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10 Principles about Healing From Abortion

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Abortion. Almost one in three women in America has now faced it; almost everyone is touched by it in some way.  It has changed our world more than any other issue in that the very inhabitants of the world have been lost.  In mourning such a gargantuan loss, people can forget to consider that we should mourn not only for the children, but for the mothers who have often been taken advantage of, who need great compassion and mercy.

  1. Knowing that God will heal abortion doesn’t mean you should choose one. The possibility of healing from abortion is not at all a justification for the deed.  Far too often at the sidewalk, I heard women walking in say, “God will forgive me.”  They figure that if God is as loving as we say He is, He will, therefore, understand why they are having an abortion and just cover it in grace and excuse it.  This is a form of the antinomian heresy that Christ’s love justifies proceeding to choose bad behavior.  Paul says in Romans 6, “What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? By no means!”
  1. Repression and healing are vastly different. Many post-abortive women try to find a way to cope through repressing what happened. Repressed trauma can manifest itself in various degrees of visibility through symptoms like depression, self-destructive behaviors, and repeat abortions.   Trauma also often causes illogical overreaction to subtly triggering circumstances.  There is information available online to help women identify whether they may be suffering from PASS-Post Abortion Stress Syndrome.
  1. Healing requires genuine confession of wrongdoing. Until a woman admits what happened, her conscience will chase her. Budziszewski has theorized five furies that happen until a woman finally seeks healing.  Among these is a desire to share one’s personal abortion story without admitting it was actually wrong.
  1. Healing involves admitting being wronged by others, but also forgiving them. Many can be blamed for the prevalence of abortion.  Maybe a woman blames her partner, pressuring family, doctor and nurses, the culture at large, the lawmakers, Planned Parenthood, or the lack of alternative options.  All of these people and institutions do bear some of the weight of responsibility, but first acknowledging having been wronged or manipulated, and then forgiving the perpetrators, is vital to healing.  Focus on the Family talks about what forgiveness is and is not in reference to divorce, but some of the same principles apply to the issue of abortion.
  1. Healing requires forgiving oneself. On the other extreme of antinomianism are women who feel like God will never be able to forgive them for what they have done or who struggle terribly with forgiving themselves. Often, forgiving oneself can be the hardest thing to do, but one must cling to knowing that Christ’s grace is enough for you and that refusing to forgive yourself is minimizing the extent of His sacrifice.  Thus, it is possible to overemphasize the sacrifice by justifying a decision to go ahead and have an abortion, or underemphasize Christ’s sacrifice in a refusal to forgive yourself after you have already had one.
  1. Healing is not an instantaneous process. It will take lots of time and a different amount of time for each person. It will not often happen overnight but take lots of combing through the issues leading up to and following the abortion.  Trying to rush one’s own or a loved one’s healing is unhelpful, because it is impossible to simply “get over it.”
  1. Healing doesn’t happen alone. This is why it is very important that everyone should know a bit about recovery from abortion. It is very important that others aren’t judgmental of the women, but rather eager to hear her story, love her, and help her heal. Friends, family, partners, and spouses should be supportive and seek healing themselves if they were involved in the abortion. Women should feel free to seek outside help through counseling, pregnancy center support groups, and post-abortion retreats.  Project Rachel is a well-known post-abortion retreat option that has helped many women as they strive to go on with life after abortion.
  1. Healing will look differently for different people. This is because people will often have had the abortion for different reasons.  One’s own circumstances and one’s own personality means one’s own healing will be unique. People need different amounts of engagement with God, counselors, friends, other post-abortive women, and others involved in their abortion in order to fully heal.
  1. Healing involves remembering. Many women have found great refuge in remembering their unborn children through memorial services.  Often, as a part of these, an aborted child is named.  By acknowledging the dignity and humanity of their children, they are able to come to grips with what abortion was.  Until they face that reality, it is difficult to heal.
  1. Healing is ongoing and not complete. Regrets will remain.  Life will never be the same without the child that was lost.  It’s okay that the feeling never entirely goes away.  The scar is still there, even if the wound is no longer raw.  On this side of heaven, the painful memories will, in some sense, remain.