Revive Our Hearts recently featured a series on abortion. Kelly Roy was one of three individuals interviewed by Nancy Leigh DeMoss as part of that series. I thought Kelly’s story was especially compelling because she is a Christian who was raised in a Christian home and yet when faced with an unplanned pregnancy at the age of 20, she decided to have an abortion.
Kelly’s story may not be as unique as you’d think. Researchers estimate that as many as 1 in 5 women who have an abortion are Christians. I see this as an important point of conversation for us here on the blog. I asked Kelly for an in-depth interview. Her honest answers are a powerful reminder of the gravity of this issue. Take a look.
Erin: Please tell me a little bit about your home life growing up. What was your family situation?
Kelly: My parents were married and still are to this day. I was the middle daughter of three girls and basically grew up in the church. We started attending when I was seven and have gone to the same church ever since. It wasn’t an unhappy home, quite the opposite actually. I had a good relationship with my parents; I did tend to be closer to my dad- probably because we are so much alike.
Erin: How old were you when you made a personal decision to accept Christ?
Kelly: I remember it very clearly. I was seven years old and I remember my pastor standing at the pulpit giving an alter call for anyone who wanted to accept Jesus as their Savior…I remember making my way up there because I wanted Jesus in my heart.
Erin: What circumstances led up to your choice to have an abortion?
Kelly: Many, and it’s interesting how they form around you before you even realize it. I had stopped going to church when I was fifteen and decided to let boys pursue me instead of pursuing God. I became sexually active at 16 years old (in long term relationships) and by the time I was eighteen I gave birth to my daughter (as a senior in high school.)
At twenty I was pregnant again from a long time boyfriend and that’s when the issue of abortion came up, it had never come up with my daughter, and fear seized me. I was not living at home at the time and was not surrounded by positive pro-life people, including the father of the baby.
Erin: What lies do you think that you believed that caused you to make that choice?
Kelly: Honestly, I wouldn’t have acknowledged it then, but I didn’t want my boyfriend to leave me. The clincher though, was when someone said to me, “Your parents forgave you the first time you got pregnant, and do you really think they’ll forgive you again?” I didn’t want to disappoint my parents and cause them to be upset with me. It’s amazing the lies that surround you when you are in a situation like that. You cannot see clearly.
Erin: How did that decision impact you spiritually, initially and then later as you began to heal?
Kelly: I became numb when I was sitting in the waiting room, in my gown, waiting for my turn. I sat there crying out to God because I didn’t want to do this, but I was scared not to. Once you are in a place like that it is very difficult to get out, I was convinced by those working at the abortion facility that I was doing the right thing and they knew exactly what to say to confirm my fears. Before I even went into the procedure room I became numb and couldn’t feel anything emotionally. The procedure was painful – in more ways than one and two days after the procedure while I was at home, I passed my baby. I was numb still from two days earlier, but when I saw the baby (91/2- 10 weeks along) I went into a state of shock.
Nine months later my breaking point came and my parents were some of the ones who helped me greatly, especially when I broke down and cried heavily for hours- they were there with me. I had to deal with the guilt, anger and many other aspects of how it had affected me. I had to face what I had done and it wasn’t easy, but God was there with me, forgave me and started me down a path of healing.
Erin: How did the Lord restore your heart after your abortion?
Kelly: It was a process and an unpleasant one at times. The first step was to seek God’s forgiveness, which He readily gives, and then I had to forgive myself. One very important aspect of healing is that many women believe they are healed when they repent, but they have to go through a healing process. I had to allow God to minister to my heart and all the pain and emotions that I needed to go through. I had to grieve, what I had done and what I had lost. At one point I remember dealing with anger that I had been robbed of my child and that I let it happen. The Lord is good and is gentle. I always recommend a bible study like Forgiven and Set Free, or even Rachel’s Vineyard because you need the word of God to bring healing and a support system.
Erin: I recently read that somewhere around 20% of women who choose to have abortions are born-again Christians. In addition to the lies you believed when you found yourself choosing abortion, what other lies have you encountered when speaking to post-abortive Christian women?
Kelly: Being a Christian woman who is pregnant, the evidence of how you have been secretly living is now for all to see, so many girls believe they have to abort to escape shame, but it actually throws them into a deeper and more complex level of shame. They believe they will be shunned, unforgivable and the list goes on. We as the body of Christ need to offer the hand of forgiveness and help to these girls.
Erin: Many of the girls on this blog have expressed that they feel helpless to do anything about this issue. What are some practical ways they can make a difference in their own communities?
Kelly: There are many ways to help.
1. Prayer initiatives like Bound 4 Life or 40 Days for Life
2. Having a speaker come and share her testimony in your church or on your campus to bring truth and healing through Operation Outcry or Campus Outcry
3. Volunteering at a pregnancy center
4. Operation Outcry/ Campus Outcry have a project to collect One Million Voices of those hurt by abortion and you don’t have to be post-abortion to help us.
Erin: What would you say to the girls reading this interview to encourage them to commit to never choose abortion themselves?
Kelly: The commitment starts with realizing how valuable they are- how valuable all life is and to wait for marriage. Abortion is never the answer and there is always someone out there to help. I encourage every girl to never have an abortion because it doesn’t end a problem; it begins a lifetime long problem. Abortion is like a tree planted right in the middle of your life and the roots go out and touch every part of your life and only the Lord can remove that tree and all it’s roots. So don’t choose to plant abortion in your life, it only reaps pain.