Revive Our Hearts Radio

What Abortion Is

Leslie Basham: Abortion touches every part of your life. Here’s Kelly Roy’s experience.

Kelly Roy: Abortion’s like a tree that gets planted right in the middle of your life, and the roots reach out and touch everything. Until you go through an abortion recovery program, I don’t think a lot of women realize just how that root is touching everything.

Leslie: This is Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss for Tuesday, January 21.

This week, the United States marks the anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision Roe vs. Wade that makes abortion legal. Nancy had a chance to talk with a panel of guests about the way abortion affects women and men. They were at a makeshift studio, and you’ll notice the audio isn’t pristine, but the message is powerful. Here’s Nancy.

Nancy Leigh DeMoss: We’re talking this week with three people—two women and a man—who have been impacted by abortion. We heard yesterday the story of Kelly Roy and Jason Jones, who as a man was affected when his girlfriend’s dad forced her to have an abortion. Today we’re hearing from Rebecca Porter.

Then we’ll bring it back together and hear from all three:

  • What is involved in the healing process?
  • What are some of the lies about abortion that people are believing?
  • What can be done to point people to the light and to the grace and the truth that are in Jesus Christ? 

This is where we always want to go, to the cross and to the gospel. But you know, the cross is not good news to us, and the gospel is not good news to us until we realize that we are sinners and that we need God’s forgiveness.

Rebecca, I know, for you, there were a whole series of wrong choices that led you to the point of realizing that you needed God’s forgiveness and God’s grace. Take us back to what led you to the choice to take the life of your unborn.

Rebecca Porter: I would say what actually led me to the choice was shame, and the shame came from a horrible incident in my life. I was not brought up in a Christian home but in a very dysfunctional family.

I met a wonderful young man. I was eighteen; I was married at nineteen, and I was a widow at twenty. He was killed by a drunk driver two weeks after our first anniversary, and then four weeks later I found out that I was sixteen weeks pregnant. I went to a local . . . It said women’s health  clinic, free pregnancy test. I went to see a doctor because I’d had two home pregnancy tests that were negative. I went to see the doctor, and they said, “Yes, you’re pregnant.” I was in shock. My husband had died a month prior to this.

They said, “Do you know how far along you are?”

I said, “I have no idea, it’s been so long.”

They said, “You can come back; the doctor can give you a pelvic.”

I agreed. I remember he said it was sixteen weeks, and I just started crying. Then he said to me, “Well, we normally don’t do the procedure that far along.”

I said, “Excuse me, what are you talking about?”

He said, “We normally don’t do the procedure,” and still, I had no clue that I was actually in an abortion clinic.

I told him, “I’m crying because my husband is not here to share this wonderful news with me.”

But yet, that abortionist had said some key words, he said, “We can help you with your problem.”

So I feel like that’s where the seed was planted. I did have my son. I was very thankful God allowed me to have part of my husband, but during this time, too, I was very angry at God. I was not brought up in a Christian household, but I was very angry that God took my husband from me. When my son was about five months old, we had a friend and acquaintance. He would come over and see the baby, and one thing led to another. One night we’d had too much to drink, and it became sexual, and from that I became pregnant.

I was so afraid that if people knew that I was pregnant that they would think in some way that I did not love my husband. Because even I felt like I was committing adultery. I was just so full of shame, so I knew where to go to fix my "problem."

I went and had another pregnancy test, went and told this young man that I was pregnant. I scheduled an abortion for the next day. Then I turned around and walked out of the room. They did tell me it was a blob of tissue. Because I was already so far along, I never had early fetal development information, so I believed them. I was very early in the pregnancy, and that’s when I had my actual first abortion.

My son was six months old. I remember my girlfriend was babysitting. I remember when I came home from the abortion clinic, I lived in a house where my bedroom was upstairs. My son was in my girlfriend’s arms at the top of the stairs. He was crying, and his arms were reaching out for me. I can remember just thinking, How am I going to get up those stairs? I was in so much pain. By the time I made it to the top of the stairs, I just said, “I can’t take him, can you stay a little bit longer?” I went in and just laid down and pulled the covers over my head and just cried.

After that, when my son began to cry, even at that time I don’t think I recognized it as a subconscious reminder of the abortion, but I couldn’t hold him. This was my son that I loved so dearly, but when he began to cry, I would just leave him in his crib or playpen, and I would walk out of the room. It wasn’t only my son. It was other babies. People would come into a room with a baby, and I’d be making an excuse, walking out. I used to joke, “I don’t do babies.”

