Guest Column

After two abortions and a tubal ligation, I hit rock bottom. I know abortion isn’t empowering.

Editor’s Note: The opinions expressed in this guest submission are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of Live Action or Live Action News.

As a pro-life activist, I have watched young women walk into abortion facility doors, and I weep, knowing when they walk out, they will no longer be the same. It might not happen immediately, but a change occurs. As the hole in the heart left by the lost baby grows larger, the soul darkens, and hope begins to evaporate.  

How do I know?  I’ve been there. Twice. It was not long after Roe v. Wade became law that I had my first abortion. I was career-oriented and a die-hard, left-wing feminist. I believed the rhetoric about abortion being a source of empowerment – the power to choose what happens to my own body.  

During what I now call my “dark days” (post-abortion), I made very bad choices… many of them encouraged by my best friend,  alcohol. Booze was a convenient way to mask all my emotions, especially the guilt and shame of my abortions.  

Those choices caused many losses back then — relationships (including two marriages), respect of my family and friends, and a successful career in the government. But the most grievous loss was my fertility. Of all, this was the one that had the most impact.  

You see, at the age of 30, I convinced a doctor to give me a tubal ligation. I lied to myself, saying I didn’t want to have any children, but the truth was I felt I didn’t deserve to have any. The guilt and shame of killing my two precious babies resulted in my future infertility.

READ: Netflix show contestant shares abortion regret: Another abortion would ‘destroy me’

I ended up a broken, drunk, and barren woman – because I believed abortion would empower me.  

I eventually hit a suicidal bottom and ended up in a mental hospital. When I entered the facility, the psychiatrist asked me why I wanted to die, and for some reason, the first time in decades, I told the truth. I was already dead inside and wanted to finish the job. Through therapy and subsequent alcohol rehab, my head began to clear, but for some reason, I still felt empty, and it remained that way for many years … even with sobriety and continued therapy.

It wasn’t until I began going to church and heard a woman speak about how her abortion affected her life that I was able to connect the dots. I was still carrying regret and shame of my abortions and mourning the deaths of my babies and fertility. 

I attended a healing retreat not long after and was able to come to terms with what I had done and finally understand why I sabotaged so much in my life and why my heart was still in pieces. After the retreat, I felt almost whole again. The pieces of my heart were put together by acknowledging my babies’ existence and welcoming them into my life, but the abortions still haunt me and probably always will. I also chose to see my tubal ligation as a blessing that brought me a son through foster care adoption, but the thought of never experiencing carrying a baby to term and giving birth still stings.

I can’t turn back the hands of time. All I can do is speak out and make it abundantly clear: abortion is far from empowering. It’s “unpowering.” It strips power from within and replaces it with years of guilt, shame, and self-loathing, and I want to prevent others from experiencing it all.  

Bio: Patti J. Smith is the Assistant Director of Rachel’s Hope Healing Ministry and Regional Coordinator of ACTheals.

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