A B O R T I O N:
The rationalizations are many…
“Why have a baby born into a family who does not want ‘it’?”
“What about school/career?”
“Should we really force a woman to bear a child against her will?”
“What if the baby is deformed or not mentally ‘normal’?”
“Maybe the woman just can’t afford a child right now!”
“It’s not my place to make such an intimate decision for someone else.”
“I’m personally opposed to abortion, but…”
I’ve heard them all. As someone who was in high school when the infamous Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions were being discussed and then handed down, I have been transfixed by the topic for years. The research that was required for my first Social Studies debate on the topic, caught fire in my heart and soul and has been a burning flame of conviction ever since. An otherwise timid public speaker, I could rattle off facts and arguments with fluid ease when pro-life issues were involved. Some of the rationalizations were very simple to dispute with developmental charts and biological facts. Others would tweak at the heart and seem difficult to counter – but were they?
“What about the rape/incest exception?”
Aha! Yep, that one makes folks a bit more squeamish. Would you really expect a woman to carry her attacker’s child? Well, in a word, ‘yes’! After all, why punish a child for his father’s crime? Wouldn’t that just create another victim? That child has committed no crime, has been convicted by no jury, and is given a death sentence through no fault of his own. But, but, but…
“Wouldn’t the woman’s life come to a screeching halt,
with no chance of a future?”
In a nutshell, no! What makes me so sure about my answer? Well, my ‘ace in the hole’ response comes from a very personal story…
Sometime in the 70’s I found myself the recipient of unwanted advances by a neighborhood boy – I was barely 14 years old. Weeks later I would reluctantly tell my mother the facts of that encounter and she would surmise that my persistent bout of nausea wasn’t the flu after all. She would fall to the floor with the shock of it all and I would be forced to let go of the denial that had kept me halfway sane. The ensuing months were a blur and yet time stood still. My early high school career came to a screeching halt and was substituted with a ‘homebound’ teacher and an algebra tutor. Time, however, marched on and adjustments were made. This wasn’t an era of ‘baby mommas’ and ‘baby daddies’, this was a more sheltered time and after a while we began to attend Mass in a neighboring town.
Then early summer hit and with it ‘the time’. I remember the kind-faced nurse with the gold watch who held my hand – no visitors in the labor/delivery area were allowed then. She kept me somewhat calm by talking about mundane things – like my nice tan. The hours ticked by and the pain increased. There was a recurring little stream of tears at the corner of my eyes but I never called out. I just looked at that gold watch on the nurse’s arm.
Then there he was – a blue eyed bundle of around 7 pounds. They laid him in my lap and I timidly poked at him – counted the fingers and toes, because that’s what I’d heard you did, and then quickly bundled him up again. I felt more fear than joy – more spent than at peace. I don’t remember much more of the hospital stay but I do remember the early days of being back at home. My jeans fit again quickly and I hesitantly went outside for a walk on the sidewalk in front of our house. I looked ‘normal’ again but couldn’t quite get the idea of what had happened to make sense in my 14-year-old brain. The sun was still shining but somehow it didn’t sink its warmth into my skin.
Inside the house were my sisters and that little wooden cradle with ‘him’ in it. My parents had stepped up in support of us and decided to adopt the child and raise him as my brother. We were a family of firm Catholic faith and there could be no other option. They would add this child of mine to their brood even though my mother was 4 months pregnant at the time of his birth. He would soon have a little brother! The adoption papers were drawn up and there was no fuss or disagreement – after all I was still a minor. This plan was for the best – for all of us. Sacrifices were made in families every day – for the good of all – especially the smallest, weakest members. This was our Catholic faith in action!
The blue-eyed angel grew a full head of blonde hair and five months later his dark-eyed, black-haired ‘twin’ would become his sidekick. He always knew that I was ‘special’ and that he was adopted, even before he knew what that meant, because my parents wanted him to know the truth from the beginning. ‘The Boys’, as we called them, would grow up together as brothers with a bond that grew stronger and matured with adulthood. Our little family of 7 lived an idyllic life in our small town and acceptance was regained from most. The whispers would always be there but we all grew accustomed to them and we circled the wagons around our family and our Catholic faith.
