Women gathered in front of the Supreme Court on Friday to speak about their regrets about their past abortions to the countless thousands of marchers in Washington, D.C. for the 2019 March for Life. Their testimonies challenged the narrative of the #ShoutYourAbortion movement, which has captured media attention for sharing women’s positive abortion stories.
Dozens of women, along with some men, stepped up to the podium and told their stories. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which aims to expose and heal the pain of abortion, organizes these testimonies each year during the pro-life march that condemns Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Supreme Court case that legalized abortion nationwide.
Leslie Blackwell serves as a co-regional coordinator for the campaign in Virginia and shared her own story with National Review. As a college senior in 1980, she landed her dream job in broadcast journalism. At the same time, she became pregnant.
“Next thing I knew I was going to get rid of this inconvenience,” she recalled. “I’ve got a big career to get to.” She sought an abortion. In her testimony published online, she recalled, “I stayed in bed for a day or two, bleeding and crying, feeling hollowed out.”
She buried herself in work, drugs, alcohol, and promiscuous behavior. She avoided thinking about her abortion until she became pregnant a second time. “There were two abortions within two years and it broke me,” she said.
After her second abortion, she became a radical feminist and almost served as a board member of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood. “But by God’s grace, twelve years ago, I had profound change,” she continued.
She described that change as God hitting her with a two-by-four in a “spiritual epiphany” where she realized “Whoa, I took two of [God’s] precious lives.”
She isn’t the only person who resorted to bad influences after abortion. Both men and women in Silent No More have had “years of bad relationships, drugs, alcohol, self-sabotaging behavior, self-loathing,” she urged.
“It makes sense, because when you’ve been involved killing your own child, you’re going to do everything you can to kind of mask that pain,” she said. “ It destroys you.”
Blackwell also responded to the #ShoutYourAbortion movement. The campaign began in 2015 when co-founder Amelia Bonow posted her “happy” abortion story to social media. In November, the movement publicized a new book of women’s abortion stories, and Bonow made headlines the following month after telling an audience of children that abortion is “God’s plan.”
“I think that they’re absolutely delusional, because any woman that’s been through an abortion experience will tell you it’s not a piece of cake,” Blackwell said of the movement. “It hurts, you cry, you feel hollowed out, you are absolutely broken. It haunts you. You’ll never forget that day.”
Mary Eisman from Minnesota also shared her story with National Review. As a teenager, Eisman started dating her boyfriend “to get attention.” She was blown away by him at first because she had low-self esteem and thought of herself as “ugly and fat.”
They began having sex immediately, and at 16, she discovered she was pregnant. While she was raised Catholic, she decided to get an abortion which felt like “just getting rid of a pregnancy,” not “like it was killing a child.” But afterwards, her life spun “out of control.”
The 57-year old didn’t start healing until 15 years ago when she “just realized that God loves me.” She called herself “one of the lucky ones” because she had only one abortion. Afterwards, she gave birth to four children and had one miscarriage.
“So I have two babies in heaven, Thomas Michael and Emily Therese,” Eisman said. “We’ve got this army of little angels up there.”
Andrea Pearson from Virginia had three abortions. After her first one at Planned Parenthood, she fell into a “tailspin of drugs and alcohol and promiscuous lifestyle.”
In her online testimony she described her first abortion as physically painful. “It felt exactly like what was happening. A suction which I read is 29 times stronger than a vacuum cleaner ripped my baby from my womb. All I could do was stare at the wall biting my lip trying to get through it.”
“It took me a very long time to recover,” she shared with National Review. “My message for women that are out there is there’s no sin beyond the reach of God’s grace.”
She said she felt badly for the women who are a part of #ShoutYourAbortion.
“A lot of women that are in the pro-abortion movement and that are angry, it’s a way for them to justify their own abortions and to make themselves feel like it was okay,” she said. “It’s a cover.”
Muriel Ramos moved in 1980 to Florida, where she met her future fiancé. When they moved in together, she became pregnant even though she was on the pill. When she went back to the clinic that gave her the pill, employees told her “Oh, you need to have an abortion because your baby’s going to be deformed, you were taking the pill.”
Both she and her fiancé were scared, she remembered, and he “dropped me off one day to have the abortion.” She went into the waiting room and recalled the other women who tried to reassure her.
“One said to me, ‘Oh, don’t worry, this is my second time. Don’t be afraid.’ Another said, ‘It’s my third time,’” she said. “All of a sudden it hit me what I was doing, and I went to the receptionist and asked to use the phone” to call her fiancé to go home.
When she revealed she had changed her mind, the receptionist “got mad,” moved her into another room, and advised that “everybody has their doubts.” After Ramos protested again, a woman put an IV in her arm and the doctor entered the room.
“By this time I was crying,” she remembered, but still the “doctor ignored my pleas” and instead “nodded to the lady that had put the IV in, like, ‘up it.’”
“The next thing I knew, it was over and I had woken up,” she said. Afterwards, that same lady appeared saying, “It’s time for juice and cookies. Now you can get on with your life.”
Ramos said she got an infection from the abortion and suffered from an autoimmune disease as well as fertility problems. She also had five miscarriages.
“So I have my five children here and I have six in heaven,” she said. “And, you know, I just want better for your generation.”