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Monday, February 13, 2017

After the Rape, Choosing Life Fixed Everything, by Paula Love

New Year's Eve 1991, I was invited to go bowling with a small group of people
who I hadn’t known for very long and didn’t know very well at all.  We bowled and we drank, but I don’t remember much more.  I don’t remember leaving the bowling alley, but I remember seeing headlights on our way somewhere.  

I have no idea how I got into a hotel room.  I only remember opening my eyes and knowing that someone was on top of me.  It took me a minute to comprehend what was happening.  I felt dazed.  Once I realized the situation I was in, my mind was screaming for me to push him off, but my body wouldn’t do what I wanted it to.  I had no strength.  None.  I was dead weight.  I am certain I was drugged.  I looked at my hands laying by my sides and kept saying to myself, “Lift your hands; push him off!!”  I stared at my hands waiting for them to do what I was telling them to, but they never did and I passed back out.

After waking up naked, confused, cold and terrified, I found my way home.  I didn’t leave my house much.  That went on for weeks.  I didn’t tell anyone what happened.  I felt depressed and dirty, and I wasn’t getting out of bed very often.  Then, about the time I was beginning to come out of the “fog” of the incident, I began getting sick -- every morning.

I looked in the phone book and found a place that specializes in “crisis pregnancies.”  I called and made an appointment.  February 14, 1991 -- Valentine’s Day.  I pee'd in a cup and waited for the results that I already knew the answer to.  The lady came to the waiting area and took me back into a room to give me my results where several counselors were waiting.  They told me I was pregnant and had a video for me to watch.  I watched.  I watched the life cycle of the baby in my tummy.  I learned about the heart developing.  This baby already has a heartbeat.  As I left the building, that’s what I couldn’t get out of my head:  a heartbeat.

I drove away from there a very scared 18 year old and felt I had to tell someone.  I chose my sister.  When I arrived, she looked so beautiful in a red formal dress, busy blowing up balloons, preparing for her engagement party to her future husband.  It was just me and her in the room.  “I’m pregnant.”  I wasn’t feeling the excitement, but she had enough for both of us and it gave me hope.  She could feel my despair, but never wavered.  

One by one, I told those close to me about the "incident" and about the pregnancy.  I was blessed to have such a loving and supportive family.  We’ve always been very close.  I’m grateful I was surrounded by their love.  It would carry me through the next eight months of pregnancy, and far beyond.

As I was going to sleep one night, I began praying to God.  My Dad was a minister.  My parents were missionaries when I was much younger and I had been raised in church my entire life.  As I lay there, I told God my hurt and my fear.  I told him that I choose life for this baby and we’re in His hands. 

I opened my eyes the next morning and took a minute staring at the ceiling.  During the night I had a vivid dream.  I dreamt that I had a healthy, red-headed, beautiful baby girl.  I thought to myself, “red-headed?”

On October 12, 1991, the contractions began.  I called my brother who wasn’t very far away.  After placing trash bags on all the seats, he let me in the car.  Away we went.  My mom soon arrived at the hospital with us.  Now it was just me and her, and the Doctor in the room, and things were getting real.  

Twelve hours had past and finally Kayla Ann was here.  My mom held her briefly, counted her fingers and toes and then handed me my healthy, red-headed, beautiful baby girl -- just like in my dream, only better.

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5

Kayla Ann got married a few years ago.  She asked me to walk her down the

aisle.  As we walked together, my mind was like a movie reel of memories.  I captured those memories in a poem for her:

It’s a girl, I heard them say and the journey began that autumn day.

God decided that it’s you and me, by each other’s side we will always be.

One years old! You’re walking! Starting school, you won’t stop talking…

Caught another fish, made a dandelion wish. Honor rolls, field trips, laughter and tears,

Sweet sixteen… you’re grown….. I’d do it all over again.

Gorgeous eyes and confidence, you’ve persuaded hard hearts to buy into this.

My bond with you, nothing compares, they have no idea, they’ve never been there.

Don’t walk, Stomp your own path! Do your thing and never look back.

My heart explodes with gratitude that I was given this gift to be paired with you.

You are love, you are laughter, you are my Happy Ever After. 

