In the summer of 2001, I was with my adoptive mother, counseling on the sidewalk outside a major abortion center in Wichita, Kansas. The day was sweltering and there seemed to be dust in the air. I was only 11 years old. I looked at the brochures I was cradling, wondering why the dirt was smearing the sheets.
“Sarah, it’s not dirt. It’s the ashes of babies dying inside, my mother said soberly. The abortion doctor had a life-size crematorium on his land for babies killed in barbaric late abortions. I left that day determined to dedicate my future work to ending abortion, realizing how close my own life was to burning to ashes.
Like a young child, I learned from my Hispanic birth mother that she had seen New Orleans abortion physician Dr. Ifeanyi Okpalobi during her pregnancy with me in 1990. She had been referred to her by a friend because its costs were low. He delivered me prematurely at 26 weeks and advised him to leave me for dead. Fortunately, she resisted her coercion and I survived.
The pursuit of my birth mother’s abortion haunted her for the rest of her life, and my adoptive mother also shared her own story of abortion regret with me. The psychological damage, the contemplation of suicide and the inability to conceive a child scarred her until she sought recovery from the abortion in her mid-40s.
Then she began her own work to share the horrors of abortion with the world as she became a leader with More silence, an organization committed to abortion care programs. Today she is 77, and she was the first person I called earlier this week after learning that the leaked draft notice overturned Roe vs. Wade and its subsequent decision of 1992, Planned kinship against Casey.
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito explains that abortion was a glaring mistake from the start, damaging to the maternal patient, humiliating to the medical profession and barbaric to the unborn child.
Reading his words, I couldn’t help but think of the women, including my mother, who had been in this fight for five decades, waiting for their voices to be amplified. Fortunately, their generation of pro-life activists can finally see the fruits of their labor.
Sarah Zagorski is the Director of Communications for Louisiana Right to Life. She was saved from an abortion in 1990 and spent nearly eight years in Louisiana’s foster care system before being adopted at age 9. To learn more about its history, go to SarahZagorski.com.