Kassi Underwood struggled with nightmares and depression for years after she aborted her unborn baby.
The experience haunted her for six years, but it did not convince her that what she had done was wrong. Instead, she became an abortion activist.
Women’s Health Magazine recently published an excerpt from Underwood’s book about her abortion story. The 30-something used her story to urge post-abortive women to “band together” to share their experiences and embrace abortion.
A Kentucky native, Underwood said she was 19 and in college when she found out she was pregnant. She said the father was a heroin addict who did not want to be a parent.
Underwood described herself as personally pro-life – someone who would never get an abortion herself but also never would stop another woman from getting one. She said the thought of having an abortion troubled her.
“I just didn’t know how or where or whether I could handle an abortion,” she wrote.
She went to the one person who she knew had an abortion, her boss at her part-time job. Her boss pushed her to have an abortion. She directed Underwood to a Planned Parenthood and even made the phone call to set up an appointment. On the phone, Underwood learned that her abortion would cost $415. Worried about where to get the money, she said she hung up the phone and her boss immediately fired her.
“’Why don’t you take a break from work for a while, party girl?’” her boss told her. Underwood remembered, “So just like that, I was pregnant, broke and unemployed.”
Her parents were not much better. They offered to support her and the baby, but she said the offer was halfhearted.
“The last thing [my mom] wanted was for her only daughter to drop out of college and move home to raise a baby,” she wrote.
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At the abortion clinic and for years afterward, Underwood said she struggled with what she had done. She wrote:
The nurse rolled away a table with a tiny red gob on it—my almost baby. I shook violently, viciously. I pulled my underwear halfway up my legs and fumbled with an inch-thick pad, trying to stick it on the crotch of my underwear, feeling a combination of elation and devastation.
I would dream of babies for the next six years: I would have babies and kill them, have babies and lose them, have babies and care for them the way I cared for my little brother. I wished sadness took less work to heal, but healing would take everything I had.
Underwood said she spent years suppressing negative emotions, but there were times when she just broke down in “spells of free-floating abortion panic.” She said she tried to ward off depression with her diet and mindless television.
“On paper, I had the life I’d had in mind when I deferred motherhood—comfortable salary, fancy business card, dates with weirdoes. But I didn’t feel fulfilled,” she wrote.
Six years after she aborted her unborn baby, she said she found a group who helped her to heal and embrace her abortion. Now, she “passionately” supports abortion.
Underwood said she knows women have many different experiences with abortion – some regret them, some do not and some are somewhere in between. She urged all women to share their abortion stories just as she has done.
“It’s time for all women who’ve had abortions to band together and create spaces to tell the whole truth, the things we’ve been afraid to say,” she wrote.
But one cannot help but wonder if Underwood really wants the “whole truth” to come out. The unborn baby who she aborted wasn’t just an “almost baby,” he or she was a baby who already had his or her own unique DNA and a heartbeat.
Abortion activists try to have it both ways, saying abortion is a complex emotional decision but also a simple one that is little different than having a tooth pulled. But it can’t be both. The reason so many women struggle with abortion is precisely because it kills their unborn child.
Underwood is right that women can be healed, and sharing their stories can be an important part of that healing. Pro-life advocates are ready and eager to help women heal, but true healing must come by acknowledging the source of their pain – the death of their baby. But that is exactly what abortion activists do not want.