Ann’s Story

I grew up the oldest of four in a loving family in the midwest.  My father is a retired MD, my mother was an RN,.  I grew up feeling loved, regularly attending the Presbyterian Church, collecting pets and plants.  Loved living things and the outdoors.  Fascinated with science.  Became an RN myself, and started my career in the ICU.  Later I was a traveling nurse, so I could see some of the world.  Settled for a time in Florida, had a boyfriend. That friendship ended badly, and I decided to get a fresh start in Colorado, where one of my best friends from nursing school lived.  At that time, there were many nurses, but not many jobs.  I saw an ad for a "Women's Reproductive Health Clinic."  It was a day position, four days a week.  Day jobs are not always easy to find for nurses, and that sounded good to me.  I quickly discovered it was an abortion clinic.  I did not have strong feelings about abortion at that time…my parents are quite liberal politically, and had supported Planned Parenthood with their time and money.  I always felt abortion was not something I could ever do myself….but if someone else wanted/needed to…well, that was her right.  So, in the clinic environment of friendly, warm, supportive female employees (with the exception of the often prickly physician) I pushed down any negative feelings I had about the "procedures" and learned how to be an abortion clinic nurse.  I learned how to prepare women for procedures, set out sterile instruments, turn on suction machines.  And of course, I had to always be sure the little cloth drape was around the glass bottle that held the "products of conception" after the suction abortion. Another unfortunate staff member had the job of examining those bottles' contents, to be sure all the parts were there and nothing was retained in the patient's uterus. A macabre jigsaw puzzle if you will.  Gradually, I learned how to assist with "late cases" which at that time were pregnancies from weeks 16-24.  These were much more involved, requiring ultrasound, two days of laminaria, and removal of amniotic fluid to be replaced by concentrated urea. Then…after a few hours, the RN would listen for heart tones.  We had to be certain the "heart tones" had stopped before the procedure was "completed".  I never witnessed "partial birth" abortion while I was employed there for two years.  It became more and more difficult to ignore my feelings when we had particularly egregious situations, such as the young, wealthy married couples expecting twins who, after careful research, determined twins would not fit their lifestyle.  So they aborted their 17 week old babies.  And the woman who was having abortion #5…birth control was too much bother for her.  I still didn't feel strongly against abortion, but decided to move on to other employment.  Interestingly, I ended up being a nurse in a  Level 3 ICU Nursery, where premature babies are cared for.  I loved it there.  But I am not sure the irony had hit me yet, or maybe my denial system was still to strong.  Somehow along the way, I would occasionally listen to Dr. James Dobson on Christian radio.  Oh, how he irritated me when he talked about the sacredness of unborn life, all life!  How aggravating that was to hear!  He just didn't understand!  He was a man, after all!  Still…I even accompanied my sister in law, and a good friend, when they had abortions, because it was "the wrong time" for them.  But gradually, our great God was turning my heart.  He was melting the ice that kept me from feeling the pain and reality of abortion.  I had gotten married to a wonderful man, and we had our first daughter.  And not long after, I realized how indescribably precious parenthood was. It was a new, scary feeling, to discover…I was one of THEM!  The Pro Life people!  How strange to have your identity change.  I realized that none of the arguments "for abortion" that I used to believe in had any merit at all.  I felt very sad for my friends back at the clinic, who still lived in blindness.

I will be forever sorry for my participation in the abortion business.  I know I am forgiven by Jesus, but the sad burden will forever be on my heart, and I am not sorry about that.  I deserve to "feel" that, I do not believe "guilt" is necessarily a bad thing…and it helps motivate me to work towards a world where unborn life is treasured, and no one considers abortion to be a viable option."

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  1. Patricia
    Posted August 17, 2013 at 1:36 pm | Permalink

    It is always a joy to hear how God uses us – if we allow Him. 

  2. Ann Couper-Johnston
    Posted August 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

    I'm glad you got out of there!  Hope you get lots of opportunities to speak to women who think as you once did – you will be more effective than I ever could be because you have seen the other side from the inside.  Have you been on one of Abby's retreats?  I'm glad you've had your own baby, and I hope you don't get any of those nasty comments Abby has reported – I suspect they come from fundamentalists who don't realise the pressures on women today.  I have to work hard myself to remember that the generation immediately after me will have been brought up to think that abortion is  right and the obvious solution to a problem. There have been investigations done by journalists here who've acted as though they had a problem pregnancy, to see just what advice they would be given.  The clinics have been so eager to press an abortion on them they have been in danger of totally unnecesssary medical treatment – what sort of "choice" is that?  Add to that the fear and panic which a woman who is in the situation for real will feel, and how much chance does she have of doing what is right?  Women deserve better!  Medical staff deserve better!

  3. julie
    Posted June 9, 2014 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

    Just remember, God never brings guilt & condemnation. Only grace & Peace. Please seek His face whenever that "guilt" comes your way. It only comes from the accuser. Thank you for sharing your story. Truly, you are a Victor!

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