In 1973 I was a middle-class, single, 23-year-old college student. After a “one night stand,” I learned that I was pregnant. There was no one to whom I could turn. Alone, I went to the university medical center and had a D&C abortion. Afterwards, I walked home—again, alone…
A year later, despite precautions, I was pregnant again. My boyfriend wanted nothing to do with the whole situation, so he gave me half the abortion fee. I drove myself to a clinic an hour away, had the abortion, and drove home alone. That was the end of the relationship with that man. And that was the end of my problem, I thought.
In 1976 I married and settled in another state. We joined a United Methodist church, and I became active in its UMW. At a UMW meeting in the early 1980s, during a discussion of abortion, I admitted, even bragged about, my two abortions. I did not mention any details, or that my thoughts and feelings were eating away at my insides.
Months later, I shared my experiences of abortion — and the pain, guilt, and fears they caused–with a friend. I was convinced that God hated me and would punish me with no more children. My friend listened and cared. In the midst of many tears, we prayed for God’s forgiveness. And forgiveness came. I remember that moment as if it happened yesterday.
From personal experience, I know that abortion virtually guarantees the “devastating damage” our Social Principles say we want to avoid.
If I were the only woman to experience these consequences of abortion, then my testimony could be ignored. Unfortunately, there are millions of women, like me, who have had abortions and who have suffered similar, or worse, consequences. Even Planned Parenthood’s Alan Guttmacher Institute admits that 90% of the women who have had abortions would not have done so if they had believed they had another option.
All women who face unplanned pregnancies need people who will care about them and their long-term welfare. As followers of Jesus Christ, as The United Methodist Church, we can and we should love them both.