Patricia Sandoval Catholic SpeakerMy name is Patricia Sandoval. I remember my childhood fondly. At home, I was surrounded by joy and affection, and in school, I was very popular, got good grades, and felt secure within myself. But my family lacked one thing—God. My mother delved deeply into the New Age, and soon after that, my solid, happy parents whom I never saw argue, suddenly separated. Eventually, they divorced. I had to move in with a friend, and due to anxiety, began pulling my hair out.

At nineteen, I met my first love. He was five years older than I, and we began to have sexual relations. Two months later, I got pregnant. I felt my life’s dreams and goals crash along with the news, but my boyfriend was overjoyed. His reaction gave me a sense of security, and we decided to keep the baby. One of my best friends, however, told me that I was making a big mistake and suggested I get an abortion. I decided she was right.

The day of my abortion, I felt extremely frightened, but the doctor told me, “Patricia, I’ve had two abortions, and I performed two abortion on my daughter. She’s fine, I’m fine, and you’re going to be fine. You’re not doing anything wrong. It will only take five minutes.” But during the abortion, I felt like a traitor. In my heart, I knew that I was doing something horrible. But at the same time, I felt relieved of the “problem.” I told my boyfriend that I had had a miscarriage, and he began crying inconsolably.

In the abortion clinic, I was handed the pill and condoms in order to have “safe sex.” But four or five months later, I got pregnant for a second time. Immediately I rushed to Planned Parenthood, feeling too ashamed to return to the clinic where I’d had my first abortion. The second abortion happened quickly, and no one knew of it.
Patricia Sandoval Catholic Speaker
My relationship was deteriorating rapidly. I felt anxious and depressed. It is hard to believe, even for me, that six months later, I got pregnant again. This time, I felt I had to tell my boyfriend and, again, he got excited. But I convinced him that I needed to get an abortion. He conceded reluctantly and accompanied me to the clinic. He was by my side during the procedure, terrified, worried for me, with tears running down his face. At that moment, I thought, “What a evil person I am. He thinks that this is my first abortion, but I have already killed two of his children! I am trash. I am an assasin.”

I sought work at Planned Parenthood as a bilingual medical assistant and was hired on the spot. Their clinic performed forty abortions a week and the majority of their “clients” were Hispanic or African American. My first day on the job, my supervisor told me: “You have to do everything in your power to convince these girls to abort. If they’re fearful and want to leave, tell them that you, too, had an abortion. But never say the word, “baby.” You must refer to their baby as a ‘thing.'” Initially shocked by her words, I pushed them out of my mind and didn’t ponder them further.

Two days later, I assisted the doctor with abortions for the first time. My supervisor warned me: “Patricia, never reveal what happens in the back room here. You cannot tell people that we throw their babies in the garbage.” Her words left me stunned. I took the hand of the first patient who was crying inconsollably. After the abortion, I carried into the back room a bloody bag with the baby’s remains, in order to retrieve and count five body parts, in order to give the thumbs up to the abortionist, so that he would know the procedure was “successful.”

Because it was my first time, a co-worker did my work for me. She took a pair of tweezers and began: “Here is an arm.” Then she found the other, then the legs. It was horrible! I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!” I clearly recall the little hand and the fingers of the dismembered baby. I tried to stomach it, but upon seeing the baby’s head, I could barely take any more. I could see the eyes, the eyelashes, the nose the mouth, even the eyebrows beginning to form. I knew without a doubt, at that moment, that I had killed my three children. “My God. What have I done?” I continued working there a few more days, but my depression worsened, and I couldn’t go on. Every day at lunchtime, I went to sit in my car and cry, until one day when I drove off and never returned.

My self-esteem plummetted. No longer a good girl, I started going out with a drug addict. Cocaine and methamphetamines became my drugs of choice, and I became addicted. I didn’t know who I was and slowly began to lose everything. I slept in motels, cars, and drug houses. My anxiety and my habit of hair-pulling worsened. I became weak and thin, with my bones protruding underneath my skin and dark circles cupping my eyes. In the mirror, all I could see was a young woman more dead than alive.

One day, my drug-addicted boyfriend and I got into an argument, and he kicked me out. I was left completely alone and abandoned, without food, water, friends, family, or drugs. I sat for hours on the sidewalk, curled into a fetal position, sobbing. I had nothing. I had sunk to the lowest level of my life.

It was then that I experienced the presence of God watching me. I lifted up my head and crying, I said to Him: “You are all that I have. I don’t know how I got to this point. I thank you for my beautiful childhood and family, which You gave to me. I’m so sorry!” I had barely finished speaking when a young woman my age, twenty-two, named Bonnie, knelt down, embraced me from behind, and said, “Jesus loves you.” I looked up at her confused, and she smiled back and said, “I am the waitress at the restaurant across the street. I was working when God said to me: ‘Put down your notepad, look out that window, and tell that young lady who is sitting on the curb that even if her mother or father should abandon her, I will never abandon or forsake her. I will be with her until the end of time.'” I couldn’t believe that God had responded to my prayer so immediately! Bonnie took me into her restaurant and with a sweet smile, asked me what I’d like to eat. Then she drove me home.

Three years after I had disappeared into the streets, I arrived at my father’s house. Filled with trepidation, I knocked on his front door. My father opened it to see his little princess, now a frail skeleton, with little hair and a profound sadness in her eyes. I threw myself at his feet and begged for his forgiveness. My father began to cry and lifted me up to embrace me and bring me into his home.

Two years went by. I had heard people tell me about Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats for healing after abortion, but I didn’t even consider going. I had confessed my abortions, and nothing more was needed, or so I felt. But finally, I attended a retreat.

That weekend changed my life in a profound way. God revealed many thing to me, healed the wounds of my three abortions, which I didn’t even know I had, and not only that, soothed the sadness I still felt from my parents’ divorce and my drug addiction many years ago.

I had come to the retreat feeling like an assasin, an evil sinner who aborted her three children, and I left the retreat knowing that I was a mother of three beautiful babies whom Jesus and Mary were caring for and who were waiting to greet me in heaven. I felt so happy! I named my first cihld Mariana, in honor of the Virgin Mary, my second, Emmanuel, in honor of Jesus, and the third, Rose, in honor of the Rosary.

That weekend, I made a promise to my children: “Since I ended your lives and didn’t give you the chance to live, I will, in your honor, do everything in my power to defend life.” And God has made it so.