Love and Respect

Arizona,  United States

Hi, my name is Karen Ord & I am from Chandler, AZ, but grew up in the bay area!    

I was 22 when I had my abortion. The next 2 decades it remained a dark secret. I grew up in an abusive alcoholic household. It was always my dad’s way or the highway. My opinions were unwelcome & I came to believe that not only did what I have to say not matter, that I didn’t matter.

I got married at age 21. We had been married for a little over a year & had a 7 month old baby girl.  My husband was between jobs when I became pregnant our 2nd child.  When I told him the news, he was furious & blamed me for not being more careful.  He argued – how in the world were we going to support another child? 

Then out of the blue, he insisted that I have an abortion.  I was in shock & disbelief.  I called my mom for support & to my surprise she sided with my husband. I felt rejected & abandoned. I was scared he would follow through with his threat of leaving me & our child, so out of fear I called & scheduled the appointment to terminate my pregnancy.  I wish it would have been harder to arrange at the hospital, but because it was legal & covered under our insurance plan I went through with it. I bought a product that was bad for me.  What I thought I was getting, and what I received were worlds apart. In paralyzing fear, I quarantined my conscience in order to be at peace with my husband and keep my family intact. As I emerged from this state of fear, I realized that what I had been sold was, literally, a dead end.  The day of my abortion, my baby was not the only one that died. A part of me died too.

Abortion seemed so accepted by society, but afterwards I felt so isolated and alone.  My husband & I’s relationship & once happy life together spiraled downward.  We numbed our pain with cigarettes, alcohol & drugs.  On the outside, I remained cool and collected; after all no one could know the secret I kept buried deep inside.  No one could ever know the horrible sin that kept me from being the person I used to be…..

After highschool I followed a dream & went to nursing school to be a pediatric nurse.  I had worked for two years in hospitals and at Stanford in the children’s cancer ward.  After my abortion, I quit my career as a nurse.  I didn’t know why at the time, but years later learned that it is not uncommon for post-abortive women to move away from something that sub-consciously reminds them of the trauma of their abortion loss. 

 I spent the next 22 years suffering in silence, riddled with shame, guilt and self-hatred.  There were countless nights I cried myself to sleep longing to hold my baby.  I wondered what our child would have looked like or grown up to be… and my husband and I drifted further & further apart.  I wonder why these debilitating after effects were not explained to me by the staff at the hospital?  I wonder why they didn’t at least mention to me that such suffering might result from procuring an abortion procedure. 

About 12 years ago, I went to an AZ Right to Life talk at my church with my best friend.  The talk was hard to hear but inspiring & afterwards, I mustered up the courage to tell my best friend my secret. We stepped into the chapel & I told her about my abortion.  I expected rejection, pity & disgust.  Instead I received acceptance, non-judgment & sympathetic love & support.  I couldn’t believe it.  She hugged me and told me she loved me.  That night something changed in me and I started to heal. 

 I am not alone…. I have heard many stories like mine.  There are millions of men, women & teens suffering in silence….  who also bought the lie of abortion. Approximately 43% of all woman before the age of 45 will have had an abortion.  An unexpected crisis pregnancy can cause us to act out of fear & panic, and end up on the wrong end of a fatal deadly "procedure". 

What we need is compassion.  We already judge ourselves.  God knows our hearts, even though so many have been hardened with denial and pain.  I used to say I was pro-choice, after all how could I say I was pro-life.  I would be a hypocrite.  But God kept putting people in my path to help me stand up for what I truly believed in my heart.  God has given me my voice back.  Life is precious & all lives are precious at every stage.  Love & respect will win over hatred & judgment.

For everyone who is suffering in silence, know that there is hope and healing available and that you are loved. ….. Because you never know who is suffering in silence…. It just could be your best friend….

If you or someone you know has been touched by abortion, there is a beautiful healing retreat available called Rachel’s Vineyard.  It has helped me to forgive myself for my part in ending my child’s life & to also forgive my husband for not supporting us. We named our aborted son Matthew & he is now recognized as a beloved child of God. We also have 3 adult children & 8 grandchildren- two of which are also in heaven. Abortion touches all families in some way. 

I believe that someday, I will be reunited with Matthew & this gives me great hope. I will no longer keep him a secret. Society says men & women suffer no negative psychological effects after abortion. I know differently. That’s why I am telling my story & why I AM SILENT NO MORE!!

Priests for Life