Forty-one years ago today (i.e., January 22, 1973), the Supreme Court ruled to legalize abortion in the United States. Many people considered this decision a huge leap forward for women’s rights; whereas, many others saw it as a huge decline in our nation’s morality. Some camps defined legalized abortions as women having the right to choose what happens to their bodies. Other camps vehemently declared that aborting unborn babies is murder. Any way you slice it, Roe vs. Wade was a game-changing decision. Sometimes in college, I would look at the empty chair beside me and wonder who might be sitting there had the Supreme Court decided in favor of “Wade.”
Norma Leah McCorvey (“Jane Roe”) lived through an incredibly dysfunctional and damaging childhood. She was raped by a family member, her mother was a violent alcoholic, and she got into legal trouble as early as 10-years-old. She married an abusive man when she was sixteen and, soon after, gave birth to her first child. After leaving her husband, Norma and her daughter Melissa moved in with her mother who later tricked Norma into signing adoption papers. After “stealing” Melissa, Norma’s mom required that she leave her home. Later she became pregnant again and gave her second child up for adoption.
By age 21, Norma became pregnant with her third child. After attempting to obtain a legal abortion in the state of Texas (allowed at that time in cases of rape or incest) and even seeking an illegal abortion, she was put in contact with two attorneys (Linda Coffee and Sarah Weddington) who wanted to legalize abortion. After Norma signed an affidavit, she had nothing further to do with the Roe vs. Wade case. Effectively, Norma was used as a pawn in the landmark case. The trial took three years and by the 1973 ruling, she had given birth to her third child whom she also put up for adoption. Do you know she never even attended one trial during the entire three year battle? This was certainly news to me. Neither did she ever abort any of her children.
Several years ago, on the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, I saw Norma McCorvey interviewed at what appeared to be a pro-life rally. Tearfully, she shared how sorry she was to have been involved in the case; she was clearly repentant. In her 1998 book, Won By Love, McCorvey stated the following:
“I was sitting in O.R.’s offices when I noticed a fetal development poster. The progression was so obvious, the eyes were so sweet. It hurt my heart, just looking at them. I ran outside and finally, it dawned on me. ‘Norma’, I said to myself, ‘They’re right’. I had worked with pregnant women for years. I had been through three pregnancies and deliveries myself. I should have known. Yet something in that poster made me lose my breath. I kept seeing the picture of that tiny, 10-week-old embryo, and I said to myself, that’s a baby! It’s as if blinders just fell off my eyes and I suddenly understood the truth — that’s a baby!
I felt crushed under the truth of this realization. I had to face up to the awful reality. Abortion wasn’t about ‘products of conception’. It wasn’t about ‘missed periods’. It was about children being killed in their mother’s wombs. All those years I was wrong. Signing that affidavit, I was wrong. Working in an abortion clinic, I was wrong. No more of this first trimester, second trimester, third trimester stuff. Abortion — at any point — was wrong. It was so clear. Painfully clear.”
Norma McCorvey was instrumental in legalizing abortion – a Supreme Court decision which has claimed the lives of well over 50,000,000 babies; but, that is not the end of the story. She repented! Now she is an activist, spending her life trying to overturn the Roe vs. Wade decision. Regardless of her role in Roe vs. Wade, she came to faith in Jesus Christ. Though I cannot know her heart, her life shows the fruit of someone who has a new heart and a love for the things God loves. You can enjoy more of her testimony here.
Connecting Through Regret
We all have regrets. Some people say they have no regrets; but, if pressed, they would likely reveal several choices they wish they could take back. The Bible says in Romans 3 that no one is righteous. Not a single one of us. That being said, we all have sinned; and, those whom God has saved do not delight in their former sins, but they know the peace of God’s forgiveness.
Your future spouse will have regrets. If he or she shows no remorse over past mistakes, this is not a good sign. Not that God’s people should live in defeat by any means, but we should never forget the depth of the sin we were in when God saved us. No matter how perfect your man or woman seems, he or she will not ever be perfect; and, he or she may still be battling heaviness years later.
Several years ago, God blessed me with a man who chose to love me for a lifetime. Many a night, I have spent pouring over my past regrets with him and he has patiently listened (like, last night, even). His response to my regrets has bonded us more deeply. He has offered his own forgiveness, his perspective, his ears, and his shoulders.
When we share our deepest, darkest secrets with our sweetheart, we take a gamble. Will he still love me? Will she look at me the same? Will this change our relationship? Thankfully, Eric’s responses have made our relationship stronger; and, I believe that kind of care, forgiveness, and acceptance should be a part of any good marriage.
Forgiveness is key. Some of your sweetie’s regrets may directly affect you. If you approach your future husband or wife with forgiveness, you can grow closer as you share your regrets. If forgiveness is not present, the door is left wide open for a wedge to form between you. No relationship can prosper without forgiveness.
If you are dating someone now and you are struggling with his or her past, you are not required to move forward into marriage. Sometimes a person cannot get past certain mistakes, and in those cases, should not get married. However, if you choose to marry someone, you need to be completely comfortable leaving his or her past behind. If you are not sure you have forgiven him or her, we do not recommend getting married until you can confidently leave the past buried. Don’t try to fool yourself. If you are not over it, do not pretend to be.
We can connect with our sweethearts through our remorse, but we should also be wise. Do not share those deep parts of your heart with someone unless you are quite certain the relationship is heading towards marriage.
Have you and your sweetie discussed those moments, decisions, and actions for which you are deeply sorry? If so, how did those discussions go? Did you feel closer as a result, or did you feel judged and pushed away? Connection is essential in lasting relationships, through the good, bad, and ugly. We are all one bad decision away from a steaming pile of regret. You need to be confident that the life partner you choose is not going to disconnect from you when you fail.
Have you and your sweetie connected through sharing regrets?