I am a Christian. I had an abortion.
I grew up in a pro-life family, and when abortion was discussed, I told people that I would not have one even if I was the victim of rape. Then I found myself unmarried and pregnant, not because I’d been raped but because I was, as they say, looking for love in all the wrong places.
I told the father, and said I wanted to abort the baby. He said I could do whatever I thought best. We talked less than 60 seconds. I made an appointment and when the day arrived, he drove me to the facility. I was very scared, and tried taking deep breaths to calm myself. The nurse yelled at me for hyperventilating while the doctor scraped my baby out of my uterus. I was taken aback by the coldness and brutality of the staff. At no point did I give any thought to the baby. I only thought of myself; what people would think, what people would say, how it would mess up my plans.
Then I went home and built a wall around the whole ordeal in my mind, like a room I never went in. To this day I have no idea how the father felt about it. We never spoke of it again. I never spoke of it again.
Growing up, I had been taught that I had to obey every commandment and confess every sin in order to go to heaven. I had long ago found that impossible, and stopped trying to please God. But he pursued me over the years, sending messenger after messenger. I remember the first time I heard the gospel, the good news that I don’t have to earn my way to heaven, because Jesus had bought my passage.
I did not respond to the gospel the day I first heard it, but it lay in my heart like a seed. Many years later, God used a different baby to introduce me to the concept of unconditional love. This helpless being could do nothing at all for me, yet I loved her fiercely. For the first time in my life I felt I had done something of lasting value by bringing this life into the world. My mother reminded me that I had had help. Becoming a parent is partnering with God in his act of creation, whether we realize it or not.
When I finally became a Christian, I accepted the gift of forgiveness that Jesus offered. I knew full well that I had broken every one of the commandments, but there was no sin so great that Jesus could not forgive it.
What if I had known that way back when I was unmarried and pregnant? What if I had known God’s power to redeem my bad choices, his purpose for the life that I cut so very short? I had never allowed myself to wonder whether that baby was a boy or a girl, whether it would be quiet or boisterous, athletic or musical or gifted with numbers. But God knew from the moment the baby was conceived.
After I turned to the Lord, I knew in my head I was forgiven, but I carried the guilt and shame of my abortion anyway. I had never been able to swallow the lie that the baby was just a mass of tissue. A human fetus is, by definition, an unborn baby. It’s not an indeterminate blob. The specific chromosomes from the egg and the sperm unite to form a life that is perfectly unique. And God has a purpose for every single one.
As I finally went into that walled-off room in my memory where I’ve kept my abortion all these years, I invited the Lord to come with me. He assured me that his angel carried my baby to heaven and I will see him when I get there myself. I don’t deserve this at all, and God knows that. But he told me today that he loves the murderer as much as he loves the murdered.