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I had an abortion after I had been married for 2 years. I was 22 years old at the time. We now have three living children. My abortion has certainly changed my life. In retrospect the primary reason for having the abortion, my education, seems very shallow to me. I would undoubtedly have finished my college education anyway. The fact that I thought it worthy of sacrificing my child's life for still horrifies me. Now, however, one of the primary purposes of my life is to help others understand that abortion is not the "simple solution" so many think it is. Usually, abortion is a symptom of another, underlying problem. Also that each human life is unique from conception and fully human.

The following is excerpted from a speech I gave on my experience.

For the last few years I have been seeking God first in my life. After 15-16 years of marriage with job and money as the raison d'etre shifting to a biblical orientation does not happen easily or quickly, but it's been worth it. I, in particular, realized that I had been living in rebellion, not against societal mores, but against almighty God who had created me in his own image, and loved me.

My husband, and I have more satisfactory lives; our family is happier, and our marriage strong. God, family, vocation. This is the ordering of things that helps to keep us in line. We found that. this reordering of our lives to be more in line with biblical principals also forced us to reexamine some past decisions.

The one that really came back to haunt us with a vengeance was the decision to have an abortion early in our marriage. I had wanted the abortion because I was determined to finish my education. No other woman in my family had graduated from college. I come from a very competitive family where worldly accomplishments are valued very highly.

This was, clearly, an abortion of convenience. My husband was in the army, and we had medical insurance; however, I had been steeped in the liberal feminist ethic which was pervasive at the time on college campuses, and Roe vs. Wade had just made abortion a legal, viable alternative.

My attitude was one of rebelliousness - against religion and family. Furthermore my marriage was on shaky grounds because my husband and I had been living apart for 9 months while he was in training.

Picture this: He was in the Army and I was at Art school in NYC. On his rare leaves, this skinny, meticulous officer airborne-ranger-in-the-making would come home to our/my studio apartment and clean. When he wasn't there I would not clean.

I spent all my energy on my artwork. There was a time when I had a family of mice living behind the stove. Some honey had fallen on the floor behind a shelf in the kitchen. I knew it was there, but chose to look the other way. Two of the little mice became stuck and eventually died there.

Now, I agree that this is disgusting, and I assure you that I do not live like that now. The point is that my husband and I were living in vastly different worlds. So when we moved to CA for him to assume his first assignment, we both knew we had a lot of rebuilding to do of our marriage.

I had been very happy in Art School in NYC, and viewed California as foreign, unfamiliar, and unfriendly. He wanted to do whatever he could to make me happy. When we discovered that I was pregnant, we didn't even discuss the abortion. it boggles my mind now. I was totally self-centered; and saw the pregnancy as blocking my goals. Neither my husband nor the doctor questioned my logic in making this decision. And no-one said it was a baby. In retrospect, we now know that Gene abdicated his leadership in our family.

I had a first trimester abortion under full anesthesia. Right after the operation as I was coming out from under the influence of the anesthesia, I found myself sobbing. I was conscious of the thought that I would die. The nurse in the recovery room of the hospital said coldly: "You wish you hadn't done it, don't you." I hardened my heart, and said "no."

But as Mother Theresa more recently has said: "An abortion produces two victims: a dead baby and a dead conscience." My subconscious knew what had occurred, and part of me did die for many years.

Was this simple operation" also what caused my cervix to be dysfunctional so that my later children had to be born by C-section? Was this the beginning of my needle-phobia which caused me to have scary hallucinations numerous times over the years?

Both my husband and I buried any emotion connected with the abortion for 15 years. During that time I did finish my college education; and later did volunteer work for Planned Parenthood.

About two years ago (in 1988) 1 heard a doctor describe in detail, on radio, what occurs during an abortion. I was forced to realize that I had not merely "terminated" that pregnancy and discarded a "mass of tissue" (to use the pro-abortion euphemisms that I had believed), but had subjected my baby to death by dismemberment. I sat in the parking lot, and sobbed.

I also came to understand that, in essence, I had killed myself. You see, my mother also married young. She too was in college when she became pregnant. Her education was interrupted, I was that first, unplanned child.

I have grieved for my first child. It was a long time before I was able to look at a baby; and not turn away with tears in my eyes. I knew that, by God's grace, I was forgiven when I recognized my action as sin, confessed it and prayed for forgiveness.

It took longer for my husband and me to forgive ourselves. In order to deal with this we sought out the post-abortion counseling offered by crisis-pregnancy centers. It is a bible-based program that deals with grief, guilt, anger and depression. We found it very helpful.

My husband and I were surprised by the on-going nature of grief and how long the healing process was. At a prayer and praise service we were praying for healing and forgiveness, as we had been for months. For many years we had been out of communion with the Lord. I had never known him personally, my husband had fallen away. Now we were trying to reorganize our lives according to God's priorities.

Later that evening as I prayed for the Lord to show me a way to comprehend this grief, and accept His forgiveness, he showed me a vision. It just popped into my head. It was an image of the prenatal Christ the advent child set against a glowing halo and dark cross, his hand raised in benediction. He died for my sin, as, my baby had died because of my sin.

There was such peace on his face that I knew my baby and I were O.K. in his sight. This image was a tremendous comfort. Since I am a painter, I was able to commit this image to paper. In fact the Lord wouldn't let me alone until I did. The image kept coming into my head. Through this act I was able to accept the Lord's forgiveness, and to forgive myself.

This picture became part of my first public testimony. Through that act of public sharing, I was able to start to reach out to others in a meaningful way. There are so many who have been hurt by abortion.

My husband and I were led to become involved in the pro-life movement. We have done a number of different things for the pro-life cause (such as start a newsletter for our local NOEL chapter and march in the National March for Life in Washington); but the most. dramatic has been participating in Operation Rescue.

My husband and I have each been arrested once. It was especially difficult for me to do this because I am basically non-confrontational, and, physically, a coward. The Rescue was not something either of us did with any sense of bravado; but, through prayer, that is where we knew that Christ wanted us.

Other times we have just picketed to demonstrate our prayerful opposition to the killing of unborn babies.

My healing from my abortion was completed in a beautiful way: The
telephone rang at 5:30 on a Sunday morning. My neighbor said to my husband "Can you get over
here right away, the baby's coming."

We threw on our robes and slippers and ran over. Our neighbors had been on their way to the hospital, when their baby started to come very quickly. My husband took their little boy back to our house. I went straight to the mom who was calling for assistance from the couch. I held her hand and encouraged her while her husband "caught" he baby. 

I will never forget the complete serenity of that little face. it was so like face of the baby Christ of my vision. Here was one of Christ's babies newly welcomed to the world. The difference between born and unborn was erased for me in that moment.

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