“One out of every four women has had an abortion,” Jane* explained to me. She sat across the table looking down at the coffee cup between her nervous hands as she shared her heart and the heavy burden she’d carried for a number of years—she was a survivor of abortion.
No, her birth mother had not tried to abort her. She, rather, had aborted two babies many years ago.
She explained the circumstances, the scenarios, and her guilt. I listened and cried with her, saying little. I gave her space to tell me the details of her story. And then I told her that I loved her and that Jesus did, too.
You may disagree that I’ve called her a survivor. But before you judge her, listen to her story. We often forget that abortion has two victims, the mother and the child. The mother has believed (or been told) that abortion is an easy fix, a quick solution that simply discards cells and tissue, and it will be quick and painless. But my friend Jane has experienced anything but a pain-free life since her decision.
You may also disagree that Jesus loves her. If that is your belief, then I strongly recommend you read Ephesians 2:1–9, Romans 3:23–28, and 1 John 1:8–9 to remember all that Christ has done for you.
Here is Jane’s story. Please read it with an open heart.
What were your life circumstances when you got pregnant?
Jane: I was twenty years old. It happened during my college years. I had a boyfriend at the time. We went to college together. Our relationship lasted about three years.
I got pregnant twice and had an abortion both times. The first time was the summer of 2004 and the second time the winter of that same year.
It was not a good relationship. When the first pregnancy happened, we walked into the abortion clinic together, and as we were waiting to be called back and I was filling out paperwork he said to me, “Don’t tell them I’m the father. Tell them I’m your cousin or something…”
I felt very hurt and confused. I thought, “What a coward.” But at the same time I couldn’t focus on anything else but my fear. Because I was going to have a D&C [dilation and curettage], I was wondering if it was going to hurt and if anyone would notice what I had done after it happened. I was scared of the surgical procedure that I couldn’t really think of anything else at the time.
The second time I got pregnant I didn’t even bother to ask him to go with me [to the abortion clinic]. Since it was an earlier pregnancy I had a chemical abortion by taking pills.
Prior to getting the abortion, what (if any) were other options that you considered?
Jane: I really didn’t think of any other options. I was afraid because I did not have my partner’s support to parent. I was also afraid of what my family would say.
I honestly did not know that I had options like adoption.
Were family or friends aware of the pregnancy and if so, what was their reaction?
Jane: No, only the father of the babies knew about it.
What ultimately brought you to the decision to get an abortion?
Jane: Fear. I was in college and I wasn’t ready to give up my life, my studies, and my youth to become a mother. And since I did not have the father’s support, I did not want my children to grow up without a father like I did.
What were your thoughts and emotions immediately following the abortion?
Jane: Confusion, disappointment, and relief (but momentary).
What were your thoughts and emotions years later?
Jane: Guilt, pain, embarrassment, sadness, anger, and loneliness.
Even though I have experienced God’s forgiveness, [having an abortion] is something I will never feel proud of doing. At the moment I felt I was doing the right thing to “fix” the problem. But after carrying this heavy burden on my shoulders for years, I realized I had made a horrible mistake.
The mistake was not just having an abortion, but also having sexual relations with the wrong person, someone who was not my husband.
To many people that might sound ridiculous. But if I knew then what I know now, I would have protected, appreciated, and respected my body and sexual intimacy and not just handed it off to a selfish coward.
I felt stupid because it didn’t happen only once, but twice. That’s when I decided to put an end to that relationship.
Your testimony/story could help influence other women, but you have chosen to remain confidential (which I respect and understand). You explained, “Because people can be so cruel.” Can you elaborate on that? What have you experienced?
Jane: I can tell you that I have truly experienced God’s love, healing, and forgiveness. But the reason I choose to remain confidential is to protect my family. I am married now and have a child. My husband knows about these events in my life and has never judged me. But if people find out, I’m afraid that my husband and child will be judged, harassed, or questioned, and I don’t want them to experience ridicule or judgment for my mistakes.
Have you been able to find healing from that decision made years ago?
Jane: Yes! It took over a decade before I could open up and talk about it. I didn’t realize it, but hiding this secret was damaging in so many areas of my life. I had become very hermetic. I was extremely insecure in so many ways that were affecting me on so many levels—personally, socially, and professionally. I was shy and insecure. I was afraid that someone would find out who I really was….or who I thought I was.
But I experienced God’s healing through a Bible study called, Forgiven and Set Free: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Women.
