The following was contributed by Anna Pearson.

UFI Editor’s note: 

There is much hope in the pro-life community as the U.S. Supreme Court, on December 1, heard oral arguments regarding the Mississippi state law that bans abortion after 15 weeks of pregnancy (Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization).  With a legitimate chance before us to end Roe v. Wade, it’s appropriate to consider factors that play into the deaths of more than one million unborn children each year.

Since abortion was legalized in 1973, approximately 63 million babies have lost their lives. This also means that, roughly, the same number of women have also gone through a mentally and physically unsettling experience. When a woman finds out about a surprise/unplanned pregnancy, fear sets in, especially if she’s unmarried. When you haven’t planned on something, the unknown is scary and the easiest solution is the quick fix, and in the case of pregnancy, that would be abortion.

I was 18 when I thought this had happened to me. Being pregnant that young (and unmarried) was not a situation I had ever imagined for myself as a kid, and it terrified me. I grew up in a religious home where sexual relations were reserved for marriage. As with many of today’s youth, I became adrift in the process of transitioning from my teens to adolescence and found myself doing things I was not proud of.

The possibility of becoming pregnant after just one sexual encounter never seemed real to me until my period decided not to come on time. I was desperate to figure out a solution to my potential problem. I knew one thing; I was not going to disgrace my family; they could not know.  If I told them, my family would never look at me the same. I thought they would judge me, and in turn their acquaintances, who would then judge my family because of their pregnant teenage daughter. In my mind, my family would see me as a disappointment, certainly not someone they could be proud of.

With that line of thinking, this meant only one option for me if I was really pregnant: abortion. But knowing how wrong it was to take another human life, would I really consider doing just that because of fear?

Fortunately, I did not have to find out because my period came and I was not pregnant. Yet if I had been willing to allow fear to influence my attitude about abortion, there must be many women out there who are also doing the same, allowing fear to make a decision they may regret forever. After what I had gone through, I had to ask myself, where did I stand with abortion? I believed it was wrong. Abortion is a war on the defenseless and voiceless. My pregnancy scare reminded me of those convictions.

The argument from the other side, however, is, shouldn’t women be able to control their own bodies? Yes, they should, but once a woman is pregnant, her body is not just hers, she is sharing it with another being. Someone with their own characteristics and personality.

Preying Upon Fear

People do not always make sound decisions when scared or under pressure and they do not consider the consequences of all sides of the decision. Abortion advocates say women should have a right to decide what happens with their own bodies, but it does not mean women have the right over the life of another, even if that life is growing inside them. Brian Clowes stated, “When she conceived, she had already passed the right to life on to that new life.” New worldview trends also sadly say a life has no inherent value unless someone says it does. If a mother does not choose to accept and love her child, it can be snuffed out and easily forgotten because nobody claimed it was loved, as if it never existed.

The abortion industry preys upon fear, pressuring women to take the “easy road.” Once a woman enters an abortion clinic, many feel the only option given is abortion. If she wants to discuss other options, she is wasting the clinic’s time. After the Texas heartbeat law went into effect, Dr. Bhavik Kumar from Planned Parenthood was interviewed by ABC News. He was distraught because he could not help his patients.  His only advice to them in their current state of fear was to travel out of state to end their pregnancies.  Planned Parenthood’s hotline has been ringing off the hook since the bill took effect and the operators don’t feel like they have any answers to help their callers. Why? Because they consider abortion to be the ONLY option.

Health Risks

When a woman has an abortion out of fear, or even when she feels it is the right choice, what are the effects on her mental and physical health? Many women who choose to abort their pregnancy later face mental health challenges. Cambridge University published an article titled,  Abortion and mental health, showing thatwomen who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% risk of mental health problems, including being suicidal, more susceptible to alcoholism, drug use, etc. (Coleman, 2011).

According to Professor Reardon, “Some women do have significant mental health issues that are caused, triggered, aggravated, or complicated by their abortion experience. In many cases, this may be due to feeling pressured into an abortion or choosing an abortion without sufficient attention to maternal desires or moral beliefs that may make it difficult to reconcile one’s choice with one’s self-identity.” His study, The abortion and mental health controversy,  shared the mental difficulties women can go through because of abortions.

Abortions puts women at physical health risk as well. In Studies show abortion may cause chronic disease, Bradley Mattes explains that scientific medical studies show abortion can cause chronic lifelong illness such as microchimerism or autoimmune disease. Women are not just losing their babies in abortion, they lose their mental and physical health.

The Role of Pregnancy Help Centers

I look back at my teenage self and cannot believe what I was willing to consider because I was afraid. And I know I am not alone in this trial. Many women would make different decisions about what to do with their baby if they had the resources, love and help they needed while making that decision.

