Daughter, Mom support Amendment 1 after making wrong decision
Editor’s Note: Because of the importance of Amendment 1 to the State Constitution on Nov. 4, churches are encouraged to make copies of this story and provide to members who do not receive the Baptist and Reflector. It is important to remember that while Amendment 1 does not eliminate abortion in Tennessee or take away the woman’s right to choose, it can provide a means to reestablish some common sense restrictions on abortion such as informed consent, a waiting period, and inspection of abortion facilities.
By Lonnie Wilkey
Editor, Baptist and Reflector
HERMITAGE — A few weeks ago Tiffany Loxley and her mother Karen Brown did not know much about Amendment 1 which is on the state ballot.
But after listening to sermons and reading about Amendment 1, they are now strong advocates of the amendment, which if passed on Nov. 4, can restore some common sense restrictions on abortion that already are in place in states surrounding Tennessee.
Loxley and Brown support the amendment because they have experienced firsthand the devastating consequences of choosing to have an abortion. Fourteen years ago, at the age of 20 and in college, Tiffany Loxley learned she was pregnant.
Loxley had accepted Christ as her Savior and was reared in a Tennessee Baptist church but had drifted from God by the time she went to college and had turned to a life of alcohol and drugs, she candidly admits today.
By the time she discovered she was pregnant, Loxley and the baby’s father already had broken up. “I’ll never forget how scared and alone I felt at that time,” Loxley recalled. “I wanted so badly to have the baby and to be a good mom, but I also didn’t want to disappoint my family.”
After discussion with several people, Loxley ultimately chose to have an abortion. “I convinced myself that it was ‘just tissue’ as so many women do. This was the only way I could bring myself to go through with it and feel ‘okay’ about it,” she said.
Loxley finally broke the news to her mother who had recently been divorced and was dealing with issues in her life.
Brown said she remembered thinking that they could not go through with the pregnancy when Loxley told her she was pregnant. “We made a quick decision to have an abortion,” she admitted.
Brown noted that they did not seek counseling. “We didn’t know where to go.” Though she also was a Christian, Brown said she also had drifted away from the Lord and did not feel comfortable with the idea of going to pastoral counseling.
Reflecting on that time of her life, Loxley noted she was dealing with so many emotions — guilt, shame, loneliness, fear, and physical illness.
Her mom is equally candid. “Looking back, it was pride and selfishness on my part. I hated the thought of her having a baby that young and I wondered if I would have to raise the baby.”
Loxley and her mother went to a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Nashville.
She recalled that she was taken to a room with other girls who were having abortions “to be counseled.”
“I would not consider what I got as counseling,” Loxley said. “They gave us a synopsis of what would take place.”
The abortion took place the same day she went to the clinic. The entire process lasted no more than three hours, the two women recalled.
But the trauma and the pain lasted for both women for years, they acknowledged.
“For the next 10-12 years, my life really spiraled out of control,” Loxley said. “I turned to alcohol to try to kill the pain and turbulent relationships with men to try to fill the emptiness that was left from my decision.
“There was a hole in my heart from the loss of my child that nothing of this world could fill. In some ways I feel that I lost 10 years of my life because I lived so recklessly,” she admitted.
Loxley said she tried to push the abortion completely out of her mind and memory. “I got to the point in my life where I was good at hiding it. I pushed it so far down where I didn’t even think about it. I thought to myself that if I didn’t think about it, that it never happened.”
But it did happen.
God’s amazing grace
In 2013 a friend from the church Loxley attended invited her to attend a fund-raising banquet for the Pregnancy Care Center in Hermitage. The friend had no idea that Loxley once had an abortion, she said. “It was a God thing.”
“When I left the banquet that night, I had a gaping hole in my heart. It was as if through the darkness, Jesus had shined His light on the sin that had been gripping my heart for the past 12 years and I knew I had to reach out and get help,” she said, adding that she cried for hours after going home that night.
Loxley contacted the Pregnancy Care Center about post-abortion counseling.
“All the fear and anxiety that I had in going to meet with them was wiped away when they welcomed me with open and loving arms,” she recounted.
Loxley went through several weeks of counseling. “My counselor was just amazing. She had been through a similar experience and knew the pain, shame, and regret that I felt. It was just so comforting to talk to someone who could relate to my situation. Going through this program at the center allowed me to grieve for my child for the first time ever,” she said.
After the abortion and her attempts to repress the thoughts of what she had done, Loxley said she felt she never “had the right to grieve.”
Loxley never knew her child’s gender. After praying to God, she felt certain God revealed to her the baby was a girl.
Loxley named the child she never knew “Savannah Grace” and developed a “memory box.” She also learned about the National Memorial for the Unborn Child in Chattanooga where children who have been aborted can be memorialized. Loxley placed a plaque at the site in memory of her daughter.
Through the center, Loxley said that she “learned that God’s love covers all my sins – even the horrible sin of abortion. I am reminded of Isaiah 1:18 – ‘Come now, let us settle the matter,’ says the Lord. ‘Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.’
“This verse speaks to me about murder, which is ultimately what I did,” Loxley said. “I chose to murder my child, but even that is not a big enough sin to separate me from God’s love.”
Loxley noted that after her abortion she was hopeless because she believed she could never be forgiven for what she had done to her child.
“I was merely “getting by” in life. I wasn’t truly living because I didn’t have the hope and joy that only comes through redemption of Jesus Christ. This is what the Pregnancy Care Center gave back to me. They taught me that nothing can separate me from God’s love and that although I couldn’t necessarily forgive myself, God forgives me.
“This was a concept that took me a while to grasp because the human mind can’t comprehend that type of love and forgiveness, but that is where faith takes over and we give it to Him. I learned through the center that the only way to true happiness is through God’s grace, love, and forgiveness. There is no other way,” she affirmed.
The nightmare that Loxley lived following the abortion of her baby also was true for her mother as well.
Brown said she felt guilty for a long time because she agreed that her daughter should abort the baby. “The devil caught me at an emotionally weak time in my life,” she admitted. “I went along with the decision.”
About a year after her daughter received counseling from the Pregnancy Care Center, Brown also went through the counseling.
“I swept it under the rug,” she said of her daughter’s abortion. “God convicted me that it was the wrong decision,” she said.
After completing the counseling, Brown said her counselor asked what her next step would be. Her reply? “I just want to be in God’s will and to be used in any way that He wants.”
Both Brown and her daughter are willing to be used to help women who are looking at abortion as an option.
“I would love to be able to talk and counsel with women who are considering an abortion,” Loxley said. “When women go to have an abortion they think they are taking care of an immediate problem. They don’t realize the long-term effects and problems that await them.”
The desire to help other women and families is a prime reason they are supporting Yes on 1.
Loxley is brutally honest. “If I had my way, abortion would become completely illegal. Since there is nothing we can do to make it illegal, Amendment 1 is the best alternative,” she said.
“Informed consent and a waiting period could make a huge difference in the number of abortions performed,” she said.
Her mother agreed. “Amendment 1 will give the mother the opportunity to have counseling and a waiting period,” she said.
“If we had sought counseling I believe we would have made the decision to not have an abortion,” Brown said.
Loxley concurred. “If I had received counseling and had to wait before having the abortion, I believe I would have made a different decision.”