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Silent Living Victims

My abortion did not occur at Planned Parenthood or a county clinic. It happened in the late 80’s at a well-established suburban hospital. An obstetrician who delivered living babies on the side performed the procedure.  At least, that’s what he called it. The nurse was a neighbor on my street.

I had stepped foot into the hospital scared and uncertain. I left knowing the truth. I killed my baby.

I became a silent living victim of abortion, far less a victim than the unborn. But, a victim nonetheless.

A victim of the lies.

I was told it would be painless. Not true.

I was told it would be easy. Not true.

That it was only a mass of cells.

Years later, a first trimester ultrasound from a wanted pregnancy showed me a living, moving creature. The baby’s heart resembled a butterfly fluttering with life. Incredibly symbolic.

My guilt and grief overwhelmed me.

Although reasons for supporting abortion vary, many proponents believe they are truly helping women. But I wonder how many have actually witnessed an abortion. Do they suffer from the sounds and smells that never leave one’s memory? Do they cry at night mourning their choice to take a life or feel cowardly for having chosen to walk away from circumstances and responsibility?

In recent years, I have chosen to view myself as an abortion survivor. I’ve come through on the other side. I’ve survived the guilt, the shame, the depression, the attempted suicide, the counseling, and the closet. My turning point was surrendering my life to Jesus Christ and accepting his forgiveness for my sins. It took me far longer to forgive myself.

Not days or weeks. It took years.

But millions of women have not survived. They sit in silence, fear, and self-contempt. They can’t be a spokesperson against abortion because they cannot speak for themselves. They are the living numb among us.

These precious women need us. They are victims, too. Every news story reminds them. Every social media post stabs them. Hard. They hurt. They fear the response of loved ones learning the truth.

Although we do need to bring atrocities to the light, I’d like to suggest a gentler than vigilante approach. Living victims are caught in the crossfire. You don’t hear their cries, but they are everywhere. In your classrooms, hospitals, churches, department stores. Everywhere.

Angry, judgmental words spewed across social media further damage those who need healing.

What can you do and say instead to reach their hearts? How can you show your grace and love? Will you extend a hand that safely pulls them from the closet?

Maybe then wounds will mend. Maybe then a voice will rise.

Maybe then we will speak.

Comments (31)

  1. Nick
    August 25, 2015 at 11:00 am · Reply

    Thank you for sharing your story and willingness to be authentic and vulnerable. I can not imagine your pain.

    “My turning point was surrendering my life to Jesus Christ and accepting his forgiveness for my sins. It took me far longer to forgive myself.”

    So true. Amazing courage, my friend.

    • Kelly
      August 25, 2015 at 11:51 am · Reply

      Thanks, Nick. Most of the pain is gone. Stepping out in honesty about my mistake is freeing.

  2. Julie Sunne
    August 25, 2015 at 12:10 pm · Reply

    Beautiful, vulnerable and powerful, Kelly. Thank you for your courage to help those suffering in silence.

    • Kelly
      August 25, 2015 at 12:16 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Julie. My prayer is that women will find the forgiveness and freedom that awaits them.

  3. Sara
    August 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm · Reply

    I too have lived through it all. I had even left the church for years because I couldn’t understand how Jesus could forgive me for the sin. Even today I still struggle with that even though I am again a church goer. Thank you for sharing Kelly. I find i hard watching Facebook and the news discussing this when I am one of the ones who had an abortion, actually, I had two during my time in an abusive relationship and just being out of high school. But I still remember the abortion dates, their due dates that I had figured out and I had even named them.

    • Kelly
      August 25, 2015 at 2:34 pm · Reply

      It is a long hard road to healing. It is difficult to understand the scope of God’s grace, but you are forgiven. I used to see kids who were the age my baby would have been and imagine how different life would be. I think it’s normal and part of the grieving process. I pray you will find rest and freedom in God’s grace and forgive yourself. Nothing is impossible with God. Please feel free to email me if you want to dialogue personally.

  4. Miranda Brandt
    August 25, 2015 at 3:49 pm · Reply

    Thank you for sharing your experience with us. In light of all that is going on, yours is a needed voice for those hurting behind closed doors! God bless you!

