How one woman uses her post-abortive past to give others a future
“For over 27 years, this was a story I felt like I should bury.”
Pam Daugherty said this to a room full of people at a pregnancy resource center banquet in Waller, Tex.
“But we all have a story, and I want to tell you mine,” she continued, her voice full of resolve. “When I was 17 years old, I decided to have sex with my high school boyfriend. My mom was open about sex and encouraged me to at least wait until I was in love.”
So Pam took her mom’s advice to heart. She had been dating her high school boyfriend, Brad, for three years and she knew she was in love. She felt like the timing was right.
But no sooner had they done it, Brad broke up with her.
Pam was devastated and confused. She had no idea how to process the hurt, shame and the feeling that she was somehow at fault for what had happened, even though that wasn’t true.
“Weeks later, after Brad broke my heart, I missed my period. I was moody and I felt sick. So I decided to take a pregnancy test,” Pam recounted. “I remember I went to the store with my friend and we did the pregnancy test in the restroom of a fast-food restaurant.”
When the two lines appeared, she broke down.
“I was terrified to look like ‘that girl.'”
“We went to church regularly. How could I ruin my parent’s reputation?” she said.
Scared, confused and feeling completely alone, she had no idea what to do. So she called Brad and tearfully told him what happened.
“It’s Just Cells”
“Brad kept telling me that I did it on purpose and that it wouldn’t work. He was going to school next year to be a dentist. I was going to be responsible for ruining his life,” she said. “He told me that Planned Parenthood was where you went for an unplanned pregnancy. They would handle everything.”
The doctors at Planned Parenthood told her the pregnancy was so early that it wasn’t a baby yet, it was just cells. Since she was underage, she technically had to get parental consent to have the abortion. To work around this, Brad stole an ID from an older woman and Pam used that ID to get the abortion.
“Brad went with me and he sat with me and held my hand as I bawled on the table,” she said.
After the procedure, the doctor told Pam she could never tell anyone about the abortion because she was underage.
And for years she kept it a secret.
The Journey Towards Post-Abortive Healing
“The memory of the child I never fought for lived in my head,” Pam said. “The milestones I was missing from that baby’s life. Not knowing if that baby was a boy or girl haunted me. In my battle with the Lord, I asked ‘Why? Why couldn’t an adult have spoken truth to me?’”
It wasn’t until years later, in the unlikeliest of places, that Pam began revisiting the past. She was asked to be a chaperone at a youth retreat for her church.
“I told God that if the right moment came, I’d share,” she said. “I boarded the bus to the retreat only to find no room on it. Which meant I had to drive with the pastor in the van behind the bus.”
During that ride to the retreat, she spilled her entire story to her pastor. Which helped her start on her path to healing. He encouraged her to seek counseling and further healing and to use her story to help others. That very night she told her entire story to the youth group on the retreat.
“I knew immediately that God wanted me to start talking about what had happened all those years ago. That my story could help other girls who might be in a similar situation,” she explained. “I needed to tell people about the hurt you live with after choosing abortion and I wanted to find a way for girls to hear the things that I didn’t.”
From Post-Abortive to Pro-Life Work
Since that moment, God has used Pam in ways she could have never imagined. Right after the retreat, she got an email asking if she’d like to interview for a job at a pro-life organization where she could work with pregnancy centers to reach more girls like her — girls who are unexpectedly pregnant and considering abortion.
She now works at Save the Storks to connect and consult with pregnancy resource centers and help facilitate the process for them to get a medical mobile unit.
“I feel passionate about reaching women who need to really know about their choices. Mobile ministry gives women an opportunity to talk with another woman who understands their fears and has the ability to help her address those fears so she can make the best parenting choice for her and her baby.”
She says she never would have guessed that this was where her career would take her. That God is now using her story to help others.
“My job is to help pregnancy centers go. Go to the 17, 20, 25-year-old Pam’s of the world, so that they can board a mobile unit for a free pregnancy test and ultrasound. So that she can see her baby and choose life. God has given me amazing opportunities,” she said. “I prayed for a way to be able to reach young girls like me and to connect them with the women from pregnancy centers who could help them at that critical moment in their lives. And now I get to do that every day.”
Hear others’ stories of post-abortive healing here.
Interested in connecting with a counselor to start the post-abortive healing process? The American Association of Christian Counselors has a Christian Care Connect tool so you can search counselors in your area.