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By: Julia Holcomb

Steve Tyler’s former fiancee recounts their relationship and late-term abortion

In November of 1973, shortly after my 16th birthday, I met Steven Tyler at a concert in Portland, Oregon. To understand what leads a 16-year-old girl to find herself backstage at an Aerosmith Rock Concert, and in a three- year live-in relationship with Steven Tyler, you need some essential background information.

Family Trauma

My biological father abandoned my mother while we were toddlers.  He was a charming rogue of a gambler who came and went in our lives, leaving a wake of debt and infidelity.  My mother had been encouraged to get an abortion (illegally) by more than one family member when she found out she was expecting me, (the middle child).  Thankfully she gave birth to me and later to my younger brother, and was a loving mother. When Daddy’s gambling debts caused her small teaching salary to be garnished, she filed for a divorce.  Even after the first divorce she had been a good mother, taking us to church, reading us the Bible in the morning before school, singing to us at night, and praying with us for our wandering father.  She was gentle and supportive and I always knew I could go to her for help.  When mother remarried my first stepfather, (who was an alcoholic) things became difficult.

A devastating trauma struck our family in the summer of 1971 when I was 13 years old. My younger brother was killed in a car accident on our way home from a camping trip with our grandparents. He was 10 years old. My grandfather was also killed, my grandmother lost a leg, and my sister and I were injured.  The car accident and family trauma triggered a chain of events that led to my mother and first stepfather to divorce.

My stepfather was committed to a mental hospital briefly, and mother had an emotional breakdown. My sister and I went to live with my aunt and uncle for some months.

When we returned home to my mother after the divorce, things were not the same. My mother seemed wounded and disillusioned with life.  Without the stability of the family, or the church, we all struggled to recover from my brother’s death. She was still working as a teacher but she was living with my second stepfather, though they were not married yet.  He is a man I have grown to love and respect over time, yet in the 1970’s, when he was living with my mother, he was a different person than he is today and we disliked each other.

My sister and I were left on our own most of the time.  Previously, I had been raised going to church, but after the accident we just never went back. My sister and I became angry and rebellious. My sister left home when she was about 16, and backpacked around the country with her boyfriend. There I was at age 15, my sister gone, and feeling like I was in the way. There was a sense of being an obstacle to my mothers’ relationship with this new man.

My friendships changed from the kids we knew at church to the kids who hung out at the local Teen Center. Some of them took drugs and drank.

Meeting Steven Tyler

A few months before I met Steven, while I was still 15, I became friends with a girl who had access to backstage parties at concerts.  She was 24 years old, and although our acquaintance was brief, she was a pivotal change in the course of my life, and ours was one of the most dangerous friendships I ever formed.

She quickly taught me to dress in revealing clothes to get noticed and use sex as a hook to try to catch a rock star. I still remember dressing to go to the Aerosmith concert, intending to get backstage with her. I had listened to the song Dream On and seen Steven’s photo on the album cover. I went to the concert hoping to meet Steven and after the concert we met for the first time. At that time, I thought he was the best thing in my life. My sad, vulnerable story, as well as my youth and personal attractiveness captured his interest.

My mother signed over guardianship of me to Steven after I had moved to Boston. I remember my surprise when Steven told me she had signed the papers and trying to take this in mentally. A sense of vulnerability came over me, knowing that I was his ward, but we were not married. He had not expressed his intentions of a long-term relationship with me. He had mentioned that he wanted guardianship papers so I could travel across state lines when he was on tour. I had told him my mother would not sign me over to him. I asked him how he had got her to do it. He said, “I told her I needed them for you to enroll in school.” I felt abandoned by my mother as well as my father and stepfather. Steven was really my only hope at that point.

I became lost in a rock and roll culture.  In Steven’s world it was sex, drugs, and rock and roll, but it seemed no less chaotic than the world I left behind.  I didn’t know it yet, but I would barely make it out alive.

The Pregnancy

When we first lived together I took the birth control pill.  It is not true that my pregnancy with Steven was unplanned, as has been written.  After some months together, Steven spoke to me of his desire to have a child. He had grown up in the New Hampshire countryside and at times he behaved like a down-to-earth farm boy.  He wanted a family and he asked me if I was willing to have a child with him.  I was touched by his sincerity and said yes. I wanted children, and began to believe he must truly love me since he had made himself my guardian and was asking to have children with me. He threw my birth control pills off the balcony of the hotel where we were staying, into the street far below.

Within a year I became pregnant.  I had never been pregnant before, contrary to what Steven has written.  At first Steven and I were both happy about the baby. I remember telling him, “I’m pregnant” and from his reaction I believed he was truly excited.  He asked me to marry him a few months later and I said, “yes.”  He took me to New Hampshire to tell his parents about the baby and the marriage. He asked his grandmother if he could give me her wedding ring.  His parents were conflicted about the idea of Steven and I marrying.  His mother was supportive of everything Steven wanted and I remember truly loving her.  She was such a kindhearted lady, with a wonderful sense of humor.  His father had grave reservations because of my youth and immaturity.

His grandmother declined to give us the ring.  She loved Steven but expressed concerns that if we divorced, the ring would leave the family.  Things went quickly downhill from there for the two of us.  When we left that night, Steven and I had a heated argument: I felt he should buy me a ring at a jeweler and we should get married anyway.  He did not.

