Choosing Abortion

Written by Rusty Wright

When I met her at a media convention, she seemed so vibrant and alive, full of zest and eager to interact, an attractive woman with a bright smile and sparkling eyes. I would not have guessed the emotional anguish and physical torment that lay in her past. Gut wrenching stuff.

As Luana Stoltenberg told me her story, I learned she’s been haunted by some choices she made earlier in life. Like many women, she had found herself with an unwanted pregnancy and confronting difficult decisions.

It’s a dilemma millions of women around the globe face each year. If you’re in this situation, how will you support a baby? Will the father be responsible and help? What will your parents say? How might a child affect your career? Your social life? Your marriage plans? Ending the pregnancy might eliminate these complexities, or make them more manageable.

Three Choices

Luana faced that decision three times, the first at age seventeen. Each time she made the same choice, to terminate her pregnancy. She says she remembers the experiences vividly.

“I lay on the cold table with no anesthetic for the pain,” she recalls, “staring at the ceiling, wishing I were someplace else. It seemed to last forever, and the pain was unbearable. No amount of anesthetic could dull the pain in my heart and mind.”

“The types of abortions I had were the vacuum aspirator method. I could hear—by the increased labor of the suction machine—when a part or limb of my baby was being extracted. Each time I tried to look at the jar with my [baby’s] remains they would push me back down. To this day I still hear that haunting suction sound.”

“When it was finished I was sent to a waiting room with the other girls. I was given a cup of juice and told I could leave in 20 minutes if I felt alright. I told them I felt fine, when in fact I had never felt worse. I just wanted out of there. On the drive home I was in extreme pain and bleeding profusely. I called them for help, but was told it wasn’t their problem, to call my doctor.”

“My life was a mess”

Luana says that later, the reality that she would never see or hold those three children weighed heavily. Anger and depression set in. Alcohol abuse and drugs led to three suicide attempts. “My life was a mess,” she admits, “and it was because of the choices I had made.”

After some years, she made a different choice that turned her life around: She discovered a forgiving God and placed her faith in Him. She married and sought to start a family, but learned the abortions had rendered her infertile. “The suction from the vacuum aspirator destroyed my tubes and ovaries.” She says the suction damage led her to have a hysterectomy.

Her belief system and its certainty of forgiveness have helped her through her nightmare. She points to a statement by an early follower of Jesus that encapsulates her life: “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”

Today Luana has dedicated herself to helping people understand the implications of decisions like those she faced. She has a passion for offering hope to those for whom life seems hopeless.

Abortion, of course, is extremely controversial. Amid the heated political, legal, medical, social, and philosophical debates, real human experience can lend valuable perspective. How do you react to her story?

3 Responses to “Choosing Abortion”

  • Luana says:

    James, thanks for your comments. I wish the abortion facility would have discussed that option with me. They made me feel like I had no other choice. I wish I would have choosen adoption. My children would be alive and I would be able to have a relationship with them.

  • Sarah Hau sarah says:

    I think there is a limit to which weighing the pros and cons of a decision that has long since been made is helpful. Clearly we know how she feels about those decisions today and what I love about her story is that she is making different ones now, not spending her time with the “what if’s” of years gone by. Obviously those memories don’t go away, evidenced by the fact that she admitted her life became a mess as a direct result of the abortions. I commend Luana for putting her life on display for better or worse and for “dedicating herself to helping people understand the implications of decisions like those she faced.” I don’t think anyone can go back and make a different decision than the one that they made, but they can help others who still have those decisions to make.

  • James says:

    I wonder if Luana had ever considered going through with her pregnancies and then having the babies adopted.
    At least that way she would not have ended the lives her own children before they had a chance to grow up and be happy!

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