What drives women to seek abortions? And how can we help them — help them avoid an abortion, or help them heal afterwards? This is a huge issue for the pro-life movement, because helping women who experience unplanned pregnancies is the best way to prevent abortions.
In 1973, Janet Eisenbach was a 15-year-old girl facing an unplanned pregnancy. She ended up having multiple abortions before having a pro-life conversion at the age of 42. Since then, she has worked at pregnancy resource centers, participated in prayer vigils, and showed up for pro-life rallies. She talked to Live Action News about her story, and how we can best help women avoid abortion.
The circumstances of Janet’s first pregnancy were tragic. “It was a month before my 15th birthday, and I was ‘date-raped’ by a boy I liked,” she explained. “We didn’t call it date-rape back then. We called it ‘being stupid.’ I was drinking, and alone with a boy that I was crazy about, but not ready to have sex. He forced himself on me, and because I was drunk, he succeeded. He said he used a rubber, but I don’t remember much, except it was painful.” She became pregnant. Janet says after this, she and that boyfriend remained together for nearly five years.
Janet said that it was “mostly peer pressure” that led her to wanting to get an abortion. “My friends said it was the right thing to do. We didn’t tell our parents, because we were sure they would be furious. Also because I was a rebellious, feminist teenager. I even burned my bra at a Grateful Dead concert! It was my body, and nobody was going to tell me what to do.”
For her first abortion, Janet told Live Action News she “went to a private doctor” because though it was 1973, abortion wasn’t legal yet. “I did not have any doubts,” she said. “I was pretty determined to get it over and done with. I had to sell some personal belongings really fast so I could come up with the cash. I believe it was several hundred dollars.” An older girlfriend drove her to the doctor to have a D&C. “I was completely asleep, but I woke up cramping. When I got home, I told my mother I had cramps and laid low for a couple of days,” Janet recalled. Today, the most common type of abortion procedure is a suction D&C, or aspiration, abortion — discussed in the video below by former abortionist, Dr. Anthony Levatino:
After her abortion, Janet felt “groggy and crampy and upset with my boyfriend for getting me into this situation, but I didn’t want him to help with money or take me to the doctor. I ignored him for a while.” Janet told Live Action News that during that time in her life, she was very sexually active. “I had been molested by my father when I was seven, and figured that’s just who I was. I didn’t even try to be a good girl because I was already ‘dirty.'”
Janet “immediately” got an IUD after her first abortion, but got pregnant on it anyway, at age 17. Her boyfriend (the same one) “did NOT want me to have an abortion,” she said. “He was from a large Catholic family, but I didn’t care what he said…. So I went to the new Planned Parenthood clinic and they ushered me through quickly. They told me that the baby was just a blob of cells, and that I was doing the right thing.” But, of course, Janet’s preborn baby was not a blob of cells:
“I just wanted it to be over,” Janet told Live Action News. “This time it was free and I felt I was getting such a deal. I was awake and they used suction which was strange. I felt some tugging but it wasn’t extremely painful. Afterwards I went home and rested again.”
Janet says she felt no guilt or remorse for her abortions at the time. “Or if I did,” she said, “it was suppressed” until decades later when, she says, “I became a Christian at 40 years old.” Janet said her past boyfriend, the father of her two aborted babies, “NEVER had any children to this day,” and Janet feels guilty about it. “I pray for him, and just recently ran into his sister and explained everything, and asked her to speak to him. He is married, so I don’t want to contact him personally and cause any problems in his marriage. I haven’t seen him in about 40 years.”
Janet began having what she calls “recurring graphic dreams of unborn fetuses.” She recalled to Live Action News, “My husband told me God was waking me up to the sin of abortion, and told me to repent. I got down on my hands and knees, and prayed for forgiveness. I was immediately set free. It felt like the weight of the world was lifted off my shoulders!”
Janet now works with pregnancy resource centers to help other women. After God set her free, she looked in the phone book where she lived, in Hawaii, to see if there was a pregnancy center where she could volunteer. She found one. “When I walked in, there was a movie playing and it was pictures of aborted fetuses… just like my dreams! I knew the Lord sent me there to heal,” she said. “I worked at the center for approximately four years, and am still friends with the director. Mostly, we gave girls pregnancy tests, and then talked to them about other options. I believe most of the girls chose to keep their babies, especially the local Hawaiian girls, because their culture is very pro-family.”
Janet told Live Action News that she believes the most effective way to help women in crisis pregnancy situations to choose life is to show them an ultrasound of their babies. “I sincerely believe that if I knew my baby had a heartbeat and brain waves, I may have reconsidered (even with my hard heart!). Surely science has really played a key role in helping women (and men) to realize how quickly an unborn child develops,” Janet said. “Also showing them photos of waiting adoptive parents [could help]. Knowing that there is a good family that would take the baby is reassuring. It’s a win-win-win situation: for the birth mother, the baby and the adoptive parents!”
In Janet’s opinion, helping post-abortive women and men to heal begins with the cross of Christ. “I don’t believe anyone can heal until they repent,” she said.
Janet said part of her own healing process was when she was in D.C. at a pro-life rally: “They had thousands of little baby shoes and I got to choose two pairs, put names on them, and lay them on the altar. It was very emotional, but also liberating. Then one day when I was swimming laps, the Lord spoke to me, and reassured me that I will spend eternity with those two children because they were with Him! What a good word to receive. It gave me great peace.”