    • Kelly
      August 25, 2015 at 5:09 pm · Reply

      I agree. The time was right for sharing. Thank you!

  5. Name (required)Cathi
    August 25, 2015 at 4:23 pm · Reply

    Kelly,
    I’m in awe of your courage and beautiful message of hope for so many post-abortive women.
    Carrying that guilt is unnecessary if she is a believer (1 John 1:9 for just one example). Jesus’ death on the cross paid for ALL of our sins. Please don’t insult His sacrifice by carrying this burden!
    When I worked on the 2006 Vote Yes For Life campaign, we didn’t want those national pro-life org trucks with their grotesque pictures on them coming to our state to “help”! That doesn’t help at all!! We need to love and protect these silent victims. And assure them that God forgave them the very moment they asked Him.
    Thanks, Kelly, for sharing your story.

    • Kelly
      August 25, 2015 at 5:10 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Cathi! You get my message!

  6. Jennifer
    August 26, 2015 at 3:57 pm · Reply

    Wow. What courage to share your story. God bless you, Kelly.

    • Kelly
      August 26, 2015 at 4:15 pm · Reply

      Thank you so much, Jen!

  7. Holly
    August 26, 2015 at 4:28 pm · Reply

    God bless you, Kelly. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Kelly
      August 26, 2015 at 7:46 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Holly!

  8. Name (required)Cindy Brunk
    August 26, 2015 at 5:44 pm · Reply
    • Kelly
      August 26, 2015 at 7:55 pm · Reply

      Thanks for sharing the video, Cindy! Your words echo my thoughts completely.

  9. Merri
    August 26, 2015 at 8:18 pm · Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing this. In this time with all the horrific news it is very easy to forget the mom who endured the “procedure.” I can only imagine how all the media attention to abortion lately is ripping open so many deep wounds. I cannot remember every hearing a woman give a positive account of this experience, maybe some have, but I have only heard your kind of story. Maybe there needs to be some more attention given on a larger scale to all the negatives for the mom. Thanks for being vulnerable and for reminding us about the other victim, and for pointing the way to forgiveness and redemption through Jesus.

    • Kelly
      August 27, 2015 at 9:02 am · Reply

      I agree, Merri. In addition, no mom who considered abortion and chose to keep their baby has regretted the decision. Every person I’ve spoken with is incredibly thankful they chose not to abort.

  10. Jenn
    August 26, 2015 at 10:24 pm · Reply

    Thank you for sharing. I have not been in your shoes, but I think everyone can benefit from some perspective and kindness. Thank you for having the courage to use your voice. I want my words to help bring comfort and healing, and I know I can learn from your story.
    Blessings.

    • Kelly
      August 27, 2015 at 9:05 am · Reply

      Thank you, Jenn!

  11. Terri Weldon
    August 27, 2015 at 2:04 am · Reply

    Kelly, thank you for sharing your story. I admire your bravery and your strength. Thanks for helping countless others.

    • Kelly
      August 27, 2015 at 9:05 am · Reply

      Thank you, Terri!

  12. A Mom
    August 27, 2015 at 7:12 am · Reply

    My daughter just went through an abortion and I thank God daily that we have a relationship that allows open communication. She unfortunately lives on the other side of the world. The timing was terrible and a one night stand.
    The pain in her heart was beyond all others while she was making the decision.
    Luck (if that’s what you want to call it) was with her when complications arose and she had to have an abortion as it had lost life and wasn’t miscarrying itself.
    She told me how horrible it would have been if there had been life..how painful it was and how guilty she would have felt.

    Thank you for sharing your story Kelly. I will share it with my girl, as I think it will help her as well.

    • Kelly
      August 27, 2015 at 9:07 am · Reply

      Thank you for sharing. I will be praying for your daughter.

