When Brooke Alexander looks at her twin daughters, she realizes that Kendall and Olivia might not be alive without the Texas heartbeat law.
The 18-year-old from Corpus Christi, Texas, wanted an abortion, but the pro-life law stopped her from getting one, according to the Washington Post.
Now, despite her struggles with finances, relationships and future plans, Alexander is thankful for her baby girls.
“It’s really scary thinking that I wouldn’t have them,” she told the newspaper, as baby Olivia grasped her finger.
According to the report, Alexander discovered she was pregnant on Aug. 29, 2021, two days before the Texas heartbeat law went into effect. The law prohibits abortions once an unborn baby’s heartbeat is detectable, about six weeks of pregnancy, and was the first early abortion ban allowed to go into effect in nearly 50 years in the United States.
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Texas pro-life leaders estimate the law has saved more than 17,000 unborn babies from abortion since September, and they have been expanding support services to help mothers and babies like Alexander and her twins.
Alexander said she initially wanted an abortion; she and her boyfriend, Billy High, had been together for only three months, and her relationship with her parents was difficult. High told her he would prefer if she had an abortion, too, because he did not want to give up “the freedom of being a teenager,” according to the report.
When Alexander called to schedule an abortion, she said the receptionist told her that they did not have any more appointments and gave her several addresses of abortion facilities in New Mexico.
Meanwhile, a friend of her mother’s told her about a local pro-life pregnancy resource center, Pregnancy Center of the Coastal Bend, where she could have a free ultrasound and counseling about her options, according to the report.
As the ultrasound technician pressed the probe into her stomach, slathered with gel, Brooke willed the screen to show a fetus without a heartbeat.
The technician gasped.
It was twins. And they were 12 weeks along.
“Are you sure?” Brooke said.
“Oh, my God, oh, my God,” [her mother Terri] Thomas recalled saying as she jumped up and down. “This is a miracle from the Lord. We are having these babies.”
After seeing her unborn daughters and watching their hearts beat, Alexander chose life.
Her life has not been easy since then. She said she had to quit her job as a waitress and real estate school because she was so exhausted and sick during her pregnancy. Her relationship with her mother also has been strained, and she often feels like people judge her for being a young mother, according to the report.
But she has experienced joys, too: announcing their babies’ gender to family and friends, experiencing that special mother-child bond with her girls and getting married.
“I’m so happy I met you billy,” she wrote on Instagram when she announced her pregnancy. “Starting a family with you is gonna be one of the hardest things I’m ever gonna experience, but I’m glad I get to do it with you.”
Alexander and High had a small wedding ceremony shortly after their daughters were born, and he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force, the newspaper reports.
Her views about abortion also have become more complex and contradictory. She told the newspaper:
Looking at her daughters, Brooke struggled to articulate her feelings on abortion. On one hand, she said, she absolutely believed that women should have the right to choose what’s best for their own lives. On the other, she knew that, without the Texas law, her babies might not be here.
“Who’s to say what I would have done if the law wasn’t in effect?” she said. “I don’t want to think about it.”
Though she feels like she has lost her freedom in some ways, she said she also loves her daughters, and being a mother feels natural to her. Knowing that she is the one who can best soothe them and understand their needs makes the sleepless nights and financial struggles more bearable.
“I think they can smell me,” she said. “And that makes me feel so special.”