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Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Not an Undefined Blob of Tissue


*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 Karen Bodle
Prayer Team Leader
Operation Outcry


I learned I was pregnant when I was 18 after my first sexual encounter. Morning sickness was the first tell-tale sign that my body was changing and a new life was growing inside me. As I hung my head over the toilet, I sobbed uncontrollably, realizing that my life would never be the same. I was overwhelmed with fear and shame, and I knew that I needed help.

When I told the baby’s father, he ended our relationship immediately. I felt abandoned and alone. I was a junior in college and was told that dropping out of college to have a child would ruin my life and future career. The only “choice” discussed was abortion. I was ashamed to be pregnant and unmarried, so I thought that abortion would solve my problem.

I felt pressured to have the abortion quickly because I was very close to the twelve-week cutoff. There was no time to think about any other options. If I had an abortion, no one would have to know about my pregnancy; and I would save my family from shame.

“You don’t even have to admit that you were ever pregnant” was the advice I received. I believed the lie that it was just a blob of tissue that could be thrown away. I was told that I could forget about the abortion and go on with my life without any consequences. But I couldn’t forget. In dating relationships, the first thing I would reveal was my abortion because I was terrified of being rejected. For years, I was “pro-abortion” because I thought I had to justify my own abortion.

I suffered a nervous breakdown and spent time in a mental hospital because of the fear that I would not ever have any children. I felt like I was living in slow motion because my once sharp mind was so dull. It took over two years to recover my ability to think and react normally. The abortion experience left me chronically depressed and confused.

I later learned that my 12-week-old unborn baby had a beating heart and fully developed arms and legs. My baby was not some undefined blob of tissue. If only I had seen a picture of fetal development, I would never have chosen abortion. I felt lied to and deceived.

I want America to know that abortion hurts women. Women are created to love and nurture their children – not have them ripped from their wombs and thrown away. There is a disconnect in every woman’s heart and mind when she consents to abortion. Although she tries to forget the abortion and suppress the memories, eventually she will face the reality that her own child was mutilated by abortion.

My denial lasted 21 years. I wept uncontrollably from the depths of my soul for three days when I finally faced the truth. The weeping released the hidden pain and began a journey of healing that led me to forgiveness. I remember crying out: Where are the women? Where are the women who are willing to speak about the tragedy of abortion?

I do not want any woman to go through the intense pain and suffering that I experienced. I must speak out and tell my story to encourage other women suffering in silence to seek emotional healing and forgiveness.

Karen Bodle is the Prayer Team Leader and Pennsylvania State Team Leader for Operation Outcry. Her heart’s cry is to see abortion become a socially unacceptable choice in the United States and around the world.

Karen has a degree in Mathematics and Education from Juniata College. After teaching high school math for a few years, she changed careers and worked as a programmer, systems analyst, and project manager. While living in Buenos Aires, Argentina on assignment with IBM, she had a life-changing experience that led her into her current career – helping women recover from abortion. Karen resides in Harrisburg with her teenage daughter.


*Reprinted by permission of Operation Outcry.


11 comments:

anitasyv said...

I've also had an abortion. It was not an easy decision, nor was it a pleasant experience. I didn't expect it to be either.

But I do not regret it.

When I think about where my life would be if I had had a child at 18, my first year of college, I am relieved that I'm not the mother of a 13 year old, in a job requiring less education because I couldn't focus on school, trying to support a girl or boy with less money in a floundering economy, unable to get him or her into the schools that would put my child on a path better than mine, unable to provide my child with clothes and healthy food, and angry with myself for not being able to provide a good life for my child because I made a bad decision when I was young and dumb.

That's what I think about when I think back to getting an abortion - how if I hadn't been able to get one, I would have been a struggling single mother without the life skills to provide for and raise a child. Abortion is tough, but without safe and legal access to it my life - and the life of my child - would have been hurt much more.

Bob Ellis said...

I appreciate your honesty, anitasyv, but I have to wonder about two things: (1) why wasn't it an easy decision, and (2) what can hurt your child more than death?

anitasyv said...

I don't think having an abortion is ever an easy decision, nor is the decision to have a child when you are struggling financially or in a difficult part of your life. I think most women, whatever their political position, would agree that abortion is a tough choice. Making difficult decisions is part of life. Regretting difficult decisions is also a part of life.

I just want to give voice for all the women out there who have had abortions and are not suffering mentally because of it, are not chewing their insides out with guilt, have made peace with their decision and move on to create happy, loving families full of children they can provide for financially, mentally and spiritually, and can serve as good role models.

Anonymous said...

Anitasyv,

I applaud your bravery. I can't imagine how hard it must have been to have an abortion, but based on your circumstances, I think you did the right thing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Keep telling your story; sites like this one certainly won't give people like you their fair share of attention. They're too obsessed with showing only one side of an issue, which always happens to be the side they already agree with.

Bob Ellis said...

Anonymous, at the risk of being insensitive to the gravity of what Anitasyv did, and the guilt she's likely to encounter at some point in the future, you're comments are reprehensible.

This abortion can't even be couched behind a rape or health problem.

A child is dead because it got in the way of someone's self fulfillment.

Anonymous said...

Hmm, out of all the comments I've posted today, the one I wrote here earlier is the only one that didn't make it to print, even though I got the submission notice. So I guess not only are you too spineless to tell a woman who aborted her baby how you really feel about her, but you also can't bear to have someone point out your cowardice.

Bob Ellis said...

Maybe it didn't get posted because of the disgusting vulgarity you used.

If I had published it, my response would have been this:

I left an inquiry for Anitasyv which she hasn't answered. I tried to be as sensitive to her as possible because when someday she faces the truth, she's going to have a lot to deal with, and I'd rather not add any more to that than I can help. At that point, she won't need my help in realizing the gravity of what she's done.

You, on the other hand, are encouraging her and others in this terrible activity. The Bible indicates that leading someone astray may is probably even worse than going astray itself (Mark 9:42). Doing something wrong may only affect you, whereas encouraging someone to do wrong leads another person astray--and may lead many astray when that encouragement is public.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and please quote the sentence in which I encourage other women to abort their babies, cuz i'm not seeing it. Thanks.

Bob Ellis said...

Sorry Anonymous; had to delete that other comment because of the repeated vulgarity.

As for the encouragement for abortion:

"I applaud your bravery...I think you did the right thing. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise."

Anonymous said...

OTHERS, Bob. I asked you to show me where I encouraged OTHERS, as you say I did. Please don't put words in my mouth.


And WOW. You find that word vulgar? I'm starting to think this whole site is a parody, because you CAN'T be serious. While we're on profanity patrol, you seem to have missed one a few days ago:http://www.dakotavoice.com/2008/08/you-might-be-liberal.html.

Third comment from the bottom, last sentence. If you can let that slide while taking issue with a harmless anatomical euphemism, then something is really wrong. I know Christians are taught to be ashamed of sex and their naughty parts, but REALLY?!

Bob Ellis said...

When you say it's alright, you encourage OTHERS. OTHERS read it and are encouraged that it's okay. You're not now ashamed of encouraging OTHERS, are you?

I made a judgment call on the last one; I knew the first person who did it, and talked with them about it off-blog (something I can't do with others when I don't have contact information or even a name) and they won't be using language like that again. And I let the second one through because I had let the first one through. But there won't be any more.

I don't know of any Christians who are taught to be ashamed of sex or their sex organs. They are taught in the Bible to be modest, not vulgar, and that sex organs and sexuality is special. Too bad you don't understand that.

By the way...is this Alex again?

 
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