I kept praying for repentance because I felt that my wife and I had sinned by assisting a girl to access abortion, but I now believe I made the right decision.
I am a senior church elder of one of the Presbyterian churches. As a church elder, in the past, I used to preach against sexual sins.
In my sermons, I regularly denounced lust, fornication, adultery, polygamy, and abortion as sins that we should not commit.
One day, I had a reality check when a 17-year-old girl requested me to help her induce an abortion. But, unfortunately, she was not just another 17-year-old girl but a daughter of my close friend who died in a tragic road accident at Linthipe.
The 17-year-old girl met challenges beyond her age. She lost her father when she was only ten years old.
Following the death of her father, she was living with her mother. Her mother was a workaholic who ensured that the family business did not fold up.
Another blow hit the family when robbers raided their house and brutalised both her and her mother.
Besides seriously injuring her mother, who died a few weeks later, the robbers raped her. But she never revealed the sexual assault to me when the robbery incident happened.
I only learnt about it after boarding school authorities discovered she was pregnant and expelled her.
After the expulsion, she told my wife that the pregnancy was haunting her.
“My father died in a road accident. My mother died after being assaulted by the robbers in my presence. The robbers assaulted and raped me too, and I am now pregnant as a result of rape. This pregnancy is giving me sleepless nights and reminds me of the brutal assault. Therefore, you must help me terminate it,” she said firmly.
Besides bemoaning the ordeal, she said she was contemplating suicide.
I prayed with her and spent three solid hours counselling her. I told her the benefits of keeping the pregnancy to term.
I began escorting her home. On her way home, she repeated her assertion twice: “You must help me terminate this pregnancy or I will end my life.”
Fearing that she may end her life, I persuaded her to return to my house. At my home, I prayed with her and asked my wife to conduct additional counselling.
As we were having dinner with her, sorrow was still written all over her face. After dinner, we prayed again before going to bed.
It was at 2 am at dawn when we heard her groaning in the room; she slept. I woke up and headed to her room to pray with her.
From her bedroom, I went to my study room and started reflecting on the situation. Finally, I realised that her condition required me to handle it with great compassion.
It was not easy for me. I have been preaching against abortion only to find myself in a situation where a raped girl wanted to terminate her pregnancy. I knew that following the death of her late parents, she was traumatised. The pregnancy from a rape incident complicated issues.
After my wife calmed her down, she came straight to the study room.
She told me there was a need to refer the girl to the hospital for further counselling or support.
“We have done our part by counselling her, but doctors are well-positioned to deal with her quest to have an abortion. If she commits suicide here, it will be a scandal,” my wife said.
I was in a dilemma as I reflected on whether it was right for my wife to escort her to the hospital.
In the morning, I asked my wife to escort her to our family doctor. They were back within two hours. I learnt that the doctor had assisted the girl accordingly.
Two weeks later, after she induced the abortion, she informed me that she was relocating to Blantyre to stay with her uncle, who had found her a place at another school.
Five years have passed since the incident.
Just recently, the girl (now a young woman) and her husband visited our family. She told me she had completed her college studies two years ago and is currently working in the civil service.
What impressed me was that the young couple had a cute baby boy.
She thanked my wife and me for saving her life by escorting her to the right doctor who terminated the unwanted pregnancy five years ago.
Having been in such a difficult situation of dealing with a girl who was pregnant after brutal assault and rape, I agree with those who opine that there are times when offering safe abortion is the only solution to save a life.