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Reflections on an aborted child

by Susan J. Boulden

This year my child would have been eighteen years old -- if I hadn't had the abortion. I sit alone in the evening dusk and think about how it would have been, had I carried my baby to term.

Deep within I feel an overwhelming grief and loss for the child who never came to birth. I wonder what would my child have been like? Would he or she be going away to college now? How would our lives together have been? I long to be able to see that child, to love and cherish my son or daughter.

I think upon the person I was, back in 1972 - so very naive and ignorant in many ways, even at age twenty-eight. I was pregnant and the man was married. I was working in a low-paying job, and I was terribly scared of what my parents in particular and the world in general would think of my being an unwed mother. Back then I felt it was a woman's right to have an abortion if she so desired, but I never stopped to think about just what an abortion is.

"You made the right choice for yourself at the time, with the knowledge and experience you had, and for the situation you were in." I have been told that over and over. Yet it doesn't take away the pain.  Nor does it lessen the anger I feel toward a world that kept from me the facts I needed to know - the truth about abortion and the development of the embryo within my womb.  It doesn't compensate for the guilt I feel for denying my child the right to be born, to know life with all its good and bad, its joys and pain. 

As dusk becomes night, I read through the records from the hospital where I had the abortion. I find that I was eight weeks pregnant, that I was "apprehensive," and that I had a procedure known as a "dilation, evacuation, and curettage." At the time I had no idea what that was. Now I know the process meant scraping the womb's lining and slicing the living embryo to remove it.

 I read on through the records and come upon a form marked "Informed Consent." Was it possible that in the anxiety and fear I felt, I simply signed this form without reading about the possible consequences of an abortion?

The "Informed Consent" consisted of this: "I completely understand the consequences of this procedure to be as follows: will not carry to term."  Of course not!  What else is the expected consequence of an abortion?  What a simple, limited, and to my mind inadequate description of the possible aftermath of an abortion.

Why was I never told just how far the embryo inside me had developed?  Why didn't the doctor or anyone else explain to me that at eight weeks the fetus is so developed that all the external and most of the internal organs have formed?  Or that at earlier than eight weeks, the fetus has been seen to react to touch, pain, and other stimuli.

"A mass of tissue."  What a deceptive, misleading euphemism for a tiny, but almost fully formed human being- -a  baby attached to its mother, yet separate from her; having an individual makeup; a human child.

I talked with ministers and priests. Why did none of them give me any of the relevant Bible passages, such as Psalm 139:13-15? "Thou didst form my inward parts, thou didst knit me together in my mother's womb. I praise thee, for thou art fearful and wonderful. Wonderful are thy works! Thou knowest me right well; my frame was not hidden from thee, when I was being made in secret."

When I look back upon my life now, I can see clearly the far-reaching and enduring effects of that "procedure." I now think of my life as pre-abortion and post-abortion. I cannot go back to change that past, even though I might wish to do so.

Night draws into day. All these thoughts revolve in my mind. Always the sorrow remains in my heart. Nevertheless, I have been blessed. I have received support, counsel, and comfort from many deeply caring and discerning people. I have assurance of God's forgiveness. I have forgiven myself.

I am consoled by the knowledge that my only child is living, even now, with God in heaven, and I am filled with faith and the hope of someday meeting my child, embracing, and asking for her or his forgiveness.

In June 1981 the General Assembly of the Church of God adopted a resolution against "Abortion on Demand." We print here that resolution for help in thinking about this life and death issue:

"Whereas, the United States Supreme Court has declared unconstitutional all state laws regulating abortion, and has opened the way for abortion on demand for any reason; and

"Whereas, the rights of the unborn child are being stripped away by reinterpretation of the Constitution by the Supreme Court; and

"Whereas, this opens the door to possible elimination of other unwanted or undesirable human beings; and

"Whereas, the Bible contains reference to God's personal acquaintance with children prior to birth, inferring the fetus has life, such as

"In Jeremiah 1:4, 5 ". . .the Word of the Lord came unto me saying, 'before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I have appointed you a prophet to the nations' " (NASV);

"And in Psalm 139:13, King David, inspired by God, wrote, "Thou didst form my inward parts; thou didst weave me in my mother's womb. I will give thanks to thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made'' (NASV); and

"Whereas, abortion on demand, we believe, greatly diminishes the moral values, not only of the one seeking abortion, but of this whole nation; and

"Whereas, the unborn child cannot plead in its own defense; 

"Be it therefore resolved that the General Assembly of the Church of God go on record as opposing abortion on demand, recognizing that the unborn fetus is a living human being and thus should be protected by the laws and Constitution of the United States of America; and 

"Be it further resolved that the: General Assembly of the Church of God urges all congregations to express our compassion and concern not only to protect life before birth but to work to assure that the lives that are preserved may receive the care, attention, and help that God wants for all persons; to provide family life and marriage education that will foster such a reverence for God-given life that both the causes and consequences of unwanted pregnancies may be diminished; and that this resolution be publicized."

March, 1992
Vital Christianity

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