Editor’s note. This appeared in the Summer edition of Right to Life of Michigan News.
This letter was sent to North Allegan Right to Life, with only first names included for identification. We have removed those names, and also shorted it a bit for space considerations. The letter speaks to not just the regret of a woman or man directly involved in an abortion, but the often silent sorrow abortion can cause for grandparents or other family members.
It was a hot summer afternoon, when our 16 year old came home from sports practice. She begged me to let her spend the night with some friends. I said “OK!”
About an hour later our daughter took off. Shortly after that, I got a phone call from my husband, asking me, “What is our daughter up to? I’m headed to a meeting in town, and I went by the library, where I saw her getting in her boyfriend’s car, carrying a suitcase.”
Well, he followed them, and stopped them. After some fighting and screaming he brought her home—still not knowing what was going on—then he went back to work. I talked to our daughter. She began to cry her eyes out. She was shaking like she was in shock.
She said, “Mom, I’m pregnant. I was on my way to have an abortion.”
I told her, “No way will that happen!”
She said, “It’s too late. The first half was already done yesterday. They put a burning chemical in me, and the baby is already dead, or almost dead, I don’t really know. I am so confused. My appointment is at 4:00 to finish the procedure. I didn’t want you and dad to know.”
My head was spinning. All I could think of was a dead baby decaying inside my daughter’s body, needing to be removed now. God help me! Then my husband called. I updated him on what was going on, and told him I didn’t know what to do.
He said, “Don’t talk her out of it, we don’t need a half-dead baby on our hands. Where is the clinic? I’ll meet you there.”
Our daughter called the clinic in Grand Rapids, to let them know she would be late for her appointment. When they answered her call, she said “my house is yellow”: this was her identification; they didn’t even know her name. As I was walking out the door to take my beautiful young daughter to an unknown clinic to have a dead baby removed from her body, the phone rang. Thinking it might be my husband, I ran back in to answer the call. It was Right to Life asking for donations.
I thought it was a sign. What if the baby isn’t dead? I wanted to ask the woman on the phone for help, but the words couldn’t come out. Our daughter was waiting for me in the car.
As I got in, I handed her my rosary. She thanked me, but said she already had hers. Then I saw she was already on the third mystery. She asked me who was on the phone. I didn’t tell her it was a lady from Right to Life. I didn’t tell her how I wanted to tell this lady what was going on and how I needed guidance. It was like I knew what I had to do, and at the same time, I knew it was wrong. There was no time to think.
We found ourselves driving to a beautiful old building in the Heritage neighborhood of Grand Rapids. As we walked into the building, we were greeted by upbeat women with big smiles. They told us her boyfriend and his parents were waiting for her.
As we approached them in the waiting room, they were smiling, and said, “You should be proud of your daughter, she made all these decisions herself. This is how she wanted it. She begged us not to tell you. Our son worked hard all summer to raise the $800 to pay for this. He is taking the responsibility, and you don’t have to pay for a thing.”
I went back to the small window in the entryway, and asked if there was someone I could talk with to find out what was happening. Finally a young lady talked with me. I explained to her that I had just found out about all of this, and I am completely against abortion.
I asked her how far along is the pregnancy? What condition is the baby in? Is the baby still alive? Her answers? “I don’t know.” I asked if I could speak to the doctor, and I was told I couldn’t. I finally asked what will happen to the “baby” after the abortion? I was told, “Oh, it’s not a baby, it’s just a fetus!”
A severe thunderstorm was moving through town. Every time she answered my questions, thunder rolled across the sky. The woman commented that the storm was scaring her.
I tried to use their office phone to reach my doctor, but no luck. My daughter and I went into a room, just the two of us. I told her she didn’t have to do this, that we would figure it all out, and that it will all be OK. We talked for a while, and she said, “After talking to you mom, I feel different about all of this. I think I’m changing my mind, what should I do?”
I was ready to say, “Let’s get out of here and go to emergency room, or home.” Then I became scared, and began thinking about the pain of childbirth. What condition is the baby? Is it even alive? Could she have an infection? And of course, I wondered what people would say. I thought about my husband’s words, “Don’t talk her out of this, we don’t need a dead baby on our hands!”
My daughter said, “Mom, you sound like you are changing your mind? Are you saying I should go through with the procedure? Help me. I don’t know what to do.”
I felt like my daughter and I were completely alone, and the whole world was depending on us to kill this baby. Nothing made sense. They wouldn’t let me go in with her, and it would be up to her to make the decision. I told her I will support her, whatever she decided.
She sat with her boyfriend as I locked myself in the bathroom, knelt down, and tried to pray. I finally ended up just asking God to lead my daughter down the right path. Because of the storm, they were having some problem and had to delay the procedure, so I went outside for some fresh air. After several minutes, the boyfriend’s mother came to let me know they were taking her in, and that she asked for me. I ran inside, but they didn’t wait.
Finally, my husband arrived. The boyfriend stayed clear. His parents tried to make small talk, but my husband let them know he had no interest in anything they had to say.
A woman came out and said the procedure was complete. She gave us recovery instructions and a prescription. I asked the woman, “Does anyone ever change their mind at the last minute, and what is the condition of the baby if they do?”
She said, “Oh yes, they do change their minds, and 9 out of 10 have perfectly normal babies.”
Why didn’t they tell us this before? We killed this little, innocent baby. To this day I don’t know if my grandson or granddaughter was dead or alive. How can I ever ask forgiveness for leaving this decision to a 16-year-old girl who was scared to death—and in the company of people putting pressure on her to kill this poor, innocent baby.
It has been 25 years, and I am still crying over it.
The next day our daughter told me the whole story. She had been skipping sports practices. She went to church and prayed for guidance. She and her boyfriend went to Planned Parenthood for help. They had to go before a judge because they were minors.
They take these young, scared, vulnerable girls, and lead them to believe abortion is a quick fix and life will be quickly back to normal. Well, that’s a LIE! It’s actually the first step of a lifelong nightmare.
About 7 years later, I had a dream about a little girl, wearing a red t-shirt, blue jeans, and standing under a big tree. Without moving her mouth, she said to me, “You feel so lonely. You miss your family. You don’t even know my name.”
She looked so sad. I did not speak while letting her know that I gave the child a name, not knowing if it was a boy or a girl: “Chris,” Then she put her arms around my neck and hugged me. I can still feel her little warm arms. I think this was not a dream.
It’s very sad that others knew about the pregnancy. If they would have talked to me—instead of about me—this abortion would not have happened.