Forgiving Jane Roe Abortion’s Secondary Impact
“Can I have a cigarette first?”
Norma McCorvey, the infamous “Jane Roe” in the Roe v. Wade case that legalized abortion in America, stood next to me behind the stage. Her request outlined her apprehension of what would happen over the next five minutes.
“There is no time for a cigarette, Miss Norma,” I answered. “It will be okay. I’ll be standing next to you.”
She gave me a hug of appreciation and outlined, “These people are heroes, Sydna. I hope they don’t hate me. Is it okay for me to just talk to God when I pray?”
“However God leads you, Miss Norma, is fine,” I responded quietly. “Our audience will embrace you deeply. You’ll find love and acceptance here, just as I have as a post-abortive woman.”
This was one of Miss Norma McCorvey’s first speaking excursions into the pro-life realm – a 700 person conference for pregnancy center workers held at Focus on the Family in February of 1998 – since accepting Christ. Her book, Won By Love, was published six weeks earlier. Miss Norma had just begun her efforts against abortion by starting a non-profit called “Roe No More.”
A few minutes later, Miss Norma’s message through her prayer was gentle and simple – Help us, God, save these children from abortion. Forgive me for not doing more sooner.
Later she would confide to me, “I feel so responsible. Being a part of the Roe v. Wade decision made me the face of abortion. It’s been an incredible weight to carry but God shoulders my burden now!”
While Miss Norma never had an abortion – and placed that baby for adoption – she had a good idea of my post-abortion pain. She then offered me a rare comfort, saying, “I’m so sorry, Sydna.”
Accepting Miss Norma’s apology for her involvement in legalizing abortion was a simple way for her to pass this apology onto other post-abortive people. Today, I comfort each one of you that this notorious “Jane Roe” cared deeply for women enduring post-abortion pain.
Secondary abortion pain can occur when someone is impacted by another’s abortion decision. Whether the person encouraged or fought against this choice makes a difference in how this pain will be processed in years to come.
Those who encourage a woman to abort are typically the ones that receive the most hatred, responsibility and blame from the newly post-abortive person. Anger and hatred are often the first defense against post-abortion grief. Those who told us not to abort are often those that we confide in when the grief results.
Leaving the abortion clinic where my child died, my personality changed abruptly. The boyfriend who had coerced this “choice” met me, picked me up and twirled me around saying, “Oh, Sydna! I thought they had killed you up there.”
His relief that I was still alive astounded me. I screamed as his embrace hurt me physically. In processing his comment, I thought two things:
- I could have died up there? What other consequences could there be?
- Then I encountered rage against this 21 year old man. He had thought they were killing me but had waited in the car. My “knight in shining armor” fell off his horse with a loud clunk. All my anger turned against him then.
It was essential in my abortion recovery healing to forgive my child’s father, just like it was important to be able to receive Miss Norma’s heartfelt apology. God was processing my healing through forgiveness which ended the rage and pain that surrounded me.
There is no sin that God cannot forgive. Often after abortion, we are unable to forgive ourselves for allowing our child(ren) to die. We need God’s help to pardon the younger versions of ourselves for making such a horrible choice. Those who were part of another’s abortion decision often need to follow that same process for peace.
Miss Norma entered heaven over the weekend. Her burden in connection with the legalization of abortion is gone. Her words of comfort will always be remembered.
Luke 7:44-48 (NIV) shares the beauty Miss Norma gave to our world in her love for the unborn and the post-abortive woman – Then he (Jesus) turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
If you were part of someone else’s abortion decision, God can heal your pain as well. Ask Him now for His help in processing any involvement and know that He will lead you.
As one of the few ministries serving the world’s post-abortive audience, please keep our ministry in your prayers and consider making a tax-deductible donation to support our efforts to reach abortion’s wounded hearts with the hope of God’s healing.