The article below appeared today in the Beloit Daily News.
EDITOR'S NOTE: With a march in support of abortion rights set April 25 in Washington, two women submitted to the newspaper their personal stories of experiencing the procedure. The first article is from Terri White of Beloit. The second is from Renee Scrivano of Machesney Park. _ WRB
"Grieve for the little people"
By Terri White
When I was 15 I got pregnant with my son. Five days before he was born his father was killed in a car accident. Though my parents had originally encouraged me to place my baby for adoption, they were very supportive of my decision to keep him and helped me to finish high school. Half way through my senior year I turned 18 and started going to the bars. There I met my new boyfriend, my knight in shining armor who I hoped would marry me and be a daddy to my son. Just after graduation I discovered I was pregnant again. I couldn't face telling my parents. I couldn't handle them being disappointed in me again. My boyfriend told me he loved me and my son but he just couldn't promise me he'd be around if I had this baby. Now I was afraid. What on earth would I do with two children by two different fathers? Who would ever want me? I didn't want to be alone and I desperately wanted a daddy for my son. It was a day in late August 1980. At the clinic they asked me why I was choosing abortion. I wasn't "choosing'' abortion at all; I felt like I didn't have a choice. The room was cold and for a minute I think I convinced myself I was just going in for a pap. They told me I would have some cramps, I would hear the suction machine and then it would all be over. I remember being scared out of my mind and wanting to leave, but I couldn't, I had to go through with this. I remember the nurse holding my hand as I started to cry and I realized that it wasn't my insides that were being sucked out of me, but my baby. Not only did my baby die that day, but deep down inside, so did I.
In the waiting room afterwards they give you juice and cookies, like you had just given blood or something. I remember thinking, I just killed my baby and I get juice and cookies for a reward. I couldn't get out of there fast enough. I just wanted to get drunk and stoned and kill the pain in my body and soul. I ended up on a street corner, screaming and crying out to God to forgive what I had done. But I knew God couldn't forgive this one _ it was the unforgivable sin. At least that's what I thought.
I bled for two months afterwards, ending up in the hospital with a D&C. Sometimes an abortion is not complete and parts of the baby can be left inside, causing hemorrhaging. I don't know for sure that this is what happened to me but it's possible. A year later I was diagnosed with endometriosis. With the realization that I might never have another child, I believed this was God's punishment for what I had done. I became promiscuous, I drank, and did drugs _ anything to stay numb. I had a few relationships in between but I wouldn't let anyone too close. If I did, they might find out who I really was. I went through the motions of living but really only existed.
But on Dec. 23, 1993 my life changed. I experienced the love and mercy of God flooding my heart and soul. That night was the beginning of a healing journey that I'm still on today. Healing is a process that will go on all my life. I have received God's forgiveness. I have learned to forgive myself. I have grieved, for my baby, Jennifer Rose, and for the loss of my fertility, as my husband and I are unable to have a child.
I deeply regret my abortion. Living with the painful truth that I took the life of my child would not be possible if not for the grace of God. In the most mysterious ways, that I can't even begin to understand, God has transformed the ugliness of my sin into a beautiful testimony of His mercy.
It's time the truth be told and abortion be seen for what it really is _ the death of a child and the wounding of women and men for life, as we grieve for the little people who are no more.
"Abortion not only choice"
By Renee Scrivano
My abortion happened 16 years ago. I was dating a guy that I loved very much. We were in an on again, off again relationship for four years.
Just before my abortion, we had a fight and broke up for good. A couple weeks later, I found out that I was pregnant. When I told him that I was pregnant, he said that he wanted me to have an abortion because he didn't think I would be a good mother. Also, he said I was a big baby and challenged me to finally be a woman.
I really never thought he would want me to go through with it. I found out that he was dealing drugs and I wanted him out of my life, so I chose to follow through with his plan. He paid for my abortion with his drug money.
The night before my abortion, I couldn't sleep. I was lying alone in bed with my own thoughts, and I knew what I was about to do was very wrong. Two years earlier, I had gone through the same situation, but decided to carry that pregnancy to term. Abortion was never even a consideration to me. But now that I had a 2-year-old son, I didn't want others to think I made the same mistake ... again. The only people who knew I was pregnant were my mom and sister.
When I woke up that morning, I called my sister and told her that I thought I was "miscarrying.'' I told her I was bleeding and wanted to know if she would watch my son. After I dropped him off, I went to the abortion clinic. I noticed the picketers, and I wanted to make sure none of them knew me. I drove around the block. None of them looked familiar, so I pulled into the parking lot and went in. The picketers yelled stuff to me, but I felt they didn't know my situation so they didn't deserve my time.
Once inside, I gave the receptionist a fake name. I felt numb. I filled out paper work, talked to a counselor, talked to a nurse, and tried not to think about what I was doing. A nurse escorted me into the abortion room. She helped me get ready for the procedure and just asked me vague questions about the weather and if I was going to school. The abortionist came into the room and began my abortion. The nurse was leaning over me and staring into my eyes. After a little while, she asked the doctor "Is something wrong?'' He said, "It is trying to get away. I've tried three times!''
I was shocked! What he said hit me like a ton of bricks. It is trying to get away! I started to pray and ask God to stop all this from happening _ to not let it work, to let it fail, to put His hand in the way of the vacuum. I couldn't believe what I was doing!
Seconds later, the abortionist said, "It's done.'' He put away his tools and left the room. From that moment on I have regretted my abortion. I just wanted to run, to die. I was angry. After the nurse left the room, I started to cry. A part of me died in that room. I knew what I did was wrong. The "it'' he was referring to was my baby!
As I walked down the steps to leave the place, I just bawled. I remember looking in the sky, wondering what God thought of me. The rest of the day, I lay on the couch. I would look at my son and just cry. I wanted to go back to that place and pull my baby out of the Dumpster. If only I could live that day over again. My decision to have an abortion was final. It was over. I can't go back.
My mom, who thought I miscarried, encouraged me to name my baby and to write my baby a letter. I named my baby, Baby Chris, and I wrote her a letter. I still have things that make me grieve, like when I go to the dentist and hear the suction machine. My abortion happened two days before Valentine's Day, so every Valentines Day is a reminder. Baby Chris would have been born in September. By now, she would be 15 years old. I wonder what she would look like. I wonder what her laugh would sound like. I wonder if she would have a boyfriend.
On this earth, I will never be able to hold her or kiss her good night. To tell her I am sorry. I can't believe that I took the life of an innocent baby to make myself look better. I really wish I had had the courage to stand up for Baby Chris and to have said no.
My grief drew me closer to God. I know that He forgives me for what I did. When I asked for His forgiveness, He gave me a clean slate. He remembers my sin no more. For that, I am eternally grateful. I know that, when I die, God will welcome me in to Heaven. Standing next to him will be Baby Chris. Only then, will I no longer regret my abortion.
If you or someone you know has questions about abortion, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Abortion is not the only choice. You can parent your baby or release him/her for adoption. I may not have all the answers but I want to encourage you to make a decision you can live with.