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We Need to Love Post-Abortive Women

  • Jim Daly Jim Daly is president and chief executive officer of Focus on the Family, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping families thrive.
  • 2014 May 13

The video Emily Letts recently made of her abortion was understandably met with shock, horror, sadness and disbelief. In it, the 25-year-old abortion counselor shares her story of facing an unexpected pregnancy, and includes footage of her undergoing the procedure during her first trimester.

It is a sobering and painful video to watch.

How should those of us who value human life respond?

Every abortion involves three people

The reality is abortion profoundly impacts at least three individuals: the child whose life is being terminated, the birthfather and the woman who must live with the reality of this decision.

I’ve previously blogged about how the same pro-abortion movement that tries to make this an issue of “empowerment” must recognize that isolation plays a large role in a woman’s decision to abort. 

That’s the same point writer Kh. Frederica Mathewes-Green makes in our movie, “Irreplaceable”: most women who abort do so because they feel no support to help carry their child to term, or to walk through the adoption or parenting journey. 

Focus on the Family’s own Carrie Gordon Earll, who had an abortion herself as a college student, reflects on Letts’ decision to share her “positive” abortion story:

“This story is shocking but it’s not uncommon to see women who want to justify their personal abortion decision or their role in selling abortion to other women.  Looking at this story from my perspective as a woman who has experienced abortion, I understand Emily’s mind-set. 

“For her, abortion has to be okay – and even good, in her case – because she did it and she encourages other women to do it.  Much of the pro-abortion movement is motivated by a similar view and it reflects the deep brokenness that comes after abortion, whether or not the woman recognizes that harmful impact on her life. It’s not natural for women to abort their children; it goes against our natural instincts.

“This is important for supporters of life to understand: as we work to defend innocent preborn babies, we interact with hurting women.  This requires understanding, tenderness and grace.”

Carrie’s words highlight the larger point. Those of us who rightfully seek to defend the preborn against the violence of abortion must also see women as victims who have believed the lie that it’s good and OK for them to commit this act.

One thing we know: whether a woman initially embraces her abortion as “empowerment” or immediately regrets it, abortion has long-term effects on women. Sooner or later, the woman who made a decision to abort must grapple with that choice.

There’s hope after abortion

As a Christian, I know Jesus Christ can change the hardest heart and redeem the most painful past. Carrie Earll has now dedicated her life to helping influence public policy that will protect women and the preborn.

Abby Johnson also has a story of redemption. A woman who experienced abortion and once worked as a director of a Planned Parenthood abortion clinic in Texas, Johnson is now a tireless pro-life advocate. She founded a ministry that helps abortion workers leave the industry, “Then There Were None.” 

The reality is the pro-life movement is full of men and women who were once pro-abortion. So while at first glance Emily Letts and women like her might seem like they’re “too far gone” to have a change of heart, we know there is still hope. Our God is merciful and good. He brings the dead to life and makes all things new.

Therefore, let’s pray for Emily. Let’s pray and hope for and lovingly witness to her, and women like her. Let’s be led by the Holy Spirit when we encounter post-abortive women – these women will need support as they walk through the guilt and pain that will inevitably come when they reflect back on their decision.

Help and resources are available

If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, there is help. You can download our free booklet – also available in Spanish – on recovering from the trauma of abortion. You can call 1-800-A-FAMILY to talk with one of our Family Help Specialists and ask for a referral to speak with a licensed counselor.

You might also want to listen to our two-part broadcast, “Reaching Hearts on Abortion,” featuring bioethics speaker Scott Klusendorf as he explains how pro-lifers can use a friendly, logical conversation to promote the value of life.

I’ll leave you with a video of Carrie Gordon Earll sharing her abortion story for our efforts to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade a couple of years ago. It’s a powerful story of pain – and redemption – you won’t want to miss.

You can still catch “Irreplaceable” during its nationwide encore presentation on Thursday, May 15!

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