How I Became “Prolife” at Age 15
by Tammy Carnegie
When I was 15 years old, while living with my father and stepmother, I was sexually abused and raped by an older family member. I didn’t know very much about sex at the time, and I didn’t know I was pregnant until I was just into my second trimester.
I told my sister about it, who told my mother. She wanted my abuser to go to jail, but I just wanted to get away from the situation and get an abortion. I didn’t want to have a baby by a rapist. “After all,” I reasoned, “it will be okay with God, because I was raped.” So my mother arranged to take me, without my father’s knowledge, to the hospital, even though she was against the idea. (At that time I didn’t know my mom had been date raped at age 14, hidden the resulting pregnancy, and given birth to a son.)
“A bad thing happened to you,” she said, “but it was not your fault,and if you trust God he will take care of you and your baby.”
When I got to Brookdale Hospital in Brooklyn, N.Y., two astonishing things happened. First, when I met the doctor who would be doing the abortion, he blanched and said, “You look like you’re 12 years old. I am not going to perform an abortion on you.” He called the chief of staff in to take a look at me. While the doctors were making their decision, my mother’s friend, who had accompanied us to the hospital, gave me a tract that said, “If you make a blood covenant with God, he will take care of all of your needs.”
I had been up for a challenge with God ever since I could remember. I asked the woman, “If I decide not to have an abortion, what will people think of me? What should I do?” She informed me of a place called Inwood House in New York City, a residential program for pregnant teens, and told me that I could place my baby for adoption or give my mother custody of the baby. She was prepared with answers for a girl like me, in a hard situation. “A bad thing happened to you,” she said, “but it was not your fault, and if you trust God he will take care of you and your baby.”
This sounded like a good idea. I wouldn’t have to worry about going to a public high school and facing people’s questions and judgments; at Inwood House, the school was in the same building, and all the girls there were pregnant.
I thought about placing my baby for adoption or foster care, but after giving birth to my daughter, I looked at her and saw myself.
She looked just like I did as a baby. I got counseling while at Inwood House, but the pain from my abuse caused a huge void in my soul. I started drinking, dropped out of school, and became promiscuous. By the time I was in my late twenties I was at my wits’ end. A woman I worked with invited me to her church; I went with my children and got saved. I received healing from my past with the help of that woman, who turned out to be the pastor of the church.
To this day God has kept the covenant with us, providing for all our needs. In spite of making some bad choices as a teenager, I went on to become a helper and caregiver to many people, including family and friends. I knew my story would be a great encouragement to women with unplanned pregnancies who were afraid of the unknown, so I volunteered at a pregnancy center, where they ended up hiring me. Although I am now retired, I still talk to some of my old clients, some on a weekly basis.
Today my daughter is 37 years old, and I am a full-time student at Thomas Nelson Community College studying human services with a minor in psychology. My dream is to open a home for single women with children who have special needs. I don’t always listen to God, but when I do it is always phenomenal. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the women and children God sends us.
Tammy Carnegie lives with her husband in Southeastern Virginia.