Fourteen years ago, Allison Duhon had an abortion. It was her second pregnancy, and in both circumstances, she was unmarried and living in poverty. Terrified at the idea of raising a second child, she made the only choice she thought she had. Yet far from being empowering, abortion left her devastated, guilt-ridden, and heartbroken.
In an article for the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Duhon wrote about how traumatic the experience was. “It hurt me physically,” she said. “I remember screaming, but the nurse told me to stop as to not scare other women. I remember the nurse asking me afterwards if I was RH negative because they forgot to take my bloodwork. They could have killed me had I not remembered my blood type from a previous pregnancy. I remember them running in to give me my Rhogam shot in a panic.”
Unfortunately, it wasn’t just physical pain that Duhon experienced. “I remember going numb for months after my abortion,” she wrote. “I remember the trust issues I had with everyone. I remember feeling extremely overprotective of my daughter because I thought I didn’t deserve a healthy child. I remember the pain when I found out my son had autism and thoughts of it being a punishment.”
Afterwards, she experienced shame and guilt, saying she felt “disgusting” and “unforgivable.” While she has found the strength to talk about her experience now, she says that the abortion still causes her immense pain.
“I will never forget thinking for the first time of who my baby could have been,” she said, adding, “I still cry for my baby… I have to forever live with the excruciating reality that I ended my baby’s life.” And while abortion advocates claim abortion is empowering, Duhon disagrees, writing, “[A]ll my ‘right’ did was cause a me lifetime of pain. There was no empowerment in that.”
Now, she wonders if knowing the reality of abortion — what the procedure was like, the humanity of her baby, and the pain it would cause her — would have helped her to choose life. And the sad truth is, Duhon is far from the only mother to regret her abortion. As Duhon said, abortion is not empowering; it not only takes an innocent life, it hurts women, too. And women deserve better than thinking they have no other choice but violence for their children and a lifetime of pain for themselves. Yet abortion advocates continue to insist that abortion is a force for good, while ignoring the women who repeatedly say otherwise.
Numerous studies have found that abortion puts women at risk for various mental health disorders, from anxiety and depression, to drug and alcohol abuse and suicidal behavior. It’s not at all uncommon for women to feel grief, regret, and pain afterward, something which many women don’t want, but feel they need, because they see no other option available for them. Abortion fails women; it does not help them, liberate them, or empower them. What women need is not the pain of thinking they have no other option but to kill their own child. They need real options, real choices, and real support.
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