Kristin Yudt has an incredible story to tell.
It begins 22 years ago, when she was a senior at the University of Notre Dame. After an evening when things went too far, her boyfriend took her to the local Planned Parenthood clinic, where they gave her a packet of pills that would end any possible pregnancy.
Her boyfriend urged her to take the pills, but she threw them away instead.
After graduation, she came home to Allentown, where she learned she was pregnant. Her boyfriend came to Allentown, and made an appointment for her at a place where she could get an abortion, but she didn’t show up. He went home.
Now she had to tell her parents. “It was the most difficult conversation,” she recalls. “I felt like I had disappointed them. I was ashamed.” Through it all, she found strength in a passage from Proverbs: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart…and he will make straight your paths.”
Today the child she was determined to save – her daughter Jessica Davis – is a senior herself at the University of Notre Dame. She’s about to graduate and go on to fulfill her lifelong dream of studying at the nation’s top pharmacy program at the University of North Carolina.
Yudt thanks God every day that she didn’t have an abortion, and she cannot imagine a life without Jessica.
“I have some friends, and I have since learned that they were in a similar situation at some point in their life, and they made a different decision than I did,” Yudt says. “Not a day goes by that they don’t think about the child they gave up, about what might have been. They are filled with sorrow and regret.”
Asked what helped her find the courage to make the right decision, Yudt credits her Catholic faith, the support of her family, the acceptance she felt from her pastor at the time – Monsignor John Murphy at St. Thomas More Parish – and her solid pro-life education at Catholic schools.
Yudt says she understands why young women panic in a crisis situation. In the beginning, she felt overwhelmed. “Raising a child seemed like a daunting task. I was young, unprepared, and unsure if I was capable of bringing a child into this world. I could not imagine how the path would unfold, and that overpowered my mind.
“Ultimately, the Holy Spirit guided me,” she says. “The message burning inside my soul was, ‘Do not end this child’s life!’ That’s why Jess is the beautiful person she is today.”
Jessica talked publicly about her mom’s decision during a student assembly at high school, at the urging of Father Mark Searles, who was the Allentown Central Catholic chaplain at the time. Jessica and her mom also told their story on a University of Notre Dame podcast, Everyday Holiness.
“It’s not always easy to talk about ourselves like this,” Yudt says. “We do it because if just one person hears this story and decides not to abort their baby, then another life will be saved.”
If you’d like to hear more about this inspiring story, or share it with someone, here is the link to the podcast.
Paul Wirth is the Diocese of Allentown’s Communications Director. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
At left, Kristin Yudt and her daughter Jessica Davis.