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    Posted February 7, 2013 by
    Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Have you had an abortion?

    Pressured into Abortion at 17, full of regret for 24 years.

    I was a 17-year-old drug-using high school dropout when I learned I was pregnant for the first time. Everyone around me wanted me to get an abortion.. except me. I already thought of myself as a new mother. While I was terrified, I still assumed that I was going to have a baby.

    I stopped using drugs, checked out a book from the library titled Under 18 and Pregnant, and called the local assistance office to get on Medicaid. I scheduled my first prenatal check-up. The pressure over the ensuing few weeks, from all sides, was relentless. I felt alone and abandoned.

    My first appointment for an abortion I literally ran out of the clinic when it was time to disrobe. But two days later I finally caved to my boyfriends insistence not to have our baby. I had the abortion. It nearly killed me. Not the surgical procedure, the psychological aftermath. A few weeks after my abortion, consumed by intractable guilt, I tried to kill myself.

    Why did no one at the facility where I had my abortion ask me why I ran out that first day--or why I returned two days later? ...

    Thankfully, I survived my suicide attempt and spent a month in an adolescent psychiatric unit to recover. But my wounded psyche seemed to construct a shield--as protection from further examination of what I'd done, and to prevent me from accepting responsibility for my part in the death of my first child.

    So in spite of all I went through, I remained pro-choice. So much so that within weeks of my discharge from the psych unit I marched in Washington in support of abortion and soon after started volunteering as an escort at an abortion clinic, then eventually I was hired as a full-time employee. I worked at that abortion clinic for more than 5 years. In hindsight, I seemed to have been surrounding myself with people who thought abortion was OK, no big deal, in the hope that someday I would believe that, too.

    I did every job at the clinic except doctor and nurse: I answered the phone, took payments, counseled, was a medical assistant, and scrubbed and sterilized surgical instruments. I have seen it all. But it wasn't until learning of a surrogate mother was paid her contract price IN FULL to abort the baby diagnosed with Down syndrome that she was carrying that I finally became pro-life. It was a true "ah-HA" moment for me. Abortion was wrong on a fundamental level. Children were now commodities to be created, bought, sold, or discarded at will--and I could no longer call myself "pro-choice."

    This horrifying truth led me to question abortion and fully examine my position, ask myself the hard questions, and ultimately come to terms with taking responsibility for my own abortion and my role in the abortion industry.

    For myself, I know in my heart that I would never again terminate a pregnancy — EVER — nor would I ever work at an abortion clinic again. If someone I love was facing an unplanned pregnancy, I would do my very best to help her find a way to stay pregnant and give that baby a chance—whether it be by becoming a parent, or by offering up the child for adoption.

    There are far too many innocent lives being snuffed out in our country before they have the opportunity to take their first breath, and as a nation we should be doing better. We need to do better. We need to provide real resources to pregnant mothers facing an unplanned pregnancy. The women and babies of our country deserve better. After all, sometimes the best things in life aren’t planned.

    I miss my baby every day. Every day. He'd be turning 24 this summer. Would he be married by now? In medical school? A math teacher? Soccer coach?...

    What a precious gift this world lost that cold day.
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