By Sarah Terzo
Pro-life speaker and author Karen B. Stevenson, MD, M.Div. speaks in churches about postabortion trauma. She describes one woman who came up to her after a talk:
Nona cornered me in a quiet hallway after a particularly powerful church service. The pastor had finally consented to allow me to speak about the issues that impact women, and abortion was one of those pivotal issues.
She whispered to me, “It happened to me.” Pause. “I had an abortion” – another, more lengthy pause – “years ago. I’ve never told anyone about it. I thought it would just go away.” Nona went on, “I’m so glad that you talked about it. Can we get together to talk about this? These feelings keep creeping back into my mind, and I just don’t know what to do about it.”
Nona and I did meet and talk about her abortion. She shared her story with me. Nona was 65 years old when I met her. She had her abortion at the age of 20. She was the first person in her family to attend college, and her parents sacrificed their lives to educate her.
When she found out that she was pregnant, she was filled with shame and guilt. Her parents had chosen to send her to school over her brother; they could not afford to send both of them to college.
“I had to do it – the abortion. I had to make my parents proud of me.” Nona completed college and went on to law school. She became a successful attorney, yet she says that the abortion would never quite go away.
She went from relationship to relationship, never allowing men to get close enough “to hurt me again.” Nona confided with me that she refused to let people get close to her, even in church. She attends church to “serve others, but I don’t think that God has really forgiven me. Maybe He will, if I just do enough for other people.”…
Nona is a woman who has been burdened by her secret for over 40 years.
Karen B. Stevenson, MD, M.Div. Heart Cries & Healing: The Black Church, the Black Woman, and Healing the Hidden Pain of Abortion (Meadville, Pennsylvania: Christian Faith Publishing, Inc., 2017) pp.43-44.