Monday, April 1, 2013

The Supreme Court and my secret

I did something last week that I never imagined I would do.  I added my name to an amicus brief* for the United States Supreme Court.  Concerning what was once the secret I thought I would take with me to the grave.

As we continue after Easter to ruminate on the obedience, the suffering, and the glorious resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, I know that no high court, nor ruling party, nor nation, nor people can force evil from this broken and fallen world.  There is nothing that can accomplish this.
               Nothing but the blood of Jesus.  

I know this, because...

I was just shy of 19.  He was 21.  We were at university together, inseparable and certain of life as only brand new adults can be.  And we were in love. 

We had known each other less than a year and were pretending to not be boyfriend and girlfriend so we could both work for the summer as orientation leaders.  We were assigned to rooms just across the hall from each other.  One day I found myself sitting alone in the girls’ suite bathroom, watching the pregnancy test.  It was positive.   

I only gave him a breath or two to let it sink in.  I wanted a response, the response.  I wanted him to tell me we’d get married, we’d make it all work somehow.  But in those two eternity-encasing beats, he couldn’t absorb it all, just looked at the floor, hearing the crushing weight of all his family’s dreams falling down around him.  Knocked breathless by the disappointment he assumed would become his identity.  He didn’t look up. 

I gave him two breaths.  And when his silence had stretched on for days in my ears, I began the panicked flailing of the drowning.  I held out the yellow pages, open to the ad I’d been staring at for hours as I’d been trying to think of how to tell him.  This was the only clinic I would go to.  I made demands.  He would drive me to and from.  He would pay for half.   He wouldn’t tell anyone.  Ever.   

On a bright, warm day under the June sun, I had an abortion.  I swallowed the pills and slunk away; the acid guilt and shame and hate burning me from the inside out. 

One tiny life flown to heaven; two more on the rapid descent into hell. 

In the days that followed, the weeks and months that just kept coming and wouldn’t stop even though I couldn’t breathe, he pulled away.  He started to run.  And I began to drown myself – it was a very, very slow liquid attempt at expiry.  Though all I wanted was to stop feeling.  To forget.  To erase what had been done. 

Superficially, my self-inflicted destruction cost me a full-ride scholarship, a leadership position in my sorority, and good standing at the school that only a year before I’d been desperate to get into.  But what I actually lost the in process was far more valuable and even more difficult to recover.  I lost my self – who had I become?  I lost all the certainty of youth – the world was a dark place, more finite than I had ever realized; I was part of and party to that evil.  I lost friends because I had to hide my pain away from them, acting as if all was fine so we wouldn’t be found out.  And I lost the Officer.  I only reminded him of what we’d done.  Thus he ran, as far away as he could. 

To his credit, in a last-ditch effort to save me from myself before he left, the Officer kept dragging me to church.  I thought I was condemned to hell anyway, so I would show up smelling like the hangover I was nursing.  Sitting in the sanctuary only made me feel vile, and used up.  I knew if anyone could see who I really was they would turn, with pitchforks and torches, to drive me out of their holy place.  We even went on Mother’s Day.  We sat in the very back of the huge auditorium, as we always did; the pastor lauded mothers as the ushers handed out flowers and I studied the floor.  Then from the pulpit came blessings for the young women of childbearing age; the usher handed me a flower.  A solitary, red rose.  My lungs forgot how to pull air in.  I shook the entire ride home.  Neither the Officer nor I looked at one another.       

And then he was gone.  No phone calls, only sparse letters, and some photos of a boy in camo.  All the while, I kept sinking.  When he was away from me, the Officer turned.  He set his face toward the Light.  He wrote home about God and His love and the Father’s plan for our lives.  I didn't doubt God's love for the Officer, I doubted His ability to leave me unpunished.
Time withered as it will, distancing us from the abortion, so that eventually a white dress, a bow tie, and the smell of stargazer lilies preceded our flight to the top of the world; and we learned how to be in love, in the snow and the dark.  Even there, the Officer kept dragging me to church.  I was his wife, still drowning, though less so with him to desperately clutch; but still frightened of how and when God would exact His vengeance. 

For murder cannot go un-punished; the ground cries out with blood. 