There was always a voice in my head telling me that I could have an abortion and it would fix everything.  The truth is, choosing life fixed everything.  I’m thankful every day that I didn’t buy into the lie.  My daughter and the two incredible grandsons that she’s given me fixed everything. They have turned my sorrow into joy.
I will comfort them. I will give them joy in place of their sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

BIO: Paula Love is the happy mother of two and a very proud “Mimi” to two
incredible grandsons.  In the quiet mountains of Montana she spends her time with her family, tending her garden and gathering chicken eggs! She left the big city life 16 years ago and never plans to go back.  Paula is also a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.

It Looked Like Such a Bleak Situation, But I Had a Reason For Being by Kerry Ann Beckley from the U.K.

I was conceived in 1974, in a little town called Newbury, in England. Abortion became legal in the UK in 1967, but it wasn't as acceptable or as accessible as it is now.

When my mum fell pregnant with me, she already had four other children to look after, and she was married to my dad who had schizophrenia. He was extremely physically and mentally abusive to her, beating her often -- once was with a chain.

They were struggling financially and my mum really didn't want to bring me into the world, so she tried to force herself to miscarry with a hot bath and alcohol, but obviously it didn't work.

I am quite sure that if abortion had been as accessible then as it is now, I wouldn't be here to share this story.

My mum is the one who confessed to me that she had tried to abort me. I don't know why she told me -- I never thought to ask because I knew she loved me and she did her best by us. Of course, she made mistakes -- some huge ones, but growing up, I saw my mom as a strong woman who found herself in a difficult situation.

My dad took his own life when I was 18 months old. Then my mum had a partner after him who was a horrible bully to us, but she loved him. They split when I was 8 years old and I was overjoyed. My mum and I had a great relationship.

I did struggle with issues of self worth, but I think that was more to do with feeling abandoned by my dad, which is crazy I know. I found my faith when my mum died. I was a single parent myself with an eight month old baby. My mum was my rock, my foundation, my breath. I was heartbroken.

I had dabbled with party drugs before that, but then I met a guy a few months
Kerry Ann Beckley, 2nd from the right
after I lost my mum, and I was doing all kinds of drugs at that point. My life felt like fun, but I was an emotional mess. My friend invited me to church one day and I liked it. I didn't feel judged by anyone there. I love to sing, so I always enjoyed the music worship -- I still do! I went on to take an Alpha course -- learning the basics of who Christ is -- and I found my faith. At first, I wanted to ensure my ticket to Heaven so I would see my mum again, but then finding out what Jesus had done for me and that he would mend my brokenness, was just so attractive!

My relationship with Christ has taught me that I have value and purpose, because He laid down His life for me, so that I could be all that He wants me to be. I mess up daily, but I know that His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new each morning! My start looked incredibly bleak and who in this day and age would try to convince a woman in that situation to keep her child? My friend put it like this: my mum's pregnancy (me) wasn't the problem -- my mum's situation was. She needed to get all of us away from my dad. She should have been safe, she should have had someone to turn to, to help her relocate, and my dad really should have gone to prison or been committed. She thought she had no way out, but that should never be the case!

A baby is never the problem. A baby is a blessing. The circumstances and situation may be a huge problem, but they can be changed. I just really want people to understand that a bad start doesn't mean a bad end.

I am a wife, a mother, a foster parent, a volunteer for a homeless charity, a friend, a sister and a voice for the unborn. I am living out God's purpose for my life. It looked like such a bleak situation, but I had a reason for being -- as every child who is conceived does!

My husband is as passionate about defending the rights of the unborn as I am. I knew Paul when I was a teenager, and I had a crush on him then. We reconnected through Facebook and got married in 2013. We have so much respect for each other, so that even when we at times drive each other crazy, we are such good friends and we always have each other's backs.

Especially given my own beginnings, I am passionate about the unborn having a right to life! Just by defending the unborn, many think I'm being judgmental to those who have had abortions, but I'm really not. I hate abortion -- but just as I still loved my mum who had attempted to abort me, I don't hate people for having one.

BIO: Kerry Ann Beckley is a wife and mother, residing in Reading, England. She is a foster care giver, a worship singer at her church, and a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Abortion Was More Damaging Than the Rape, by Nona Ellington

My father was an evangelist, traveling and ministering where ever he was called.
 My mother was a devout Southern Baptist and my father was a full-gospel, spirit-filled Christian.  I was torn between two churches.  They were both very godly people but had different outlooks on the Bible because of their denominations.

