My name is Cheryl Riley.
was born and raised in Staten Island, NY as a catholic. I don’t remember when or where I first heard
the word “abortion.” but knew the Church was against it. I thought I knew more than the Church. I
thought if a woman had only 1 or 2 abortions and didn’t use it as a form of
birth control, then it was OK.
the age of 19, I found myself with an unexpected pregnancy. Young and scared, I gave into my boyfriend’s
pressure when he told me to abort my baby.
can remember as if it were yesterday the day my boyfriend picked me up and drove
me to the abortion clinic. I
desperately wanted him to put his arms around me, hug me and tell me it would
be OK and that we could have the baby. Instead,
when I turned to him to tell him I didn’t think I could go through with it, he
gave me a nudge through the door and said, "Yes, you can.”
first thing the receptionist asked me for was the money. I received a receipt that day in exchange for
my baby’s life.
following my abortion I started to suffer from depression. My boyfriend and I
broke up and my life became a living hell. Drugs and alcohol became my friends.
I hated myself and I thought God hated me too. I disconnected myself from him.
Never thinking he would forgive me for what I did.
abortion effected so many aspects in my life but somehow I was able to marry
and have three children. I would suffer for 12 years after my abortion before
finding hope and healing on the first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in the
Archdiocese of Newark. That was over 20 years ago.
stand before you today as a post abortive woman that has healed and has a voice
to speak on behalf of all those that don’t.