I was a 19-year-old college freshman in 1978 when I had my abortion. The father was a Nigerian medical student who wanted no part of having a baby. I had no one to turn to, particularly since the father was black. Abortion seemed like the only option.
As we drove to the clinic, in my heart, I knew this was so wrong. When we got there, a counselor took me into an office and said I was about 9 weeks pregnant, so it was good that I was doing this now. She had me sign some papers, and handed me some birth control pills “so this wouldn’t happen again.”
I was taken to an exam room and put on a table. The nurse said it would be like a pap smear; just a little cramping, and then it would be over. I remember thinking “this is so wrong,” but I was scared and no one seemed to think it was wrong. If someone had said, “you don’t have to do this; you have a choice,” I would have left.
The abortion was horrible. I felt severe cramping from the cervical dilators; then I heard sounds like a vacuum cleaner and thought my insides were being sucked out. It hurt a lot. When it was over, I asked the doctor whether the baby was a boy or a girl. He told me he couldn’t tell; it was just pieces of tissue.
My boyfriend left money so I could take the bus back home. I never saw him again. A cab picked me up in the back alley of the clinic and took me to the bus station. In a daze, I boarded the bus, and went home, alone. I spent the next several days in bed; I was bleeding and in pain, but most of all, I hated myself. I thought I deserved to die for what I’d done.
Afterward, I started sleeping with any guy who asked. I drank and tried drugs…anything to make the pain disappear. I attempted suicide three times, nearly succeeding the third time. Finally, I admitted I needed help. I was referred to Project Rachel. Through them, I found other women like me. Sharing my story allowed me to start healing. Finally I was able to come to terms with what I’d done, to accept God’s love and forgiveness.
I’ll never forget my abortion experience. Every year, on January 23rd, the anniversary of my abortion, I light a candle and pray for my baby, wondering who he would have become, and I ask him to forgive me.
It wasn’t always easy, but I thank God every day for my life. If telling my story helps even one woman, saves even one baby, then it’s worth it. I want all women to know that taking your baby’s life destroys your own...that’s why I am Silent No More.