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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Week(s) (02/10/11)

TITLE: When is it Real?
By Amanda Brogan


“How far along?”

The teenage girl stared intently at the woman before her. Her question hung in the air like an unsteady guillotine blade; her face contorted in apprehension of a painful answer. Lisa had seen cases like this before. Were she not extremely careful with her answers, she may lose the patient.

“You’re only in your first trimester, so the procedure should be quick and easy. At this stage we generally use the suction aspiration method to dispose of the tissue.” Lisa kept her tone kind, gentle, matter-of-fact – just as if she were a nurse explaining to a patient how often to take a medicinal prescription.

The girl glanced down at her shaky hands and then gripped the edge of the table on which she sat. “Stage ... what stage is it? I mean,” she tucked a rebellious streak of blonde hair behind her ear, “how old is the baby? How many weeks?”

Lisa tried not to cringe at the girl’s choice of words. Calling it a baby was taboo for the staff. “The fetus is at 11 weeks gestation.”

The blonde wrapped her arms around her stomach and leaned forward slightly. Was she going to be sick? Lisa wasn’t sure if she should comfort the girl or help her to a sink.

“Is everything alright, Miss Kendle?”

“Will it hurt?”

“The procedure is harmless. Very few patients walk away with serious side effects. Only in extreme cases – ”

“I mean, will it hurt the baby?”

Lisa held her clipboard tightly to her chest. There was that word again. “At this point, ma’am, the embryo has not yet developed enough vital parts and organs to be considered a human. Abortions are performed at much later gestational periods than yours, I assure you. It’s perfectly safe.”

“So it won’t ... it won’t feel anything?” Zoe Kendle placed a hand over her abdomen and looked down. Her eyes screamed sorrow and helplessness.

“What’s inside you now is mostly a blob of developing cells, Miss Kendle. I’m sure it won’t feel a thing.”

Invisible needles began to prick all over Lisa’s body. What is that feeling? Guilt? I have nothing to feel guilty about. This is a valuable service to women. This girl has come here for help and I’m a part of providing it for her.

Yet in watching such distress play out in Zoe’s every response, Lisa suddenly felt that she was doing anything but helping.

Inhaling slowly, Zoe looked up again, eyes moist. “Do I have time to think it over?”

“Of course, dear. We encourage you to consider your options. But we suggest you don’t postpone the decision too long. For your own health, it may be beneficial to decide sooner than later.”

The girl pushed another batch of hair from her eyes. “How long until it’s not just cells and tissue? How do you know when it becomes a child?”

Pricking needles became a hammer that rammed into Lisa’s chest. “Well, um, a pregnancy can be terminated at least up to 23 weeks gestation. And, um, well ...”

“But how do you know when it actually becomes a baby?”

Lisa fidgeted with her clipboard and smiled nervously. “I’m really not the one to ask. I’m just an assistant. I’ve never, uh, performed the procedure.” The room seemed to be getting smaller and the air getting stuffier by the minute.

“Will you excuse me, Miss Kendle? I need to check something in another room.”

Leaning her back against the off-white wall in the hallway, Lisa tried to reassemble her dismembered nerves. What’s wrong with me? I’ve never questioned women’s rights before. But then ... that girl has a point. When is a fetus no longer a fetus? Who draws the line between baby and cell mass?

She glanced down at her clipboard chart. Due to assist the doctor in about 10 minutes. Better pull my mind together.

Straightening and turning down the hall, she collided with another clinic assistant. Shock and terror masked the woman’s face.

“Jennifer, what’s wrong? You look as if you’ve just witnessed a massacre.”

“You don’t know the half of it. We got in some new 4D ultrasound equipment today and I was helping and watching the screen and ... Lisa, you won’t believe how vivid those pictures are.”

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This article has been read 440 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Theresa Santy 02/17/11
Life is precious. It makes me cry to think of how many men, women, and children are unaware of what these globs of cells look like at eleven weeks, or nine weeks, or six weeks, or...
Patricia Protzman02/18/11
Good writing. An excellent example of what many women "think" about before these murderous procedures. Some decide to not to go through with it and many do not.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/18/11
You did a great job on this sensitive issue. I like how you showed there wasn't a line that could be drawn. As science progresses and promise are surviving surviving at earlier and earlier weeks, it really proves the point you made, Great job!
Lizzy Ainsworth02/19/11
This is really good. I expected it to just be from one person's point of view - probably the patients, which has been done over and over, but you managed to flip it over and take both people's side.
Noel Mitaxa 02/19/11
My first thought was to admire your skilful word pictures, but then you hooked me into the depth of the thinking - from both sides of the nurse's uniform.
Your title embraces the issue so succinctly. This is a brilliant entry. I hope it places right up there.
Glynis Becker02/20/11
A difficult subject and you've done a great job keeping it right on track. This is a great take on this week's topic and a fabulous piece over all.
Benjamin Graber02/20/11
Wow, that is really powerful, Amanda. Excellent job making this story feel very real; it is very sobering!
Catrina Bradley 02/20/11
This is so well done - the message is powerful and convicting, yet you did no preaching. It seems the Holy Spirit was hard at work in that clinic and in your words.
Henry Clemmons02/20/11
You've left me silent and in tears.
As far as the story goes, you ministered your point expertly. A very strong piece of writing that gives hope to intercessors praying daily for the unborn and for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of those who would threaten their lifes. I pray this story had a happy ending for all involved.
Troy Manning02/20/11
Very nice job of approaching a commonly addressed (& very serious) topic from a new angle. Well-handled. :)
Helen Curtis02/21/11
Wonderful! I'll be praying for the Holy Spirit to start really convicting the medical professionals who do this (often not by their choice but because they have to provide the service). Very powerful with hope winning in the end!
Lollie Hofer02/21/11
Beautifully told. I'm glad it was the abortion worker who was being effected...great ending. I do remember a woman's testimony a couple weeks ago on Christian radio. I believe she owned an abortion clinic at one time and it was the advanced technical machinery which convinced her what she was doing was wrong. Very timely piece, especially since this is Right-to-Life month. Well done.
Rachel Phelps02/21/11
Your title is perfect. My biological mother had an abortion before she had me and gave me up for adoption, so this is a subject near to my heart. Well done.
Shann Hall-LochmannVanBennekom 02/24/11
Congratulations for placing 8th in level 3 and 25th overall!
Caitlyn Meissner02/28/11
I'm so glad you wrote this story. I can definitely see God's hand in it. There are so many women facing these tough choices who need to know the truth. I liked how you didn't try to solve everything in the end, but rather left us wondering what would happen. I hope your story will cause many people to stop and pray for frightened women and their unborn children.