As we approach the 43rd anniversary of Roe vs. Wade, we acknowledge our nation has suffered devastation like no other. Over 57 million unborn children have died in the womb. These are not abstract children, but children with mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings. They are part of someone’s family.
St. John Paul II, in the Gospel of Life took time to specifically address the mothers of these children. His comforting words have brought solace to many who sadly, chose to end the life of their child by abortion.
“I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion. The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many case’s it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not yet have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand what happened and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and to his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life.”
(Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), #99)
One only has to meditate briefly on the words above to recognize the astounding impact one abortion has on a family and on our nation. We live in a world wounded by abortion and although it continues to be denied in the secular world, the negative consequences are staggering.
While Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS),continues to be fiercely denied by the pro abortion lobby, one only has to look at the number of ministries and other resources popping up to aide those who seek help after abortion to recognize the very real and very dangerous damage that has been done. In fact, if the damage were nonexistent, those groups would not need to put the effort into debunking PASS at all. However, the truth is that as more and more resources materialize and as people reach healing, the message will begin to resound louder and louder and more of those silenced by the implication that they have no right to suffer will come forward to find the help they need to heal.
It always amazes me that in secular studies that deny the risks and ramifications of abortion, organizations that actually minister to those suffering are never contacted for input. One has to wonder where they are getting the women they speak to. Surely, from the pro abortion ranks. There is such a reluctance to validate the feelings of those who have had an adverse reaction to abortion, as if participating in the taking the life of your child was something so extreme. In reality, it makes complete sense.
In the past twenty‑five years, countless numbers of women have come forward for healing, and though still just breaking the ice over the last fifteen years or so, the fathers of the babies who have been aborted are also stumbling out of the darkness looking for healing.
The impact abortion has on marital relationships is significant whether the abortion was with the spouse or had happened before the marriage. As one of our men married to someone who had an abortion in her teens said, “looking back over our 29 years of marriage, it is probably the one thing from both of our pasts that has affected our marriage more than any other.” Whether hiding the secret and living in the fear of being found out, or dealing with the devastation of Post Abortion Stress Syndrome, there is no denying that abortion impacts millions of relationships in our country.
Over the past six years, with some resources now available, the siblings of aborted children are also coming forward for help. Whether openly supported by their parents, or asked to hold the secret, their lives are often filled with conflicting feelings of love and protection for their parents, anger, and grief, sadness, and guilt for living and shattered images of those who protect them.
One only has to listen to the heartbreak and confusion of these siblings to see what an enormous impact this would have on our society.
And the devastation doesn’t stop with siblings. Grandparents, nieces, aunts, uncles, friends… with 57 million abortions – all of us have felt the impact of abortion. We all need healing.
The prolife movement is often inclined to bring those who are post abortive out to tangibly demonstrate the devastation of abortion, But more than that, as we approach the “Year of Mercy,” our inclination should be to seek them out to bring them to the love and mercy of God because that is HIS desire. The number of souls lost to Him because of abortion is staggering, and as we each know, every life is precious in His sight, not only the unborn, but yes, even those who participated in their deaths.
We need to give voice to these women, men, and siblings, not just only to show the evil of abortion, but because we are called to be the face of Christ to them. We need to care about their souls. We need to allow them to speak for their children and to give them back the God-given right to their children through His grace, mercy and forgiveness. We need, on a spiritual level, to help to reunite families through healing and acknowledging those lost through abortion. While speaking about the wrong of abortion, we need at the same time, to love, and not judge, those who are wounded in our nation.
As Dave Reardon, Ph.D. of the Elliot Institute says in his book The Jericho Plan,
“As a Christian community, however, we are not as far along in learning the lesson of compassion toward those who have actually been involved in abortion. Many good-hearted people continue to recoil in horror at any one who could ‘kill her baby.’ They wonder what kind of monster could do such a thing? For many, judgment comes much easier than compassion because they lack insight into the tremendous pressures and feelings of despair which lead to abortion…
This is the second lesson which we must learn from the abortion holocaust before we can expect to conquer it. We must learn that abortion is an act of despair…
Let it suffice for now to say that Christians must refrain from condemning and judging the women and men who have been involved in abortions. Judging them will not free them from the shame and guilt they already feel. Instead, we must concentrate on sharing with them the hope of God’s great mercy. To do this effectively, we must give them more than our words; we must give them our hearts.”
I have no doubt that if we do this without self‑seeking, but truly because we care for each individual soul, God will surely do the rest in bringing an end to abortion by fulfilling the words of St. John Paul II, who said, “With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone’s right to life.”
That is what will end abortion – the humility of those who have been there and received the healing grace, love, and forgiveness of God. Those mothers, fathers, and siblings who now speak to the truth of abortion giving hope to those still suffering, and sure witness to the amazing, transforming Mercy of God.
Are you living in darkness and depression after an abortion?
Unable to get past the pain of your loss?
There is Hope. There is Healing. There is a way out of the darkness.
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