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Having an Abortion Made Me Pro-Life
This is my personal story. I have only told a few people this story over the last 12 years. It is very painful and shameful for me. However, I feel, in light of the renewed debate following the Kermit Gosnell trial, my story might help others to understand why some of us take the pro-life stance against abortion. Despite the accusations from the pro-choice groups, not all pro-lifers are religious fanatics who only care about the unborn while disregarding all other life. Some of us are not really that religious at all and have come to the pro-life stance through our own experiences. Some of us know the truth behind abortion and struggle to expose it every day.
Judge me if you want, but I ask you to read my story with an open mind and understand that I am in no way proud of my past and suffer a tremendous weight of guilt every day as a result of it. So…here goes…
When I was a teenager, I went on a wild streak after leaving the strict home of my father to live in the home of my absent mother and alcoholic step-dad. In my dad’s house, I was always kept on a very short leash which didn’t allow me to do anything away from home, including the movies, spending the night with friends, or even school dances. At the age of 16, I decided I wanted to live with my mom again after spending 4 years with my dad. When I got to my mom and step-dad’s house, mom was running the streets as a prostitute to earn money for crack and my step-dad was a very hard-working construction boss and alcoholic. In my step-dad’s house, there weren’t many rules and my curfew wasn’t enforced because my step-dad was passed out by 9pm every night. After only a few months, I had dropped out of high school, started dating a 23-year old man, and become pregnant. My dad attempted to straighten me out by making me go back home with him and my step-mother, offering me a stable home and support if I would just cut out the baby’s father and/or give my baby up for adoption or abort him. I was young and “in love” so I couldn’t have imagined my life without my, then, boyfriend and giving up or getting rid of my baby was not an option. I chose to marry my baby’s father at the age of 16 and have my baby in what I thought would be the perfect life of marriage to the man I loved, without the heavy hand of my father pushing me to do what he wanted.
I stayed with my husband for 7 years, having another child during that time, before finally leaving the abusive relationship to be on my own for the first time in my life. I had never been independent; since I left a controlling father for a controlling husband before ever having the chance to be an adult. I had managed to get my GED, decent administrative jobs, and learn how to pay bills but I hadn’t really learned responsibility.
I was only on my own for about 6 months before I was on the verge of eviction and getting fired. One night, I was drinking heavily, as was my routine on the days that my two kids were at their dad’s house, when an Army recruiting commercial came on the television. In my stupor, I decided to call the GO-ARMY number and leave my information for someone to contact me. I had completely forgotten about my drunken phone call until I got the call a few days later from a man stating he was with the local Army recruiting station and would like to sit down with me to discuss my interest in the military. At first, I laughed off the recruiter. Me? Join the military and give up my drinking and partying lifestyle? But, after awhile I considered the road I was on in my life. I was irresponsible, undisciplined, unhappy, on the verge of homelessness, and losing the support of family and friends. Maybe the Army could help me be a better person. A better mom.
So after going through the steps required to join the military as a mother of 2 children, I left for Basic Training as a future soldier of the U.S. Army. I left my children and everything I had known in order to make myself a better person for my kids. That was my main driving force; for my kids. I completed Basic Training and went on to AIT (sort of like college for soldiers to learn their jobs).
In AIT, soldiers get many more freedoms compared to the previous weeks of absolutely no freedom. Once again, I went from being controlled on a daily basis to having more opportunities to be independent. I was a good soldier during the week and a binge partier on the weekends. I mean, why not? I had worked so hard and given up so much for my kids. Why couldn’t I have a little fun on the side? This led to many sexual encounters with multiple partners over the course of the 6 months I was in AIT. But hey, I deserved it. I wasn’t hurting anyone, right?
When I graduated from AIT and went to my permanent duty station, I found out I was pregnant. I was fairly certain of whom the father was but had no idea where he was stationed now and knew that my military career could be ruined if I went through with a pregnancy before I even had the chance to prove myself as a soldier. I felt I had no other choice but to terminate. I believed that I would be forced to leave the military or be labeled as one of “those females” that arrive to their duty station already pregnant. All my hard work would have been for nothing.
In the days following, I had contacted my step-dad, asked to borrow money he didn’t really have, and begged him to come to my Army post in Georgia and go with me to Florida to have the abortion. Georgia did not have abortion services but I could drive a few hours to the Florida abortion clinic, no questions asked.
About one week later, I was sitting in the clinic on an exam table with an intra-vaginal ultrasound, being used to verify my pregnancy, inside of me. The sound was muted on the ultrasound monitor at my request because I couldn’t bear to hear the heartbeat of the child I was about to kill. The doctor was pleasant and accommodating as I’m sure he had had many women make that same request before because, I mean, who could hear that and still go through with it? I kept my eyes averted from the monitor and tried to think about how my life would go back to normal after it was done. Everything was going to be okay.
About 15 minutes in the room where the procedure was done, in a half-asleep state but still aware of what was happening, and I was no longer pregnant. Just like that. A little discomfort for a few minutes, no worse than moderate menstrual cramps, and my body was back to having only one heart beating inside of it.
I was escorted to a recovery area to wake up and drink a cup of juice (Because apparently juice is better than a counselor). As soon as I entered this room and sat down, I began to sob uncontrollably. I couldn’t believe what I had just done! Had I, the mother of two beautiful sons, just murdered an innocent life for my own selfish reasons? Because of my own actions and inability to deal with my own issues, I destroyed a life that I had created in a drunken act of unsatisfying sex with a guy I didn’t even know by anything other than his last name. This realization hit me like a ton of bricks. But it was too late. I had already gone through with it.
