I do?  There didn’t seem to be anyway to undo the wrong, just accept it and put it out of my mind like it never happened- except it did.

Then I grew up and found out just how scared, shamed, and desperate a girl can be, how desperate I could be when I was confronted with a baby and a life I didn’t want.  Everything I believed collided with everything I ever dreamed, and I had to choose when every choice terrified me.  I can’t claim any goodness for choosing life.

In my most desperate moments, it was the life inside me that created an urgency, a demand for life, and a devotion to a little person I had not yet met.

I never had courage as I lived the difficult life that followed, but from the first moment I laid eyes on my child I had a deeper love than I had ever imagined possible.

Although wonderful, what that love didn’t do was make my children real, human, or alive, anymore than Roe v. Wade extinguished my humanity 37 years ago.

They were all of those all on their own, and nothing I felt or feared, nothing the courts said or did, nothing, not even time could change what they were by nature from their very first moment, human beings deserving human rights.  And I realized there was something I could do to help undo the wrong and “speak for those with no voice, for those appointed to die” Proverbs 31:8.


Katie recently wrote a book that is a collection of letters to the unborn child’s mommies, daddies, grandparents and the rest of us.  Katie has given the unborn a voice to say what is so often unsaid, defend their right to live, and share their mothers’ need for compassion.  It is entitled When The Bough Breaks: Abortion and the Rest of Us.


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