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Pro-choice reporter becomes pro-life after witnessing parents’ post-abortion grief

Rhonda and Richard White authored a pro-life book called “Confronting Abortion Distortions.” One of the authors, Rhonda White, was originally pro-choice. In the book’s preface, she explains why she changed her mind about abortion. It happened after she witnessed an abortion procedure.

At the time of her change of heart, White had just graduated from the University of Missouri School of Journalism and was a feature writer for the Orlando Sentinel Star. She was a supporter of the National Organization for Women, which takes a strong pro-abortion stand. White had been told that abortion was good for women and helped them achieve their goals.

Before witnessing the abortion, White thought abortion was good for women:

[E]verything I had read and heard about legal abortion had indicated that abortion would be the solution to the problem of an unwanted pregnancy…. She would be relieved and happy that the pregnancy, like a bad dream, was ended.

She could go on with her life. This chapter, the pregnancy, would be over, ended by the abortion. She would happily lift herself off the table and pick up wherever she left off when she discovered she was pregnant.

But when she saw the reaction of an abortion patient right after her procedure, she began questioning her pro-abortion beliefs.

Even though White saw the abortion over 40 years ago, the experience still haunts her. First she describes the abortion itself:

I stood behind [the pregnant woman], facing the abortionist, as he performed the procedure. At the end, I could hear the vacuum suction and see the blood and tissue sweep through the tube. I admit the sight made me woozy, nauseated, and very sad.

White did not examine the child’s remains after the abortion. She did not know that the baby had once had a beating heart, brain waves, and developing limbs. She would learn about fetal development later, after she became pro-life. It wasn’t the plight of the baby that struck White, but the pain of the baby’s mother and father.

White described the reactions of the woman who had the abortion and her partner:

What happened was the poor young woman began to sob and cry, over and over again, “My baby, my baby, my baby…”

As they wheeled her to the recovery room and to her waiting boyfriend, they both broke into uncontrolled sobs of grief.

In that moment, White realized that abortion is not the blessing for women she had thought it was. She heard the anguished cries of a mother mourning the death of her baby. She saw a mother and father who were grieving for their child. Instead of improving their lives, abortion devastated them both. When White saw the pain of the parents of the aborted child, she realized that what she had believed about abortion was wrong. She had seen firsthand what abortion does to women and their partners.

Rhonda White never forgot hearing the post-abortive mother crying out for her baby. Many years later, the Whites would write a pro-life book and try to spread the pro-life message.

Most people will never see an abortion or witness the grief couples show afterward. But there are thousands of testimonies from women and men who regret their abortions. Abortion does not help women; it wounds them. Men are also not immune from the mourning that can follow an abortion.

There is help and healing for post-abortive men and women. Thousands of post-abortive parents have joined support groups or have gone on retreats like Rachel’s Vineyard. Healing after an abortion is possible, and many men and women have mourned their children and come to have a sense of peace.

Pro-lifers oppose abortion because of what it does to preborn babies, and also because of what it does to post-abortive parents. We must have compassion for all the victims of abortion.

Source: Richard and Rhonda White Confronting Abortion Distortions (Xulon Press, 2013), ix

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