Posted by: Omar C. Garcia | October 14, 2009

Post-Abortion Memory

   Our team arrived home today after a week of teaching about the sanctity of human life in Uganda. We had a wonderful time with Veronica Nakyewe, the director of The Comforter’s Center, and her staff. One of the services offered at The Comforter’s Center in Kampala is post-abortion counseling. Many women who have had abortions come to the center seeking help to deal with feelings of guilt and remorse. Veronica and her staff compassionately work with these women, helping them to accept God’s forgiveness, to heal, and to embrace new hope for the future.

   All of our team members did a wonderful job of teaching about the sanctity of human life and related topics over the past week. Leslie Joyce, one of our team members, taught about forgiveness. Although Leslie has never had an abortion, she knows the particular pain of having a post-abortion memory — one that has repeatedly surfaced over the years. This is her story.

Omar | Leslie, you have never had an abortion yet know the sting of a post-abortion memory. Explain your first experience with an unplanned pregnancy, which is at the root of your particular post-abortion memory.

Leslie | When I was sixteen years-old, my best friend was sexually active and became pregnant. Her boyfriend of two years abandoned her and wanted nothing to do with the baby. She was devastated and did not know what to do.

Omar | Did your friend tell her parents about her pregnancy?

Leslie | No. She was convinced that if her parents found out they would force her to leave home. So, she felt she had no other option but to seek an abortion.

Omar | What did she do or where did she turn for help?

Leslie | Since we had been friends since we were very young, she confided in me and asked me to help her. And, once she told me about her situation, I wanted to help her to get an abortion.

Omar | What steps did you take to find out about where she could get an abortion and what that abortion would cost?

Leslie | We looked in the phone book to find information about abortion providers and scheduled an appointment. The clinic we visited did not require my friend to get her parents’ consent. The nurse at the clinic talked to her about the procedure and the cost of the abortion but nothing else. If I remember correctly, the cost of the abortion was about $375.00. 

Omar | Did your friend have the money to get an abortion?

Leslie | My friend did not have the money. So, we each sold personal belongings in order to raise the money for her to get an abortion. Once we had raised enough money, I personally drove her to the abortion clinic. At the time, neither of us ever stopped to consider the life of the baby in her womb. I really don’t think I realized that she was carrying a living baby created by God and that God had a plan or purpose for the child in her womb. We ended a life that day. I supported my friend in her decision and did not try to stop her.

Omar | What was it like on the day of the abortion?

Leslie | On the day of the abortion, I drove my friend to the clinic. She was one of seven young girls having abortions on that day. The nurse gave each of them a Valium and a magazine to read. Then, each girl was escorted to the room where the ten to fifteen-minute procedure took place. We had to stay an additional half-hour and then drove to my house where my friend told me about the procedure. We cried together. At the time, we rationalized the decision because we did not understand much about how a baby develops in the womb or what that little baby must have looked like.

Omar | How has that experience impacted your life?

Leslie | Looking back on the experience, I feel nothing but shame and guilt. Maybe I could have changed my friend’s mind. Maybe it could have ended differently. Later in life, when I was pregnant with my own babies, I would often think about the horrible choice we made and the baby that was never given a chance to live. It wasn’t until I was preparing to be a part of this team to Uganda that I truly accepted that if I asked God for forgiveness, He would forgive me for the role I had played in helping my friend to end the life of her baby. I am so thankful for the assurance of forgiveness that is found in 1 John 1:9 — “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

Omar | What advice would you give to others who have had an abortion or who, like you, have supported someone who has?

Leslie | I would tell them that there is no sin that God cannot forgive. The Bible is clear that God will forgive sin. He sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, to pay the penalty for our sin, including my sin of helping my friend to get an abortion. I would also tell others that God does not want for us to go through life punishing ourselves for our bad decisions or to be crippled by guilt. He wants for us to learn from our sins, turn from them, and seek the forgiveness He graciously offers us. No matter what we have done, there is no sin that falls beyond the scope of His grace and forgiveness.

Omar | I’m glad that Leslie shared her story with the various groups we spoke to in Uganda. So many who heard her story shed tears and nodded in affirmation as they listened. After each session many people approached Leslie to thank her for sharing her personal story and to talk about their own post-abortion stories. I’m thankful that she reminded those in attendance that our God is compassionate and gracious and offers us healing for the past and hope for the future.


Responses

  1. Omar-

    I just arrived home from the villages, and keeping reading your pages. First I am reading ‘post abortion memory’ I guess I have been heard about your ministry with ‘comfort center’

    I am keep learning, I’ll encourage our nation, ‘no more abortion’ life is very important to all mighty God! We had some active believers omen, those people can warning the people.

    Thanks,
    Mortuza
    Bangladesh


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