Post-abortion woman tells her story of regret
She was 18 when she became pregnant by her 22-year-old boyfriend. She remembers:
the stress, the grief, and the fear I felt when I looked down at that little plus sign.
She explains how she was afraid to tell her parents about her pregnancy:
I felt trapped. We were both raised in Catholic upper middle class families.… A secret abortion was the only option we could imagine. We felt it was a better option than facing our parents’ disappointed faces….
Too many teenagers are afraid to face their parents when they become pregnant. This is common in religious families, where the pressure on the pregnant minor to guard her secret can be extreme. Parents need to talk to their children about pregnancy and let them know that they can come to them if it happens. Christian family should not assume that their children will never make mistakes.
She describes how they went about looking for an abortion clinic:
I told my boyfriend and he went to the computer to start looking up abortion clinics.
Many abortion minded couples search for clinics online. The organization Online for Life attempts to redirect them to pregnancy centers where they will be given helpful information and support. Unfortunately, the boyfriend only found an abortion clinic.
The abortion clinic told her she needed to wait until they could detect the heartbeat of the baby. They scheduled the appointment for several weeks later. The couple first went to the clinic for the required counseling session. There were pro-life sidewalk counselors outside:
We … passed two elderly women sitting out front. One approached me and pointed to a building not too far away where she said they could help me if I only changed my mind. She gave me some pro life pamphlets and whispered “God bless you and your baby.”
The woman was not deterred. She says of the appointment:
The moment I spoke to the disgruntled nurse at the front desk I felt like a number. This appointment was for an ultrasound and the required “counseling”.
Nurse Grumpy called my name after an hour or so and led me back to an extremely perky nurse who informed me she was there to give me an ultrasound and check for a heartbeat. When she found what she was looking for, she took her pictures and started packing up. I asked her if I could see it and she looked at me like I was clinically insane. She told me it was against their policy before moving on to escort me to a counseling room.
Many, many women have said that the clinics refused to show them the ultrasound picture. I wrote one article about how clinic workers evaded the ultrasound law, and former abortion workers have confessed that ultrasounds were hidden. Former abortionist Joseph Randall said:
They [the women] are never allowed to look at the ultrasound because we knew that if they so much as heard the heart beat, they wouldn’t want to have an abortion.
After seeing a video about pregnant women’s options, the woman still wanted an abortion. The nurse:
explained the bleeding and pain would be similar to a period. Simple. Manageable.
The nurse then said goodbye.
But the young woman was not ready to leave. She still wanted to see a picture of her baby:
I asked Nurse Grumpy if I could see the ultrasound pictures. At first she said no. Then I explained to her that showing me these pictures wouldn’t hurt her but that I NEEDED to see them. She handed me my chart, flipped open to a picture the size of a notebook.
…. It blew my mind on every level. This was not a blob of cells at 7.5 weeks. It was a baby. For the first time, I questioned my decision for a few moments… And then I kissed my baby goodbye. I still felt this was my only option. I handed my chart back and walked out.
Two weeks later, she went in for her abortion.
We went through the same gates but this time without the women out front. I silently wondered where they were.
Sidewalk counselors, like everyone else, have busy schedules. But what would’ve happened if the counselors had been there?
In the waiting room:
[I] saw young girls with their moms, looking around nervously, as I was. I saw a woman in a wheelchair clutching the shoulder of her daughter with Down’s syndrome. I saw a father holding the hand of his daughter who appeared no more than 14. I saw a middle aged woman on her lunch break from work, lie to her husband about where she was. No one looked each other in the eyes. If we did, we would have to acknowledge in our minds why we were all there. To end a life.
Then it was time for the actual abortion:
I was only there for about 15/20 minutes, naked from the waste [sic] down, before a man whom I assumed was the doctor rushed in and grabbed a pair of gloves. Without an introduction, or a glance at my chart, he started prepping the vacuum … that was when the fear gripped me and I wanted to run. I just wasn’t sure if that was an option anymore. …
The pain was like nothing I could have ever imagined. I have sat through 4 hours of tattooing on my spine, had uterine cysts, had a miscarriage, given birth to two children via C-section. The closest thing to this pain would be final labor pains. There is just no other comparison.
The doctor yelled over and over again not to move, but with no one willing to hold my hand or anything for me to hold on to, my body had no way to embrace the pain without moving or screaming. I remember briefly looking down from the ceiling and seeing the door wide open while people walked in and out. No modesty allowed here. I looked back down in time to see the tube taking the child I would never meet away, the view of blood running through the tube still haunts me to this day.
The nurse escorted her, still bleeding, to the recovery room where she was only allowed to wait for 2 hours.
After my two hours was over they told me if I needed more time then I would have to walk down the stairs and wait in the lobby. I asked if someone could help me and they said it was against policy. I asked if my boyfriend could come help me and I got the same answer. I slowly walked downstairs, often stopping to sit. After 5 hours at the clinic that day, my boyfriend and I drove home. The whole hour all I did was cry.
She then describes the aftermath of her abortion:
I won’t bore you with the details of the complications I suffered for a year after or my days in college where I went through a horrible breakup or when I drank heavily to cover the pain in my heart or even the deep depression, suicide attempt, and hospital stay that followed my choice 18 months later. At 19, I finally realized the grief I had never dealt with grew and I finally learned to talk to my friends and family. I made one promise to myself though… No matter what, I would never have another abortion. I would make better choices. I would never have to make that choice again.
Two years later, she got pregnant again and kept the baby. Her family was extremely supportive, and her then boyfriend married her.
She still wonders about the baby she aborted:
There are still moments that make me wonder about my baby that was never born. I like to imagine he was a boy and would have had brown curls and black eyes just like his mommy.
She also has advice for pro-lifers:
I have been called a murderer, selfish, and a baby killer. While I will not try to convince you otherwise because I don’t disagree… I do want you to know words of hate will not help this important cause. Instead of slinging your words like swords at women who have made the same mistake as I, go after the real problem. Support groups who help find new jobs for abortion clinic employees …Volunteer at local women’s centers that don’t support abortion but instead provide counseling, classes, and assistance to women who choose life.
Don’t give up. Pray for those who struggle with the choice they have made, that they may find peace. Pray for those who have yet to choose, that they may choose life.
In sharing her story, this woman hopes to help others and educate about post-abortion trauma. She encourages pro-lifers to use her testimony to inspire them to fight abortion.
Editor’s note. This appeared at liveactionnews.org and is reprinted with permission.