‘Helping to Pay for My Girlfriend’s Abortion 20 Years Ago at the Age of 14 Seemed Like the Right Thing to Do at the Time’
A Samaritan Ministries Staff Member Shares the Powerful Story of His Experience with Abortion
PEORIA, Ill.—Dustin Garrett works in membership development at Samaritan Ministries International (samaritanministries.org), one of the leading health care sharing ministries in America. He is thankful that today he works for a pro-life organization, but he has a painful abortion story from his past that he is sharing to help others.
“Helping to pay for my girlfriend’s abortion 20 years ago at the age of 14 seemed like the right thing to do at the time,” Garrett wrote for LifeZette.com. “It would get rid of a bad situation in our lives; we wouldn’t have to deal with the ‘problem’ anymore. After all, we were told—and we believed at the time—that having a baby at our age would ‘ruin your lives.’ But the opposite was true. The abortion sent each of us into a downward spiral that was fueled by drugs, depression and denial. By the grace of God, I was rescued from my addiction—and am forever grateful to the Lord.”
Sadly, Garrett’s then-girlfriend died of an overdose before her 30th birthday.
“Over two decades later, I am still dealing with the scars of that abortion,” Garrett said. “I know things won’t completely heal until eternity. I wonder about the daughter I would have had. (I don’t know for sure if the baby was a girl, but I often think that was the case). What would my little girl have looked like? What would her name be? What would her life be like now?”
Garrett said he grew up a wayward teenager with little moral framework. He and his girlfriend spent much of their time togther, often cutting school, and eventually she became pregnant. Their parents became involved and the situation was “tense.” Garrett’s girlfriend’s parents did not want her to keep the baby, he said.
“The solution? Abort the baby—and I should pay half the cost, to the tune of a couple of hundred dollars,” Garrett wrote. “At the time, I felt a sense of relief. The notion of having a child terrified me. Being a father had never crossed my young teenage mind at that time. All the adults around me seemed to indicate it meant that life was over. That wasn’t appealing to a 14-year-old. What did appeal to me was paying a little bit of money to get rid of a big problem that was threatening my ‘freedom.’ It would be a thing of the past.
“Except it never would be.”
Garrett’s girlfriend called him immediately after the abortion, sobbing and distraught, “as if something traumatic had happened to her—because it had.”
“I started to wonder about the baby, about who this child had been,” Garrett said. “I was struck by the truth of what had just happened, that it didn’t just ‘go away.’ The doctors had forcibly pulled a human being from the mother. I remember wondering what they had done with my child’s body.”
After the abortion, the two broke up and “plunged into some desperate times,” Garrett said.
“Each of us started to use hard drugs—including heroin. Within five years, she had become a prostitute and was selling her body for drugs. … Not long after that, at age 23, I ended up at a rescue mission where God changed my life. I began to wrestle through some of the hard things in my life and to see God’s sovereignty and grace despite my terrible choices and parents’ terrible choices. I realized that God still had a plan for me—and that God can make beautiful things out of the ash heap of sin.”
A few years later, Garrett was attending a Bible college when he received a call from his ex-girlfriend.
“She claimed she was getting clean,” Garrett remembered. “I told her about what God had done in my life. A few months later, I got a call that she had overdosed and died.
“The wounds of the past still affect me,” he said. “They affect my outlook on children. I have to continually bring lies into the light of Scripture—including such lies as I don’t deserve kids, that I didn’t have anything to do with the abortion, that my family can’t be healed, and that no other men are going through what I’m going through. Looking back, the abortion was the most significant event of my childhood. Even to this day, talking about it is weighty. But I can’t imagine I’m the only guy who is wrestling with the guilt, the shame and the consequences of abortion.”
Garrett feels strongly that Christians and the church can make a difference in the lives of those scarred by abortion.
“We need to address the evil that is being done to precious babies in the womb,” he said. “We need to give attention to the countless men and women who live with the shame and guilt of past abortions. Many need help from a loving Christian community, a Christ-centered community, to work through the implications of what was done in the past. There is healing and much hope through the Gospel of Jesus. God’s grace is greater than our sin!”
Garrett is thankful to be ministering on the staff of Samaritan Ministries. For 25 years, Samaritan has enabled well over a quarter of a million members to honor God through their health care, which also means Samaritan’s 82,000 member households (269,000-plus individuals) do not dishonor God by funding abortion or other unbiblical practices.
Each month, Samaritan members send their financial shares directly to other members, along with encouraging personal notes and cards and prayer, through this effective, God-honoring ministry. Samaritan’s growing Biblical community shares approximately $29 million in medical needs person-to-person each month. Yet Samaritan’s monthly share has never exceeded $495 for a family of any size and is even less for two-person and single-person households.