My abortion doesn’t define me

On my way to Otto Miller, every so often, posters are stapled to poles around Third Avenue West and Nickerson Street. Reading what they say, I take a deep breath and keep walking.

I know the statistics. I’m numb to hearing, “How could anyone do such a thing?” “Abortion is murder!” This past week, Tiffany Loop sported a collection of little red flags to symbolize the number of abortions that happen in Washington state every week.

Anger and guilt filled me as I walked by yet another abortion demonstration. I couldn’t help myself from thinking, “There’s no way I’m alone.”

I’m writing this to break the seal of silence, to be a voice for those of us who have felt a weight of shame and oppression so heavy we cannot talk openly about our experience and who we really are. My name is Christine, and I had an abortion.

I was a freshman, and I remember feeling my heart stop when I read the word “PREGNANT” on the test. I couldn’t breathe. Fear flooded me, fighting my motherly instincts with the harsh reality that I wasn’t in a good position to have a child.

My boyfriend and I didn’t know what to do. Within three days, we were in Planned Parenthood. I cried. I shook. I was confused, scared and by then, had convinced myself I wasn’t good enough to have a child. How would I tell my parents? Where would we live? How would we pay for everything?

Adoption never crossed my mind, and that is one thing I regret to this day. I knew I had choices, but in that little time, I felt trapped. It was so overwhelming; it was all happening so fast. I felt like abortion was the best option for my situation. And I went through with it.

I wanted to share my story, but more importantly, I wanted to say that there are students on this campus who have been affected by abortions, and we deserve an opportunity to defend ourselves against the slander of on-campus demonstrations. We are a silent few, but we have a voice, too. I hesitated a lot about putting my name to this column. I was nervous about losing friends and being judged.

Having an abortion was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever done, but it is a part of me. It has shaped me into the woman I am today, and my life experiences should not cause anyone to look at me differently — in a negative way — than they did yesterday.

First Corinthians 6:9-11 says, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor men who have sex with men nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.”

My sins are many, and, like yours, they have been forgiven by the gracious blood of our Savior. My experiences have only made me stronger in my faith and my relationship with God, and I pray that more women and men can accept, stand up and move forward from their experiences with something that is so socially outcast.

I’m not writing this to support or encourage abortion, but to bring light to the other side of the spectrum.

Like I said earlier, I felt like I had no options when I found out I was pregnant; I did what I thought was best. My challenge to the SPU community, to the Students for Life Club, is to bridge the gap between opinion and the Christian life we are called to live. To embrace people with stories like mine doesn’t make you less opposed to abortion, but it causes an expansion of understanding, of forgiveness and compassion.

In our stand against sin, it is important that we, as Christians, be careful to not further alienate the people whose lives have been affected by different struggles. Jesus didn’t isolate the sinners — he embraced them. Shouldn’t we all strive to live more like him?

 

Christine Smith is a senior physics major. 

18 thoughts on “My abortion doesn’t define me

  1. Christine,
    Your bravery in composing this is inspiring. Thank you for sharing your story, and thank you for having the courage to share your thoughts with our campus. This perspective is so valuable, and at the same time, it has been largely ignored around campus. I too, felt that this demonstration was particularly cruel and insensitive, and your story speaks to the fears I had for women on our campus who had gone through the experience of having an abortion. Thank you for shedding light on this side of the issue, and for acknowledging the destruction that certain demonstrations can cause when they neglect to see how it could impact some. Hopefully the leadership of these kinds of movements will find more tactful and sensitive ways of approaching this issue. Again, thank you for your courage in writing this, you are not alone.

  2. Christine,
    Thank you so much for this eye-opening article. I am sorry for all of the hurt you have experienced since your abortion. I simply could not imagine. You are more brave than I could ever be. Your article will help other women on campus who have had/are considering abortions. I cannot commend you enough. Just thank you. May God bless you.

    • I have to add, too, that you pose a huge call to SPU and to the Church at large. Students For Life Club, please remember that you are FOR life, not merely anti-abortion. Challenge yourself to embrace and help students were are in freshman-Christine’s situation. Preach love, not hate. Provide resources, talk with them about options, refer them to a campus pastor who will stick by their side and pray for them and remind them they they are God’s beloved, beloved children.

  3. Christine,
    I admire your boldness and am grateful that you are willing to speak on behalf of a population at SPU that definitely does not consist of you alone. Other women on our campus have experienced stories much like your own – a reality that needs to be addressed with care and grace and support. While the Students for Life club aims to support alternatives to abortion, the crossfire seems to inadvertently have a hurtful impact on students. I would love to see them not only expose their beliefs on abortion, but also look for ways to provide support and direction to women who have already been down that road. Shame is not an effective means to guide women’s decisions, and I respect that you demonstrate the boldness to share your honest story. Thank you, thank you, thank you for giving other students the hope that they are not alone. You are a strong and brave woman.

