Women Regret Their Abortions, Use Pain to Help Others
by Maria Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
March 28, 2004
Harrisburg, PA (LifeNews.com) — Hazel Braxton wishes she had listened to her mother. After the birth of her third daughter, she found herself unexpectedly pregnant again.
"Only one person told me not to have an abortion, and that was my mother," Hazel says, recalling the tragic incident which would shape her life for years to come.
"People can say some cruel things when you’re not strong enough to fight them off emotionally. The few people I knew fed my insecurity," she said, counseling her to have an abortion.
Following the death of her unborn child, Hazel attempted to numb her pain with alcohol, but the grief would not go away.
"So one night as I lay aching for my baby, as I did so many nights, asking the Lord to forgive me for what I had done, I had what you may call a vision. I call it a visit from my future grandson.
"That night in a half (awake) state I saw a tall, light complexioned, very thin little boy about 12 years old. He did not speak, but oh my, did we communicate. I opened my eyes to peace and forgiveness."
Three days later, her third daughter, who was then 17, revealed that she was pregnant.
"Well, I told her it was going to be a boy. He would be tall and skinny, light skin. Not the ending but the beginning."
Hazel’s grandson did not have an easy early life. He was born at 26 weeks — the age at which some babies are aborted. He ended up spending three months in the neonatal intensive care unit of a hospital.
"I visited him almost daily, reading him a spiritual and healing book. It got to the point that he would lift his head when he heard my voice in the NICU," Hazel said.
While the little boy did experience some health problems and developmental delays, he managed to survive. He’s six now, and Hazel, who grieved for so many years for the child she lost to abortion, is now raising him.
Hazel’s story is special, but far from uncommon. Across the country, millions of women suffer the after effects of abortion — the grief, the longing, the guilt over a death which could have been prevented.
The pro-life community has long recognized that abortion claims two victims–the child who dies, and the mother who is wounded. In a number of cases, women are coerced into having abortions against their will in order to please a family member or boyfriend.
Karen Bodle understands Hazel’s pain. The Harrisburg, Pennsylvania resident also lost a child to abortion. At age 18, she learned she was pregnant from her first sexual encounter.
"I was a junior in college and was told that dropping out of college to have a child would ruin my life and future career. The only ‘choice’ discussed was abortion. I was ashamed to be pregnant and unmarried, so I thought that abortion would solve my problem," Karen said.
"I was told that I could forget about the abortion and go on with my life without any consequences. ‘You don’t even have to admit that you were ever pregnant,’ was their advice. I believed the lie that it was just a blob of tissue that could be thrown away.
"But I couldn’t forget. In dating relationships, the first thing I would reveal was my abortion because I was terrified of being rejected. For years I was ‘pro-abortion’ because I thought I had to justify my own abortion," Karen added.
The abortion experience left Karen depressed and confused. She later learned that a 12-week-old unborn baby has a beating heart and fully developed arms and legs.
"My baby was not some undefined blob of tissue. If only I had seen a picture of fetal development, I would never have chosen abortion. I felt lied to and deceived," Karen said.
Karen is now the Pennsylvania state leader for Operation Outcry: Silent No More, a national movement of women who have been hurt by abortion and who want to see an overturn of Roe v. Wade, the U.S. Supreme Court decision which legalized abortion.
"I want America to know that abortion hurts women. Women are created to love and nurture their children, not have them ripped from their wombs and thrown away," Karen said.
"There is a disconnect in every woman’s heart and mind when she consents to abortion. Although she tries to forget the abortion and suppress the memories, eventually she will face the reality that her own child was mutilated by abortion. My denial lasted 21 years. I wept uncontrollably from the depths of my soul for three days when I finally faced the truth," Karen added.
"The weeping released the hidden pain and began a journey of healing that led me to forgiveness. I remember crying out: Where are the women? Where are the women that are willing to speak about the tragedy of abortion?
"I did not want more women to go through the intense pain and suffering that I had experienced. I knew that I would have to speak and that my story would encourage other women suffering in silence to come forward and seek emotional healing and forgiveness," Karen said.
Hazel and Karen are just two of the thousands of women across the nation who are now willing to go public with their post-abortion pain. It is a pain that public officials and pro-abortion forces may find difficult to ignore in the years ahead.