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This woman’s secret abortions haunted her on her deathbed

Human at about 16 weeks gestation.

Pro-life writer Jeannine Parvati Baker told this story about her grandmother:

… I recall a story my mother shared with me when coming onto my puberty. She told me that my paternal grandmother on her deathbed was quite frightened of dying. She confessed to my mother, who attended her passing, that she was “afraid to meet all her dead babies on the other side.” It seems Grandma had induced several abortions which were secrets kept from family and friends alike. At death’s door, Grandma confronted her previous liaisons with mortality and murder, carrying this hidden fear for years.

That story made a strong impression on me, as I had been taught through the popular “planned parenthood” information materials that abortion was more like a tooth extraction than murder. A little painful, but not such a moral crisis. How could this be true when Grandma carried that guilt all her life? I couldn’t imagine similarly repenting my dentistry operations upon my deathbed.

This powerful story illustrates several things.  For one, post-abortion trauma can fester under the surface for years. Even a woman who seems well-adjusted after her abortion might be hurting on the inside or repressing her true feelings. Most of these women are forced to confront their guilt and grief eventually. Sometimes there is a trigger that causes post-abortion trauma to come to the surface. In this case, it was the fear of dying and being punished in the afterlife.

David Reardon has authored several studies about post-abortion trauma and has edited a book of women’s painful abortion testimonies. He says the following:

A woman that a six-month post-abortion survey declares “well-adjusted” may experience severe trauma on the anniversary of the abortion date, or even many years later. This fact is attested to in psychiatric textbooks which affirm that…”the psychiatrist frequently hears expressions of remorse and guilt concerning abortions that occurred twenty or more years earlier.”

Former Surgeon-General C. Everett Koop also addressed this issue: 

A woman had a pregnancy at about 38 or 39. Her kids were teenagers. And without letting either her family or her husband know, she had an abortion. At that moment, she said, “[The abortion was] the best thing that ever happened to me- clean slate, no one knows, I am fine.”

Ten years later, she had a psychiatric break when one of those teenage daughters who had grown up, got married, gotten pregnant, delivered a baby, and presented it to her grandmother…Unless you studied that one for ten years, you would say “perfectly fine result of an abortion.”

Sometimes trauma after an abortion festers under the surface and is denied, only to be triggered later. Abortion can leave lasting scars. While some women never acknowledge the emotional fallout and others seem impervious to any sense of grief or guilt, many women do suffer and eventually have to confront their feelings.

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