Arizona,  United States

Hi.  My name is Mollie. I'm 57 years old.  It's been over 40 years since my abortion that set off a whirlwind of consequences that haunt me to this day.  The choice to end my pregnancy is the hugest regret of my entire life.

I aborted my baby Lee Anne when I was 16 years old, 41 years ago, and I can remember every detail as if it happened yesterday.  It was 1971, before Roe v. Wade was decided.  I was a junior in high school.  The father of my baby was also 16.  He was a ward of the state and lived in a boy's home.  His name was Rocky.  He said his friends called him that because he was like a rock they could count on.  Rocky and I were inseparable and in love.  Well, as in love as two teenagers can know about love.  We got pregnant in his foster parent's home.  When we found out we were going to have a baby, we didn't know what to do or who to turn to.  We ended up confiding in his foster parents.

As I look back now, if I could have done anything differently, it would start right there.  I should have trusted my parents and told them.  Because Rocky's foster parents suddenly had an agenda: protect themselves from liability because we had had sex in their home while they were supposed to be supervising Rocky.  They feared retaliation from my parents, as well as from the state.  Their primary interest was to make the problem go away, and go away fast.  They convinced me that I couldn't go to my parents, that I would be beaten by my father and turned out into the street.  They told me I couldn't trust anyone, because they would tell my parents.  And if my parents found out, they would call the police, the police would arrest the foster parents, and they would go to jail.  They also told me Rocky could end up in jail or kicked out into the street.  And I believed it.  It all sounded plausible and therefore, must be true.  Suddenly, I felt the fate of several people rested in my hands.  Try handling that pressure as a teenager.  The fate of my baby was never even a consideration at that point.  I felt responsible for saving everyone else.

Rocky's foster parents put me in touch with Planned Parenthood.  The agency helped me arrange an abortion, but I would have to fly from my home in Michigan to New York City where the procedure was legal.  It would also cost $125, which was a lot of money for a teenager to come up with.  I had to borrow the money from my friend's older brother.  Once I got the money, we had to figure a way for the trip to New York to take place in the span of a school day so my parents wouldn't find out.  I lied to them and told them I had to go to school early to make up a test, and that I was going to stay late to participate in some activity.  Rocky's foster parents drove me to the airport.  Rocky was there, holding me.  Visitors could see you off at the gate back then.  He kissed me goodbye and off I went.  Alone.  Scared.  I arrived in New York.  I often think I should have gotten right back on the plane and headed for home.  But I didn't.  I dutifully got in a cab at the airport and gave the driver the address to someplace called the "Center for Reproductive Health."

I was so frightened when I walked through the building doors.  I was quickly herded into a lobby area with lots of other women, women of all ages, but a lot of young girls like me.  We were told to sit down and listen to a talk.  Pointing to a plastic model of a woman's reproductive system, with a cloudy like substance in the womb, we were all told, "This is not a baby.  This is just a blob of tissue."  And I believed it.  I was 10-12 weeks pregnant then, and didn't know my daughter was a fully formed human being with a head and a brain, and arms and legs and hands and feet that all moved inside me.  In the back of my mind though, something told me it was more than a blob of tissue.

Our group was then directed to benches in a hallway where we sat in rows waiting to be called into the procedure room.  This was another moment I wish I would have done something, like run out of that building as fast as I could, but I felt paralyzed.  Then it was my turn.  I was going to have an abortion by "vacuum aspiration."  I didn't know what that was.  I laid on my back and squeezed the nurses hand so hard I think I could have broken her fingers.  I can still feel the pain today.  A sickening, cramping that felt like my insides were being torn out.  And that's exactly what the doctor was doing.  When he was finished, I was in tears.  I said to the doctor, "I want to look."  I wanted to look at the clear plastic drum behind me and see the contents of what was taken out of me.  I wanted to see if there was a baby in there with arms and legs.  The doctor was furious and yelled at the nurse, "Get her out of here."  And the nurse took me by the hand, covered my eyes so I couldn't see, and walked me down the hall.

I was taken to a huge room with rows and rows of beds.  Many of the beds were filled with women, some crying, some reading, some just laying there.  That's what I did.  I just laid there, not making a sound.  I watched the big clock on the wall.  It was getting close to the time I had to get back to the airport to make my flight back.  I told the nurse I had to leave.  She told me I could bleed to death if I left then.  But I didn't have a choice.  I had to get home in time to keep my secret.  I signed myself out of the clinic "against medical advice."

I don't remember much about the flight home, except that I hurt worse than any menstrual cramps I'd ever had, and I couldn't wait to feel Rocky's arms around me.  But when I got to the gate, he wasn't there.  His foster parents said I could never see him again.  I lost two people that day, my daughter, and her father, the young man I loved, and one of the people I sacrificed my baby for to make sure he was not harmed.

This is the part no one tells you about.  The aftermath of abortion.  The grief of loss, the depression, the inconsolable crying, the relentless guilt, the inability to forgive yourself, the anxiety and panic attacks, suicide attempts, subsequent crisis pregnancies, low self esteem, promiscuity, issues with intimacy, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, nightmares, insomnia, psychiatric hospitalizations.  Yes, I've experienced every one of these, and it all started with my choice to have an abortion.  Sounds odd when I think about it.  A choice.  Would I have chosen abortion knowing this was the future I would face?  No.  Never.  I'm sorry Lee Anne.  I didn't know.

There is a silver lining though.  I am forgiven.  Forgiven by a God whose mercy is endless and available.  I am healing.  You may wonder why I keep referring to my aborted baby as my daughter, Lee Anne.  I believe that if you ask God to reveal to you the sex of your unborn child , He is faithful to do that.  Giving her a name is acknowledging her and honoring her life.  I also believe that my daughter is in heaven now, where she enjoys the company of our loving God and is surrounded by the hundreds of thousands of other aborted babies.  They've forgiven us too, and spend their days looking after their mothers who never knew them.  I look forward to the day we are reunited.

Priests for Life