Woman ‘weighed down by guilt’ after abortion


The names in this article have been changed to protect the identity of the source.

Eight words went through Jill’s head again and again as she drove back to Brookings.

“Do you want to know if it’s twins?”

That was four years ago, in the second semester of Jill’s freshman year, when she had an abortion. Her husband David is still the only one who knows.

“I got pregnant, and I got scared,” she said.

At the time she and David were dating, and neither wanted to have an abortion. But it was the only way Jill could hide the pregnancy.

“I considered adoption,” she said. “But then I thought, ‘I’m going to get big. I’m going to show. People are going to know that I’m pregnant.’”

Despite what she chose, Jill has always been against abortion.

“I thought growing up, ‘How could someone do that? How could they kill their baby?’” she said.

But she couldn’t bear the shame.

“I come from a very conservative family,” she said. “Looking back, they would have accepted it eventually. It would have been fine, but immediately I was just struck with fear.”

In the United States there are two main types of abortion: in-clinic and a pill form. Jill decided to take the pill because it seemed like the easiest option.

David was “just as confused” about abortion as Jill was, she said. He didn’t want her to do it, but he said he would support her in whatever she chose. She called Planned Parenthood in Sioux Falls, the only abortion center in South Dakota, and asked about the pill.

“They said, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s not a problem,’” she said. “Like really nice. There was not a tone of somberness.”

One weekend when David was gone, Jill drove to Planned Parenthood by herself.

“They make you fill out so many forms beforehand just to make sure you’re absolutely sure,” she said. “I remember just going through the motions filling it out — just no emotion.”

After paying $330 with cash, she sat in the waiting room.

“No one looked at each other,” she said. “No one tried to talk to each other or anything.”

Eventually a nurse called Jill into a room for an ultrasound.

“‘Do you want to know if it’s twins?’” the nurse asked.

Jill said yes, and the nurse told her it wasn’t. Then the nurse asked if Jill wanted to know the sex of the baby. Jill said no.

She was then taken into another room where the nurse gave her the pills.

“It was very — it was really strange,” she said. “They treated it almost like you were going in for a headache.”

First, she had to take a pill that stopped all development of the baby. It was her last chance to back out.

“And I did it,” Jill said. “I took it.”

Then she was asked to put four smaller pills on the inside of her mouth, which caused her uterus to contract so her body would expel the baby. All Jill felt were cramps.

Then came the 59-mile drive back to Brookings.

“I just remember I drove home and sobbed,” she said. “I just lost it.”

Jill called her husband that night, who had been looking at baby pictures online that day. He “just sat at his computer, and he sobbed,” she said.

“I remember laying on the couch for two days,” she said. “I had done something that every part of me knew was wrong.”

Now, four years later, Jill is still “haunted” every day.

“After I had done [the abortion] I started researching it,” she said. “It has a heartbeat. It has fingernails. It has all that stuff. It is a human that I murdered.”

Jill was raised going to church and has always called herself a Christian. She has been involved in churches in Brookings, as well as different campus ministries. After the abortion, she can clearly remember a turning point.

“After a while God met me, and I don’t remember exactly what it was, but I just remember sobbing one day, screaming for forgiveness — crying out to God for forgiveness,” she said. “And I just felt peace.”

But she is still weighed down by guilt and the pressure of keeping a secret.

When she was pregnant, she thought telling her family was impossible. Now, hiding the abortion is worse.

“I’ve prayed for courage to tell them,” she said. “And I’m still praying for that. I’m just not ready for my mom to see me like that.”

She’s worried about what her friends would think, too.

“Whenever the topic comes up I get really uneasy,” she said. “But I don’t try to play the victim card because I know exactly what I did.”

Jill wants other women to make a different choice than she did.

“You’ll never regret letting your baby live,” she said. “… You will regret [aborting it]. I’m a strong a person. I don’t cry easily. But I regret it every day.”