  4. Christine,
    Thank you for sharing your story. I will voice what others have in saying that you are NOT alone. But unlike the others, I will also tell you that are NOT guilty, you have not sinned, and you should not be ashamed. Don’t waste a single moment feeling regret that “adoption never crossed your mind.” Even if it had crossed your mind, you weighed your options and found that abortion was the best choice – and doubtless it was, or you wouldn’t have chosen it.

    Being part of a Christian community that gives zero support to unwed mothers leaves women with unexpected pregnancies precious few options. Don’t apologize. The “sin” of terminating a pregnancy is nothing compared to the horror of having a child you can’t provide for – a reality that the Christian community likes to sweep under the rug. While they will beat their Bibles endlessly about the abomination of abortion, most do not want to deal with unwed, pregnant mothers and certainly don’t want to help support single moms after the unplanned child is born.

    Every choice we make in our lives shapes us. I’m so thankful that you are brave enough to share your story, and I hope that you embrace your choice as the right decision for you in that moment, and let any shame, guilt or anger you still feel fall away. The god you love loves you unconditionally – and “his followers” who would deny you grace are not worth your consideration.

  5. I’m grateful to Christine for writing out her thoughts. She voiced what many are likely thinking on our campus and elsewhere. One of the reasons I engage in abolitionist agitation is to try and spark conversations like this that otherwise would never occur. She writes: “there’s no way I’m alone”. I know for a fact she is NOT alone. This is precisely why such demonstrations and posters exist, to address the abortion pandemic that goes on silently and constantly amongst our family, our friends, and our churches. We call people to repent of abortion, to repent of apathy about abortion – the mindset that doesn’t see a neighbor and the image of God in every human being, born or preborn.

    Society (even in the Church) is in such a state that abortion is thought of as merely a “difficult decision”, when in reality it is more than a difficult decision; it is a sin – the deliberate taking of innocent human life that leaves one dead and one wounded. If we don’t see it as sin, we can’t confess and repent of it as sin. If we can’t repent of it, we can’t receive forgiveness and the reconciliation offered by Christ. And this is what we want-reconciliation. We want abortion to be unthinkable, so women in the future will not be driven by a feeling of necessity towards it. We want the believers around them to rise to the occasion and help them raise their children rather than kill them. I have stood outside Planned Parenthood offering help, adoption or assistance to parents taking their children in to be killed. Many of them swear at me or walk right past. Most don’t want assistance, they want to get rid of their child quickly and to get on with their lives because they’ve believed that abortion is a difficult choice-not a great evil.

    If there were a way to reveal the horrific nature of abortion without the risk of alienating those who have aborted their children; believe me, we would do it. Christine calls on-campus demonstrations “slander”. Slander is the action or crime of making a false spoken statement damaging to a person’s reputation. What false statement has been made? We state that her child was a human being made in the image of God, that her child’s death was one of millions. The red flags in Tiffany loop placed by Students For Life were each a small acknowledgment of individual living human beings, now dead because of abortion. Ought they to be forgotten? Who is their voice? They don’t have the opportunity to speak for themselves, to write letters to the editor. They are no longer with us. More will join them in biohazard waste bins tomorrow, and the next day – until abortion is abolished. Is acknowledging their lives too harsh of a demonstration? If it is, what is left to say on their behalf?

    William Lloyd Garrison, an abolitionist who tirelessly worked to end slavery in America, was constantly urged not to call slavery a sin that required repentance. He was told he was “bound in Christian charity to avoid all intemperance in writing or speaking upon a subject so intimately connected with the existence of our Southern brethren.” To such censures he replied: “O that my countrymen might feel as keenly for a black skin as for a white one.” And: “On this subject I do not wish to think or speak or write with moderation. No! No! Tell a man whose house in on fire to give a moderate alarm…but urge me not to use moderation in a cause like the present.”

    People like Christine are not alienated by us. We would be privileged to embrace her and encourage her to join us in repentance, free from the anger and guilt she describes. Christine, you can repent of abortion and be reconciled to God. You (hopefully) have a long and fruitful life ahead of you. The children who will be killed by abortion tomorrow will not. Christine, you are my neighbor, but your child was also my neighbor. All the children being cut apart by curettage and suctioned out of the womb are our neighbors too. Christine, I don’t want to alienate you. I want you to join us. You can stand side by side with us to speak out on behalf of those children who shouldn’t have to die because their parents live in a society where abortion seems like a viable choice.

    • Judah,
      I respect your beliefs and Students for Life’s right to gather and demonstrate as a club but what I think this article was trying to point out was that the red flags and the countless demonstrations/posters/events make those of us who have had an abortion feel ostracized and triggers a great deal of pain and shame. The decision to have an abortion is a personal one. It was MY decision, not yours. You do not know the circumstances that I found myself in and you know nothing of the painful health risks that pregnancy and childbirth posed for me. My abortion was a decision that haunts me but one that I would make again if I found myself in the same situation today. The truth is, every woman who has had an abortion has a different story. Mine was one of poor health and a high risk pregnancy. Yet your club is so quick to pass judgement and so quick to sweep all of the facts under the rug. I have attended multiple demonstrations and multiple forums that your club has put on, hoping to hear a positive message and hoping to hear different stories and circumstances surrounding abortion. Instead I heard one-sided theological rants. Every time I have left one of your events I have left in absolute tears. Yet I came back hoping for some reconciliation. I have given up on trying to hear a two-sided story at Students for Life. Although I don’t agree with them, I respect your opinions and your right to voice them. I will never ask that your club disbands or stops putting on events because it is your right to do so. All I ask is that you approach such a sensitive and personnel subject with tact and care. Think of your fellow students who have suffered through the pain of pregnancy and abortion before you publicly condemn them and attempt to use shock value to get people to join your side. The topic of abortion is not as one sided as you think.

