Hard ChoicesYesterday I took a phone call from a 19-year-old African American woman who began the call by asking if I knew where she could get the abortion pill. I stopped breathing. I told her no, I didn’t know where she could get an abortion pill. I explained that my organization helps women who want to have their children. She didn’t respond. I thought maybe I’d offended her. My mind was racing, and I was praying. What should I say next? I didn’t want her to hang up; I felt like a crisis negotiator trying to talk down a jumper.

My question to her changed the course of the rest of the conversation. “Do you want to have an abortion?”

Silence. Then labored, stifled breathing. Now uncontrollable sobbing. I could barely hear as she whispered, “No, I don’t.”

I asked her why she was inquiring about an abortion pill then. Her response didn’t make sense to me at first. “Because I’d rather have a family than a baby.” What did that mean? She explained that her sisters are pressuring her to get an abortion.

I could hear the fear in her voice. I hoped she could hear the concern in mine. I told her about the services we offer that can help with provision for the baby. I asked her what did she think I could do that would help her the most. She wasn’t sure. She agreed to come in to the office to talk to me about how she could approach her sisters and how else I might be able to help her. She would be coming by at 1 o’clock. I contacted the prayer network and hoped for the best.

She never showed up.

She’s seven weeks pregnant, which means that her baby has a heartbeat, umbilical cord, and budding hands and feet, among other things.

I know that I did what God wanted me to do at that moment and that the ultimate outcome is up to Him. But I’m still thinking about her and her life. What about the father? Does he even know she’s pregnant? And what kind of pressure must her sisters be under to force her into an abortion?

The thing that really breaks my heart, though, is that this scenario is not by any means unique to this young woman. Many more have walked this same path. Since 1973, over 13 million Black children have lost their lives to abortion on this path. It’s an easily overlooked reality that demands our attention. Like that tormented young woman, too many African American women are turning to abortion out of desperation. We can do more to change their minds and show them better options. We must.

Editor’s Note: This article was adapted from Chandra White-Cummings’s Embracing Life series. Join her for the 40-day devotional journey.

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