Guest Column

I aborted the only child I ever conceived 45 years ago, and I grieve to this day

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Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this guest post are solely those of the author and are not necessarily reflective of Live Action or Live Action News.

On Tuesday, July 20, 1976, I drove myself to the Harrisburg abortion clinic. A woman I knew from the National Organization for Women had made the appointment for me. I waited until they called my name, and then I saw the “counselor.” She was young (early twenties) and asked me whether I wanted an abortion. All I could do was sob. She then handed me a tissue and said, “Poor baby.” That was the extent of my counseling. Then she led me back down the hallway to pay for it.

I don’t remember much except some pain, and my blood pressure must have dropped, because when I woke up much later in a recovery room of sorts, I was the only one there with a nurse. I was the last to leave and since it was Tuesday, the day that pro-life demonstrators were outside, she told me that I was lucky they had left.

I stopped at a diner on the way home and bought a meal with apple pie for dessert. Of course I don’t remember the meal, but I always associated apple pie with that day and rarely ate it after that time. 

Two years earlier, I was 23 and had lost my virginity through acquaintance rape. Because I had menstrual problems for years, my doctor had prescribed a birth control pill to regulate  my periods. This pill also prevented me from getting pregnant at the time. I hadn’t fought back, allowing it to happen, thinking, “I may as well let him. No one will ever want me.” I felt used and spoiled. As a result I put up a thick wall around my heart and vowed that men could have my body, but they could not have me, meaning any part of who I was inside.

READ: Post-abortion trauma is real, and researchers do women no favors by denying it

I began leading a promiscuous life, going to bars several times a week. At least a year went by before I began to think about ending this lifestyle. As a way to try and stop, I naively stopped taking my pills. Months later, I became pregnant from a man I had “dated” a few times, but frankly I didn’t even like him. I felt trapped and thought that I would be a bad mother, that if I married him and didn’t love him, I would also be trapped in a loveless marriage. I knew that I couldn’t take care of a baby on my income, and I didn’t want my mother to raise my child. I thought that I would be disgraced and would also disgrace my family. So, I aborted my baby. I told no one except the father, who was devastated, and of course my mother knew since I lived with her.

I knew that I had hurt her deeply with this poor choice; she never spoke of it again.

I didn’t know that every mother has a connection with her baby until I grieved the loss afterward. I became numb and depressed and began to isolate myself from family and friends. A year passed before one of my coworkers asked what had happened because now I was “more myself.” I was too ashamed to tell them why and kept silent. I had poured myself into my work, which was the one thing I did well. 

After the abortion, I went back on birth control and also went back to a promiscuous lifestyle. After a few years of acute loneliness, I finally cried out to God and said, “You have to help me! I don’t know how to stop!”

A few months later I met a man who actually wanted to date me, and I was able to leave the bar scene. Eventually I found my own apartment, recommitted my life to Christ, and found healing and redemption through a post-abortion Bible study provided by the local pro-life pregnancy center.

Since I had had to verify how far along I was in order to get my abortion in 1976, I knew that I was three months pregnant. Following the abortion, I calculated the due date, which would have been late January of 1977.

Every year after that, I noticed children (then teens, young adults, and adults) the age that my child would have been, and I was saddened on every anniversary of my abortion. The hardest day for me is Mother’s Day because I have no other children and my own mother passed away in 2005. I not only grieve my child but also any grandchildren that may have been born. Sadly, these are the consequences that I have to live with today. 

In my post-abortion Bible study, the class was asked to finish this sentence: “Abortion is ____.” Those of us present filled in the blank with “murder,” “horrible,” etc., but then the co-leader — who had had an abortion herself — filled in the blank by saying, “Forgivable.” It changed my life. When we covered the topic of guilt, we each realized that Christ took on all our guilt and shame and that we are now “not guilty.”

Editor’s Note: Many women choose to share the stories of their abortions to not only remember their children and to heal, but to spare other women pain. If you would like to have your story considered by Live Action News for publication, please write and attach a Word document of 800-1000 words and email to [email protected].

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