Though I have not lived there in many years I read my home town news paper daily. This article in todays publication was a joy to read:
LIMA,OHIO — A decision to have an abortion at age 16 still haunts Liz White to this day.
“It’s been 39 years, and I’m still dealing with the effects,” White said. “Once you come to the realization that you killed your own child, you just can’t get that our of your mind.”
White spent nine years trying to bury her regret in drugs and alcohol, but she said it only made things worse. She said she hid her abortion from everyone, including her own family, but the suppression of her emotions was a weight that was too hard to bear alone.
Three years ago, White decided to go public with her story. She joined Heartbeat of Lima, an organization that offers support for pregnant women and those dealing with the effects of abortion, and has been helping people ever since.
On Sunday, White joined some 100 people for the seventh-annual March For Life event that is sponsored each year by Heartbeat of Lima. The group marched from the Heartbeat of Lima office on South Elizabeth Street to the Meeting Place on Market, where they heard a speech from White. The march is an annual event meant to protest Roe v. Wade, a Supreme Court ruling that legalized abortion in 1973, and to promote the services Heartbeat of Lima offers.
Carrying a sign that read, “I Regret My Abortion,” White hoped the public display of remorse would show women in similar situations that they are not alone.
“That’s my point here today — to bring awareness and make other women feel comfortable talking about it and sharing their stories,” she said.
The message White and Heartbeat of Lima are sending to women is essentially the same: Come forward and get help.
Patti Kennedy, executive director at Heartbeat of Lima, said the organization offers a litany of services for pregnant women and those who previously had an abortion.
“We offer free pregnancy screening, free ultrasounds, and extended parenting classes,” Kennedy said. “We’re there for 24-hour support if someone is scared and worried. We don’t just encourage them to have their child, but we work with them with parenting issues. We have attorneys that will work with them through the adoption process as well.”
In February, the organization will launch a support group called H.E.A.R.T, which stands for “Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma.”
“It’s a seven-week program where they will come in and go through the healing process,” Kennedy said. “This is a program that is very welcoming. There is no judgment.”
In fact, White is one of the program’s facilitators. Her work with the support group, she said, is evidence that she has come full-circle.
“I’m looking forward to helping other women in the same position as me,” she said. “Even helping just one woman would make everything worth it.”