The Choices We Make
Case Study: "Jill Nolan"
I was still 19 when I got pregnant living with a boyfriend (who is soon
to be my ex-husband) in Detroit. Suddenly I was faced with "the CHOICE".
How I'd wished I could've been like the wholesome looking mother-to-be
on the T.V. commercials. The one with a cute maternity dress and a nursery
all made up ready and waiting and a warm protective husband coming home,
putting his arms around her saying, "Honey, I can hardly wait."
My boyfriend wanted nothing to do with a future with me. A baby implied
a future, commitment. He had already gotten the cow for free--why raise
Yet in the face of abandonment, I did not look at reality and use my
courage to squarely tell him what I wished to do. "I'm going to have this
baby, whether you stay and meet my emotional needs or not."
As human beings, we have two basic needs: love and worth. You need to
love and to be loved, and you need to feel worth about yourself and the
security of knowing someone else sees worth in you. In desperation, to
meet these needs in my life even temporarily, even imaginarily, I clung
to my boyfriend and gave in to his desire that I have an abortion. Thus
I sacrificed my firstborn to the idol of temporary emotional security.
It was so easy to be swayed, despite vague moral convictions that abortion
was murder. For I felt so immature, selfish and unready to have a child.
Are mothers ever ready? Babies and children bring out the best and the
worst in us. Yes, we have the potential for learning of a noble, self-sacrificing,
forbearing kind of love, but, more often than that, children on a daily
basis, also expose our own innate selfishness. The power both to train
and scar our children lies in our hands. And there is little support in
our society to help a woman choose to keep and raise her child. Parents,
many from scarred backgrounds, need education on how to train and love
their children and this is not readily available.
My boyfriend and my family insisted that there was no way out but to
choose abortion. I chose to be verbally manipulated to carry out their
point of view, rather than thinking through the choice. I was given no
alternatives. A clinic was quickly found to take care of our little "problem."
At the clinic, the doctor seemed so abrupt and angry, so tense and under
pressure. I felt like the only difference in his eyes between me and the
unborn child in my womb was 19 years. Had I been 19 years younger, unable
to speak and helpless, I too would have met the same fate in his office,
the death penalty. The crime, being a "useless" member of society. My life
seemed so valueless in the doctor's sight.
A person's self esteem (the worth they feel about themselves) determines
the value they place on the lives of others. "Love others as you love yourself."
Yet how do you love others when, deep down, you despise yourself?
The Nazi movement didn't start with Hitler. He just jumped on the bandwagon
of a movement originating in the 20's by groups of doctors and psychiatrists
in Germany. They proposed "mercy" killing of elderly or mentally impaired
members of society. These dear peoples lives were valueless in their sight.
Hitler just extended this kind of thinking to the Jews (the apple of God's
eye) and other minority groups. I believe that this same kind of thinking
(which stems from zero self-esteem) is what is behind abortions in this
At the clinic I learned a shameful lesson I wished I'd never learned,
perhaps the same lesson Nazi soldiers learned when they were "just carrying
out orders" in concentration camps. I too, was just "following orders."
I wanted to be a "good" girlfriend. I pray that from now on I can be a
woman of conviction, instead of a spineless robot, the gutless wonder.
In the weeks, months, and years following the abortion, I fell in and
out of depression, which was only masked at times by bursts of desperate
hyperactivity. The sadness over what happened hangs about me like the hovering
scent of funeral flowers that linger in a room after the funeral has come
I later got pregnant. But this time, I battled with my own selfishness
and fears, and with my boyfriend, and stood up for my right to be a mother
and for the rights of my unborn child, who is soon going to be nine and
is very beloved by us all.
I am now being divorced. I never enjoyed sex for years and this damaged
my live-in relationship and short-lived marriage to this same boyfriend.
Whenever we made "love" I saw the CHOICE of abortion looming behind every
expression of "love" between us.
Now, I am engaged to be married to one in whose eyes I am loved, one
who sees me and all human beings as pearls of great price. His name is
Now I am truly pro-choice. I'm determined not to let anybody but Christ
(through the common sense plan of conduct transformation laid out in His
word, the Bible) influence my moral choices anymore. I want to be an independent
thinker and not let anyone do my thinking for me. If you don't "do" your
own thinking, someone else will "do" your thinking for you.
Originally published in The PostAbortion Review 4(1) Winter 1996.