My name is Cindy, and unfortunately, my story is not unique. I’m a post-abortion survivor. I use this term to help others to understand that not only does abortion kill the unborn child; it also leaves an aftermath of victims. Abortion is not a “procedure” that a mother and father walk away from without painful, permanent scars.I was pro-choice from the first time I heard about abortion, which was in 1981. A friend that I went to high school with got pregnant by her boyfriend, and decided to have an abortion…It had only been 8 years since the Roe v. Wade decision, and I was a very intellectual woman. It was not a life that was being killed, it was a potential life. Life was self-sustaining, and a woman’s body was simply a life support system for that potential life. It would not be legal if it were ending someone’s life.
I agreed to take my friend to the abortion clinic as she did not want anyone else to know. Her boyfriend begged her not to have an abortion. He was so upset and truly seemed to be devastated. I felt very sorry for him because he obviously wanted to become a father, but he had no right to ask my friend to put herself and her body through pregnancy and childbirth.When I became pregnant in 1985, my boyfriend told me it wasn’t the right time for us to have a child, and there would be plenty of time for us to have a family. I agreed without putting any thought into this decision because it was not yet a baby – at least that is what I believed. I was barely 5 weeks and had no physical reasons to know that anything was going on inside my womb. I had the abortion and instantly felt more shame and fear of someone discovering what I had done than I had felt about someone discovering that I had premarital sex and had gotten pregnant. About eight months later I had a dream where I saw my baby boy. I was holding him in my arms, and we were lovingly gazing at each other. He was so beautiful. When I awoke, I realized I had just seen my son. As is normally the case, the father and I did not stay together. This was just the beginning of my post-abortion story and the long journey from pro-choice to pro-life.
About ten years after the abortion, I received a call from the father of my child. He said he was very sorry for what he had put me through and asked if I could ever forgive him. I told him that all was forgiven. He went on to work with youth and to teach them about abstinence and responsibilities. I can’t say for certain that the abortion is what inspired him to help others, but I feel certain that it was.
I continued to be pro-choice and believed that I was merely mourning the loss of “potential” motherhood. My life from this point was filled with destructive behavior. I became promiscuous and began drinking heavily. Anything to help dull the pain and shame I felt. I also did what I could to prevent myself from becoming pregnant, as I felt I was unworthy of having another child. I prayed that God would let me die in an accident so I would not have to continue feeling so much pain. My shame kept me from seeking the help that I needed. A couple of years later I shared my abortion story with a friend. I began the process of forgiving myself. Forgiveness came, but my shame stayed with me for another 23 years.
After a failed marriage and drowning in complete despair, I told God I would follow wherever he led me. In the fall of 2007 I entered an RCIA (Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults) class. That spring one of the priests shared his vocation story with the class. I was amazed that even priests have a sinful past. It was hearing his story and learning the story of so many of the saints that made me realize that God had forgiven me, that I was worthy of his love, and that I did not have to be ashamed anymore. I felt the desire to help others who had been affected by similar pain, and so I asked to meet with that priest. We met on a Wednesday night, and I told him that he could share my story with anyone, and that I would be willing to speak with anyone that he felt could benefit from my experience. He asked if I would be willing to share my story at the Catholic high school. I said yes. He asked if I could come that Friday, as they had just started discussing abortion in class that Monday. It just so happened that I had that Friday off and had nothing planned. I was about to go from only four people knowing my greatest sin to numerous kids and teachers, some of whom I knew would recognize me from church. God knew I would have been too frightened to share my story with the priest had I known his plans for me. After sharing my story, what happened caught me by complete surprise. No one looked at me with disgust, as Satan had convinced me they would. Instead, I received admiration for my courage, sympathy for my pain, and love that lifted me higher than I thought humanly possible. I don’t know if I helped any of the students, but God healed me that very day. Satan no longer had me in the bondage of shame, and I knew that I would be silent no more! I now understood that life and death should be left to God and not humans. I still did not understand that I had given consent for my son to be killed. I was still under the illusion that I had just consented to not allow life to grow in my womb. God is so merciful and knew that I could not handle the truth all at once.
I began reading, researching, and getting as informed as possible about abortion. It was during this research that I learned that a heartbeat can be detected as early as five weeks. The truth now came to light and I began crying and did not stop for a couple of hours. I could not allow others to be blind to the truth and to be subject to all the pain and suffering that I have experienced. I knew that God had brought me to the truth gradually so that I would be able to share my testimony with others. A dear friend asked me if I had named my son, a concept that was foreign to a former Protestant.
I will mourn my son and the lost opportunity of motherhood for the rest of my life as I have always wanted children. I know that my son, Francis McKinley, knows that I love him and that I was blind to the truth of when life actually begins. In memory of my beloved son, I will not be silent about the truth that life begins at the moment of conception.
I have committed my life to helping other post-abortion victims and to put an end to abortion. If you are a post-abortion victim please do not wait 23 years to get help as I did. God sent his son to die for our sins and he has forgiven us. Do not let Satan hold you captive by feelings of shame! There are so many wonderful programs to help you get past your guilt and shame.
Jesus was also innocent and unwanted by many as are the unborn. He died so that all our sins would be forgiven. Through his act of love we are forgiven and we must break Satan’s hold over us by forgiving ourselves. We must hear the truth to know the truth. We must face the truth to accept the truth. We must confess the truth and share the truth to be free from Satan’s chains of guilt.
God calls us each to be disciples, to preach the truth, and to love one another. Love others enough to make sure they know the truth and prevent them from having to say they regret their abortion.
Everyone knows the morality at least in their hearts. We have to expose the reality to the world. Equip yourself with God’s love and the facts. If you are willing to share the truth about abortion, God will provide you the opportunity. Last time I was at my optometrist I shared the facts of my abortion and told the doctor how much regret and pain I’ve had and still have. I didn’t say, “So doc how’s my eyes, and did you know I had an abortion 26 1/2 years ago?” God created that opportunity and the doctor introduced me to his wife, who along with their children helps crisis pregnancy centers. This is not an easy, pleasant, or popular subject to discuss, but we are not called to only share the easy, beautiful, and popular messages. We need this discussed in church. Adults need to talk to their family, friends, and coworkers. The youth need to talk to their classmates and friends. God will create the opportunity to share the truth if you are willing.