WASHINGTON (BP)–Add the death of an innocent life to the saga of a misguided Monica Lewinsky in Washington, D.C.
Lewinsky had an abortion as a result of a three-month relationship with an older Pentagon co-worker, she revealed on network TV March 3 — a 1996 relationship during a hiatus in her 18-month extramarital affair with President Clinton.
She never told the president of her abortion, Lewinsky told Barbara Walters during a two-hour ABC “20/20” interview.
Walters cut short further questioning on the abortion when Lewinsky became visibly uncomfortable. “It’s a very sensitive subject for a lot of people,” Lewinsky reflected, “and a hot button for people.”
Lewinsky, 25, also nodded in assent when Walters asked if it was true that everyone in Lewinsky’s family thought of taking his or her own life in the torrent of events after her affair with Clinton became public knowledge.
“It was so destructive,” she said, sobbing, “so destructive.”
Jon Walker, editor of HomeLife magazine published by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, said March 4 the consequences of the affair between Clinton and Lewinsky “are confirmation of God’s Word, that your sins will find you out and that God will not be mocked. … The heartache experienced by the Lewinsky family, the Clinton family and even our national family proves that the sin of two ‘consenting adults’ is never simply just between them; it ripples across families and friendships for years, sometimes for generations.
“It should give pause to anyone considering an affair,” Walker said. “This national trauma can become an object lesson for us all in the consequences of sin. The devil wants you to believe that the grass is greener. Ms. Lewinsky, in effect, told the nation that it truly isn’t so.”
Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, said March 4, “If there were any questions about the results of the sexual revolution, they are now dispelled.
“A society which esteems others as sexual toys made for their own pleasure and use is a society well on its way to cultural suicide,” Land said. “The great challenge and opportunity now placed before Christians as a result of this painful debacle is to live out the sanctity of marriage as God’s original design for love, fulfillment and fidelity before a watching world in desperate need of real answers.”
L. Russ Bush III, academic vice president, dean of the faculty and philosophy of religion professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, Wake Forest, N.C., lamented March 4 that “God’s loving but righteous character no longer seems to be the standard by which our country finds direction. The Bible’s moral stand only seems harsh until its results are compared to those of the modern mind. Just think of how much grief, money and even human life itself could have been spared if only God’s most basic laws had been followed.”
Lewinsky told Walters, “I know I will never have an affair with a married man again.” She continued, “… clearly to me … I didn’t have enough feelings of self-worth. So that I didn’t feel … I was worthy of being number one to a man.”
Lewinsky, whose parents divorced years ago, when asked about having had multiple relationships with men, told Walters, “I don’t have the self-worth that a woman should have and I really think that is the source of my problems.” She called her self-worth “a center of a lot of my mistakes and a lot of my pain.”
Asked about her future, Lewinsky said, “I know it’s corny, but I’d really like to find the right person and have a meaningful relationship and get married and have kids [but] no Prince Charming yet.”
What will she tell her children about her place in history alongside Clinton, who is 27 years her senior?
“Mommy made a big mistake,” Lewinsky told Walters.
“I have a lot of healing to do,” Lewinsky also said. “I’d like to make a good contribution to society.” She said she has been encouraged to go to law school by the prosecutors she has faced and her attorneys, adding, “I guess I have a knack for it.”
HomeLife’s Walker said, “I pray Ms. Lewinsky comes to understand that her life is not ruined, and there is forgiveness for her sins. She is still a valuable person to God, and he can use this tragedy to radically change her life, if she will acknowledge her sin before him and embrace his son, Jesus Christ.”
Lewinsky’s interview with Walters was aired at the outset of a global media blitz for her 288-page book, “Monica’s Story,” released March 4. The book has already hit number one on the leading Internet bookstore, amazon.com. Lewinsky begins a month-long book-signing tour of Europe on March 8. Her various media appearances, according to news reports, will earn her at least $3 million.
Lewinsky’s degree of remorse over her affair with Clinton, however, is open to interpretation.
Asked if she ever said to herself, “I’m doing something wrong. This is bad for the president. This is bad for the country,” Lewinsky replied: “Now with everything that’s happened … I feel bad that I didn’t. But, I didn’t at that time. I was enamored with him. And I was excited. And I was enjoying it.”
Concerning White House aides who had tried to keep her and Clinton apart, Lewinsky said, “I don’t think that my relationship hurt the job he was doing. It didn’t hurt the work I was doing. It was between us. I don’t think it was their business, actually.”
Of Hillary Clinton, Lewinsky said, “I never thought she would find out” about her affair with the president, which began when she was an unpaid 22-year-old White House intern delivering pizza at the Oval Office during the November 1995 government shutdown and entailed 11 sexual encounters in the Oval Office.
At the outset of the interview, Lewinsky offered these words: “I waited a long time to be able to express to the country how very sorry I am for my part in this past year’s ordeal. … I’ve apologized in private to my family and to my friends. I would like to publicly acknowledge that I recognize the pain and the suffering that they’ve gone through because of this. I wouldn’t dream of asking Chelsea and Mrs. Clinton to forgive me. But I would ask them to know that I am very sorry for what happened and for what they’ve been through.”
Among other facets of the interview:
— Lewinsky’s reaction to Clinton’s admission on national TV last year of their affair: “I felt like a piece of trash. I felt dirty and I felt used and I was disappointed.” Of Clinton’s famous denial of never having had sex with “that woman,” Lewinsky said it was “so harsh. … I think he could have taken a higher road.” At other junctures in the interview, she said, “There are some days that I regret that the relationship ever started and there are some days that I just regret that I ever confided in Linda Tripp.” Asked if she is still in love with Clinton, she replied, “No … Sometimes I have warm feelings, sometimes I’m proud of him still, and sometimes I hate his guts, and, um, he makes me sick.”
— Asked if she believes Clinton ever really cared about her during their sexual encounters, she said, “Some days I think yes and some days I think no. … When I think of the person who I thought was Bill Clinton, I think he has genuine remorse. When I think of the man who I think he is now, 100 percent politician, I think he’s sorry he got caught.”
— Lewinsky said the “defining moment” when she knew her love for Clinton had come to an end was when White House aide Sidney Blumenthal told of the president describing her as a “stalker” who was rejected when she propositioned him. “I knew at that moment that he was definitely not the person that I had ever thought he was,” Lewinsky said. “That was the moment I fell out of love with him.”
— Her reaction when she learned that a gift from Clinton, Walt Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass,” also was his first gift to a young Hillary Rodham: “Clearly I guess it’s something he gave to people that meant something to him, but at the same time it takes away the genuineness of the gesture.”
— Of her dealings with independent counsel Ken Starr’s office: “I learned things this past year and saw things this past year that I didn’t know could go on in this country.”
— Admitting that she herself had misled Clinton on one matter, Lewinsky told Walters, “I told him that I didn’t tell anybody” about their sexual encounters, when in fact she had been confiding in Linda Tripp and a number of close friends.
Lee Weeks & Doug Baker contributed to this story.