I am speaking today because I regret my abortion. My abortion was on April 19, 1972, a horrible day I will never forget. I was a divorced mother with an eight year old daughter. The father of my baby and I had been going together for over a year. When I told him I thought I was pregnant he did not respond the way I had hoped he would. I wanted to get married but he did not. I was heartbroken. What was I going to do? I couldn’t tell my mom. She told me once she would never have an abortion. The only person I could talk to was a girl friend and she was encouraging me to get an abortion. After all how could I possibly raise another child when I could barely provide for my daughter now?
When I went to the doctor to confirm my pregnancy he told me he could schedule an abortion for me. It seemed so simple. It was a difficult decision to make and I felt it was left up to me to decide. Deep down in my heart I knew abortion was wrong but what else could I do. I remember driving to the clinic that day feeling like I was in a bad dream, how could this be happening? During the time of my abortion, people had been protesting outside of the clinics. I worried that they might be at the clinic again today. I would be so embarrassed and ashamed if they were.
The clinic was very cold and dreary. No one explained the real truth to me. They did not tell me that this blob of tissue, as it was referred to, was a baby with a heartbeat. They did not explain the risks involved - the possibility of an infection, or perhaps never being able to have another baby.
The nurse who assisted the doctor never smiled or gave a comforting touch or word. She simply said it would be over soon. The doctor briefly explained the procedure, telling me there would be a sucking sound like a vacuum cleaner. He said there would be no pain. When I put my feet in the stirrups, I thought this is it - there is no turning back now. Oh how I wanted to leave and never return.
The doctor was wrong, there was pain. Pain from the instrument used and a deep pain in my heart. It was over just like that, my baby was pulled from my body. I went home and closed the curtains and lay on the couch in the dark wondering what had I done! But that was not the end of it. A few days later my doctor told me I had an infection in my uterus and I was not able to go to work.
My boss was so thoughtful. He sent me a get well card and a fruit basket. I wondered what he would have said if he knew what had caused my infection. I felt guilty about deceiving him. My boy friend was not around during my recovery period. I don’t know what he was thinking or feeling. We never talked about the abortion.
What I would like every man and woman to know is, abortion is not a quick fix, and there are other alternatives available. There are many after affects of an abortion. I struggled with years of low self-esteem, and alcohol abuse. I never realized my abortion was the root of these problems. I was always stuffing this dark secret deep down inside of me.
I finally found help and forgiveness through a bible study offered at Care Net. It wasn’t easy to take that first step towards healing. It was during the ‘Forgiven and Set Free” study that I realized I was not alone in my grief - there were other women struggling with the same after affects of abortion. And I was able to understand why I had lived in such a self destructive way. I felt forgiven for the first time since my abortion so many years ago. People need to know all of the pain caused by abortions and this is why I am silent no more.