I received Jesus as my Savior and was baptized at age 12 in the Baptist Church, but I did not understand the importance of daily prayer, and reading the Word of God.  

At the age of 13, I was raped by a 15 year old extended family member, stealing my virginity.  I was scared, having not received any sexual education at all.  I thought immediately that I would be pregnant.  I was afraid to tell anyone because this was a family member. Because he had given me marijuana beforehand, I felt ashamed that I had not seen it coming.

As a result, I turned to drugs, alcohol and sought attention from older men.  Within a year, I was raped by a cousin who was 10 years older than me  -- once again, after being given marijuana.  He drove me into the woods and raped me in his truck.  

At that point, I felt like there was a big sign on me, "Rape this girl."  After that, I went into a really dark place, again, feeling so much shame.  I didn't want the devastation in the family if I told anyone because I knew he would go to jail, and I didn't even know if anyone would believe my story.

I became distant with my parents.  I was involved in church, going church with my Mom, but found the worst crowd to hang out with there -- those who would smoke pot in the parking lot.  I was even in a private Christian school, but got kicked out at age 14 because of my activities.

In 10th grade, I started a public school and soon after met a boy who I began dating.  He took me to his cousin's house after school because no adults were home.  We smoked pot that must have been laced with something else, then he locked me in his cousin's room and raped me.  

He left me in the room where I was devastated, and I could hear him and his cousin laughing about it.  I felt like I just wanted to get out of there and get home, but I didn't even know where I was so I was still dependent upon the guy who raped me to be able to get a ride home. 

After few weeks later, I'd missed my period.  I called an older sister to tell her my predicament, and my sister began to tell me I needed to have an abortion.  At 15, I didn't even know what an abortion was.  My mother overheard our conversation, burst into the room and grabbed the phone from me.  During their conversation, my sister convinced my mom that I needed to abort. I have no idea how she achieved this, because my mom had 9 children and was, as I said, very devout. 

I was scared, so I made a "deal" with God:  "Please help me to not be pregnant.  If I'm not pregnant, I promise not to ever have sex out of marriage again."

That same sister took me to Planned Parenthood in Houston for a pregnancy test, where they confirmed my pregnancy, and I was in shock.  They told me that at this stage of only five weeks, "it" was only a blob of tissue. They also suggested that I needed an abortion, since I was so young and still in school. I didn't know what questions to ask as far as other options.  All that was discussed was abortion, and they referred me to another clinic to have one. 

I was devastated.  At school, I told all of my girlfriends and every single one recommended I get an abortion.  Everybody told me that it was really "no big deal, people do it all the time, especially since you're still in school."  Not one person suggested that I could keep the baby or choose adoption.  I felt abortion was my only choice, and completely lacked any education on pregnancy.
I was covered with shame and guilt, even before the abortion took place. 

When I told the guy who raped me that I was pregnant and needed money for an abortion, he denied that he was the father, which deepened my shame.  However, under pressure from my sister, he decided to tell everyone in school so he could gather money to pay for the abortion, and handed my sister a wad of 1's and 5's.

Around October, 1983, my Mom and sister took me to the abortion facility.  My Dad was never told until more than 20 years later.  My Mom, like me, knew absolutely nothing of what an abortion actually did to a baby or the woman, but she knew enough to hide it from my Dad.

The first thing I remember is that my mother was appalled, having noticed that there were women in the waiting room who were far along in their pregnancies, and she said to me, "What are all of these women doing in here?  They look like they are about to deliver."

My sister handled the paperwork, but my Mom and sister were not allowed into the counseling room.  The older woman there advised me that because I was so young and so small, I might not be able to have children later in life.  But marriage and children were the furthest thing from my mind in the moment and I was not afforded the benefit of having my mother there for me to help me make an informed decision.

In hindsight, I believe this was the first open door God gave me to not go through with it.  I really believe that, had my mom been in the room with me, we would have left.

The next thing I remember is being on the hard, cold abortion table.  I was never introduced to the doctor.  I just remember that he was a man.  As the nurse was prepping me, I could hear my mother's voice at the door, asking, "Is my daughter in there?", then her being told, "Ma'am, you cannot come in here."  We never discussed it since, but I believe my Mom was wanting to get me out of there -- the second open door.

I was told to focus on a baby mobile hanging from the ceiling.  Now that I look back on it, I see how sadistic that was.  

