At a recent campaign event, my husband Spencer Cox was asked his position on abortion. He stated he was unapologetically pro-life and acknowledged the serious implications this issue has had on our society. In the midst of the noise surrounding his comments, I believe many of us have forgotten the importance of standing up for the most vulnerable in our society, including the unborn.
This has been a lifelong conviction articulated by both of us for many years. Our position on the issue has only strengthened over time thanks to an experience so sacred it has left an indelible imprint on our family.
Just three years before Spencer became Utah’s lieutenant governor, against all odds, I gave birth to Lawson, a baby boy who came almost two months early. There were several complications during the pregnancy, and many times we were told he likely wouldn’t survive. It’s impossible to convey the love and relief I felt when I looked into his beautiful eyes and watched him take his first breath and wiggle his tiny toes. I delivered the sweetest child a mother could ever hope to have. And as soon as I gave birth to this perfect little boy, with tears in my eyes I gave him to his mother.
For months, I carried a child who was not my own. As a result of faith, medical advancement, and four people who had a desire to bring a child into this world above all of the earthly challenges placed in our way — a miracle happened, and a baby boy began his life’s journey.
Spencer’s sister Emilee was born with cystic fibrosis. She has fought a long and valiant battle, one she continues to fight every day. Despite her previous pregnancy and birth of a daughter, her strong desire to have another child was met with medical realities too serious to overcome. Emilee and her husband Ben heard the painful words that so many women in this world have heard before: She couldn’t give birth to a child.
After months of prayer, discussion and earnest communication, I chose to be a gestational carrier for sweet Lawson. This decision was not without complications, and at times life-threatening challenges. However, I know that everything led me to this point in life.
I was fortunate to once again experience one of the most powerful bonds in nature — between a mother and an unborn child, this time one who was not my own. Although my decision ultimately blessed another family with this wonderful boy, the bond I felt has strengthened my conviction in the fragility of human life, and the responsibility we have to protect all children, born and unborn.
My story was not solitary; many were on this journey with me. Nor is it without match. Our experience was one answer to an ever-increasing incidence of infertility that people face across the globe every day. Sometimes there are answers (another sister chose adoption) and sadly sometimes the answers just don’t work. I feel such great empathy for those who experience the gut-wrenching pain of being unable to conceive or give birth to a child that you so desperately want.
As a society, we can do better when we talk about the most important of all issues — human life. It is not a trivial issue well-suited to bumper stickers or political debates. Life is precious. The life of the unborn is indeed sacred. And together, Spencer and I will always stand unwavering for the future of all Utah children.
Abby Palmer Cox, wife of Utah’s Lieutenant Governor Spencer J. Cox, holds a degree in special education with a dual emphasis in early childhood and severe disabilities.