Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Letter To A Pregnant Friend

By LORRAINE V. MURRAY, Commentary | Published March 3, 2011

Dear Sandra:

You sounded so upset when you called me today. You were in tears, and my heart broke for you. I thought something terrible had happened, and then you told me you had just discovered you are pregnant.

For so many women this is such happy news, but for you, it is a great disappointment.

You cried when you told me that you just can’t see a baby in your life now. You’re single, supporting yourself while you go to college at night. You have dreams of bettering yourself, and you feel this will ruin them.

I could hear the shame in your voice when you admitted that you hardly know the father. It was your second date, and you both had too much to drink. You used protection, so you figured you had all the bases covered.

And now this! As you put it, “It’s impossible.” You said there’s no one you can turn to for help with raising a baby. The guy has no interest in the baby. He doesn’t even want to see you again. Your family lives far away and as you put it, “I would rather die than ask them for help.”

In short, you feel there are no other options. You don’t want to drop out of school. You have no relatives to help you. You are scared and desperate, and abortion seems the easy way out.

You said the baby would be in the very early stages of development and so terminating the pregnancy now wouldn’t be as bad as later.

But you called me, so I feel I have to respond. You don’t know this about me, Sandra, but I’ve been there too. Like you, I faced an unexpected, totally unplanned, completely unwanted pregnancy.

Like you, I felt there was no one I could turn to. My parents were deceased, and I didn’t believe I could rely on anyone in my family.

I decided an abortion in the early months of a pregnancy would be morally permissible. After all, I told myself, I had rights, and one of them was a right to decide whether or not to carry a pregnancy to term.

I didn’t think the unborn child had any rights at all. At that time, no one mentioned a beating heart or unique DNA right from the start. I considered the unborn child just a blob of undifferentiated biological material—and what rights could that have?

Sandra, this truly is a life-and-death decision, but it’s not your life we’re talking about here.

If you go ahead with the abortion, there will be one less life in the universe, and one more death. There will be one less face in the family album. One less baby who figures out how to walk and gets joy in chasing the dog around the house.

One less baby in a world filled with billions can seem unimportant. But think of it this way: You were once a baby in the womb, and your mother could have ended that pregnancy. One less baby really does make a huge difference when the baby is you.

The day I walked into that clinic years ago, I didn’t feel I was going to end a life. To me, the tiny “blob” wasn’t human. Looking back, I wonder how I would have defined it. If it wasn’t human, then what was it? But at the time, I didn’t go there.

Like you, I didn’t feel like a bad person. I was scared, I felt trapped and I wanted an out. I felt unable to handle the responsibility. And, frankly, when I left the clinic, I felt so relieved because I figured “Now I can get on with my life.”

Unfortunately, that wasn’t true. The relief started dying the first time I wondered, “How old would my baby be now?” The relief crumbled whenever I saw other women with infants in their arms.

In fact, the relief was quickly supplanted by incredibly painful regrets, which never went away.

So, you see, even if abortion seems like a quick solution right now, please understand: Nothing you do can turn back the hands of the clock. Nothing can return you to the moment when you were not pregnant.

Terminating the pregnancy won’t take you to that place. You see, once a pregnancy kit says “positive,” your life changes forever, whether or not the baby is born.

And please keep this in mind: Even with all the sacrifices and problems of raising a child, it is extremely rare to hear a woman say she regrets having given birth. But it is very common to hear women lamenting and grieving once they’ve ended a pregnancy.

Please know you are not alone and neither is the baby in your womb. First, there is this wonderful group called Birthright, which is dedicated to helping women just like you with emotional, spiritual—and yes, financial—help to go ahead with a pregnancy. And after the baby is born, they will still be there for you.

The baby is relying on you to give her a chance at life. And you can rely on me, as well as the many people who are reading this. We will help you, and other women like you, by donating time and money to Birthright—and through our unending prayers.

I’m waiting to hear from you, my friend, and you are in my prayers every second until then.