Where would I be without Planned Parenthood? My life would look so much different. How, you ask? I would have a sister 9 years younger than me. I never got to know her. Her life was snuffed out at the Santa Barbara Planned Parenthood back in 1985. Planned Parenthood holds a “special” place in my heart because a piece of my family was destroyed there.
The situation that led to my sister being aborted was not a simple one. In fact, most people will say that out of any abortion, my mom’s is the one most understandable, the most logical. She had been raped by a friend in the small town where I grew up. As the town’s only licensed childcare provider, my mom babysat this man’s children. After the rape, my mom remained silent to protect this man’s wife and 4 children. A month or two later, it became clear to my mom that she was pregnant. After discussing with my dad and her doctor, it was recommended that she have an abortion. The pregnancy was early enough that “it wasn’t a baby yet” and surely out of any unwanted pregnancy, this one wins the prize as the most unwanted. But my mom was hesitant. She made the appointment at Planned Parenthood, hoping to receive some counseling before the abortion, but on the day of the scheduled abortion, while waiting in the office with my dad, she had second thoughts. As they brought her to the back room to perform the procedure, she began crying and said that she changed her mind. The “nurse” impatiently let her know that my dad had paid extra to have my mom put to sleep and she’ll feel better afterwards, so my mom went through with it. She remembers waking up feeling like she had cried throughout the whole abortion procedure. She was led out a back door with crackers and orange juice so that those waiting up front wouldn’t see her vulnerable state.
As a 9-year-old girl, I wasn’t aware of any of this. The only thing I knew was that one day my mom was going to have a baby and then the next day, I was told that she had a miscarriage. It never occurred to me that all of the crying she did after her miscarriage-crying alone while doing dinner dishes, crying while doing simple chores around the house- it wasn’t because of a miscarriage, but because of an abortion. She lived in silent depression for 6 years. Then in a turn of events that no mother ever wishes to go through, she had the opportunity to be free from the pain of the loss of her unborn child .
She hadn’t heard those words in 6 years, but there they were again: Planned Parenthood. Santa Barbara.
I was 15 and pregnant. My doctor told me that the best thing for me to do was to schedule an abortion at the Planned Parenthood in Santa Barbara. I wouldn’t even have to tell my parents; it could be set up secretly. It sounded like the best way out of a terrible situation. I told my doctor that I would ask my parents about it, but I was fairly certain that they would agree that abortion was the best answer.
Surprisingly, they didn’t agree. They were actually very against abortion. Why? I had no idea since they had not vocalized an opinion about it up to this point. They were now adamant that they would do whatever they could to help me through the pregnancy and into motherhood. I must admit that even though the horizon looked dark and scary as a pregnant teen, the thought of not having to go through an abortion lightened my load considerably.
It wasn’t until after I became a mother at the age of 16 and my son was 3 months old that everything came out into the light about my mom’s “miscarriage”. When my mom came home from a training session to become a crisis pregnancy counselor, I could see that she was an emotional wreck. When I asked her why she had been crying, she told me that she had to learn about abortion procedures. I understood why that would be difficult, but I didn’t understand the abundance of tears. When I went back to my bedroom, I believe it was the Holy Spirit that spoke to me and reminded me of my mom’s pregnancy when I was 9 years old, a pregnancy that was blocked from my mind. And the words were whispered in my ear, ‘Remember the miscarriage your mom had? It wasn’t a miscarriage. It was an abortion’. I felt my breath catch in my throat and knew that I had to ask my mom about it. When I went into her room, she was sitting on her bed, still crying. I asked her point-blank, “Mom, the reason you’re so sad, is it because you didn’t really have a miscarriage all those years ago? Did you have an abortion?” Shaking her head yes, that’s when everything came out in the open about the rape, abortion and hidden depression.
Today I know that representatives at Planned Parenthood would tell my mom that she did the right thing, that there’s nothing to be ashamed of, that it wasn’t really a baby yet, only a developing fetus. But I know that these words are lies. The abortion was the more violent of actions in comparison to the rape because it was the taking of an innocent life- my mom knew this. Abortion in crisis situations is not the right thing because I lived through the other side, the side of not aborting, the side of choosing life for my son. It wasn’t easy for me. There were many sacrifices. There were feelings of shame and hopelessness, but when I look at my 22-year-old son now, I feel no shame. I have no anxiety or hidden depression about whether I made the right choice or not. When I look at my son, I feel joy. His life is something to celebrate. My sister’s was, too. Her life is worthy to be acknowledged, just the same as all of the other 56 million other babies aborted since abortion was legalized.
Seeing the undercover videos of Planned Parenthood sparked in me a raw nerve. At first it was one of anger. Now it is one of pity and sadness. I pity the Planned Parenthood reps who choose to lie to the very women they are paid to help. I pity them because they do not come alongside women in crisis pregnancies as their advocates and rejoice with these mothers as new life is brought into this world. I feel a deep sadness for the pregnant women who have been told that this is the only choice they have and that they should be proud of that choice. Abortion is not a choice worth choosing. It is defeat. I feel sadness for the countless people who have not had the opportunity to adopt an “unwanted” child because that child was taken from them before birth. I pity our selfish nation that would more easily pay for the disposal of unwanted babies than offer real, practical (even monetary) help for mothers in crisis situations.
Let’s stop with the stupid masked words used by those in the pro-choice movement. Abortion is murder. A fetus is a human life. Murder is wrong. A human life is worth living. My family knows firsthand the pain of abortion and the joy of an ‘unwanted’ baby.
To Planned Parenthood employees and supporters: Please reconsider your position. Politics and financial gain aside, choose humanity. Every life matters, both the women and the unborn children. They both are precious in God’s sight.
To my parents: Thank-you. Thank-you for supporting me in the face of ridicule and condemnation from others. Thank-you for loving me unconditionally and for making big sacrifices those first few years of my son’s life to ensure that your grandson was welcomed with open arms.
To my mom: I am proud of you for facing the demons of your past, for coming out into the open on behalf of wounded post-abortive women and helping them receive the love and care they deserve.
To my son: I love you and am thankful to be your mother. My life was changed for the better the day you were born, August 21, 1992.
To my sister: I am sorry. I truly am. You did not deserve this. Mom and I both look forward to that first embrace in Heaven.