I returned to high school and met a young man during the summer of my sixteenth year. He was someone my mother trusted and the first one I dated. We became quite the pair and were soon ‘going’ steady. Another reminder of that time would come when we parked in a quiet meadow and I told him my story. He had heard the murmurs but I needed to tell him myself – that it wasn’t quite the way it was portrayed in some circles. To my surprise and joy he accepted my tale with a loving calm! He was not in tune with the naysayers, his heart was his own – and mine!
We married the Thanksgiving weekend of my senior year, with the blessing of our parish priest. Our high school courtship had remained a chaste one – by our mutual agreement. After our wedding we approached my parents and asked if we could adopt the little one – now three years old – ourselves. My mother’s answer was an unequivocal ‘NO’! She explained that he was now her baby and she simply could not give him up. We did, however, have ‘The Boys’ over quite a bit. They were our ‘practice kids’ in those early years.
That fall, after having graduated from high school, I began my college life. Although my scholarships were rescinded when I married, I gained 24 credit hours by taking the CLEP test. I remained on track to graduate on time. In what seemed like no time at all I found myself in my senior year of college – and I was also pregnant with our first child! Our son was born before I walked the stage to receive my diploma.
Since that time many things have happened. After graduation with a BA in Art my various jobs have included Art Teacher, Office Manager and Catholic Book Store Manager as well as a Field Representative for a pro-life US Congressman. In the pro-life realm I have been an Executive Director of Right to Life of Owensboro (twice), served as Newsletter Editor and Board Member of several pro-life groups,. My life has been full and fulfilling. I tell you these things, not to brag about my credentials, but to enforce the point that your life is never over – no matter what cards you are dealt.
During our 36 years of marriage, my husband and I have had three children and married off two of them. We have welcomed 5 grandchildren – gifts from their happy marriages. The two children born to my ‘special brother’ and his wife, round out our total of seven grandchildren. They are all 7 years old and younger. I am Godmother to all seven of these angels and we are quite the tight-knit bunch. Life prevailed and has come full circle. Contrary to being ‘ruined’, I can honestly say that my 54 years on this earth have truly been blessed!
::This story first posted on October 8, 2011 – it was *so* good, we just had to repost it!::
45 Replies to “When “I’m pro-life, except” really happens…”
While I sit on the other side of the fence on this issue (being pro-choice), I’m compelled to say that I admire your family for acting their convictions and supporting you. Unfortunately, I hear daily from women whose families are much more interested in talking the walk than putting their feet on the path.
I also admire you putting a face on making the choice to have a child conceived in a taboo circumstance. For those women who really do want to carry to term, I’m sure it helps them to know that they are not alone and that there are women who know what they are going through.
Beautiful story Brititj – What a wonderful testimony of the strength and love of your family and faith. Thank you for sharing your story with us.
What a story! And I commend your parents for keeping the child within the family. There are stories of adoption on both sides for my family- I was the out-of-wedlock child kept by my mother and grandparents. Almost around the same year, My paternal aunt had a child at 16 but after birth, the baby was quickly sent away and things were “hushed up” for fear of scandal. Both families were stanch Catholics. I often wonder what would have happened had my cousin been allowed to stay within my father’s family had his parents did what yours did. While both mothers/families chose life, the attitudes towards the babies were so different. Your post hit that nerve for me.
So, your son/”brother,” does he still call you his sister? How is your present relationship?
What a wonderful testimony! I had my first child out of wedlock when I was 17. I graduated high school AND college (both on time and with honors). My life was most certainly not “ruined”. It was a wake-up call that I needed to straighten up, and my family, especially my grandma (who raised me after my parents divorced) and older sister (who had 4 children of her own-the youngest born 8 days before my daughter), were very supportive (and my child was biracial and my family very racist. Babies tend to soften hearts). Abortion is NEVER the “right choice”.
Elizabeth, while I appreciate you candor, I would like to add that this child of mine could also have found a home outside the family since there are so many more couples desperate to adopt than there are children. I’m pleased that you commented and hope someday that you might just have the change of heart I pray for daily. These babies have done nothing to ‘deserve’ a death sentence and a few months out of a mother’s life seems trivial when compared to a life time for the child. God bless!
