At 27 years old, recovering drug addict Laura Amoretti discovered that against all odds, she was pregnant. She had only been sober for 90 days and her sister pressured her to have an abortion, kicking Amoretti out of her home when she refused.
“I began having problems with drugs and alcohol at 19 after an abusive relationship and serious depression left me broken, lost, with an overwhelming sadness and dislike for myself,” she wrote in an essay for Love What Matters. “As my addiction progressed, I found myself 27 years old with a crippling heroin addiction and I hadn’t gone a day in 8 years without drinking. I was a master at hiding my addiction from family and friends but when I was alone, I was an absolute mess. I cried myself to sleep every night and woke up in full blown withdrawal almost every day. When I wasn’t falling asleep smoking cigarettes I was escorting or partying.”
After finally telling her family the truth, they helped her quit drugs and get through “the most painful and debilitating withdrawal.” Amoretti also found support in a fellow-recovering addict, until one day he was tragically robbed and killed. His death nearly sent her back to drugs, but instead, she found herself at a meeting for recovering addicts. “… I spoke and told everyone what happened and told them I was so distraught I couldn’t think of what to do but to go back to addiction,” she said.
A week later, after her friend’s funeral, Amoretti texted her dealer and set up a time to meet him. “[I]n that exact instant I received a different text that I believe saved my life. A guy from that meeting texted me asking if I was ok, how was I doing. I stopped and made a decision right there not to use drugs that day. It was GOD was showing me there was something else waiting for me if I just stayed sober,” she explained.
The two soon began dating, and two months later – only 90 days sober – Amoretti learned she was pregnant. She was shocked. At 13 years old she had been told it would be nearly impossible for her to become pregnant because of Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. But there they were — two recovering addicts expecting a baby. Her sister, with whom she was living, insisted that she abort, but Amoretti refused. “I was soon forced to leave her house because she didn’t agree with my decision and in a scramble and with almost nothing to work with, me and him found the tiniest guesthouse to live in. We both found jobs and slowly but surely created a modest life to bring our baby into.”
Abortion isn’t the solution
Unfortunately, this sort of treatment is common toward women dealing with unplanned pregnancies, and it’s even worse for pregnant women battling addiction. Rather than helping women, abortion has been tied to an increased risk of drug and alcohol use. One study found that women who aborted unwanted pregnancies were “270% more likely to report subsequent alcohol abuse or dependence.” And post-abortive women are more likely to become addicted to drugs than women who choose life (15.8 percent vs. 5.3 percent). Based on this, abortion could certainly send a recovering addict into a downward spiral.
As for babies conceived while their mothers are addicted to drugs, they do not deserve death. When we help the mother, we help the child in the womb as well; the focus should be on assisting women in overcoming their addictions. The effects on the child depend on the type of drug abused during pregnancy, and killing a child through abortion is not a morally acceptable response to the fear of a substance’s effect on that child’s body.
While society’s “solution” of aborting a child is often cloaked in a misguided sense of compassion and a desire to avoid suffering, eliminating the sufferer is surely not a proper way to avoid life of potential suffering. After all, “suffering is not evil,” noted the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles in a recent video. “Actually, suffering is morally neutral…. What is good or evil is how you react to suffering. You can react in a way that is ennobling, dignified, and good. Or you can react in a way that is selfish, wicked, evil, and wrong.” Reacting with killing — abortion — is wrong.
Coercion isn’t the solution
Other individuals, such as Barbara Harris, believe that the best way to help women who are addicted to drugs is to coerce them into sterilization. Harris travels the country in an RV, offering cash to women struggling with addiction in exchange for being permanently sterilized. “Nothing positive comes to a drug addict who gives birth to eight children that are taken away from her. This is a win-win for everybody,” she said. Harris has reportedly paid more than 7,000 women to be sterilized.
While on the surface, this might seem reasonable, it isn’t. Lynn Paltrow, executive director of National Advocates for Pregnant Women, says Harris’ method of assistance isn’t morally acceptable. “[Harris] perpetuates really destructive and cruel myths about pregnant women and their children,” she said. She sees Harris as operating under the false narrative that the children of drug addicts have no hope and that drug addicts themselves have no chance at recovery. This is far from the truth.
For many addicts, becoming pregnant actually saves them from their addiction, as they feel a new sense of responsibility and purpose in life.
Leilani is one woman who discovered she was pregnant while she was homeless, addicted to drugs, and had already been in jail for stealing. She chose life for her baby and for herself with the help of Ventura County Pregnancy Center. She was able to continue her education, find a job, and be the mother she wanted to be, all because she said yes to life and had the support to do so. Another drug addict, Kailee, was dating and living with her dealer when she learned she was pregnant. He and her stepfather both wanted her to abort, but she knew she wanted her baby. Still, they told her she “would be doing [her] baby a favor” with abortion, and that taking her child’s life “would be the best thing for me.” They told her she would be a terrible mother. But a pregnancy center helped her choose life and Kailee was able to go to rehab. Her baby’s father also quit drugs and got a job. The two married and have since had two more children.
As for Amoretti, she and her boyfriend also overcame addiction and welcomed a baby boy. They work hard to stay sober for his sake. Amoretti says that together they are “sober, stronger, and happy as can be.”
“The odds were fully stacked against us,” she said, “but we both stayed sober and in a mountain of grief and chaos we brought light into the world.”
Babies are a light in the world and a miracle in the darkness of addiction.
Author’s Note: If you are pregnant and living with addiction, contact OptionLine for help in your local area.
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