‘An emptiness inside me that was unexplainable’: Women share abortion regrets on Roe anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 24, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – It was a bitterly cold day in the nation’s capital Wednesday as thousands of pro-life Americans marched on the United States Supreme Court on the 41st anniversary of its Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion nationwide.
As the marchers braved single digit temperatures and a below zero wind chill to demand a reversal of Roe v. Wade, a group of 20 pro-abortion counter-protesters waited for them in front of the court, chanting shrilly, carrying coat hangers and signs that said “Keep your politics out of my” womb and “Dr. Tiller is my hero.”
The protesters’ chants were easily drowned out by the first wave of young people to complete the March, chanting “We love babies, yes we do, we love babies, how about you?”
But then the crowd fell largely silent as, a few feet away, around a lone microphone, a group of about 30 women began to assemble, all carrying signs of their own that read, “I regret my abortion.”
These women had gathered at the court's steps to put a human face on the tragedy of abortion – not just for the babies who died having never felt their mothers’ touch, but for the mothers themselves.
These women came together armed with nothing more than a microphone and their life stories to present a single, unified message: When it comes to post-abortion trauma and regret, “We will be silent no more.”
“The deep, dark secret of my two abortions kept me enslaved for over 30 years,” said one of the women, Leslie. “The damages of unresolved guilt, grief and shame played havoc on my personal life, but I never connected the dots,” she said. “Like most people who’ve experienced abortion, I tried to bury the emotional pain and memories deep in my soul. I did my best to strain forward in motherhood, marriage, career, and community involvement. But my heart wouldn't settle...those abortions haunted me...and living a lie was killing me!”
Laura, another post-abortive mom, told the crowd that after her abortion, she thought “it was all over, like an eraser. Now no one would know what a terrible person I was.” She later married the father of the baby she had aborted, but said she felt like “used goods.” She found herself tormented by depression, fear, nightmares, and thoughts of suicide. “What was supposed to be an eraser, hadn’t erased anything at all,” she said. “It was destroying me from the inside.”
Another woman, Leigh Ann, said she had an abortion at age 19, “primarily out of fear of how my parents would react to me being unwed and pregnant.” She said she “naively and conveniently believed the all the lies about abortion without considering asking more questions before following through with my decision.”
“Immediately following the abortion,” said Leigh Ann, “I experienced mixed feelings of relief and an emptiness inside of me that was unexplainable. For a decade I remained muddled about the decision and when doubts surfaced, I suppressed them.”
Leigh Ann said that the “emptiness” she felt after her abortion soon developed into “anger and depression.” Later, when she gave birth to a child, she suffered from severe anxiety that someone or something would harm him, a fear she blames on her suppressed guilt over the abortion.
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“Post-abortion stress syndrome is real,” Leigh Ann said. “I just didn’t know I was suffering from it back then.” She said she finally found relief after joining a church and asking God for forgiveness. “I began to really look to God for help,” she said. “I came to accept the truth that my abortion resulted in the death of my child and God’s forgiveness came freely when I repented. But the healing took much longer.”
Many of the women reported that the way they found healing and the courage to break their silence was by attending post-abortion retreats or Bible studies, such as Rachel’s Vineyard and Forgiven and Set Free.
“The more I understood about God, the more His peace filled my heart – which made no room for the negative feelings,” said Leigh Ann, who participated in a Forgiven and Set Free study. “I will always have regret for the things I did wrong, but having God’s love has given me the hope and joy I was missing.”
Many of the women also said they feel that breaking the silence around abortion regret is an important part of showing the world the truth about how harmful abortion is not only to babies, but to women.
“Women who have had abortions are the only people in the world who tell people of their sin over and over and over,” Amy, who had two abortions soon after Roe, told the crowd. “No one else holds a sign for the world to see saying, ‘I committed adultery,’ or ‘I stole money from my family,’ or ‘I lied a lot,’ or ‘I cheated on my husband,’ or ‘I cheated on a test’... No one. No one. It is very lopsided. Why does this happen?”
Amy said, “Perhaps the one reason is because these women, whom God has forgiven, love Him so much that they want to help someone else stop from committing the same sin. They share their very heart and soul with strangers in order to save others.”
“During my abortion, I felt as though I was being torn apart,” said Maggie, who aborted her baby after discovering her boyfriend was cheating on her. “After my abortion I was disabled, the secrecy magnified my shame and became toxic to my health and spirit,” she said. “I already had two other children but how do you parent when you are suffering so deep? For years, my children had a zombie as a mother.”
One day, while Maggie was working at a gift shop, a young girl came in and confessed she was considering abortion. “Immediately I shared my testimony with her, hoping to spare her from a lifetime of pain,” Maggie said. “She thanked me for my testimony but left undecided.”
Maggie said, “About a year-and-a-half later, I heard a knock at the gift shop door. I began to shake because there, to my surprise, she stood in front of me with her beautiful six-month bouncing baby boy. Her words will forever echo in my heart: ‘I want to introduce my son to the woman who saved his life.’”
“After that incredible experience,” Maggie said, “I went to confession, then attended a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat. I found the group setting very helpful, I learned that I was not alone. Others had experienced the same symptoms, especially the trauma resulting from not voicing the pain.”
Maggie addded, “The support system and healing process of Rachael’s Vineyard opened me up to God’s mercy and love and spiritually, I found my way back home. Renewed, I vowed to do everything within my power to help prevent other women from suffering as I did, as I am ‘Silent No More.’”