In an anonymous essay for Love What Matters, a twice post-abortive mother shared her story of abortion, birth, miscarriage, and Down syndrome. She explained that she wants the world to stop using abortion to end the lives of preborn humans because of a Down syndrome diagnosis.
“When I was 18 years old, I had an abortion,” she wrote. “The reasons were deplorable.” She was in her first year at college, and no longer wanted to be with her boyfriend. She also thought her parents would disown her if they knew she was pregnant. The only choice she saw was abortion, and she pretended she was okay with it, but she wasn’t.
Then at age 23, in her last year of college, she had another abortion. This time, she said, “the reasons were even more deplorable.” She had cheated on her boyfriend and again, thought her parents would be angry and disown her. Again, abortion was not what she really wanted.
“I have regrets every day,” she said. “Regrets that I didn’t know how to say ‘no!’ That I was more worried about pleasing others than I was about asking someone to use protection. I regret not knowing how to stand up for myself and for not turning to my parents for help. I mostly regret always feeling I would be unloved if I was anything less than perfect.”
Over a decade went by, and she was married with a two-year-old. She suffered a miscarriage, and then dealt with a layoff, meaning she didn’t have great health insurance. That was when she learned she was pregnant. She couldn’t shake the feeling that her baby had Down syndrome, but couldn’t afford the genetic testing.
“I just had this feeling,” she explained. “I talked about it a lot during my pregnancy to anyone who would listen. I flipped and flopped about getting that test and researched the signs until I could barely catch my breath. My husband tried to soothe me, and he called my doctors ordering them to do the same. The doctors saw nothing on my sonogram.”
She decided to pray, not that her son didn’t have Down syndrome, but that he was healthy. “So I know what you’re thinking,” she wrote. “How can someone who had abortions pray to God? And, could God be punishing her? Does he do that? I’ve thought both. And I am religious. I always have been. I have also been lost… I once stuffed my feelings deep within me for fear of losing love.”
Her son was born healthy, but her gut instincts were right — her baby had Down syndrome. “Oh how I was devastated. My bones ached, my soul was sore…” she said. But God wasn’t punishing her, she realized, He was “saving” her.
“[I] had abortions,” she wrote. “I made mistakes because I didn’t know what to do. I had so much fear that it strangled my faith. Then I had my son.” She was still afraid after her son was born — mostly scared of being unloved. But love, she said, was all around her. “Love brought us meals and gifts. Love cried with us and laughed with us. Love shared beers with us and joined us in all things Down syndrome. Love gave us an even bigger family where us lucky ones shared trials and monumental moments. Our son creates love. He grows it in others.”
Now she wants everyone to understand that “to eliminate Down syndrome through genetic testing and abortion” is not right.
About 67 percent of children diagnosed with Down syndrome before birth are aborted in the United States. Most mothers say receiving the diagnosis was a negative experience, with 13 percent of doctors admitting they focus on the negative in order to get the mother to choose abortion.
“Please don’t,” she said. “[…] Fear is a feeling. It is real and valid, but I promise you, this fear is a fleck of dust that will quickly be blown away by the tornado of love you will feel for the incredible human you choose to grow. Being brave is not the lack of fear. It’s pushing on despite that fear. It is knowing it is worth it. Please be brave, world. I promise you it will be worth it.”
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