- Your righteousness is everlasting and your law is true. (Ps 119:142)
- Yet you are near, O LORD, and all your commands are true. (Ps 119:151)
- All your words are true; all your righteous laws are eternal. (Ps 119:160)
- Jesus answered, "I am the way and the truth and the life. (John 14:6)
- Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. (John 17:17)
Sometimes that initial "good" moment is enticing enough for a woman to have an abortion. Let's look at some common reasons why a woman might feel this way.
1. Pressure is gone. Have you ever been nagged by someone to do something you really don't want to do? Then you probably understand the frustration women feel when they are being subtly or blatantly pressured. You can probably relate to the feeling of "I'll just go and do it so they will leave me alone!" Can you picture the woman who has a significant other who has told her in no uncertain terms that she cannot have this baby if she wants him. A woman who has a mother who is telling her she just can't raise a child. She also has a school counselor telling her that a baby would be too hard to fit in right now or a boss who sends her subtle undertones that lead her to believe that she cannot advance with a child in tow. If she has children currently, every time she looks at those little faces, she feels she cannot give time to another child or her living children will go without, and the pressure piles higher. Friends give their $0.02, and while sometimes she will come across a friend who will tell her that she can do it, quite often the friend has a laissez-faire attitude about the whole thing.
You can see, in the face of pressure from one person or several others, how a woman might just throw her hands in the air and give in, can't you? If no one is supporting her, or if no one in whom she needs the support of is supporting her, 8 or 9 times out of 10 she is going to have an abortion if she does not find enough support out of her immediate circle. Some women don't even seek out support from other areas. Other women try but are brushed off by a condemning attitude or all talk but no action - no real help. Other women are embraced. They find support from other family members, those helpful friends, and supportive organizations that encourage her to do what she knows is the right thing. These pillars of support balance out the unsupportive atmosphere that she is facing at home.
Where do we fit in? Obviously we need to make sure that we are not condemning, not unhelpful and make sure that we are offering real help and support to women. We also need to be able to give women the reason why others are so unsupportive while, at the same time, sharing with her that her feelings are every bit as valuable as everyone else's - if not more so. We need to build a culture that supports women in unplanned, ill-timed pregnancies. I don't think we can have a "culture of life" until that is done.
2. No more financial concerns. If you've had a child, you know that one of the biggest worries is "Where is the money going to come from?" Eventually, the sticker shock wears off as you realize that it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg, but unfortunately, abortion has made it possible for women to never reach that point. If you're a college student who finds yourself pregnant and you're facing zero support by way of your significant other, panic is going to set in. You can't live in a dorm with a baby. Where are you going to live? You can't go to school full time because you need to work, and if you don't go to school full time, the scholarship money is going to go out the window. What are you going to do? How are you going to finish school? You don't have any health insurance. How are you going to get some while working part time and going to school?
One by one, the fears start to build up until you, again, throw your hands up in frustration and make an appointment for an abortion. There aren't easy answers to these questions that are readily available. Why is that? Why isn't there a plan for college students (or other women in other situations) that supports a woman through this time? All it takes is one person to come alongside this panic-stricken woman and show her answers:
- You are going to file for child support.
- You are going to live here.
- You are going to work here.
- Here is a plan for finishing school.
- You are going to apply for daycare assistance.
- You are going to apply for Medicaid.
- I know these things are scary and a major change, but I am here, and I will not leave you to do this alone.
Obviously, we need to be the ones making those statements. We need to be bending over backwards, falling over ourselves to provide women with real help. I think we also should be looking into the areas of getting easy assistance available to college students and women in other general situations. What if instead of looking to abortion, women knew of a program that started the ball rolling for them looking into child support, a place to live, work, finish school, etc? Michigan has started such a plan in college campuses.
3. Goals are realigned. When you have been coasting through life with no major hiccups, an unplanned pregnancy can send you into a tailspin. Other children's lives will be thrown off to accommodate the new baby. Budgets will have to be reconfigured. School/work will need to be readjusted. You might need a bigger car, a bigger house. That vacation might need to be cancelled. It isn't only the finances that can cause panic but the general chaos of life with a new baby.
There is no doubt that a baby changes everything. I think our role is to show that it doesn't change things for the worse. Take some of the burden off women by helping them come up with a plan for their concerns. The Nurturing Network, for instance, is a great organization that does just that. Help her get involved with a local mother's group or church that will help her with various day-to-day activities and emotional support. Help her find a good deal on a car. The bottom line is show her you care. Don't be all talk, no action. Along the same lines, don't withdraw your support once she has decided to keep the baby. She needs your support for as long as she needs it - whether that's days or years.
I have two "asides" for you.
We often hear that supposedly there are very few women who are being pressured and very few who abort for lack of finances. Reading pro-choice blogs and websites, you might walk away believing that women choose abortion because it makes them feel empowered. However, nothing could be further from the truth. I have never worked with a woman that aborted simply because she wanted to. I'm willing to believe that that is due to the nature of the work I am in - if women don't feel they need help, they aren't going to look. What I am saying to you is that we need to assume that no woman is happy about aborting.
There is also the contingent of women who are not sorry. This often presents a problem for us as pro-lifers. Don't let it. First, it should be understood that women who have no understanding (no faith, no medical knowledge, and no moral compass, etc) will feel no need to repent until those things change. Sometimes converting to a certain faith will bring regret. Sometimes seeing pictures of prenatal development or carrying a subsequent pregnancy to term will do it. Other times, it's just a natural feeling of "I went against my maternal instincts." This can take weeks, months, years, decades. And sometimes it never happens. When this happens, it is because either no growth was made (no faith was started, no education was done, etc) or there has been a large wall of denial built, and nothing can pierce through. Sometimes women talk so much about how good abortion is, that they leave no room for a change of heart. They become calloused. This is very sad to watch, but this is not an unusual occurrence in any situation. Our response is to be there to love them no matter what they say. That is incredibly hard to do. I know. But that is what our Heavenly Father does, and we are here to be Christ-like - to be about our Father's business. (Luke 2:49)