I’ve met dozens of women who’ve had abortions. In fact, my adopted mother had an abortion when she 27 and suffered from post-abortive syndrome for over two decades. However, when she was 40, she came to the conclusion that her abortion was wrong that began to seek healing and forgiveness. Amazingly, God restored her life; and now she works as a coordinator for Silent No More, sharing the truth about abortion. She always tells me that the first step in her healing was admitting that abortion is always, 100% of the time, a bad decision because it kills a unique and innocent person.
Today, I was reminded of my mother’s words when I read Monica Bielanko’s article about her abortion experience in Yahoo Parenting. Bielanko argues that even though her abortion haunts her, she believes every woman should have the “right to govern their own bodies.” In her article, I had an abortion at 17, and it still haunts me, Bielanko contemplates the life her child would have had if she didn’t choose abortion.
She writes, “You would be 12 years old. You would be finished with elementary school, excited to begin junior high. You would be crushing on various boys/girls, dreading taking a shower in gym class. You would have a favorite band. A favorite pop star. A favorite television program. You would be here. You would be a person. With a name. Whether or not you were raised by me, you would be here, on Earth. You would know who Britney Spears is. You would vote for the next American Idol on your Iphone. You would have an opinion on Miley Cyrus. You would have a favorite color. A favorite movie. A favorite food. You would have a favorite t-shirt and a favorite pair of jeans.
I killed you. Didn’t I? DID I? Is there a “you”?”
She continues, “Experts say that at the end of 8 weeks “your baby will be about a third of an inch long. Bones are beginning to form and fingers, toes, ankles and wrists are developing. By now, you’ll probably ‘feel’ pregnant and may be experiencing some of the early side effects, like morning sickness. Your weight may also have increased slightly and your breasts may be sore and tender. Until the end of week 8 your baby is known as an embryo. I aborted you at week 8. They sucked you from my body using their specialized vacuums that didn’t feel very specialized and then they tossed you in the trash like garbage. Now, I spend the rest of my life marking ghost anniversaries, reconciling choice vs. abortion. And wondering.”
After heartbreaking confessions about suffering through “ghost anniversaries” and admissions like, “I killed you,” one might think she’s against abortion. But she’s not
Instead, she’s concluded that even if she could go back to the day she had the abortion, she would do the same thing.
She says, “…If I could go back, I would do the same thing. If they took away my right to govern my own body I would fight them tooth and nail. Because I believe in a woman’s right to choose. I do. But I also know that each woman that makes the mother of all decisions is forever haunted by her choice. There is no black, no white… just ten shades of gray.”
Bielanko concluded, “I successfully justified my decision to abort with very adult sounding talk of future and education and what’s best for everyone but deep inside, I felt selfish and afraid. And so I did it. I got rid of you. And I will spend the rest of my life trying to reconcile my decision with my heart. For me, the right to choose is important but the blanket term “pro-choice” falls short of defining my stance. It’s a fist-pump of a mantra for empowerment that is becoming inextricably linked with feminism. And I’m proud of the women who fought to allow me to make the choice I made, yet “pro-choice” does little to comfort me when I think about you. If you exist. Abortion. Termination. It means the end of something. A conclusion. But my decision to terminate was the beginning. The beginning of thousands of what ifs. The beginning of being haunted.”
The truth is Bielanko doesn’t have to be haunted forever by her decision. If she (and the thousands like her) would admit that her abortion was a mistake, she could begin to heal. Tragically, abortion isn’t something you can reconcile by justifying it; especially with amateur words like “choice.” This is because no matter how you package it, abortion is always wrong and impacts everyone involved.