My Abortion Story
It was my last day of high school. The graduation ceremony wasn’t until later, but I had more pressing matters at the moment. My friend went with me to the Pregnancy Resource Center. I took a pregnancy test. The kind woman who worked there tried to talk with me and offer me some materials. I didn’t want them. I wasn’t really listening. I was in shock. The same thought played over and over in my mind, “I can’t have this baby.”
I cried through my graduation ceremony, as did many of my classmates. Everyone assumed my emotions had to do with this life-chapter closing. But deep down I feared that they would discover my secret. What would they say? What would they think about me? Would they try to influence my decision? I knew that among my circle of friends, abortion was an acceptable solution. I knew my parents would be disappointed, and the thought of them finding out terrified me!
I called the clinic to set up an appointment and feared they would see the long-distance charge on our phone bill. My friend and I devised our story, a day spent shopping in the big city. We made our plans. She would leave me at the clinic while she shopped so we had something to show for our trip and weren’t completely lying to our parents. We asked the clinic workers when I would be finished, and set a time for her to pick me up. Neither of us had cell phones.
They escorted me from the waiting room to another room filled with a dozen other women waiting to speak with the clinic worker and sign paperwork, or waiting their procedure. They chatted with one another, explaining their reasons for abortion. It was strange. My decision made sense to me. I was going to college! In my mind, this wasn’t a baby. This was a problem. And abortion was the solution to my problem. But here were women who were married and others who had children! Their decision to abort made no sense to me.
Soon it was my turn. My memories are cloudy but as I woke from the fog of anesthesia, I quickly became aware of the urgency in the worker’s movements. They had trouble waking me up. Before I knew it, I was ushered outside the clinic, the doors shut and locked behind me. It was closing time. I still felt so out of it. And now, here I was sitting on the edge of the sidewalk. Hot. And alone.
Soon my friend was there to pick me up. We drove home with shopping bags and story in hand, while my resolve grew. “It’s over. It’s done.” In the years that followed, I strived to put it out of my mind. I see now that my lifestyle choices and beliefs in women’s empowerment were mainly a way to justify my decision. Eventually I met and married my husband, but I kept my secret. I still feared being exposed. It felt like the “unforgivable”. I believed others would judge and reject me if they knew the truth, and so the weight of my secret and shame continued to grow.
It was a casual remark. A father admiring his newborn daughter in wonder, “How could anyone do that? It’s hard to believe anyone could have an abortion.” We were back in church and I was wrestling with truth. My thoughts shifted from trying to justify my choice, to knowing fully that my decision didn’t line up with God’s Word. As I learned about God’s grace and forgiveness, I began to forgive myself. I shared my secret with a close friend who was a Christian. She encouraged me to tell my husband. He was gracious and kind. The condemnation I had expected came only in my fears and through the deceptive lies of the enemy.
I had believed that abortion was the answer to my problem. I had believed it would be finished and I could move on. But it never went away. My secret doesn’t weigh heavy now. Though the effects of my decision have been long-lasting and far-reaching, I know and have experienced the freedom found in God’s forgiveness.
There is a part of me that wishes I could have listened to the woman at the Pregnancy Resource Center, that I could have accepted her help, that I could have trusted God rather than react in fear. That’s not my story, but I hope that my story can help someone who finds themselves in the same place. Because the truth is – you are not alone, there are people willing to walk with you through this journey.
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