In October of 2012, I wrote my first ever post on the issue of abortion. You can read it here, but I’ll tell you right now it’s not the whole story. When I wrote it, I thought it would be not only my first, but also my last post on the subject. But apparently God had other ideas and has led me to be more open about my whole story. This post is almost the same as that post, only updated with the information I left out three years ago.
I have long wanted to avoid the subject of abortion because no matter how I approach it, there is bound to be someone who takes offense and reads something into what I’ve written that was not what I intended. It is a subject that is typically “discussed” with sound bites, statistics, and angry one-liners, especially on social media.
In the end, I’ve decided to write about this subject in terms of my own story (finally the whole story) as well as adding a bit of a book review in the mix.
For much of my life I was strongly pro-choice. I even attended a NARAL rally with my sister in Portland, Oregon many years ago. I was (and still am) a strong proponent of a woman’s right to make decisions regarding her own body; and I used to believe that making sure a woman could have an abortion any time she chose to (regardless of her age) was the best way to protect that right.
When you’ve had an abortion, it’s kind of hard (but not impossible) to take any other position. To do so means that you must admit that the choice you made was wrong. And no one wants to be wrong or admit that what they’ve done is truly, morally wrong. When you’ve been between a rock and a hard place, young and pregnant by a rapist, with everyone telling you the best thing to do is to just “terminate the pregnancy”—They don’t say that the best thing to do is “kill your child” because that just sounds callous—it’s hard to tell someone else to choose differently.
Even after I was baptized and became a Christian, I continued to be pro-choice. I grew closer to God and He helped me overcome the depression and feelings of worthlessness I struggled with. I came to understand that He knew everything about me and loved me anyway. Life was good, and I was still pro-choice.
But something happened that changed my heart and mind on abortion. My son was five years old at the time and I found out I was pregnant. My husband and I were thrilled because we had been trying to get pregnant with our second child for four years. We were so excited that we told everyone when I was only six-weeks along.
About a week later I started having some spotting so I went to see the nurse practitioner at my doctor’s office. She sent me for an ultrasound. I had never had an ultrasound before except when I was almost nine months along with my son, so I was not really prepared for what I saw. The ultrasound technician pointed out my little baby and his or her heartbeat on the monitor. The baby was very small, but the human shape and the beating heart were unmistakable.
Unfortunately, the ultrasound also revealed that my placenta was tearing away from the uterine wall. I was directed to go home and rest, and I hoped that it would heal and all would be okay. Two days later I had a miscarriage.
In my grief over the loss of this child I cried out to God, but I found comfort in the thought that someday I would meet my little baby in heaven. “You’ll be meeting both of your children in heaven,” I heard God reply.
Suddenly I realized how hypocritical and illogical it was to mourn the loss of this child only seven weeks after his or her conception while simultaneously believing that to abort my first child at the same stage of development involved only the my body. I realized that what Dr. Seuss once said through the words of Horton the Elephant was true: “A person’s a person no matter how small.”
Several years later a friend loaned me a book titled Won by Love by Norma McCorvey. It is her autobiography as Jane Roe of Roe v. Wade. She tells the story of how she became the poster child for the pro-choice movement, worked in an abortion clinic, and was ultimately won over by love to the realization that abortion was not a right worth fighting for. Her story is heartbreaking and compelling. In her first-hand recounting of her time working in an abortion clinic, Norma exposes the truth that abortion clinics and doctors were more concerned about their bottom lines than about the health and care of women facing crisis. Her story is worth reading.
Then when my son was in the eighth grade he took a communications class in which he was required to prepare and present a pro-life persuasive speech on the abortion issue. As he worked on his speech he shared with me the research he had found in the school’s article database. “Women who have an abortion with their first pregnancy are 30% to 40% more likely to suffer from depression, attempt to or successfully commit suicide, and to get breast cancer than women who brought their first pregnancy to term. Good thing you had me,” he said.
My heart sank. I said I agreed with him what a good thing it was, but I knew he was not my first child. I knew I had become part of the statistics in two of the three categories he listed because I had aborted my first child. But I couldn’t tell him that. (At least not then).
I don’t know if knowing the statistics my son found for his research would have changed my decision when I was seventeen. All of the facts, statistics, and rhetoric in the world will never be enough to change a person’s position on this issue. My position was changed by love—by the love I felt for my lost child and the love of God. Norma McCorvey’s position was changed by the love of the folks at Operation Rescue that moved in next door to the abortion clinic she worked at and the love of God. Ultimately it is love that will win the day in the battle for the lives of unborn children who have no voice of their own and their mothers who need healing