A “suspicious package” prompted police in Washington, D.C., to disperse the crowd gathered in front of the Supreme Court last year to hear the final dozen or so testimonies of the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Leslie Davis Blackwell took her “I Regret My Abortion” sign and headed back to Richmond, Virginia, the next day.
Undaunted, she’ll be back at this year’s March for Life on Jan. 22.
“I’m someone who aborted two babies,” said Mrs. Blackwell, one of four Silent No More Awareness Campaign regional coordinators from Virginia who will be at the March. “I’ve been called to go.”
Mrs. Blackwell was just weeks away from her college graduation, with a job as a television talk show host lined up, when she discovered she was pregnant.
“It was a ‘no brainer,’ she wrote in her testimony on the Silent No More website. “My new TV career was much more important than the inconvenient pregnancy growing inside me. I had to get rid of it.”
She recalls feeling “hollowed out” after the abortion, but she soon threw herself into her new career.
“Relishing in my new local celebrity status, I was partying non-stop, burning the candle at both ends, self destructing. A year and a half later I found myself pregnant again. I was in shock. How could I let this happen? How could I be so stupid? I agonized over the choice I’d have to make. I didn’t want to revisit the horror.”
And yet she made the choice for a second abortion.
Her relationship with that baby’s broken-hearted father ended soon after the abortion, but Mrs. Blackwell began an upward trajectory in her life – career, marriage, motherhood, community involvement. In an effort to validate her choice, she became “radically pro-abortion,” and active in pro-choice political efforts. She was one month away from becoming a board member of the Virginia League for Planned Parenthood.
But instead, the gnawing hollowness inside her revealed itself, and she realized the enormity of what she had done.
“I know this sounds harsh, but you don’t abort your own child and think you can get on with life, because it doesn’t work like that,” she said. “You can try your best to bury it in the recesses of your soul, but it haunts you.”
Mrs. Blackwell ultimately attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat and found both healing and insight into the anger that seems to motivate the pro-choice movement.
“With over 55 million babies lost to abortion since Roe v. Wade, it makes sense that so many people are hyper-sensitive about the issue and try to validate their choices, she said. “That was me for 30 years. I know that pain.”
So Mrs. Blackwell will carry her sign and share her painful memories to let women know that abortion is a choice that can never be unmade, but that healing is available.
And she has two more reasons, the most important reasons to be Silent No More:
“I’m marching for my babies.”