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Under blackmail threat, pro-life rep’s wife shares moving testimony of regret, healing from past abortion

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May 25, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – The wife of a Michigan state representative has revealed that she had an abortion after her husband received word that an unnamed source planned to go public with the information.

Stephanie Chatfield is married to State Rep. Lee Chatfield, a pro-life Republican who has co-sponsored a bill to ban dismemberment abortion, supported defunding Planned Parenthood, and posted a picture of himself outside one of their offices holding a sign that said, "Defend Life! Defund Planned Parenthood."

The state Republican Party is investigating the matter, and rival campaigns deny any involvement. But rather than allow someone to blackmail her husband, she went public with a story of alcohol, regret, redemption, and hope for young women everywhere.

In a Facebook post, she shared that “as a teenager in high school” she had attended a party and had too much to drink.

“I have no memory of the majority of that night, but judging by my appearance and physical condition the next morning, I knew I had been taken advantage of,” she wrote. “Three weeks later, I found out I was pregnant.”

She told no one of her pregnancy and – “feeling alone, helpless or ashamed” - she had an abortion one week later, something she calls “the worse decision of my life.”

“Little did I know that I would be stricken with an unbearable guilt for the months and even years to follow,” she wrote.

“It’s haunted me. It’s made me weep. It’s made it difficult to look in the mirror at times,” she wrote.

Only later did she find the strength to forgive herself and move forward with her life.

She wrote that she spoke with several people – including her husband, Lee, who was then her ex-boyfriend – who gave her the good news of “the full forgiveness and grace that God freely offers through His Son Jesus Christ.”

“Christ took my place on the cross and bore the weight of my sin, so that I could have eternal life,” she wrote. “My sins are forgiven.”

Rep. Chatfield prefaced her comment merely by saying, “I’m extremely proud of my wife for her courage!”

Mrs. Chatfield used the social media post to encourage other young women who may be facing unexpected pregnancies to seek out help and have the courage to find help from others in their lives – including the pro-life movement.

“There are crisis pregnancy centers in our area that exist for the sole purpose of helping girls like you,” she wrote. “You will not be judged, but rather you will be loved and forgiven…Reach out and look for support!”

She encourages “pro-life advocates” to be “proactive and looking for young girls and women who are hurting, suffering and confused so we can offer them assistance.”

She closed by reminding every one of her readers of what she considers the most important facet of the story. “God is greater than our sin,” she wrote.

She concluded that, while she knows she “made the wrong choice” for herself and her child, “I plan to use my story to help girls, love others, and serve as a living testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.”

Her comment read in full:

Be Pro-Life – But offer help to women in need

There are women all around us in our communities that need help with pregnancies. There are young girls that have unplanned pregnancies and feel that there’s nowhere to turn and no one to confide in. These girls are afraid. And these young girls - feeling alone, helpless or ashamed - unfortunately turn to the only solution that they believe can solve their supposed crisis: abortion. I know this personally, because as a teenager in high school, I had an abortion.

To tell you the truth, I desperately wish that I had the courage as a teenage girl to accept and welcome my child into this world. I wish that I had the same amount of courage that it’s taking me to share my story now. But I didn’t, and I made a decision that I’ve thought about and regretted nearly every day since. It’s haunted me. It’s made me weep. It’s made it difficult to look in the mirror at times. I knew that what I did was wrong at the time, but I never imagined the weight and guilt that I would carry as a consequence. But now, it’s time for me to tell my story, and if this testimony helps other young girls, then to God be the glory.

First, I would sincerely like to thank the person who recently contacted my husband. You informed my husband that you had heard a rumor, and that you would keep digging. You promised that you would ensure that this story went public. In fact, your desire to see this story go public emboldened me to do something that I should have done years ago. After speaking it over with my husband, I felt that telling my story was best. And no matter the intentions of anybody wishing to see this story go public, this I am certain of: God meant it for good and will glorify Himself through this.

In high school, I made a poor decision to attend a party one night. I have no memory of the majority of that night, but judging by my appearance and physical condition the next morning, I knew I had been taken advantage of. Three weeks later, I found out I was pregnant. I didn’t tell my friends. I didn’t tell my parents. Truthfully, I didn’t tell anybody. I was ashamed and I was scared.

The decision that I made one week later to abort my child was the worst of my life. Rather than find comfort in the ones around me that loved me the most, I sought to take care of the situation the only way that I knew how. I should not have done it. It was my easy way out, but little did I know that I would be stricken with an unbearable guilt for the months and even years to follow.

It wasn’t until after I spoke with my parents and my then ex-boyfriend (now my husband, Lee), that I realized the full forgiveness and grace that God freely offers through His Son Jesus Christ. You see, Christ took my place on the cross and bore the weight of my sin so that I could have eternal life. And though my sins are forgiven, I never want to minimize the mistake that I made that day, because it now magnifies the love and grace of my Savior through the telling of this story.

To girls everywhere, if you’re facing an unplanned pregnancy, whatever the circumstances, know that those around you love you and want to help you. There are crisis pregnancy centers in our area that exist for the sole purpose of helping girls like you. The support is there. You will not be judged, but rather you will be loved and forgiven. Be courageous. Reach out and look for support!

To those who’ve had abortions and might be battling with guilt, there’s forgiveness in Christ. There’s a life to be lived! God has so graciously blessed me with four beautiful children and a wonderful, loving husband who takes care of us and adores me for who I am, mistakes and all. God has forgiven me, and He’ll forgive you too.

To all Pro-Life advocates, be against abortion – yes, but let's continue being proactive and looking for young girls and women who are hurting, suffering and confused so we can offer them assistance. Let’s be about solutions and showing the true love of Christ to each and every woman in our communities and families.

And to everybody reading this, remember what I had forgotten – that God is greater than our sin. I am confident that God can continue to use an imperfect person like me to bring Himself glory. And while the life vs. choice debate will continue to wage on, this I know for certain: I made the wrong choice. Yet, I plan to use my story to help girls, love others and serve as a living testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.

-Stephanie Chatfield

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