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.