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Friday, August 15, 2008

If Abortion Had Not Been Legal...

*Publisher's note: this personal testimony is being reprinted in light of the upcoming vote in South Dakota on Initiated Measure 11 and the recent statement by the American Psychological Association that abortion does not threaten women's mental health.

By Lisa Dudley
Director of Outreach
Operation Outcry

At 24-years-old, I learned I was pregnant. My boyfriend immediately asked me not to have “it”. All of my friends said I shouldn’t have “it.” Because I was already a single parent of a son with no support from his father, I truly believed I had no options. I felt so much pressure and felt I had no way out.

I had taken others to have abortions in the past, so I didn’t see it as that big a deal. At eight weeks pregnant, my friend, who I had taken for her abortion years before, was now taking me.

I signed in and waited along with five other women. One-by-one, each of us was asked if this is what we wanted. One woman was there for her sixth abortion. I remember thinking, “How could she keep doing this?”

Next, I had a sonogram. When I asked if I could see it, I was told that it wasn’t a good idea. I said it was okay, I just wanted to see. The assistant turned the monitor towards me and showed me a white dot on the screen. I remember thinking that “it” was really nothing, not realizing she wasn’t showing me my baby.

After I was positioned on the table, the abortionist came in. When I looked up, I gasped as I realized I knew him. He was a client of the law firm where I worked. I wanted to die right there. The shame that came over me was unbearable; however, he never looked at me. He never examined me, he never looked at my chart, and he never asked me any questions.

The assistant gave me a mask with medication and whispered that I needed to stay completely still. The abortionist said I was going to feel a little discomfort as he administered the local anesthetic. There was much more pain than a little discomfort.

Then the vacuum machine started. This was the longest time of my entire life. I felt like I was being violently shaken off of the table. The nurse yelled at me to be still.
Tears streamed down my face. I knew then that I was making the biggest mistake of my life, but it was too late. The only compassion I received was from the assistant who patted my head and said for me to go ahead and cry – that it was good to cry. It seemed like an eternity. When was the machine going to stop? I really thought I was going to die.

Following the abortion, I heard the clanking of the metal instruments, the snap of the abortionist’s gloves, he slapped me on the thigh, saying, “Good luck to you” and walked out without ever looking at me. I was relieved because I was ashamed, but now I realize how cold and disrespectful he was and that there was no doctor-patient relationship.

I was taken to a room with recliners where girls were curled up in fetal positions, crying and in pain. When released, I was given a prescription for antibiotics and told I had to return for a follow-up. I remember thinking, “I will never come here again.”

My boyfriend came by “to make sure I was okay.” I was curled up on the couch and couldn’t even look at him. Our relationship ended soon after that.

That night, I began wearing a mask to hide my shame that lasted years. The shame was so bad that I wouldn’t fill the prescription for antibiotics. I didn’t want anyone to know what I had done. The pain I suffered was the worst physical and psychological pain I have ever experienced.

I felt deceived and violated. I had no idea what abortion would do to me. If someone had only warned me, my baby and I may have been spared.

After the abortion I began drinking heavily. I experimented with drugs and spent most of my spare time in night clubs. I was a good mother when I needed to be, and then I had “me” time where I could be as bad as I thought I was. I had no self-worth. All the things I said I would never do I had now done. There were few sins I hadn’t committed, but my family wasn’t aware there was ever a problem.

Following the abortion, I had bouts of uncontrollable crying, sleeping too much, pain in my chest and trouble breathing. My doctor diagnosed panic attacks and depression, for which I had to take medication. I never had these problems before. I never told any doctor about my abortion.

If abortion had not been legal, I would have never been in that abortion facility that day. I would not have had years of pain and anguish over taking the life of my own child. There is nothing that brings more shame and pain to women than abortion. A woman carries it in her heart the rest of her life. Abortion brings only pain, sorrow and regret. Because of the scientific evidence we now have, because of the testimony upon testimony of women about how abortion hurts them, because we now know it is not good for women and that it really isn’t a choice, abortion should no longer be legal.

Lisa Dudley is the Director of Outreach for Operation Outcry and a Paralegal for The Justice Foundation. She shares her story in churches and before legislatures throughout the nation. She has three sons and one daughter.

*Reprinted by permission of Operation Outcry.


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