God scraped out all of the guilt, sorrow, embarrassment, anger, and filth. It was a painful process. He really dug deep and pulled out the roots. The valley was painful, cold, and dark…it was not an easy walk. I had to face my fears and consequences—accepting my faults, my responsibility, and acknowledging the fact that I had made the worst mistake a mother could ever make.
But by walking and holding the Lord’s hand, I felt free and liberated. The wounds were still sore but no longer open…they were healing. God healed me.
But before that I spent many years feeling heavily injured.
How did you hear of this study, Forgiven and Set Free, and what were the most impactful things that you learned from it?
Jane: I learned about the organization, Real Options for Women, at church and decided to reach out to them for help. I was able to speak to them confidentially. They were very loving, supportive, and I know 100% it was God-sent.
So if you are reading this and need help it is not a coincidence. Believe me when I tell you God wanted you to read this blog article so that you can begin to heal, be free, but most importantly, be forgiven.
This was a study group. I met with a group of women once a week. Our mentor was one of the most amazing, caring, and loving people I have ever met. She walked with me through the whole process and gave me the support and encouragement I needed.
Some of the most impactful things I learned were to surrender—completely and genuinely surrender to God. He knew who I really was and who I had become after the abortions. I didn’t have to pretend or try to hide things. He knew very well what I had gone through all those years.
Even though I still had to drink from the bitter cup and face the ugliness of what I had done, for the very first time I was able to crack open the hard shell with which I had covered myself. It was as if I had poured concrete over the incidents to try and bury them but the cement had never dried. It was still very wet after all these years and I was leaving footprints of it all over my life. But the Lord held my hand and walk by my side. I was not alone.
After facing my darkest fears I was able to find healing in God’s love and mercy. His grace was overwhelming. His love was incredibly healing.
I even had the opportunity to have a memorial service for my children and for the very first time grieve and pay the respect they deserved since day one. It was a very special service and I was able to name my babies—Luna and Hope. (For some reason I felt they were girls.)
If a pregnant woman was sitting across a table from you today considering abortion, what advice would you give her?
Jane: Reconsider. You have the free will to choose over your own life, your own body, but not over the life and body of an innocent baby. Life begins at conception and even though that little one is growing inside of you, he or she has a life of his or her own, so respect that life. Abortion ends a life. (Ps. 139:13–16)
Start making better choices. Respect your body. Make that man in your life respect your body as well and your integrity as a woman.
Sex has consequences. It can be a beautiful thing when you’re responsible, when it’s done at the right time with the right person—your spouse.
Every choice and every action can affect your life in a positive or negative way. Choose wisely.
How would a woman go about doing the Forgiven and Set Free study if she was interested?
Jane: If you are post-abortion and are in need of help and seeking relief, or if you are pregnant and don’t know what to do and need to speak to someone in confidentiality and learn about all your options, please contact:
Everything remains confidential. You are not alone. There is help available for you.
Also, Real Options does not only focus on women. They can also help men who are hurting—the men who have been a part of an abortion. It takes two to make a decision like this, either by asking the woman to do it or by not doing anything to stop it. Men can also contact Real Options for help and healing.
What final thoughts do you wish express?
Jane: Abortion may seem like an easy way out—a quick solution to fix the problem—but it is completely the opposite. You will not be able to hide from it forever. It will haunt you. It will chase you and catch up to you sooner or later. And I can assure you the emotional pain will be excruciating. Not only that, it can also affect you physically.
Please don’t choose abortion. You have other options.
It is my prayer that the women who read this blog may have an encounter with God and experience His love and mercy. May they be liberated from the traps of guilt and sin. May they find healing and peace in their hearts.
*The name, Jane, is a pseudonym. The interviewee wishes to remain confidential. Even so, I thank her for her bravery in sharing her story and ask God to allow this blog article to make its way into the hands of every woman (or man) who needs it and is searching for the healing of the Creator of life.
Pregnancy Counseling from Lifeline Children’s Services
- Abortion by Sue Bohlin
- The Dark Underside of Abortion by Sue Bohlin
- What the Bible Says About Abortion by Steven J. Cole
- Abortion: The Right to One’s Own Body? by Matt Chandler
- What does it mean to believe in the sanctity of life? from gotquestions.org
- Men's Bible study: Healing a Father’s Heart: A Post-Abortion Bible Study for Men
- National Right to Life
- Induced Abortion in the United States (Guttmacher Institute)
- U.S. Abortion Statistics (Abort73)
Photo courtesy of Lightstock.