(Editor's Note: This article was published first in the January/February issue of the print version of The Stand.)
For the first time in 50 years, January 22 will not mark the anniversary of legalized abortion in America. On June 24, 2022, Roe v. Wade was finally overturned when the U. S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mississippi’s law in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization.
But the road to overturning Roe was a long one, strewn with the remains of over 63 million babies, one of which was Mary Lanham Stafford.
Mary Lanham never had a chance at life outside the womb. Even now, three decades after a cold December day in a sterile Jackson, Mississippi, abortion clinic, Suzanne Golson still aches to hold her precious daughter.
Golson was unprepared for the emptiness and grief she carried with her from that Jackson clinic. Bereavement and mourning were never discussed in the “empowering” conversations before her abortion. Neither were guilt, regret, depression, anxiety, and other long- term health consequences.
Keeping the secret
For 30 years, Golson suffered in silence, never revealing her secret shame of abortion. But her pain became unbearable after watching the movie Unplanned, which graphically details Abby Johnson’s journey from Planned Parenthood clinic director to staunch pro-life activist.
“My anxiety and depression grew so intense,” said Golson, “I began seeing a Christian counselor in the summer of 2020. A few months later, I did an eight- week Zoom study based on the book called Surrendering the Secret.”
In early 2021, she visited Meadow- brook Baptist Church in Starkville, Mississippi, and surprisingly heard a couple speak about their separate pre- marital abortion experiences and the hope they later found in Jesus. Golson knew God was offering her the same gift, so she tearfully thanked them via email and confessed to her abortion.
“God’s timing was perfect,” said Golson. “A few months later, a friend invited me to join a weekly, in-person study called Forgiven and Set Free. At the end, we had a memorial service for our babies. [Naming and] surrendering my Mary Lanham was finally real to me.”
Confronting the past
She also signed up and trained for the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil with Pro-Life Mississippi. Then, she and a friend from her study group returned to Jackson, the scene of Golson’s abortion.
“I wasn’t certain I could go back there and pray,” she recalled, “but I felt the Lord wanted me to, and I was able to pray in front of the ‘Pink House’ twice before Roe was overturned.”
The “Pink House,” the abortion clinic named in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, officially closed on July 7, 2022, ending abortion on demand in Mississippi.
Though Roe is gone, Golson and her support group stay in touch and encourage each other. One friend recently shared with the group a photo from AFA’s September issue of The Stand. It pictured the late Norma McCorvey (Jane Roe in Roe v. Wade) sitting beside the Hope statue, which depicts Jesus with a young mother as He holds her aborted baby.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes,” Golson explained. “We all have a framed picture of that statue, so I called The Stand to request five copies, one for each of us on the first anniversary of our surrender service.”
She also shared her pain-filled abortion story with The Stand. But like Norma McCorvey and other Jane Roes who surrendered their painful secrets and broken hearts to Jesus, Golson’s story is now one of forgiveness and freedom.
And one day, Jesus will welcome Golson home to finally meet Mary Lanham.