My story begins in 1987 around the age of 11. I was sexually abused by a family member, and by the time I was 13 I was pregnant as a result of rape. The pregnancy ended the abuse, but it didn’t end the trauma.
At 13, I hadn’t even heard the word “abortion.” I knew very little about sex or my own body. When my mom took me to a physician to be examined, she had to answer most of the questions the doctor asked. The doctor suggested abortion, and my mom agreed it would be the best choice. I had no idea what they were talking about. Growing up in a dysfunctional and unhealthy home, I learned it’s often easier to keep my questions to myself. So, I did.
I don’t recall how quickly the abortion was scheduled, but I do distinctly remember being told that there would be people standing outside the clinic, yelling and harassing us as we walked in. We were advised to get out of the car and walk quickly inside. My mother responded, “I will knock them out. It’s none of their damn business.”
The day of the abortion I remember thinking about the people we were warned about, and I was scared. I was already experiencing stress no 13-year-old should have to endure. The abuse, the revealing of it, the pregnancy, the chaos in my home, and having no idea what was about to happen to me was all too much. I didn’t want to be yelled at as well.
When we arrived, there wasn’t a single person standing outside the clinic. I remember my mom saying, “I’m glad those people aren’t here.” Apparently, the possibility of it had weighed heavily on her mind, too.
Inside the clinic, I was taken back to a room alone with a lady who talked to me about removing cell clumps. I remember feeling overwhelmed, scared, and still essentially clueless as to what was about to happen. But when she asked if I was ready, I nodded yes.
I was then ushered into another room where they handed me a gown and told me to change and lay on the table. Eventually, a male doctor came in the room smiling and said, “This won’t take long. You will be fine.” What I experienced was less than fine. The pain was excruciating, and I began to scream. The doctor snapped at me, telling me to stop it. One of the nurses came over to hold my hand and quiet me.
I have never felt that much pain in all the rest of my life. It seemed to drag on forever. Years later, I found my mom’s journal. She had written, “I could hear her screaming, and I could not take it.” That day, a whole waiting room heard my baby being murdered.
After the procedure, I was taken to a room full of other ladies. I was placed in a chair and asked if I wanted a snack. I don’t remember if I took it. I was so weak. There’s no way of knowing how long I sat in that recovery room. When the nurses came to take me out to my parents, blood gushed out as I stood. My dad ended up carrying me to the car, because I was much too weak to walk. The rest of the day I slept. To be honest, I don’t remember how I felt the next days, weeks, months or even years following. It wasn’t mentioned again until 1993.
In 1993, I was pregnant again. I was dating the man who eventually became my husband. We were teenagers at the time, having sex outside of marriage. At one point he asked me if I wanted to get an abortion. I found my voice to say NO! I shared my past rape and abortion with him and told him I’d never endure that again. That day was just one of the many times that God would show me the godly man my future husband would grow to be and how he would love his family well. Together, we chose to share with our families that we were expecting a baby.
We were scared, to put it mildly. I was terrified to talk with his parents. My husband grew up in a Christian home, and we both knew that having premarital sex was wrong. But when we told them, they simply asked us to refrain from having sex and then loved on us. They supported us in so many ways. Even my own dysfunctional family supported our decision to have the baby.
On March 14, 1993 at 11:17 pm, our beautiful daughter was born to unmarried, clueless kids. My husband’s family and their church blessed and supported us in countless ways. We even had strangers help us along the way, including a family that took in my daughter and myself when things were out of control in my home.
My husband’s family and their church were instrumental in their support. They became the hands and feet of Jesus. They loved us well, never shamed us, and always pointed us to the Cross. When we were scared, someone pointed us to God’s Word. When we were unsure of what to do, someone offered godly advice. When we were broke, someone gave us a baby shower, coupons, and hand-me-downs. When my daughter and I were in danger, someone opened their home to us. When I didn’t know how to take care of my daughter, someone was there to show me. The church was literally the hands and feet of Jesus to us.
We would be blessed with a healthy baby boy in 1995 and also walked through several heart-breaking miscarriages before the age of 25. My left ovary ruptured, and I nearly bled to death. I also had a complete hysterectomy by 29 years old. Was this the result of the abortion? We will never know.
We honestly felt like we were the all-American family. We bought our first home at the age of 23 and attended church. But, looking back, that’s all we did, we just attended church. We really did not have a relationship with Jesus. This would become very clear when we found out our own kids where being sexually abused in 2010. It was very clear that I had never healed from the wounds of my rape or abortion. I got very angry at God. I even told Him that, if this is what He was about, I was out. I turned to drinking every single day, all day long, for about five years. Eventually I would turn to drug use to numb my pain. My marriage was about ready to end, and things where out of control.
One night in 2015, God met me in a very real way in a Hacienda parking lot. I could not deny who He really was. That night changed my life forever. I knew for the first time what it meant to be loved and forgiven—to feel God’s mercy. He would show me how to forgive the people I needed to forgive. It was like chains literally fell off me. He redeemed me and set me free. He redeemed our family and healed our wounds. There would be another time in 2015 that God met in that year. In my living room He took me to the book of Lamentations, 3:55-58. It said “I called on your name, O Lord, from the depths of the pit. You heard my pea, do not close your ear to my cry for help. You came near when I called on you: you said, do not fear. You have taken up my cause, O Lord you have redeemed my life.” I heard the Holy Spirit say, “Get out of the way and let me do what I’m going to do.” That would be the last day I took a drink or took drugs. I literally tried to pick up the wine bottle in my kitchen that day, and I couldn’t lift it up. Jesus had set me completely free!
I have often thought about my baby, what she would look like and what she would be doing now, 30 years later. People often say that a victim of rape wouldn’t want anything to do with a resulting child, that the baby would be a horrible reminder of what happened. For me, the abortion is my reminder of what could have been, a reminder that God had a purpose for my daughter. I have made a promise that my daughter’s story will be in vain. The Lord gave her the name Elliana Grace, meaning “God answered me with kindness, mercy, and favor”.
Genesis 50:20 says, “As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.” What the enemy intended to be used to destroy me, God used to save my daughter’s life. I have no doubt that God has forgiven me and loves me and my family. We are now three generations deep into God’s grace and mercy. God has broken the chains of death. We are a family that serves the Lord. My husband and I currently serve on the Teen and Adult Challenge board. I’m active in street ministry and jail ministry, and we have a monthly worship night at our house that has been growing. God has recently stirred in my heart and opened the door to be involved in Right to Life.
If you are a part of the Church, and God has wrecked your heart for the unborn, keep showing love to the hurting women and men. You are the people who have impacted my life greatly. You are the people God used to save my daughter’s life. Keep fighting the good fight!
If you’re a woman who has had an abortion, please know that there is healing in Jesus. God is the author of turning ashes into beauty.
If you are a woman considering abortion, you will be told that the people standing outside the clinic are against you. You’ll be told that the abortion itself will be fast and painless. You’re being lied to. The truth they’re not telling you is that those people outside the clinic truly care about you and your baby. They’re not telling you that you will leave the clinic utterly changed, full of physical and emotional pain, and toward a life full of guilt, bad choices, and more death. But God, the same God that loves me and sent people to show me His love, also loves you. He will give you healing and freedom and will redeem your story for His glory.
This is why I am silent no more!