My name is Jennifer Perry and I have served as Assistant Director for Pregnancy Resource Centers of Greater Portland, OR for 3 years. I have also served as the HEART (Healing Encouragement for Abortion Related Trauma) Assistant Director for 6 years. Prior to working for HEART, I volunteered with HEART for several years and I am still a volunteer for the HEART ministry.
Here is a little something about me, I am married and have been for almost 12 years. We have 2 children, a beautiful girl Anna who is 4 and has Down’s Syndrome and our son Caleb is 15 months old. Our children keep us very busy and on our toes!
My dear friend Rosilind asked me to share my testimony with you and about how to get involved with local ministries. I feel very honored to write for her.
Here is a snapshot of my life when I was younger.
I was eighteen years old and a senior in high school.
At this time in my life, I was facing some very difficult circumstances that involved loneliness, sexual abuse and the long term effects of my parents divorce.
More than anything, I wanted somebody to love me.
I met a guy through a friend of mine. He was a few years older than me and on occasion I would skip school to go and spend time with him. There would be times that he wanted me to have sex with him and I always told him no.
One day he said three words that were important to a vulnerable 18 year old girl and those words were “I love you”. Hearing those words meant something to me and I thought that he really did love me. Keep in mind that I thought sex was love because of the abuse, and so I had a very distorted picture of sex.
On New Years Eve of 1992 I went to his apartment before we went to a party. We were talking; however I knew that that he wanted to do more than talk. I told him that I didn’t want to have sex with him as I wanted to wait until I got married. But he told me that he loved me, and hearing those words meant something to me. I was a vulnerable eighteen year old girl, and I gave into him. I knew right away that I was pregnant; I can’t explain how I knew. I just did.
I called a local Pregnancy Resource Center (PRC) office and made an appointment to get a free pregnancy test. But when that day came, I didn’t have a ride and I was too scared, so I didn’t go to the appointment. I never went to PRC and later regretted that decision.
Instead, a friend took me to a local Planned Parenthood office so that I could take a pregnancy test there. I remember feeling very alone and frightened. I did not feel that I had anyone to turn to for help. I took the test and it came back positive. The counselor didn’t tell me how far along I was. She did not sit down and talk with me about all of my options. The only thing I remember is her handing me a sheet of paper with the names of a few adoption agencies and approximately four abortion clinics. I could not believe how I had arrived here. My first thoughts were to have an abortion, even though I was a Christian and against abortion. I really did feel that I had no other choice.
I made an appointment for the abortion at a local clinic in downtown Portland. I remember waking up the morning that I was aborting my baby. I was numb to everything. My mother and grandmother took me. They did not want me to have the abortion; however they wanted to be there for me.
When I arrived to the clinic and checked in, I was taken to a room where a nurse performed an ultrasound on me to determine how far along I was. At first I could see the ultrasound screen (monitor), but then the nurse turned it away so I couldn’t see my baby; so that I couldn’t see my baby’s heartbeat. If I could have had a chance to see my baby, I believe I would have walked out of the clinic right then and chose to give life to my baby.
After the ultrasound I was given a pill and told come back in a few hours. My grandmother, mother and I went to get something to eat. I was not really hungry given the circumstances. My mom and grandma told me that it was not too late if I didn’t want to go through with the abortion. I told my mom and grandma that if I had decided to keep my baby, I would have given the baby to my cousin and her husband. They did not know what to say after that.
A few hours had passed and we went back to the clinic and waited some more. They finally called my name and right before the procedure I heard the doctors joking and laughing. This was very routine to them. Just another day in the office. I could not believe it. I was going through something so horrific and they had the nerve to laugh. The day that I stepped into that abortion clinic, a part of me died. I was not the same after that. I became very depressed and no longer enjoyed life; I didn’t want to be alive.
In February of 1996, just four years after my abortion experience, I heard about a program offered through PRC called HEART.
HEART stands for Healing Encouragement for Abortion Related Trauma. It is a Bible study support group for women who have experienced one or more abortions in their life. It is a small confidential group. In this group I was able to forgive others and more importantly forgive myself. It wasn’t easy; I had to do a lot of soul searching and learn about my feelings to deal with my abortion.
HEART has given me the tools to cope with anniversary dates, anger, sadness, sorrow, depression, guilt, shame and grief that can come after having an abortion. This is the best thing I have done for myself. I am so grateful and now I get to help lead these groups and see other woman’s lives change through the power of our loving Jesus Christ. I know that God has a purpose for my life. What Satan means to harm, God uses for His Glory.
I would like to share a few scriptures with you. The first is Isaiah 61:1-3:
“The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release form darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion, to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor.
Psalms 32:5 says, “Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, I will confess my transgressions to the Lord and you forgave the guilt of my sin.”
Ezekiel 36:26 says, “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.”
If you know of someone who is struggling with a past abortion, they can contact their local Pregnancy Resource Center and ask if they have a Post Abortion Bible study support group.
Thank you for allowing me to share my testimony with you. I hope that this has inspired you as well as informed you about the critical issue of abortion. We serve a mighty and very loving God. He has blessed me more than I can express. Thank you and God bless you.
In closing I wanted to mention that there are so many different local ministries where you may volunteer. Not only at your local Pregnancy Resource Centers, but at rescue missions, your local churches and other local ministries in your area. Pray about where the Lord wants you to serve. I was so very blessed to be able to not only work at PRC, but to do peer -counseling for women who were facing unplanned pregnancies. I wish I could tell you that all of my clients chose life, however not all of them did. Yet, I was able to share with them how abortion has affected my life and that we are there for them no matter what. I did have some clients choose life after hearing about my testimony. I was able to share with them my personal experience. However, even if you haven’t had an abortion, it doesn’t mean you can’t serve in a local PRC if that is where the Lord is leading you.
To contact HEART: Website, Confidential Voice Mail: 503-22-heart (224-3278)
To contact PRC: Website
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