The stage lighting uncovered her face as she strained for a faint smile. She was alone before the large crowd. We stared up at her; she stared at the ground. She mumbled that she had fallen in love with a boy. They were not unlike many teenage couples. They first met at a youth group. They were raised in Christian homes. They shared the same church. They shared the same interests. And sometimes they shared the same bed.

Her weeping became louder than her words. Her burdens seemed to crush her—She bowed in anguish. Her mother walked unto the platform with a tissue in hand, and wiped her daughter’s face. And with her hands in her mother’s, she confessed that she had an abortion.

She was my friend, but I didn’t know. She was a mother, and I didn’t know. But I should have. She tried to tell me.

In the middle of a conversation the year before, she asked, “what would you say to a girl considering an abortion?” I didn’t think anything of it at the time. I thought she was asking me a hypothetical question. I didn’t know she was pregnant. I didn’t know she was being pressured by her boyfriend to have an abortion. I didn’t know didn’t know I could have prevented her from having an abortion. I didn’t know she was asking for my help.

I was 18 at the time and not yet a Christian. I knew that abortion was wrong, but I was indifferent to it. I didn’t know what to say. So I answered, “I don’t know.”

A year later, I sat within a large crowd as my friend shared her story. I wish I could go back in time to share with her what I now know about abortion. I wish I could relive that entire conversation. I wish I could have given her the voice of a more loving, supportive man. I wish I could have given her the answers she so desperately wanted.I wish I could help her. But it’s too late. That was over a decade ago. But maybe, it’s not too late for me to talk to you.

I am not the best person to talk to you. I am not a woman. I cannot experience an unwanted pregnancy. I cannot know what is feels like to have life growing inside you when it feels like your own life is over. I cannot imagine the burden of carrying shame in your heart and a baby in your stomach.

I wasn’t the best person to talk to my friend either. But maybe if I had said something—anything, she wouldn’t have made the most painful and regretful choice of her life. So before you go to the abortion clinic, please know this:

You have options. You don’t have to do what others are pressuring you to do. You don’t have to make difficult choices out of fear. You don’t have to take your child’s life to save yours. The abortion clinic isn’t your only option. There are a number of pregnancy support services you could visit, including the Pregnancy Care Center in Toronto.

I know women who had unwanted pregnancies but did not kill their child. They are raising their children with joy and strength. Their mothers love them and they love their mothers. Some of the mothers, however, gave married couples the opportunity to adopt and raise their children in a happy and good home. You do not have to get an abortion.

An abortion will not help you, it will hurt you and your child. Children feel horrifying pain during abortions. Women who get abortions like my friend feel the pain of that choice for a lifetime. Your unwanted pregnancy doesn’t make your child unwanted by God, their maker. King David once said to God:

You formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.” (Psalm 139: 13-16)

Give your child the opportunity to enjoy their maker and their mother. Do not kill your child.