Years later when I told my mom about my abortions, she said to me, "I knew something changed in you because I remembered when you watched that movie, Cheaper by the Dozen, you said, 'Mommy, I'm going to have a dozen babies.'" She said I had a dozen baby dolls when I was a little girl. So for me to say, "I don't do babies" was a major change in my life.

As I got older, I did become pregnant again about six years later. I remarried. During that whole pregnancy with my son, I was so afraid that something was going to be wrong, that God was going to punish me, that my son was going to be disabled or deformed or something to pay me back. Praise God, he was fine.

Then about another additional six years later, I found myself pregnant again. By this time, though, I was living in the bars. I was doing drugs. I was not married. I was just a very angry young woman. Then I said, “Oh, I’m not going to start over. I’m waiting for my sons to be grown so I didn’t have to pay for babysitters anymore.” With that, when I became pregnant then for that third time, I said there was no way I was going to start over. I went and found the local abortion clinic, went to a different one from the first one, and had the abortion.

While I was there, all they talked to me about was birth control. I had gotten pregnant every time while I was on "the pill." So they said, “Well then, you need to take a Depo-Provera shot. You take it once every three months. You can’t get pregnant with this shot.” So I believed them, took the shot, and had a very bad reaction to it. Then from that I said there’s no way I’m going to have another one. Three months later, I was waiting for my cycle to start so I could go back on "'the pill," and that’s when I found out I was actually pregnant again.

I was so angry. I believed the people at the abortion clinic. I was angry at myself. I told my boyfriend at the time, “I can’t do this again. I’ve already had two abortions. I cannot do this again. I want to have my baby, and I’ll place my baby with adoption.” In my mind I already had it figured out. I had a sister that I could go live with out of state and nobody would even have to know I was pregnant, but the father said that his parents would not allow one of their children to be given away. I felt so defeated because men don’t have a say, but they do have a say in adoption. He said he would not allow me to place the baby for adoption, and I just wasn’t going to have another baby.

So I went back and had that third abortion. Walking in the door, I was crying. I did not want to be there. It was like they just wanted to take your money. No one tried to stop me, no counseling. I got up on the table. I remember staring up at the ceiling and the nurse walked over to me and patted me on the arm and said, “Oh, it will be okay. It will be over soon.” I wouldn’t even look at her because I knew what I was doing was not okay, and I knew it wouldn’t be over soon. I just stared up at the ceiling.

After a little while, the abortionist came in. They don’t say anything to you. There’s no doctor-patient relationship. He came in. The procedure started—I don’t even think he spoke to me. I just stared at the ceiling the whole time. I could hear the nurse, she walked down to the end of the table where the procedure was happening. For some reason, I did look over at her about the same time she looked down at what he was doing. Then I heard her say, “Oh look, twins.” Then she looked up at me, and she smiled at me.

I just remember seeing her in like slow motion. I’m sure I must have went into shock, but the first thing out of my mouth was, “Oh my God, what have I done?” Then I just began to scream, “Stop, stop. Please stop.” I tried getting up off the table, and the abortionist began to scream at me to lay still, he couldn’t stop what he was doing. They actually had to bring someone in to hold me down on that table while they finished the procedure.

Later, he did come in to the recovery area. He apologized for the nurse’s behavior, and he said he would speak to her. From that I knew that the nurses aren’t supposed to tell the women about their pregnancies or about their children. But I believe God allowed me to hear that day so it would truly open my eyes to what abortion really was.

Even though, yes, I walked out of that abortion clinic that day, and I wanted to die—I did try to commit suicide twice within the next three months—but I knew that I would never have anything to do with abortion again. I wouldn’t give my girlfriends rides; I wouldn’t loan them money. Years before I had even encouraged my sister, before this last abortion, to also abort her child. Praise God she didn’t listen to me, because my niece is now in college, and she’s going to be a doctor.

There was so much guilt and shame that I had to deal with, but from even trying to commit suicide, the Lord allowed me to live. He didn’t allow me to die, and from that, that is where my salvation came. I’m so grateful. I would never have thought the Lord would have me doing what I’m doing now. Even that night, when I got on my knees beside my bed and I asked the Lord into my heart, I said, “Lord, I’ll do whatever You ask, just don’t let me go back to my life.” I was a crack cocaine addict at one point in my life, and I said, “I’ll do whatever You ask.”