I just sat in the “recovery room” crying and trying to come to grips with what I had just done.
After about 30 minutes, I left the room to find the comforting arms of my step-dad who didn’t judge me and even tried to console me with assurances that I had “no choice” if I wanted to follow through with my goal to be a more responsible person for my kids. How’s that for irony?
Back then, my life was unbearable for me if I did not have a man to depend on for direction. So, it’s no surprise that not more than a month later, I had already met a guy who I thought was easy to talk to and made me feel comfortable about myself. I was, however, quick to confess what I had done only weeks before as if I was trying to convince him to not like me. It didn’t work. He liked, and quickly, loved me, for me, in spite of my past and I loved him back.
About a year and a half later, I gave birth to my third child at the Army hospital on post. Her birth was bittersweet for me as I knew that I never would have had her or met my, now, husband if I had not made the decision to abort her older brother or sister the year before.
The whole point of me revealing this horrible truth about my past is not to defend abortion but instead to show that it is possible to have gone through the actions, events, and decisions that lead to having an abortion and regretting it with every fiber of your being. I wasn’t pro-life or pro-choice before my abortion 12 years ago. I didn’t have an opinion on the topic at all. After the procedure, I discovered that the act itself had made me pro-life. How could so many women justify doing what I had done?
Does having had an abortion and being pro-life make me a hypocrite? I’ll let you make that decision for yourself but I believe that having, physically, been on the other side of the debate makes me even more qualified to argue against abortions. I know what goes through the mind of many women who decide to abort. I know that the decision, for most, is not based on the life that the baby will be forced to endure if carried to term; it is based on the selfish scenarios that play out in our minds when we realize our actions could destroy our dreams or goals. Those women who choose to abort, not because they are victims of a sex crime or are at risk of dying if they carry to term, are not thinking about how hard life will be for the child they carry, they are thinking about how hard life will be for them when that child arrives. Those women, who were quick to blow-off the simple and easy act of taking a pill or making their partner wear a condom or not putting themselves in the position to make those decisions under the influence of drugs and alcohol, are not thinking “If I have this baby, he won’t have the things he wants or needs because I am poor or not ready for this”. No. They are thinking, “If I have this baby I will: lose my freedom, not be able to get a good job, have to pay for more food and baby supplies, never have any time or money for myself, and have effectively ruined my life”.
Abortions are not about the baby; they are about the “mothers”.
Abortions are the way out of admitting you made the stupid decision to ignore the easier responsibility and act of having safe sex which resulted in the harder responsibility and burden of having a child.
Abortion is the free-pass a woman gets whenever she makes a “mistake” and realizes she can’t pay for it, literally and figuratively.
Pro-choice advocates are, in essence, saying that making mistakes and not paying for them is wrong unless it creates a life. In that case, it is perfectly fine to screw up because we’ve got this nice little clinic here that can make everything go away. You don’t even have to think about what your life will be like if you are an irresponsible sexual partner anymore. As long as you can get your hands on a few hundred dollars, you can go back to life as usual.
What is the point of teaching our kids to learn from their mistakes if we are allowing them the option to make the serious mistakes over and over without repercussions?
What we are teaching our kids, especially little girls, is that, no matter what, keep some money set aside just in case you forget to take your pill or your boyfriend doesn’t have a condom. If you get pregnant, you can use that money to get an abortion and nobody will ever know.
Well, I am here to say that I am the mother of 3 beautiful children who are alive today; a mother who mourns the death of one more of my children that I never got to meet because I couldn’t face the consequences of being irresponsible and careless. I am a woman who exercised my “right to choose” and regrets it every day of my life. I am a woman who made the choice to abort and as a result, became pro-life. I should have 4 children, 10, 12, 15, and 20 years old. But I don’t. Instead of that 12 year old boy or girl, I have 12 years of pain and regret. That is what you get from abortion; the all-encompassing pain of the knowledge that you killed your own child because you couldn’t face the consequences of your actions. At least that’s what women like me get from it.
Not only did I made the mistakes that led to my visit to the clinic back then but I made the mistake of thinking that decision was all about me and what I wanted. I made the mistake of ignoring the heartbeat and the monitor that showed the little life growing inside of me. If I had been forced to or had the guts to hear the sound of that heart and see it beating on the screen, I would never have chosen to end the life of my own child. I was a coward. I live with that every day.
We should not be advocating for any woman who makes a mistake to seek out abortion as the answer. This is not an acceptable excuse to end a life you have created.
I know, all too well, how the quick and easy process of choosing to and having an abortion can lead to a lifetime of regret, horrible guilt, and what-ifs. A lifetime of imagining what your child would look like or what kind of personality they would have. It’s torture.
We have got to end the culture of ‘easy way outs’ of responsibilities and create a culture of ‘use your head’ before you do things that could end in your life being changed forever.
We have to stop the campaign for abortions to be more easily accessed with even lower costs. If we don’t, we are ignoring the seriousness of the decision and how it will affect those involved for the rest of their lives.
Thank you for reading this story and I hope that, through it, I have effectively expressed that abortion is not a choice women should be able to make on a whim.
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