“I know you had an abortion, Sydna!” my mother screamed at the end of a horrific telephone argument in 1985.
My abortion four years earlier had been a difficult secret to maintain. My mother’s secret knowledge of my choice had obviously festered in her heart for years. Sadly, it was one of the most destructive conversations in our relationship. With no one to offer her advice, my mother floundered in the best way to address the fact that she knew my abortion truth.
If you know a loved one who may be maintaining an abortion secret, bringing it up directly is not recommended. Yet addressing the abortion topic indirectly can provide beneficial outreach to these broken hearts.
Here are several general ways to offer indirect compassion to those who may have experienced abortion:
Learn about Abortion PTSD – Obtain a copy of Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion to understand post-abortive pain. This book will then be ready to give to the post-abortive person when a confession is made. Understanding Abortion PTSD builds empathy and helps one endure difficult emotional reactions from the potential post-abortive person.
A Need to Grieve – Abortion decisions impact the whole family. If the aborted child was related to you, understand you could be experiencing a secondary aspect of Abortion PTSD. Emotions of grief are common as someone has been lost from your life. Understand you can grieve the aborted child in a private and healthy way, apart from the potential post-abortive person.
Don’t Avoid the Abortion Topic – Since media coverage of abortion remains a constant in our society, particularly with efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, bring up the abortion topic with the individual. For example, you could say, “I heard recently that one third of all American women have made this choice. But I rarely hear anyone confess to this choice. It must be a difficult thing to confess. My heart goes out to anyone who made this choice.” Whether they respond or not, you’ve made your compassion known to their hearts.
Offer Indirect Compassion Statements – Addressing this clandestine truth with grace and mercy is always possible in an indirect manner. For example, “But for the grace of God, any of us could have chosen abortion. I would never judge anyone who made that choice. But my heart breaks for them. There is no sin that God cannot forgive. From what I understand, most post-abortive people struggle to forgive themselves. That must be heartbreaking…”
Don’t Misjudge Silence – Post-abortive people are often “practiced” at the art of not responding when an abortion is discussed. This silence doesn’t imply we aren’t emotionally impacted by your comments or our past abortion. We often respond internally versus externally, working to process these comments privately. But a seed will be sown of love and that can make all the difference in years to come.
Abortion Gossip – Unless a person shares this truth directly, or you were part of their actual abortion decision, you could be wrong in assuming they had an abortion. The symptoms of PTSD can impact them for other traumatic reasons and still explain their behavior.
Pray for Them – God knows their pain intimately as well as how He can turn abortion pain for His good (Romans 8:28). Praying for wounded loved ones is encouraged, particularly when you cannot discuss their pain directly. It releases the burden for their care into God’s hands.
Discover Local Help – Abortion recovery programs are usually offered through local pregnancy centers. Contact the center in your area and ask for more information on their abortion recovery outreach efforts, or any referrals they may have to church-based programs. Visit and support these organizations as they are actively working to help women in unplanned pregnancies make better choices as well as comfort post-abortive hearts.
Forgive Them – Someone once said that holding bitterness and anger against another is like drinking poison and hoping the other person dies. My mother’s secondary abortion pain festered in her heart for several years before that argument unleashed her rage in my direction. I’m happy to say that God helped her forgive me eventually for the role I played in her grandchild’s death. God can help you forgive these loved ones as well.
Watch the Center for Medical Progress Videos about Planned Parenthood – Listen, read or watch these videos that so vividly outline the nature and personality of the abortion industry. These videos will help you understand the trauma your loved one may have experienced during their personal abortion procedures and build compassion in your heart.
Thank you for caring for abortion’s wounded. Ramah International exists to help everyone that could be impacted by an abortion decision. We truly appreciate your prayers and financial support as God continues to help us minister to abortion’s wounded hearts.