By Lisa Bast
Cheryl Venerable yearned to be in a loving marriage and to be a mother. Her childhood was troubled, marred by constant discord between her parents. Consequently, she never felt loved and struggled with low self-esteem. Yet all through high school, she vigilantly guarded her virtue while her friends were engaged in sexual encounters. At the age of 20, Venerable became intimate with the man she was dating and subsequently became pregnant.
Venerable told Live Action News, “I was desperately searching for love and wanted to be married. I thought that if I got pregnant, my boyfriend would marry me. Turned out, he had no interest in marriage. It was a huge blow.”
Raised Catholic, Venerable wasn’t comfortable with being an unmarried mother. She was too afraid to tell her parents so instead, she talked with her boyfriend’s mother, who convinced her to have an abortion.
“My boyfriend’s mother took care of all the arrangements and my boyfriend drove me to an abortion clinic in New Orleans,” Venerable said. “Along with a group of women, we were herded from room to room, until I was finally ushered into a dark room where a masked man wearing a headlamp entered to perform the procedure.”
In broken English, the abortionist told Venerable he couldn’t commit the abortion because she was either too far into her term or was pregnant with twins.
Venerable said, “I knew I had put off the abortion and had even started to feel light fluttering in my stomach by this time. I didn’t know what was going to happen now.”
When her boyfriend returned to pick her up, Venerable told him she was still pregnant.
“He drove a small Porsche, but he joked he could probably get two car seats into the back,” Venerable said. “But when we told his mother, she said she knew of another place that would perform a late-term abortion.”
This time, her boyfriend’s sister drove her to the clinic. Venerable was told the procedure would take two days since she was in her second trimester. A device was inserted into her cervix, and she was told to return the next day.
Venerable said, “When I walked into the clinic, I noticed a woman crying. Once in the exam room, I was heavily sedated and don’t remember much, other than the doctor commenting about the wounds on my wrists from self-cutting. I was going through a self-destructive time and was so broken.”
Afterward, Venerable felt she needed to quickly get out of the clinic but felt dizzy when she tried to stand.
“I stumbled back into the waiting room, where I’m sure they didn’t want other women to see me, and waited for my ride home. Once in the car, I laid on the back seat. I began bleeding heavily.”
Regret for abortion results in another pregnancy
The following day, however, Venerable returned to work and the realization of what she had just done hit her full force. She worried God would punish her for such an egregious act and feared she would never have another child.
Venerable said, “I made a deal with God that if I got a second chance at being a mother, I would never have another abortion. I was trying to replace the baby I had killed, like other women who have had abortions. This could be a way to atone for my sin.”
It wasn’t long after that Venerable became pregnant again and gave birth to a baby girl.
“Against his mother’s wishes, my boyfriend did marry me once he saw our beautiful baby, but our marriage didn’t last,” Venerable said. “I would go on to have three more failed marriages and three more children. My relationships were marked by abuse and were so toxic. I was involved at one point with a convicted felon.”
Struggling with depression and shame, Venerable toyed with suicide.
“I was a mess to begin with, given my childhood, but the abortion pushed me over the edge. Fortunately, I met a loving man who wanted to marry and started attending church,” she said. “There, I met a woman who led a post-abortion recovery class. It wasn’t until I enrolled in that class that I realized how badly I needed healing.”
Healing through sharing testimony and worship
A year later, God inspired her to write a song about her abortion, and soon she was asked to lead worship during services.
“I taught myself to play the guitar and have served as a worship leader ever since,” Venerable said. “I want other women to know they can be forgiven, no matter their sin. I carried around guilt, shame, and anger for far too long and never accepted forgiveness until going through the abortion recovery process.”
She started giving her testimony at church and then stood before the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., just seven months before the Dobbs decision to tell of her painful experience when a two-day abortion procedure ripped her baby from her womb.\
Venerable said, “I still mourn my baby, but every time I tell my story, I receive more healing. The enemy comes to destroy, to whisper in the ears of vulnerable women, and to distort their thinking. I pray God opens their eyes to Him. He will make all things work together for those who love him.”
Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.