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Heartlink > Directors > Abortion

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Because of You
A Heart Turned to Truth
Because of You"Several years ago my drinking brought my family to the brink of despair."


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Behind the Walls

Heartlink Article Image Some have said my story is unique in that I have had the rare experience of being behind the walls of a Planned Parenthood Abortion Clinic.

The father of my child did not want this pregnancy . He viewed my initial refusal to have an abortion as a way of trapping him. I was scared and could only see the hardships associated with being a single mom.

Only one month after my college graduation, I took the $8 at-home pregnancy test that confirmed my biggest fear. I took the test and two accusing lines stared back at me. The volume of my thoughts was immeasurable.

This once-devout Christian girl had not only engaged in premarital sex, but was actually contemplating the extermination of her child. "Who am I?" was all I could think. I was educated and convicted that abortion was in fact murder, but still those two pink lines whispered, "Hide it. . . Hide it."

Convinced that I would regret this decision for the rest of my life, I told the father that I could not go through with the abortion.

He left me, of course, with his final words being that my child would always be illegitimate and that I had ruined his life.

I believe many girls make the decision to carry through with an abortion against their own will due to the added pain of losing the man who had been that consuming force in their life.

Pregnancy outside of marriage carries its own burden, but when the father leaves and confirms his hate for you, that burden becomes suffocating.

My thoughts were juvenile, "I only want him. I do not want this child." My peripheral view became very narrow and my decisions irrational. I made the appointment for Wednesday.

When I made the initial call to the clinic, I asked the usual questions. How much does it cost? Does it hurt? How long will it take? How many days of work will I have to miss?

The answers were as follows: The procedure costs $276, which includes a sonogram, a sedative (valium) with pain killers, and three months of birth control packs.

The procedure itself lasts a total of 10 minutes, although I should expect to be there for at least 5 hours total. There will be slight pain that feels like cramping in my uterus that I shouldn't remember due to the sedatives.

I asked about this memory lapse and they explained that the IV administered would also include a drug that "erases" 2-3 hours of memory. I thought this to be strange, but not remembering what I was about to do seemed agreeable, and I asked no more questions.

As that dreaded day neared, I called Planned Parenthood and canceled my appointment. I did this three times. I finally willed myself to complete an unspeakable sin.

The night before my final appointment I visited with my best friend. She had no clue of the following day's events. We sat on her back porch with a wine cooler and talked of boyfriends and television sitcoms.

I tried to sleep late the next morning to lessen the conscious hours of thought and dread.

They said to call the morning of my appointment to receive directions and explained that there would be an armed guard at the medical suites to escort me to their office.

The guard was there as promised. He had a clipboard with a sheet of names and times. I glanced down at the paper and thought, surely all those names weren't for abortions.

Upon entering the waiting area, it proved true. It was like walking into a high school cafeteria. Ninety-five percent of the girls there were undoubtedly teenagers.

Laughter was the overwhelming sound as I surveyed the room. Most were there with friends, giggling, reveling in the excitement of missing a day of school. An excused absence nonetheless.

A few boyfriends sat around the room. They were all so young, with no shame on their faces at all. I walked to the counter. The receptionist was polite and gave me a clipboard with nearly a dozen pages of paperwork and general information. I was given a cup to produce a urine sample to confirm my pregnancy.

I read through the material slowly, secretly cutting my eyes at those around me, trying to gain some understanding to why we were all doing this. There were two older men there, much older than their teenage girlfriends, a few mothers, inconvenience on their face with having to miss a day of work to take care of their daughter's indiscretion.

Then there was me. Alone. Twenty-three years old and feeling like I was prostituting my body in the midst of utter sin. I hated myself. I hated being looked at as surely as I was looking at those around me.

I had contempt for every receptionist, nurse, doctor, even the security guard with his judging eyes. I wondered if they liked their jobs. Such a tidy little business that centered on this "Right to Choose."

As I pretended to read my book, tears stung my eyes while I engaged in the most sincere prayer I have ever uttered. "Please Jesus, send me out of here. Convict my heart. Move my legs toward the door. Do not forsake me now." Nearly two hours passed in the first waiting room. I hadn't finished one page of my book.

