We hear a lot about choice and how every woman should be able to choose for herself if and when she has a child. But the truth is, many women are denied the choice to let their child live. Whether it’s because of family, friends, boyfriends, or societal pressures, so many women are made to feel that their only choice is abortion. And they spend the rest of their lives suffering because of it.
Paula Veit Fetter sent a letter to the women at Chicks on the Right asking them to share her story. She wants the world to see what abortion is really like to a seventeen year old girl who has no one to turn to for help. Paula wants to you to open your eyes and realize that even those who say they will help, don’t. And that when you need them the most, sometimes your own family betrays you.
Paula was raised in a seemingly average family. But inside their home, her mother was depressed and distant, and her father, often a caring, charming and fun man, would turn on Paula, beating her for the smallest of reasons. These circumstances created a rebellious, promiscuous teenager and at the age of 16, Paula found out she was pregnant. She and her boyfriend decided they would get married and have their baby, but it was 1976 and abortion was now legal. When her father discovered that Paula was pregnant, he beat her up and insisted she have an abortion, driving her to an abortion clinic.
She was examined by the doctor and told him that she didn’t want an abortion. But instead of finding a way to help her, he told her that because she was 16, abortion was her only choice. Paula didn’t give up, reaching out the social worker at the clinic, telling her about the abuse and that she was afraid to go home. She revealed her bruises, but the social worker left the room to speak to Paula’s father. When she returned to the room, Paula’s father was with her. The social worker told Paula that her father promised not to hurt her again. She told her to go home with him and she would find help for Paula. That help never came.
From the moment Paula got back into the car with her father he began beating her. He didn’t stop for two days. She writes:
At home, he dragged me upstairs by my hair, threw me against a wall and said if I didn’t get an abortion, he would give me one himself, then hit me in the stomach. He started choking me and I felt myself passing out. At that point, my mother, who had just been watching while all this happened, told him he had to stop choking me or I would die, He stopped choking me but continue to hit and kick me.
A few days later, while her father was working, Paula asked her boyfriend to take her to the agency who was supposed to help her. She told them what was happening and showed them her bruises. They advised her to abort and told her there were no resources to help her. Paula refused to abort her baby and was sent to a group home. Once there she was sent to a local doctor who also dismissed her desire to have her baby and told her to terminate. Terrified that her father would find her and kill her, and let down by every other adult she turned to, Paula only had her boyfriend for support. But then she lost him too. She says:
My boyfriend and I continued to see each other during this time and still talked of marriage. After I had been in the group home about three months, my boyfriend and a friend of his stole a car and were arrested. My case worker contacted me and told me my boyfriend told his lawyer he did not want to get married. I was hopeless at that point, and that night I took all my morning sickness pills in an effort to kill myself. This was not a cry for help, it was a real attempt-I thought the pills would kill me and I did not expect to wake up. I threw up all night and survived the attempt. The next day I called my case worker and told her I was ready to have an abortion, I didn’t feel like I had any other options.
Two weeks after her birthday and four and a half months pregnant, Paula had a saline abortion in which a saline solution is used to burn the unborn baby both inside and out. Paula delivered a dead, burnt baby. And the she carried the pain and guilt of that for years. Once she became Christian and felt God’s forgiveness, she was able to forgive herself.
But today, married with two grown children and a granddaughter, Paula wonders how many young girls and woman are suffering because of an abortion they never wanted. She wonders how many of them were abandoned by their families and friends. She wonders how many social workers who promise to help, never come through. Paula fears that so many girls are being told that abortion is their only choice and that those girl then have to live in pain and guilt. She doesn’t want anyone else to ever go through what she did.
Her request to you is that you understand that some girls don’t get to choose. It doesn’t matter what the law or the media says. Forced abortion happens right here, right now in the United States. Girls need real help and real solutions. Don’t turn a blind eye, help them.