Abortion Healing

By Linda Bartlett

Date: May 5, 2005

Category: Abortion, Abortion and the Church, After the Abortion

Sin brings death and destruction. The sin of abortion brings death to a unique, unborn child. It also brings destruction to other lives-destruction of relationships, of families, of faith. Abortion is a life-shattering tragedy. It devastates women, men, grandparents, brothers, and sisters who carry sorrow for a child they will never know, or guilt for a child they rejected.

Millions of American women have had at least one abortion-our wives, daughters, sisters, friends. Many women are encouraged to abort by their husband, boyfriend, parents, or friends. The congregation may offer little support, with some even counseling that abortion is the best solution to a difficult and embarrassing situation. Clinic personnel say it is “safe,” saying nothing of the physical damage or long-term emotional consequences. The Supreme Court says it is “legal.” A tragic decision is made-sometimes with full knowledge-often with little knowledge. A baby is killed.

Abortion may bring an initial sense of relief (“my problem’s over”). But abortion is a violent and traumatic experience with full consequences that may not be felt until long after the event.

For many women, the emotional trauma of abortion is rooted in the profound grief that naturally follows a loss through death. However, with abortion, painful memories and fear of coming to grips with personal responsibility for the death of her child may be too great to face. A denial of the facts of the experience and a repression of grief and guilt enables the woman to cope and go on. This denial often lasts from two to five years, sometimes as much as thirty years or longer.

One woman explained her denial: 

“When I had my abortions, I told myself that what was inside of me was just a piece of tissue, a product of conception, fetal parts, a cell. I had a lot of intellectual justification for what I had done.” But later, in therapy, the truth came out and “… it hit me like a ton of bricks. I had two babies, and I killed them.”

Denial only postpones a reckoning with the reality-and finality-of the abortion decision. The pain and guilt of the abortion, buried under denial, leads to a distorted thought and behavior pattern which is called Post-Abortion Syndrome. Symptoms may include anger, fear, guilt, sadness, depression, self-hatred, anxiety, nightmares, mood-swings, flashbacks (of the abortion), drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity, frigidity, numbness of feelings, withdrawal, anorexia, suicide thoughts or attempts (especially on the date baby was due to be born), child abuse, and others.

“I carry this secret sin around inside me. I share it with very few people-to those whom I know will not care one way or the other. I do want to confess this sin to a minister, but. I am so afraid-afraid that he will tell me what I already believe: I am a horrible person and I don’t deserve the great forgiveness of God.”

Discuss James 5:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20.

Who is greater than our sin? What is greater than our guilt?

Read 2 Corinthians 5:21.

Is the sin of abortion included in this exchange?

Is there help when the guilt, shame, and depression return?

Read 1 John 3:19-20.

Where can we go for help, comfort, and strengthening?

Read Colossians 3:16; Galatians 6:1-2; Matthew 26:26-28.

What about forgiving others-those who hurt us or let us down?

Read Colossians 3:13; Matthew 6:15.

Peace

Read Isaiah 61:1-3; Luke 4:17-21.

To whom does this prophecy point? What is His Mission?

Read Philippians 4:7.

On what is this peace based?

Read Romans 5:1; Isaiah 54:10.

What does the future hold?

Read Isaiah 25:8; Jeremiah 31:15-17a; Revelation 21:3-4.

A personal testimony of healing …

“I forgive you all your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.”

Those were words that, several months ago, I did not believe were meant for me. I was convinced God could not forgive me my sin of abortion. Now, through those very words, I have found peace-with God and with myself.

I turned to the God that I have always known deep down in my being. I asked for strength to finally let my secret out. Obviously, I was not keeping the secret from God, but I felt the need to share it with someone who could share God’s forgiving nature with me. He gave me that strength.

Sharing my secret with another human being who could, and did, share God’s redeeming love for me was like opening a door. This door let the skeleton out of the closet for me. In this case, my skeleton was that of a ten-week old fetus-a child of God whom I did not allow to live. His skeleton had been in that closet for ten years. I was denying his being there so that I could deny my sin. I could not accept God’s forgiveness because I could not accept myself or my sin.

Allowing myself to feel all of the emotions that I had been hiding all those years-the pain and grief-allowed me to come out and bow down at Jesus’ feet and say, “I’m sorry.” Only then could I feel Jesus’ hands reach out, pick me up, and hear Him say to me, “You are forgiven!”

The enormous relief that I felt at the moment of that realization is beyond words, indeed, beyond all human reasoning. But I am free! Free from Satan’s bonds and chains that have been dragging me down for ten years. Jesus is my Savior! I am truly reconciled with God through Jesus Christ.

I lost a child. My heart aches for that child, but I cannot bring him back. Perhaps one day I shall meet that child-the one I never allowed myself to know. I cannot change the past, but through the Holy Spirit God has allowed me to face the future with my head held high. He loves me and I love Him!

Alleluia!

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