"Rebekah, birthday 4-12," they called. I hated the sound of my own name. Quickly I walked to the door, hoping no one would remember my face. I made no eye contact with the nurse. She was young also. Nineteen, 20 years old maybe. This clinic was plagued with youth and foolishness. I wondered if this was her internship.

We entered the sonogram room in order to determine how far along I was. She asked if I was nervous. I said, "No, just sad." She looked at me with compassion in her eyes and said, "Don't worry. You'll feel so much better once this is all over with."

I just looked away. She had no guilt or remorse for what she was a part of. She honestly thought she was doing me a favor. I was sad for her. I was suddenly sad for every worker there.

The sonogram screen was faced 180 degrees away from the table I was lying on. It would have been impossible to see the screen from my view although I didn't even try. She determined that I was 9 weeks along which meant a "suction procedure" as she described.

These words were so sterile; "procedure," " far along," " suction." I don't think I ever heard the word abortion one time throughout my entire dealings with Planned Parenthood. It would have been easy to never think that what we were engaging in was simply the end of a life.

I was directed to put on my clothes. I could return to the first waiting room if I had someone waiting for me, or I could go to a separate room for those who were alone.

The room was small and I was the only one there. I waited another two hours in that room. There was a television in the corner reporting the latest on the World Trade Center tragedy, but I hardly noticed. There was so much sadness in that room.

I had arrived to the clinic at 10 a.m. and it was now a quarter past two. Why must we wait so long? I remember being extremely cold the whole time. There were blankets in the first waiting room stacked on a chair as though they wanted it to be cold for a specific reason. Nearly everyone had a blanket on her legs.

I chose to remain cold. It kept my mind busy. The view out of the window was beautiful. Green trees about to change colors for the fall. I looked out into another world of warmth and life.

The last step before the actual 'procedure' was to talk to a counselor. She led me into a very small room with a counter and two chairs. The woman behind the counter was well into her 40s and far too old to buy into foolish decisions of the very young. She asked if I had any questions.

"Yes," I said, "I want to see a picture of a nine-week-old BABY." I enunciated "baby" very slowly and precisely. She caught on to my innuendo. "The FETUS," she replied, "is very small. I don't think it would be a good idea for you to see a picture."

I continued, "I want to know if the heart is beating." She said, "This is just going to make it harder on you." All at once it made sense to me. We weren't in that room to discuss options. We were closing the deal. She was at the end of her sales pitch and about to lose her account.

"I would like to see a picture, please." Reluctantly she pulled out an old, smeared copy of a hand-drawn "fetus" with a few statistics underneath concerning the baby's weight and length at nine weeks. That was all. No more details.

The "counselor" took it upon herself to validate this old sheet by saying, "At this point the fetus has no heartbeat. The spinal cord and nervous system have not been developed."

I hardly heard her, because a picture of a nine-week-old child is simply that. A picture of a child. I stared at these little hands and feet and head. I took a deep breath and quietly said, "What's the next step."

She proceeded to ask me a few questions. "When was the last time you drank alcohol?" With no thought I confessed, "Last night." She closed my file and said with a sigh, "We cannot do this today. We are going to have to reschedule." She explained that I could not drink within 24 hours of the procedure because they didn't know what effect it would have on the medication they would give me.

I had been here four hours and now they wanted me to reschedule. She said the next the next available appointment was in six days.

At that statement I knew I would never be back. I couldn't do this again. I couldn't wait six more days with the knowledge of having to start all over.

She said I owed them $70 for the sonogram that day and I could go ahead and pay for next weeks visit as well. Out of curiosity I asked if the $70 I would have to pay then would be deducted from next week's appointment. She said no flatly.

Suddenly it all made sense. It was for the money. Planned Parenthood is a very profitable, thriving business that exploits the foolishness of youth and veils it with their coin phrase, "A Woman's Right to Choose." There were no women in that waiting room. I myself am a child at 23.

She took my credit card. I felt raped. I signed my $70 receipt and tore up the carbon copy quickly. I had just sponsored the most vile business ever started.

I walked quickly out of the first waiting room, making no eye contact. The security guard stopped me outside the door and asked if I would be returning. Quietly I said no and retreated to my car.

I sat under those same green trees I had looked at through the waiting room window and touched my belly. My prayer had been directly answered. I have prayed my entire life for what now seems like very silly things. But that day I begged for the life of my child and it was granted to me.

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