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CNN: Special report features hundreds of women who regret their abortions

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To coincide with the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade earlier this year, CNN asked its readers two questions: Have you had an abortion? How do you feel about it now?

CNN had a whopping 539 iReports filed in response. Hundreds of stories poured in, as women shared their choices, their reasons, their grief, and rarely, their satisfaction. One thing was made abundantly clear by CNN’s efforts: women regret their abortions. And they need to talk about them.

Women named their stories out of a deep sense of heartache:

Until we meet again

Soul-deep ache

Self-medicating did not heal my pain

What I had destroyed was not just tissue

Abortion is a forever punishment for women

I never got over it


The pain of abortion stays with women. (Photo credit: craigCloutier on Flickr)

The pain of abortion stays with women for a lifetime. (Photo credit: craigCloutier on Flickr)

If only women would read such stories – hundreds of them – before making a choice for abortion. If only women did not have to look back in pain, regretting an unchangeable choice.

If only, instead, they could look ahead to a bright future without death because they know the facts, know the heartache, and know the grief without having to experience them firsthand.

These are the stories we must share. These are the stories we must shout from the rooftops. These are the stories that tell the truth. As one woman titled her article, “Because abortion affects everything!

Friends drive each other to the clinic and then never speak about it again. This ‘surgery’ literally changes a person’s life forever… and we are suddenly mute! …

My name is Stacy Massey and I am the President and Founding Partner of Abortion Recovery InterNational (ARIN), an international association of peer, professional and pastoral counselors helping families work through the emotional, psychological and spiritual pain of abortion.

We receive over 100 requests PER DAY from individuals and families looking for after abortion help. Over 250,000 hurting people have contacted us just in the last 5 years.

One simple, quick and legal abortion can impact 40-50 people in a lifetime.  Abortion effects everyone! …

[T]he death of my own two children to abortion prompted me to “do something” to help others.  Abortion trauma does not discriminate. It doesn’t matter how much money you make, where you live, the color of your skin or which gender you claim. The pain of abortion is everywhere.

A mother's child - dead or alive - is never far from her thoughts. (Photo credit: Nathan Csonka Photography on Flickr)

A mother’s child – dead or alive – is never far from her thoughts. (Photo credit: Nathan Csonka Photography on Flickr)

Over and over, in CNN’s iReports, women expressed pain that only a mother could understand. Some shared horrific stories of forced abortions; others shared their long journeys to forgiveness; many told of grief that has never left them. Tricia wrote:

Abortion is sold as a woman’s right. A solution to unwanted pregnancy. A quick procedure that once over, never has to be thought about again. I chose abortion at 18 years old. Now, 37 years later, I certainly have not forgotten. We are told that a woman has the right to control her own body as if abortion is a means of control. Once chosen, abortion creates its own affects. The physical, emotional, and psychological effects are beyond our control. Abortion does what it is designed to do….Kill and destroy; abrubtly halt an ongoing process… the process of LIFE. No woman is ever freed by abortion. …

Abortion is NOT for women it is AGAINST us.

No statement could be more true.


If your child is medically treated in the state of New York, don’t count on getting any information from the hospital ‒ unless you have your child’s permission.
Russell S. Hepler, of Transformation 1202 Ministries, found out this sobering reality firsthand when he learned last month that parental rights are becoming a thing of the past in the Empire State
“My 15-year-old step son dislocated his finger in a gym class accident,” Hepler informed Instant Analysis. “Since the closest hospital emergency room to where we live is located in New York State, a few miles away, it was the obvious choice for treatment. He was seen by a doctor in the E R and had the finger put back in place.”
But the dislocated finger ended up not being the most painful aspect of the experience.
“[A] few weeks later, the first bill for services arrived from the hospital,” recalled Hepler, author of the book Yes! We Can Turn America Around: A Practical Guide for Christian Political Involvement. “At first we thought it a bit strange that the bill came in his name since he is a minor and since our health insurance is through my wife’s employer and is in her name.”
Hepler’s wife soon found that one error led to another.
“When my wife examined the bill, it contained a few errors of personal information,” Hepler relayed. “My wife phoned the hospital and health insurance company to get the errors corrected before dealing with the bill so that there would be no future confusion about identity information.”
What soon entailed made the Hepler family feel like they were placed in the midst of a Twilight Zone episode.
Records … what records?
“She was informed by someone from the health insurance provider that they could not discuss the bill with her,” continued Hepler, who is a conference speaker on Christian issues. “When asked why they couldn’t possibly discuss her child’s medical bill, which her insurance would be involved in paying, she was told that according to New York State law, since her son is over the age o - See more at:
by on Mar. 12, 2013 at 8:34 AM
Replies (361-361):
by Thatwoman on Mar. 20, 2013 at 3:37 PM

