Letter from a Woman Who Had an Abortion
Letter from a Woman Who Had an Abortion.
In 1971 a Catholic woman who wrote this letter had an abortion in New York. Seven months latter she wrote this letter to a priest. Except for some personal references her letter is reproduced in full.
Dear Reverend (name), It is not without much time and thought that I have decided to address myself to you. I ask only for your time and patience in reading this lengthy letter.
I have recently read of your appointment as your diocese's full time Right to Life Coordinator and, therefore, have decided you would be the best person with whom to communicate.
I would like to give you a brief account of my background. My name is... (The girl gives her name, parish, and age--early 20's. Her father is deceased, and she is helping to support her family. She gives her educational background, and the place where she is currently employed.)
My parents were very sincere Catholics, Christian in every sense of the word. My father worked every day of his life instilling the proper beliefs, attitudes and morals into his children. As a family and as individuals we lived and loved our religion--it was a way of life as opposed to a Sunday routine. I had the finest possible Catholic foundation that can be offered.
I have now gone through seven months of hiding within myself. Now is the time to be real and speak out. I have had an abortion.
Now if you will, please listen to my plea. What I have to say cannot be found in pro-life rallies and newspaper reports nor medical accounts and statistics against abortion. What I have to say will hopefully be of value to you which is one of my basic reasons for writing.
Let me make one point very clear--in no way am I taking a defensive position. My decision to have an abortion was by no means quick. Much time and thought accompanied what I did. Upon realizing my situation and realizing how very wrong I was in assuming I had the right to engage in the love act itself, I went immediately to several very close friends who are studying for the priesthood... (She gives more information about the people she consulted) . . . I clearly admitted that the means resulting in my end situation were morally wrong and what I wanted help with was my present situation. They guided me spiritually and morally. We had many discussions covering what we all thought was "all" to be covered. These very well intentioned discussions brought me to Catholic Charities to have adoptive parents planned for. I was made aware of all the consequences my baby would face. I felt I loved the baby I would have and was doing what would be best for the baby. One thing always prevailed--my acute and constant state of fear. No matter how wrong I knew abortion would be, I couldn't help desiring to end it all. I realize that any woman in the same situation is living only in fear. I honestly believe that no one runs to an abortion but weighs the pros and cons. All the pro reasons are selfish --but then selfishness is a very human downfall. Logically speaking, any intelligent person must realize that abortion is killing and destroys all God-given right to life. With all my background and training, one thing prevailed--fear! My faith would one day make me strong--but how easily I would be able to push faith aside and become weak in my desires. For SLX months I was strong then weak--on and off--God--no God--yes--no--until in my final weak stage I pushed my God, my faith, my beliefs aside and consented to an abortion. I knew down deeply I was wrong but gave in to my selfishness and chose my own well-being opposed to my baby's.
I rationalized that I would make it half-right by doing it my own way. I received a saline shot and went home instead of remaining at the hospital. I wanted to be alone at the moment of my baby's death. I stayed at a motel and anxiously waited for labor to begin. Throughout labor I was able to think of nothing but the physical pain at hand. Then there was a tiny girl with me. The shock and hurt of holding your own self-destroyed child is not describable in words-- but, by choice, I wanted the moment alone with my baby-- for the chance to say "I'm sorry"--but when that time came how inadequate and foolish those words sounded. A garbage pail wasn't good enough for my baby so I chose a soft bed- -in fear such rationale is possible. I baptized my baby and asked God to take her--I knew He would--but then what? There I was with all of it--all the months of indecision--all the realization--the fear, physical and psychological anguish--and my dead baby. I was torn with the thought--"Why didn't I wait just three short months more and my baby would be able to love me back?" All the things I should have thought before were only thought at that moment. I stayed with my baby for several days, not able to leave her--not realizing that the very day I even doubted having her, I left her and all I ever stood for. I buried my baby and have been working since then toward redirecting my life-giving to some purpose--a next to impossible task.
I made myself God for those few short hours. The reasons for not having an abortion are fine and true--but they were lacking -- too much was left unsaid and unthought. Without discussing all the anti-abortion issues which you are well aware of, allow me to discuss what I failed to realize--in the hope that others can be made to realize the "all." In no way am I downgrading the all too important cruelties and injustices afforded the unborn child -- they are very real and very obvious. It is because they are obvious that I firmly believe the less obvious or unknown consequences of abortion should be brought to light. As selfish as it sounds, allow me to discuss the real everyday situation and its effects on the mother (keeping again in mind the fact that I will not dismiss the consequences to the child).
I think if a person is given additional sorely needed counsel on abortion consequences--there can be many more lives saved, both mother and child.
