My Granddaughter Would be Six Now, But I Took Her Mother to Have an Abortion

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Sep 29, 2014   |   12:28PM   |   Washington, DC

The amount of research showing the emotional pain and distress women face following an abortion is overwhelming and the sheer volume of personal stories from women who have had abortions and deeply regret their decisions is tremendous.

But one group of victims of abortions that is often forgotten are grandparents. Whether its the case of grandparents who wanted their grandchildren who were victims of abortion or grandparents like this one, who helped their daughters have an abortion, grandparents are often forgotten.

As this grandmother relates in an opinion column in a British newspaper, she regrets her decision to be involved in her daughter’s abortion — where she took her daughter to the clinic to have the abortion. Now she recognizes that her granddaughter is gone and her daughter’s life is a mess.

“If my story persuades just one family to seek counselling – and to be prepared for the reality of abortion – than I feel I am right to have spoken out,” she concludes.

grandmother3My first granddaughter would have been six by now. I often watch children in the local playground and wonder what she would have been like. Other times, at night, I dream about her vividly, and know the answer.

Blonde-haired, blue-eyed and with a shy smile. Time and time again, I dream that she has just been born, and as she is handed to me, I name her Katie. Just as my heart is about to burst with joy, I wake up and realise that she does not exist.

I shall never know my granddaughter because her life was extinguished before it even had a chance to begin.

Seven years ago, I took the heartbreaking decision to accompany my teenage daughter to a private abortion clinic where – at 24 weeks and just inside the legal limit – the life of her unborn baby was terminated.

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Despite my efforts, I couldn’t talk my child out of her decision, and faced with the agonising choice of going with my daughter or leaving her to go through the ordeal alone, I went with her.

Incredibly, the scanning lady asked Susie if she wanted a scan picture to keep. She shook her head, and I kept looking down. I knew that if I saw the screen I would burst into tears, and if I cracked, Susie would go to pieces.

When we were finished I drove us to a hotel where we would spend a near sleepless night before returning to the clinic the following day for the termination.

Susie kept saying she was nervous, and I lay awake thinking: “She won’t realise what she’s done until she is grown up and has children herself.”

The next morning, I felt so awful that I couldn’t even drink a cup of tea. We arrived at the clinic at 8am, to be greeted by a nurse who said briskly: “Say goodbye to your mum, we’ll take you to your ward.” When I told her I wasn’t leaving, she was clearly displeased, but we were taken to a ward with six beds.

Five tearful young faces turned towards us and I saw with a shock that the other patients were all girls aged around 15 or 16. Some were sitting hugging themselves, others were sobbing, one was lying curled in a foetal position, facing the wall in miserable silence. I had never seen such abject misery.

The sobbing continued as Susie and I were shown to the far bed, and the nurse handed her a filthy hospital gown. The bed had clearly not been changed and a dirty grey towel hung from the discoloured sink.

A nursing sister walked in and asked me to leave. When I refused she said she would fetch the director. He sneered when I asked him about counselling for the girls: “We don’t do counselling – but your daughter will have a nice tub of ice cream afterwards.”

I was appalled and angry. “My daughter is not six years old, she has not come here to have her tonsils out,” I replied.

Our conversation was interrupted when Susie was called downstairs for an examination. She came back distressed, and told me she had been injected in the hand.

Only then did I realise that labour was being induced.

Susie, who clearly didn’t know what to expect, hadn’t been told what would happen over the next few hours and she, too, was starting to sob.

I hugged her and still had my arms around her when the pains started and Susie began to be sick in the sink. Despite her pain, she was forced to walk to the theatre. I am only 5ft 2in, and I struggled down the long corridor half lifting, half dragging my daughter.

At the theatre door I summoned up all my courage, and hugged and kissed Susie. “Be brave, I’ll be here for you when you wake up and I’ll take you home,” I whispered. Then she disappeared.