Janet’s Story as told at the Speak Up Imperial Valley Rally

My name is Janet Burton Cowne, one of the Burton twins born in Denver, Colorado in 1951, graduating from Brawley Union High School in 1969, — pregnant.

I walked across that stage at Palmer Auditorium many times on Award Night. I was named Miss Teenage Citizen of Brawley, top art student, Miss Senior. If they had known that I was pregnant, well……

I was really a straight arrow. I didn’t cuss, drink, sleep around. In fact, I wasn’t sure that I had had intercourse. Such a dummy, — obviously I had.

As a senior, I was dating an older boy, a dangerous thing – – – make a note of that you moms and dads out there. I had said “no” to “having sex” with him many times, but little by little, the petting, and playing around got more involved, until — obviously I had had sex.

Funny in away, first base becomes second, and second becomes third, until you slide into home base. Only once to home base for me as that young girl, only once, and I got pregnant. I then got an abortion.

The consequences were great, consequences that included three miscarriages, each one distressing. The second one ended with me bleeding so badly that my husband was not even allowed to visit me in the hospital after the emergency D and C. I remember the nurse rubbing my arm that felt frozen, and telling me that they couldn’t wait for the blood to thaw properly, that I needed it now!

With the last miscarriage, I saw an inch-long silhouette of a baby with little hands held up in prayer in the sonogram, then seven days later this little one had been reabsorbed into my body. No physical pain, but a great deal of heartache.

Still, God blessed me; out of 6 pregnancies, beginning with the abortion, I have in the end, two beautiful children: Cheyne, with two lovely boys of his own, and our daughter, Naomi, waiting for God’s Mr. Right. Both Cheyne and Naomi love Jesus Christ. How blessed I am.

I did not know Jesus Christ as my Savior when I had my abortion though I had attended church a good deal, even praying a little prayer as a six year old. Inside my soul I was alone.

With a strong personality and some smarts, I plowed ahead in life, became student body president at IVC, yet more and more aware how lost I was, how there existed two me’s: the outside good one that the world saw, and the inside me that knew I was the opposite.

I told my older sister first that I was pregnant; I never did tell the boy to this day. My sister’s doctor, a female, gave me little green and yellow pills to help with nerves – – – I didn’t know I was nervous. I gave no thought to the idea a baby was growing in me, already three months along at that time.

At four weeks a baby has its own heart which is pumping. At three months a baby is totally formed, just small, just needed weight and size to help it survive apart from its mama. Soon it would be moving enough for me to feel him, or her. I didn’t know this would soon be happening, I didn’t wait long enough to find out; I had an abortion in Mexico.

My older sister had me tell my mom who, though a wonderful person, and who claimed a belief in God and Jesus, learned of a place in Mexicali to take me for an abortion. You see, I had told her, I knew the boy was not the one I wanted to marry. I hoped for college and a degree.   I looked only at me and gave absolutely no thought to the pregnancy other than to end it.

I couldn’t feel anything physically. No morning sickness. I couldn’t see anything. The doctors spoke of IT as just a growth.

In Mexicali, we parked and I walked up the stairs to a second-story office, not so nice, back-alley-like actually, and went inside. They didn’t say much, but sent me to another location in the city. This was rather a nice building, sterile, spacious, white walls. I was taken into a room, mom stayed out in the car again. I told the doctor that I wanted an abortion, and that I was from LA. We had been advised to say that.

Abortions were illegal in America, and they were illegal in Mexico as well. Another doctor came and they told me that they could call the police. How I didn’t collapse from fear I don’t know. I don’t recall even being nervous! I said I wanted an abortion. Well, they sent me to another location in the city.

We walked into a little dive and ordered a soda. Mom sat in the booth then while I walked a couple of doors down to a small, dark office. There was no receptionist. I told him that I wanted an abortion, and that I was from LA. There was no paper work, just me handing over $300, when he asked how much money I had. That was all that I had. The doctor, who did speak English, took me to the adjoining small room, I climbed up on the examining table and he gave me a shot to numb my pelvic area.

I returned to the little café and drank my soda. A half hour passed, and I returned to the doctor’s office. He immediately performed the abortion — using a long metal spoon. After a time, he held up the metal bowl — I could not see in it.

He asked, “Do you want to know if it was a boy or a girl?” —                 He said it only once, but I heard it over and over in my head….

“Do you want to know if it was a boy, or a girl?”

He could tell? He could see genitals?

Do you know what this meant to a young 18-year old girl?

This was not just a growth, not just some indistinguishable bunch of cut-out flesh, but a human being, a baby, a baby that was either a boy, or a girl! A baby now torn into pieces – – – no one told me about this!

I didn’t fully process that information even then. I told the abortionist, (doctor is just not the right word to use), I told him: No.

It was all more than I wanted to comprehend, at that time.   My mother and I drove back across the border, me with bunches of Kleenex between my legs to stop the terrific bleeding. We said little.

During my teen years and particularly the year after the abortion, I had sensed very vividly, a dark cloud above me that was stopping my prayers from reaching God.

A year afterwards, when I met Jesus personally as my Savior, a wonderful story within itself, I felt that dark cloud disappear. The Bible tells us as a forgiven sinner, we can come boldly to the throne of God Himself. I did. I talked with Him often about everything, but not so much the abortion yet. It was placed in the back of my mind.

I did not tell anyone else around me about the abortion, until I told my husband on the third night of our marriage, about three years later. This secret that I had was like Satan twisting a knife in my back. My husband, Larry, listened, then wrapped me in his arms, and told me that I never had to mention this again.

You see, my Larry knew Jesus as his Savior at that point; and God was again demonstrating His forgiveness, this time through my own husband, helping me to forgive me. In time I did just that.

I don’t believe that God speaking through the Holy Scriptures wants us, to dwell upon our sins. We are to repent and then ACCEPT forgiveness. This is especially important for the men and women who have experienced abortion first hand.

God has given the most perfect gift of His Own Son to pay the price for our sins. God promises to separate us from our sins as far as the East is from the West, all of our sins, including the abortion.

We humans have such a difficult time with the concept of forgiveness. We want to keep hanging on to the sin and feeling guilty and dirty, all the while God has declared that He has made us a new creation.

Philippians 1:6, says, “He who hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.”

I hope that my story can help someone here find the Peace that I have found.