Looking back, I do not fault him for a change of heart after his parents expressed concerns.  Marriage is a serious step that should not be jumped into, even when a baby is on the way.  Still, I was in a bad position.  I thought I loved him, I wanted to marry him, and he had asked me to marry him; now the wedding was off and I was very angry with him for not standing by me. It seemed like a cowardly change of heart after he had asked me to have a baby with him and purposefully set out to get me pregnant.  For the first time I realized that I should not have been foolish enough to conceive a child outside of marriage with a man who might not be interested in a life-long relationship.  His guardianship of me complicated things further. I was subordinate to him as in a parent relationship and felt I had little control over my life. I had trusted him and now was the moment of truth.

The Fire

It was the fall of 1975. We returned to our apartment in Boston, and within a few weeks he was touring with his band. I was alone and pregnant in the apartment with no money, no education, no prenatal care, no driver’s license and little food.

Steven would call me every day to check in with me and I asked him for money to get groceries.  He promised to send Ray Tabano over the next day to take me shopping.  Ray was a childhood friend of Steven’s and had been a guitar player in the original band. I remember waiting by the window for Ray to arrive.  He came to the apartment and I let him in through the front door.

The next thing I remember was waking up in a cloud of dense smoke fighting for air to breathe.  Ray was gone.  I fell to the floor from the couch in the front room.  The couch was not burning and I had no burns on my body, but thick black smoke was consuming the room.  The smoke was less dense on the floor, but still, I could barely see.

I was frightened but calm enough to think about a series of commercials that Bill Cosby had done called, Learn Not To Burn. One message had been, if you’re in a smoke-filled room, get down on the floor because the air is clearer on the floor.  I knew I only had minutes to get out of that apartment. I crawled to the front door, which was next to the couch I had been laying on. The apartment had at least three locks on the front door.  There was a keyed lock on the handle, a dead bolt and a security bar that angled from the door down to the floor. Steven insisted on keeping these locked at all times because he usually kept drugs in the house and he had suffered a break-in at our previous apartment on Beacon Street. All of the locks were secured and I could not budge the security bar. I was choking and knew I needed to head for the back stairway that led down to the kitchen and an outside exit.

When I got to the stairs, smoke and heat and flames were pouring up the stairway.  The railings were scorching hot at the top.  I burned one of my hands grabbing the railing before I realized it was impossible to climb down those stairs through that fire. There was no way out.

Bill Cosby was there in my mind again.  He had said in one of those commercials, if you’re trapped in a fire, a good place to seek shelter is an empty fireplace.  I crawled to the fireplace in our bedroom and lay down inside it.  It was empty and clean and the flue was open.  Black smoke filled the air and was boiling up the chimney, but there was a small pocket of air on the floor where I was laying.  As I began to fall unconscious, I knew I was about to die.  I was frightened and I felt so alone.  I believed I deserved to go to hell because of my many sins and I did not feel prepared to die.

Above the fireplace hung a picture of the child Jesus called The Light of the World, by Charles Chambers.  The picture had hung in my Grandmothers’ classroom where she taught first grade.  I had been one of her students when I was 5 years old.  I used to look up at that picture every day in school when Grandma would open the class in prayer.  One year the schools decided to take down all pictures of Jesus and forbid prayer in the classroom, so my Grandmother took the picture home. It hung in her living room for years, and at her death I was given the picture as a memory of her.

When I told my mother that I was pregnant, she sent the picture to me and I hung it over the fireplace in Steven’s apartment.  Now, I was lying beneath it, close to death. I thought of my grandmother, remembering one of the Bible verses she taught me and prayed:

“Into your hands I commend my spirit, thou hast redeemed me Oh Lord God of truth.”

I was thinking of Jesus’ final words on the cross as a means of pleading for mercy.  I did not expect to live and yet I felt great peace as I closed my eyes.

The Nightmare Deepens

I woke up in the hospital. There was an IV in my arm and a doctor was speaking to me slowly, like one speaks to a child.  He asked, “Do you know your name?”  “My name is Julia Holcomb,” I answered.  He asked more questions and he was relieved to see that in spite of severe smoke inhalation I had not suffered brain damage.  The baby I was carrying also survived the fire.

Steven was there in my hospital room.  He said he was happy to see me alive and appeared very shaken.  Steven told me they had been taking my blood oxygen count from an artery in my wrist.  The last time the nurse had taken it, she had shed tears because she thought I would not make it, and said sadly “She’s so young.”  Steven told me the doctor did not expect me to live, and thought that if I lived there would be brain damage from the lack of oxygen.  He gave me a teddy bear and I clung to it.  He told me I had received many cards and flowers from people wishing me well.  I was too weary to talk and I drifted off again.

In the hospital a doctor came into my room and said that my lungs were remarkably clear of smoke damage.  He said Steven had spoken to him about the possibility of my having an abortion, since I was so young and recovering from smoke inhalation.  I was surprised and I asked him if the baby was OK.  He smiled and reassured me that the heartbeat sounded good and the baby seemed fine.  I told him I would not have an abortion.  I wanted my baby. The doctor was kind and supportive of my decision. He did not pressure me in any way. He asked me if I had taken drugs while I was pregnant.  I said, “Yes, sometimes.” (I did on occasion use cocaine but not to the degree that Steven was abusing.) The doctor told me that drugs were bad for me, and bad for the baby. He said I must not take any more while I was pregnant. I was so ashamed because I knew he was right.  I said, “OK” and intended to stop.

