Guest Column

‘Like a giant what-if’: Siblings of aborted children mourn their loss

abortion, siblings, aborted

(Human Defense Initiative) Abortion activists may claim “my body, my choice,” yet abortion affects family members, too. Post-abortive siblings are an often overlooked affected party in the matter. In fact, almost 61 million babies have been aborted since Roe v. Wade was legalized, leading to an estimated 50% of all Americans having lost a brother or sister to abortion. The prevalence of post-abortive siblings is also echoed in other research.

According to the Guttmacher Institute, “Fifty-nine percent of abortions in 2014 were obtained by patients who had had at least one birth.” Additionally, according to another Guttmacher Institute survey, “Nearly four in 10 women said they had completed their childbearing, and almost one-third were not ready to have a child” and “younger women often reported that they were unprepared for the transition to motherhood, while older women regularly cited their responsibility to dependents.”

In other words, many women are either having abortions to postpone motherhood or because they already have children and can’t afford or do not want another. This means millions of women are having abortions during their first pregnancy  without considering the consequences for their future children, or aborting their born children’s younger siblings without their knowledge or consent.

READ: Siblings of children lost to abortion say they have a ‘longing to have known’ their sibling

Upon finding out their siblings were aborted, many post-abortive siblings feel sorrow, sadness and a sense of missing out. Post-abortive siblings could struggle in a variety of ways:

  • Not knowing their sibling was aborted and simply feeling like there’s something missing
  • Looking down on or resenting their parents
  • Feeling the need to justify their parents’ decision
  • Repeating the same mistake
  • Experiencing discounted or overlooked grief
  • Survivor’s guilt or questioning why their life was worth more than their sibling(s)
  • Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)

Some post-abortive siblings also feel the need to engage in the pro-life movement. In fact, many pregnancy centers are now staffed with post-abortive siblings. Since many feel they are unable to discuss their feelings with their parents, they find peace in helping other abortion-vulnerable women with physical, emotional, and spiritual support to choose life, according to Ramah International.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are the powerful personal testimonies of four post-abortive siblings: Penelope, Leah, Sarah, and Chloe.

How did you find out your sibling was aborted?

Penelope: I found out about it when I was 16. I saw my mother sitting on the last few steps of our main-floor staircase. I kept asking her why she was sobbing, because it was to an extent with a tone of such hopelessness and relentlessness that I had not seen my mother ever exhibit prior. She repeatedly said, “I did something horrible but I can’t tell you because you’ll hate me.” She finally told me, and I simply didn’t know how to react, so I did what was a reflex for me — comforted her —however, I soon realized that wasn’t nearly enough.

Leah: I was around 8 when it happened. I was sitting next to my dad when he received the call from his then ex-girlfriend. They had broken up and didn’t foresee any reconciliation. All I heard was “Well, I don’t want it.” It. Like it was a thing or choice; I would later find out that’s how he spoke of my sibling. The woman was young, in college, alone, and didn’t want her parents to know. Trust me, it would be easier to lay all of the blame on a woman I barely knew than my own father and they were both at fault, but I blamed him more. He was older, supposed to be mature and already had a kid, so he should have known the precious value of life. She was looking for reassurance, and instead of stepping up, he stepped out. She killed my sibling. I still to this day don’t know how far along she was or if it was my brother or sister. The crazy thing is they would later end up married, had another daughter and got divorced. It will always feel like a giant what-if.

Sarah: I found out when my mom told me out of the blue sometime in either late middle school or early high school. While we were out to dinner just us, and she suddenly said she had something she wanted to tell me that she’s never told anyone before except my dad but strangely it felt like she needed to tell me right then. She explained she had an abortion in her early twenties before she had met and married my dad. Before this time, I knew a little bit about how she had dated a guy who she said was just a dumb jerk on and off for a few years before eventually breaking up for good, but of course the abortion was new information to me. I’m not sure if I knew what an abortion was at the time, and I vaguely remember her briefly explaining it to me. My mom told me how it was around the time when her dad passed away (her mom died when my mom was only 16), and she had just ended the relationship for good with her old boyfriend. My mom said that when she found out, she was just overwhelmed and didn’t feel like she could take care of a child with all the other circumstances in her life. She knew abortion was wrong, but she felt helpless and went ahead with one anyway. I’ll never forget that she told me when she saw the doctor who would perform the abortion, all she could feel from him was just pure evil. She said she mostly felt mentally absent during the whole process and didn’t feel complete regret until afterwards.

Chloe: I was 12 years old when I found out about my mother’s abortion. I was going through some old photos, and I came across a stack of ultrasounds. I was ecstatic to be looking at my sister and I, however, as I looked at when they were taken, I realized the dates on the ultrasound didn’t line up with the birthdays of the two children she has. For a while, I just assumed that she had a miscarriage and never shared it with us, so I kept my findings to myself and hid the ultrasound for safekeeping as a way to remember my sibling. When I finally built up the courage to ask her about it, she told me she had an abortion, and that the doctor thought she was pregnant with twins or triplets (a dream of mine later verified that she was pregnant with a boy and a girl)….

Continue reading the full article and interview at Human Defense Initiative.

Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Human Defense Initiative and is reprinted here in part with permission.

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