The only difference between me and the millions of women who had abortions is I didn’t get pregnant.
When I was a teenager, abortion always existed as a backup plan, just in case my birth control didn’t work. If I got pregnant, the idea of telling my parents filled me with dread. The thought of carrying a baby and abandoning my dreams as a journalist was unthinkable. Abortion seemed to be the only option, and I became an advocate for women just like me: those who wanted the freedom to make a choice to abort their babies to avoid embarrassment, or convenience, or for financial reasons, or because the timing wasn’t right.
I wrote pro-choice articles in my high school and college newspapers and was incredulous when other people on the newspaper staff wanted to write counter opinions.
Who could possibly not support a woman’s right to choose? Did they really think women would stop having sex? How was it fair that men could make a decision that governed a woman’s body, her life, and her future?
In my mind, the most important thing for a woman’s future was to protect her ability to have children how, where, and with whomever she wanted.
Something shifted one day while I was driving on a twisty mountain road, and I suddenly realized I’d been believing a lie. Somewhere along the line, I had been able to separate myself from the truth that a baby in a womb is far more than a clump of cells — it’s another life a woman was entrusted to carry, even if it wasn’t planned and was unwanted. I spoke this revelation out loud, and to my surprise, my formerly pro-choice husband told me he’d been thinking the same thing. We had begun taking our faith more seriously a few months before, and God changed our hearts on this huge issue simultaneously.
Several years later, I became pregnant with our first baby and was filled with love and wonder from the moment the pregnancy test revealed a plus sign. As I watched and felt my baby grow, so did my convictions about abortion. A baby’s life is a gift. The fact that women are ordained with the ability to grow entire humans is a miracle to be celebrated, not to be discarded for the sake of reputation, convenience, or finances. Babies are not the worst thing that could happen to a young woman — there are options besides abortion.
When the idea came to light that Roe v. Wade may be overturned, after my initial excitement and disbelief that it was even on the table, I was filled with a sense of woe. I am 49 years old, and Roe v. Wade passed five months before I was born. The length of my life represents the time that has passed and the generations of women who bought into the lie that abortion was a better option.
The truth settled in that over 60 million babies aren’t here today because they were removed from their mother’s wombs and discarded like trash. I began to imagine all the friends I didn’t have because their lives were terminated. I pondered the life of my friend who was born in 1983. Her birth mother chose to give birth to her after she was raped and gave her up for adoption. That choice led to my friend being able to live a life that blesses others every single day, with a husband and children who do the same. I began to think of all the people who had beginnings like my friend, but they don’t exist.
Then I began to think about my teenage friends, and the hard decision they had to make back when we were young, and scared, and the world was telling us a career or college was more important than the miraculous life that was suddenly inside her. They believed the lie, and I supported them. I was sad I wasn’t wiser. I didn’t know the truth.
Then I began to give thanks for grace and forgiveness. God loves every single one of those babies, and even if we’ll never know their smiles, their talents, nor their ingenuity, He created them, and they are with Him.
God also loves every single one of those 60 million women who chose to have an abortion. So many men and women have lived decades with deep, hidden shame because abortion touched their lives. When you see the angry women screaming on the internet about their right to choose, remember that anger may be a secondary emotion to shame and rejection. They want to continue to believe the lie that abortion isn’t murder because if the truth really settled in their hearts, it would be too much to bear. I’m here to tell you that Jesus offers healing, hope, and freedom from abortion and anything else that haunts you. There truly is a better way to live than fraught with anger, shame, or despair.
It’s a landmark moment for our nation. Our leaders — men and women entrusted with the responsibility to make decisions that impact our lives — have stood up against death threats, picketing, and mobs and have overturned the fraudulent idea that abortion is a constitutional right. May it be a day when women realize abortion rights don’t define women’s rights, it negates them. The abortion movement has enslaved women mentally, physically, and spiritually, with crippling effects that have now impacted several generations. Instead, let’s support these rights:
The right to bear children and a duty to protect them at every stage of existence.
The right to expect men would come alongside us to be the best fathers they know how to be.
The right to invest our time, energy, and resources in pregnancy centers that work to love and support women who are suddenly pregnant and have no resources for their baby.
The right to talk about abortions and to be freed from the trauma they have introduced into our lives.
I celebrate Roe v. Wade being overturned, but even more I celebrate the freedom that can only come from the truth being recognized, embraced, and upheld. May this day be the day healing begins.
Susan Seiling is a writer and editor based in Murfeesboro, Tennessee. For more information visit susanseiling.com