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The uproar over the Obergefell decision by the Supreme Court, as well as over the Planned Parenthood videos of aborted infants, has brought to light in my heart the brutal, circular journey I myself have made from devout Catholic school boy of the 50s to passive, liberal “hippie” of the 60s and 70s, and back to recommitted catholic – a gradual process that started in the 80s and continues to this day.
Specifically here I feel called to reveal the mindset that allowed me to rationalize my participation in two abortions of my own children with two separate women during my 20’s – not in the form of a confession, but to illuminate how pernicious this type of thinking has become in our culture, and how difficult it can be to overcome without a foundation in faith.
I was in the mid 70’s a young man attempting to make a living as a songwriter and musician in Los Angeles. I met a young Hispanic woman who was bright, articulate and as totally engaged in the whole drug culture and sexual revolution as I was. We began an intimate relationship that resulted in the conception of a child. When she gently notified me of this event I did the typical male prevarication thing and we ended up deciding to seek an abortion. I say “we”, although I’m pretty sure in retrospect that was not the solution she was hoping for. So I gave her the money, she had the abortion and our relationship ended rather abruptly.
I eventually met my future first wife around 1977, a woman who had grown up in an abusive family environment as the only daughter of a pedophile father and violent mother. We moved in together and in a very short time she became pregnant. I remember the look of disappointment in her eyes as we discussed the inconvenience this child would place on our lives. This time I was an active participant in the murder. I clearly remember sitting outside the door and hearing the whirring and sucking sounds of the machinery as our child was removed from her womb and disposed of like so much trash – or possibly, as we now know, sold off in pieces to some research lab. I saw the raw effects on the mother immediately as she came out of the recovery room to be driven home by me, her accomplice. She was absolutely devastated by the experience and for several days nothing I could say or do was any comfort to her.
Eventually we moved on, got married and had two beautiful boys, although the marriage was very stormy and ended several years later in a bitter divorce. As I began to recover from my profligate life and tried to guide my children through the treacherous rapids of the post-divorce world, I started to feel the tug at my heart every time I became intimate with a new woman. But I eventually realized that my behavior was inconsistent with my beliefs, and I struggled with celibacy, slipping many times before falling in love with a woman who understood my dilemma and was willing to support a Christian courtship.
I am now over 30 years clean and sober and married to that same wonderful, faithful woman, who is a Catholic convert. We are active in our church and community and have started a very successful bible study in our parish. I have at long last accepted that human sexuality is not the ultimate physical/spiritual experience I formerly thought it to be, but only a dim reflection of man’s participation in God’s unending creative glory. Used morally, a very great good – used immorally, a very great evil. But the tale bears telling if for no other reason than perhaps the chance to stir the consciences of other folks like me who were led astray and now find their lives empty of meaning as they pursue the gods of mammon – yet may still hope to find the one God of the universe ready and waiting to love and forgive them.
My constant prayers go with them.