Just to clarify: 

You believe that in order to be understood, to understand the mistakes and to make improvements in life, the first and most necessary step is judgement?

Quoting KamWorthy:

I understood you, I just don't agree with you. Simple.
Quoting LindaClement:

You've missed my point, entirely:

Judgment lacks compassion.

It is an unnecessary step in the progression, no matter how ingrained it is in our extremely fragmented, rank-obsessed and harshly judgmental culture.

Quoting KamWorthy:

Can you answer my first question?............... You are assuming because I don't accept irresponsible, risky, sexual behavior as an excuse to murder, that I don't have compassion. You are incorrect. Young adults, those who do wrong,...need correction, they need to hear of others who have experienced the repercussions of irresponsible behavior as well. This is how we all learn from one another. Compassion is a must because after correction, often time one is broken and battered, and needs to be restored.
Quoting LindaClement:

I'm not only saying it's not true, but that it's irrelevant.

It doesn't matter, frankly, why they are pregnant, once they are. Recrimination is fun, and you get a great view from up there on your high horse, but it's not only not helpful, but also useless for the prevention of a single other teen pregnancy --including another of the same woman's.

See, shame and judgement just aren't effective in making positive changes in people's lives.

What a judge (and jury) does is listen to the evidence and draws a judgement based on the law as it is actually written: guilty or not guilty.

The judge then decides on the sentence. 

Compassion should be part of all of it, regardless of whether or not the sentence is merciful.

Compassion, you see, has nothing at all to do with the law --it has to do with seeing people as acceptable and valuable, flaws and all.

Which you do not.

Quoting KamWorthy:

Still, I fail to see your argument. I said young people are willful, rebellious and selfish. So? You are saying this is untrue? Compassion? Judging? You are saying the two cant be paired? I disagree. In a court of law, the judge listens to the facts presented, draws an opinion, then can choose to show compassion when handing down the sentencing if he so chooses. I still fail to see your argument.
Quoting LindaClement:

Leave it out. I misread one word that was not there --and said as much. 

If you think judging people (as wilful, rebellious, selfish) will improve your behaviour or their choices, I wish you luck with that. It is certainly common, but it's not inevitable to judge others.

The other choice is compassion.

Quoting KamWorthy:

People who make irrational decisions aren't stupid, as you are trying to assume. Oh, I'm judging, make no mistake about it. I only stated there was nothing wrong with judging....there is not one single person that doesn't do it. As for the rest of your comment, it is unclear to me what you are attempting to convey.
Quoting LindaClement:

You pick out the ONE word I misread, therefore you are not judging them?


Rebellion, yes, is always in response to something oppressive. It is not only unnecessary, in most of the world, it's unheard of between teens and authority.

Quoting KamWorthy:

Your definition of judgement seems to be a more personal one and not very professional. I agree, 14 is far too late to start the Sex Ed curriculum in schools. Oh, and I never used the word stupid, but you did. Rebellion is always due to a reaction to an action? A tug of war in essence? Incorrect. Adolescent's, young adults etc.tend to be rebellous without a cause, yet many excuses for their rebellious behavior. There is a difference.
Quoting LindaClement:

A lot of schools --and entire states-- do NOT provide science-based sex ed (abstinence-only is rife with error and fraud), and a lot of families are allowed to opt out of it, so whatever you think some 14yo is supposed to have been 'taught' has nothing to do with what any real 14yo knows or has ever come across.

