by Valerie L. Call Jacobs, MA
One recent afternoon the Project Rachel phone rang. A young woman, fighting to choke back sobs, began to pour out her heart.
“My sister wanted to keep her baby - and I tried to do everything I could to help her because..... I had an abortion years ago and I swore I would never go through that again!”
The young woman, who I will call Kelly, continued her anguished story.
"My sister had already begun to bond with her baby. She picked out a hospital and made an appointment with a midwife. But she never got to that appointment. One day....just one day! And everything changed!"
What was it that happened on that one day that changed everything for Kelly and her sister? She spent that one day with her parents, telling them about her pregnancy and her intentions to have her baby.
“How can you possibly think you can have a baby?!""You’re not ready; you’re too immature." "Don’t expect us to support you. You will be on your own with it.""You can’t live with either of us and if you have this baby, you won’t get any more money for school."
So what would you do if you were 19, single, pregnant, and the very people you look to for guidance - undermine your self-confidence and pull out all your rungs of support?
Kelly didn’t know what else to do to help her sister, so she went to Planned Parenthood with her.
“My sister was in so much physical and emotional pain. But they were so clinical. They said, ‘We’re going to extract the tissue.' It wasn’t tissue. It was a child! We both sobbed all the way through the procedure. No one really helped us. No one even questioned what my sister really wanted. She just felt she had no other choice.”
Days later Kelly’s sister was admitted to a local hospital for surgery to repair a perforated uterus. Kelly is agonizing over what she should or could have said or done to persuade her sister against that fateful choice. If only....
“I am grieving for my sister,” Kelly said. “I’m grieving for my niece or nephew.”
Kelly’s sister is grieving too. She is at serious risk of depression, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts or actions. She is at serious risk of experiencing such self-loathing that she will undermine the very life success her parents thought they were protecting for her. We can only pray that she won't also grieve the loss of her fertility.
At this point, I do not know the outcome of the surgery. It may be days or years before Kelly and her sister follow up with another call. I have left a message, but the physical recovery is a priority right now. I will give them some time and continue to check back. And, of course, I will continue to pray.
Kelly and her sister will need much compassion and love in the days, weeks and months ahead. They need to know that their lives are as precious as the children they once carried beneath their hearts. They need to know that there is hope and healing for their futures. Please pray with me for Kelly and her sister, even as we pray for that day when the Project Rachel phone will no longer ring.
Valerie L. Call Jacobs, MA
You are loved with an everlasting Love!
[This story was told to this editor in late 2007. We also pray for Kelly and her sister. This abortion happened at a Planned Parenthood of Western Washington abortion center.]