Forgiveness

I talked her into getting an abortion, then I ran into her at the store.

I used to have a standard line that I would ask people if I thought I recognized them, “Do I look familiar to you?”. I asked that question once a week, at least. It’s been four years since I have asked that question to anyone.

Four years ago, there was a woman in a store I recognized. I could tell that she recognized me as well, because every time we would pass each other she would give me a little smile.

Finally, I just asked, “Do I look familiar to you?”

She started laughing and said that I did look familiar, but she could not figure out where she had seen me before.  As soon as she started talking, it hit me. She sat across from me at my desk at Planned Parenthood. I convinced her to get an abortion. I remembered her story vividly. She was crying. I was reassuring her by saying things like, “Just because a decision makes us cry, doesn’t mean it’s not the right decision.”

I remember that I was trying to get her out of my office. We had been talking for at least 45 minutes and that was way over my 15 minute maximum for “counseling.” I knew I must have a stack of charts waiting in my box outside. Finally, I pulled out the last card to hurry this thing along. I told her, “If you don’t have the abortion today, you won’t be able to come back to us for at least a week and it will be more expensive. You don’t want that, do you?”

Reluctantly, she said that she was ready to go back for the abortion. Good. My job was done. Every line was signed and every box was checked.

I was now, once again, staring this young woman in the face. I had left Planned Parenthood. I was pro-life. I was sorry for what I had done to her, but what do I say now? I panicked and said, “Well, who knows? Maybe I will see you around again.” Then, I rushed off, feeling ashamed.

I really hoped that would never happen again. However, it did. It happened several times. Each time, I would look into the woman’s eyes and walk the other way. How could I face these women? My sins were staring back at me when I looked at them. I didn’t want to see it. It was too real.

As time progressed, these encounters occurred less often. We moved to a different town for my work and I rarely ran into anyone that I recognized from the clinic. Even if I did, I had more confidence to deal with it as it arose. I was more comfortable than before to tell them who I was and how I knew them. I was now quick to apologize for my part in their abortion. The more healing I experienced, the easier it became.

About six months ago, I received an email that I wasn’t expecting. In those few seconds my confidence was shaken. A young woman had come to my clinic when she was just 16 years old. Admittedly, I did not remember her. She told me her story through a message and I was heartbroken for her. She had gotten hooked on drugs, dealt with very serious depression, and even attempted suicide after her abortion.

She blamed me. “You told me I would feel fine after my abortion,” she said. I told her she wouldn’t have any regrets, but she did. She told me that I caused her pain. While I read her email, I felt that pain. I also felt that shame that I hadn’t experienced in several years.

I think I read her email at least 50 times. Honestly, I thought about just deleting it, pretending I had never received it, but I knew I couldn’t do that. I had to respond. I had to apologize. After two days of discerning my response, I finally sat down to write.

I accepted the blame. I apologized at least 10 times in my first response. I didn’t try to make any excuses. I didn’t try to justify my words or actions. I just apologized, over and over again. After that, I offered help. This young woman, now in her early 20's, needed healing. We have now exchanged several conversations through email and phone. I was able to get her connected to a post-abortive healing ministry in her area. She is a different person. Due to her honesty, I am a different person.

Recently, I asked a few former abortion clinic workers a question, “If you could go back and say something to a woman who had an abortion in your clinic, what would you say?” The responses were somewhat varied, but all had the same theme. They would tell these women that they were sorry. They would apologize for lying, for misleading them.

So, here is that apology to any post-abortive woman reading this right now. I am sorry. I am sorry that we did not tell you the truth about abortion. I am sorry that you were deceived by people who you thought you could trust. I am sorry that we didn’t listen to you when you cried in our offices. I’m sorry that you were treated like a number and not the beautiful person that you are. I’m sorry for the pain you felt. I’m sorry for any regret that you felt or continue to feel because of our dishonesty.

As much as I wish I could change the past, I’m not able to. I can’t change the poor decisions that we have all made, but I can tell you that there are many of us who care about your healing. You don’t have to live with regret, pain, and shame.

If you haven’t yet, please take that first step and find help. Call your local pro-life group and ask about resources in your area.  The Catholic Church offers resources as well. Receiving the sacrament of reconciliation is a physical and spiritual healing that comes directly from Jesus. I have found freedom and healing from my past. You can find that freedom, too.

