My Abortion Story
The following “letter to the editor” has appeared in many newspapers around the country and was read by Senator Gordon Humphrey on the floor of the U.S. Senate. It appeared in the Congressional Record on pg. S.10651.
- To the Editor:
I have read letters to the editor from persons who feel abortion is morally wrong and others who feel abortion is a matter of choice. I would like to present a side of the abortion debate that few people consider. That is the position of one who has had an abortion.
This is what the “right to choose” has meant to me: In 1980 I aborted my first child. I was told at Planned Parenthood that this little “blob of tissue” would be as easily removed as a wart. Terminating a pregnancy, I was told, was no more significant than removing a tiny blood clot in my uterus. “Sounds harmless,” I reasoned. Exercising the right to choose, I opted for abortion. At that time no other options, such as adoption or single parenting, were explained. At the abortion clinic, I was not administered pain killers. When the suction aspirator was turned on I felt like my entire insides were being torn from me. Three-quarters of the way through the procedure I looked down and to my right and there I saw the bits and pieces of my baby floating in a pool of blood. After I screamed “I killed my baby,” the counselor in attendance told me to shut up. Suddenly I felt very sad and alone.
But the worst was yet to come. I was not forewarned about the deep psychological problems I would encounter in the months and years to follow. I was never told that I would have nightmares about babies crying in the night. Neither was it explained previous to the abortion that I would experience severe depression in which I would contemplate suicide. I didn’t mourn the loss of my appendix, so why would I grieve the passing of an enigmatic uterine blob? The answer was that it wasn’t a mere “blob of tissue”. It was a living baby. I realized it the moment I saw his dismembered limbs. I realized too late about abortion.
By now the reader may be asking him/herself, “Isn’t this an extreme example of an abortion experience?” Actually, no. Mine was a routine suction abortion. Millions have been done. Why do women who’ve had an abortion have a higher incidence of suicide than other women? And why do the chances of losing a subsequent wanted baby double or even quadruple following a “safe, legal abortion”? Since when has death become good for us?By Karen Sullivan Ables
Janie's story was written through the eyes of the woman who answered her call for help. We hope this story of Janie's courage despite incredible odds will encourage and inspire others.
- Janie was at the end of her rope...
dangling over the pit of despair. Her eyes traveled over the abortion listings in the Yellow Pages searching for some solution to her problem. She stopped at Abortion Abuse Advice & Information, picked up the phone and dialed.
That was my first conversation with Janie. I remember the disbelief and anguish in her voice when she said, "I'm pregnant." Her freedom, her figure, her finances, her family, her boyfriend, everything that she valued was at stake. But the pain of a previous abortion, coupled with the desire for true meaning in life prevented Janie from immediately ending her pregnancy. She struggled to be strong and to continue carrying the baby. However, frequent bouts with her boyfriend and mother would weaken her resolution and turn her mind back to abortion. I remember phoning Janie after not hearing from her for a few days. She was extremely depressed after meeting with her psychologist who, allying with her mother and boyfriend, told her to stop being selfish, and to abort the baby.
Her counselor went on to say that if she had this baby, she would try to live her life through him or her and would end up losing her self-identity. He also explained away her guilt, throwing the blame on traditional values in our society which "made" her feel guilty. Good was bad, up was down, right was left, and Janie couldn't make heads or tails out of the confusion. Finally overcome by her fears, Janie scheduled an abortion appointment for the following day. On the eve of her appointment, Janie coped with her pending procedure by consuming several muscle relaxers and other pills. Shortly before experiencing the desired effect of a deep, deep sleep, Janie phoned her sister who lives in California. Her sister mistakenly thought that Janie was trying to kill herself, and called an ambulance.
