After overcoming difficult circumstances and escaping an abusive relationship, Rikka K. Woods found herself in an even more impossible situation. With two young daughters to care for and a new relationship on hard times, Rikka had no money and she was pregnant. Because she had been so sick with her previous pregnancies, Rikka did not see how she could care for her other children and continue the pregnancy. Before she moved to Texas, Rikka had undergone three abortions. She almost had a fourth abortion, but because of the mandatory waiting period in Texas, Rikka says God had time to move in her life and she knew she could not go through with the abortion. Today, her youngest daughter is almost three years old.
Because of the Pro-Life laws in Texas, Rikka says she wasn’t able “to schedule the appointment, have the abortion, and move on with life” as she had intended. She couldn’t get the consultation appointment until a week from the day that she called. At the time she was angry. Over the course of the week, everything changed.
Rikka’s friend insisted she come to church one evening after Rikka had made the appointment. Rikka had almost no gas and no money to buy more, so she wasn’t going to attend. Her friend still insisted and offered to give her gas money. At the end of the pastor’s talk, Rikka jumped up to leave and was stopped in her tracks. One of the church members said he had an urgent prayer request. He said that he knew of a woman in her thirties with two children at home who had scheduled an abortion for next Thursday. Rikka was stunned. She was that woman. She says, “In that moment, I felt what it is to have God slap you across the face and hug you at the same time.” At the time she felt shame for the three abortions she had had, but she also felt God’s love. She felt forgiveness.
In that moment, Rikka chose Life for her daughter Living Rayne, “Livi.” Her friend gave her gas money, the pastor gave her money for groceries, and she began the difficult journey to bringing Livi into the world. Her boyfriend was ecstatic to be a father and helped Rikka throughout her pregnancy, something she had never experienced before in her past abusive relationship. She was not alone in bringing Livi into the world. She and her boyfriend were married, and her now husband attended every single doctor’s appointment with her.
Still, there were many challenges. Livi was born after four days of labor through an emergency caesarian section, and they thought they had lost her. Then, Livi spent her first year of life constantly sick, until Rikka and her husband discovered that Livi has Celiac disease. The family has faced job losses, near homelessness, and many other challenges. Livi overcame unbelievable odds, and Rikka is certain she is here for a purpose. Rikka said, “Once I was looking at her and crying, and Livi wanted to know why. I told her I was crying happy tears, because I was happy God had given her to me. Livi said, ‘I’m happy God gave you to me, too, Mommy.’”
Rikka has never shared her story, and she shows great courage in doing so. She hopes that Texas lawmakers will see the importance of Pro-Life laws. Rikka knows from difficult experience that an abortion decision stays with you for the rest of your life. She says, “Because I had to wait, my daughter is alive today.” She strongly supports laws like the 2011 Sonogram Law, which requires abortionists to show women their preborn child before choosing an elective abortion. Rikka says, “If I had seen my baby, I would not have chosen abortion.” With informed consent laws like this in Texas, Rikka says women have to face the abortion decision “dead-on.” She is certain that if a woman does not have to fully recognize what she is choosing, “it will come back later on in life to haunt her.”
Rikka wants Pro-Life lawmakers in Texas to know that making a woman wait to have an abortion saves lives, and prevents a woman “from living with regret for the rest of her life.” Rikka is certain: “If it were not for the laws in Texas, my daughter would not be alive today.”