By REP. KELLY MERRICK
I’ve always wondered what went through my 16-year-old mother’s mind when she found out she was pregnant. Did a doctor tell her how easy it would be to end my life? That no one would have to know, not her boyfriend, not even her parents? Did she worry about being shamed and embarrassed? About not living up to someone’s expectations?
Unfortunately, this scenario occurs millions of times every year in the United States, but it’s a situation that I, by the grace of God, escaped from unscathed.
My mother chose to give me life. She was undoubtedly given an opportunity to choose a path that the world tells women is an easy way out – a quiet exit from pregnancy where no one would never know of her “mistakes.”
But she didn’t take that route. She took the hard path, and I’m here today because she did.
Because of her selflessness, I’ve lived to give birth to three beautiful children of my own. I get to tell my story today because my biological mother chose life, and because God blessed me with wonderful adoptive parents, David and Charlotte Richards, who exemplified what it meant to be kind, loving, and gracious.
Because of my personal history, I value the sanctity of life to the very core of my being.
Over the weekend, I had several Right to Life supporters contact me because they had been told that I voted against a pro-life bill. I shared my testimony with them, and we talked about creating a culture of life in Alaska.
I told them about our House Finance team’s efforts last year that stripped abortion funding from the state budget – and how we fought and won the battle to keep that amendment in place through the entire budget process. I told them how much the cause of life means to me.
Ronald Reagan’s phrase, “trust but verify,” is a reminder to Americans that we shouldn’t simply believe everything we hear.
These engaged Alaskans may have trusted what they had initially heard about my vote, but they also did what every conservative should be willing to do: they called me to verify.
These open-minded, kind, compassionate people now know that they have a true pro-life advocate working on their behalf – not just one who screams loudly at others and files dozens of bills without any plan to bring them to light.
Kelly Merrick represents Alaska’s 14th District, Eagle River, in the Alaska House of Representatives.