Now would I have thought He would ask me to share this testimony, now publically, and even worldwide? No. But I’m so grateful for His deliverance, for His forgiveness and mercy and grace in my life, and this is why I share. I don’t want other women to make the same choice that I have and go through the things that I have.

Nancy: That’s really why each of you has gotten involved in this mission, because you’ve seen the devastating consequences of abortion, and you don’t want other people, women or men, to have to experience those consequences.

Rebecca, it’s interesting to me that you said the Lord has opened your eyes. You said God used even what that nurse said, “Oh, it’s twins,” to open your eyes to what abortion really was. Do you think that a lot of people don’t really know what abortion is?

Kelly: I think they desensitize themselves to it. I feel the Lord allowed me to see my baby because He was showing me this is what it is. Rebecca and I are not the only women who have walked through something. There are thousands upon thousands of women out there that have this secret that they are carrying around.

Rebecca: I often wonder . . . I guess I can’t speculate what people think, how they really feel, but I often wonder if they truly understood, truly understood what was happening, what was going on, what is involved, I don’t know they would be so for it. That’s my hope, but I don’t know that.

Nancy: Jason, hasn’t there been a concerted effort on the part of a lot of people over a lot of years to tell people it’s something other than what it really is?

Jason Jones: Yes, Nancy. I think the pro-life movement has been incredibly successful in educating America on the dignity of the child in the womb. Now with the post-abortion healing movement and people who have suffered in the wake of abortion, now that their voices are being heard, we know that the problem of a crisis pregnancy doesn’t end with an abortion; in fact, that’s where the problem begins. We see it in the popular culture, and we see it in television shows, movies, and radio.

There was an episode on This American Life. I was thinking of this when Rebecca was talking about why you shouldn’t recommend to your friends that they have an abortion. This liberal, national public radio show was talking about recommending to your friend that they have an abortion, but then you have to see the child as they grow when they don’t take your advice, how that convicts you.

I think now we know that as a culture the child in the womb is a human being with dignity. The problem is, and what the abortion industry plays on, it’s just a consumer—that woman in a crisis. They just need to make her doubt at that moment when she’s in a position to have to make that decision.

So even though we’re changing the culture, dramatically so, in the 1980s I think only 36% of Americans self-identified as pro-life, now it’s well over 50%. But what the abortion industry plays on is the young woman who’s isolated and alone. And in that moment of decision, just make them doubt, just make them fear, just make them ashamed, and they’re very good at that. Men are very clever.

It just breaks my heart when I hear what Rebecca’s boyfriend did. Men do that.

There's a radio talk show host named Leykis, he's a national radio talk show host. On his show he tells men, "If you get your girlfriend pregnant, don't tell her to get an abortion. Tell her how much you love her. Tell her you want to be with her for the rest of your life, and you want to get married and have kids, but not right now. 'We need time together.' Once you get her to have that abortion, you have to break up with her, because abortion destroys women." This is a national talk show radio host who says this on the air.

So many women are coerced into having an abortion. Men become agents of the abortion industry.

Nancy: As you told us in yesterday’s program, in the case of your girlfriend when you were a teenager, it was her dad. How common is that?

Jason: I find that my story is incredibly common. When I share it with folks, they say, “Well, that’s an amazing story.” Well, no it’s not; it’s not amazing. It’s not isolated. It’s just very common.

Nancy: Why would parents push their children into having abortions?

Jason: Pride. Shame. When I was director of Why Right to Life?, I would often get pastor’s daughters calling me that their father was encouraging them to have an abortion. It’s just pride and shame.

The devil doesn't care if you are pro-life all the time, so long as you are "pro-choice" when you have to make that decision.

Kelly: If you can get that doubt, if you can . . . because I did. I grew up in that Christian home, but the enemy does get you isolated. I do know my parents would never have suggested that. I realize there are parents out there who would say, "What are people going to think? I would say to them, "Don't! It doesn't matter. God is the giver of all life, no matter their circumstances, He is the one that gives life. It would destroy your daughter. It would destroy what has been placed inside of her."