Again, I sat in the back of a church, both listening and hiding.  She was rail thin, with hair that was too Texas and boots too lower-48 to draw me in.  Until she opened her mouth.  Ten abortions.  I sat up.  She wove her story with grace, nimbly treading over words that I didn’t know they allowed on altars.  Ten.  If God could forgive ten, maybe He would forgive one.  When the altar call came, I bowed my head and pressed my eyelids together so hard it felt that the rainbow explosions were what kept the tears in.

Please, I begged, please.  Forgive me.  

What I hadn’t realized, in all that time I spent in the backs of all those churches, was that the ground did cry out for blood, that vengeance was God’s to exact.  But that He already had. 

God took His rightful, just, and holy vengeance for my abortion out on His Only Son.  The blood that satisfied my debit had been spilt over 2,000 years ago.  The Only Son of the Living God already gave His life in my stead.  He was simply waiting for me to accept His payment on my behalf.   

The mill-stone which pressed me to this earth was raised off my shoulders in that balcony, as soon as the desperate plea was formed in my mind.  Suddenly, I remembered how to breathe.  My eyes opened to new brightness, and my heart felt light again, for the first time in years.  There was singing, there was study and prayer; there was a peace in my spirit that hadn’t existed before.  I went to church as a member of the body of Christ, not just an outsider trying to appease the Officer.  I wasn’t running anymore.  I had stopped drowning, I started healing, and I began to swim. 

Some years later, I read Psalm 139.  I wasn’t Bible scholar enough back then to know to avoid that piece of the book; so when it cropped up for a women’s study, I didn’t expect it to knock the wind out of me.  I still have the Bible I first read it in.  The page is stained with my tears and the note – for at that point, I was comfortable putting my words alongside God’s – that said, “He knew.  But He loved me anyway.”  The simple truth that my daughter was being knit together by the Divine in my womb even as I made the choice to end her life.  God knew.  And true that His love for her is great; His love for me was always just as great, as it is for all of His children – those who are smack in the middle of sinning, as well as those who are being sinned against.  Those He calls His own through their relationship with His Son; and those whom He desires should not perish away from Him.  God the Father sent His Son to seek the lost and to save the sinners – of which each person on the planet can number themselves. 

Jesus came to save me.  Jesus came to save you.       

As a redeemed child of God, I am so thankful that there are people in the body of Christ who are talking about abortion – not just holding angry signs outside of clinics.  People who know that, yes abortion should be stopped; but also that the One in Four Women between the ages of 15 and 30** who have made this choice can be saved, can be healed, can be restored.  That we all, post-abortive or non, desperately need the blood of Jesus to take away our sins.  If we accept it,

there is nothing the blood of Jesus doesn’t cover. 


This vital truth must proceed another that is just as necessary to proclaim, for the gospel has to take prevalence over everything else.  But following it, I must say, with the certainty of experience, that the intentional ending of a human life through the means we call “abortion” is wrong.  Dearest reader, the pills and the procedures have to stop.  The physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual devastation crippling our mothers, our sisters, our friends, and ourselves must cease.  As rational people who are allowed the privilege of guiding the law of our nation, we cannot continue to delude ourselves into thinking that this is a women’s rights issue; or that abortions are somehow inseparable from women’s health care.  We cannot keep swallowing the lies that make women sums of their parts, so that a uterus or vagina is somehow equated with the paramount of ontological woman-ness.  We have to stop choking down the idea that in order to be liberated from antiquated gender roles, women have been afforded some fundamental right to put another human to death.  It is time to use our reasoning and to critically examine the claims of a multi-billion dollar industry that wants us to think that abortion is a right instead of a money-generating product.   

As a nation, but even more so as a people who know that Every. Single. Life. is uniquely and beautifully created by God, we must end abortion.           

For the love of God, for the sake of Jesus Christ, for the cry of the Holy Spirit.     


If you have experienced an abortion in your past, please know that you are not alone; and there is hope and healing available.  You can private message me on Twitter (@jenKbaros), on Facebook (Jennifer Smith Baros), through my website (Aletheia Ministries), or by personal e-mail (  Any contact I receive is completely confidential. 


** Statistic reported by the Guttmacher Institute on their “In Brief: Fact Sheet” at, accessed 4/1/13,  9:22 pm.

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