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I am now sixty one years old but will always be haunted by that innocent little life I aborted at age 27, as a young married mom with two little ones. It was the hardest decision of my life, and I have regretted it ever since, but at the time I did what I thought was best for my family.

I had attempted to prevent getting pregnant after my son was born by getting an IUD placed. Unfortunately the IUD migrated through the wall of my uterus into the cul-de-sac, so it never actually came out, and I was none the wiser. We were struggling financially,our marriage was not the healthiest, and I had major behavior issues with my daughter, our eldest child. My husband travelled with his job, leaving me without relief for a week at a time. Not only did I not see how we could afford a third child, I did not see how I could cope with a third child, struggling as I was with the behavior of my daughter. I had been abusive with her from the time she was an infant, and knew this additional stress would aggravate that possibility, perhaps with all three kids. It seemed the addition of another child would cause an already unstable situation to potentially explode, and I felt it would not be fair to the other two children, much less to the new little life that might cause it.

I talked with my mom, I talked with my older sister, both on the other coast and both of whom listened and were supportive, regardless of the decision I made. I was not involved with a church at the time, and had I been, there would have been other alternatives I could have chosen, I know. But at the time I knew I could not carry a child to full term and then give it up for adoption, because I would have kept it instead, and that truly did not seem to be an option.

I believe abortion is wrong, especially when used as a method of birth control, but I do not believe any church, any government, any court or any person has the right to an opinion on the subject unless they have been personally involved in some way. I have been punished a thousand times over for what I did, and the punisher was me. But what I did is between the Lord and me, it is to Him that I am accountable, and I have no excuse, just circumstances.

Probably in most of the stories you have received there are women just like me, caught between a rock and a hard place, making the best decision they could at the time. I cannot believe that most women who do this are cavalier, because an abortion kills a part of the woman too, and in my case, part of my soul. The issues around abortion are so much more complicated than either being for or against Roe V. Wade, which passed just prior to my own abortion.

I appreciate your asking your listeners for their own insights and stories, because this has given me the opportunity to share my story in hopes that it might help others. Sadly, sharing the story doesn't seem to help the pain I will always feel, but that is OK: it was my choice and I have had to live with it. This pain is part of who I am, and has given me an empathy and compassion for others I might not have had, otherwise. But it has also made me intolerant of those who pontificate about issues of which they think they have knowledge, but have no experience.

There is more I would like to say, but for now I just want to thank you for making this opportunity for those of us with sad stories of our own. I look forward to hearing the program you have that will explore all these issues. Thank you.

Melissa Hutton