I received a call from Janie the following night. Her voice was charged with indignation as she explained how she missed her abortion appointment because she was "stuck" in the psychiatric ward of Ben Taub Hospital. She said, "They wouldn't even give me a phone book so that I could call you. What did they think that I would do, paper cut myself to death?!" All I could think to say was, "The Lord works in mysterious ways." After such a bizarre turn of events, Janie once again focused on continuing her pregnancy. Only now she was worried about the adverse effects that the drugs may have had on her baby. She requested a copy of her medical report from Ben Taub to see how many pills were pumped from her stomach. In the report, the doctor had written, "Patient kept screaming, 'I don't want to kill my baby!' "
This report was a turning point for Janie; it cut through all of the confusion and revealed her true feelings. I often wanted to pack up Janie and take her home with me where she could "hide away" and contemplate the changes occurring in her life. When Janie came to the end of her savings and had nowhere else to turn, she did move in with me. She found a decent job, and when she wasn't working, she was soul-searching. Janie stayed with me for about five months before moving in with a girl she met at work. As it turned out, her new roommate was very religious – she worshipped Satan, and indulged in orgies and drugs. Although this was a very stressful time for Janie, it taught her the difference between good and evil. Her faith in God grew and her prayer life became more fervent.
In the midst of this craziness, Janie experienced one of the greatest joys in her life. Her son, Christopher was born on Tuesday, January 15th at 11:00 a.m. He's a beautiful baby boy, and as Janie says, "He's worth it all." Janie and Christopher are now living their life together. They're quite content as they grow and learn together. Janie spoke in front of two hundred young people about her experience. She held up Christopher at the end of her talk and said, "This is Maternal Assistance."
I walked out of the Student Health Center, my eyes wide open and my mind in a flurry. I stopped dead in my tracks. I turned slowly to my friend Gail, and I spoke softly without expression in my voice, "I'm gonna be a mommy."
- Just minutes before this...
I was handed the results of my pregnancy test; and yes, it turned out positive. And then it hit me – hard like a rock – my life is now over! I got into the car, completely in shock, and my mind was buzzing with so many new and terrifying thoughts. "My dad is going to kill me." "What will everyone think of me?" "Will my boyfriend, Brian, leave me?"
I sped to Brian's and my apartment. He had been anxiously awaiting the results. I was very scared, shaking and yet too shocked to cry, as I looked to him for comfort. He looked at me and said, "Well, you'll have to get an abortion." My heart sank as he spoke these words... they were the last ones I wanted to hear, and yet the first ones I expected. I told him that I couldn't. We both grew up in church and it was against all that I was taught. A week later, after much worrying, crying, and talking with Brian, I had decided to go through with the abortion because I felt I had to keep him. I picked up the phone and scheduled an appointment.
A few days later, I went to a bookstore and came upon a book on pregnancy. I looked long and hard at the picture of the seven-week-old child, just like the one growing inside of me. As I stared at this picture and saw the small head, tiny fingers, legs and eyes, I knew that I could never go through with it. I kept hearing a gentle voice in my head saying, "Just because you made one mistake doesn't mean you have to make two."
After I made this decision, I told Brian. So we discussed the only other options – parenting and adoption. Since we hadn't yet graduated from college, and our parents were supporting us monetarily, we felt that parenting was not an option for us. We decided this child deserved the best life we could give it. We felt that placing our child with a couple who could provide better than we could was the best thing we could do.
Telling our families was very difficult, and Brian refused to do so. My mother had passed away while I was a senior in high school so it was just my dad, my brother and me. My brother was very supportive and backed me 100 percent. My dad, on the other hand, took the news very hard, and I can honestly say that I have never seen him so angry or disappointed in my whole life. At this point, I felt very alone and scared, and the only ray of hope I had was this tiny, perfect angel growing inside me. I knew that it was my responsibility to love and take care it with my life.
After looking through some adoption agency brochures, one in particular, Gentle Care, caught my eye. It mentioned being involved in choosing the parents and also keeping in contact with the family through cards and letters, while the child grew up. I began working with them in my third month of pregnancy. My social worker, Danni, was very supportive, and never pushed me into adoption. She would call to see how I was feeling, physically and mentally, and also how school and my family were. My boyfriend and I gave Danni our medical histories, and she kept in close contact throughout the pregnancy. In my seventh month, we were sent autobiographies to read so we could choose our child's parents.
