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A woman is standing in the bathroom, staring at the white wand in her shaking hand. Her disbelief gives way to anger, then despair. She has five children. She can't afford childcare—she'll have to quit her job. Her house is too small for another child. Her family's business is under threat, and her husband will be traveling more than ever. She's just come through another unplanned pregnancy. She is well past 40. How can she be pregnant at this age when using birth control? How can she go through another pregnancy, another birth? How can she raise another child?

Then a thought comes: This could all just go away. No one would know. She feels a lift. There is a way out.

That woman, of course, was me. Never did I imagine I would consider abortion, even for a few seconds.

Reading this, some will write me: "How could you even think that? You're a terrible mother. Don't you know every child is a blessing?" I know because I got some of those e-mails when my book Surprise Child came out a few years ago.

I'm thinking about all this again because we are facing an election cycle in which life-ethics issues are almost daily news, and because January 15th is National Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Those last unexpected pregnancies jarred me awake in so many ways. I discovered that 20 percent of all women obtaining abortions self-identify as evangelical, charismatic, fundamentalist, or born-again, according to the pro-choice Guttmacher Institute. That's somewhere around 200,000 believing American women a year ending the life of their child.

Can this be true? While I was speaking on a talk show about the topic, a woman called in and said, "I work outside an abortion clinic, trying to save lives, and you wouldn't believe how many cars in the parking ...

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In the Magazine

January 2012

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