Abortion and the Church

I don’t know who she sat next to in church that week–or if she even went to church then. And for a long time after I met her, I had no idea what had happened in her life.

It all looked great from my viewpoint.

Then we went on a bus trip to the March for Life. I don’t know the moment that made a difference for her. I just know that she lived that moment and her life changed. She made a connection with someone she felt she could trust with her secret. And when she did, she found healing.

And I might not have ever known but for a chance meeting.

One Sunday morning, we were visiting a church in a neighboring community. And when we got out of our car, she got out of hers.

She was the guest speaker. She had come to tell us the secret she had carried for years. She had had an abortion.

And she told us about the someone who helped her. And the God who healed her.

Now she helps others. And those others are all around us. We just don’t know what they are living.

Perhaps one such person sat next to you last Sunday.

One in five women who reported that they’ve had an abortion were attending church weekly at the time.

Four in ten said they attended church regularly when they aborted.

Seven in ten aborting women identify themselves as Christians.

Only seven of 100 such women said they discussed their decision to abort with someone at their church.

Roland C. Warren of NetCare says, because the issue of abortion has been politicized, many pastors shy away from addressing it. So many women sit in the pews feeling that they cannot speak of their crisis pregnancies.

“[A]s a result of pastors’ withdrawal, there have not been broad-scale ministry on-ramps built around helping women and men make pregnancy decisions,” he writes.

It’s not about politicizing our churches. It’s about providing compassion to women who may hold pro-life convictions in their hearts even when they perceive that their desperate situation has no solution other than abortion.

It’s also about being the place of transparent compassion that says, “We will love you no matter what you face, no matter what you’ve done because there is a great God who loved us and you too.”

That’s the love that my friend found. And the love she offers.

That love is the Gospel.

And the Gospel is the message of Christ. The message of the Church–if we can be bold enough to share it.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

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20 Replies to “Abortion and the Church”

  1. The statistics about how many attended church are shocking. We have failed these women and their babies. When we act like we are perfect in our church family, I think drives people to hide their “sins.” They don’t want to be condemned in church. We need churches to be a safe place for them, to help them. Thanks for taking up their cause.

    1. That concept–that churches need to be transparent rather than perfect–is perhaps the most important idea outside of official doctrine. Thanks, Yvonne. God bless!

  2. I would encourage all pastors who preach on the horrors of the sin of abortion to also preach the grace and love of the Gospel in the very next breath.

  3. I don’t think churches spend enough time or any on the subject of life – It’s sanctity and the choices that can be made to save life vs rid of it. Because issues such as abortion are not addressed in church, Christians are left to listen to the culture for answers their questions. But I’m glad there are a few who are bold and caring enough to reach out and help a woman who might be contemplating this decision.

  4. I found it interesting to read a comment on a post last week where the woman pointed out that fornication is the sin – not pregnancy. God opens and closes the womb.
    I would love to see the church step up and teach about what the Bible says about abortion so that a pregnancy is not as fearsome as an abortion. We seem too afraid to hurt the feelings of women who have had an abortion to teach others why they shouldn’t. May God give us all wisdom and compassion.

    1. You said a great deal there, Beth. The pregnancy is not a sin. The baby is an innocent. And the mother was often just foolish or manipulated–or both. Thanks and God bless!

  5. As a member of a Church that does other things so well, and a person who was deeply affected by an abortion, I have spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to start that conversation.

    It isn’t that I think my Pastor avoids the subject of abortion, so much as I wonder if he is actually aware of how many people within the Church have been affected. I am also sure that it would be difficult to figure out how to address recovery. I think some people like myself might be receptive to some sort of ministry, but there are others that I am sure would probably find it threatening on some level. I suspect my wife is one of those. I don’t think it is an easy balance to figure out. You might end up offending and running off the very people you are trying to help.

    1. I do believe you’re right about what pastors and church leaders fear.

      If we could have one day where we could see everyone whom abortion affected/still affects–everyone whom porn affected/still affects, we would change our views on ministry regarding both those topics real fast.

      As ever, Doug, I so appreciate your heart and your insight into the issue of abortion.

  6. Hi Nancy. A jarring reality check to say the least.

    P.S. I recently sent you a note about possibly reading and providing feedback on my in-the-works novel. Wondering if you saw that. If you’re willing (or simply to find out more), shoot me a hello at the email address below. Thanks and blessings! ~Mitch

  7. So thankful this woman finally shared her secret and story. No doubt, it brought more healing to her and helped others in the process. Thanks for sharing, Nancy.

  8. I appreciate your continued compassionate attention to the matter.

    The truth is there are no easy answers in how to address it in a Church. It is such a closely held secret, moreso than porn or infidelity, that it is hard to minister to those who have been affected. My pastor did a really amazing job one day, using abortion as an illustration of sin in general, and that grace covered it as much as anything. I sat there trying to keep from crying, because if I did so, then I would likely have surrendered not just my secret, but my wifes. I knew to look for the tears in her eyes, but nobody else, even our closest friends sitting next to us, had a clue.

    I let it fester in my heart for so long, then I tried to deal with it on my own, and finally accepted the fact that I couldn’t and reached out for help. I love my wife with all my heart, but the truth is that my recovery might be easier if I did not have to consider her feelings. and could speak openly. I pray for the day that she breaks her silence, so I will be free to break mine.

    So, for now, I speak up in the background, mostly anonymously, and hope that my words reach someone. I was so overwhelmed with gratitude when I saw your post on men and abortion, because as little is said in general about abortion and recovery, outside some very small circles, even less is said about men’s struggles.

    1. Thank you again, Doug, for your tender heart. I pray God blesses you and your wife with a ministry to those like you. I hope she shares her secret to find healing and ministry. So glad to get your feedback. God bless!

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