“When I went to have my abortion, if there was someone standing and praying in front of the center, I don’t think I would have gone through with it,” said Tewannah Aman, who had an abortion as an 18 year-old. “If I had seen someone holding a sign, as I now do, that read ‘I regret my abortion’ I would not have done it.”
When she first found out she was pregnant, Tewannah was excited. But when she shared her good news with a close family member, “She sat me down,” said Tewannah, “and told me that I was too young, too immature and after all, ‘What would people think?’”
“She told me abortion was my only option, and ‘It’s the right thing to do.’” Feeling the pressure from this person so close to her, Tewannah aborted her baby.
Years later she happened to catch a Christian radio program that was describing what is done to the unborn baby during an abortion procedure. “My heart broke!” recalled Tewannah, “But it was what God allowed me to hear to snap me out of denial. God is faithful. He brought me a counselor who directed me to a post-abortion group. There was real healing that came through that Bible study. I knew I was forgiven. I could finally be at peace with the abortion.”
Why did I lose the baby?
However, when she married her husband John, and they lost their baby at 21 ½ weeks into her pregnancy, Tewannah became depressed. “I wanted to know what had happened to me. Why did I lose the baby?”
In her search for answers, Tewannah discovered, as many post-abortive women do—after the fact of their abortion—that having an abortion can cause problems in future pregnancies.
When Tewannah got her medical file from the abortionist, she found that it stated that she had been counseled regarding the possible psychological effects and that it had been explained to her that she might even become sterile as a result of the abortion.
That was not true. She was not told of any of those possibilities, and she said, “If I had been given that kind of information, I’d never have gone through with the abortion.”
Fortunately, as Tewannah stated, she was able to find spiritual and emotional healing through a Bible-study for post abortive women. However, after the death of their baby, who had lived for 3 hours, and whom John and Tewannah named David Nathan, Tewannah never got pregnant again.
A secret for years
That is my story too. When I was 23, I chose abortion instead of adoption as the alternative to having a baby I did not want. Living in Canada at the time, socialized medicine paid for my abortion and after returning to the U.S. to live, I kept my secret for years. But I could not escape the consequences of my abortion. Six years later when I got pregnant with my husband, I had a miscarriage at three months and was never able to conceive again.
Like Tewannah and me, Sarah Leinberger has experienced the same heartbreak from her abortion. “After that day [of my abortion] my life changed for the worst,” she said. “My emotions towards my boyfriend grew to be so needy that after about six months we broke up. I tried to forget what we had done, but it just kept haunting me for years. When I would see other children or people would ask ‘Do you have any children?’ I would cry or tell them, ‘No I don’t have any children.’ How could I say I did? I have not been able to have children since.”
Standing for others
Sarah, Tewannah, and I are now participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign, February 18-March 29, standing in front of the Fort Lauderdale Women’s Center to pray and reach out to women who think, like each of us did, that they have no other option but to have an abortion.
But there are other options, and that is what we want to share with the women who come to the center, often, like Tewannah, on the advice of someone close to them.
As Tewannah said, “There are some people who ask me why I stand and pray. It’s because no one was there to stand for me! I want to be there for those women who are going into the abortion clinic. Many are gripped with fear. I want to share the love of Christ with someone and help her understand that there is hope! We are there to help them. They are not alone!” Tewannah is now executive director of Broward County Right to Life and her husband John is president.
For post-abortion counseling, contact [email protected]. If you are facing a crisis pregnancy, go to www.pregnancyhelp.me or www.thereishope.org or call 954-372-7089. To participate in 40 Days for Life, visit www.40DaysforLife.com.
Dr. Karen L. Gushta currently serves on the board of Broward County Right to Life.