I had a young lady come into my life twenty years or so ago. I loved her like a daughter. She was precious to me and endeared to my heart. There were many times that we enjoyed just talking to the world. During those special moments, we never had a conversation about abortion that I recall. We would later, and my heart would break over it. It would also gradually change my black and white stance about abortion as my heart softened through the experience.
My grandmother was Roman Catholic and a staunch believer. I remember her giving me a wooden Rosary and teaching me how to say prayers with it. To this day I can still remember what prayer to say on every bead. She talked to me about the fact that Vatican One was the old tradition of the church and that they had progressed on some issues and proclaimed a “Vatican Two”. Grandma said that “stuff was just nonsense”. I had no idea what that meant but I knew Grandma was serious about her faith. She also was anti-abortion and outspoken about it. I recall her bringing pamphlets with images of babies in the womb for us to read all about why abortion was bad.
Abortion and Babies
My mother was of the same opinion about abortion as my maternal grandmother. Mom drilled it into her five children’s minds that “killing babies” was wrong. Right winged conservative, mother often chose to vote for a politician based on whether they were against abortion. My father was a democrat but I didn’t know it until after I turned eighteen. There was never a comment that passed from him to me about abortion. He would say to me at times, “You know, them republicans don’t give a shit about poor people”. Knowing that my father loved me unconditionally, I leaned toward trying to please my mother and became a Republican by tradition.
Abortion and Politics
When I dove into non-denominational Christianity in my early twenties, I plunged to the bottom of the pool in regard to my faith. I bought everything they were selling and never voted Democrat. I was a staunch republican and devoted to candidates that were anti-abortion. Had you asked me at the time, I probably would
have told you that God himself was a republican. I never bothered to consider the issue beyond that. I was part of the stumbling hoard and ignorant about what anything political. My vote went for the politicians that I thought were upholding my moral code.
Abortion is Painful
I was raped at the ripe age of eighteen. A young soldier dropped something in a beer he offered me and I woke up with him on top of me in his bed. A few months later, as a soldier in the Army myself, I was due to qualify at the range for my rifle. I ended up in an emergency room getting a procedure they called a “D & C”. I kept waking up screaming because they did not properly sedate me. On the paperwork I held in my hands at discharge, I read the words, “Spontaneous Abortion”. I felt guilty for years, believing that I had unconsciously done something to abort my baby because I didn’t want it.
Another Encounter with Abortion
While I was in ministry, I met a young woman named Julie. She quickly became precious to me and was a fast friend who kept in contact with me over the years. Julie had married and had children and then divorced. While she was dating and discovering who she was at the time, she met a man who was abusive. Something in her allo
wed him into her world, and she continued to see him even though she told herself, and me, that he wasn’t healthy for her. She let him do horrible things to her that I cannot bring myself even now, so many years later, to discuss. Perhaps she felt guilty and used him to punish herself? I do not know.
Abortion is not Flippant for Most
She called me one day and through tears confessed that she was pregnant. This was devastating for her as she weighed the consequences of being chained to the father. I tried to listen, but I couldn’t help voicing my preference that she keep the child. There was a moment when I lost my composure and I begged her not to get an abortion. It would be awhile before I heard from her again. I cannot tell you how brave I see her now, returning to a conversation with me to explain what she went through. She had decided to abort the baby, for many reasons that she began to explain. While I listened, my heart loved her, despite her decision. I understood. I wasn’t happy, but that wasn’t worth losing my relationship with her.
After my deconstruction, I shifted political opinions, finally listening to the now echos of my father’s words in the past. He was no longer around to advise me, but now I was becoming less like the person who wanted to please my mother and more like myself. My views were now becoming more like dads. Even more so, I leaned even further toward a more libertarian viewpoint. Along the way, I was forced to reconsider my views on the abortion issue politically.
Even though I personally have my own thoughts, I realized I had been wrong about the laws that I had once fought to pass concerning abortion. Allowing someone to make their own choices over the government forcing them to do things was what the abortion law I was interested in was actually about. It wasn’t the issue I once thought it was. My ignorance had caused me to make a wrong choice, even though it was my best choice. I now understood it as a right for women to make that choice based on their circumstance. The reason I felt this way is that every situation is different. To make a sweeping law would hurt some women in the process of due course.
I also get it that some feel the need to speak up for the unborn. It’s an intense issue and will continue to be so as long as we are human. I’m not trying to sway anyone in one direction or another, I’m just trying to convey some thoughts in an effort to share my experience. My hope is that we understand that it is far more complicated than making a “carved in stone” law or not having a law at all. The issue is so personal that it causes a lot of tension on both sides. I just opened my heart enough to consider that choice may be our best option for now.
My office has a window that is full length from floor to ceiling so light from the Florida sun comes in quite nicely. I remember sitting there one day and meeting a woman in her thirties. Let me say that facts are about to be changed to protect her. She had blonde hair and bright blue eyes that looked like ice that is crispy cold. When she sat down, her body language showed me she was on guard. Her knee crossed away from me, and she folded her arms. After the formal greeting and explaining what it is that I do, she immediately told me she was not going to go into detail.
A Recent Abortion
All my life people have crumbled in front of me and poured out their hearts. Secrets have been spilled thousands of times that I never asked people to talk about. Whatever mojo I have, it’s been there ever since I was a kid when my childhood friend told me all about her parent molesting her while we were sitting underneath the trundle bed in a makeshift cave. It happens in restaurants, stores, gas stations and especially at work. It wasn’t long before she caved and told me she had recently had an abortion.
When it Rains, they Pour
Tears fell in abundance as this woman told me that she is punishing herself because she feels God is angry with her. I set aside my work agenda for several moments and allowed her to just talk through it with me. She has children, and she loves them very much. For many reasons, that she had carefully weighed, she had decided to have an abortion. Again, my heart went out to someone in pain over a decision they made that they couldn’t get back. I encouraged her about the love of God that was flowing toward her without judgment. She spoke of her faith and I encouraged her with parables about God’s love for her and how it was like her love for her children. I could feel her wrestling.
The Abortion Decision
She made a decision. Some decisions we cannot retrieve. She had actually asked God to put the baby back in her womb. I encouraged her that it would take time to grieve and to be patient with herself. Had I been the child I was thirty years ago, I do not think I could have given her the unbiased love and affection that I was able to without my past. Who am I to condemn her? My life circumstance was not hers. She had three autistic children, and she was already so overwhelmed with their acute care that she couldn’t face the possibility of another child that she will have to take care of for the rest of her life.
A Daughter’s Abortion
She tells me that she made the right decision “for her”. She says that if she could take it back, she wouldn’t. Her heart is at peace with God. I have chosen to believe her. Our relationship has broaden because of what she went through. I know that its hard for some people to believe, but we have both grown in our capacity to love and understand others who have faced the abortion choice. My point in sharing these stories is to simply say, it’s complicated. I would ask that we endeavor to love those who face that heart wrenching decision and choose the dark alley of Abortion. In loving, perhaps we can be a part of helping to heal their wounds.
Available publications by PK Langley
PK’s Fine Art Store where you can find many of the Frustrated Grace Prints.
PK writes short stories about life. They are in the form of ebooks for $1.37 each. Get them here.
Religious Deconstruction, The Frustrated Grace Series is now available, with over two hundred comic images on Amazon. You can get a preview of every single one here.
All Things Equal, is an exposition for women and how God
sees them from a very “biblical” point of view. It was what I needed in my first push toward deconstruction. If you are still in a church, and a woman, this is a great book to start. Get it here.
LangleyTown has a specific page for materials that will help you with your deconstruction. Find them here.
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