Serena Dyksen was just 13 years old when she found herself alone and facing an abortion. She didn’t understand what an abortion was at the time and had not been given details by the staff at the abortion facility. But at some point during the appointment, she found herself in immense pain and began screaming.
“Shut up!” the abortionist, George Klopfer, told her.
Serena’s parents, who had been separated from her by the facility staff at the beginning of the appointment, listened from the waiting room, feeling helpless.
Years later, Serena would find her mother’s journal entry about that day. Her mother described how she could hear Serena screaming, but the staff would not let her go back to be with her daughter.
“My mom said her little 13-year-old girl lost her sparkle after that day,” Serena recalled years later.
Her parents had taken her to the abortion facility in the hopes of undoing another trauma: rape. Thirteen-year-old Serena had been sexually abused by someone close to her and that’s how she had become pregnant.
But the abortion didn’t provide any healing to young Serena.
“It didn’t undo my rape,” she told Business Insider outside of the Supreme Court last month. “It only prolonged my trauma process.”
Serena left the abortion facility that day, slung over her father’s shoulder, still weak and hemorrhaging from the procedure.
The abortion eventually faded into a painful secret for Serena and her parents.
“We just never wanted to talk about what happened that day,” Serena told Indiana Right to Life.
But what happened that day would continue to have ramifications for Serena’s life for years to come.
Just a few years after her experience at the abortion facility, she found herself pregnant once more. This time, she and her boyfriend, Bruce, went to Planned Parenthood together. Serena was somewhat familiar with the organization because she had seen representatives in her school.
Based on Serena’s age, the staff member at the facility urged her to have an abortion. After the consultation, Serena and Bruce returned to the car. Bruce asked Serena what she thought.
“[Bruce] grew up in the church, but they didn’t talk about abortion,” Serena said. “And he asked me… ‘What do you think about aborting this baby?’ And I shared my story for the first time with him.”
Bruce listened and agreed to find a better way forward.
“I don’t know how we’ll figure it out, but we’ll figure it out,” he told her.
“And so, we chose life in the parking lot of Planned Parenthood at 16,” Serena said.
A Heavy Weight to Carry
Even with that saving grace, Serena would continue to struggle with the trauma of her abortion for years on end.
“You know, the thing I always tell people is that society always makes rape seem so much worse than abortion,” she said. “But it’s such a lie. I always tell people that my abortion was worse than my rape. Because I couldn’t help what someone did to me. But it is a heavy weight to carry…to know that you ended the life of someone else.”
By the time she was 23—about a decade after her abortion—some of that trauma started to percolate once more in Serena’s life. She had just suffered a miscarriage with her now-husband, Bruce.
“There was a child loss there, but what I didn’t realize was it was double child loss,” she said. “I hadn’t mourned my first child and I didn’t know how to grieve my second child loss.”
The unresolved pain began to drive a wedge into Serena’s marriage, but neither Serena nor Bruce could identify the root cause of their turmoil. Serena turned to alcohol and drugs to cope and eventually began looking at divorce. One night, she finally realized just how far gone she was.
“I had just burned down my bridges and I got in my car, and I began to just cry,” she recalled. “And I just said, ‘God, I don’t have anybody, but You.’ And what God did was He met me in my brokenness, and He lavished me in a love that I had never felt in my life before. And I knew that I needed to go home both physically and spiritually, and by God’s grace, I made it home. And my husband met me at the door, and he welcomed me into the home. And we began our healing process together.”
A Bigger Mission
The couple sought out counseling and began to see God restoring their family. But in all of Serena’s counseling appointments, she realized that there was still one trauma she was not addressing.
“In my counseling, I always talked about the rape as being my trauma,” she said. “I didn’t share my abortion because my counselor was my church pastor. And I thought, ‘If I tell him that part of my story, he’s gonna go and tell people in my church,’ which was not the truth at all.”
It wasn’t until 2019 that she fully realized the weight of the abortion she had been carrying for so many years. A friend had invited her to see the movie, Unplanned, a movie about former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson’s transformation to a pro-life advocate.
Serena had no idea what the film was about.
But watching the film, she realized that Abby’s story was all too familiar. In the movie, Abby endures her own abortions, one of which was a chemical abortion. The true-to-life depiction of her abortion involves a graphic scene in which Abby bleeds so tremendously that she believes she is going to die.
The film generated a watershed moment for Serena.
“I went to this movie, and it was like watching my story unfold in front of my eyes,” she said. “And I just heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘Now’s the time to tell the rest of your story.’”
