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You can’t scrape them out of your mind

This past January, I was one of the many thousands of people who marched at the State Capitol commemorating the 17th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion.

Many banners and hand-held signs displayed the pro-life message, and one particularly caught my eye. It read, "You can scrape the unborn out of the womb, but you can’t scrape them out of your mind".

My first thoughts were: "How true that is!" I know because I speak from experience and suffered for that choice to abort ever since. Little did I realize what emotional, mental, moral, intellectual and even spiritual impact this would have on me later on in my life. One physical act has played havoc with all these dimensions of human sexuality and has left scars in my memory that will be with me the rest of my life.

My story begins with an extra-marital affair that led me down the path of self-destruction. I was too weak emotionally to cope with my existing marital problems, and, in despair, ran from myself and the issues to seek love in all the wrong places. My search for love turned into an unwanted pregnancy.

Societal pressures, my doctor and forces within me remedied the crisis by convincing me that a "quick fix" abortion would solve my problem and no one would ever know.

What a fool I was! I knew in my heart this was wrong and against my value system but I rationalized the guilt and shameful thoughts. It was inconvenient, unplanned and I couldn’t bear the ramifications and consequences of the pregnancy, let alone my infidelity to my husband. I was afraid and scared, so took the easy way out.

Years later it came back to haunt me – so much so that the thought of suicide was uppermost in my mind. My conscience would not allow me to be a peace with myself. Age-old norms, Thou Shalt Not Kill, Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery – of Christianity that I had been taught to respect and honor, I was now abandoning.

Not only was the precious life within me being destroyed, but also my own sense of worth, my spirit of love and goodness and dignity given to me when I was being formed in my own mother’s womb. It was replaced by a deep, inner self-hatred that no one but I, myself, could ever know. The torment that wrenched my inner being was probably as close to hell as I could ever get.

I continued to run and my marriage ended in divorce. Two wrongs don’t make a right. What was next, where was this leading to?

I needed help desperately and in my pain I got down on my knees and prayed. I knew suicide was not the answer. During my night of sleeplessness, God was answering my prayer. By His amazing grace, wisdom came to me that the mental thoughts of suicide were being cast upon me by evil forces seeking to destroy me, and that I needed to seek professional help to get to the bottom of all this torment and pain.

In my overwhelming despair, a light at the end of the tunnel was now giving me a sense of hope. Through a process of psychological and spiritual counseling, I sought the help I needed. The therapy was intense, excruciating and mentally painful. The headaches were severe, and I was emotionally and physically drained.

It was a slow process of recovery, but without the pain there can be no gain. Weekly sessions unraveled the history of my life going back to my childhood. A study of my family background disclosed information about my own mother’s suicidal death brought upon by several abortions in her lifetime, a time in her life when only "mentally ill" people sought psychiatric help for the severe problems that plagued them. In a family system that I believed to be "normal", for I knew no other. I learned that I was an adult child of an alcoholic, dysfunctional family.

With this profound knowledge I was able to fit the pieces of my puzzled life together, and why my life was headed in the same direction as my mother was somehow making sense to me. I was experiencing the same pattern of "learned behavior" but fortunately, with improved psychology, I was able to arrest the suicide. This validated for me the book of Deuteronomy, which makes reference to the "sins of one generation passing on to other generations."

All the information therapy provided unveiled the shroud of low self-worth, depression and anger deep inside me.

My mother was unable to love me because she was unable to love herself – she could not give me the love she herself didn’t have. I had to learn to love myself in spite of that, because I did have worth and dignity, and to recall what my childhood lessons of faith taught me – that I was created in the image and likeness of God.

My task at hand was to seek forgiveness not only to my mother, but more to myself for what I had done in the abortion – destroying another creation of God. That was the difficult part, for I didn’t believe I was worth any forgiveness myself. It was too horrible an offense. I was beginning to understand Christ’s death on the Cross, and the part I had contributed to it. What peace the inner healing, mercy and forgiveness of God it brings to me today.

I realize that through all this, sex is not only a physical act but also a deep spiritual, emotional act encompassing all areas of life that taps into the core of who we really are, and what we are called to be. It is a sacred act meant to express deep love, to procreate the human race and not to "breed" as animals do.

Our society and civilization has dishonored and desecrated this God-given ability meant only in marriage through misuses and abuses resulting in promiscuity, pre-marital sex, teen pregnancy, abortion, pornography, drugs, violence, rape and the "alternative lifestyle" of homosexuality. Yet common sense tells us that sex only in marriage prevents us from emotional, mental, moral, physical and spiritual consequences of pain to our bodies and our souls.

Young people need to know this and so do adults! They need to know that they are valuable with worth and dignity regardless of their successes, failures, their physical make-up, or whatever their family background and that they have a contribution to make in this world for good and for evil. Sex does not bring them this dignity. It is the knowledge that they are made in God’s image and likeness, and that God saw that it was good, as quoted in Genesis. Self-control, not birth control, must be taught to our children as a far greater discipline. Parents must teach it, live it, and model it and our schools and other adult role models must reinforce it.

Sexual gratification by any means outside of marriage is destructive to relationships and must not be allowed. Many of the evils of our society could be prevented if sex before marriage was eliminated. It is not a solution to "find love" for that love must be sought "within", seeking the God within each of us.

We are not the masters of our universe as the "new age" philosophy and humanists maintain. I believe the abortion issue will not be resolved until individuals look into their own heart and mind and examine their purpose for being in this world and ask what they themselves can do to bring a sense of peace to themselves, and in turn the world in which they live.

How does that compare to the plan of our Creator, who gave us our Life? I believe that is the basic premise of our existence and cannot be denied.

I still grieve the loss of the child I aborted. The scar in my memory will never be erased, but someday when I physically leave this world, I know we will meet. I have been forgiven, and this brings me peace. I admitted the pain of this heinous act, worked through it, and now have been relieved of the shame and guilt.

I thank the Lord for the talents and wisdom of those in therapy I was led to. My life is in a new direction today because of it, and I’ve been given deeper appreciation of life never before known "Amazing grace how sweet thou art!"

May this sharing of my story give insight and help to those who need it. Choose life! You cannot fool Mother Nature!

Priests for Life
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