Abortion not only solution, emotional pain lasts lifetime, some say
Karen Perez had been married mere months when she learned she was pregnant for the first time.
At 21 years old, she and her husband were faced with raising a child in poverty - while finishing graduate school - and taking care of Perez's mother and siblings, who were recently abandoned by their father.
"My husband and I decided together to get an abortion. ... I was overwhelmed with the idea of taking care of my family, and my mother was threatening suicide at the time" when my father left, said Perez, now 61, who works for as the Houston Regional Coordinator for Silent No More Awareness. "Abortion had just become legalized, and I thought, if it's legal, it must be OK."
It was a decision she would live to regret for the rest of her life.
The emotional pain and shame she experienced lasted for decades, even though she spent time in prayer and confessed the abortion weekly to her priest.
"I was confessing it and confessing it for years. I couldn't forgive myself," said Perez, who eventually became a mother of three. "Finally, my priest told me 'You have to stop confessing this. Your baby is in heaven.'"
It was the first time she realized she was forgiven and needed to seek counseling for the pain she was holding on to.
The decision eventually led to Perez's joining of Silent No More Awareness, where she and other women who have had elected abortions speak publicly about their experience.
Perez delivered her testimony last summer in Hallettsville when she was invited to speak to the congregations of two of the town's Catholic churches.
"Everyone knows that abortion kills babies, but no one tells women that it hurts the mothers physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually," she said. "The world tells women that it's like getting your teeth cleaned. They tell them it's just this easy thing and it's not. It's like, welcome to the horrible club."
For Perez, who aborted her pregnancy on the second anniversary of the landmark United States Supreme Court ruling of Roe vs. Wade - legalizing abortion - she's impassioned and reminded each January that she lost the opportunity to be a mother to her fourth child, whom she later named Joseph.
The Roe vs. Wade anniversary is marked each year with protests, civil marches and other ceremonies commemorating the law change.
In Victoria on Thursday, Paul Tasin organized the 27th annual March for Life walk.
Tasin, a Catholic and a staunch supporter of the pro-life movement, said he hopes to return to a time when abortions are no longer legal.
Since retiring from the oilfield, Tasin, 77, said he spends his time attempting to educate young women on the dangers of abortion and the long-term psychological repercussions that are rarely discussed by abortionists presurgery.
He also fights for mothers who might abort pregnancies of rape and incest because he shares their story.
Tasin said his mother was mentally challenged as a child of incest and spent most of her life in a home for special-needs individuals. She was raped in her 20s, and Tasin was given up for adoption.
"If she would have aborted me, I wouldn't be here for this," he said, pointing to a wall of family photos. Me and my wife Marjorie Tasin "have had three children and 13 grandchildren, and I would have missed all that."
Both Tasin and Perez agree the Roe vs. Wade anniversary is a good time of year to remember the 56 million babies who have been aborted since the law change.
They also believe there have been several victories in recent years for abortion changes, including the requirement that doctors must perform an ultrasound, allowing mothers to hear the heartbeat of their child.
"So much of the time now, when the mother hears the heartbeat, she decides to keep the baby," Perez said. "I think our technology these days has made it so much easier to see that life begins at conception," she said.
But they agree the message of life and love is essential when speaking to women considering an abortion.
"We need to cradle these women with love and support and don't stand out in front of the abortion facilities yelling, 'You're going to hell' and other things. We need to remember these women are having an abortion because they're in a crisis," Perez said. "And I would tell these women from personal experience that if they feel they are unable to parent for whatever reason, put the baby up for adoption because the pain or discomfort or shame they experience for nine months is so much less than a lifetime of pain you experience after an abortion."