The Abortion

The doctor left the room and Steven came in.  He told me that I needed to have an abortion because of the smoke damage to my lungs and the oxygen deprivation I had suffered.  I said “No,” I wanted the baby.  I was five-months pregnant.  I could not believe he was even asking me to have an abortion at this stage.  He spent over an hour pressing me to go ahead and have the abortion.  He said that I was too young to have a baby and it would have brain damage because I had been in the fire and taken drugs.  I became very quiet and repeated the answer “No” more than once.  I said I should not be asked to make that decision while still in the hospital. He said I had to have the abortion now.  He said I was too far along to wait because it would be illegal for me to get an abortion in another week.

He sat beside my hospital bed, but we did not look at each other. I said no again. Finally he gave up and said, “OK, you can go home to your mother’s and have the baby there.”  I was worn out and began to feel hopeless.  My mother and stepfather would not be happy to have me return home pregnant.  I believed they would also want me to have an abortion.  I began to feel like life was caving in on me.  I had no health insurance or money and did not believe Steven intended to help provide for our baby or me.  He had not been providing medical care for me up to that time.  I believed he was abandoning me as my father and my mother had.  I began to cry and agreed to have the abortion. Steven was relieved and happy.  He reassured me that he cared for me and that after the abortion everything would be fine.

I was moved to another part of the hospital and a different doctor performed the abortion. It was a horrible nightmare I will never forget.  I was traumatized by the experience.  My baby had one defender in life; me, and I caved in to pressure because of fear of rejection and the unknown future.  I wish I could go back and be given that chance again, to say no to the abortion one last time.  I wish with all my heart I could have watched that baby live his life and grow to be a man.

The doctor did not explain what the procedure would be like. Steven watched when the doctor punctured my uterus with a large needle. Then I was taken to a room to wait for the contractions.  Steven sat beside me in the hospital until it was over.  When the nurse would leave the room he was snorting cocaine on the table beside my bed.  He even offered some to me once, but I just turned away, sick inside. Steven, high on cocaine, was emotionally detached, witnessing the procedure but cut off from the normal reaction and feelings of horror you would expect.  At the time I was shocked and hurt by his behavior.

But I know now that on an unconscious level, he must have been traumatized witnessing the death of his first-born son in such a horrific and direct way. Steven watched the baby come out and he told me later, when we were in New Hampshire, that it had been born alive and allowed to die.  (I was not allowed to see the baby when it was delivered.) Steven told me later that it had been a boy and that he now felt terrible guilt and a sense of dread over what he had done.  I did not know that such a thing could be legal.  I could not imagine a world where a tiny baby could be born alive and tossed aside as worthless without ever seeing his mother’s face.

Nothing was ever the same between us after that day, though I did not return home for over a year.  I became very quiet and withdrawn after the abortion.  I was grieving the loss of my baby and I could never look at Steven again without remembering what he had done to our son and me. I had just lived through a horrific fire that nearly claimed my life, but the abortion made me feel like part of me died with my baby.  I felt cheated and betrayed, and angry with myself for agreeing to something that I knew was wrong.  I felt deep anger and almost hatred for the doctor who performed the abortion.

Everyone around me seemed to be moving on with life, but I was carrying a wound that would not go away.  Steven was already involved with other women at that time. The fact that he was my guardian complicated things for him because he was legally responsible for me.  I was young, had dropped out of high school, and did not understand my legal rights at the time.  I felt completely powerless.

I left Steven in February 1977 and returned to live with my mother and stepfather. Steven called a few times after I returned home and then I never heard from him again.

Rising Out of the Ashes

The road to recovery was a slow process. When I returned home to my mother I was a broken spirit. I could not sleep at night without nightmares of the abortion and the fire. The world seemed like a dark place.  My mother and stepfather now had a handsome little boy.  He was a joy and I could not help but be happy when I was with him. My love for my half brother opened my heart toward my stepfather and I began to see that he was trying to be a good husband and father.

Mother had found that she missed the church and they were attending a United Methodist church in our area.  I began attending with them and I remember a turning point for me was a week-long church retreat in the summer at the Oregon coast.  There were young adults my own age, sing-alongs, campfires, Bible studies, prayer meetings, and I left there with a renewed sense of hope that God existed; He loved me in spite of my sins, and I could find forgiveness and a measure of real happiness within a family of my own if I began to rebuild my life.

Soon I was baptized. Mother helped me to get my GED, and I got my first job working as a receptionist.  I began to attend youth activities, and the church became a lifeline that pulled me out of the fog of grief, sorrow, and guilt after my years with Steven. I found forgiveness in Jesus. I forgave myself, I forgave my mother and stepfather, and I prayed for the grace to forgive Steven.

I gained the confidence to move out and enroll in college. I rented a room of my own from an elderly widow who lived near the campus.  That is when I met Joseph, who is now my husband.

My husband is my true hero. He has been a loving husband, a generous father, and hard-working provider for our family. My husband loves me and has forgiven me from his heart and has not let my past define his understanding of who I am as a person. If I had kept my baby I believe Joseph and I would still be married today, and our lives would be richer because of his presence in our family. God has been generous in giving us the joy of children and grandchildren who are a constant reminder of God’s presence in our life.  I am amazed at the way God has protected me over the years.

Today I am a pro-life Roman Catholic, the mother of seven children, and this year my husband and I will celebrate our 30th wedding anniversary.  Joseph and I have six children of our own, and I give thanks for each of them, as they are truly a gift from God.  We are also legal guardians to a beautiful little girl whose young mother made the choice for life in a difficult pregnancy, and then entrusted her to our care.

Joseph and I joined the Catholic Church, as adults through the RCIA process in 1992.  The Catholic Church’s teaching on respect for life, as well as the sacrament of confession, has brought me an even deeper level of healing and peace.  We have been active in ministries within the church that support the family, marriage and respect for life.

