Nine years ago, Cade DeSpain messaged a friend about a cute girl he saw on her Facebook feed.
The friend introduced him to Kailee Lingo, her sorority sister at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas. Kailee remembers that when she and Cade met, it was “a connection at first sight.”
A month after college graduation, Kailee and Cade married in Marble Falls, Texas. They’re both proud to be native Texans: Kailee’s family has lived there for generations, and Cade’s ancestors are among Texas’ “Old Three Hundred,” the original families that joined Stephen F. Austin to settle the area in the 1800s.
At the time, the DeSpains were both passionately anti-abortion.
“I was just your quintessential pro-life Texan,” Kailee, 29, told CNN in a recent interview.
“I was raised in central Texas by extremely Republican parents and grandparents,” Cade, 31, said. “One hundred percent pro-life.”
A year after they were married, Kailee miscarried at 16 weeks and was hospitalized for severe complications, including blood clots and infection. It was one of three miscarriages she had in the early years of marriage.
“It made me realize that pregnancy can be dangerous,” she said. “It made me think of my little sisters, and I wanted them to be able to have a choice if they ever had to go through something like that.”
Last September, when a restrictive anti-abortion law took effect in Texas, Kailee pleaded on Facebook for people to contact their elected representatives to protect abortion rights.
In November, Kailee and Cade were overjoyed to learn that she was pregnant. Full of hope, they posted ultrasound pictures and a gender reveal video of a cannon shooting out blue confetti. They named their baby boy Finley.
Then, about three months later, they learned that Finley had heart, lung, brain, kidney and genetic defects and would either be stillborn or die within minutes of birth. Carrying him to term put Kailee at high risk for severe pregnancy complications, including blood clots, preeclampsia and cancer.
Even so, they could not get an abortion in Texas and fled to New Mexico. [Continue reading…]