14 is about 7 years too late for basic body science, and nearly 2 years too late for the onset of teen pregnancy...

It wasn't a 'water cooler' conversation, it was a long discussion at a small party. The women were amazed how much I knew --even that I knew about it at all; for them it was all a deep, dark mystery.

And, yes: judgment.

That's the opposite of compassion or understanding or support.

You've judged them willful, stupid, rebellious (you do know it's not possible to rebel without coercion or oppression to rebel against?), selfish ...

... as opposed to confused, alone, lost, frightened, anxious, under pressure, or driven by powerful and unexplained (to them) biological forces.

I meant that a lot of women happily and harshly judge other women without taking 4 nanoseconds to understand the situations they found themselves having to deal with, which you have very capably demonstrated.

Quoting KamWorthy:

LOL....judgement? You say it like it's a bad thing. Your comment assuming women aren't nice to one another. No one gender is entitled to respect, or special treatment. They should expect, however, equality. Regarding those 6 adult women you temporarily worked with and your analysis of them based on water cooler conversations is not what I would consider to be a valid survey. Sex Ed has evolved over the last 10 years. So yes, a 14 year old girl, if she's going to school, would be have been exposed on the pros and cons of sexual activity. However, if that 14 year old girl is of a willful, rebellious, selfish, immature mindset....(many 14 year olds are like that) then any amount of education might fall on deaf ears.
Quoting LindaClement:

Loaded with judgment.

My, aren't women nice to each other.

Do you know, I met a collection of women (randomly, through a temp job) and NOT ONE OF THEM had the slightest idea how The Pill worked, what gay men might do in bed, or, in one woman's case in spite of the three children she had, why sometimes sex 'worked' and other times it didn't.

I was appalled at the ignorance of this group of women, all of whom were older than me, the one with three kids being older than my mother. At 19, I had more information about sex in general, and how birth control worked, than 6 adult women.

And you think a 14yo 'should' know?

Why do you think her mother knows? Or has told her? 

It's all a deep, dark, shameful secret that 'nice people' don't talk about --in much of North America. Yes, it's simple enough to find propaganda online... but you have to wade through a lot of that before you'll get to anything that is simple, straightforward, accurate answers --even if you ask a bunch of live, adult women on CM.

Quoting KamWorthy:

And the doctor doesn't tell you nor do the condum packages, that those forms of BC are not 100% effective....oh wait, yes they do! Lol! My bad. Sorry there is no excuse for getting pregnant, not with all material out there. Even if ones parents never say one word to them about the cons of sex, there is a bombardment of information out there. If someone has not seen it, they would have to be living under a rock!
Quoting usmchoney:

How do you know it was unprotected sex?  It's not like people get pregnant using birth control.... Oh wait they do.

Quoting KamWorthy:

Parents have some responsability, no doubt...but the full blame? Naw...that's on you. I refuse to believe you grew up without being educated on what can happen if you have unprotected sex. You were a willful participant, even if your parents weren't around at all.
Quoting ohmybaby:

 Parents... parents are the first to find out their child isn't just that cute little bundle of joy they brought home from the hospital one day.  They need to learn to actually BE PARENTS.  They need to stop standing by and letting life happen.  They need to be there, listen, teach and encourage.  Parenting is not just making a baby and watching it grow.

Quoting KamWorthy:

And this blame, where does it belong exactly?
Quoting ohmybaby:

Not everyone who has an abortion holds on to the pain.  I had an abortion and sure I struggled with my decision for years.  Then I realized that if my parents had not been neglectful and had actually tried to raise me instead of letting me just grow up.... my life would have been different.  I would have/ could have made better decisions.  Maybe I learned to stop hating myself because I realized I wasn't the only one at fault for a life gone wrong.  I am sure there are others out there who made poor decisions.  Well.... it's time to get over it, put the blame where it belongs and forgive ourself.  Sometime we make the best decisions we can at the time we make them.  Forgive yourself ... and move on ladies.

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