My name is Margaret. I am here today because I regret my part in my sister’s abortion. Twenty-five years ago, my sister came to me for advice. She was young, unmarried, tearful, and pregnant. She wanted to know what she should do.
I love my sister very much and I cared about her and her “problem.” I wanted her to be happy. In my mind, her only option was abortion. I never considered offering to help raise her child or helping her through an adoption. I was smug, self-righteous and convinced that I was right. I did not even care much about the father. I remember telling her that if she and the father agreed that the abortion was “for the best” then it was the right thing to do.
I went with her to the abortion clinic. I never thought of the baby in terms of being a person. I never thought of the baby as my own niece or nephew. It never entered my mind that she would suffer the emotional effects of abortion for the rest of her life.
For the next 20 years, I never thought about her abortion. Until recently, I have never even asked her if she was okay. I use to believe that it was a woman’s choice to do what she wanted to do with her own body because it was her body and nobody’s business. If asked, I would proudly say that I was pro-choice. It never occurred to me that the tiny person being nurtured in their mother’s womb was not given a choice.
During this time, I had distanced myself from the Catholic Church and never thought about the meaning of “Thou shall not kill” or applying it to a child in the womb. When I married and had a child, my husband and I agreed to raise him Catholic as we had been raised so we came home to the Church. As I nurtured my relationship with God, I realized that my advice to my sister to have an abortion was wrong. I started to wonder whether her baby had been a boy or a girl. I realized that her child was my niece or my nephew. I cried. I mourned for this child that I would never meet, this child who would never be my son’s older cousin. This child who was our mother and father’s first grandchild.
For years, I have struggled with the guilt and shame about my involvement in my sister’s abortion. My heart has ached for this child. I ache because I never had the chance to hold this child, play with him or her, or pick them up when they fell. I never got to see this child grow up and fall in love. My son never had an older cousin that might have enriched his “only child” life.
As I write this, I hold back my tears. My throat aches to cry out. I hurt to my very soul. I love this child so very much. God heals old wounds even when they feel new. Through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, I received forgiveness and I know that I must accept God’s forgiveness. I think of my niece or nephew happily playing in heaven and God smiling. I want very much to meet my niece or nephew in heaven and apologize that I helped take their earthly life away. I know that this child will forgive me and I look forward to that day in paradise.
Over the years, I have noticed that when I speak about my pro-life activities or being pro life in general my sister tears up. I learned to curb my words because the mere mention of the word pro-life is painful for her to hear. I care that she is in pain. I pray that one day soon she will find forgiveness and the peace that only comes from the mercy and forgiveness of our heavenly Father.
My sister was silent for many years, telling only select friends. In preparation to write my testimony, I met with her to ask her permission to identity her in my testimony. I wanted her to know how I was feeling about my involvement and how this abortion has affected my life. I arranged this meeting knowing full well that she may reject my request. I was happily surprised when she said yes.
Until this meeting, we have not really talked about the how the effects of abortion have affected our lives. In 20 years, I have only broached the subject once through email because it was too hard to ask her face-to-face how she felt about her abortion.
As we talked about her abortion decision, she reiterated the words from so long ago that it was the best decision. She said she would not have been able to raise the child well. These are the same words she said so many years ago. I could not continue the conversation because it was too painful.
I truly feel and believe that I have been called help those who suffer from the effects of abortion. I regret my advice to my sister to have an abortion. I want to help those in pain. For these reasons, I am silent no more.