Forty years ago, my girlfriend told me she was expecting a child. I immediately became concerned about getting my life together in order to deal effectively with the responsibilities that would be involved. Because the condition of my life at that time was not good, I became filled with anxiety as I attempted to face the responsibilities that were before me. I never verbally pressured or suggested that my girlfriend have an abortion. I believe she eventually decided to encourage me to go along with an abortion for two main reasons.
1. My poor emotional, spiritual and psychological condition made her uneasy with bringing a child into the world.
2. The doctor reduced the reality of the humanity of the child, claiming she was ‘just a ‘fetus’.
My girlfriend’s encouragement for me to go along with the abortion coupled with my own lack of self-confidence led me to agree with her decision to do that. I thought that in some small way, I was helping her by going along with her desire.
My girlfriend subsequently went to an abortion clinic in the United States and had the abortion. As a statement of agreement to my dismal abilities and lack of belief in myself to be an adequate parent, I stayed home wrapped up in the uselessness I convinced myself that I possessed.
When she returned to Canada from the abortion clinic, I felt an emptiness and a fear. The knowledge that I had a child was still there, but the child was gone. The abortion had not taken away the reality that I was a father, it simply took away the reality that I was the father of a child living here on earth. I had lost a child and so had she, and we never discussed what had happened at the abortion clinic until sometime later. We stayed in our relationship with the veneer that nothing had happened, until one day she broke down and shared the trauma that she had been through. I realized then that I had not helped her at all by allowing her to make the choice she did. I couldn’t face her any longer because of the confusion and self-recrimination that I felt, and eventually left, but the knowledge of her pain and of the lost child never left me.
I turned to alcohol to deal with the emotional complications of my guilt, anger and loss, but it didn’t help. I eventually went to a priest and confessed my sin of abortion involvement to him, and he reassured me of God’s forgiveness. As time went on, I found more healing through helping fatherless children. The healing increased as I became involved in post-abortion healing weekends, helping men and women who were post-abortive. My involvement in a maternity home that has contributed to saving the lives of eight babies furthered the healing process even more. I discovered that truly helping vulnerable pregnant women, like my girlfriend, was not to abandon them to the lie that their baby is not human and that an abortion would be a painless solution. Truly helping them would be encouraging and supporting them, like we did at the maternity home, to feel confident about bringing their baby into the world. The emotional result of that approach is bringing the healing that I really needed. So I know that abortion I not the answer.
That is why I am Silent No More.