Social media is full today of the hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion in response to the consideration of a federal ban on late term abortions. Those who started the hashtag are encouraging women to share their stories of abortion in an effort to remove the stigma associated with it.
I read some of the tweets, as well as a few articles by women who have had late term abortions, and it seems that they generally fall into 2 categories: those who chose abortion because their baby had serious birth defects and/or brain damage – and those who chose abortion because it was advantageous to them in some way, usually relationally or economically.
I noticed that Christian Today posted an article stating that what was lacking was a compassionate Christian response to those who have had abortions. Instead, the majority of responses from Christians have been angry and accusative, calling those who have had abortions murderers and the like.
I am grieved by this on so many levels:
I’m grieved by the stories of couples who had sick children, many of whom were deemed “incompatible with life” and my heart breaks for them. Particularly the stories from women who have babies that are basically brain dead, but their bodies twitch or seize inside the womb, giving the impression that the baby is well and kicking. My wife being pregnant right now herself, I consider what it would be like to receive such news, that my child would have to be restrained and be so uncomfortable for his/her whole life, that they would not be able to sleep until the point of exhaustion. It is certainly a terrible position to be in.
I am grieved by the stories of women who choose to abort their child for other reasons: because they were scared or thought they were too young or too poor to raise the child the way they would like to. It is these abortions that are most tragic. I had a couple contact me recently; they are poor and pregnant and considering abortion. I recommended they give the child up for adoption. If they are not prepared or willing to raise the child, then at least give him/her a chance to live with one of the scores of couples who would love to raise that child and shower them with love and provision.
I am grieved that Christians are not responding more with the Gospel. Instead the main response is the hashtag #ShoutYourMurder – rather than the promise of forgiveness and restoration for all who have sinned if they turn to Jesus and embrace the Gospel. I believe in the sanctity of human life, and that we have no right to end a human life, and that an unborn human is absolutely a full-fledged human being. I believe that Planned Parenthood’s selling of body parts for profit is shameful and utterly evil and that government funding of them is completely inappropriate and should end immediately.
I am grieved because I know that people who have chosen to end their own child’s life carry a burden of shame and guilt – the #shoutyourabortion hashtag campaign itself acknowledges that. Having personally known people who chose abortion, my heart goes out to them, because I know that they live with deep pain, sorrow and regret and deep shame and guilt over what they did. Although an abortion provides momentary relief, it is deeply scarring to the body, mind and soul.
To anyone who has had an abortion, for whatever reason, I would say this: the way to cope with your feelings of guilt and shame is not by trying to make yourself feel better about what you’ve done by celebrating it or attempting to justify it. Rather I encourage you to embrace the Gospel of Jesus Christ, through whom you can be forgiven, healed and restored. Whatever is in your past, the message of the Gospel is that God loves you and Jesus gave his life for you, so that through him your past can be forgiven and you can have a new life and a new start in Him, in which you can be right with God and free of shame.