I was never made to realize:
the fear in pregnancy is far outweighed by the fear of God and of living with oneself after abortion.
the guilt of being pregnant is far outweighed by the every minute of the day guilt one must carry all through life after an abortion.
the responsibility of carrying a child for nine months and mothering him through life is far less than the responsibility of having taken someone's life.
the insecurity of not knowing what to do is turned into a living hell after the decision to abort is made.
the peace of mind one is striving for in abortion will never again be had.
the image one is trying to save is turned into a destruction of self-image which is most important.
Yes -- these are selfish thoughts but very real thoughts. When in the state of fear a woman is thinking humanly of herself--if she weren't she would not be faced with the decision--possibly the above thoughts should be pushed on her before it is too late.
All anyone can tell a girl facing abortion are the reasons against it that she can read in any paper on any day --this is necessary, yes, but perhaps a complete and honest portrayal of what will be if she does abort will sway her decision. Possibly it won't, but again selfishly, if I had known what life as it is now would be I also would have decided differently. I, who thought my faith strong and my church insurmountable, found my way to an all too easy to find abortion table--how much easier it must be for those with no love for God to be pushed aside--this is why all the "real-now" facets must be discussed also. Perhaps if made to realize (selfishly) that her life, not only her baby's, will be destroyed, her own everyday life along with her afterlife will be destroyed--perhaps this will help a woman decide pro- life. As selfish people we tend to react more to what will happen to us in this life and ignore our beliefs in eternal life. Even someone ignoring God will be naturally concerned with her present life and emotions.
Some everyday hell can be pointed out:
Never hearing a baby cry without crying within yourself.
Counting days to see how old your baby would have been.
Watching a sunrise without thinking "My baby will never experience this."
Looking at other children and wondering "What would my baby look like?"
Wondering what contributions my baby could have made to our desperate society?
Wondering if the baby suffered physical pain in serving his death sentence?
Wondering if your baby will ever forgive you?
Wondering if your baby listens and hears when you speak to him-- still?
Wondering if you'll ever have another chance at motherhood?
Wondering who knows? Who will black-ball me?
Wondering if God will ever forgive and take you back?
Wondering if you can ever again participate in your own church without feeling self-hate and hypocritical?
All this deserved hell will be faced:
--The abortion act itself (Selfishly)
--Impersonal animal-like treatment
--Sitting in a crowded waiting room studying each other's fearful anxious faces while holding swollen bellies and telling your baby you're sorry
--Signing death certificates for what is very much alive within you
--Being examined as an object not a person
--Being asked "necessary" personal questions and filling out forms so your baby can be legally listed in the growing number
-- Crying, screaming, bleeding women given a tranquilizer and sent home to recuperate and "forget." (Why wasn't there someone there to say "In a day or two it will begin?")
Maybe if I had spoken to someone who had experienced an abortion I may have hesitated long enough to save the life God gave me the privilege to make. For every abortion there are different circumstances, but the consequences are the same--as I have discovered from speaking with three other women who have experienced abortion.
In some way this all must be brought to light. Perhaps, Father, this may be one way in which I can help. I am willing to come forward and discuss the hardcore facts surrounding abortion with anyone.
I am being selfish again--but I beg you for the opportunity to help you save someone else's baby. This will never even slightly undo what I have done but it will relax me to think "I told the truth."
There are far too many girls unwilling--embarrassed or ashamed--to speak to a priest or counselor concerning an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy--if I can speak to them I would like to. Maybe I'm being a bit egotistical in believing I can help at all but I would like the chance to try.
If you have counseling programs, perhaps I can help out. If there is nothing I can do directly, perhaps I can help indirectly--you are free to use my experience in any way you choose--girls too ashamed to seek advice will, in the privacy of their homes, be all too willing to read about someone else's abortion experience.
I felt you would be able to help me direct and channel my energies in the most useful and productive way.
Possibly a request of some sort on your part to have women who have undergone abortion to come forth and help you will be successful -- but that is assuming a tremendous amount of understanding on your part.
If you would like to speak to me I am more than willing. Regardless of how small the task (clerical work or anything) that I can volunteer my aid for please let me know.
If you want to reach me and hopefully you will, please write to me at . . .
Father, thank you for so much of your time. If you should decide there is nothing I can do, then let me say now, I wish you peace and hope and pray that your efforts will be worthwhile. Let's pray for assistance to all the babies who have become martyrs in our desperate time. Please-- whether we deserve it or not--pray for us who fully realize what we have done and still live on.
As a personal favor--remember Dolores, my baby, in your prayers.
Thank You. Sincerely . . .
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