Cecilia Sullivan was 17 years old when she discovered she was pregnant. Afraid to tell her mother, Sullivan waited for five months before she divulged the news. Sullivan’s mother promptly contacted Planned Parenthood and arranged for her to have an abortion.
Sullivan told Live Action News, “My boyfriend was of no support, so I guess at the time I was glad for my mother to take control of the situation.”
At Bellevue Hospital in New York, Sullivan didn’t know what to expect. She recalls seeing a five-inch needle injected into her abdomen with some type of fluid. She waited, alone, to go into labor and was given a metal pan.
“I didn’t want to look into that metal pan,” Sullivan said. “But I later found out my baby was a boy. Afterward, I was provided with birth control pills.”
The abortion changed Sullivan’s life. Gone was her innocence. She indulged in drugs and alcohol and engaged in sexual relationships resulting in three more abortions, never receiving counseling or education about fetal development.
Sullivan said, “It was as if using abortion for birth control was widely accepted. But beneath it all, I languished in self-hatred, living a life of hopelessness and desperation for about 10 years.”
Finding restoration and healing
Sullivan later married and gave birth to a daughter, but the marriage was short-lived. She moved in with a friend and subsequently returned to her old lifestyle. She was, however, happy to help her new roommate with a request – to find her a church to attend. It wasn’t long before Sullivan’s friend urged her to come to a church service.
“I never imagined that I’d feel so much joy,” Sullivan said. “When the altar call came, I went, weeping. I felt this tremendous weight come off my shoulders when I gave my life to Christ. I was instantly transformed and delivered from my destructive lifestyle.”
It was a turning point for Sullivan. In 2006, she participated in the Justice House of Prayer DC gathering, praying ceaselessly to end abortion. Justice members often congregated on the steps of the Supreme Court building, red tape with the word “LIFE” covering their mouths. While at the gathering, Sullivan was drawn to a baby shoe memorial created by A Cry Without a Voice, depicting innocent lives lost to abortion.
At a subsequent event, “The Call,” held at a stadium in Orlando, Florida, where attendees pray and fast to end abortion, she was invited on stage as a “silent witness” where again, the baby shoe memorial was showcased.
Sullivan said, “These baby shoes are a persuasive illustration of the devastation wreaked by abortion. I could think of no better way to honor these children who never had a voice.”
As Sullivan’s passion for pro-life activism grew, it became necessary to face her grief and begin the healing journey. While she knew she was forgiven by the blood of the Lamb, the wound still festered inside her. After she had remarried years earlier, Sullivan experienced two miscarriages between the births of her two daughters and felt God was punishing her. If she was to be effective in the abortion battle, she needed deep reconciliation. Through the “Forgiven and Set Free” study, she was finally able to sever the bonds of guilt, shame, and regret from her abortion.
“Being set free from a lifetime of anguish was cathartic,” Sullivan said. “I was able to let go of the resentment I felt toward my mother as well. I wanted to share my testimony to help other women release their pain.”
A life transformed spurs pro-life activism
Sullivan traveled tirelessly to churches, events, and conferences to share her story and provided a written testimony which The Justice Foundation submitted as an amicus brief for the Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization case that overturned Roe v. Wade. She used the baby shoe memorial and fetal models at churches to bring awareness about the atrocities of abortion and taught Bible studies for post-abortive women.
Sullivan said, “I have a heart to see our nation heal from the deep wounds inflicted by abortion. Many women don’t know there is help and healing. When they are finally set free from the shameful secret they’ve buried for so long, they weep cleansing tears of joy. Only when women are healed, can they be catapulted into their destiny.”
Working to spread the truth about abortion throughout the world, Sullivan traveled to six countries with The Justice Foundation’s Operation Outcry ministry to make a powerful case for the human rights violation perpetuated by abortion globally. She also testified in Tallahassee to make abortion illegal when the Florida legislature was considering a 15-week abortion ban.
“When bills are brought forth for consideration, I will continue to share my testimony,” Sullivan said. “It’s important to keep illustrating how harmful abortion is to women.”
For Sullivan, it was an exciting and fruitful time traveling globally and speaking at churches nationally, but she also realized the responsibility to share her story with her three young daughters to ensure they did not make the same choices as she did.
Sullivan said, “I laid bare before them all the details and ugliness of that time when I aborted my child. I told them that abortion is a generational curse that needs to be shattered and that it starts with them.”
God transformed Sullivan’s broken life into a passion for helping women all over the world to make life-affirming choices and to heal from the wounds of abortion. She encourages hurting women to call the international helpline at 1-866-482-LIFE where they can find support wherever they live.
“Many women don’t know there is help and healing available to them,” Sullivan said. “We must reach out with love and compassion, leading them toward the One who can offer hope and restoration.”
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