Last night in the final presidential debate, Democrat Hillary Clinton defended her stance that all women deserve to make their own decisions about when and how to terminate their pregnancies if they so choose, including late-term abortions.

“I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy — [who] get the worst news one could get that their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term, or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy,” said Clinton.

We kept our baby. Extinguishing her life was never an option. Nor should it have been.

Most abortions in the United States take place before the 12-week time period in a pregnancy. But some — about 15,000 each year — are performed after 20 weeks of growth, when the child has fully developed the bones in the inner ear and has begun hiccuping to strengthen his diaphragm.

There is no statistical information collected on why these procedures are considered “necessary.” However, testimonies and statements from doctors who perform these procedures have confirmed that most of the time, these women are electing for the late-term abortion of an infant in a normal pregnancy. Some obstetricians even report women often choose these abortions because they’re in denial about being pregnant in the first place.

But let’s be clear: Even if Clinton is right and many of these abortions are performed for the safety of the mother, they are unnecessary. I know this because I risked my own life to give birth to my daughter.

I struggle with a congenital heart defect known as noncompaction cardiomyopathy. It means that the wall of my left ventricle is spongy instead of smooth, and its squeeze is greatly reduced in strength. I’m also at risk for heart attack because blood has a tendency to pool in the spongy texture and clot. Two of my siblings had heart transplants when they were teenagers after they regressed into total heart failure. I carry this same gene.

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I have visited with a cardiologist every six months of my life since I was eight years old. When my husband and I were trying to figure out if we could have a baby, the doctors at our small hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, didn’t know enough about my condition to give us a good answer. Only nine women on medical records have had my particular condition and gotten pregnant. My doctors performed months of tests — stress tests, MRIs, echocardiograms, electrocardiograms. After extensive evaluations, they told me that I could go ahead with a pregnancy. They were probably unqualified to make that call.

Related: Women’s Health Issues Ignored by Abortion Advocates

Then we moved to Boston, Massachusetts, where the doctors at Massachusetts General Hospital knew more about my condition than any other physicians in the country. The first questions my cardiologist asked when we met: “Was this pregnancy on purpose?” I met with scores of physicians in the coming months, and the first question each time was the same: “Was this pregnancy on purpose? Do you want to keep the fetus?”

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My doctors gave me the best medical care available on the market today — but from the beginning, they made clear it would be wiser for me to abort my daughter.

[lz_bulleted_list title=”Why Women Have Late-Term Abortions” source=””]Women ages 20-24 were found more likely than women ages 25-34 to seek late-term abortions.|Unemployed women were more likely to seek late-term abortions than employed women.|Women who sought later abortions were more likely than their first-trimester counterparts to have discovered their pregnancy after eight weeks.|Yet nearly 40 percent reported that they knew about their pregnancy prior to eight weeks of gestation.[/lz_bulleted_list]

I didn’t. My husband and I hold the life of children sacred, and we knew that the little baby who kicked and squirmed during the ultrasounds was an independent human being. We made the decision to get pregnant and we stuck to it.

Then an echocardiogram in the seventh month of my pregnancy revealed that my heart function had plummeted in just a few weeks. My doctors scrambled to perform blood tests and get accurate imaging. There was some speculation I might need a heart transplant in the coming months if my cardiac function continued to fall.

The doctors performed some careful math, leveraging my daughter’s survival against my own. They decided to induce me at 36 weeks, the earliest they felt she could be born without serious respiratory and developmental problems.

Related: Abortion’s Toll on Women

When I gave birth, I did so with a roomful of specialists on watch, and I was hooked up to a liter of nitroglycerin to restart my heart in case of cardiac arrest. My blood pressure plunged after I gave birth, and I collapsed into a shaky delirium. Nurses wheeled me to the intensive care unit, where I made a slow recovery. I don’t clearly remember the first time I held my infant in my arms.

Under the Massachusetts law, I could order her execution, claiming that my pregnancy posed a “grave impairment” to my physical health — because it did.

My daughter was born a robust tiny infant of six pounds, with no complications whatsoever. She came a month early and never even had to spend time in the neonatal intensive care unit. We brought her home last Valentine’s Day — the sweetest memory of my life.

But according to Clinton, my daughter had no constitutional rights. If I had given the word, I could have asked a doctor to dismember her limb by limb, ripping her frail body to pieces. I could have agreed to induce early delivery after doctors injected her with drugs that would kill her, only to have her heart continue beating on a cold table with no hope of resuscitation. I could have asked a physician to pull her out of her uterine sanctuary, collapse her brain with a vacuum, and discard her corpse without a thought — she who has become the brightest part of every day of my life, she who is a human being.

Under the Massachusetts law, I could order her execution, claiming that my pregnancy posed a “grave impairment” to my physical health — because it did. I now suffer from impaired heart function. I weigh myself every day to check if I have begun to retain fluid around my lungs, a sure sign of heart failure. Although I probably traded the longevity of my life for the privilege of carrying my daughter, I would do so all over again.

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My daughter was born at 36 weeks, but recent studies have shown that infants can survive even when they’re born as early as 22 weeks — the gestational age at which most partial-birth abortions are performed. One study in The New England Journal of Medicine followed 5,000 of these infants and showed that medical interventions could save them 25 percent of the time. Doctors have been saying for years that babies born before 27 weeks cannot survive. That has been proven untrue. Dr. Edward Bell, a pediatrics professor at the University of Iowa, said in a media interview that “these babies deserve a chance.”

The 1973 ruling of Roe v. Wade declares that no restrictions on abortion can be allowed before 28 weeks in the pregnancy because that was the point at which a fetus was considered viable four decades ago. Medical science has come a long way since then.

Even mothers who face grave difficulties with their pregnancies can give birth early, and in most cases these children can survive. No, these situations are not easy. When my husband and I found out how dire my situation was, we held each other and wept all evening.

But we kept our baby. Extinguishing her life was never an option. Nor should it have been.