Her skin was flawless, her manner graceful, her laugh infectious. Further, she came from an upper-middle class Christian home; she had attended a Christian college, and her boyfriend went to her church. When she sat with my wife and me, however, her glance was anxious, and her hands twisted one another. Her shoulders bent with troubled weights. How else does one look after having had an abortion?

“We sat in the clinic,” she said, “And we saw others from my college.” She and her boyfriend huddled together in the unfeeling outer room of the abortion trade. None of their usual laughter; only embarrassed eyes touching one another, then bouncing off onto beige walls.

“My family must never know,” she said. “They’d die. They would …”

She began to cry. Speaking in half-sentences had become common that night. Confusion mixed with hurt overwhelmed language. Grammar was molded to fit the wounds inside.

Reliving the nightmare was not easy, for her or for us. Light from attractive living-room lamps glowed too brightly for tired eyes. The usually cozy parsonage turned into an impersonal barracks of the soul. We yearned for escape.

But escape would not come. What had been done was stamped upon the minds of those involved. When going to sleep, it all came back, rushing against the nerves to yank and pull. On awakening, it was the same. As long as the body housed the spirit, there would be cries against the injustice done.

These were not my conclusions, nor the political statements of one running for office, nor pronouncements from some aloof pulpit. They were anguished cries. They were pieces of a broken heart that kept pumping out its fear and guilt.

She went on and on. At times we ...

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