Abortion Hurts, Part Three: Clinic and Conversion

After trying to kill myself to escape the overwhelming guilt after my abortion, I emerged from my month spent in an adolescent psychiatric unit with an incongruous newly-found zeal for abortion rights. Within weeks of my discharge from the psych unit, I found myself on a bus to Washington, D.C. to march for abortion rights and soon after I began volunteering as an escort for a first-trimester abortion clinic. An advanced degree in psychology isn’t necessary to see that I was plainly trying to assuage my guilt (and protect my delicate and damaged psyche) by assuming the precise opposite of what I truly believed. Freud called this reaction formation, one of many coping strategies he dubbed defense mechanisms. I certainly took reaction formation to the extreme by espousing the most diametrically opposed position of my innermost heart when I accepted the offer of a job at an abortion clinic.

I completely bought the bill of goods I was sold: that abortion was somehow linked to women’s equality, that giving birth and making an adoption plan for an unwanted child (rather than killing it by abortion) was somehow unduly burdensome for a pregnant mother, and that countless women would die if abortion was illegal. (Naturally, I no longer believe any of that propaganda.) Combine all of this with my unconscious overwhelming need to repress/transform my personal feelings about my abortion—and my longing for my lost child—and it created the perfect recipe for a die-hard abortion rights advocate.

We all truly believed we were offering women an innocuous, much-needed, and unfairly-maligned “medical” service. Although violence was not common, every publicized incident—but especially the murders, as well as the non-violent invasion, occupation, and blockade of the clinic where I worked—steeled our resolve in our self-righteous insistence that abortion remain safe and legal. Not surprisingly, it is easy to discount the opinions of people you think are trying to kill you.

As strange as it may sound now, my years spent working at the clinic were some of the best of my life. The camaraderie at work created a family-like atmosphere—it was a nearly all-female workplace (with the exception of a few of the doctors)—and as a very young woman (I worked there from age 18 – 23) I found this inspiring.

Then I started having nightmares—nightmares that were no longer only about my lost baby—but about all of the babies killed by abortion where I worked every day, all of the babies killed by abortion everywhere. My sleep was haunted by tiny limbless phantom babies… But even then, my desire to survive in a world without my child—because I’d killed him—warped my mind into believing that if all of these strong, capable women I worked with thought abortion was OK, I must be able to believe that too. So I pushed down the unpleasantness—muzzled my pesky conscience—and I kept going back to work, day after day. It wasn’t until many years and innumerable nightmares later that I finally opened my eyes to the brutal and barbaric truth: abortion is murder.

A cold day a year ago, I found myself contemplating the bizarre and unnatural process of in-vitro fertilization and surrogacy. After learning of a surrogate mother who accepted payment of her surrogacy contract in full to abort the innocent baby with Down syndrome she was carrying for an infertile couple, something finally (finally!) clicked in my mind—pregnancy was now a commercial transaction: the little helpless human a commodity to be conceived, sold, bought, and disposed of at will—how gruesome and indefensible and reprehensible—and I had been a part of that “industry” for years.

My conversion to the pro-life worldview could never have happened without the courageous public testimony of Abby Johnson, the former Planned Parenthood Director who experienced a profound change of heart after watching an ultrasound-guided abortion, best described in her amazing book, Unplanned. Her courage and strength in the face of overwhelming opposition from her former employer (and former friends and co-workers) inspired the confidence I needed to fully change my mind and support the inherent right-to-life of all human beings from conception to natural death.

Within weeks of self-identifying as pro-life I began donating my time, talents, and treasure to the cause: I joined Feminists for Life, the Susan B. Anthony List, and Pennsylvanians for Human Life. Then I sought out my local chapter of 40 Days for Life and attended my first vigil outside of the hospital where my third son was born, and where abortions are performed. Next I began speaking to local church leaders about helping to support Amnion Crisis Pregnancy Centers. Taking these steps to help support the pro-life movement, and to foster the changing of hearts and minds, has been a transformative experience for which I am grateful. But I still miss my baby, and no amount of dollars I donate will make that pain go away.

  • guest

    Thank you for sharing your story.

  • JB

    Thank you for sharing your story. I can only hope it inspires others as it does me! Be blessed!

  • Prolife Guitarhero

    awesome tesitimony, God bless you for your work

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doc-Kimble/100001742531811 Doc Kimble

    What a great testimony, Jewels; it is a miracle you’re still here to tell your story. It’s a spirit that is damaged, and only the Holy Spirit can heal the soul. Thanks for sharing and thank God for allowing you to see Him as He is, through the Holy Spirit. Welcome home.
    ” I have never met a mortal person; we shall all live forever.”~C.S. Lewis ~

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Doc-Kimble/100001742531811 Doc Kimble

    Your story, Jewels, presents in microcosm the scope of the battle facing the Pro Life Movement. Your life, your story, and the stories of women such as yourself, reveal the truth about our present culture and point us toward the factors that must be involved in changing our nation and our world from one of self-destruction to one of healing and hope.

  • Guest

    Found god and became a hypocritical idiot, congrats!

    • Briana Shackley

      I don’t see where she mentions conversion at all – she says that she spoke to church leaders but she never claims ownership to them (like for example she could have said MY church leaders. So that is speculation on your part sir/madam. It also never states that her conversion was due to God or any other deity but in response to an IVF case (that was in Canada I believe) where a woman was carrying a couples baby via surrogacy and when it was determined that the baby had Down Syndrome the couple told the woman to abort. 

    • HKateD

      And are you one of those “loving, understanding” liberals that are pro-abortion?

  • oldmanbob

    Thank you Sister, may Jesus keep on blessing you and holding you as He heals you.

