How to Support Post-Abortive Women
Abortion can have a serious emotional impact: feelings of shame and guilt that women carry with them years, even decades, after an abortion. It is easy to respond with fear and judgement to a woman who has had an abortion. However, it is not our place to judge or to shame. As a church, you can turn away from this response to support women through a journey of forgiveness and peace. Churches have the opportunity to spread the word that there is healing after abortion. They can speak out about abortion, and defend the innocent lives that are endangered, while still loving those who have had an abortion.
In a similar way, the church can show kindness and acceptance to women who are pregnant. Unexpected pregnancy can leave women feeling alone, ashamed, and lacking support. They become vulnerable to abortion. Support these women with love and compassion, helping them to understand that God's love is constant.
From "The Jericho Plan: Breaking Down the Walls Which Prevent Post-Abortion Healing"
Pro-lifers have clearly done a tremendous job in the last two decades promoting a more charitable understanding of women who are pregnant out of wedlock. But there is clearly much more that must be done. Churches, families, friends, and employers must make even greater efforts to be supportive of every pregnant woman or single parent, no matter how the child was conceived. There is no denying the fact that, in previous decades, righteous and judgmental Christians discriminated against and shamed women who were pregnant out-of-wedlock. And it is equally true that this condemning attitude shamed, and continues to shame, many women into seeking abortions. For this, we too share in the guilt of abortion. If we are to be truly Christian, we must strive to live by and promote the principle that every pregnancy, every birth, is a gift from God.
As a Christian community, however, we are not as far along in learning the lesson of compassion toward those who have actually been involved in abortion. Many good-hearted people continue to recoil in horror at anyone who could "kill her baby." They wonder, what kind of monster could do such a thing? For many, judgmentalism comes much easier than compassion because they lack insight into the tremendous pressures and feelings of despair which lead to abortion.
This is the second lesson which we must learn from the abortion holocaust before we can expect to conquer it. We must learn that abortion is an act of despair. It is not something women do with vindictive hearts. It is something they do when they feel trapped and helpless. Over 70 percent of women undergoing abortion believe it is morally wrong. They are acting against their consciences because they feel they have no other choice.
Reprinted from The Jericho Plan, Copyright 1996 David C. Reardon.
Any portion of "The Jericho Plan" may be reprinted for use in a church bulletin or pamphlet, if the copyright notice is included.