As we read them, we were very critical, and yet when we read one in particular, we agreed that "they were the ones." We called Danni and set up a meeting with the prospective parents – Dianne and John. We all met at a restaurant, and I can honestly say that at first this was the most awkward situation I had ever been in. However, Brian and I fell in love with Dianne and John and talked with them for about three hours that day. The time just seemed to fly by, and yes, we knew that these two loving and caring people would be mommy and daddy to our perfect angel. As the big day approached, Brian got very scared and insecure. He started staying out all night. Finally, he told me that he was dating someone else. I was crushed and felt as if my life was going down the tubes. But this beautiful, tiny, perfect child growing inside me brought my spirits up, kept a smile on my face and warmth in my heart.
I moved out of our apartment and went to live with some of my relatives. One July morning, I delivered a perfect 7 pound, 3 ounce baby girl! As I heard her first cries and held her close in my arms, I had only these words to say: "It was all worth it!" The day I had to leave her at the hospital, I felt that I was not ready to go through with the adoption so I decided that I was going to keep her. I simply could not bear to leave this perfect angel behind. I had her home for two weeks and during this time, I did a lot of soul searching.
Since I thought she needed both a mother and a father, I talked to Brian. He said he wanted nothing to do with her. I also talked to many other people for suggestions. I took some advice from someone who told me, "Cyndi, sometimes we have to make sacrifices for others that may hurt us. Sometimes we have to put others first. That is what motherhood is all about. Motherhood is otherhood." And after these two weeks, I knew what I had to do for my perfect angel and not myself. I then called Danni and told her that I had decided to go through with the adoption. And so on that day, I dressed my angel up in her prettiest outfit, I packed up her clothes and toys and met with John and Dianne. As I picked up this perfect angel and handed her to her parents, my eyes welled up with tears. They gently took her in their arms, and their faces beamed with pride and joy. My father, with tears in his eyes, looked at Dianne and spoke only these words: "Don't ever forget my daughter." I knew at that moment that I had never in my days been so happy and sad at the same time. And time has passed, and I receive and send them pictures and letters, and I see how happy this beautiful, perfect angel is. And somehow, just somehow, I know that my life certainly has not ended, for all our lives have only just begun!!
"I'm gonna be a mommy." she said. I remember as she spoke the words I just stared into space. We’d been having unprotected sex for about 9 months, and suddenly she was pregnant. I hadn’t started my career yet and everything just seemed complicated and confusing.
- She talked about adoption...
but I could never live with myself knowing someone else is raising my child. After we found out. I wasn’t able to sleep, eat, or go out anywhere. When I was at work the only thing going through my head was her and my baby. I loved her more than anything else. I thought would die for her. She was the only one and I knew it.
“We will have plenty of opportunities for kids later on”, I told her, let's get an abortion. But we couldn't agree on that, ultimately, she refused to consider it. I was not ready start a family, nor settle down to married life. I began drinking more and hanging out with friends, and were just grew apart.
Her decision was to have the baby and give it up for adoption, we couldn't agree so I left. It's been more than 10 years since that day, and not a day goes by I don't think about it. I live in a different city now, and all my relationships never seem to work out. Cyndi moved out and we no longer have any contact. Looking back I can say that I wished I knew then how my life would turn out, lonely and desparate for something of value in my life. My job, it's great but sometimes I think of the emotional costs and find it difficult to cope. I pray everyday for the child I never saw, never knew and never will know, it's haunting really, to think I have a child whom I will never know.
About half of the women who go for pregnancy tests have negative results, confirm your pregnancy, you can call 713.263.8400 for a free pregnancy test
Determine exactly how far along you are, the type of abortion procedure required and all of the costs invloved. Abortion clinics will normally charge for this service. For Ultrasound Information, Call America’s Crisis Pregnancy Helpline: 1.800.672.2296
For a list of lawsuits against abortion doctors in Harris County, call 713.263.8400
Be certain that you understand Abortion Procedures and the associated Risks to you
Early Abortion Methods
- Six—Sixteen Weeks
Vacuum Aspiration or Sharp Curettage
Baby in Womb at Eight Weekspowerful suction tube inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. The fetal body parts and placenta are sucked into a jar, the unborn child often torn apart by the force of the suction. Possible complications include infection, cervical laceration and uterine perforation.
