The Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation recently completed its annual Pro-Life Student Essay Contest, and as always the entrants were amazing and the judges had a difficult time choosing a winner. This essay, written by Bethlehem Catholic High School 11th grade student Rebecca Homer of Quakertown, won first place in the Sr. High category:
The air was stifling hot as I glanced at the time: 10:22 AM. It was a Tuesday morning in August and my neighbors’ children were busy at play in the yard next door. The birds sang their song and as I stirred my tea alone at the table, it struck me again. A tidal wave of grief filled my being and I wept uncontrollably. My silent tears turned to sobbing as my stomach wrenched inside of me. My whole being was overcome with anguish as the pit in my very soul opened wide and poured out the torment I could no longer hold inside.
It had been twenty years now since I had left my job at Planned Parenthood. I counseled countless women in crisis and led every single one to abortions. As I looked outside, I remembered the hot August morning twenty five years ago when the woman next door was brought to my office. She shut her eyes and cried as we discussed the options for her eight-week old baby. I was excited to administer my fourth abortion of the day.
Today, my head pounds as I watch her two children play next door, unaware of their two siblings that I murdered myself. Their mother was pregnant with twins.
I rose from the table, poured a bowl of cereal, and slid back down into the wooden chair. I began to feel sick as I remembered the last conversation I ever had with my mother. She told me, “Abortion is the greatest wrong you ever could inflict upon yourself, your child, and your family.” Little did she know I would not only inflict these wrongs upon myself, my child, and my family, but also upon others, their children, and their families. I shivered as I remembered the day she passed away.
I am living all alone now, sipping away at my late morning tea. As my sorrows subside for a moment, I let my mind wander back to my dear husband who retired in the same year as I. He always wanted to raise children of our own, but I was never ready. I had a steady job and I loved my career. Why would I want to raise a child?
If I could only have him back for a day, I would embrace my sweet husband and stop everything to raise just one child.
How is it that ideas could change so drastically during one’s lifetime? As my eyes scan the walls around me, I muse in the vast emptiness of my own home. My old friends tell me they are “proud grandmothers of four” or “great-grandmothers to-be.” I sigh deeply in the midst of my own solitude and listen intently as the air fills my lungs with breath. As the wall clock ticks away lightly, the stillness of my home engulfs me entirely.
Another wave of crippling anxiety takes hold of my being. This time I am not only overwhelmed with grief, but with regret. I have spent my life murdering the children of those around me and I can no longer live with the thought of what I have done. Why did I not listen to my mother?
I buried my face in my hands and wept for all the women I robbed of motherhood, all the men I robbed of fatherhood, and all the children who will never know their brothers and sisters. Everyday, I find myself here, at the same wooden table, alone, and paralyzed at the thought of what years of my work has done.
I picked up my cane and rinsed out my dishes. As I walked back over to the window, I spotted the two children now sitting on the sidewalk. Contently, they passed a ball between themselves as their mother watched lovingly from the porch. A cascade of tears streamed from my eyes as the cacophony of children’s voices consumed my attention again. Will the torment of my past ever cease to haunt me?
I stumbled over to my calendar to find the date of the next appointment with my therapist. As I scanned the days of the week, my eyes fell upon today’s date: August seventh. Today is my seventy-third birthday. I turned around and froze. What have I done?