Yesterday was the 40th anniversary of legalized abortion in the U.S.
Both sides marked the occasion by posting emotional Facebook status updates, perplexed by the fact that the other side can’t see how morally wrong they are. (You can read my status here.)
The pro-choicers and the pro-lifers both fight for rights, women’s rights on the one hand and babies’ rights on the other.
But in the midst of the argument, let’s not lose sight of another group involved in the topic: the women who have had abortions.
Heritage.org says 55 million babies have been aborted in the last 40 years in the U.S. Even if we assign 2 abortions per woman, we get the extremely conservative figure that at least 27 million women have had abortions in the last 40 years.
An article from 2011 claims 35% of American women will have had an abortion by age 45. This stat was confirmed on the news last night.
I am currently writing in a coffee shop in which 7 women under the age of 45 are going about their lives. Chances are at least 2 have had an abortion.
And I wonder how they’re doing today.
I wonder if they need to hear they are loved, despite their past decisions.
I wonder if they need to experience tangible grace from those around them.
I wonder if they need a hug.
I wonder if they need someone to listen to them unload their tears and their feelings of guilt they’ve carried around since the moment their decision to abort became a reality.
I wonder if they need another flesh and blood woman to wrap them in their arms and whisper, “I am so sorry,” in their ears.
I know they are hurting. Even if they don’t 100% regret their decisions to abort, I am certain they experience flashes of suffocating guilt from time to time… maybe even daily.
For those of us who have never had an abortion, we focus on the morality of the issue a handful of times each year, if that much.
But women who have had abortions think about it every day. Studies suggest 78-85% regret their abortions or have negative reactions to their abortions, including depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.
These women need love. They need grace. They need to learn how to forgive themselves. They need emotional healing. They need the Church to show them what Jesus offers each one of us (including those who have had abortions). They need redemption.
What are some tangible ways we can get involved, Church?