Setting the Record Straight

To set the record straight: I was never pregnant before I met Steven Tyler, nor did I ever have a previous abortion and Steven knows this to be true.  I do not believe I started the fire that burned his apartment, but I am thankful to God for the brave firemen who pulled me out of that burning building.  I never asked him for any money after I returned home.  I came to him with nothing and I left him with nothing, except regrets.  Although I presented myself to him in a highly sexualized way, we did not have sex in public places as he wrote in his new book.  His continued gross exaggeration of our relationship is puzzling to me. He has talked of me as a sex object without any human dignity.  I have made a point over these long years never to speak of him, yet he has repeatedly humiliated me in print with distortions of our time together. I do not understand why he has done this. It has been very painful.

Love Survives

In spite of everything, I do not hate Steven Tyler, nor am I personally bitter.  I pray for his sincere conversion of heart and hope he can find God’s grace. I know that I am also responsible for what happened that day. Someone may say that my abortion was justified because of my age, the drugs, and the fire. I do not believe anything can justify taking my baby’s life. The action is wrong. I pray that our nation will change its laws so that the lives of innocent unborn babies are protected.

I pray that all those who have had abortions, or have participated in any way in an abortion procedure, may find in my story, not judgment or condemnation, but a renewed hope in God’s steadfast love, forgiveness and peace.

Our nation’s young girls, especially those like me, who have experienced trauma and abuse, and are vulnerable to exploitation should not be used as sexual playthings, scarred by abortions to free their male partners from financial responsibility, and then like their unborn children, tossed aside as an unwanted object.

Marriage and the family are the building blocks of all virtuous societies.  I learned this lesson in a trial by fire that taught me to trust God’s plan no matter what occurs.  I pray that our nation may also find its way back to God by respecting the life of unborn children and strengthening the sanctity of marriage.

* * *

After I was out of the hospital and recovered from the fire, Steven Tyler brought me my picture of Jesus, The Light of the World, and gave it to me.  He said it was the only thing that had survived the fire.  It was covered with black soot, and the paper backing was singed, but I cleaned it and it is now hanging in the entry of my home.

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.  (John 8, 12)

By: Susan

I want anyone who is reading this to know that you can do it without a man.

I was having “casual” sex with someone I liked so much. No, I didn’t plan to get pregnant – I just wanted to show him how much I liked him, and I thought he felt the same. That was my first mistake.

When I found out I was pregnant, I was scared. I found out really early, and my doctor told me I wasn’t going to be able to hold the baby because I was showing signs of an early miscarriage. So I waited every day for about a week and a half to miscarry, but nothing happened – or at least I didn’t think so.

So I went back to the doctor that Tuesday, and I was still pregnant. I was scared – I’m in college, I’m an athlete, and I’m only 19. I have so much I want to do before I have a baby. I also wanted to be with the father of my child, be financially stable, and be a college graduate.

Things didn’t work out the way I’d planned.

I was so against abortion until I was put in that situation, but I still couldn’t think about killing my baby. I didn’t want a baby at that time – I just kept thinking about how my life was going to be ruined, all because I wanted someone to like me.

I made plans to abort the baby. I went to the clinic and talked with the doctor about the prices and procedures. But I changed my mind – I couldn’t do it. I didn’t tell anyone I changed my mind about aborting the baby because I wanted to tell the dad first.

I never had the opportunity. He wasn’t texting me back. We saw each other every day at school, and he would act as if I was completely invisible. I was so upset, because it was exactly what I didn’t want to happen.

I turned to my friends, and he finally talked to me, but it was nothing I wanted to hear. He basically said he didn’t want anything to do with me or the baby. I was on my own. He used a lot of other harsh words, but those hit me the hardest.

I couldn’t do this by myself. I couldn’t let my child go on without his father.

I know what it’s like to not have a parent active in your life, and I refused to have the same for my baby. I just wanted the best for him, and I thought the best was for him not to come into this world. I made an impulsive decision that I will regret for the rest of my life.

I just had to share my story because I want anyone who is reading this to know that you can do it without a man. Don’t ever think you can’t. If he doesn’t want to be there, guess what: he is going to miss out.

I’ve been crying nonstop. Everything makes me think of how precious my baby would’ve been. I don’t even know who I am anymore. Please, please, please, make sure you think it through, because once it’s done, you can’t rewind time. You can’t take it back—no matter how much you want to.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Susan’ is a pseudonym. 

By: Genevieve

I left the doctor’s office feeling very sure that in eight months or so, I would be a mommy! It wasn’t to be.

In the spring of 2014, I was a freshman in college. I spent way too much time partying and not enough time in class. I met the man that would change my life at the end of the spring semester. We spent three months engulfed in each other. We literally spent all day, every day together.

One morning I woke up (in his bed) and felt the vomit approaching. I jumped up and ran to the bathroom. He followed and asked me if I was okay. I said yes, and we thought nothing more of it. Then it dawned on me: my period always ran on the ninth of every month. Never a day early or late – and here I was, and it was April 11, 2014. I immediately left his apartment and went to mine (we lived down the hall from one another). I was honestly too nervous to tell him anything until I knew for sure.

I went to Walmart and bought three tests. When I arrived back at my apartment, I locked myself in my bathroom and sat in there alone for quite some time. I had taken two of the three tests, and they both showed the undeniable: a set of parallel lines.