- Five—Seven Weeks
Also known as RU-486 or the "Abortion Pill." This chemical causes an abortion by interfering with the function of the placenta, starving the unborn child to death. Prostaglandins (misoprostol, see below) are then administered to expel the fetus. This method of abortion takes place over the span of several days; the average woman using it bleeds heavily for more than nine days, but some women have bled for over four weeks. Because mifepristone is a new method, long term health risks are not yet known.
- Five—Nine Weeks
Not approved by the FDA for this use, a methotrexate injection kills the unborn child by interfering with the growth process (cell division). Several days later, the woman is treated with prostaglandin (misoprostol) suppositories to expel the fetus; woman aborts at home. Requires three visits to a doctor to complete process.
Late Abortion Methods
- Thirteen—Twenty Weeks
Dilation & Evacuation (D&E)
The cervix is pried open. Using forceps, the abortionist tears the child out of the womb, limb by limb. The child is then reassembled to assure that no fetal parts are left inside. Possible complications include infection, cervical laceration and uterine perforation.
- Sixteen—Thirty–Eight Weeks
Also called misoprostol, this chemical which induces premature labor, is given as suppositories or an injection; live births are common. Hazards include convulsions, vomiting, and cardiac arrest.
- Twenty—Thirty–Two Weeks
Involves injecting a lethal chemical directly into the baby's heart followed by labor induction with prostaglandin.
- Sixteen—Thirty–Two+ Weeks
A long needle is inserted into the woman's abdomen, and a salty solution is injected into the amnionic fluid. The salt poisons the child, burning its lungs and skin. A dead baby is then delivered within 24 hours. This method is rarely used any more due to the serious health risks to the woman.
- Twenty-Four—Thirty–Eight Weeks
An unborn child like a c-section, an incision is made in the woman's abdomen. The baby is removed, then allowed to die by neglect. This procedure carries the same health risks as a c-section.
- Twenty—Thirty–Two+ Weeks
Also known as “partial-birth abortion” this dangerous method of late abortion, termed “bad medicine” by the American Medical Association, involves pulling the baby out feet first into the birth canal while the head remains in the uterus. The abortionist then makes a hole in the back of the skull to remove the brains with a suction catheter. The head collapses, allowing the child to be removed in one piece.
The leading causes of abortion related deaths are hemorrhage, infection, embolism, anesthesia, and undiagnosed ectopic pregnancies. Legal abortion is reported as the fifth leading cause of maternal death in the United States, though in fact it is recognized that most abortion related deaths are not officially reported as such.
- Breast Cancer
For women aborting a first pregnancy, the risk of breast cancer almost doubles after a first—trimester abortion and is multiplied with two or more abortions. This risk is especially great for women who do not have children. Some recent studies have refuted this finding, but the majority of studies support a connection. More on abortion and breast cancer.
- Cervical, Ovarian, And Liver Cancer
Women with one abortion face a 2.3 relative risk of cervical cancer, compared to non-aborted women, and women with two or more abortions face a 4.92 relative risk.
Similar elevated risks of ovarian and liver cancer have also been linked to single and multiple abortions. These increased cancer rates for post-aborted women are apparently linked to the unnatural disruption of the hormonal changes which accompany pregnancy and untreated cervical damage. More on cervical cancer.
- Uterine Perforation
Between 2% and 3% of all abortion patients may suffer perforation of their uterus, yet most of these injuries will remain undiagnosed and untreated unless laparoscopic visualization is performed.
The risk of uterine perforation is increased for women who have previously given birth and for those who receive general anesthesia at the time of the abortion. Uterine damage may result in complications in later pregnancies and may eventually evolve into problems which require a hysterectomy, which itself may result in a number of additional complications and injuries including osteoporosis.