Thank you, Birgit! Beautiful story!
Regarding Elizabeth’s comment: Legal abortion on demand makes it easy for families to shirk their responsibility towards each other and choose not to “walk the walk.” It’s interesting that people defending the “pro-choice” stance acknowledge that the people they deal with truly are not making a free choice. They don’t think they have any choices because their families are not supportive or they have no money or resources, etc. But, instead of helping to provide ways for other choices to be made, the pro-choice side simply offers abortions instead. Thank God for the pro-life groups who help women to see that they don’t have to have abortions and there truly are other choices that could be made.
Anonymous, as I sit her typing my response to you, my brother/son is putting away the camping gear he and his boys (ages 5 and 7) used last night to camp in our woods. We have a wonderful relationship and speak daily. Even though our mother died of breast cancer 17 years ago, we have not changed our names for each other. We don’t really need the labels to know who we are to each other…his bear hugs and kisses tell us who we are!
Ellen, thank you for your input. Isn’t it amazing how people can do most anything that they have the desire to do?! Bless you for sharing your story as well. It’s stories like ours that may very well make the difference some day – LIFE is a beautiful thing and should be the given it’s proper respect! And, yes, babies certainly can change hearts – as long as they are given the opportunity to live. God bless!
I, too, am one of those “unwanted” children that pro-choicers would say ought to have been aborted: born to an alcoholic, promiscuous mother who ended up having 7 children by 5 different men…with an impoverished, abusive adoptive family that ostracized me when they had biological children of their own. I have always, even as a former pro-choicer, been uncomfortable with the idea that some people should have their lives taken from them simply because they are conceived under or born into bad circumstances. I already struggled with never feeling wanted and loved by my parents, but then I became an adult and had to hear that my bad childhood somehow made me unfit to join the rest of the human race in forging my own destiny.
I left my family at 17. I have now spent more years away from them than I have with them. I am married to an amazing man, have five beautiful children, and thank God often for the gift of life He gave me. Bridgit, I can’t tell you how much I admire you and your family for how you handled this. For some girls, having the rapist’s child in the family, as a daily reminder of their violation, is not a good solution. But neither is perpetuating violence on the most innocent member of that trio: the baby. I also think that in the vast majority of cases, abortion simply serves to cover up the crime and enable the rapist/pedophile to continue his abuse, either with that girl or another one.
I miscarried at 5 months and held my 4″ long, perfectly-formed son in my hands. I knew with absolute certainty that he had a dignity of his own, that his life had value that nothing could take away. Not even and especially my feelings about whether I wanted him or not. It is frightening beyond belief that people think we ought to decide who gets to live or die based on the mere “feelings” of another person. Brigit, you REALLY make us realize what we’re losing when we choose abortion–we’re losing a unique, irreplacable human person, who may very well bring more love into our lives. We’re losing hope, because we equate having a baby with losing our future, when that does not have to be the case at all. The pro-abortion crowd’s refusal to acknowledge the inherent dignity of people like your “special brother” make me wonder how they arbitrarily decide who exactly DOES have value and the right to the precious gift of life? Thank you so much, Brigid, for sharing such an intimate story!!
This is amazing and inspiring! Thank you for sharing your story and your son’s story.
Birgit, thank you so much for sharing your story!! I think it’s a wonderful testamony to life and how preciious it is regardless of how that life comes about. I’m so proud to call you my friend and that you were strong enough to share this story with everyone. May God use your story to turn more hearts towards Him and towards the respect for all life.
A beautiful story Brijit! Thank you for being brave enough to share it with us. I agree with all of those who have said that when a child conceived by rape is aborted that doesn’t ease the pain, but rather adds to the violence. I wish that people could understand the pain that abortion causes. I don’t have personal knowledge or rape or abortion, but I’ve talked to enough survivors to know that one does NOT fix the other.
Thank you for this.
Birgit–For those who do not willingly make the choice to surrender their body for the use of someone else (the unborn in question) “a few months” feels like far more than a small sacrifice. While I will never tell someone they *should* have an abortion–no matter how horrid their situation may be–I will also not do anything to force them to share their body with someone else.
