Recently, Billie Garza publicly shared about her personal abortion experience. She was gracious enough to answer some questions in an interview with our Assistant Director, Katie Van Dyke. We are very thankful to her for allowing us to share her story!
Katie Van Dyke: When did you have an abortion?
Billie Garza: I had the abortion in February of 2000, when I was 21 years old.
KV: What were the reasons surrounding your decision to have one?
BG: There were several things that led me to this corner. For one, I had a 3 year old son whose father had chosen to be absent. I was on my own, with little family, trying to raise this sweet little guy and I already felt like I was failing him. To add to the despair, I was pregnant by someone whom I was no longer in a stable relationship with. The relationship was not only over, but it’s end was tumultuous and volatile. We had a physical altercation in which he attempted to strangle me. I could not conceive being linked to someone like that for the rest of my life.
KV: Was it an easy decision? Why or why not?
BG: It was the hardest decision of my life. In middle school, I had performed many debates opposing the act of abortion. It was a place I never could have imagined that I would find myself. It took several attempts before I was able to actually “see it through”.
KV: How did you feel in the moments right after it?
BG: To be honest, it all happened so fast that I am not sure how I felt right after. That stage for me was … numb, I suppose. But a sad and defeated numb, if that makes sense. I will say this, it was the onset of a deep dark depression for me. I felt like everyone expected me to be grateful that I had side stepped this landmine, but I just felt more lost than ever. How had I ended up here? How could I have just done this? It plunged me into a downward spiral of inner turmoil. I felt alone. I felt like no one understood my sadness. I guess, in hindsight, I was mourning the death of my baby, but the feelings were magnified by the fact that I was the one responsible for the death.
KV: Did you have any long term emotional effects?
BG: Seventeen years later and I can hardly speak about it without it triggering extreme sadness and regret. It is the one single most regrettable moment of my life, and I have lived a largely misspent life full of poor decisions and bad choices. Still, I regret nothing more than this.
KV: If someone would have been there for you to completely support or encourage you in choosing life, would that have made a difference?
BG: That is a tough question. I have often wondered this very thing. I don’t know for sure if I would have changed my mind. However, there was no one- not one single person- who believed there was a better option than abortion. So, I would have to say, having someone there offering encouragement surely could have made a huge difference.
KV: Were you ever able to find forgiveness?
BG: Yes, but if I am honest, this has been a journey for me. I have found total forgiveness in Christ. And I believe His blood has washed away my every sin, even this horrendous sin of murder. But it has not erased the pain, sadness, and regret that I continue to carry. I still ache for the baby that grew inside of me but that I never got to meet.
KV: What word would you give to churches on addressing this issue?
BG: We have to continue to be on the front lines on this matter. Not only fighting for the sanctity of the unborn life, but also in ministering to these girls (and the fathers). Many of them, just like myself, never imagined they would be in that place. Many are longing for someone to come along side of them and show them a more excellent way. They are scared and they feel alone. They need someone to tell them that it is going to be okay, and that this little person growing in them is a blessing and not a curse.
KV: What word would you give to women who find themselves in this situation?
BG: I would tell them that even though the baby will be removed from their womb it will never be removed from their memory. It will forever be a part of them, and a possible source of pain and regret if they choose to take this baby’s life away.
The clinics never prepare you for the mourning that takes place afterwards. They make you feel as though once it is all over, it will just be a relief. That was NOT my experience. All I felt was pain and sadness, I never felt the “relief”. I would want any woman facing this decision to know the gravity of it.
Most importantly, I would tell them what I wish someone would have told me- there is hope. There can still be a bright future. There is not just one resolution to the situation they have found themselves in. There are other options and many people willing to help them choose the best one.
KV: Thank you so much for your honesty and transparency. We appreciate you sharing your story with us!
Billie is not the only one to have experienced this. In fact, there are many women right now who find themselves in a similar situation. If churches were meeting these women where they are and engaging them with the truth and love of the gospel, the outcome could be so different. As a gospel believing people, we have such a great responsibility to care for these women and their unborn babies. At S4U, we focus on equipping local churches in doing just that. We would love for you to partner with us! Click here to learn more about our exciting strategy for 2017.
Billie Garza lives in Houston, TX where she serves her community by teaching the Word of God in her church, Star of Hope, and through various other speaking opportunities. She is a devoted wife to her husband, Henry, and mother to her 3 beautiful children. She and her husband are members of Park Temple Baptist Church.