But the enemy does get you isolated and plants just enough fear, just enough doubt, or has someone say just the right thing. It's like I shared yesterday, that someone said to me, “Your parents forgave you for getting pregnant the first time, are they really going to be able to forgive you?” You take that, and you transfer that, and assume, “Well, no.” Because I have grown up in that Christian home, and if my parents can’t, then that means God can’t, and it’s just a lie. It’s just not true.

Nancy: So what you’re really saying is that honesty, truthfulness, and repentance are needed in all corners. Wherever there has been complicity, not just the women who have had the abortions, but the abortionists, the people in the abortion industry, the parents, the boyfriends, we can’t get cleansed by the blood of Jesus until there’s recognition of where we have sinned and we have the willingness to repent of that.

Do you see that happening, Jason, as you’re out there challenging people? You’re very “in the face” about this issue. Are people listening?

Jason: I call it confrontational evangelism, and I do think they’re listening. But there is a problem. When I was an atheist in the pro-life movement, I was the director of Why Right to Life? I would speak at a different church every week. I created a program called the Peace Plan. It was bringing peace to Hawaii by ending the war on the elderly and sick through prayer, education, action, coalition, and equipping—and I was an atheist.

But I wanted to go talk to churches. I would put prayer in there because they will like that. And I would go speak to churches. Then didn't know I was an atheist. They assumed because I was the director. But I would often get frustrated when I would try to meet with pastors to talk about this.

They would tell me, “Well, we don’t have this problem in our church.”

I would say, “Well, according to Planned Parenthood’s research, 33% of women have had abortion, and I don’t think your church is much different. If 1-out-of-3 of the women in your church were alcoholics, would you talk about alcoholism? If 1-out-of-3 of the men in your church were beating their wives, would you talk about domestic violence? Well, 1-out-of-3 women in your church are suffering day in and day out from the pain of an abortion they had, and you’re not talking about it? That’s shameful."

There are men who were involved in abortion. We have a special obligation to speak out. I tell men, "If you are responsible for an abortion, whether it was because you were having sex outside of marriage an you put a woman in that position. That's irresponsible, so when you do that you are potentially putting a woman in that position. And that's what I did. I was responsible. I had to repent of that.

I didn't want her to have the abortion. She didn't want to have an abortion. But my behavior created the situation, so I am responsible. So as men who are responsible for an abortion, everytime we hear someone undermine the dignity of the child in the womb and we don't speak up, it is another betrayal of our child.

Everytime we support a candidate who publically supports abortion, that's another betrayal of our child. And God forbid, everytime you walk into a voting booth and you vote for a candidate who denies the dignity of your child in the womb, that is another betrayal of your child.

We have a special duty when men have an abortion, when men are involved in an abortion, they emotionally explode—it goes out of them; women implode. So men you find become very violent. They become very promiscuous. For different reasons than women who have abortions. They may do the same things, but it’s sort of a rage with the world around them. My first year in the army, I had three Article 15's for fighting. I became very aggressive, very angry. We explode; women implode.

Nancy: I think a lot of people probably don’t realize, and I think that’s why we want to tell these stories . . .  You think a woman that woman has the abortion, maybe there’s regret, but my eyes have been opened listening to some of the stories here at this conference of the extent to which this pain and suffering and dysfunction and sinful ramifications and ripple effect that goes with them through all of life.

Kelly: It’s almost like, when I explain it, whenever I’m speaking, I say abortion’s like a tree that gets planted right in the middle of your life. The roots reach out and touch everything. Until you go through an abortion recovery program, I don’t think a lot of women realize just how that root is touching everything.

A lot of women, I’ve talked with them, and they didn’t realize that the reason they struggle with depression is because of their abortion; the reason why they have a rough relationship in their marriage, especially if the couple was together at the time, if it was the same couple and they got married later, they don’t realize until they go through the recovery how this tree has spread out and has touched everything—their relationships with God, with other people.

Nancy: Rebecca, your lack of interest in children right after having the abortion. You had a six-month old, but all of a sudden there’s this aversion to children.

Rebecca: Yes. That was very hard, and even twenty-some years later, God has a sense of humor. I did work in a pregnancy care center for four-and-a-half years, counseling women, sharing my testimony, helping these women choose life. They’d come back in and bring their babies, and here I am holding all these babies. So God really did restore that to me. I’m so thankful.

I went through the Forgiven and Set Free Bible Study. The first chapter says, “How do I know where I need healing?” There’s a question in there that says, “Do you have trouble bonding with your child, or are you over-protective of your children?” It was like, when I read that question, it was the light bulb going off. Until that time, I still didn’t even get it. But I knew when it said, “Do you have trouble bonding?” that was me.

