Changing people’s hearts

Minnesota,  United States
I had my first abortion at age 15 because an older friend of mine had a roommate who was raised by a single mom.  He told me it was really hard on his mother and that he would've have been better off if she hadn't had him.  I don't remember much about my experience at the clinic.  I think they showed me some video, I can't really remember.  Immediately after the abortion I felt numb.  I got heavily involved in drugs and alcohol and further promiscuity until at 19 I got pregnant again.  I went in to have another abortion and when I was in the exam room the doctor told me I was further along than they thought so I would have to come back the next day because the procedure was different.  When the doctor went into another room to get something that she needed to I heard an audible voice say "no".  When the doctor came back in I said I wasn't going through with it and left.  This baby is now 33 years old and knows this story.   I ended up marrying the father of this child. The marriage was tumultuous at best with numerous separations and reconciliations.  After one 8 month separation and then reconciliation I found myself pregnant again.  When I told my husband this he said he didn't believe it was his baby (it was) and he didn't care what I did about it.  I ended up going in for another abortion.  This time I went by myself and no one but my husband and I knew about it.  I don't remember details of going to the clinic other than when I was driving myself home I became very light-headed and had to pull over on the freeway until I felt better (in the middle of the Lowry tunnel in Minneapolis).  

The marriage ended after 7 years.  In the meantime I had been exposed to Christianity in a new way (I was raised Catholic).  I went to church in my teens as I lived with my sister for a period of time and she was a born again.  They required if I was going to stay there that I had to go to church and participate in church activities and meet with the pastor’s wife on a weekly basis.  I accepted Jesus as my Savior to get my sister off my back.  I didn't think it meant more than that to me.  In the corresponding ten years between my first abortion and the end of my marriage I really didn't go to church much.  My son was being cared for by a Christian and expressed an interest in going to Sunday school so I would bring him and drop him off and pick him up after.  I did this for a while and then decided to go in and check it out.  Also, my husband’s parents had gotten saved in the meantime and when we separated they invited me to go to their church with them, which I did.

I thought some about my abortions over the years but my attitude always was that there was nothing I could do to change anything and it was a decision I made at the time and had to live with it.  I quit using drugs and alcohol when I got pregnant with my son, Rob.  Without the self-medication I found myself very depressed.  I was diagnosed with clinical depression in 1986 and spent three weeks in the hospital as a result.  There wasn't any discussion about my abortions during this treatment or in subsequent rounds with different therapists.  I believe I went to my pastor and his wife and told them (she was very involved in pro-life movement).  I believe my interest here was primarily to seek forgiveness from God for what I had done.  I had not yet made an emotional connection to what I had done and the resulting general unhappiness I was experiencing.  This includes numerous bouts of severe depression and wanting to die.  I would not kill myself as I did not want my family to go through that grief but was dying on the inside.

In 2001 I met and married a man who was the father of two aborted children and as a result he went through a healing program (Conquerors).  He believed that I needed to go through some kind of program to help me deal with the issue as he thought that I was still suffering as a result.  I went through the program and still did not feel any emotional connection and just went through the motions.  I wasn’t able to grieve.

A little over a year ago my niece, Angi, 22 years at the time and unmarried, found out she was pregnant.  We have always been close and usually spend every Wednesday afternoon together since she was a teenager.  She was going to use RU-486 to end the pregnancy.  Angi was raised by a Christian mother and had walked away from her faith.  As she was contemplating what to do she kept having my name come to her mind.  On the Monday morning of her birthday week I sent her a text asking her to call me as I wanted to see her for her birthday.  She told me when she woke up and saw my text message she needed to call me.  I told Angi my experience and how I had two babies that I chose to abort and how I almost aborted her cousin, Rob.   I told her that this was not just some tissue but a human being with a soul that deserved life.  That Rob, her cousin, who she knows very well, would not be alive today if I had made that choice with him. I told her that I would help her in any way that I could.  As a result we talked and she decided to have her baby (the baby I have brought to bible study with me).  I believe God sent her to me so that He could use my experience to save her baby and save her from the horror of having had an abortion.

I went with Angi to her 8 week ultrasound.  I was overwhelmed with emotion seeing that little heart beating.  I had never seen this before.  So ten years after the first program, I found myself inconsolable and convicted of what I did and the reality of those decisions.  As a result I contacted Rachel’s Vineyard (retreats for people affected by abortion) and went on a retreat last May.  It was very difficult and I was going to back out on several occasions because I did not believe I could face the pain.   Instead I chose to claim God’s promises that “In my weakness He is strong” and “His grace is sufficient for me”.

I have for some time told Angi that if anything I have gone through could help her then the suffering was all worth it.  I believe God intervened to save Kaenan’s life and in that is also working to heal me.  You can now see why my niece and her baby are so special to me.

My hope is that God will use my experience to influence others that are facing an unplanned pregnancy and contemplating abortion as an option.  I also believe that overturning Roe v Wade will only change a law and that what God’s wants is to change people’s hearts.  Maybe my story can be used by Him for that purpose.

As I continue to walk through the grief, I count on God’s promise that “He who began a good work in me will be faithful to complete it”.   And although the path that takes me there may not be easy even my sinful choices can be used by God to bring me there.  I remind myself that through the process of doing that work He is with me and His grace has been sufficient.  I wouldn’t be alive if it wasn’t.

Priests for Life