Some of you who are reading this have lost a family member to abortion. You may have friends who have participated in an abortion. Or perhaps you have had an abortion yourself.
If this is the case, you know firsthand how deeply abortion changes you and how many people are impacted by it. Often, after I deliver a college lecture or tell my story in a parish, I hear stories that reveal this wide ripple effect. Here are some of the wrenching personal experiences that people have shared with me (names and identifying details have been changed).
When my girlfriend told me she was pregnant, I told her I’d help her with whatever she decided. She said she was having an abortion and that was it. I didn’t feel good about it, but I was determined to support her decision. I wanted our relationship to last. I thought having the abortion like she wanted would help. But we were both changed afterward. I tried to keep us together. I tried so hard. But things kept getting worse until we finally broke it off after two years. I carry tremendous guilt about this.
When my daughter, Lisa, was in college, she became pregnant by an older man. She called her mother and me for help. Ann immediately went to be with Lisa and to help her think through her options. We wanted Lisa to have the baby; but ultimately, she chose to have an abortion. My daughter has never gotten over it. Lisa never married, and now it appears that she’ll never have any children. Since Lisa is our only child, that means we’ll never have grandchildren. My wife has never stopped grieving the loss of our grandchild. Every year on the anniversary of the baby’s due date, Ann mourns and struggles with depression. Yet she won’t talk about it with Lisa because she doesn’t want to cause our daughter additional pain.
When I was fourteen, my mother told me she aborted her first pregnancy. She said she used to be in favor of abortion—until she had one. She made it clear that she was telling me this so I would be sexually responsible. But ever since she told me about her abortion, I’ve wondered about the brother or sister who is missing.
After both sets of our parents urged us to have an abortion, Randy and I began to doubt our decision to get married before finishing college and have the baby. Hurt and confused, we went to my doctor for the abortion. We got married after graduation and Randy started medical school. We waited to have children until after Randy finished his residency. We love our children, and Randy is successful in his field. But there is always a void in our home and in our marriage.
If you are suffering from a past abortion—either your own, or that of someone close to you—know that you are not alone. Know, too, that your loss is real and that your feelings about it are also real. Most of all, know that God is eager to comfort you, forgive you, and give you peace.
The Lord is near to the brokenhearted And saves the crushed in spirit. —Psalm 34:18 (RSV)
For additional information or to share your experience with me, I invite you to visit the Web site I helped create to provide practical support, access to healing activities, and help with finding local resources: AbortionChangesYou.com.