Jewels Green is a post-abortive mother of three who worked in an abortion clinic before becoming pro-life. She will share her powerful story this year at the 2015 National Right to Life Convention to be held July 9-11th in New Orleans, Louisiana. www.nrlconvention.com
Green discusses her journey and the message she would share with others who have experienced the pain of abortion and with those still working in the abortion industry.
Growing up, did you hold any firm views on the abortion issue?
I was raised in a pro-choice household, so from when I was old enough to understand the word “abortion” I was pro-choice by default.
In an interview with Live Action News, you described yourself at the time you became pregnant as a “17-year-old drug-using high school drop-out.”
This is true.
Could you describe the factors that came into play that led you to the abortion center?
Well, as soon as I found out I was pregnant I stopped using drugs, started reading about pregnancy, and had intended to have the baby. I’d even scheduled a pre-natal appointment. Intense pressure from others led me to allow myself to be talked into going to the abortion center. My first appointment I couldn’t go through it. I ran out before it was time to disrobe. My resolve crumbled, and I returned to the center two days later and had an abortion.
Did you feel that you were fully informed by abortion clinic staff about the options available to you and the abortion procedure itself?
I have no recollection of any other options being discussed, but I do remember the abortion procedure being described. Later, when I worked in an abortion facility and counseled women before their abortions, alternatives to abortion were never discussed. Only when a woman called and scheduled a separate appointment specifically for “options counseling” would parenting and adoption be discussed. Even then, counselors were not trained in describing different types of adoption (closed, open–with different options of levels of contact, kinship care, etc.) The best I could do at the time was scribble a phone number on a Post-It note and wish her luck. The same holds for parenting options (single or married parenting, medical assistance, WIC). I would hand her a phone number and send her on her way.
You’ve also stated, “Everyone wanted me to get an abortion… except me.” What, if anything, could a pro-life person have done in that situation to help you? How can the pro-life movement more effectively reach out to pregnant women facing difficult circumstances?
I didn’t know anyone who was pro-life at the time. Or, maybe I did but didn’t know it. I think that we can be more effective if we are pro-life with everyone–not just in a debate or when trying to reach out to vulnerable mothers–but be vocally pro-life in all aspects of our lives. Our family, friends, co-workers, and classmates should all know that we are pro-life on abortion. Wear a pro-life t-shirt, slap a pro-life bumper sticker on your car, strike up a conversation with someone who might not already know your stance. My theory is that if we are open with our beliefs to the point of actually advertising them, then someone facing a problem pregnancy in the future knows who she can turn to for support.
What happened after the abortion?
I immediately regretted it. After all, I’d planned on keeping my baby and only after prolonged intense pressure did I succumb to the plan others dictated for me. I slid into a clinical depression, an emotional black hole of regret, remorse, grief, and guilt. A few weeks after my abortion I attempted suicide.
Later, you became a pretty ardent pro-choice activist. You’ve described taking part in pro-choice marches, lobbying Congress and then ultimately working in an abortion facility. What was the driving motivation behind your activism?
In hindsight, I think I was trying to justify and rationalize my role in my own abortion. I surrounded myself with people who thought abortion was a legitimate (even laudable) decision in the hopes that someday I might believe that, too. Deep down, I never really did.
What would pro-life people be most surprised to know about what takes place inside an abortion facility?
I think both pro-life and pro-choice people would be surprised by what takes place inside an abortion facility. When I worked there, my friends who were pro-choice were always to surprised to hear how busy and crowded the center was on the four days a week that abortions were performed. There was (and in some ways still is) this notion that abortion is rare. Even staff members would be shocked to see women coming in for their second, third, fourth, fifth abortion. There was a sense that one “oops” was understandable, but after that even the workers began to pass judgment.
Pro-life people might be surprised to know just how deep the deception goes–I mean, everyone working there truly believed we were doing right by the women who came in for abortions. We thought they would surely suffer or die without us. It wasn’t until years later that I learned this was a lie.
In Dr. Bernard Nathanson’s book, The Hand of God: A Journey from Death to Life by the Abortion Doctor Who Changed His Mind, he describes his role in lying about and inflating the number of women who died from illegal abortions to help buoy the campaign to legalize abortion. Even Planned Parenthood in 1960 asserted that 90% of all illegal abortions were being done by physicians. I was deceived. Whether by ignorance or willful refusal to question unexamined beliefs, I was duped and completely bought into the ideology that we were somehow saving women by helping them destroy their children.
All the while I worked there I missed my baby terribly, knew I’d never go through that again, and yet somehow kept a tenuous grasp on the notion that abortion was still ok for other women. It had to be, because if it wasn’t, then I’d have to come to terms with my own abortion (and that didn’t process did not begin until years later.) While the pro-choice camp continues its attempts to de-humanize the unborn child, we need to take care not to de-humanize those still wearing blinders inside the abortion centers. Many–most–of them are good people, deceived. If we reach out with compassion and love to the abortion-vulnerable mothers to help save the precious baby in the womb, we can reach out to those still trapped in the depths of the Culture of Death.
Was there a particular moment that made you change your position?
My “Ah-HA” moment came when I learned of a surrogate mother who was offered payment of her contract in full to abort the child she was carrying when genetic testing determined the baby would born with Down syndrome. The biological parents must have been so dedicated to the idea of ideal offspring to consider paying tens of thousands of dollars to eliminate their innocently “imperfect” child, and to my utter horror the surrogate agreed to the abortion–and the payout. It was a like the light bulb finally switched ON for me. This was wrong. It was fundamentally wrong to treat children as commodities to be created, bought, sold, and discarded at will or for “quality control.” Once I accepted that this abortion was wrong, intellectual honesty and logical consistency brought me to the realization that all abortions are wrong.
What message would you share with individuals still working in the abortion industry?
Not every pregnant woman who walks in the door is 100% certain of her choice to have an abortion. You may think that she has carefully weighed all of her options, discussed it with her loved ones and the father of the child, but maybe she hasn’t. Why not take the time to truly explore alternatives with her?
Ask her: Is someone pressuring you to do this? Has she considered the various adoption options? Does she know the resources available for pregnant and parenting students on campus? Does she know about medical and financial assistance from the government and child support laws? What if pregnant women faced with dire circumstances were met with non-violent options that offered them support, encouragement, assistance (financial, emotional, spiritual), direction, and love. This happens every day in pregnancy resource centers around the country. Women deserve better than abortion. You know this.
See you on the other side.
What advice would you give to pro-life people in reaching out to those who have had abortions?
Thank you for asking me this. One of things I’ve been most surprised about since becoming pro-life is the genuine concern for women suffering after an abortion. After the horrific psychological turmoil that nearly killed me after my own abortion, after working years in the abortion industry, this is something I simply had never known. There are so many healing programs out there, both spiritual and secular, that I can honestly say I have no advice in this area! Let’s keep up the good work in welcoming those wounded by abortion and offering them compassion and love as they heal.
Personal stories like Jewels’ can have a tremendous impact on how we think about the abortion issue. There are so many deeply complex layers. We speak out for the rights of the unborn child. We open our hearts to mothers facing difficult circumstances. Perhaps hardest of all, we outstretch our hands to those who support or are involved with abortions. Individuals like Dr. Bernard Nathanson, Norma McCorvey and Jewels Green remind us to never turn our backs on those with whom we disagree. There is always hope that when we present our message with empathy and compassion that hearts and minds may be changed.
We are looking to hearing more from Jewels Green at this year’s National Right to Life Convention to be held in New Orleans, July 9-11th. Registration is now open: www.nrlconvention.com.