As long as I walk this earth I shall remember February 11, 1983. On that day my husband drove me through a heavy snowstorm to keep my appointment to have an abortion.
My pregnancy was almost three months along. I was twenty-three years old, college educated, married and professed to be a Christian. If there was a medical problem with my baby, it was not known to me. How was it that I came to have an abortion? Despite outside circumstances, inside I felt the same as many women have described—alone and drowning in a deep pool of fear; abortion looked like a rescue boat. To make the arrangements for the abortion I picked the name of a doctor out of the phone book, had a pregnancy test done and told him I did not want to keep the baby. There were no questions asked, no need whatsoever to explain or justify my request.
After my abortion I suffered symptoms that many women do in the same situation. I had vivid nightmares of killing someone, depression, and irrational desire for a baby. The weight was so heavy that I could not bear to say the word abortion, let alone tell someone I had had one. I remained entirely silent on the matter for more than eighteen years. My husband and I spoke of it maybe once in all that time. Only by the grace of God, I did not fall into self-destructive behaviors to alleviate the pain of the guilt and conflict that weighed on my heart and soul. It hung like a dark, nameless shadow over my home and family.
In a desperate time I prayed that God would give me a friend and He brought me a friend who had prayed that God might use her. She loved me in the reflection of the love of Jesus Christ. She loved my terrible secret out of me. She listened to me and held me and cried with me. God used her to crash through my wall of fear: fear that I would never again be loved if anyone knew the truth about me. I learned that, yes, there is forgiveness even for abortion. I learned that Jesus Christ loves even me.
“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:34-35 NIV
I have since learned from talking with others that I am not alone. Many, many, many women experience what I have experienced. Through the internet I have learned that this experience is not restricted by country; there are women in other parts of the world like me. For us abortion will never be just another medical procedure or a social principle to be debated, reworded or justified. It will be the story of our lives.