WEST FARGO – In the 1973 opinion of the United States Supreme Court decision Roe v. Wade, Chief Justice Harry A. Blackmun said abortion was a necessary step towards the full emancipation of women.
But abortion has brought only servitude for the past 50 years, says Jody Clemens, a local woman who has had an abortion. “Evidence shows that many women face the devastating and negative effects of abortion,” including physical, mental and spiritual pain.
Abortion brings empty promises: that it will eliminate a problem, expand the future and always remain hidden, she says. But these women carry a “shameful secret”, making them live, before and after the abortion, in silence and fear which only intensifies later.
“Our abortions become our identities and we don’t know where to turn,” she says. “We feel like a disgrace to ourselves, our families, our society and the church.”
True empowerment can only begin, she says, by sharing the truth.
Heartbeat International has predicted that by 2022 over 70% of abortions will occur chemically through a pill causing premature labor. He also cited a 500% increase in emergency room visits due to chemical abortions.
McKenzie McCoy, from Watford City, 28 at the time of her abortion, says she should have been among them. After taking the abortion pill, she spent two days in the dark on her bathroom floor covered in bloody towels.
“It was like a time warp,” she says of those 48 hours. “I started throwing up, the pain was so bad, then the bleeding started.”
She remembers when her “baby came out” and how perfect she was, “like those little models (of human development),” she says.
“I remember seeing his eye,” she continues, her voice cracking. “I flushed it down the toilet.”
Finally turning on the light, she said, it looked like a murder scene with blood everywhere. “And I realized someone had been murdered.”
She and the baby’s father separated, and McKenzie began drinking heavily, eventually dropping out of college. “I was a mess,” she says, noting that she has attempted suicide several times, believing her death would be a righteous response to the murder of her child.
But by the grace of God, she says, she survived, met and married Jake and welcomed three children. Instead of abandoning her when she finally revealed her secret, Jake helped her heal.
“The whole culture of death is a house of lies,” McKenzie says, noting that she lied to her boss about her absence, and to her parents about why she couldn’t come home to Christmas, using a monetary Christmas present to pay for the $750 abortion. “Every time there is a chance to insert the truth into this house of lies, it removes one more flaw from the armor.”
McKenzie recently became executive director of North Dakota Right to Life, dedicating her life’s work to the memory of her aborted child, she says. She marvels that God knew in advance how He would “mend her,” by “marrying a pro-life Catholic,” and sharing her story.
Erin Hill, of Kindred, ND, remembers skipping history class at age 16 and going to the bathroom to vomit. By the time she decided what she would do with her pregnancy to avoid shaming her family, she was at 19 weeks – too late for an abortion in Fargo.
Instead, she went to Minneapolis for a multi-day procedure. “I cried the whole time,” Erin says. When a nurse asked her why she was crying, she replied, “You know why. Because I’m here to kill my baby.
When presented with a form to release her child’s remains for scientific research, she says, she refused, despite the pressure she felt.
In her heart, Erin says, she didn’t want to do it, but “nobody came with an outstretched hand to say, ‘I’ll be with you; it’s OK.’ Instead, the day of the abortion continued, “replaying me like a horror movie,” with the patients quiet and spaced out.
Although she felt numb most of the time, Erin says, when the doctor “pushed in the laminaria sticks” to soften her cervix, she felt like she was being violated. “I hated him because he had just raped me.”
Erin held the nurse’s hand during the procedure, crying and repeatedly telling her baby she was sorry. The next day she was back in class, having convinced her friends that she had gone for allergy tests.
Erin and the baby’s father eventually separated, but in college she met her husband, Chad, who led her to Christ – the reason for her hope and healing, she says.
“It was a process, a slow letting go of those little parts of my heart that I didn’t want to lose,” she says, noting that at times she welcomed the pain, viewing it as “a badge, a way of honor my child”, and punish himself.
When her 19-year-old son was born, Erin said, “I remember my arms hurting physically – while I was holding him – to hold my (aborted) child,” and she thought she wouldn’t. didn’t deserve this either.
Now, when she sees women angrily defending abortion, Erin wonders if they themselves had abortions. Many “will not realize the pivot in their lives from the resulting behavior”, but eventually they will experience a “low sluggishness to destructive behavior”.
The only remedy for this pain, she says, is the light of Christ “shed upon their hearts and lives, revealing both their sin and a way out of the depraved lives they unwittingly live.”
Asking that her last name be omitted due to the fragile health of several loved ones, Brittany, Fargo, shares that she was 17 at the time of her abortion, living a “double life”, dating someone he had been forbidden to see.
Brittany had grown up in faith, she says, knowing that abortion was “essentially murder.” But her father had died a few years earlier and “the resulting troubles caused me to hide a lot of things”, including the pregnancy.
Brittany learned of a court circumvention provision in North Dakota law that could help her get an abortion without her mother’s knowledge. The Red River Women’s Clinic was “very willing to help me through” this process, she says, securing an early morning appointment with enough time to get back to the facility in time for the abortion.
That morning, a friend called the school pretending to be her mother, excusing her for a doctor’s appointment. Their teenage plot had succeeded.
But looking back, Brittany says she feels sick — about the abortion itself and the involvement of friends. “I let my selfishness take over and tried to believe the lies they tell you: that it’s just a bunch of cells, a product of conception, and not yet a baby.”
Brittany says she felt immense sadness afterwards, leaving the facility with a paper bag containing painkillers, which became a symbol of her loss.
“I never had an ultrasound or any evidence of my child,” she says. “So I clung to this bag, subconsciously trying to find some kind of anchor for my child.”
When Brittany’s mother found out the truth, it “broke her to pieces,” she says. “She was mourning the loss of her grandson, and also, the loss of her daughter in a way. I wasn’t who she thought I was. She was so heartbroken.
Brittany eventually married and had two children, but with both deliveries she experienced complications and thought she might die from the hemorrhage – a fate she says she felt she deserved.
Now she wants to warn women considering abortion that things won’t “go back to normal” afterwards. “We’re giving women a way to crush their problem…and that only creates more turmoil, trauma, and lies.”
She wishes she could apologize to her baby and let him know that she thinks of him all the time.
“And with the time I have left, I want to make him proud. I look forward to the day when I can hug him (in heaven).
The four women, who were part of the PALS (Post Abortive Ladies) panel that will speak in Grand Forks on June 7, conveyed that with Christ there is hope.
“The father of lies, Satan himself, wants us to remain in our isolation and shame,” Jody says. “However, when we exchange the lies we have believed for the truth of God, we can find true redemption, mercy, forgiveness and healing.”
She also helps moderate a “Forgive and Free” group for post-abortions at various Christian churches in the area, and says Rachel’s Vineyard retreats, offered by the Diocese of Fargo, have helped many women negatively affected by the abortion to cure.
With the possible reversal of Roe v. Wade, says Jody, abortion is rightly highlighted.
“God has put a dividing line in the sand,” she says, and the Church must step up its efforts. “One in four women in the pews has had an abortion. We must be ready to help those who suffer. »
What: “Time to Listen” with the Post Abortive Ladies (PALS)
When: 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, June 7
Where: Hope Church, 1601 17th Ave. S., Grand Forks
Cost: Free (from 13 years old)
Contact: Jody Clemens (701-367-7362)
Salonen, wife and mother of five, works as a freelance writer and speaker at Fargo. Email him at [email protected] and check out his work at Peace Garden Passage, http://roxanesalonen.com.