I honestly don’t remember what I felt. It wasn’t sadness, and it wasn’t happiness. It was still, and I was numb.

I put the test in my pocket and walked to my boyfriend’s apartment. When I got there, I asked him to join me in his room, because I needed to tell him something. He followed me in, and I was silent. After about three minutes of him repeating, “What is it?,” I simply placed the test in his hand.

He shook his head, then he said to go to the doctor just to be sure. So I made the appointment. I went into the doctor’s office by myself the next day, and she confirmed that I was indeed pregnant, six weeks along.

I left the doctor’s office feeling very sure that in eight months or so, I would be a mommy!

But I was scared. I was trembling. So I called my mama. I was crying as soon as I heard her voice say, “Hello.” I hated disappointing her, and I knew I was going to do just that. My mama had had both my older sister and me by the time she was 21. We watched her struggle to raise us, and she had always taught us to protect ourselves. She had sent me to college to get a degree, not a baby.

I finally broke through my sobs and told her that I was pregnant. She asked what my boyfriend thought, and I said he hadn’t said much (although I knew he was not ready to be a daddy.)

My mom was the first person to encourage the abortion. “It’ll be hard, baby girl, but it is what’s best for you.” Those were her words. I went to my boyfriend’s and told him my mom wanted me to get an abortion, but I wanted to keep our baby.

He said, “I think we should get rid of it.”

A week later, we arrived at our appointment at Planned Parenthood. I was nervous, and very sick all morning. That day was a blur. I went in with a baby and left with a pill running through my bloodstream that would murder him.

On that day, I named myself, my mama, and my boyfriend murderers.

My mama and my boyfriend split the cost of the abortion, and I was on my way back to my apartment feeling very alone and very empty. To this day, as I lie in bed on this chilly October night, I still feel very alone and very empty.

A year and a half has passed, and my boyfriend and I are still together. He is sound asleep beside me right now, with not a worry in the world – as I lie here weeping, as I do a lot of nights. We both regret the decision, but it definitely weighs on my heart heavier than his. I killed my baby, and I will forever regret it. I’ll be so happy and complete if God decides I’m worthy of such a gift again, since I betrayed him the first time.

From the moment I found out that I was pregnant, I was the only person who approved of it. My advice to anyone going through a similar situation: don’t listen to them! Have your baby, and give your baby unconditional love.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. “Genevieve” is a pseudonym.

By Monica L.

It took me 12 years to finally accept God’s forgiveness for what I had done, and 21 years to finally forgive myself.

My story is twofold.

At 14, I gave myself to a boy who was 13 because he convinced me that it was the only way to prove my love to him. I was foolish to believe this, because true love would have waited.

At 15, I was pregnant with my first child. Both he and his parents tried to get me to abort. I would not listen. They tried everything, but I just could not do it. I somehow knew she was more than a choice. She was a child – my child.

He threatened to leave me if I had her. I chose her. She was born after I had just turned 16. She was beautiful in every way. I was blessed to have a mother willing to help me take care of her.

My boyfriend remained with me in spite of having her. His threat of leaving subsided. But abuse from him had begun during the pregnancy, with neglect and verbal threats and insults. After her birth, physical abuse from him ensued.

One night, he beat and raped me. I begged him not to get me pregnant, because I knew it was the time of the month that I could. When he was done with me, he said, “Take that. That one was a boy!” And it was.

Now I was 17 and pregnant with my second child. My grandparents still weren’t speaking to me; I was the “shame” of the family. My father had a hard time looking at me, and I knew it. The guilt was immeasurable. I felt that I could not come home pregnant again. The fear of doing so was greater than the fear of an abortion.

We had to wait to scrape up the money to get it done. By that time, I was too far along for the suction abortion. I had to get a fake ID and go to the next state, where a later-term abortion could be done. My so-called boyfriend and one of his buddies took me there. We stayed in a dive motel, where they left me alone while they went out to find a good high. I remember hiding in the corner, terrified as I heard bottles breaking and fighting outside my room.

The next morning they took me to the hospital where the abortions were performed. I was in a room filled with young women like me. Each of us had her own bed. There must have been at least ten of us in there. Some were crying out in pain as they were having a saline abortion. The nurse came back and told me I was too far along and would have to do the same. I told her that if I had to go through the labor anyway, then I was going to leave and just have the baby. She asked me to wait a minute and came back shortly, telling me they would put me to sleep and do a D&C.

I told myself that this would be a perfect solution. After all, if I was sleeping, then I could pretend it had never happened. I gave the go-ahead.

I awoke from the surgery, and they gave me coffee and some cookies to eat. I immediately began throwing them up because of a reaction to the anesthesia. I was left alone to try to catch it in a small peanut bowl, but this was far from sufficient. I had to get to a bathroom. I looked up and saw one across the room. I got up from my bed and ran to it. As I did, I heard laughter. I turned to see who was laughing. It was my supposed boyfriend and his buddy. My backside was exposed, no protection had been placed on me, and I had left a trail of blood across the floor. I closed myself off in the bathroom and crumpled to the floor and wept. I said to myself, “It never happened! It never happened!”

But it did.

A part of me died with that child that day. I somehow knew it was a son. I began using drugs heavily to numb the pain. I became suicidal. I did not care anymore. But then there was this child at home who needed me. I had to stay alive for her. I couldn’t allow him to get her. I could not trust him to love her as I would.

It took me 12 years to finally accept God’s forgiveness for what I had done, and 21 years to finally forgive myself. I realize now that sharing my story, instead of hiding my shame, could save a life. And even if it is only one life, the story is still worth sharing.