I could hear and feel everything that was happening to me.  I'd never been to a gynecologist before, and I felt like my entire insides were being ripped out of me.  I've heard it said that abortion is like rape, and it's true, but worse than rape because of the devastating level of violence involved.  The violence and pain of the abortion are more extreme in my memory than the violence and pain of the rapes.

I was bleeding profusely when I left.  My Mom and sister took me to a restaurant, but I passed out on my plate because I was so physically and emotionally exhausted.  After that, the subject of abortion was taboo with them.

Emotionally, I spiraled into a very destructive behavior of drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex almost immediately following the abortion. I was completely spiritually void, rebelling against my Christian upbringing.  I also became emotionally numb, with not much regard for living at all.  

As I was going through the motions, trying to fill this huge void within me, I attached myself to an abusive relationship less than a year after the abortion, and I eventually married him at age 19.

The abortion did in fact ruin all chances of having children.  I suffered 5 miscarriages during my marriage of 18 years, which resulted in divorce. Three of these miscarriages were tubal pregnancies, requiring emergency surgery and very near-death experiences.  I so wanted an "atonement" baby to make up for the one I killed. 

At the age of 32, having suffered low self-esteem from the rapes, the abortion, the shame, the abusive marriage, the loss of my babies, and my infertility, I attempted suicide.  The experience of the abortion did not make the rape experience any better, but drove me into a much darker place, and I realize I'd been suffering from clinical depression all of those years.

God then began drawing me close to Him through listening to Christian music on the radio.  As the Lord was filling me with this influence of His Truth, I gave my heart back to Christ, and the radio became my Church.  I even committed myself to quit smoking.

One day, on my local Christian radio station, they happened to be holding was what was called the world's largest baby shower, benefiting local pregnancy resource centers.  I heard a woman speaking about the centers, and I knew I had to pick up the phone, call her, and make myself available to tell other women never to have an abortion. I realized that God had been working on me to see that so many of my struggles in life were caused by my abortion.

Up to that point, I'd still considered myself to be pro-choice, because I felt like I had been forced into an abortion and wasn't really given a choice.

As I visited the pregnancy resource center in central Houston, the director asked me if I'd ever had an abortion, and breaking my silence, I told her.  In order to volunteer, I was told I had to go through their post-abortion healing study called "Beauty For Ashes."  It sounded so refreshing to hear that something like this existed!

This study saved my life.  My abusive husband didn't want me going.  He didn't want me volunteering at the center.  It was a battle to come back to the Lord, but I received so much healing through this study.  I got to name each of my six babies, and God healed me to be able to minister to other people and change my life.

During this time, I'd also begun attending church with my Dad.  As I said, he was an evangelist, so I was too fearful to ever tell him about the abortion, until almost 20 years later as I was going through this study.  When I told him, he was devastated that he had lost a grandchild.  He said to me, "If I had known I had a grandchild, I would have raised that baby myself."

Abortion was the most selfish decision I ever made in my whole life. It affected everyone in my life and caused devastation to my mind, soul and body.  It caused the loss of my five other babies, my infertility, and I'm also convinced it caused me to get breast cancer at the age of 45 in 2014.  Research has proven that abortion can cause breast cancer -- especially early onset.

There is healing for broken hearts and lives after abortion, through the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. His work at the Cross of Calvary removes all shame, bitterness, self hatred and sin, if we only believe and receive Him in our hearts.
I pray that anyone reading this testimony who is considering abortion for their self or someone else would consider seeking help through a pregnancy care center that will share the truth in love about all of your options.  I'm convinced that if anyone had taken me to a pregnancy care center, I would not have had an abortion.

I want everyone to know that abortion doesn't fix rape, and the experience of abortion is more damaging physically and emotionally than the rape itself.  My child had every right to life and I would do anything in my power to have that child in my arms, or to be able to hand that baby to a loving couple.

BIO:  Nona Lynn Ellington is a pro-life speaker and writer, residing in Houston,
Texas.  Her ministry is Eagles Restoration Ministries.   She spoke at the Family Research Council press conference in DC in March, 2016, the day before the Texas HB2 US Supreme Court hearing. Her name and story, along with many others, was on the amicus brief filed with the high court by The Justice Foundation.  Nona is now a blogger for Save The 1 and available for speaking and testifying before legislatures. Watch a video of her sharing her post-abortive from rape testimony