In the summer of 2001, I was with my adoptive mother, sidewalk counseling in front of a prominent abortion facility in Wichita, Kansas. The day was sweltering, and there seemed to be dust in the air. I was only 11 years old. I looked down at the brochures I was cradling, wondering why dirt was smearing the sheets.
“Sarah, that’s not dirt. It’s the ashes from the babies that die inside,” my mother said soberly. The abortion physician had a full-size crematorium on his grounds for babies killed in barbaric late-term abortions. I left that day committed to giving my future work to ending abortion, realizing how close my own life came to amounting to ashes.
As a young child, I learned from my Hispanic birth mother that she sought the care of New Orleans abortion physician Dr. Ifeanyi Okpalobi during her pregnancy with me in 1990. She had been referred to him by a friend because his costs were low. He delivered me prematurely at 26 weeks and advised her to leave me for dead. Thankfully, she resisted his coercion, and I survived.
My birth mother’s pursuit of abortion haunted her for the remainder of her life, and my adoptive mother, too, shared with me her own story of abortion regret. The psychological damage, the contemplation of suicide, and the inability to ever conceive a child of her own scarred her until she sought abortion recovery 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 Silent No More, an organization committed to abortion after-care programs. Today, she’s 77 years old, and she was the first person I called earlier this week upon learning of the leaked draft opinion reversing Roe vs. Wade and its subsequent 1992 decision, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
Writing for the majority, Justice Samuel Alito explains that abortion was egregiously wrong from the start, damaging for the maternal patient, demeaning to the medical profession, and barbaric for 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 the amplification of their voices. Thankfully, now their generation of pro-life activists may finally see the fruit of their labor.
Sarah Zagorski is the communications director for Louisiana Right to Life. She was rescued from abortion in 1990 and went on to spend nearly eight years in Louisiana's foster care system prior to her adoption at age 9. Read more about her story at SarahZagorski.com.