As the nation marks January as Sanctity of Life Month and thousands gather to march for the unborn, Tina Torry, whose baby survived an abortion, shares her story of how "divine intervention" saved her daughter's life.
It was 1978 when Tina Torry, 17 at the time, became pregnant. Her boyfriend, family, and health care professionals were adamant that she have an abortion – as it was legal at the time, she told The Christian Post.
"I had no moral support to keep the child," she said. "From day one, I was pointed to an abortion clinic. They never said consider adoption."
According to Torry, sitting in the Charleston, S.C., abortion clinic was "unreal." She recalled looking at the women in the waiting room, and one in particular appeared to be at least six months pregnant. It was then that the enormity of the situation dawned on her.
"It just hit me so hard," the 51-year-old shared. "I had to sign all of these waivers and no young girl really takes the time to read all of the fine print. They never counseled me on the procedure, the side effects, or what can happen. Nothing."
Torry, who was about 3 months pregnant, told CP that there were complications during her suction abortion, described as a common first trimester abortion method. The procedure involves the amniotic fluid and placenta, followed by the fetus, being suctioned from the woman's womb through a tube. However, something did not feel right during her operation, Torry said.
"Finally when it was over – in the recovery room all of these girls were laying on cots and a lot of them were crying and doubled over," she recalled. "A nurse came by and she said 'you know that's strange, you're not even bleeding.'"
Not having any prior knowledge on what a suction abortion entailed, Torry shared that this news did not raise any alarms. Regardless, the nurse prescribed her antibiotics and birth control pills. It was not until two months later that she realized something was still very wrong. Torry was sick all the time – a result of the birth control she thought, for she had never been on the pills. However, a visit to her local gynecologist revealed that she was still pregnant and it was considered "high-risk."
"I was always at the hospital running numerous tests," the Arizona resident stated. "There was no amniotic fluid so [doctors] couldn't really give me a due date. But finally they said Nov. 9 you're going to have this baby."
The 51-year-old said that by this time, the relationship with her boyfriend had deteriorated and her father had completely disowned her. "I had nobody. I was just so outcasted," Torry stated. "I was living with my mom and [over time] she finally accepted it and started getting excited about it."
According to Torry, it was her social worker who first said she should keep her child. "She looked at me and said, 'You know for some reason – I don't usually say this to a young girl – but I feel like you should keep this baby.'"
Torry recalled that her labor had to be induced and that she "never went into hard labor." She was at the hospital all night – "alone, no mother, nobody." The doctors eventually had to perform an emergency Caesarean section.
"I was really upset, just crying and finally when I woke up my doctor told me, 'You know Tina this was a miracle – a little 3-pound, 3-ounce baby girl.' " According to Torry, her daughter, Heidi, was so tiny that she had to be rushed into the intensive care nursery. She was in the hospital for eight days after her delivery, while Heidi remained there for one month.
Torry told CP that the suction machine removed the placenta and amniotic fluid, but it did not take her baby. "The nurses would say 'it's a miracle baby,' but I wasn't a Christian then so I did not [understand]. When someone speaks that kind of language and you don't know God, you don't understand it."
There was a lot of confusion about why Heidi lived, Torry said, relating her confusion to the absence of God in her life. "I didn't know the reason she lived. There's a lot of 'whys,' but then it all came to fruition and its like now I see. Now I see why."
Torry recalled it was not until around the age of 20 when she had become frustrated and dissatisfied with her life that she encountered God. "I [along with Heidi] went to live in New Jersey with my aunt and uncle. And one of the rules was if you live here you go to church. So I had to go to church and that's when I found the Lord. My whole life was transformed."
According to Torry, she was "anointed by God" and finds it amazing "that He was with me even though I wasn't acknowledging Him." She pointed out that she was just living for herself, but there was a bigger plan of which only the Lord knew. "It was divine intervention. He intervened in my life [and] stopped this abortion because he wanted to use me to spread this message [of forgiveness]."
Connecting with God, this life-altering relationship is what Torry says enabled her to share her story with young girls and women in similar situations. She moved back to South Carolina and became heavily involved in inner-city ministries and helping teen girls and mothers. The 51-year-old told CP that "to stand up before the world and share this kind of testimony is not an easy thing to do."
"If you look at it, I'm telling all the wrong things in my life, but for those of us who are believers they seek God's way," she stated. "God has a plan and he anointed me for his mission – to carry it out."
"It has touched so many lives. I won't know the full impact until I go to heaven."
Tina Torry has been sharing her story whenever the opportunity arises – whether it be interviews or on a more personal level. She told CP that girls have personally sought her out. "Women open up about their abortions and I share with them in that way," she sad.
According to the most recent statistics from the Guttmacher Institute (AGI), about 1.21 million abortions took place in the U.S. in 2008. However, this number is down from an estimated 1.29 million in 2002. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) also found that between 2000 and 2007 the number of annual abortions decreased by 2 percent. Worldwide, about 115,000 babies are aborted every day, the AGI reports.
"Sharing my story is going to save babies and help people affected by abortion," Torry told CP. "I see how important it is for there to be grace and mercy for women who have done this. It affects everything. If they're not healed, it rolls over into every aspect [of their lives]."
Torry's daughter, Heidi, is currently in her 30s and is married with three children. Torry shared that her daughter has always wanted to be a mother. "She's doing what she wants to do – raise children. She loves kids," she said.
Short of a Miracle: Tina Torry's Story of Hope in the Midst of Tragedy, by Crystal Pitrois, documents Torry's amazing story of life and forgiveness in finding God's grace.