My story is one of great sin, sorrow and emotional turmoil. In 1976, I found myself facing an unplanned pregnancy with my boyfriend whom I had been dating 7 months. Total shock does not begin to describe my feelings when the test came back positive after just one unprotected act of intercourse. How could I face my parents? I was terrified.
The counselors at the abortion clinic told me that it was just a blob of tissue and they would take care of it. They told me that the doctors would solve my problem and I could get back to my classes and my life would be back to normal.
My "procedure" was scheduled for the following Saturday and by Monday I would be back on campus. A few days later, my mother confronted me about my morning nausea and the truth came out. I told her I had been to the clinic for the pregnancy test and my next appointment was on Saturday. She quickly agreed to the abortion and said she didn't want me to embarrass her in front of family and friends. Eighteen-years-old was just too young to raise a child. She told me there was no way she would help me to keep the baby. All four of our parents met at a restaurant the next evening to discuss the decision. They talked about us as if we weren't there. I felt truly invisible.
I will never forget the sound of the vacuum suctioning my son from my womb on that frosty January morning. The overwhelming pain and vomiting went on for days. The nurses in the clinic said it was normal and things would be fine very soon. I cried alone in the darkness of my room wondering if I had killed a son or daughter and who he or she might have looked like.
Many years of therapy, anti-depressants, suicide attempts and anguish followed. At times, I hated myself so much I didn't want to go on. I was angry and didn't know why. Later, after years of marriage to Chuck, I felt undeserving when God blessed me with 2 healthy babies. Every year on January 10, I would feel a completely devastating cloud of gloom, remembering what I had done.
We have attempted to put our pain behind us by going to a wonderful healing program called Project Rachel while our children were in their pre-teen years. "Life" got in the way of our completion of the steps we saw the "ticker" running across the bottom of the screen about a retreat weekend designed to aid in the healing of men and women who are post-abortive. Chuck and I immediately called and scheduled ourselves for the retreat. The 6 hour drive to Cincinnati was one of great anticipation. I will tell you that this was the most profound experience we have had to help us in dealing with our abortion. The counselors could not have been more loving and supportive. I learned that God has already forgiven me. My "high" for the weekend came when I was able to finally FORGIVE MYSELF!! What a weight off my shoulders!!
The most important thing about abortion that I want you to take away from here today is that abortion is wrong for women and men. Women deserve better.
In January of 1976, 31 years ago, I permitted the abortion of my son, Ryan Paul. I was 17. I was on a dangerous path of ignorant sexual exploration with the love of my life. We knew we were in love, but thought not about the consequences of our growing intimate activity. When I earned that she was pregnant, I was stunned, and things happened very quickly.
I should have been responsible enough to know better. I should have been responsible enough to protect my unborn son, and to protect the mother of my child,
Today and everyday, I ache with incredible pain over the most significant decision of my life, one that I can never reverse, Today I would do anything; give up anything to have that decision back, to have had the courage to say, NO. Instead, I said nothing. I was afraid, timid and complicit by my silence. Our family support system was swallowed into a surreal acceptance of abortion as a silent, secret solution, the quick fix for this problem. Had there been anyone, friends, or parents, anyone to have offered a choice, an option, and some support we might have listened and chosen life. Deep, deep down inside, I knew the truth. This was our baby, not just cells, But no, I said nothing, did nothing but accompany her along with her mother to Planned Parenthood to destroy my child. During the procedure, I felt numb and helpless.
From that moment on there was a chilling silence about the abortion. It was not spoken of again by anyone, for many many years. My response to the pain was to block my emotions with a hardness of my heart. I also felt trapped into accepting the lie of choice, the supposed right to choose death over life. To believe otherwise would mean facing my own guilt. Because of this personal experience I understand the trap of choice that imprisons so many.
My relationship with the mother of my child somehow endured and God blessed us with Marriage 5 years later. Through the next 20 years or so we struggled through her bouts of depression, low self-esteem and the buried guilt of her lost motherhood, the life that had been sucked away and forgotten by everyone else, but not her. I now understand and believe that a woman’s love for her child is stamped in her heart by God. Her baby cannot be ripped away without devastating and permanent consequences. The wound is forever. The problem” not solved.
About 3 years ago we found repentance and reconciliation through an amazing retreat program called Rachel’s Vineyard. We learned that despite our horrible sin, that God still loved us that he had forgiven us long ago. Finally, we were able to forgive ourselves and those who were involved.
The healing process continues for me. I know there are millions of men like me in pain or living with a hardness of heart that they may not even recognize. I want to tell all men who have participated in an abortion or had their children aborted against their will to let your heart out of prison, to seek the help that is available.
I thank God for his strength, and the courage within me to speak out and to defend my child and his dear mother. The pain of my lost fatherhood remains with me every day. But now, through God’s grace, I live with the joy of forgiveness and peace. Now, I want to help stop the madness by being silent no more. One by one, with healing, I believe we can.