  13. Patricia
    August 27, 2015 at 2:28 pm · Reply

    Kelly, thank you for sharing your story. I think the insistence of the pro-choice side that no downside to abortion ever be made public hurts suffering, grieving women so much. How odd that there is never an article in women’s magazines dealing with how many post-abortive women suffer…never in the news…never anywhere, The connection between abortion and breast cancer, miscarriage etc., is completely blacked out. Post abortive women have high suicide rates, possibly because they have been made to feel that they aren’t supposed to have regrets, pain, grief.

    I hope courageous women like yourself will continue to speak out and help to bring some balance to this discussion, Abortion at all costs is a terrible abuse of hurting women.

    May God continue to bless you.

    • Kelly
      August 27, 2015 at 6:08 pm · Reply

      Thank you, Patricia. I think women are afraid to speak more than anything. I’m hoping there is a shift in the near future.

      • Cindy Brunk
        September 1, 2015 at 12:51 pm · Reply

        The shift is happening now! I’ve been speaking out for 16 years…. when I started I was one of only a few. It’s not the case now…. silentnomoreawareness.org is a great place to check out…. I wrote a book titled LOVE WILL Students for Life are making a huge impact…… Abby Johnson, Lila Rose, many politicians, even the pope are talking about the need for post abortive people to find healing…

  14. Pat Layton
    August 29, 2015 at 7:58 am · Reply

    Hi Kelly,
    I am so proud of you for stepping out and sharing your story! You can see how many women are affected by this heartbreak and need to hear hope from another woman. I would love to share my ministry of Surrendering the Secret, published by Lifeway, as a ministry tool for those hurting and hopeless. Please check out our website and see if we can help in any way.
    In the meantime, keep sharing–your testimony is your weapon!!
    Rev 12:11
    In His Grip,
    Pat

    • Kelly
      August 29, 2015 at 1:40 pm · Reply

      Hi, Pat. I will definitely check it out. Thank you!

  15. Kim
    August 29, 2015 at 10:31 am · Reply

    Dear Kelly, Thank you for sharing your story. I too am a victim of the lies having had an abortion in 1978. I didn’t know the baby’s father well at the time and didn’t want to marry because I was pregnant. I looked to family for help and none was to be found. The additional heartbreak is that I later married my baby’s father and we had three more children. So often, in those early years of our marriage, I would look at our children and wonder what it would have been like having a 4th child and wondering what he would look like and who he would resemble the most. There were no secrets in our family as my husband went with me and when appropriate, we shared with our children that they had a sibling in heaven.
    The pain…..10 years of hearing a baby cry in the night, not my living children, but haunted by the cries of the unborn. Looking at my children and wondering who I aborted. Fear, rejection, silence from the church family for fear rejection from them. Anger at the lies, being unable to forgive myself….years and years and layers and layers of healing…bits at a time.
    Healing. The first layer of healing began when I heard James Dobson share a radio drama called, “Tilly”. You see, I became a Christian after I got married and of course the healing and forgiveness from Jesus was my first step. But it wasn’t until I heard the story of Tilly that I began to forgive myself. When I was in my 40’s I graduated with a teaching degree and went on to complete a Master’s degree in counseling. More freedom came as I addressed my own issues through the program and co-taught a women’s counseling group pertaining to abortion victims. The book we used is called, “Her Choice to Heal” by Sydney Masse. Deeper and deeper the wound was exposed to allow healing to come forth.

    My experience showed me that there are sooooooo many women living in the pain and rejection that abortion brings. And, they are living it alone, embarrassed to share, afraid to tell the truth, feeling as though they deserve the pain because of what they did. My prayer is that the real truth be realized, that there is forgiveness through Jesus Christ, and there is freedom from the guilt and shame.

    Thank you for sharing, and may this blog touch many women who need freedom!

    http://ramahinternational.org/abortion-recovery-program-resources/catalog/product_info.php?products_id=36

    http://www.christianbook.com/tilly-frank-peretti/9781581345605/pd/45606

    • Kelly
      August 29, 2015 at 1:43 pm · Reply

      Hi, Kim! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m incredibly thankful you have found healing and can share that with others! I read Tilly about ten years after my abortion. I started reading not realizing what it was about, then wept through it. I will definitely check out the website as I help direct women to healing. I appreciate hearing others’ stories. We heal together.

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