One thing I can say for sure is that I never stopped regretting what I did to my son, and I never once regretted what I gave to my daughter: life.

Today, that same daughter has given me my first and only grandchild. I look into her eyes and realize she might have never been. But she is – and I am blessed and honored to know her.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. “Monica L.” is a pseudonym.

By Jessica K.

I picture how my baby would look, laying his or her head on my chest, being rocked to sleep. It will haunt me for life.

Abortion was never something I agreed with, unless you were raped or had severe health problems. So I was shocked when I brought that option up to my ex. He jumped right on board and told me it was the best answer because we couldn’t afford another child. I’m already a single mom to two. He had a child as well.

I bawled my eyes out the night we discussed it, and I told him I didn’t know if I could go through with it. I put off making the appointment as long as possible. But my ex and I were having issues from him cheating on me, and I felt he still was. I didn’t think I could raise or afford another child.

When we got to the clinic, it felt so surreal. Was I really gonna be able to do it? What if God didn’t forgive me?

And I had already fallen in love with this baby.

During the procedure, which I found painful, I kept screaming, “I’m sorry!” It didn’t help that I saw a picture of the ultrasound on top of my file. It broke my heart to see that little body in that picture – knowing that I was his or her mother. My instinct as a mother is to protect, and I was doing the opposite.

I have regretted that day ever since. I have been grieving. Society makes you feel as if you don’t have the right to grieve and be sad, because it was your choice…but damn it, I need to grieve.

I picked a name. I pray all the time, asking God to take care of my baby.

I found out two weeks after the procedure that my ex was cheating again, so we broke up, which made everything worse. I picture how my baby would look, laying his or her head on my chest, being rocked to sleep. I still can’t go in the baby section in stores.

It’s a decision that will haunt me for life.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Jessica K.’ is a pseudonym. 

By Noelle S.

If only I’d had someone to talk to – someone to tell me that 15 years later, I would still be crying for my sweet baby.

I have only recently started to tell my story, and it aches.

Sixteen years ago, my crush of five years finally noticed me – and he asked me out! I was so excited. To have him notice me made me feel attractive, wanted, loved.

We had been dating for about three months when he asked if I wanted to take a trip with him. Worst. Decision. Ever.

Wow, this is hard to say. He tricked me into prostitution.

I believed I loved him at first, believed it when he told me that everything was OK, that we were going to be rich. But it did not take very long for my conscience to catch up to me, and I started to look for another job – somewhere, anywhere outside the sex trade. Well, my “boyfriend” didn’t like that very much, and he started to put me down, make me feel worthless, unworthy of any love.

Soon after that, the hitting began.

It was horrible, to feel as if you had nowhere to go, because you had given up everything and everyone for this person who was supposed to love you.

A year into our “relationship,” I found out I was pregnant. I was so excited – scared of becoming a mom at such a young age, but I was gonna be a mommy. This baby was going to love me!

Little did I know that he had other plans.

One night, I wasn’t feeling too well and stayed home. He took this opportunity to have a “serious discussion” with me. These usually involved fists.

He had decided that I needed to get an abortion, that there was simply no other choice. I was mortified! This was my baby – how could he make me get rid of it?

As I expected, when I said “no,” the pushing, hitting, and eventually kicking began. He let me know that he was going to beat the baby out of me unless I agreed to the abortion. I was so weak.

I wish I’d had the strength to leave.

I took my baby’s life from her in the year 2000. I would have a beautiful child of God whom I had helped create, if only I’d had someone to talk to, someone who would listen – someone to tell me that 15 years later, I would still be crying for my sweet baby.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Noelle S.’ is a pseudonym. 

By Sharon B.
‘If I had given my child up for adoption, I could be reunited with a grown child…Instead, I’m a mess and he or she is dead.’

I was a young twenty-something – already a single mother.

The first time I got pregnant was as a teen, and I felt a powerful drive to protect my baby. It cost me a lot – even my home. But it was worth it.

I began having problems with my birth control method, and I wasn’t prepared for sex, but my lover at the time pressured me into having sex anyway. Eventually I wound up with that same gut feeling that I was pregnant.

I don’t know why, but I felt very scared this time, afraid to let everyone down again, and the father took abortion as a given. So I rationalized with myself that if I just needed to do it as soon as possible.

I did not let any weeks go by. I was in a state of panic, convinced that if I just did it as soon as possible, surely it wasn’t a baby yet, not human. I turned my feelings off.

I had it done. I was asleep.

My feelings remained off for about 23 years. I became pro-life, but I refused to acknowledge my own abortion. I was still on Off. I married a great man and didn’t tell him. I became a Christian and confessed all my sins, except that one. It was buried to such a depth that I’m still not sure how it came out.

And then, one day, I lost it – and I mean lost it. I couldn’t drive straight. I had to park. I couldn’t see straight. I was shaking. I couldn’t move or breathe. Complete panic attack. All I kept thinking was, “If I had given my child up for adoption, I could be reunited with a grown child, possibly having the joy of having that child hand me flowers and tell me about his or her life. Instead, I’m a mess, and he or she is dead.”

I struggled for months. I had to have an honest conversation with God. I shook with embarrassment as I told my husband. And now I am stuck – every single day, I am stuck with this. I’d cut off my right arm to choose differently.

I know I’m forgiven, but I guess it won’t be until I get to heaven that it will feel like it.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Sharon B.’ is a pseudonym. 

By Olivia K.

I was weak, and I gave up on my child. That will always be my biggest regret.

