At the time I was led to believe that this was the best thing to do. As a panic-stricken 16-year-old, feeling hopeless and too ashamed to tell my family, I took the quick fix offered by Planned Parenthood to terminate my pregnancy. I was told I could go on with my life as if I had never been pregnant. I was assured that no one would know, including the one who loves me the most, my mother. With no other option, it seemed like the only choice I could make. This choice resulted in emotional and psychological trauma suffered in silence for decades.
Today, Ohio voters have a chance to say “no” for an amendment to our constitution that would return us to the days when a vulnerable child could be victimized by anyone who offered a quick fix without the loving guidance of parents.
The language in this dangerous amendment would directly contradict current parental notification and consent requirements to protect minors from making decisions out of fear that would affect them for life. In addition to the guilt of ending the life of my only child, I regret that my mother and family were deprived of the opportunity to help me during the darkest days of my life. My child had no one to protect his life.
If passed, this amendment would also put women’s health at risk. Women will be forced to rely on an abortion industry that puts profit above their health and safety. Even common sense laws that require an abortion facility to obey medical regulations and follow surgery center guidelines can be defined as “burden” and will therefore be at risk if this amendment is adopted. Healthcare is not a concern when it targets the death of an innocent child or threatens the health and safety of a woman.
Issue 1 would also allow abortion providers to use a woman’s age or mental health as a reason to terminate an eight-month pregnancy. Do we really want to leave women’s safety and abortion restrictions in the hands of the same organizations that profit from writing abortion into our constitution?
My faith tells me that every human being has intrinsic worth. The humanity of every young life in the womb is priceless, regardless of their developmental age, race, circumstances of conception, or physical or cognitive abilities. Every woman’s humanity matters, regardless of her financial status; no woman should have to choose between her child’s life and financial security. So my faith also tells me to advocate for real solutions to poverty, hunger and lack of quality health care.
Currently, there are many non-profit organizations that work to help any woman who is faced with an unwanted pregnancy in difficult circumstances. Pregnancy resource centers and other faith-based charities go to the woman and her family before, during and after pregnancy, asking for nothing in return and motivated only by non-judgmental love and respect.
I painfully shared my own story as just one of the millions of women who regret their abortions. My suffering led me to help others who had been hurt by abortion and to seek help by working on confidential helplines and counseling others. I have heard from women whose wounds, weeks or months, but very often decades later, have been reopened by other life events. Our stories may be different, but we all have something in common. We are told that abortion is the solution to a short-term problem, only to find that it creates more life-altering problems than it solves. I implore all people of good will here in Ohio to vote “no” in issue 1 on or before November 7. It’s a choice everyone can live with.
Christine (Christy) Balor is a volunteer with Project Rachel of Northeast Ohio, a ministry of the Catholic Diocese of Youngstown that walks with women and men whose lives have been affected by abortion.