In a recent article in The Harvard Crimson, a student shared her story of having an abortion after her boyfriend broke up with her. She writes, “All I desperately wanted was to have my boyfriend back. I wanted him to hold me and let me cry into his chest, for him to tell me that everything was okay even though it wasn’t. But by the time I found out the truth, it was too late to get him back. He had started dating another girl two months after we broke up. I couldn’t tell him. I couldn’t tell anyone.”
At the time, the woman was four months pregnant because she didn’t find out about the pregnancy right away. However, she decided to have an abortion because she thought that was all she could do. She said, “I called the clinic and made an appointment for a week’s time. That week was the hardest of my entire life. I hid underneath baggy sweaters, convinced that someone would notice how round my stomach had gotten. I was pale and withdrawn, and skipped almost every class to cry in my bedroom. I woke up every day praying that I was having some extended nightmare. I wasn’t.”
She continued, “I headed to the clinic a week later with just a book, a water bottle, my Harvard ID, and a locket containing a picture of my ex-boyfriend and me. The procedure didn’t take long. It wasn’t even that physically painful. But when it was over, I screamed. I couldn’t stop screaming. As I write these words, it has been over a month since the abortion—and on the inside that screaming hasn’t stopped.”
Tragically, this is the response of countless women who’ve abortions and our culture’s growing praise of it isn’t helping. Women are told that abortion is a safe and simple procedure, much like having a tooth extracted; or that there will be no long-term side effects and their life will go back to normal.
However, studies show that over 65% of women who have abortions suffer from post-abortive syndrome, 31% have health complications, and post abortive women are six-times more likely to commit suicide than women who give birth. Also, many women who have abortions are coerced or forced into it by parents, spouses or partners. For these women, this “choice” society brags about really isn’t one at all.
Unfortunately, for the Harvard student, she feels like she has to hide the secret forever and that no can help her now that she’s already had the abortion.
She writes, “…Part of what makes it so hard is there is no one to help me deal with that pain. I wish that I had support. I wish that someone would tell me I’m not a horrible person for making the choice that I did, or say that they sympathize with my agony. But I can’t tell anyone, even my family, about my abortion or my child. I did end up telling my ex-boyfriend. I wanted him to realize that we’d never actually been broken. I sobbed into his chest and confessed everything. I told him about my guilt and my pain. He still didn’t take me back. He told me to tell him if anything was seriously wrong, but he didn’t support me when I needed him and reached out for help. Maybe now I’m just too messed up for him, or anyone else, to deal with.”
She concluded, “It is frightening how hard it can be to find support at Harvard. I was shocked by how easy it was to hide my pregnancy. No one, not even my roommates or best friends, noticed how I suddenly started wearing exclusively baggy clothing, or how I kept cancelling plans last minute so I could cry in my room. No one noticed that I was vomiting on a near-daily basis, though I passed it off as “a winter bug” for weeks on end. We’ve talked before about how here at school, we’re so wrapped up in our own lives that we forget to pay attention to others. We ignore the little signals from our friends that something could be amiss, even if we don’t realize that we’re doing it. I think I truly wanted someone to notice that something was wrong. I wanted someone to ask if I was okay, to tell me that I wasn’t acting like myself—because, really, I wasn’t.”
Thankfully, there are groups like Silent No More, Rachael’s Vineyard and Priests for Lifethat offer help for those hurting from their abortions. Hopefully, this Harvard student reaches out to one of these organizations and gets the resources she needs.