Serena didn’t know where to start but reached out to her local Right to Life affiliate and was connected to a world of pro-life sidewalk counselors and post-abortion healing that she didn’t know existed. In 2019, she went on two abortion recovery retreats, the first, known as Forgiven and Set Free, and the second, known as Deeper Still.
“Really getting into the root of abortion and finally recognizing and being able to mourn the loss of my child was just amazing,” she said. “I didn’t ever know that I could grieve the loss of her life and it was life-changing for me.”
New possibilities began unfolding before Serena and Bruce.
“It was like God was really meeting us in that place and opened the doors,” Serena said. “Looking back, I see that He was preparing us for a bigger mission than we ever could imagine.”
That mission became clearer when, later that year, Serena heard God calling her to hold a memorial service for post-abortive mothers and fathers.
“I was like, ‘Okay, God, I don’t know what that looks like, but okay,’” she said. Unsure of how to organize such a service, she jumped into planning anyway.
Then, the night before the memorial service news broke about a man she had met many, many years before. A man who she could distinctly remember telling her to “shut up” as she endured one of the worst pains of her life.
George Klopfer, the abortionist who had carried out Serena’s abortion had just died. In his home, 2,246 aborted fetal remains had been discovered, igniting national news coverage and debate on the hotly contested issue of abortion.
As the controversy swirled throughout Indiana and across the country, the news struck Serena on a deeply personal level.
“That night I went to bed and I started crying and just crying,” she said. “And I was like, ‘God…?’ My first question was, ‘Was one of the babies, mine?’ And I just heard the Holy Spirit say, ‘Your baby and all the babies are with me. Why do you think I asked you to tell the rest of your story?’”
Over the next several days, Serena would tell her story again and again at different news conferences. Her story picked up national and international coverage. As her story traveled, she began receiving messages from women every day. Contacts poured in from women seeking help to either avoid or recover from an abortion. With so many women in need, the Dyksens wondered what they were supposed to do next.
“God just laid it on our hearts that women with abortions in their past needed a little longer to heal,” she said. “And I was just like, ‘God, what does that look like?’”
Serena began putting together a plan. As the world shut down due to Covid-19 in 2020, the couple launched their own ministry called, She Found His Grace. Serena began working with women who had experiences similar to her own. So far, 11 women have found healing through her and Bruce’s ministry. Eighteen more women are ready to work through recovery this year. And since 2019, she has recorded the rescue of 30 babies who have been saved by abortion, thanks to her story.
In addition to helping women find healing after abortion, Serena has found herself in a grassroots advocacy role. Last month, she and a handful of fellow post-abortive women attended the rallies outside of the Supreme Court, as the Court weighed Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a case ripe with potential for reversing Roe v. Wade. Serena and her friends waded into the sea of pro-choice demonstrators, intent on conversations that could spark healing for women in need.
Serena and her group did the same at the Women’s March last year.
“We’ll do it every year,” she said. “We will go every year because it was just amazing.”
In January, she attended the March for Life, where she shared her story once again. She also headed to Indianapolis where she testified in favor of an Indiana Right to Life bill that aims to stop coerced abortions.
“I think we have to protect these girls,” she said, referring to the legislation. “We have to protect. We have to put these safeguards in place. Because you know, the abortion clinic just makes money off of this all. And they’re not gonna protect these girls. They’re not gonna report what they need to report. And we hear it all the time, of how young girls and women didn’t want to have abortions and they’re being forced to do this.
“We have to protect,” she emphasized. “We have to protect.”
She also believes we have to empower women and girls in their desire to choose life.
“When I have young girls reach out and their parents are trying to force them to have abortions—I’m just like, ‘You tell them, “No. Absolutely no.”’”
Serena also tells the girls about pro-life sidewalk counselors, so that if the parents refuse to listen to the girls, they can find help.
“Because they cannot force you to have an abortion,” she says.
Other than the importance of choosing life, Serena says that the most empowering message that she has for women and young girls is about the power of the word “no.” She says this “light bulb moment” came from her healing process as an assault survivor.
“I try to give that message when I talk to people, especially young girls of, ‘Yeah, you can say, “No.” You have a voice to use and, and tell people, “No.” No—that that’s not what you’re going to do,’” she said.
Note: For anyone seeking to reverse an in-progress chemical abortion, there may be hope. Visit reverseabortionpill.com or call the 24/7 helpline at 855-209-4848.
To learn more about Serena’s abortion recovery organization, She Found His Grace, please visit shefoundhisgrace.org.