A mother recalls emotional, physical pain of abortion
By Bob Baysinger
August 26, 2003
OAK GROVE – Scherrie Stanley is a member of First Baptist Church, Oak Grove. She’s also a victim of the abortion industry and plans to be present on Sept. 10 when thousands gather at the Missouri Capitol to urge the legislature to override Gov. Bob Holden’s veto of right-to-know legislation.
"A 24-hour waiting period would have made a big difference whether I had an abortion or not," Stanley said in an interview with The Pathway. "It would have given me an opportunity to seek out other medical options. It would have given me time to think."
Stanley is a strong supporter of the scheduled override attempt. She testified for the legislation when it was before the state House and Senate. Stanley and other pro-life supporters say it is important for Missouri Baptists to be present at the Capitol to encourage lawmakers to override the veto.
Stanley’s ordeal began after giving birth at the age of 17.
"I was told that I could not carry another child without surgery to my uterus," she said. "I never had the procedure and became pregnant again. My mother and her doctor quickly scheduled abortion for the morning following the discovery of the pregnancy. They assured me there would be counseling to help me."
Stanley said the counseling consisted of one question.
"I told them my medical history and that I wished I didn’t have to have the abortion. The staff at the clinic told us there was nothing wrong with the choice we had made and there was no shame in our choice.
"They told us that at this state it was only a blob of tissue, just a fetus. They never talked about the emotional and physical side effects that would occur" and never presented any alternative to an abortion.
"In fact, pro-choice became no choice."
And what Stanley was to learn was there was no backing out of the abortion.
"Just before being taken in for the procedure," she said, "I told the nurse I had changed my mind. The nurse just smiled and replied, ‘You’ll be all right. Just get it over today and you’ll feel better about it tomorrow.’
"Once into the procedure, the doctor told me that I was much farther in the pregnancy than I had told them. The doctor had never examined me and had not given me the gestational age of the baby before the procedure was started."
When the baby was removed from Stanley’s womb, she described it "like my very own soul had been torn from me."
"From the top of my head to my toes, I felt emptiness, like what death must feel like. The only way I knew I was still alive was that I could feel my eyelids blinking in slow motion," Stanley said. "Something inside was taken from me that day and for years I just wasn’t complete. I missed my child. And that ‘tomorrow’ that the nurse talked about never came."
After the abortion, Stanley suffered psychological and emotional difficulties. She developed anorexia and reached a low of 87 pounds.
"I suffered from low self-esteem, relationship problems, silent shame, depression and battles with thoughts of suicide," she said. "I also suffered physical problems from a severely scarred cervix, cervical cancer and pain. The depression and stress caused me to lose many hours of work and I eventually lost my job."
Stanley and her husband now have two grown children. When she became pregnant with the second child, Stanley said there was still fear because of what she had been told by a doctor.
"My husband and I prayed about it and decided to put it in the Lord’s hands. We scheduled an appointment to talk to a doctor about my medical risks," she said. "What we learned was that everything I had been told about my condition was a lie. There was nothing medically wrong with me. I was always able to have children."
Stanley said she has since learned that about one in four Christian women have abortions. To help women who find themselves fighting to recover, Stanley is launching an organization at Oak Grove First Baptist to provide assistance.
"I and some of the other ladies are putting together plans for a post-abortive retreat. We’re hoping to have the first retreat next spring," she explained.
"For years it has just been the Catholic church that has provided post-abortive treatment. A lot of women have to go to the Catholic church for healing, but now we’re trying to get something going in our church so we can help women of all churches."