Last week, a friend of mine who is a Missionary for Life updated her Facebook status with an encouraging post.
“Every day I see more and more how the pro-life community is more than just a movement — it’s a family,” she wrote. “Abortion will end because my family is working on it and my family is AWESOME!”
I know what she means. Who doesn’t want to be associated with a Dick Retta or an Abby Johnson? Now, add the name Stacy Crimm to that list. Crimm is neither a sidewalk counselor nor a pro-life spokesperson: She’s a woman who lived out pro-life principles as purely as is possible. She gave her life for them:
She laughed and cried all at once that day in March as she explained that five pregnancy tests showed she would be having a child. It was a joyous surprise at age 41 but even more so because she’d been told she would never be able to get pregnant, said her brother, Ray Phillips.
But even as she shopped for clothes for the child she longed to hold in her arms, she knew something was not right. …
At her family’s encouragement, she visited a number of doctors. In July, a CT scan revealed that she had head and neck cancer.
Now she had to choose between her life and her baby’s life. Phillips said she agonized only for a while before deciding against taking potentially lifesaving chemotherapy in hopes that she would soon hold a healthy baby in her arms.
Without chemo, the aggressive cancer intensified quickly. By August, the invasive tumor had begun to wrap around Crimm’s brain stem. In the middle of the month, she collapsed and was rushed to the hospital, where doctors decided to deliver her 2-pound, 1-ounce daughter, Dottie Mae, by C-section. Both mother and daughter were confined to respective intensive care units — and it became increasingly apparent Crimm might die without seeing her daughter at all. At that point, a couple of determined nurses stepped in, working with the medical center’s neonatal transport team to devise a safe way to enable Dottie to visit Crimm.
Nurses wheeled Dottie down the hallway to her mother …
They placed the baby on her mother’s chest. Mother and child gazed into each other’s eyes for several minutes. She smiled at the baby who at last lay in her arms.
No one said a word. No one had a dry eye.
Stacie Crimm died three days later.
Her brother described that moment between mother and child as “perfect.” Today, he and his wife are the guardians of little Dottie, still just five pounds, but healthy enough to be at home with the Phillipses and their four children.
Crimm truly did have a choice: Even if abortion were illegal, she could have opted to receive chemotherapy. That she bravely chose to place her child’s life before her own recalls forcibly to mind why the phrase “a mother’s love” has such resonance. When we talk about abortion, rarely do we talk about the ache many women feel after they choose to abort their babies. Crimm’s physical suffering must have been unimaginable — and, yet, three days before she died, she was able to hold close the fruit of her choice in what Phillips said was a perfect moment. Would that her story might help all mothers see nothing is worth the sacrifice of their own child.