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I have learned the hard way

Most people would say that I have learned the hard way. In this lifetime, I have encountered many trials among which abortions, death of a parent, sexual abuse, violence, anorexia and compulsive sexual behavior being an important part of my life. I had two abortions, the first one in 1990, the second one in 1993.

I had my first abortion when I was 18 years old. I got pregnant because the condom broke. The next I went to the clinic for "the day after pill" . Despite its high efficiency rate, I got pregnant. I, alone, decided to have an abortion. My boyfriend, at the time, was very supportive and he would have accepted the pregnancy. It is me who, in desperation, cut him off from my life. Not long after I realized I was pregnant, I broke up with him. The abortion took place at a general hospital, in 1990. I was three months pregnant and under general anesthesia. My decision seemed so firmly seated that no one tried to convince otherwise or told me about psychological complications that may arise subsequently.

The abortion seemed to awake memories from my childhood. To understand what happened at that time, you need to know that I was in military college and trying the best I could to be like a man. In fact, when I found myself pregnant, it felt very strange to me. I absolutely could not see myself with a baby in my belly. My body was an instrument to perform and I was extremely cut off from my feelings and my sensibilities. With the abortion I started to feel the pain of my childhood. Just a little bit so that the memories make their way, little by little, to my conscience. Getting pregnant and having an abortion affected deeply and I had to leave the military. I got discharged under the "family problems" banner.

My second abortion took place end of summer 1993. There again, the same thing happened the condom broke (the guy I was involved with at that time was just an adventure...) and the next day I took the day after pill, which failed like the first time... I was getting really upset by the 98% efficiency rate of the day after pill. It was hard to swallow and I started to believe that contraceptives were a lie to women. Condoms are not so resistant, day after pill is not that efficient... Anyway, I got pregnant a second time and I had my abortion very early in the pregnancy (something like six weeks). But, I felt different than at the first abortion. I felt sad to give up my pregnant state because I felt really good in my body when pregnant. Alas, reality hit in and I did not want to have a baby without a father which was the case at that time. So, I went in and had the abortion. Medically speaking, the surgery went well. I had no complications with it as I taught an aerobics class the same day (this is to say how hard I was with myself and with my capacities). A friend of mine accompanied me and was there for support. She was of great help.

Despite my having two abortions, I kept saying that abortions were not as difficult as taking the day after pill. The days that I took the pill, I was very sick and I still remember the trembling, the fainting, the sweating and freezing that came with taking that kind of pill. I do not wish this for any women.

The worse part of the abortions came only many years later. It is in the fall of 1996 (so 6 years after the first one and 3 years after the second one) that I went through a phase of decompensation. I was having nightmares in which I saw myself in baby parts cemetery and holding a dead baby in my arms and crying for the ones I lost. I was seeing myself naked in this cemetery (much like an holocaust image) and holding a dead baby trying to bring him back to life. I obviously had remorse, guilt and shame regarding what I had done and this part was very difficult to acknowledge. It was hard saying and conceiving that what I had done was wrong. In this period of my life, I had come to realize how my past behavior, the way I was brought up, and how all the feminist indoctrination I had taken for granted, had hurt me and other women as well. I could see that my refusal to accept my female identity (and the childbearing capacity that comes with it) stemmed from a pressure to have value in a male world (or so-called) by male standard. Idly having abortions was the result of my feminist and paradoxical upbringing. Having an abortion was the easy way out of an uncomfortable situation in which I would have had to accept my female body, my identity and act consequently. I did not until I started to realize in 1996 all the wrongs that I accepted and perpetrated.

Most of the hurt and anger toward abortion and my careless behavior is now over with. Still, I'm left with a fleeting nostalgia and I hope that in a few years, I may be able to have children of my own. I used to be ferociously pro-choice (meaning pro-abortion on demand and favoring abortion above all other choices), now I think abortion hurts more than it is a real solution. The problem is not accepting the fact that women can have children and become mothers. I'd say that abortion helps men more than it helps women. I feel it is sad that men support more, statistically, abortion than do women (that is what studies show). Maybe men do not understand or accept that childbearing is an integral part of women's sexuality (Once in a sexuality course, I wanted to deal with pregnancies and how it fitted into women's sexuality; the professor refused the topic because it had Judeo-Christian ideas about sexuality. He wanted sexuality to be separated from procreation. I abandon the course...). Feminist discourse has been very prompt in saying and repeating that women's bodies belong to women and men do not have to say a word into women's decision. Well, it is exactly what they are doing today. They are saying:  It's her body, It's her choice! How hypocritical. How deceiving. I certainly hope women will wake up and refuse to think of abortion as a gift from the feminist movement, because it's not.

I hope this short testimony gives fuel to your arguments. Thank you very much.

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