Tell Ruth the Truth

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I never thought to question the morality of abortion.

Posted on Friday, February 19, 2016

My mother left when I was six. My sister and I went to a beautiful old house we called “the home” - a group home for girls whose families were under stress. We were fed and dressed well, had lots of play time but, even with my sister there, I was scared. I saw Matron rub a twelve year old girl’s nose into her urine-soaked sheets, and I had seen her pull down underpants in public, in order to spank other girls. That was when I began to live on the margins and keep watch. Like the kid in the movie 'The Blind Side’, I became "99% self-protective”.

At age eight I went back to live with Daddy. I hardly can recall my mother but Dad remains my hero. He and I shared long evenings reading or listening to the radio and talking about plays, music and politics. With him, I participated in anti-apartheid marches. My love of history came from trips we took to ancient places like the Roman ruins at St. Albans and, every year, we went by ferry to his Irish homeland. I loved sitting on deck at night, singing old Irish songs.

By my early teens I began getting in trouble and ended up in boarding school. The school was in a 19th Century mansion, its grounds filled with exotic plants, lakes, a swimming pool, tennis and basketball courts. A tolerant staff kept watch over us. We danced to juke-box music every weekend. Boys and girls found all kinds of secret places to meet - in fireplaces, by laundry baskets, in the woods and at the trout stream. And we knew not to go “all the way”.


By 1965, the naive little boarding school girl, heavily influenced by an atheist/socialist Dad, went to nursing school and became a bleeding heart. Assisting with abortions was part of the surgical rotation. I never thought to question the morality of it and none of my peers did either. There was no public discussion about it, no talk about women’s rights. It was a scandal for a young woman to be pregnant outside of marriage. They were my peers, and I wanted to shield them.

When Evangelical friends put a Bible in my hands, my life changed radically. By the time I read the Gospels the third time, I was sensing a protective and tolerant Presence, yet I struggled with accepting Christianity. Then came terrible nightmares about dead babies. I felt prompted to read my Bible and start writing. I realized I was dreaming about the abortions I’d participated in and which, for fifteen years, I never had a second thought about. In nursing school, I had believed as I was taught, that the baby was a “blob of tissue”.

The words of Deuteronomy 30:19 jumped out - “I put before you Life and Death, choose…” I saw two armies, one standing behind Jesus and one behind Satan, and my inner ears heard, “there is no gray area”. It was a mandate. My choice had to be an eternal one. After 29 years I went back to the Church, and I was (flinchingly) in the pro-life camp.

However, I continued, as a Public Health nurse, thinking that birth control was a lesser evil than abortion and that the Church’s teachings were wrong, until I learned about the beautiful spirituality of natural family planning. I began to remember women who had strokes as a result of birth control - and malignant hypertension and pancreatitis. Could my sister’s death, from pancreatic cancer have been avoided if she had not taken birth control for thirty years?

Following a hunch, I discovered many horrid complications of artificial contraception besides abortifacient properties - cardiovascular disease, cancers of breast, liver and cervix, egg-producing male fish, personality changes, sterility, miscarriages and STDs.

I know now, as my 69th birthday approaches, that the Church had wisdom about the terrible consequences the sexual revolution would bring - long before science began to identify them.

Submitted by L. P. February 2016.



 
 
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