**The original article was published by LifeSiteNews.com. Any reproduction or quotation from this article must give appropriate credit and sourcing to their website.

Guest Post from Claire Culwell

As many of you know, Claire Culwell is one of my closest friends.  Claire survived an abortion, her twin did not.  She recently found out the name of the abortionist who attempted to take her life and decided to write him a letter.  Claire now works for my ministry, And Then There Were None

It is our sincere prayer that Dr. Patel will one day be a part of our growing organization of those who have left the abortion industry.  She mailed this letter to Dr. Patel last week.  It arrived on Monday. Her letter is below.

" Dear Dr. Patel,

I am writing with a heavy heart. I recently discovered you in the news due to the violations your abortion clinic has made. I found that I have a closer connection to you than I thought.

In 1988, my 13-year-old birth mother placed herself in your care to perform her abortion…her 20-week abortion. She was assured that the abortion would fix her problem and that her life would return to normal but it didn’t. When she returned to see you, she was informed that the abortion had been successful, in part, but she was still pregnant as she had actually been pregnant with twins but had been misinformed. She was also told that during the abortion the amniotic sac had been ruptured, thus leaking fluid for weeks. This proposed many complications for my birth mother. Due to the botched abortion, I was born 2.5 months premature with many lifelong complications.

As I read your medical practice history, I found my testimony consistent with many of your other former patients. My birth mother was 13. She was young and naïve; she would be easy to manipulate and lie to. She didn’t know any better. Due to the abortion that was botched, my birth mother has suffered 26 years of hardship and regret. I can only imagine the things that may have happened that she feels like she can’t speak about...things that other women are confessing that you did to them while in your care.

However, she was not the only one affected by the failed abortion. My life, my family’s life, and my children’s lives would all eventually be effected by one “mistake” or one “botched abortion” that was performed so long ago. Not only was I born 2.5 months premature but I was born with complications including dislocated hips, club feet, and was on life support in the hospital. I went through multiple casts on my feet, a harness on my hips to prepare for surgery and body casts in order to correct what the abortion had done to my body. In fact, I still have hip and foot complications today due to the abortion. The unfortunate part is that I am not alone. Hundreds of other survivors of abortions are speaking up letting the world know that we ARE children, we DO deserve a chance at life and that abortion is, clearly, NOT SAFE.

I spent 21 years of my life wondering if I had a sibling that was missing. I felt it in my heart. My birth mother confirmed my questions when she told me about her abortion when I met her. Realizing that you have lived your entire life without your twin is a harsh reality.However, the hardest part for me is realizing that you took my daddy’s only son from him. His life would have been even more full and joyful had he had his son who would carry on his family name and do the things he loves with him—hunt and fish. Because of the selfishness that abortion has brought to us today, our family will remain incomplete and I mourn the amazing adventures my daddy is missing with my brother.

In February of 2013, another miracle happened… My daughter was born! I can’t help but think about how she wouldn’t be here if the abortion had been successful on my life. She has only been here for a short time but she has touched so many lives with her fun-loving personality. I can’t help but wonder how many children are missing because their mothers were misinformed by you and told that the best decision, or even the only decision, was abortion.

Dr. Patel, I write to not only shed light on the reality of the severe aftermath that can happen when abortions are performed but to also express my forgiveness to you for what happened. I have lived a full life and been well loved in my 26 years of life despite my circumstances. I was adopted into an incredible home that gave more grace and forgiveness than I ever could have asked for. In the same way I have been forgiven by God for many things, I choose to forgive you. I forgive you for performing the abortion in 1988 and for the enormous impact it has had on my birth mother and me.

I also pray for you. I pray that you are able to see past the medicine, the money and your usual way of life… and that you will remember my face (and my daughter’s who would not be here had the abortion been successful) as you go to perform abortions. I pray that as you remember my face that you will be moved in such a way to walk away from the abortion practice and use your gifts outside of the industry. I assure you that many of us, myself included, would help you leave the industry and be encouragers and supporters to you. I would welcome you with open arms because I fully believe your life and what you do with your life is just as valuable as every single unborn child that I advocate for. I will continue to pray for you and your past and current patients.

 Sincerely,

Claire Culwell "