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
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."