      • So well said! Each woman has a different story, and it is important to recognize that before tagging them with the societal labels of abortions. Yes, Judah, you can be the voice for those children not carried to full term, but I think what the article was getting at was certain demonstrations that are used to bring attention to abortions also shames and burdens women who have been affected by them. And in a community where love and forgiveness is supposed to flourish, such demonstrations (mainly the AHA posters) should be reconsidered in their content and how they affect those who have dealt with abortion in any way.

    • Judah, I am deeply concerned and disappointed at your response to a member of your own community publicly sharing these deep wounds. Where is your divine authority to imply that she is not reconciled with God? Your entire response is just more jargon on ‘why people who get an abortion are unethical’ sprinkled with some ‘I don’t condemn her’ type language and followed by ‘hopefully god forgives her and she has a better life now’. Your response should be, after hearing Christine’s story, that of asking questions on how to better support people in these kinds of situations. If pro-life advocates spent half the energy they do helping pregnant women as they do finding the latest and greatest picture of a mangled fetus then maybe they could actually be a part of saving lives instead of staring at the stats and expecting others to do something about it.

  6. After reading this beautifully written article, I was amazed by your bravery and honesty. You wrote about many thoughts that have been weighing on me, but I thought that I had no place to share them because I have no personal experiences with abortion. Even though I cannot relate in that specific way, it does not stop me from empathizing with the guilt and shame that you feel when you walk by an on-campus demonstration. SPU boasts that it models a grace-filled community, but where is justice and mercy here?

  7. Christine, thanks for sharing!

    I can assure you that the display in the loop was not meant to be condemning, but merely to shed light on an issue that is close to home for many.

    Its easy to condemn others over this issue because it is such a horrific one. But that is the challenge of gospel; to love others even when its hard or uncomfortable. It is important that issues like abortion are connected to real people with feelings.

    While i’m not a member of Students for Life, i can assure you that the members (specifically the leadership) are incredibly caring and loving to their SPU community. Many of their events are focused on uncovering how abortion physically, spiritually, and mentally effects mothers. It is also important to remember that it is a student lead club and the members may not be equipped to handle counseling-oriented approaches to helping to-be mothers.

    Im sure that you would be a great addition to their club and could bring valuable insight on how to approach the issue with love and concern for mother and child.

    • I met with a member of the Students for Life club today, and it was a wonderful conversation. I think I can say for both of us that we both have similar passions for being and providing resources for those who find themselves in a situation like this. We provided great insight to each other’s position on the topic.

      Overall, I want to thank everyone for their love and support since this has been published. It has been a very healing process, and I’m grateful for those that have reached out to say they’re thankful for me sharing my story.

      Many women braved to share their story with me, and I am humbled to have gained that trust, just by being open and honest about who I am. I think this is a great time for the SPU community to truly and honestly value the different, unique, and amazing people and stories that make our campus so vibrant.

  8. Thank you for addressing a subject that needed to be addressed here at SPU for a while. I wish you the best, stay strong! Thanks for sharing your story.

    Judah, Stop trying to compare slavery to abortion. THEY HAVE NOTHING IN COMMON. Your “abolition” group needs to stop using that comparison. Please stop vandalizing the campus with the horrible fetus posters.

  9. Hi Christine,
    I appreciate your sharing. Are you saying that students for life rejected your attempts at membership? Were you turned away from participating because you had an abortion? I appreciate your view from “the other side”. I would think you’d be someone who’d be in “Students for Life”, impacting the people involved from the inside and speaking to other women who are or will be in the same circumstances you will be to share that there is HOPE without abortion and hope even if there was an abortion.

    Your voice is more valuable from within that group that thinking what they are doing isn’t valuable from outside of it.

    • Hi Jennifer,
      No, SFL did not reject me as a member- they welcomed me with open arms. I went to a meeting about a month ago, and it was great to learn about their proactive attempts to get pregnancy resources available on campus (I didn’t realize they’ve been trying to get this approved for years!)
      I hope that with their efforts, and the administration approval, pregnancy resources will be available on campus. Being a religiously affiliated school does not dull the fact that students are going to have sex, and if there is no support system, there’s no saying what will happen when a student finds herself pregnant. Like I said, I think good efforts are being made to better educate students and bring this topic out of the darkness.
      Thanks for your support :)

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


8 − one =