At 17, Beth Stanley wasn't given a choice.
She was too young to be a mother, her parent said, so they made an appointment for her. They were afraid she would want to keep the baby, she said.
What happened to Stanley in a doctor's office many years ago was the most painful, horrible experience of her life, she said with tears Monday. She has lived with guilt and grief since.
Stanley took time out Monday afternoon to pray at her church for the millions of children who have also been aborted since it became legal in the U.S. in January 1973.
"We are mainly praying for eradication," Stanley said. "And for those who are carrying that guilt."
Several Carson members of Father's Heart Church, an inter-denominational Christian Church on Cleark Creek Avenue, are holding a 30-hour memorial called "Days of Grace" starting Monday morning. The remembrance that lasted from 8 a.m. Monday until 2 p.m. today recalls 30 years since abortion became legal in the U.S. following the decision of Roe v. Wade.
Pastor Steve Storey said he joined the national effort that is taking place in each state capital and Washington, D.C., to memorialize and honor what they say are 45 million children lost by abortion.
"I feel passionate about the loss of 45 million lives," Storey said. "Many who have had abortions are greatly wounded and grieved. But we have to settle the issue of abortion in our land. The innocent blood spilt is not going to go away for God. That's the key for us."
More than 60 families signed up at the church to take part in the vigil. Some will stay until 2 p.m. to finish the day, he said.
Stanley, who is married now with two daughters, said she is not angry with her parents and has found forgiveness in the church, but still remembers crying and hearing her mother and the nurse cry in the doctor's room. Her doctor used abusive , probably thinking he was "teaching her a lesson," she said.
"I've never made this public but it's OK. It's been eating away at me for 17 years," Stanley said. " Every time I saw a baby I wondered what that child would look like. It's the most traumatic thing I have had to live with my whole life."
Young women today have more choices than she did, but too many do it multiple times and look at abortion as a form of birth control, Stanley said. It shows a lack of moral values in the nation, she said.
"There is so much more now than there ever was," she said. "Can't you take the next nine months to give that child a life and then go on with yours? That child has a chance with people who can love them."