By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 26, 2009 ( – As the sun set upon Capitol Hill, the tone of Thursday’s March for Life changed from buoyantly hopeful to bittersweet as dozens of men and women shared their personal stories of abandonment, despair, and forgiveness after choosing to abort or help abort their unborn child.

Forty-five women and six men, some at peace and some still anguished by their decision, came from as far as Alaska and California to join the event sponsored by Silent No More Awareness, and proclaim to the world how deeply abortion had hurt them.

“I saw and felt my baby being ripped apart,” one woman proclaimed.  “I felt empty, I felt horrible because I knew what I had done.  After that, my whole life was just like living in a cave – like I had no way out, I couldn’t find the light.  I hated myself.”

Another described the traumatizing procedure still vividly imprinted on her mind.

“I felt the icy cold instruments enter my body,” she said.  “I felt the dismemberment of my child. I saw the bottle next to my right foot fill up with the bloody remains of my baby.  Immediately I felt physical, spiritual, and emotional pain. My whole being knew that I had crossed a line: ‘thou shalt not kill.’  I was changed forever.  I wanted to die to escape the pain.”

Muriel travelled from Florida to tell her story, a nightmarish scene where after getting pregnant despite months of using the pill, she was given no choice but to abort her child.

“They told me that if I had been taking the birth control pill for 3 months that the baby was going to be deformed,” she said.  Her husband was frightened, she said, and no one suggested that she keep her baby or offered her support. 

After she was dropped off at the abortion centre, “I thought, ‘This is not right for me,’ and I got up and I asked if I could use the phone if I could get a ride,” she said.  “I wasn’t ready, I needed to think about it more.

“The lady got mad and moved me out of the room and said, ‘We’re ready for you, everybody has their doubts.’”  After Muriel asked to speak to the doctor, “she put an IV in my arm and the doctor came in, and I was asking for the phone, and I was put under – and I don’t remember anything until I woke up.”

Another woman recounted that she, too, found herself pressured into the abortion with no one able to help her.  “On that dreadful day, I was desperate for pro-lifers to rescue us, but to my horror, they were not allowed near the building,” she said.  “I was promised counseling, but was met with the chilling reality that this was not to be true counseling, as my expressions of doubt were ignored.  The counselor was clearly in a rush to get my baby aborted.”

Many women described their anguish at realizing that the child they had aborted was the only child they would ever have, as the abortion procedure had left them infertile.  Nearly every participant insisted that the desperate pain caused by the abortion did not begin to heal – sometimes for decades – until they acknowledged the truth of what had happened.

“After my abortion … I sobbed all the time, I drank, I led such a life of promiscuity – you name it, I did it,” one woman testified.

“It was years later before I realized that nothing could hide from almighty God – or even from my conscience – the crimes I had committed against my own flesh and blood, my children,” said another.  “Nor did I realize how agonizing and permanent my decision to abort would be.”

Frequently through the help of such ministries as Rachel’s Vineyard, almost all the women came to a point of discovering God’s forgiveness and through it the ability to forgive themselves.

One woman summed up the damage done to her by the choice of abortion: “Abortion did not liberate me.  It did not undo the date rape.  It killed Sarah Elizabeth, and robbed all of her presence, her life, and her genealogy.”

One of the most moving testimonies came from a woman who had aborted her child years ago and whose now-grown daughter was about to make the same choice, but the child was saved when the suction procedure miraculously missed its target. 

“God placed his hand inside her uterus and said to the doctor: ‘Not this one, not this time,’” proclaimed the grandmother.  “As I gazed down into the eyes of this precious miracle … I saw the face of my child, and I knew I was forgiven.”