"My demons weren't in an abortion clinic... they were in me."
In the Fall of 1991, I was a 17 year old senior in high school. I got a call from my 15 year old girlfriend,
telling me she had taken a home pregnancy test, and it said that she was. My parents, seeing me
run around the house like a madman trying to find a shirt, stole my keys, and wouldn’t let me leave until I told them what was going on. So my father was with me when I went to see my GF after finding out. Her parents were out, so we left him to tell her parents, while we hid out someplace.
When we came back to her house, my dad and her parents each had a chance to weigh in before leaving us to discuss what we were going to do. My father said that he raised me to make good decisions and left us to it. (He didn’t know that I really wasn’t capable of making good decisions at that time in my life). Her father suggested that he felt the only thing we could do was have an abortion. His wife, formerly a Catholic nun, looked like she’d been punched in the stomach when her husband said that. I think she lost the ability to speak - she left the room without saying anything at all.
What none of them knew was that I already knew what I wanted: I wanted her to get an abortion. But I didn’t to appear to be a jerk, and wanted her to believe I’d go along with whatever she wanted, but I KNEW I could talk her into an abortion, given a little time and the right words. I just had to paint her a bleak enough picture: Getting married for the “wrong reasons”, quitting school and having to serve in the Army under Bill Clinton, resenting each other and eventually divorcing, leaving a kid messed up from a “broken home”….
I remember a book that I guess she got from someone at her school, sort of a “what to expect when you are facing an unplanned pregnancy” type thing. It was weird, as it seemed to have two wildly different viewpoints... In the “aborting your fetus” part, it talked about the FETUS being a blob of tissue like a mole or a hangnail. In the “keeping your baby” part, it said your BABY has a heartbeat at 3 weeks! I remember saying, “That has to be a typo; it wouldn’t be LEGAL if there were a heartbeat at THREE weeks!”
We went through everything thought we needed to get the abortion. Got the referral. Made the appointment at the abortion clinic in Fresno. Never discussed it with anyone outside of the two of us. NO ONE tried to talk us out of it. Had it done.
While my girlfriend was still recovering physically from her abortion, another girl – also 15 – told me she was pregnant with my child. She had also just gone through a recent abortion herself, and this surprise really caught us off guard. We were both still very much in the middle of our previous abortion decisions. And we felt like such idiots. How could we let this happen again? We were deeply ashamed, and just wanted to hide it.
“Fortunately”, we both knew how to go about getting an abortion. We also knew how to keep it secret from EVERYONE. So we had it done. No one ever knew. Including our parents. Mine wouldn’t find out until I was 30; hers still don’t know.
The second girl and I became stuck together - bound together in our shared trauma. We swore off sex for what seemed like an eternity. A semester can seem like forever when you are teenagers. We finally decided we could probably resume a sexual relationship, IF we were CAREFUL. Like they taught us in school. Y’know? Safe sex? Multiple forms of birth control, nothing was gonna get though. She became pregnant immediately.
This time was different though. We were far enough from our previous abortion decisions that we really didn’t feel right about doing that again. We even started to talk about baby names. But all the while, we started moving through all the same steps we had done before to get a secret abortion. Our situations hadn’t changed; we were both still in high school, 17 and 15. We felt trapped. How could we keep THIS baby without invalidating our reasons for our previous abortions?
Had it done. So I tell you: by the time I turned 18 years old, I was responsible for three abortions.
A couple of years later, when I was in college and about to transfer to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, my brother, who was already there, took me on a tour of the biology building. Which was a weird thing to do to your little brother, The Business Major. In the lobby of the building was a large display case, filled with –perfectly preserved – plasticized fetuses – REAL humans - at various weeks of gestation. Some quite small, just a few weeks, you could hardly see anything; all the way up to full term. My eyes locked on 9wks and 11 weeks... and I see arms and legs. And I’m counting fingers and toes. A small child walking by would look at what I was looking at and say, “That’s a baby.” It’s what you call Self-Evident. It made me realize that my abortions had killed three babies.
A few years later, I am married to Sharon. We’re expecting our first. I was very excited and wanting to go to as many appointments with her as possible. I remember one time, there were the three of us in the room – me, Sharon, Dr. Enloe – and he puts this microphone on her stomach and we hear this noise... Is that the baby? No, that’s your wife... Then he moves his hand just barely, and I hear this rapid heartbeat... Just a SOUND. And suddenly there were four people in the room. There were THREE a moment ago, but now there were FOUR. It was like a miracle. I felt things I had never felt before: Protective. SO protective. And Love – I didn’t think it was possible to suddenly feel that much love. One of the best days of my life. For about 90 seconds. That’s when I realized we were at 9 wks. That I didn’t just kill three babies. I killed MY babies, ones that I would have loved every bit as much as this little SOUND. Babies that I should have protected.
During the decade or so that followed, just about everything I touched turned to garbage. My marriage was a wreck, I wasn’t bonding well with my daughters, every ministry I became involved in was the worse for it. I couldn’t drive through Fresno without reliving everything and lashing out at whoever was in the car with me. Then one day I tried to face my demons: I went to the abortion clinic. Sat myself down in the waiting room. And prayed. A lot. I came to realize that my demons weren’t in an abortion clinic in Fresno; they were in me.
I ended up at Tulare-Kings Right To life, mostly looking for people to help me fight abortion, to bring the fight right back at my demons. Eventually, ended up in a men’s post-abortion recovery group. There I found REAL healing. And a passion and a purpose like I’ve never known before.
I'd like to say that my story is unique. It isn’t. It’s actually VERY common. Abortion researchers tell us that 64% of all women that get abortions face pressure from someone else to abort, whether it’s a boyfriend, a husband, parents, whomever. 50% of women that get abortions will go on to have second or subsequent abortions. The vast majority that get abortions will come to regret their abortions, many with long term emotional wounds. And few share their stories with more than a handful of people. What I’d like to leave you with is that if someone has shared with YOU that they are considering abortion or that they have had one, you are one of the few people they trust. You may be the ONLY ONE that can offer them help. Please, be there for them. Thank you so much for allowing me to share with you.