Each month we will
offer a list of action ideas so you can defend, honor, and celebrate Life in your churches and communities. This month, we are looking at after abortion care.
1in 4 women have
an abortion by age 45—and some of them are in your church. That means that, yes, the Church and her people need to talk about abortion, specifically forgiveness and healing after abortion. The Church’s silence about abortion can do more harm than good, because it forces hurting women and men to be silent themselves, despite what they are feeling. And that’s because abortion grief is a complicated grief. While women often feel relief immediately after the abortion, many later experience depression, suicidal thoughts, drug or alcohol use, anxiety, and guilt. In fact, according to a 2011 study from Britain’s Royal College of Psychiatrists
, women who have abortions are 81 percent more likely to experience subsequent mental health problems. Women who have had abortions can also be distressed by external prompts as well. Certain sounds or situations can trigger traumatic memories of the abortion procedure. Anniversary dates, such as the day of the abortion procedure or the anticipated due date of the child, can deepen feelings of grief. Men who regret their lost fatherhood can also experience depression and regret and have even less freedom to discuss their feelings, due to abortion being considered a “women’s issue”. Women and men involved in an abortion can often suffer spiritually, fearing the judgement of friends, family, and God and believing that they cannot be forgiven. And that is where the Church must reach out. Make sure that when you talk about the sanctity of life you also share that repentance and forgiveness after abortion is possible through Christ. Ask your priest or pastor to give a sermon that includes a message of abortion forgiveness. Post an article or announcement in your bulletin about local abortion healing programs. By discussing abortion healing, you may give women and men the chance to grieve their aborted children and find a deeper faith, as forgiveness leads them closer to Jesus.