Years ago, I had a dear friend who was faced with an unexpected pregnancy while still a young woman. At the time she took her pregnancy test, I remember sitting with her just stunned and silent. I had no words or reassurance for her. The next day, she had her pregnancy confirmed by a health clinic and received a referral for abortion.
I am ashamed to say that I stood by while she chose to end her baby’s life the day after she knew he existed. In my mind, I know that I was young and ill-prepared to face this difficult issue, but in my heart it is small reconciliation. There is little hope that I could have done anything to change her decision, but I sometimes wonder how I could have been a better friend to her at that difficult time. The best word I could use to describe how I felt that week was confused. I knew deep in my soul that it was a bad and wrong decision, but could see and feel the pressure to accept her choice. Even though society seemed to dictate that I was to understand and offer condolences regarding the difficulty of her choice, I really couldn’t do it. So instead, I did nothing.
Even though it has been almost 20 years, I still think about that week and pray for her unborn baby. I ask God for forgiveness in being a silent observer.
When I hear stories like Kathleen Fitzpatrick, I wonder how things could have been different for my friend.