In a culture that avoids conflict, fears truth and marches to the mantra of “don’t judge”, how do we approach the topic of abortion? How do we begin to share our beliefs on one of the most polarized topics that evokes some of the strongest opinions, and for some, traumatic memories?
Our culture seems to support the idea that silence is the best response and that we should let people make the decision that feels right for them. This idea forces us to keep our beliefs hidden in fear of offending someone or pushing our ideas on them.
But isn’t this the same fear and silence we face with all evangelization?
In this article I’m going to share with you 4 questions that everyone needs to know how to answer. If we have the courage to share the Gospel with friends and family, then we also have all the tools necessary to talk with a friend facing an unplanned pregnancy. We need to reach out to them, listen to what they say and help them to encounter the love of Jesus Christ.
What’s the number one cause of abortion?
A person grappling with the reality of an unplanned pregnancy is frozen with fear: every plan, dream or hope they made for the future seems to be crashing down all at once. The fear of a completely new life plan has shattered their comfort zone. They need us to bring the peaceful presence of God into their situation. If we remain silent, say nothing and are crushed by the pressures of our culture to avoid offending someone, who will let the light shine in?
We should neither act, nor be paralyzed, out of fear. Rather, every action and word should be empowered by the love of Jesus Christ. He came to this Earth to welcome us into His royal family. As sons and daughters of the King, the King who has already won the battle, what do we have to fear?!
If you encounter someone who shares that they are pregnant and considering abortion, be moved with the confidence to speak and love them with the burning love of Christ.
What should I do?
Most people in an unplanned pregnancy think they have three options: keep the baby, place the baby for adoption or terminate the pregnancy. Abortion feels like the quickest and most simple solution at the time. For many, they feel abortion involves the least amount of people and ends the situation before they can become emotionally attached to the baby. Since abortion is one of the possible ‘solutions’ to their current situation, they feel the need to explore and research it, even if it’s not what they ultimately want.
We can help diffuse the need to explore abortion through our ability to love and bring hope back into their plans. Their life is not over and they are not in this alone.
Filled with the joy of Christ, the best thing you can do for a person in crisis is to receive and love them just as they are in that exact moment; broken, hurting, scared, lost, exhausted. Your heart should be a soft place for them to rest and your calm, loving presence can allow them to rest as well. Help them to take a break from the chaos around them and process this experience.
This calming presence should be coupled with the desire to listen. They don’t need to be told that they made a mistake, they want to be heard. There are a thousand thoughts buzzing through their mind at every moment and they need a safe place to share them.
What should I say?
One of the worst things you can say to a person in an unplanned pregnancy, or any crisis, is “I will support you whatever you choose.” Notice that the crux of this sentence is “whatever YOU choose.” The decision is still completely on their shoulders. They still feel the weight of a life or death decision that will impact the mother of the child, the father, their families, their futures, and of course their child. Stating that you’ll support their decision doesn’t help them at all. It doesn’t help them carry the load they’re bearing and they may still fear being completely crushed by the weight of the situation.
Be honest and tell them that abortion is not a quick fix to any situation. If they have shared this intimate and scary part of their heart with you, it is likely that they trust you in the situation. At this point, they genuinely value your opinion so be charitable and share the truth. The zeal we have for evangelization should be present at all times in every encounter.
Help them sort out their thoughts and feelings, but don’t try to solve their problems. Reflect back to them what they tell you to help them process the situation. For example, you could respond by saying, “It sounds like it’s going to be hard to talk to your mom about this.” instead of, “Dang, your mom is going to be upset.” Reflecting thoughts back to them keeps them thinking and talking instead of shutting down or being overwhelmed.
When talking with a woman in crisis, remind her that she is strong. She has the strength to do this. Ask her what her plans for life were before she found out she was pregnant and remind her that all of those things are still possible. They might not happen at the exact same time or in the same order, but they can happen. She needs to hear that she can do this.
Above all else, people in this situation need to know that they are loved and forgiven. Being pregnant is not a sin. We all make mistakes, but that does not make us unworthy of love.
What can I do next?
As a disciple of Christ, this is the easiest step! If you have the courage to evangelize, you have the skills to walk with someone through pregnancy.
The same invitations you make to any friend, you can make to people considering abortion. Invite them over for dinner to talk about things, or out to coffee to see how they’re feeling. Go for a hike and listen to their story. They are scared but your friendship could offer the support they need to choose life.
Reach out to your friend as often as you can but remember that their decision is not a reflection of you in any way. You can love and support a friend in an unplanned pregnancy, but you are not responsible for their decisions. With His infinite wisdom, God gave us all the free will to choose and we have to respect this gift.
Below you’ll find some great resources to offer to anyone facing an unplanned pregnancy and to coach you as you walk with your friend on this journey. We don’t expect anyone to go through pregnancy alone, and we don’t expect you to help completely on your own either.
The Sisters of Life: Anyone who is pregnant or helping anyone through pregnancy: 877-777-1277 https://visitationcenterus.org/
Option Line: 24 hour assistance online, text or call https://optionline.org/
Pregnant on Campus from SFLA : Find local pregnancy centers and learn your rights as a pregnant college student (scholarships, etc) https://pregnantoncampus.org/
This article explains the options during a crisis pregnancy: https://optionline.org/options/
Personal testimony from Abby Johnson: https://www.abbyjohnson.org/pregnant/
Help during crisis pregnancy: https://pregnancydecisionline.org/parenting