The foil of the pregnancy-test package crinkled between my fingers. While reading through the directions and glancing at the drawings on the box, I couldn't help but think back to eight years earlier, when I was in college.
My then-steady boyfriend had swept me off my feet. So even though I'd been taught that God's Word set premarital sex aside as sin, I'd engaged in inappropriate intimacy with him, seeking love and affection to fill my emptiness from old childhood wounds.
The fears that accompanied a pregnancy test in those days were immense and real. I always feared it would be positive. And one time, it was.
That day I begged my roommate to buy me three more tests. I was humiliated and terrified. The additional tests confirmed the same: I was pregnant. As I crouched in my dorm's empty bathroom, I secretly hoped that if I never came out, it wouldn't be true. It was a moment of ruthless reality.
A seeming solution
My roommate consoled me. I told no one else. Not my boyfriend, not my Christian parents. This journey was too shameful to share with them. My roommate guaranteed she knew a way out. A harmless way . . . almost. And the next thing I knew, I was signing in at the nearest abortion clinic just off our college campus. I held a wad of cash in my hand, hurriedly collected from a dwindling savings account from a part-time job.
Three hours later, it was over. I recuperated over Christmas break at my mom's house, half an hour from campus. She thought I was recovering from the flu. As I lay around on the couch, my mind raged against what I'd done. I realized, with startling clarity, that there was nothing harmless about that procedure. It was just a cruel trade-off, one problem—my unwanted pregnancy—for another—the guilt and shame of taking my baby's life.1