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WATCH: Theresa was pressured into an abortion she never wanted

by | Jun 14, 2023

By Nancy Flanders

Theresa Bonapartis was a teenager when she decided to start having sex because everyone else seemed to be doing it. It was the 1960s and the sexual revolution was in full swing. She wasn’t in love with her boyfriend, but she thought she should sleep with him anyway. Then at 17, she learned she was pregnant. She knew one thing — she wouldn’t be having an abortion… or so she thought.

Theresa had been raised Catholic, and so while she was afraid of telling her parents about the pregnancy — which she was happy but scared about, she didn’t think they would ever suggest abortion. Roe v. Wade had not been decided yet, but in New York where Theresa lived, abortion was already legal. She waited to tell her parents, running through different scenarios in her head. Her boyfriend said he would marry her and it never crossed her mind that her family would want her to have an abortion.

“When I finally did tell them, I got a very different response from the one that I thought that I would get,” said Theresa in a Can’t Stay Silent video for Live Action. “My father got up off of his chair, told me to forget that I was his daughter and he was gonna forget that I was his daughter and that I should leave the house. And I just remember grabbing a few things and leaving and being in such shock that this was happening because this wasn’t one of the scenarios that went through my head.”

Theresa went to stay with a friend. Feeling isolated and alone, she began fighting with the baby’s father and told him to leave her alone. He listened.

“My dad started having one of my sisters call me every day to ask me what I was going to do,” she said. “He wanted me to have an abortion. He said that he would pay for it. And she would call me up and say, ‘Well what are you gonna do? You have no job, you have no money, you have no place to go. How are you going to take care of this baby? And everyday I would just say to her, ‘I don’t know how I’m gonna take care of it but I’m not gonna have an abortion.”

This conversation repeated daily until one day, Theresa relented. She agreed to the abortion, not out of freedom of choice, she explained, or because it was something she wanted. She agreed to the abortion because she felt she had no other choice.

By the time the abortion took place, she was four months pregnant and therefore the abortion would have to be committed in a hospital. No one there explained to her what her baby looked like or how developed he was and no one told her what to expect during the abortion procedure or what it would do to her baby.

Theresa later learned that she underwent a saline abortion — in which the abortionist injects a strong salt solution that burns the baby to death. Saline abortions were once commonplace, but are almost never committed anymore in favor of D&E dismemberment abortions, which are much harder for a child to survive.

“The doctor came in and I just remember looking at him like he was so sadistic. And he came in and he injected my abdomen with saline solution,” she explained. The experience was “traumatic” and Theresa said she doesn’t remember all of the details.

“I do remember feeling thrashing around inside of me,” she said, “which later on, I found out that was actually my baby dying, burning to death.”

After her baby was put through this horrific death, Theresa spent hours in labor, giving birth to a dead baby boy.

“I remember looking down at him after it happened and just seeing his little hands and his feet and just thinking like, ‘Oh my God, what did I do?’ and I remember wanting to pick him up and put him back inside of me…” she said. “I wanted to jump out the window but I didn’t have the courage to do it.”

A nurse came in, took the baby, put him in a jar, and left.

“To say my life changed after that is an understatement,” said Theresa. “I couldn’t believe that I had done it and I couldn’t even believe that it was something that was allowed.”

After a night in the hospital, she went back to her friend’s house and got as drunk as she could. Despite giving to her father’s pressure to abort her baby, she still wasn’t welcomed back into the family home.

Theresa carried her pain and regret with her for 15 years. She had stopped attending church, felt like she was doomed to hell, and she believed she was the only post-abortive person to ever feel that way.

Then her young son was receiving his First Reconcilation and First Communion in the Catholic Church. During a parent meeting, a priest explained that God forgives sins during Reconcilation, even the sin of abortion. Theresa couldn’t believe what she was hearing and met with the priest privately. She felt that someone had finally heard her, understood her, and forgiven her. She started attending daily Mass and for the first time in 15 years, she felt hope. After hours praying one night, she finally felt at peace.

Theresa began working in post-abortion ministry soon after that experience. She developed “Entering Canaan – a Sacramental Journey to an Inheritance of Mercy” with The Sisters of Life, a post abortion ministry published by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. It involves day retreats, weekends, monthly gatherings and special retreats. In addition, she also created — with the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal — special days for men, siblings of aborted babies, and those who aborted their babies as a result of a prenatal diagnosis.

“I’ve been doing post-abortion ministry now for 30 years, and I’ve met thousands of women who have had abortions,” she said. “And there’s so much coercion out there, something that really isn’t spoken about or brought out into the open. And it’s just really terrible how they make abortion look like a woman’s right when really, often times, the woman doesn’t want the abortion and that she’s getting pressured from other places.”

She added, “They try to make it seem like abortion is a solution, that your life goes back to normal, and it never goes back to normal. There’s nothing normal about abortion. They try to make it sound like you could have it and you’re never gonna think about it again. That it’s over. But it’s never over. I think of my baby every single day.”

Editor’s note. This appeared at Live Action News and is reposted with permission.

Categories: post-abortion
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