A lot of times women just don’t even realize what is causing that problem. We hear that a lot of women—they want to replace that baby they have aborted, but even when that baby comes, many times, once it’s born, they don’t want to have anything to do with it. That’s very sad.

So you see how it affects our culture and our nation. There’s a study that shows that for child abuse, figures go up. I know for myself I wasn’t physically abusive, but I was emotionally abusive to my sons. I just was not there for them, and spiritually, I really had no desire for them to be in church because I didn’t want to be in church. If I was in church, oh my, maybe somebody would talk about abortion. I didn’t want to go there.

Nancy: Something interesting that I’ve heard all of you refer to, and that’s this whole issue of anger—angry at God, angry at the person who may have pushed you toward this, angry at the counselors who didn’t counsel, angry at yourself. You think about what an angry culture we have, this random violence that is rampant in the culture, and you wonder how much of it, Jason, may be connected to abortion-related issues?

Jason: I think if 1-out-of-3 Americans suffer from the pain of abortion in their past . . . In my family my grandfather was a veteran of the Korean War and World War II. You can ask him about World War II, but there was a rule in the family: Do not bring up the Korean War. The only time my father ever hit me was where once we were sitting in front of the television: my father, my grandfather, and I. Something came out about Korea. Without thinking I just said, "Grandpa, what was Korea like." Before I could finish, my father's hand was right across my face. The pain of what he saw in Korea was so overwhelming that it was just devastating to my grandfather.

Well that pain, 1-out-of-3 Americans—1-out-of-3 men, 1-out-of-3 women—have that pain, and we’re not allowed to talk about that. We’re not allowed to talk about the pain that abortion causes.

I know, as a man, when I was finally on the verge of becoming a Christian, like C.S. Lewis said he was the most reluctant convert, I was, too. I remember thinking if I become a Christian, I won’t be angry anymore. I worked around a lot of Christians in the pro-life movement, and I thought they were lazy, because I’d work twenty-four-hour days. I was driven by anger, and I thought if I became healed, it would rob me of some of my motivation. Well, that’s not true; it just transformed it into something that was healthy.

I remember thinking, God, if I accept You, I will stop being angry. And if I stop being angry, I'm going to stop working so hard. That was just how my brain was working. I didn't want to be healed. I liked that I was angry. I liked that it was what was driving me.

I was kicked out of dorms in college for fighting. I channeled it. I started fighting in Japan as a kick-boxer. But it was all disordered. I was angry.

We see these news stories after news stories about these high school girls beating up other high school girls. Where do you think this rage is coming from? So many of these girls are post-abortive. Every time I speak at a junior high or a high school or a church—any church—I know that I am speaking to women who suffer every day from the pain of abortion.

Nancy: And men who have been impacted as well.

Jason: And men, definitely.

Rebecca: My husband was full of a lot of anger also. When I went through my healing, we were actually separated. We’ve been marred now for eleven years, but the first five years of our marriage was . . . we separated five times. The Lord took me through my healing—and actually took him through his healing also—and it’s just so totally different now.

I’d been home for a year, and my husband said to me, “Do you realize it’s been a year since you’ve been home?”

Of course, as women, we keep track of those things, but I said, “Oh really?”

And he said, “It’s been the best year of our marriage.” That meant so much for me, and I was just really surprised. Then he said, “It’s because of all my anger that I had at myself, and I would take it out on you, and I’m so sorry.”

The Lord did, He reconciled our marriage. Now, does my husband still get angry? Yes, he does. But it's not that same explosive self-hatred, take-it-out-on-you kind of thing. God’s just done a wonderful work. So when you realize how abortion affects marriages, the relationships between a man and a woman, and so there’s just a lot of healing even in that area that God desires to accomplish, even in the husband and wife.

Leslie: That’s Rebecca Porter talking with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. She's describing the healing God can provide after an abortion. We also heard from Kelly Roy and Jason Jones.

Our three guests are healing from the effects of abortion and speaking up about it. Tomorrow hear why they’re taking this message to schools, film festivals, and one-on-one conversations with hurting women. Please be back for Revive Our Hearts.

Revive Our Hearts with Nancy Leigh DeMoss is an outreach of Life Action Ministries.

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