Mary–Legal abortion is a convenient excuse for those who are unwilling to make the real sacrifices that Brigit spoke of. My grandmother was completely disowned by her family in the 1940’s for having a child out of wedlock (my grandfather was enlisted and wasn’t there to “do the right thing”). She was forced to give up my aunt for adoption at age 2 because her employer fired her for being an unwed mother (in her 20’s no less). This was before the days of legal abortion, so that can’t be used as an excuse for their behavior–especially since my aunt was obviously born.
I cannot conceive of the mindset of a person who considers their own child a “parasite,” as Elizabeth describes. Every human person began their existence as dependent–before and after birth–on other people. Yet somehow the geographic location of the unborn child renders it unworthy of even the most basic human rights and allows it to be dismembered based solely on the criteria of whether the child is “wanted” or not. I don’t think people realize what kind of world they are asking for when human dignity–and the rights that go with it–are “bestowed” on one person by another. Women used to be considered similar property, as did black people, and we now recognize this as a gross violation of human rights. Yet in both cases, it was merely one group of persons declaring their dignity as “less.” Now we see this same tragic mistake being applied to the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly, too. You think we would have learned just how depraved and wrong it is to deny one group of humans their inherent dignity and basic rights, but I guess not.
Love you, Birgit!!
Thank you for sharing your story. You’re very brave. You were fortunate to have a family that loved and supported you. Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world and many girls who come home and tell their folks they’re pregnant end up looking for someplace else to live. At least around these parts. Many pregnant teens/women have no financial support and their children grow up in less than ideal situations, malnourished, mistreated, abused or abandoned.
TJJ, although you are correct in saying that I was fortunate in receiving familial support, there are other avenues that can be pursued. For example, in our small town of 56,000 people, we have several agencies that house women (in one case even minors who are pregnant or women who have other children), offer free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds, assistance with jobs, healthcare, and housing – even after the baby is born. Any pro-life organization is more than willing to help a woman or girl have her baby – whether she plans to keep it or is considering adoption. Adoptive parents are literal waiting in line to find a baby to share their home with – even those with Down’s Syndrome or other issues. God bless all of these pro-life people who make it their life’s work making sure that no baby is unwanted and no mother is unsupported!
Thank you Birgit, for sharing your story! While the few months of carrying an unplanned child to term is not a tiny sacrifice, compared with the value of a human life, it is nothing. I can’t think of any other (legal) situation where one person’s convienience and comfort is given priority over another’s very life. And while families could certainly shirk their responsibility to the girls who find themselves in this situation whether abortion is legal or not, having it legal and available certainly makes it easier to “take care of the problem” rather than truly caring for all the people involved. I’ve worked at a crisis pregnancy center, and there are truly many organizations and individuals willing to do anything neccessary to support those women whose own families refuse to step up.
Thank your for sharing your important story. So many people on both sides of the debate find exception when the conditions around the conception are controversial. However a human is conceived does not change the value of who that person is. By this rape/incest exception, these children enter the world labeled as corrupt in some way. And women who find themselves in this situation do not necessarily want to abort, but rather are told by this mentality that they should abort. No government, group, or individual should ever be in the position of deciding who is worthy and who is unworthy of the fundamental right to life.
Thank you for sharing your story. I felt in my heart I knew why you were pro-life, but never knew the truth about your situation. I admire your courage and strength to share your story, but I also admire your strength, courage and faith to deal with the circumstances as they unfolded. I stand with you as a pro-lifer. Your ability to share your story will certainly make a difference. God bless you.
Thank you for the wonderful story. As kids, remember when we would go up in those woods and play in all that hay that was in Rex King’s barn? Remember our pony rides and all the other funny things we used to do as kids? Still to this day, I remember a really funny quote you made while we were riding our bikes. I guess I didn’t realize you were that young when all this happened. Of course it’s like you stated, no one knew the real story, me included. In those “days” it was a hush hush thing and the mother was usually sent to “live with relatives” when things like this happened. I’m glad you told your story. I’m so sorry this happened to you and I’m even more sorry that I was a “talker” instead of being a friend. Please forgive me. It must take very special parents to do what they did for you. Ricky is blessed to have found you. Again, thanks for your story and God bless you.
