‘He killed my baby, he killed my baby!’: The day I lost my daughter to the Culture of Death
Dec. 9, 2013 (StudentsforLife) – It was two days before my seventeenth birthday, a Saturday morning, the day after a football game in which I’d played. So I was tired and sore, but I could smell breakfast coming from downstairs and somebody was walking up the stairs. I was half asleep. The door opened: it was my girlfriend, I smiled, of course—but from the look on her face I could see that this wasn’t called for. This was a serious moment. I steeled myself.
After a few long seconds, she looked up at me and said, “I’m pregnant.” That woke me up quick. We sat there in my bedroom, two young teenagers. My room was still a boy’s place, hung with football posters, sneakers, and baseball gloves strewn across the floor. But there I was, sitting next to my pregnant girlfriend. I knew all of a sudden I’d lost the right to keep on being just a boy. My girlfriend went to an all-girls Catholic school and looked ahead to college, while I was dreaming of college football and a career in the NFL. We each had a plan for our lives. It was time to scrap those plans.
We strategized together figuring out how to take care of the new life we created. It felt completely natural and, incomprehensibly, even a little exciting: Our adult lives were starting much sooner than we had planned, but we’d figure it out. So here’s what we decided: I could drop out of high school to join the army (a friend of mine had just done the same). My girlfriend would keep things secret, wear baggy sweaters and take vitamins until I got back from basic training and then we would be together—and I’d take care of all three of us.
So that’s what we did. I went to the recruiter’s office; I got the paperwork, which I needed my mother and my high school principal to sign. Now, out of five hundred and sixty-five students at Amos Alonzo Stagg High School, I was number five hundred and sixty-five. So my principal was quite happy to sign that piece of paper. My mother, with five kids, was also quick to sign the paper, with very few questions asked.
When I got to basic training, I didn’t go to church. I tried to once, but it was just too much for me to bear. In fact, I realized I’d rather do anything else. So I asked the drill sergeants, “When the rest of you guys go to church, can I stay back and clean something?” They agreed, so I took on pots and pans duty, which nobody wanted. I discovered that the station was right next to a freezer where the drill sergeants would hide ice cream bars. I realized that if I took those ice cream bars, packed them in buckets of ice, and snuck them upstairs, when the soldiers came back from church I could trade them. “You shine my shoes for a week? Okay, here’s an ice cream bar. You polish my brass for a week? Okay, here’s an ice cream bar. You make my bed….” And so skipping church turned out to mean that I didn’t have to polish my brass, shine my shoes, or make my bed. Not the best start for my moral education….
I was almost finished with basic and advanced infantry training and getting ready to graduate, and go home. I’ll never forget the day—it was a Sunday when I was cleaning pots and pans while everybody else was busy praying. A friend came running in and said, “Jones, your girlfriend’s on the phone and she’s crying.” So I ran out, knowing that I wasn’t supposed to leave my station or answer the phone. But I picked it up, and she was crying, as I have never heard a woman cry before. Ever. The only way that I can explain it is that her soul was crying. And she kept saying over and over and over again, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry. It wasn’t me.” And then her father said, “Jason,” over the other line, “I know your secret, and your secret’s gone. She had an abortion.”