One Dead, One Wounded

An Open Letter to Women Considering Abortion

When a pregnant woman in our country chooses abortion, the fate of her unborn child is clear. She will enter the Clinic "with child" — she will leave alone. But what happens to the woman after the abortion? What does she experience in the months and years that follow? Does an abortion really have the same effect on a woman’s emotional state as any other small out-patient operation, as some people claim, or is it much more complicated than all that? Is "terminating a pregnancy" truly in harmony with what the liberated woman is meant to be, or is it a slap in the face to Something which makes her uniquely "woman"?

If you are considering abortion or know someone who is, we challenge you to read the following open letter. It is a true account, written anonymously by a woman who has had an abortion; not an account of the operation itself, but of life after. It is a letter for a woman by a woman. If you are concerned about making the right decision in this important time, if you want to know how that decision might affect you for the rest of your life, please read this.

In the truest sense of the phrase, it may be a matter of life and death...
Abortion foes are currently crusading against the termination of pregnancies. They feel that they must prevent the deaths of developing babies. To be frank, I share their views. However, the open letter that follows has little to do with the unborn. It has to do with you. There seems to be so little empathy available to you, so little concern for your feelings and welfare. It is true, as the ‘pro-choicers’ say, that your body will be affected by an unplanned pregnancy. But it is also true that your mind and spirit will be affected, and my heart feels for you in a way that some people may not understand. I care about you and your future as only one who has been there can. Please read this letter as though it was written for you alone. Perhaps it was?...

You are pregnant. You are absolutely sick about it. You have never in your life felt so frightened, or so dreadfully alone. You would give anything you have at this moment if there were a way to miraculously alter your situation, if you could go back in time and avoid this terrible mistake. If you cannot find a way out of this, you will be overwhelmed. How will you go through months of carrying this baby? Who will help you? How will you bear the judgment of those around you? What will you do with this baby? How will your life ever be worth living again? Is it even possible to get through this disaster? There has to be a way out.

There is. It is called abortion. All you have to do is make an appointment at an abortion clinic, wait a short time, go in as an out-patient, and have a baby removed. It will be scary and uncomfortable, but it will be quick. If you just grit your teeth and keep from thinking too much about what you are doing, you will be able to get through it. Within a few days you will be back to normal. No one will pass judgment on you. You can resume your life as if nothing disastrous ever happened. No one will have to know if you choose not to tell them. It will be over.

No. It will never be over. How do I know? Because the situation I have just described was the very one I found myself in many years ago. It also describes my solution to my predicament at that time. I will be very honest with you. For the first few days afterward I felt a bit shaky physically. But soon I began to feel euphoric. It was over. I had made it through the storm. I was free to get on with my life, free as a bird from that awful, crushing weight of fear and despair I had been carrying for weeks. The relief was wonderful.

I remember precisely the moment that that euphoria began to fade. I was at work some weeks later and a friend of a co-worker stopped by to show us her new baby girl. To my horror, I felt my eyes fill with tears, and my heart begin to burn strangely. I had to excuse myself.

It was only the beginning. Slowly, I began to see that I had gotten through the entire abortion experience by concentrating on my panic and fear, on myself entirely. I had managed to keep any questions, any doubts firmly shut out of my mind. Subconsciously, I felt that, once the deed was done, it would be too late to worry about it. It was similar to taking mental anesthesia. Don’t think about it. Just get through it! You will have peace.

Now I began to learn about regret and remorse, about that strange thing called maternal instinct. The questions I had refused to face began to break quietly through my denial. As months passed, I would see pregnant women and estimate how much my baby would have grown by now. In January, I thought about the probable birth date of my baby. Then I would see infants in strollers and realize my child would have been about that size by now. Later, it was the toddlers that caused my heart to ache. I want to tell you the truth. My child would have been 24 this past January. I have not forgotten. I never will.

The intensity of the pain increased when I eventually married and had two beautiful babies. I was not prepared for the depth of feeling that my own baby elicited from me. I literally could hardly bear to know that I had ended the life of another, just as precious as these.

Twenty-five years have passed. I have largely worked through the guilt and anguish of that awful mistake. I am forgiven by God and by my husband. I have a good life. I do not any longer go through my days consumed with grief. But, I remember.

I believe nothing communicates like a good analogy. Do you remember the little boy who was trapped in the freeway rubble after the San Francisco earthquake in the fall of 1989? The rescuers were able to tunnel through the debris to get to him and to get him out. However, one of his legs was irretrievably trapped by fallen concrete. The only way to save him was to amputate his leg on the site. He will survive. His life will go on. His leg will have been left behind. I am sorry to use such a grim example, but surely you see the point I am trying to make. You can get out of this mess you are in real quickly. All you have to do is "amputate" your baby from your womb. But, please believe me, you will not walk away whole. A part of you will be left behind. You may not miss it immediately, but eventually you will. Perhaps for as long as you live.

I have a sister who gave up a baby for adoption. I had shared my experience with her, and she decided to choose the other option—have the baby and give it to a childless family. She had to suffer too. She had to endure several months of visible pregnancy, go through labor and delivery, and sign away her baby. She has residual sadness. She has had to deal with regret. But, in our long talks, we have agreed that her pain has been preferable to mine. She gave her child life. She put a healthy, living baby into someone else’s empty arms. She can live with that.

I ended my child’s life. It is an ongoing struggle to live with that.

We at Sword&Spirit Ministries, and many other people like us, are convinced that Human Life is special and unique, that it is a Gift of God. This includes your life as well as your child’s. If we can be of any assistance during this time in your life, please write us. If we are unable to help you, we will find someone who can.

If you’ve had an abortion, there is Hope. As with this woman, you may have to live with regret the rest of your life, but there is a Loving God who desires to be reconciled with you. He offers you something we cannot; forgiveness, and the chance of a new start.
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