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Knit together:  God at work through a pro-abortion trend

Could churches be the safe, supportive environments post-abortive women are looking for? How can we practice the art of listening so that women feel safe to share their stories and find healing and hope?

Knit together:  God at work through a pro-abortion trend

“Abortion happens every day. Millions of people around the world have an abortion each year. The majority of those people will never talk about their abortion experience. What if millions of people broke the silence and told the truth about their lives and their choices?”

That’s from the Abortion Diary, a podcast that describes itself as “One Diary, Countless Stories.” Its founder, Melissa Madera, records women’s experiences of abortion – 110 so far. After having an abortion at age 17, Madera didn’t talk about it with anyone until she was 30. She says she created the Abortion Diary to fill that gap and end the stigma around abortion.

Her work is part of a movement among abortion supporters to be more vocal and normalize the procedure. Online, in print and in person, hundreds of women are sharing their abortion stories (some anonymously). Their goal is to promote abortion as a positive and routine experience. At Planned Parenthood clinics, Abby Johnson told CC (see related interview on pages 1 and 2) that she was encouraged to tell women, “Everybody’s doing this; no reason for you to feel bad.”

What if millions of people told the truth about their choices?

Well, it’s not at all what you might expect. The truth in the middle of this trend doesn’t automatically lead listeners to a pro-abortion conclusion. It’s not a chorus of “happily-ever-afters,” even among those who claim they do not regret the decision.

We know from Scripture that God cares deeply for each human life. I think he is working to redeem Madera’s project. The stories meant to validate abortion actually prove that all life is precious.

Unplanned parenthood
The party line? Abortion is not a big deal. One in three women has had one, as the 1 in 3 Campaign emphasizes. But listen between the lines, and even the women who say it was the right decision carry a lot of ambivalence, regret, sadness and guilt. The impact it has, the phrases that get repeated – it’s clear that abortion is a huge deal for people who have experienced it personally. Abortion stories, even the following examples broadcast by the pro-abortion Abortion Diary, are not empowering but heartbreaking.

As Baby J. prattles in the background, Samantha, 37, explains her abortion: “It just didn’t make sense. I couldn’t have given a kid [at that time] what I wanted to give them.” Of her abortion, “it was horrible. Scariest thing ever. No one told me what was going to happen. I didn’t know how to deal with it.”

Kim, 32, has a Caribbean accent and a partner facing deportation. She recalls “tears just started coming down my face. I was crying hysterically as I said, ‘I’m here for a termination.’ I wanted to keep my baby, but this was what I had to do. It’s not what I want to do, but I have to do it.”

“It changed the person I was before the abortion,” Sarah, 25, says. “It’s not just an easy 30 minute procedure. . . . A part of me was taken. I threw away a part of myself, my humanity, my soul, and it does not come back.”

Rahel, 35, grew up in Toronto and remembers going to her first pro-abortion demonstration at age 13. She “always believed in ‘my body, my choice,’” but the fear and guilt she feels now show that “a degree of trauma” has happened.

After her abortions, Marie, 52, remembers that she had an “underlying sense of shame. [. . .] I could accept forgiveness from God, but not from myself.”

New ministry opportunity
These very individual stories represent a very large body of people, for whom the pro-life slogan “Life Begins at Conception” is old news.

“Gone are the days,” Johnson pointed out during our conversation, “when women thought it was just a mass or tissue or cells. They had seen ultrasounds; they knew it was a baby. That was no longer the issue. So Planned Parenthood began working to convince them in another way that abortion was still the right decision.” That strategy included softening the terminology; starting in 2008, instead of saying surgical abortion, they said in-clinic abortion. Medication abortion became the pill abortion. And the “you’re not alone” mantra led to organizations like the Abortion Diary.

Pro-life Christians have spent years defending the unborn. That shouldn’t change. The need to care for moms and families is still as important as ever. This trend opens new doors: now that more women are speaking up, there are new opportunities for our energies and our hope. The discussion started by abortion supporters to share personal abortion stories may be used by God to save lives, as more women wrestle with why an “uneventful” procedure is so hard to forget.

Could churches be the safe, supportive environments post-abortive women are looking for? How can we practice the art of listening so that women feel safe to share their stories and find healing and hope?

About the Author
Knit together:  God at work through a pro-abortion trend

Angela Reitsma Bick, Editor-in-chief

Angela Reitsma Bick began writing for Christian Courier in 2002 as a freelancer. After finishing an MA in English Lit from Queen’s University, she taught English at Redeemer University College as an Adjunct professor and served as Director of its Writing Centre for three years. She became Editor of Christian Courier in 2009, having learned English grammar in Moscow, research skills in grad school and everything else on the fly. Her vision is for Christian Courier to give body to a Reformed perspective by exploring what it means to follow Jesus today in our homes, churches and schools; in our neighbourhoods and across this country. She hopes that the shared stories of God at work in the world inspire each reader to participate in the ongoing task of renewing his creation. Angela lives in Newcastle, Ontario with her husband, Allan, and three young children