From the moment I met Haley, I knew she was special. She came to our center for help with an unplanned pregnancy, and by the look of fear and pain in her eyes, it was evident she was deeply troubled.
During the initial interview, Haley readily answered my questions. However, when I inquired about the father of the baby, she just shook her head—her eyes flooding with tears.
In a soft voice, Haley told me about Jose. She spoke about what had drawn her to him—how he could be fun and charming in his way. He was also ten years her senior and had lived a pretty wild life, including being a past gang member. When he began pressuring her for sex, she’d made it clear that wasn’t going to happen. Still, Haley expressed feelings of shame for ever spending time with the man.
Then came the morning she woke up feeling disoriented. Soon she became aware of dizziness and how her vision was blurred. That symptom remained for hours.
Gradually, Haley became more alert. Suddenly, she was aware of being naked from the waist down. Her body ached, and there was a small amount of blood. Choking back a sob, she said that’s when she knew she’d been raped.
By that point, I wanted to wrap my arms around her—to somehow erase all the pain she had endured. My heart cried out to the only One who can heal all wounds.
When the nausea and vomiting began, Haley had taken a pregnancy test. The moment she saw the two pink lines she said it felt as if she were sliding toward the edge of a very high cliff.
Although Haley had always been pro-life, she still considered abortion. If she’d been too ashamed to report the rape, how would she be able to endure all the stares and the questions once her body was unable to keep its secret?
During the ultrasound portion of the visit, I was particularly alert to Haley’s needs. Despite knowing it might be difficult for her to see the baby, I was pleased when she gave her consent to turn on the big screen.
Nothing could have prepared me for her reaction. Instead of wearing an expression of pain, the moment her eyes locked onto her tiny baby her face was transformed by a look of wonder and awe. Her response nearly took my breath away.
At just seven weeks from conception, the images were exquisitely detailed. Quite active, the baby began moving his little arms and legs and flipping all around—almost as though he were performing.
“It’s so amazing…I had no idea the baby would already be moving! And look how fast the heart is beating!”
Instead of needing to offer comfort, there were tears of joy on Haley’s cheeks. I was able to join this brave young woman in celebrating the miracle of life.
To this day, after eleven years of introducing moms and dads to their babies via ultrasound, Haley’s response far eclipses everyone else’s. The fact that this child was a result of rape makes her reaction all the more stunning and precious.
By the time Haley came to our center, she was not strongly considering abortion. However, at that point, she hadn’t told anyone about the pregnancy. Soon, she would face incredible pressure to abort. Seeing her baby on the ultrasound screen that day settled the question of abortion once and for all. No matter what she would face—she was determined to choose life for her child.
Recently, I caught up with Haley. She’s currently working as an occupational therapist. A few years ago she married Thomas, who then adopted Bennett and has been a wonderful father to him ever since. Soon, Bennett will celebrate his seventh birthday. Haley describes her son as “bright and inquisitive, with an incredibly tender heart.”
Haley and her husband are now walking through the painful journey of infertility. More than ever they thank God for their precious boy. The Lord may yet bless them with other biological children, or perhaps they will be blessed with a child to adopt. Regardless, they will take delight in the evidence of how “God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose,” Romans 8:28.
So I am grateful to serve every woman who walks through the doors of Pregnancy Resources or who seeks help from the Medical Mobile Unit. Why? Because these are places I can freely share the love of Christ, extending hope…perhaps for the first time.
Many women, just like Haley, have faced intense pressure to abort a child conceived in rape. Even those who consider themselves pro-life sometimes wonder if abortion might be the more “merciful choice” when the pregnancy is the result of such a violent act. They believe abortion will somehow reduce the woman’s suffering, allowing her to heal more quickly.
However, in most cases, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Violence never “cures” violence. Abortion doesn’t only end the baby’s life. In truth, abortion can re-traumatize a woman who has already been violated on so many levels.
Here is what Theresa Burke, Ph.D., Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, says in her article, Healing after Abortion:
“I have listened to the stories of over two thousand individuals – women and men whose lives have been impacted by the violence of abortion; women who suffered the repercussions of a cruel and degrading procedure which many describe as more brutal and violent than rape. Each shared bitter tears of regret as they struggled with a secret guilt, shame, grief, and anger…”
Sandra Mahkorn, MD, a family physician and former counselor for sexual assault victims, has worked with women who conceived as a result of rape. She sites studies which have shown, “…the majority of those who had abortions (from pregnancies resulting from rape) regretted having done so and said the abortions caused them additional problems. By contrast, among those who delivered a child conceived by rape, satisfaction was higher, and none stated any regret for having given birth.”
Bennett is an incredible blessing. In fact, Haley believes her little boy helped save her life! Despite the circumstances surrounding his conception, this little boy continues to give his mom a new sense of purpose—and more joy than she ever imagined.
Did this story inspire you? To read more of Haley’s story, click here!