I lost my virginity when I was a senior in high school. I was 17 at the time, having sex with someone who I thought loved me. He constantly told me that if I loved him, I would show him I loved him and give myself to him. As a young and naïve kid, I listened.

I became pregnant the first time I had sex. I thought such a thing would never happen to me.

When I found out, I was torn. I was living with a very strict family member. There was no way I would be able to have a child while living there. So I turned to the father, who immediately turned on me.

I kept my pregnancy a secret for as long as I could before I eventually had to tell someone. The person I confided in advised me to get an abortion, just as the father had.

When I had my first doctor’s appointment, I was cold all around. This was my time to see if I could keep my unborn child or have an abortion. Someone there told me I was on my way to college, and that having a child would be a bad idea. So I went along with the process.

The next week, my ninth week of pregnancy, was when I had the procedure. It was the most painful thing I’ve ever experienced. To this day, I can still feel them taking my baby out of me. I still feel the pain of my child. But I could not deal with a child on my own. I had no help.

I regret the decision more today than I did then. I took the easy way out. I am at the point where I can now face the financial responsibilities of a child. I just did not give it a chance.

I was weak, and I gave up on my child. That will always be my biggest regret.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Olivia K.’ is a pseudonym. 

By Victoria D.

I was too selfish to deal with another baby, because it’s already hard raising three kids and working full-time.

I am 26 years old. I consider myself to have a good life. I’ve been married for more than six years. My husband and I have three children. We are paying for our home and have good jobs. We are financially set, and we have a happy marriage.

I thought abortions were for young girls, women who live in poverty, single parents, rape victims, medical emergencies. I never thought I would have one.

It happened so fast. I made an appointment for a medical abortion. I got the appointment the next day; I didn’t think It would be so fast. I got an ultrasound done, but they didn’t tell me how many weeks I was or show me a picture. By my calculations, I was around five or six weeks.

The doctor gave me the first pill to take right there and handed me a packet with the additional four pills to take at home. When he was going through my case, I saw a glimpse of the ultrasound picture. My baby was there, was already forming.

The doctor explained the procedure and made it seem quite easy. I thought about leaving, but I stayed. Not once was I asked if I wanted to go through with it. How silly is it to think they would ask? I was the one who went there.

The abortion itself was not painful – just cramping and heavy bleeding with clots. Nothing too bad.

But the shame and the anger are still there. I took away the chance for my baby to live.

My baby was conceived out of love, just like my other three. My husband, the father to my children, is the best husband ever. There was no real reason for me to get an abortion, other than having had three C-sections. A fourth one would be risky, but with good care I would have been fine.

I was too selfish to deal with another baby, because it’s already hard raising three kids and working full-time with a husband who works a lot as well.

I try to find a justification for what I did, but I know I did a bad thing. My husband is supportive, but he does not understand me. I chose to have the abortion, yet I’m so angry – which I don’t have the right to be. It was my decision.

I was raised in a Catholic family. I am so close to my mother, but I could never tell her. She would not forgive me, and I don’t think I can forgive myself.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Victoria D.’ is a pseudonym. 

By Barbara H.

Until I see them again in heaven, I mourn my choices, rejoicing that I have been forgiven.

My name is Danielle, and I am the mother of ten children. Two are in college, one I miscarried, and the other seven all had their lives ripped from them through abortion.

Growing up, I had a very painful, abusive home. I longed for positive attention from men. My dad, broken emotionally, often told me that because I was “a whore,” I would be pregnant by the time I was fourteen.

Oh, the power of words.

I met a young man at fourteen who would become my husband. He had a twisted, abusive upbringing of his own. We clung to each other, even in the midst of our toxic relationship.

My first pregnancy occurred when I was 15. I was shocked, and so sick.

The only place I knew to turn was Planned Parenthood. I was told that “it” was just a lump of cells, very easy to remove. I would have to pay $300 and show up to my appointment, but then I could go back to living life the way I always did.

When I finally told my mom, she told me that she would take me herself, because I was much too young to have a child, and she was dating someone and did not want any extra drama. My boyfriend adamantly agreed. I was embarrassed and did not know what else to do.

Of course, ultimately, the choice rested with me.

I will never forget that day; I was terrified, and there was a young woman with a bloody sign outside the clinic gently talking to women as they walked through the doors. I purposely averted my eyes, as I was resolute about what I was doing. Yet somewhere deep inside, my heart was breaking before I ever reached the door.

I willingly went through the process, and when I awoke, a major piece of me died along with my baby. I slept for the rest of the day, broken, ashamed, and guilty.

I was told to use birth control pills and condoms moving forward. Selfishly, I did neither.

A strange thing happened to me: after taking the life of my first precious child, I became hyper-vigilant about the abortion rights of young women. After all, it was not that big of a deal. Students in high school would ask me about where to go, and I would direct them. In directing them, I believe I was denying the deepest pain within me about what I knew was morally wrong.

I had six more abortions after that, and each one became increasingly easier. I fell into a depressive abyss with each one, but I didn’t think it was a big deal.

I decided to join the military with my boyfriend. We got married at 19 to ensure that we were stationed together. A year later, almost to the date, I gave birth to my daughter.

It is difficult to describe the depths of despair and darkness that I descended into, holding this beautiful little girl in my arms. The mask was ripped off, the lies exposed. I was a murderer. I had done the unthinkable, all under the shroud of darkness, and I hated myself. My denial was confronted so absolutely; I was dead emotionally.