A lot of people are unaware that there are many resources to help women with surprise pregnancies. In the U.S. alone there are over 2,700 pregnancy help centers (PHCs) where women can get free ultrasounds, supplies, housing accommodations, emotional support, counseling, adoption agencies, educational classes, financial help, hope and more. “Pregnancy centers exist to serve and support mothers in the courageous decision to give their children life, even under the most difficult circumstances,” said the president of the Charlotte Lozier Institute, Chuck Donovan. 

Some people believe these centers only provide prenatal services, leaving the mother and baby on their own after birth, but this is a canard, as postnatal services are offered too, sometimes up to three years after the baby is born. Their goal is to help mothers become self-sufficient. Abby Johnson’s organization, Love Line, is a great example of helping women beyond their unexpected pregnancies.

I have read many wonderful stories of women who considered abortion but found a PHC and chose a different path. Here are two of them:

Janai’s Story

While attending college away from home, Janai was date raped and found herself unexpectedly pregnant. If she kept the baby, she would end up a homeless mother without a way to provide for her child. She was directed to a pregnancy help center to confirm her pregnancy, but there she received so much more than news of being an expectant mom. She was counseled about her options and given the assistance and support she needed to make the best decision she could. Through a lot of tears Janai learned there was help available for her and her child, and she chose to keep her baby.  Living arrangements were made for her at a Life House, where she also finished college and received counseling to deal with her problems. This support system made up the difference of what she could not do herself. Her baby is now two years old, and she considers her daughter the most beautiful gift she could have been given. She now helps other struggling women at the Houston Fifth Ward Pregnancy Center.

Whitney’s Story

Whitney Wall found herself pregnant and pressured to abort the baby by her boyfriend and other friends. Growing up in a very conservative Christian home, Whitney would rather get rid of her baby than tell her family she was pregnant. Luckily Whitney was directed to PDHC (Pregnancy Decision Health Centers) for free testing, and when the nurse congratulated her on the news, she cried. The nurse listened to Whitney, helped her understand her options and gave her the strength to speak with her parents. As hard as that was, they still loved her. It took Whitney almost the full 9 months to make the decision to give her baby up for adoption. It was difficult, but for her it was the right thing to do. She wanted her son to have a mother and a father. Many years later, she still loves her son and his adoptive parents have become like family to her. Whitney has had opportunities to travel and help other women understand their options and the support they have when facing unwanted pregnancies. She lets them know they are not alone and are stronger than they think they are.

Help is Within Reach

Since the Texas heartbeat bill went into effect, there has been a great deal of media coverage on the heat Texas is taking in court. Between the government and abortion providers, there are currently 16 different lawsuits trying to block this bill (Texas Heartbeat Act Lawsuits Explained). Sam Dorman, reporting for Fox News, explained that along with the reduction of abortions there has been an increase in client visits, ultrasounds, pregnancy tests, and calls to PHCs by 50%.  There are over 225 pregnancy help centers and 27 maternity homes in Texas, and are all working hard to assist these women. Statistics show that the Texas Heartbeat Bill could prevent 4,009 abortions each month, giving pregnancy help centers such as Houston Pregnancy Help Center (HPHC),  Thrive Women’s Clinic, and Hope Women’s Center the opportunity to serve, teach and support women through difficult life situations so they can make informed decisions. 

How easy is it to find help near me? I was curious how difficult it would be to find help near me, so I jumped online and found Heartbeat International easily. At the top right of their website, it says PREGNANT? By following this link, I was directed to another page and entered my zip code to locate help centers near me.  With a mere click of a button, I found out there were 21 pregnancy support centers within a 50-mile radius of my home. A short drive would give me access to maternity homes, adoption support, pregnancy resource centers, counseling, after abortion support and parenting classes.

The Worlds Urgency for Abortion

Sexuality is natural and normal, and each person chooses the capacity at which they use it. When taken advantage of, it can lead to unwanted pregnancies and thus the abortion demand. The sexual revolution has advocated that any individual should have the “right” to have sexual relations with anyone, of any age, at any time, and in any place, without constraint – and society/government should pick up the tab for any negative consequences. This is basically the opposite of the societal stability found within the nuclear family. If and when contraceptive/willpower fail, sexual liberty is untenable without abortion. This is the reason crisis centers are a threat to those that believe in sexual liberty: they are afraid of losing their “rights.”  This ideology depends on abortion to achieve sexual liberty. The consequences of sex must be eliminated. But if sexual liberty is embraced, everyone will suffer: families, individuals, societies, and our unborn. Nobody wins.

My hope is that any woman who experiences an unplanned pregnancy will not be driven, as I was, by fear. Have the courage to find a pregnancy help center and receive the direction and guidance needed to make the best decision possible for you and your baby, whether that be keeping your child, or giving it up for adoption to a loving family. Ultimately, we should be responsible for our sexuality and make wise choices, understanding what the consequences are. Abortion is NOT a form of birth control. We do not need to follow the trends of the world, but we can choose the courageous path with our heads held high, even if we stand alone.