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"Misinformed" Consent

Case Study: Linda G.

In April of 1974, I became pregnant. I was seventeen, unmarried, and scared to death. My boyfriend, Bill, had wanted to marry me for some time, so when I found out I was pregnant, I said okay.

I couldn't bear the thought of having to tell my parents because I knew it would hurt them really badly. I was raised in a Christian home; I knew I was wrong and that I had failed them again. So I decided not to tell them yet.

My mother planned an enormous wedding; four hundred and fifty people showed up. I was so ashamed. I couldn't believe this was happening to me. But deep down inside me I was really happy about my baby. Nothing else seemed right, but I was happy about having a baby.

As the days went by, I thought it would be easier to tell my parents now. When I told my mom, it was like placing a knife in her heart. I felt so guilty for having hurt my Mom and Dad that way. But after two days, Mom accepted my pregnancy and knew she had to make the best of it. I became really excited about the baby, and began to think of boys' and girls' names.

But in the meantime, Bill had started pushing me around. I was scared for the baby. We were separated one month after we were married.

When I had learned I was pregnant, the doctor had suggested an abortion, and I had said NO. When I told the doctor I was separated, he asked me if I had thought anymore about having an abortion. Again I said no.

But it was then that I first began to consider it. All I could remember was one of my girlfriends telling me that hers was a breeze. In fact, she had recommended that if I ever got pregnant, abortion was the answer.

I started questioning my parents about abortion. They really didn't understand anything about it, but they told me they would help me in any decision that I made. I wanted them to tell me exactly what happens when one has an abortion, but no one talked too much about that sort of thing openly back then.

I really didn't know where to go from this point, so I finally asked my doctor. He told me that since I was 14 to 16 weeks pregnant, I would have to have a saline abortion. He said it wasn't that bad, but that I would have to be admitted to the hospital.

He never told me how big my baby was or any of the complications that could happen, and he certainly didn't tell me about the aftereffects. I trusted him because he had the title of "doctor."

Somewhere in the back of my mind I could hear a scripture being quoted, "Thou shalt not kill...." But I just ignored it, because everyone else said that this was the easiest way out.

I called my doctor and went into the hospital the next day. They put a needle into my stomach; even though my stomach was supposed to be numbed, it hurt really badly. I could feel the needle going into my womb, and I got real scared.

After this they took me up to a room on the maternity ward. I could hear babies crying, and new mothers laughing about their babies. I was so confused that I started crying.

That night was the longest night of my life. My stomach was cramping and I could feel strange movement in my stomach. I wished at this time that I had never decided to do this.

The next day was terrible. My stomach really began to feel bad. I could still feel the strange movement in my stomach. I didn't realize that this was my baby fighting for her life.

Finally the time came for my baby to be born. I could feel her coming through the birth canal and I kept telling the intern the baby was coming. All she did was say OK and left the room. She could have cared less.

My baby was born right there in my bed with me. She looked just like a normal child except that her skin was all red from being burned by the saline solution.

The intern came back in and said sarcastically that I had been right about the baby coming. My baby laid between my legs for fifteen minutes before the intern picked her up and placed her in a basin.

I couldn't believe that my doctor hadn't told me that my baby was eight inches long and looked like a little human being. He had kept important information from me, and I was really upset about that.

Little did I know that day marked the beginning of eight long years of living in hell. I began to have nightmares all the time; the picture of my dead child wouldn't leave my mind.

I began to drink a lot, and also did a lot of drugs. I started blaming my parents for allowing me to go through the abortion. I withdrew from my friends and family.

After about a year I started having severe pain in my cervix area. The doctor found four spots on my cervix. They removed the spots and called it a mild case of cervical cancer.

Two years after my abortion, I met my future husband, Frank. Frank knew from the start about me having the abortion and was very kind about the whole thing. I really wanted to have a baby by this time, and five months after our marriage I did get pregnant.

Everything was normal for three months, and then I began to bleed. Right away I thought God was doing this to me and that I was going to miscarry for sure.

The bleeding stopped after two weeks, and on the day before Mother's Day, I delivered a little girl. It was the most exciting time of my life. Even though I wasn't a Christian, I could see God's hand in this miracle of birth.

When our daughter was ten months old, I became pregnant again. I carried this child for about three months, then lost it. I became pregnant again, had a normal pregnancy, and delivered a healthy baby boy.

But even after having two children, I couldn't get the abortion off my mind. My marriage was falling apart and I really didn't care. My mother threatened to take my children from me but I still didn't care.

One day, though, I was riding a friend's horse, and it threw me off and knocked me unconscious. I began to think about how fast one leaves this life to enter heaven or hell. I had always thought I had a lot of time to get saved before I would die.

The Lord really began to speak to me then. Finally, I knew what I had to do. I wanted to give my life to Jesus Christ, and I wanted to walk the aisle at church so everyone would know. I made my profession of faith and was baptized.

My lifestyle and my whole attitude changed. I've been a volunteer in my church's Save-A-Baby Ministry since then. I've seen miracles happen so many times in this ministry, and I thank God for using me this way

Originally published in The PostAbortion Review 6(2) Spring 1998..

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