I did not have much to give to my precious little one or anyone else. My husband became the enemy, because he had not protected any of his seven previous little ones.

Twenty months later, I gave birth to my second child, and the despair worsened. I was the walking dead. I was the epitome of shame and hopelessness. I slept most of my hours away, even as I did what I could to provide my two living children with a good mom. That was the least I could do.

A few years later, I heard about a post-abortive support group based on a Bible study. I decided that it was the right thing to do, and it was the beginning of the healing process for this very broken, depressed, suffering heart. I’m not sure how I found the strength to go each week, but I kept going back.

One week, we talked of forgiveness and during the prep time, God in His sweet grace and mercy revealed the following vision to me while I was in prayer:

It was the most beautiful green that I had ever seen – hills rolling, as if playing against the blue sky. And there I was standing, staring. Coming toward me was the most beautiful group of children, seven in all, with beautifully distinctive features. They smiled and laughed while being led by a loving man. I joined this lovely group, and we sat down in a circle, with me in the middle. One by one, starting with the oldest, each child handed me a beautiful yellow rose, eyes full of love, and said, “I forgive you.” After the youngest little girl took her turn, they all got up, joined hands, and walked away. The last little one turned towards me with tears in her eyes and stared as they walked away.

Even as I write this, my heart breaks, and tears fall without stopping.

I’ve walked this road of healing and regret for more than 25 years now and have experienced tremendous grace and forgiveness from Jesus Christ. I’ve even led similar Bible studies to help other women walk the long road to recovery. I do believe that God really does use all things for our good if we let Him (Romans 8:28), and I only pray and hope that my story will keep one woman from living this same life of suffering that I willingly chose.

If only I had known better. Ignorance is not bliss.

I know my God is faithful, but my life bears an indelible scar. Part of me died and has not been restored. I have struggled tremendously to live a life of normalcy in spite of what I have done. My relationship with my husband has ebbed and flowed, but we both know that our decisions have created tremendous chasms between us. We continue to work at moving past them.

If I could change one thing in my life, I would have kept my first child and given him up for adoption. As they say, hindsight is twenty-twenty.

My back now has ten beautiful tattooed butterflies on it to signify the beauty of each of my children’s lives. Until I see them again in heaven, I mourn my choices, rejoicing that I have been forgiven.

One side note: I prayed for years that my living children would not find out about the shameful things that I had done. I even threw my books and workbooks away to ensure that this never happened (what a loss that was!). But when my daughter was sixteen, I felt the pressing need to reveal the truth to her and felt assured that the time was right. Her heart broke that day as she thought about the idea of life with older siblings. She cried. And through the years, we have talked about it. She has used my story many times to share the horrible truth about abortion with others. My son learned the truth as well.

This story comes from a heart broken, in the process of being redeemed, wrought by the shadows of her own doing. Protect your life and the life of your little one. Do not abort. It is a short-term solution (if you can call it that) to a long-term, heartbreaking, life-altering problem. Heed my advice, and learn from my mistakes.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. ‘Barbara H.’ is a pseudonym. 

By Jane A.

When my mom was dying, I realized I had killed the only grandchild from me that she would ever have.

I was seventeen and madly in love with the most awesome guy ever. My dad had just been diagnosed with COPD, and my grandmother had terminal brain cancer. My mom spent most of her time working or taking care of her mom. My boyfriend and I found ourselves alone a lot.

“What do you mean, your period is late?” he asked. I went to get a home pregnancy test. Positive. Crap. Then we went to the women’s clinic, and it was confirmed. No. I’m only 17 – this can’t be happening. I can’t tell my parents; we can’t tell his parents. Adoption isn’t an option, because I don’t want some kid tracking me down in 18 years and turning my life upside-down. We have to think.

Then my grandmother died. I scheduled the abortion for the day of her funeral so no one would wonder why I’m missing school or upset. Done deal. Mentally, I shut down. I was giving the spirit of my dead baby to my grandmother to care for.

The day of the procedure, I went in numb. My boyfriend handed over the money and waited in the waiting room. I was talked to, given medicine, and told to change clothes, sit on the edge of the table, lie back, and relax. They said there would be noise and some discomfort. No one said they were going to vacuum the baby out and keep going around until they knew they had it all.

It hurt, like hell. But I deserved it. The notes in my chart said I was “overly emotional” because I cried in the recovery room. I got dressed, went home, and said nothing. I went to my grandmother’s funeral that afternoon as if nothing had happened.

The next day I was doing laundry (not normal for me), and my sister opened the wrong loaf of bread. I flipped. That’s when it all spilled out.

For the first time in my life, I watched my superhero dad cry, and it was my fault! My mom blamed herself, and I was happy to let her.

It was the middle of my senior year of high school. I barely graduated. I pretended for a long time that it hadn’t happened.

Then, when I was 24 and my mom was dying, I realized I had killed the only grandchild from me that she would ever have. I started going downhill from there.

I had my son two years later, and he is my life.

When I came to Christ at the age of 28, I finally had to come to terms with what I had done all those years ago. I had to forgive myself.

I’m still haunted by that decision to end that pregnancy. I now realize that it is something you carry with you forever. I try not to be judgmental about women who want an abortion, but when they hear how it has haunted me, they usually reconsider and start looking at adoption.

Oh, how I wish now that I had that 18-year-old – a child to find me today, so I could say, “I loved you so much that I wanted you to live with someone who could care for you.”

I know the struggle is real, but so is that baby.

Note: The author of this testimony prefers to remain anonymous. “Jane A.” is a pseudonym.