By Sharon Nickerson
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning” (Psalm 30:5, New King James Version). Guilt and despair become joy and peace. Sounds like the average Christian’s life. But after having an abortion and then experiencing salvation, these emotions are never more real.
A young lady lived this truth when salvation came after a heartbreaking abortion. Years later, she was encouraged to share her postabortion pain before a Senate subcommittee. This is her story.
A Star Not Born
She wanted to be a star. The musician she married wanted the same thing. All too soon, she was pregnant. This can’t be, she thought. Financially they were not ready. She decided on abortion. A lot of women are having the procedure done, so it must be OK. This has to be done for our future careers.
Her husband wavered. He didn’t completely agree. She drove to the abortion clinic anyway. A baby would stop everything, she thought. Her dreams were at stake. She convinced herself that after this simple medical procedure everything would be all right.
Once inside the clinic, she was sent to a waiting area wearing a hospital gown. Three women were ahead of her awaiting their abortions. No one spoke. A small radio quietly played a song with the word “baby” in it.
Kind nurses helped her onto the stirrup-girded table when it was her turn. A quick introduction was made to a doctor wearing a mask; then sleep. Waking in the large recovery room, pain racked her body. Groans from the other women filled the air. Horror struck her for what she, and they, had done. Pushing away fear, she thought, I’ll never do this again.
After recovery, she lied to the desk attendants, told them her ride was there, and drove home. She watched the painted lines on the street pass under her car. Don’t worry, Baby, your life wasn’t lost for nothing. I’m going to make something of myself. Those words would echo in her ears for years to come as life crumbled down around her.
Ambition soon waned. Dreams faded. The marriage endured but was rocky. One year later, she discovered she was pregnant again. This time she was happy. Secretly she hoped this baby would fill the emptiness left in her heart. This one might replace the lost baby.
But near the end of her pregnancy, lying in anguish on her bed, her tortured heart realized this baby would never replace the other. She cried and then sobbed until she was wailing, “I’m sorry! I’m sorry!” to a God she somehow knew was there, yet felt so very distant from.
A baby girl. Two years later, another baby girl. The marriage crumbled. She took her two babies, left her husband, and moved in with her parents. While there she spoke again to that same God she hoped existed: “All I want is a small house for me and my daughters to live in.”
She saw the house. The landlord allowed her to go inside alone. As she entered, she awkwardly got on her knees and prayed, “If you let us live here, I’ll follow you.” She moved in within a month.
Invitations to churches soon came. She said to God, “You show me where you want me to go.” He did. A nondenominational, Bible-teaching church was where she would meet Jesus and grow as a believer, as a daughter.
The Lord miraculously restored her marriage. Two more children were born to them. As joyous as it was to walk with God and be a mother of many children, hearing the words “abortion” and “death of innocent children” while in church made her want to crawl under her pew. The plaguing guilt started to chisel at her will to live. She felt like David in Psalm 32: “When I kept silent, my bones grew old through my groaning all the day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; my vitality was turned into the drought of summer” (vv. 3, 4). She needed to deal with this burden before the Lord.
A postabortion Bible study was offered at another church near her home. The study guide, “Forgiven and Set Free” by Linda Cochrane, was key to her understanding God’s amazing forgiveness for her “unforgivable” act. Within the study, she worked on releasing blame and forgiving herself. It set her free. The guilt no longer ate at her; the sorrow no longer crushed her.
A Bill Was Born
Excited to deeply know God’s love and forgiveness, she introduced the study to the leaders at her church. Soon it was offered to the congregation and a group of women attended the discreet Bible study. One of these women contacted her and asked if she would be willing to speak before a Senate subcommittee in support of a new bill to give women a more informed choice when considering abortion.
Bill H.1565, “Woman’s Right to Know Act” was cited as “Laura’s Law,” named after a young woman who died during her abortion procedure. The bill would enforce, among other things, mandatory explanations of the embryo’s current development and a 24-hour waiting period before a woman made that final decision to abort.
After some prayer, she agreed to join other postabortion women who would give their three-minute testimonies. How could she sum it up in three minutes? She needed to trust God to give her the right words to say.
The packed room at the State House was emotionally charged. She perceived that some postabortion women, still plagued by guilt, insecurity, embarrassment, or fear of human judgment, never dealt with their emotional pain. They had trouble speaking. A few broke down while trying. Some left the building without ever testifying.
She and other women of faith displayed controlled anger, believing they were deceived by the lie of abortion. Anger became frustration while watching committee members continually rise to step out of the room during testimony. The members listened but didn’t seem to hear.
Planned Parenthood had their turn. She watched as their representative approached the microphone. With a tone of disgust, the woman claimed the bill to be “another pro-choice, right wing” attempt to stop women from having the right to choose. Thankfully, the committee’s full attention was yet to be won.
The showstopper, she noted, was a gentleman who flew in from another state to speak on behalf of the new bill. He stated it was not supported by scientific law for a woman to claim she had the right to stop a fetus from growing inside her womb because the fetus was a part of her body. At the moment of conception, the embryo (or zygote) has its own separate DNA. Not the mother’s.
Although stopping abortions completely was not the premise of this bill, the hope was to slow the enormity of women and girls choosing to abort. Their overall health was at stake, including the health of our nation. The bill was shelved anyway. More details may have been needed for the bill to go forward. Or maybe politicians lacked the desire to be cited on historical record as the people who interrupted women seeking abortions.
She felt sad at this news. More babies would never see life and more women would suffer physical and mental repercussions for choosing to end their unborn babies’ lives. But she was glad it was over. The Lord then brought to her realization her accomplishment. She stood before strangers, shared her testimony, and bore her heart. She had stated how:
• It was difficult to look people in the eye after the abortion.
• She was wounded emotionally but couldn’t discuss it with anyone.
• She should have taken time to heal physically but had pushed through the trauma to return to work.
• Guilt created painful anxiety in her heart. Any discussion near her regarding abortion put pressure on her chest, causing her to leave abruptly.
• She was fearful people would find out.
• The experience did not benefit her life but robbed her of inspiration and the will to live.
Happily, all of that was gone. Love for Jesus and thankfulness for his forgiveness and healing were all that remained. And, as he promised me, joy came in the morning.
Sharon Nickerson is a freelance writer in Weymouth, Massachusetts.