Sherry, no worries. I love you for who you are now and as a friend from the past…we had some fun times back in the day. What you thought back then was most likely through no fault of your own…just small town chatter. It’s taken me a long time to be able to compose this story of mine for sharing but I am so happy that I did. I am blessed to have had the parents I had and to have found Rick as a husband. God bless you too!
Such a beautiful and honest story, Birgit! Thank you for sharing. I learned some time ago that one of my friends is the product of a rape. Her birth mother did attempt abortion back in the days when it was illegal and ended up not going through with it for a variety of reasons. Thankfully my friend was adopted by a wonderful and loving family and she is now a wonderful friend to many, has a beautiful Catholic heart, and is an amazing mother to her adopted children. To think of how different the lives of everyone she knows would be if she wasn’t here is just beyond my imagination. It has taken me some time in my journey from being “pro-choice” to finally being pro-life to reject the rape/incest exception and it is stories like yours and my friends that helped me turn that final corner. Thank you so much for sharing your story!
I have always felt a kinship to you and I wonder if we have ever met. Thank you for sharing your story. I smiled, I shed some tears and I thanked God for your life and love. I shared my story in CQ, Catholic Quarterly, Our Lady of Lourdes youth magazine. My Mom was a 17 year old who’s parents wanted to adopt me. She resisted, married my Dad and had my brother. Even though they later divorced when I was 12, I am glad she chose this path. I was born in 1971. I think people do not think about the other lives lost to abortion. If my mom had aborted me (if I were born 2 years later), it wouldn’t be one life lost, but all five of my children would be gone. Most likely my parents would not have had my brother and his three children would not be alive either. That is not one life lost, but 9! Wow. Thank you for your story.
Jennifer, thanks for the kind words and for sharing your story! I surmise from your post that we might live in the same area? You can look me up on Facebook if you wish. We could probably have some really great conversations!
Oh, Birgit. I couldn’t help it, I am bawling my eyes out. THANK YOU for sharing your story. It needed to be told. So many women use that same excuse for abortion and you have proved that God can make good come out of something evil. You are such a beautiful woman of God and I praise Him for embracing you and your family in His Bride, The Church. God bless you, sweet lady!
Thanks, Amelia! My parents are the true heroes in this story and I am forever grateful to them for having handled the situation the way they did. Although the beginning of this story was tragic, it has been a blessing in that I have been able to share it with others. This ‘ace in the hole’ has garnered many long pauses and churning minds. Perhaps it has or will save a baby’s life! As for my ‘bro-son’ and me, we are happily living very fulfilling lives and have survived with our hearts and souls intact. I attribute that to the Grace and Love of an awesome God.
Birgit such a wonderful testamony thank you for sharing it to everyone. it is with the help of people like you that we can and will overturn roe v wade and bring this country back to where is is suppose to be one nation under God. [ 1973 to 2012 50,000,000 young people and still counting who were never given the chance to life a whole nation] this madness has got to stop.reading the trial on partial birth abortion. some of the cold hearted staments given by the drs. totally no reguard for those little helpless babies.just think of the methods used in commiting those abortions. inserting an instrument into the mothers womb and literally tearing the baby to pieces and removeing bit by bit. tnd then the other method pulling the baby out until his head is exposed cutting a hole into his neckand inserting a tube into the hole and sucking his brain out. then their most famous method pulling the baby out and crushing his head with forsips. now we slaughter our animal food with a better method i mean at least give the baby a shot to num him befor crushing his head and killing him.you see most people don’t know what goes on in those abortion clinics and hospitals that perform abortions.i think the old women using the coat hanger gave a more mercy killing of babies.
Thank you for having the courage to share your story.
Wow . . . what an amazing story! We have a beautiful 18 month old granddaughter in our family because our daugher chose life. It was difficult because the father did not want her and his parents did not want her so she knew up-front what the situation was . . .but she still chose life and then, to raise her with our support. She is currently in college and a year ahead of schedule with plans to apply to medical school. We had told her that we would happily help and support her during her undergraduate years so that she could provide the best for this little blessing. She is a wonderful mother even for one so young and always has her daughter as a top priority. Your story is an inspiration to us and I thank you for sharing it.