- Cervical Lacerations
Significant cervical lacerations requiring sutures occur in at least one percent of first trimester abortions. Lesser lacerations, or micro fractures, which would normally not be treated may also result in long term reproductive damage. Latent post-abortion cervical damage may result in subsequent cervical incompetence, premature delivery and complications during labor. The risk of cervical damage is greater for teenagers, for second trimester abortions, and when practitioners fail to use laminaria for dilation of the cervix.
- Placenta Previa
Abortion increases the risk of placenta previa in later pregnancies (a life threatening condition for both the mother and her wanted pregnancy) by seven to fifteen fold. Abnormal development of the placenta due to uterine damage increases the risk of fetal malformation, perinatal death, and excessive bleeding during labor.
- Handicapped Newborns In Later Pregnancies
Abortion is associated with cervical and uterine damage which may increase the risk of premature delivery, complications of labor and abnormal development of the placenta in later pregnancies. These types of reproductive complications are the leading causes of handicaps among newborns.
- Ectopic Pregnancy
Abortion is significantly related to an increased risk of subsequent ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies, in turn, are life threatening and may result in reduced fertility. More on ectopic pregnancy.
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is a potentially life threatening disease which can lead to an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and reduced fertility. Of patients who have a chlamydia infection at the time of the abortion, 23% will develop PID within 4 weeks.
Studies have found that 20 to 27% of patients seeking abortion have a chlamydia infection. Approximately 5% of patients who are not infected by chlamydia develop PID within 4 weeks after a first trimester abortion. It is therefore reasonable to expect that abortion providers should screen for and treat such infections prior to an abortion. More on pelvic inflammatory disease.
Endometritis is a post-abortion risk for all women, but especially for teenagers, who are 2.5 times more likely than women 20-29 to acquire endometritis following abortion.
- Immediate Complications
Approximately 10% of women undergoing elective abortion will suffer immediate complications, of which approximately one-fifth (2%) are considered life threatening.
The nine most common major complications which can occur at the time of an abortion are: infection, excessive bleeding, embolism, ripping or perforation of the uterus, anesthesia complications, convulsions, hemorrhage, cervical injury, and endotoxic shock.
The most common “minor” complications include: infection, bleeding, fever, second degree burns, chronic abdominal pain, vomiting, gastrointestinal disturbances, and Rh sensitization.
- Increased Risks For Women Obtaining Multiple Abortions
In general, most of the studies cited above reflect risk factors for women who undergo a single abortion. These same studies show that women who have multiple abortions face a much greater risk of experiencing these complications. This point is especially noteworthy since approximately 45% of all abortions are repeats.
- Increased Risks For Teenagers
Teenagers, who account for about 30 percent of all abortions, are also at a much higher risk of suffering many abortion related complications.
This is true of both immediate complications, and of long-term reproductive damage.
- Increased Risk For Contributing Health Risk Factors
Abortion is significantly linked to behavioral changes such as promiscuity, smoking, drug abuse, and eating disorders which all contribute to increased risks of health problems.
For example, promiscuity and abortion are each linked to increased rates of PID and ectopic pregnancies. Which contributes most is unclear, but apportionment may be irrelevant if the promiscuity is itself a reaction to post—abortion trauma or loss of self esteem.
The Pain Of Abortion
The possible pain and safety of an abortion depends on many factors
Abortion is considered “blind surgery”. The doctor cannot see what he or she is doing and relies on a sense of touch. As blind surgery, abortion poses physical risks which are unavoidable. The patient’s safety cannot be guaranteed.
Other contributing factors regarding pain and safety include the type of pain relievers administered (if any), the doctor’s skill, the type of abortion, the age of the baby, the medical equipment, the cleanliness of the abortion facility and the qualifications of the staff.
In most states, the abortion industry is an unregulated business. They do not have to maintain the high standards required of other outpatient surgical facilities. According to numerous reports of negligence cited in Mark Crutcher’s book, many women suffer severe pain and serious complications following abortion. Learn more about Complications from Abortion.
Know Your Rights before you make any decision. If you are physically or emotionally HURTING after an abortion... If someone at the abortion clinic LIED to you... Call Life Dynamics Incorporated for legal, medical and emotional help. Toll-free 1.800.401.6494