When I was a teen, I participated in my state’s Right to Life oratory contest and, during my first competition, heard a testimony that impacted me greatly. It was the story of the pain of abortion, lived through the eyes of a child born to a mother with abortion in her past. It was also a story of incredible redemption and healing. It opened my eyes to consequences I had never before confronted, and also to a level of love and grace that might otherwise never be known. This is Amy’s story.
“My mom lost her temper a lot over things that really weren’t such a big deal.” Amy recalls. Yelling, sometimes even outbursts more physical in nature. “I think a lot of her anger that came out at us was due to anger with herself. My mom did not really seem to value herself as a person until she truly learned God’s forgiveness.”
At age 17, Amy’s mom, Donna, was raped by her boyfriend and became pregnant. It was shortly after Roe v. Wade was handed down by the Supreme Court, and it opened up a new option for dealing with the unintended pregnancy. It was an option Donna didn’t want, but one her parents did.
Crisis pregnancy centers were barely in their infancy, and the teen had no idea how to handle Planned Parenthood’s claim that she had no choice in the matter because she was still a minor. In the end, her parents consented to the abortion on her behalf – an illegal abortion at that, because Donna was past the first trimester, and abortions weren’t yet legalized for her stage of pregnancy. Her precious baby was torn from her as she screamed that she wanted her child, and the only compassion a nurse showed before Donna left the clinic, vomiting on the steps as she did, was to let her know she had been carrying a son.
More than a decade later, Donna was married to a tenderhearted man and had been able to give life to four beautiful children, despite initial difficulty in conceiving due to her abortion. But the wounds of abortion remained, along with anger and greatly increased depression, and the consequences of abortion now affected more than just Donna. “My mom never would have believed the abortion would impact her future family,” Amy notes. “When a young woman sits in the clinic, she does not realize that her decision will stay with her for the rest of her life and will impact other people in her life for the rest of her life. The physical and emotional effects will continue long after she has the abortion. And the abortion does not just affect her.” The weight of the abortion hung on Donna like a chain, and the cloud covered the whole family.
While Amy’s mom was open with the family about the abortion, it was years into Amy’s life before she began to truly heal, and before the anger and depression that had resulted began to subside. During Amy’s early elementary years, Donna began sharing more openly, attending a women’s Bible study called Forgiven and Set Free, and eventually co-wrote a devotional for teens and young women struggling with a past abortions, in hopes that others in her situation would begin the process of healing much, much earlier.
As Donna began the long road of healing, Amy began to notice a definite change in the anger and depression that so often hung over her mom and the family, and it freed her and her siblings to grieve and heal as well. “For me personally, this brought the concept of being pro-life beyond just believing it because the Bible says so. I would have another older brother if not for abortion.”
The healing the family began experiencing, and Amy’s heartfelt passion for life, soon became the impetus for volunteering at the local crisis pregnancy center, participating in Life Chain, and sharing her testimony of the impact of, and healing from, a mother’s past abortion.
The redemption that flowed from such deep pain also brought to light rich beauty in the family as well. Not only did the siblings witness the healing, courage, and love for other women their mom displayed, but they also were given, in their father, “an amazing example of Christ in our family and a wonderful picture of love,” Amy says. “No matter how hard things were and how angry she would get about anything, he always loved her. I never heard him blame her for the abortion or criticize her. He always encouraged her when she was writing her devotional and any time she is asked to lead the Bible study or give her testimony. I have honestly never seen a man love his wife as much as my dad loves my mom.”
For families living under the weight of past abortion, Amy’s testimony brings the hope that healing and restoration can come. And for other siblings living what she lived, she encourages each to always remember that “everyone is a sinner. Your sins are no less than theirs. Forgive and love so they can learn to love and forgive themselves.”