Saw you on facebook. Want to share my story this might help someone. I am not a Catholic I am a Jewish believer who attends pentecostal type churchs.
The year was 1964 I found out I was expecting my second child I was 18 years old and married to an abusive man. My family had the money to arrange an abortion the pressure was just awful. I was poor, a High School drop out with no job training. In todays world a shoe in for abortion. My Mother was more then angry as was my then husband that I would not get an abortion. I asked forgiveness for even thinking about it.
On Jan,26, 1965 I had a beautiful little girl. My mother never had anything to do with her just looked past her as if she wasn’t there. Mother wouldn’t even help me after she was born even though I was very ill. Fast forward I have four beautiful Grand child from this little girl.
It was not the easy way out but ever time I look at her and my Grand Children I am so greatfull that I did not have that abortion.
This story is so sweet and beautiful. 🙂 Blessings to you!!!
Cynthia, congratulations on your beautiful granddaughter and your daughter’s success! It is parents like you (and mine) who pave the way for others to see that it is possible to choose life! May God bless you abundantly!
God bless you, Shoshanna,for making that decision against all of that pressure. I hope that your grandchildren (and daughter) realize what a blessing you are! Thank you so much for sharing your story!
When I came out of boarding school in 1960, I was not prepared for what happened to me. I’d never been lied to. In a brief relationship I found I was expecting.My son’s father wanted an illegal abortion. I never talked to him again. I was 2nd of 14 siblings. Nothing in our family had ever happend like this. My siblings never knew, at 4 month along I went to another state to a home for the unwed. Then was placed in a work home. The people treated me like a daughter. A few weeks before my son was born I came back to my home state where an Aunt ( in a convent) arrainged for me to stay with a friend of hers. I had my baby & temporaily left him in a fondling home. I went home like nothing had happend. My Mother brought my baby home under the guise that it was someone elses’. My parent’s were afraid my reputation would be ruined if it was known.My mother’s baby was only 1 year old. A year later I married ( of course, I confided in him ,my secret) He adopted my son and we have 8 more children….& 38 grandchildren. I don’t know what I’d have done without my parents support. My greatest sorrow & shame was the disapointment I must have been to them. My heart goes out to any girl facing a pregancy out of wed lock, but there is no way, under any reason would I ever consider abortion. I shed a river of tears and heart break for myself & my dear Mother.God looked after me & had mercy on me. Joyce
God bless you, Joyce, and your heartfelt journey! I’m so happy for us both, that we met men to whom we could confide and still be unconditionally loved. Our supportive parents were certainly a blessing as well. Thank you so much for sharing! We have much in common!
God bless you Birgitj. Beautiful story! 😀
Birgit, thank you for sharing this amazing and inspiring story. What strength you had at such a young age.
I was born out of wedlock in 1976. My biological father was both a drug addict and abusive to my mother. Many of her friends urged her to get an abortion. Instead, she had me and left my father when I was a few months old. She married my stepdad — my “real dad” imho — when I was 4, and I had a very happy childhood and extended family (bio and step). I’ve now been married for almost a decade to a wonderful man and am the mother of three little ones, 5, 3 and 1. I’m so grateful.
hank you for sharing your story. I truly admire your courage and strength! So many young women choose abortion out of fear and I truly wish they were informed about the many resources available to help them as I realize many may not have supportive families like yourself.
This brought tears to my eyes… bless you and your family for really doing the right thing. I’m so sorry you were “advanced upon” by your neighbor. I can tell by the way that you’ve worded the story that you’ve forgiven him too. You have an amazing inner strength and character that is very admirable. And such faith.
What a beautiful testimony and witness of a loving family truly living their Catholic faith. It moved me to tears. God bless you for sharing!
God Bless you and your family. I wish more ppl choose life. Aborting a baby is committing another crime against someone so innocent. I cannot imagine how hard it is to go through such a crime, but to have a gift from God as a result and to know life is a gift is a Blessing. Your story brought tears to my eyes!
Thank you for this wonderful story of love and grace. There is indeed no situation which God cannot turn to good and blessing.
..wow….. it made me cry……I really do not know what to say… at least you have a family to support you… with all the pain. Does the “father” apologize publicly, at least ?
Comments are closed.