Last week, I opened a mailing from American Life Lobby. In it was a colour photo of aborted fetuses with the caption, “Our Throw=Away Society.”
For those who are opposed to abortion, it is a gruesome sight. But for someone like me, who had an abortion as a young girl, it is much worse than that. I am again graphically confronted with the fact that that happened to my child, who was killed inside my body, and I allowed it to happen. The feelings a photo like that invokes in me are very horrible and the images it leaves in my mind are long-lasting.
I find myself ambivalent about the use of this type of material. On the one hand, I want those pictures splashed across the front page of every newspaper in our country, so everyone can see the reality of abortion.
On the other hand, I think of the millions of young girls and women who might be plunged into despair and horror at the sight. I remember my reaction, as a 16-year-old who recently had had an abortion, when I saw pictures like that at a booth at our state fair.
I’m not sure what the best use of those kinds of pictures is. Those who really promote abortion are not that affected by them. After all, the doctors and nurses who perform abortions actually see the results of their work – they don’t need pictures to look at.
Others who favour abortion, at least in our city, get irate at the local pro-life group for displaying the pictures, but seem to be upset at the pictures themselves rather than what they are showing!
Hopefully they do keep some girls from choosing abortion if they are fortunate enough to see them before the fact.
Abortion is an awful thing, but it is a symptom of something worse – millions of people who don’t know God and millions of children growing up in homes without God.
The only thing that will really change people’s hearts is conversion to Christ – only then can people really understand why abortion is wrong, but also understand the mercy of God towards those who have already committed this sin, or who have misled others into committing this sin.
I often think that what will stop this country from considering abortion the easier solution to an unplanned pregnancy is for hundreds of thousands of women like me to speak out on the effects having an abortion had had on their lives, coupled always, if possible, with the reality of God’s forgiveness and healing power.
You in the pro-life movement need to foster a climate where this is possible – where women who have had abortions don’t feel condemned by you, or at enmity with you, but on the same side.
It is so important that the gospel of Christ be shared in the context of preventing abortion and also of recovering from the aftermath of abortion. My age group (late twenties), and now today’s teens, have experienced the scourges of drug and alcohol abuse, promiscuity and abortion in unbelievably high numbers. And we are the young parents of today and tomorrow – we are a large part of our country’s future.
We must come to grips with our past sins, be forgiven by repenting and accepting Christ, and go on to a new life guided by God’s laws.
If we cannot do this, if this offer of forgiveness is not made known to us, if we cannot overcome the emotional and spiritual wounds caused by our sins and sins of others, we will not be fit parents and another generation of innocent children, ours, will suffer terribly.
Those who hate abortion must love those who commit this sin enough to not condemn them, but to suffer with them, tell them they can be forgiven, and show them God’s love and mercy.
Paula Brown s the pseudonym of American Life Lobby’s special adviser on women who have had abortions.
This article first appeared in A.L.L. About Issues, December 1984 and is reprinted here with permission.