Horror stories of illegal abortions and extremely fertile impoverished mothers abounded.
Yet who hears the stories of young women who died during legal abortions in certified clinics nowadays?
And what about the botched legal abortions which left the baby alive and deformed for life?
(Fortunately, some of these babies grew up to be very powerful pro-life speakers, baruch Hashem.)
But unless you actively seek out pro-life articles & books, you never hear the above stories.
Another group you rarely hear about are the missed abortions.
The truth is that previously, abortion’s legal restrictions and lack of safety are exactly what saved the lives of many babies and their mothers—a fact I only discovered over the years from listening to a variety of true stories.
In other words, many lives were not only saved but enriched only because abortion was neither safe nor legal.
Blind to the Truth
She ended up giving birth to a baby girl who became exactly the friend I needed during a difficult time in my life -- so I'm very grateful for her existence. This friend also became sincerely frum, married a wonderful guy, and had a beautiful large family. She and her husband also do a lot for the community. And although my friend denies it, it looks to me like she gives her parents more Yiddishe nachas than her siblings combined.
P.S. Her mother's eyesight ended up being just fine.
A Blessedly Dishonest Abortionist
Fortunately, the abortionist was also an extortionist.
He took her money, gave her a couple of pills (which she later assumed were aspirin), and told her to go home and lift the furniture a lot. Despite all the exertion, she carried to term (I guess she didn't have enough money left to try for another abortion) and produced my classmate, who ended up being a Godsend.
From a young age, he protected his mother, helped his mother with the housework and the younger siblings who followed, was always very nice, and did well in school, and ended up going to college on a military scholarship, thereby ending his family's cycle of poverty.
The "Impossible" Child
It simply seemed impossible.
But due to the restrictive laws of that time, by the time she realized she was pregnant and tracked down an abortionist, it was too late to perform a safe (for the mother at least) abortion.
She brought that child into the world and she remarked on how she always had a lot of nachas from him. “He’s the biggest, handsomest, and best-behaved of my children,” she said. “He was always very good to me. Even now that he’s dorming away at university, he still calls me regularly to chat. His brothers never did that. He’s the most attached to me and such a good boy.”
Then she looked at me with wide eyes as she took another drag on her cigarette and said, “And to think—I wanted to kill him!”
Who Benefits When Abortion is Neither Legal nor Safe...
They ended up with 8 kids, but I was told that my great-grandmother had her children between abortions. Apparently, she found my great-grandfather difficult to deal with and having one child after another added more stress than she felt she could handle -- although clearly, she was wrong. (From the little I know, my great-grandfather seemed like a nominally frum am ha’aretz with a strong control streak).
Being that birth control back then demanded the cooperation of the husband, my great-grandmother resorted to abortion under the false impression that Judaism didn’t consider it so bad. (This is part of the problem with Jews who practice Orthodox Judaism by rote, but aren’t actually knowledgeable and why Chazal traditionally looked down on people who were frum amei aretz. Due to ignorance, such people can't actually keep the Torah properly and end up transgressing.)
My grandfather and his younger brother were the only ones born in America. When she found out she was pregnant with my grandfather, she wanted to abort him. But the abortionist was out of town and by the time he came back, it was too late.
Interestingly, from the time he was little, my great-grandmother felt a warm connection with him and enjoyed an especially close relationship with him throughout her life.
More than 1 Life Saved by Abortion Restrictions
Sure, I suppose it's not always true that the child intended for abortion ends up giving the mother the most. But I definitely saw this pattern in the incidents I discovered.
And finally, while I’m grateful to Hashem for intervening with my great-grandmother so that my children & I could descended from the child she originally intended to abort, there’s another life saved by that missed abortion.
During America's 1940s, a black man was accused of a murder he did not commit. But the white cops were fine with letting the black man take the rap for it. Fortunately, my grandfather had the proof that the black man did not kill anybody and Grandpa intervened with the authorities to set him free.
Without my grandfather, that man would be dead.
(You can read about it in Values: When People Want to BE Good & Not Just “Feel” Good.)
So these are the stories you won’t hear because they don’t fit the mainstream agenda. Because abortion was mostly illegal and unsafe, many lives were saved and many mothers experienced lifelong nachas they would never otherwise enjoy.