Two women who had abortions. Two recent public discussions of these abortions. Two quite different takes on them. The same life-ending procedure, but two very different responses to what has been done. It is incredible really, the diversity of reactions presented here.
The first case involves a long-standing feminist who just recently described her abortion of long ago. Most noteworthy – and shocking – about her story is how she cavalierly refers to the killed unborn baby as a “tumor” which went away. This is how her story is reported by one news outlet:
“The well-known pro-abortion feminist and psychologist Florence Thomas has published an account of her illegal abortion at the age of 22, obtained in the mid-1960s in France, in which she refers to her unborn child as a ‘tumor.’ In the account, Thomas says that she knew that there were ‘risks’ associated with her out-of-wedlock relationship with her boyfriend.”
Says Thomas, “I remember the nights of warmth and love. Love every night, love at midday, and the euphoria of having the world in our hands. And yes, we took risks. The love merited it. Love always merits it.” A strange sort of love indeed, that says killing one’s own child is somehow worth it.
The article continues, “However, when the ‘risk’ turned into the reality of an unborn child in Thomas’ womb, she and her boyfriend quickly agreed to end its life at the hands of a renegade doctor, ‘expelled and condemned by the Association of Gynecologists,’ who performed abortions secretly at his house on the outskirts of Paris. After the doctor had dismembered her unborn child, Thomas says she felt ‘a relief. An immense relief. This tumor went away, disappeared. I could go back to living.’
“Thomas, who moved to Colombia to follow her then-boyfriend, is now a psychologist at the National University of Colombia and the founder of the Woman and Society Group (Grupo Mujer y Sociedad). She is famous for her claim that women should be permitted to terminate the lives of their unborn children whenever the child isn’t ‘desired’ by the mother, because the love of the mother is what ‘humanizes’ the fetus.”
It is interesting to note however the end of this story: “Although Thomas claims she has never felt any guilt following the deadly procedure, she admits that afterward she ‘knew that I would not ever again have an abortion in my life. I went through that once in my life, and I would not do it twice. Today I continue to wonder how a woman can have an abortion two or three times and even more’.”
Curious that. If this is a mere tumor, then why the reluctance to again expel another tumor? It seems like it is not a whole lot more than having one’s fingernails clipped. A bit more invasive, admittedly, but one is simply removing an unwanted – and in this case, supposedly malignant – body part.
Contrast this story with that of another woman who has also just gone public about her past abortions. This woman had two abortions, and now writes, “I had an abortion and I hate myself”. This is how her story is reported:
“Kelly Clinger, a performer and former backup singer for the pop star Britney Spears, had two abortions when she was in her early twenties. She tells her abortion stories in [an] article written this week. [It] tells of her continuing struggles to come to terms with the aftermath of those abortions.”
This is how Clinger tells her tale: “This week has been a complete hell. Someone asked if I had heard about the doctor in Orlando who has been in a lot of trouble, and when I searched for news about it, I realized it was James Pendergraft, the doctor who did my abortions. He has now had his medical license suspended for the fourth time, this time for performing late term abortions past the time when they are legal.
“When I saw a picture of the clinic, I crumbled. When I saw a picture of the doctor, I began weeping and I couldn’t stop. Every sight, every sound, every feeling came back. I can still remember the poster on the ceiling. It was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep from the anesthesia, and the first thing I saw when I woke up. The article was full of stories about women like me … ones who have suffered for months, even years, because of incomplete abortions.”
She finishes with these words: “It’s an uncomfortable subject … because if I call it a baby, if I admit that it was a boy or a girl who had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a life that was already mapped out by God, then I am calling myself a killer. If I talk about it, blog about it, pray about it, then that makes it real.
“But just when I think I’ve pushed the memories far enough behind that they won’t catch up with me, there they are again. The self-hatred is paralyzing. It lurks closely and tells me that I don’t deserve happiness. The guilt is suffocating. It has affected every relationship I have. I can’t trust or attempt intimacy. I would take a bullet for my out-of-the-womb children. Why didn’t I protect the ones inside?
“I have given up hope that the past could have been different. I cannot change what I did. Every bible study, counseling session, and prayer seems to just be a band-aid over a wound that will never heal. So, I will be a voice for my children who only know heaven. I will be a voice for the millions of women who live in regret, guilt, self-hatred and fear of being ‘found out’. I will be painfully honest about every feeling I have, and I will stand up for life even when it’s unpopular and politically incorrect. So, please spare me your pro-life/pro-choice arguments. I know what I saw. I know how I feel. I will never be the same. I will never get over it. And if I don’t take this pain and make it my purpose, I think it might kill me.”
That very powerful and moving testimony is radically different from that of the first woman. Indeed, the first woman, in her more honest moments, probably feels exactly the same. The reality of post-abortion grief cannot be denied or explained away.
It sounds like this second woman may now be a Christian. Yet she still struggles greatly with what she has done. The good news is however that there is indeed forgiveness and healing, for each and every sin, if we allow God to deal with our guilt and pain.
Sure, the wounds may never entirely disappear, but the wonder of the gospel is that God can reach down and transform any one of us – no matter how sinful and hardened – into whole people with healed bodies, minds and emotions.
Indeed, I know many women who also have had abortions, but by God’s grace have received his forgiveness and have learned to forgive themselves. So we need to pray for both these women – and the many millions of other women just like them.
We need to pray that they will realise that every abortion stops a beating heart, and that every abortion – like every other sin – can be forgiven if we come to the cross, and leave our burdens there.