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  • Bob Rodriguez, Dallas TX area

    I doubt that any of your mental health problems had anything to do with any abortion.  The DSM does not recognize post abortive bla bla bla as any kind of disorder. . .I suspect you were already proned to mental health problems, and this abortion thing is just a false pretense or narrative that allows you to cathart. . .dig deep and you will find what your mental health issue really is. 

    • Michelle

      Bob, are you suggesting that women should be screened for mental health issues prior to an abortion, and protected from an abortion lest it exasperate her pre-existing mental health condition? If so, you’re in good company:

      http://www.lifenews.com/2006/10/27/nat-2697/

      • Bob Rodriguez, Dallas Texas

        No.  I am simply saying she already had some mental crap going on. . .her abortion and her mental stuff are not connected

        • Be

          Her abortion, and her guilt FROM killing her own child, ARE indeed connected here. You would be considered more “mental” if you think murder is completely fine and consider killing your kids the ‘right’ thing to do. THAT is messed up. Im not saying anyone here is mental, and Im not saying Bob is mental, All im saying is it just takes one twisted mind to think killing another human (especially the most innocent of them all) is just fine.

          Shes not mental Bob because she is feeling all the guilt a normal human being should have after killing their own child. “guilt” is a mental problem? The problem comes when people ARENT guilty when they know theyve murdered someone, or was a part of the death of a child. When they DONT feel guilt from it, the problems start to come. When the thought of it doesnt haunt them, they dont feel bad, therefore they can have the mind of a killer, and not feel the guilt of what they have done wrong… THAT is the problem. People can twist and turn their minds around to the point that in SOME WAY….abortion is right…when its just their minds making excuses and trying to work around the truth when deep in their own minds they KNOW its wrong, they just dont want to accept it.

          God has plans for us all. Babies are not a “mistake”. God said He knows us even before we’re born, even before we were in the womb, before we were made.. He knows everything about us. Therefore were not “accidents” so dont think of yourselves or babies as ones….we were all individually planned by God. Its our job to spread the Word of God, and His Love. God does not want us to sin, or to have guilt rested upon our shoulders. He sent His Son Jesus to die on the cross for our sins. Jesus was beated, tortured, mocked, nailed to a cross to die…and He didnt do it for Himself, He paid the ultimate sacrifice for US so that we may be saved. God bless the little lives taken each day from abortion. Im so thankful to be alive, to have my life, to LIVE a wonderful life. I am so blessed. And I see that I am. I live a life that millions of babies wish they could but have life just snatched from them at such a YOUNG age!!  I AM SO BLESSED…and ALL my praise goes to GOD. And I will use each day that Im alive to praise God and to stand up for what is right. To spread Gods Love and to Spread His word so others may have knowledge of it.
          God Bless all of you! Sit and REALLY think about how grateful you should be for life, not just your own…. dont be selfish. Think of how the millions of other people would LOVE to be living life right now like you are, but cant because theyve been targeted as a criminal in a crime, rather than a victim in one. They are people just like you…. and youre living right? Let them live too. 

          • Bob Rodriguez

            Then should women feel this same mental anguish you are referencing if they have a IUD or use chemical contraception?  After all, most of those women expel conceptions w/out ever even knowing.  You call abortion murder, then is such contraception no less murderous?

          • Guest

            1.  There are in fact pro-life groups and individuals that actively oppose chemical contraceptives because they believe they cause very early abortions.

            2.  Murder is deliberate and often premeditated.  The effect that you described is unknowingly and unintentionally killing someone that you didn’t even know existed.  This would be negligent homicide.  It would still be a serious moral wrong, but it would not be murder.  Women therefore should not necessarily feel the same mental anguish if they use chemical contraception.

            3.  The mechanism for how contraceptives work (including IUDs and the Plan B morning after pill) is debatable.  Newer studies have suggested that contraceptives do not have any post-fertilization effects.  There are experts on both sides, and it might never be settled science:

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emergency_contraception#Mechanism_of_action

            This means that full abortion bans and personhood amendments would have no effect on the legality of any contraceptives (aside from ella, which didn’t even exist until about a year ago).

    • Chellethesouthernbelle

      Bob, she never said she had a disorder, she merely stated that she felt guilt from having an abortion…it’s usually what happens when we do something wrong, we experience guilt, unless we have already become so wicked and jaded that our conscience is seared and we feel no remorse or conviction for our sins.

    • bubbalouwee

      I am beginning to wonder if you and others that hold your view are suffering from a mental disorder yourself.  I believe it is perfectly NORMAL to suffer mental trauma after taking the life of your child.  Jesus Christ heals our souls from the wounds of sin.  I seriously question your mental health when you question others that have experienced the trauma of abortion and attempt to deny their grief or explain their pain as caused by something totally unrelated. 

  • Cindy

    We can have accidental conceptions happen even in the hardest times. A child that is concieved is a joy a blessing and a longing for a chance to have a family for others who can’t have children. With the information that can be obtained through so many ways abortion is and should be that last choice ever thought of. Then there would be no need of guilt.

  • Xmack

    I had a child when I was 17 and she was placed for adoption. It was the hardest thing I have ever done. I could have aborted and resumed my life immediately but my pregnancy was not the childs fault and her life was not going to be snuffed out for my convenience! She is now 30 and has 3 beautiful boys of her own. We found each other when she was 21 and we have been wonderful friends since. It was not a great inconvience to me…a few months to trade so she could have a life of her own. She is a fabulous person, I love her and I am so gratefull I had the courage to give her life and her parents the daughter they so longed for. Her father just passed away but I had the chance to thank him, and her mother, for giving her the love and guidance that I had always hoped she would have with her adoptive parents. I am blessed :-)

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  • PeterKenneth24

    Thank you for communicating this strong message through your post!!
    http://www.wellness.com/find/psychologist/ca