During my interview with Dr. Day Gardner for the articles in this week’s Respect Life special section (Pages 9-16), she talked about “the big lie” that pregnant women have been told — that if you have an abortion “you can go on and have a better life.” 

But, she stressed, life does not suddenly improve after having an abortion. Women still struggle with finances and a host of personal, cultural and societal problems. 

“The only thing that will change if they abort their baby,” she said, “is that she will still be a mother, only now, she will be the mother of a dead child. It doesn’t do you any good to pretend you were never the mother of a child.” 

Many of us know of someone who has had an abortion, and we all know someone who was challenged with an unplanned or difficult pregnancy. It’s never easy. 

I’m old enough to remember when being pregnant out of wedlock was socially unacceptable, and although abortions were illegal, they were still available. But in those days, girls often were sent away under the cover of lies that few believed. 

In my good friend’s case, she went out of state “to take care of a sick aunt,” but was really in a Catholic foundling home. The father of the baby never had a chance to make it right, though he wanted to, because my friend’s controlling mother forced her to “go away” and place the baby for adoption. She was 20. 

Three years before that, another girl, only 17, had a better outcome. She successfully fought to graduate at a time when pregnant girls were permanently kicked out of high school, but she canceled her college plans to become an English/lit teacher.  

Her parents helped her with the baby, she got a job as a newspaper reporter, and soon married a man who adopted her son. They later had another son together. 

That marriage ended in divorce and annulment decades later, and the woman was enjoying great freedom. Her sons were grown, she was doing well professionally and was free to travel and do whatever she wanted.  

Enter another marriage and, at age 44, an unplanned pregnancy. She was shocked at how many friends suggested abortion. They said that she gave up her life for one baby when she was 17, and at 44, was she going to give it up again for another? Abortion, they told her, was no big deal, and certainly in line with pro-choice excuses, she was too young the first time, and too old now. 

But again, she chose life. 

That unplanned baby is nearly 23 years old and is a treasure to her mother, just like her unplanned brother and their brother in between.  

No career opportunities, travel or so-called freedom could have been worth more than the blessings that that woman’s children bring to her life, or the love that she has for them and from them. 

By the way, that 23-year-old is my daughter, and back in 1963, I was that pregnant 17-year-old kid. 

Maryann Gogniat Eidemiller writes from Pennsylvania.