If you've had any contact with social media over the last few months, you've heard about the horrible accusations against Planned Parenthood. If you haven't, take a few minutes to watch the videos. I beg you...take the time to watch them. They're hard to watch, and should make your stomach turn, but it's necessary to watch them so you can have a full understanding of just how bad it really is. As someone who has spent a good part of her professional life working to serve women in unplanned pregnancies, I'm sickened (but not shocked) by what the general public is now seeing, perhaps for the first time. I'm not shocked, because I've heard the stories before from real, live women who have been on the receiving end of such atrocities.
Abortion is one of the most polarizing issues of our day, but it's grossly misrepresented in media. Across my own breakfast table this week, I had an argument about the kind of woman who has an abortion. Most anti-abortion groups believe women who have them arrogantly disregard life and flippantly come to the conclusion to cut it off.
Certainly some are that way, but the women I sat across from at the pregnancy center where I worked told an entirely different story. Their stories were filled not with the battle cry, "it's my choice," but with the desperation of, "I don't have another choice."
One woman entered our facility late at night broken, bruised, and bloody...a "reminder" minutes before her arrival from the baby's father of "the only right decision." She didn't want to abort her baby, but felt she had no other option if she wanted to save her life. Despite our efforts to help her see there could be a different way, she chose abortion.
Another woman came to us believing she would be killed if she had her baby. She was in the US on a school visa, and believed her family would force her home if they discovered her pregnancy, then kill her because she brought shame on the family. Despite our efforts to help her, she chose abortion. To her, it was a real life or death decision—hers.
These women's stories changed the way I talk about and understand women who have abortions. Their stories helped me understand exactly why a woman would choose abortion. Do I believe it's the right choice? That it honors God? That's it best for the baby or best for the woman? No. I believe it's the opposite of all those things. But I understand why women choose it. I understand because I listened to the story.
And it's story that I want to talk about today.
The question I keep getting, as I share the various videos condemning Planned Parenthood via social media, is "What do we do?"
People are enraged about what's happening behind closed doors at Planned Parenthood. People who have never cared before, care now. People who have always cared, care more. But none of us seem to know what to do about it. There are petitions floating around the internet to defund Planned Parenthood, but our government won't take the allegations seriously. The people want justice, but justice is being ignored.
So what do we do?
We tell the story.
I've thought for years that no amount of legislation would keep women from having abortions. I don't concern myself much with overturning a woman's right to abort, because experience tells me that if she feels there's no other choice, she'll do it whether it's legal or not. I would love our country to honor God by making abortion illegal, but I don't think it's going to happen. My greater concern is for the men and women who are being mishandled, mistreated, ill-informed, and down-right lied to, and the babies who are being killed.
The only way to change the abortion problem in our country...to stop Planned Parenthood from taking advantage of women for their own profit—is for the women who have been hurt by them...hurt by abortion...witnessed the atrocities...to tell their stories.
I'm talking about the woman who had an abortion, and regrets it. The one who ended up aborting her only chance at life, because her abortion rendered her unable to have more children. The man who coerced his girlfriend into having an abortion and wishes he had another chance. The woman who suffered depression because of her choice, destroyed relationships, severe medical issues, chronic lifestyle problems. The man who was never given the choice to keep his child. I'm asking the nurses and doctors who have performed abortions, witnessed the lies, the stretching of the truth, the cold-hearted desire for profit, the misrepresentations...those who have witnessed women's lives torn apart by abortion, who have seen infants born alive during an abortion procedure, then left for dead...
I'm asking them to be bold and courageous, and tell the story.
I'm one of those women. No, I've never had an abortion, but I'm a woman with a story. I've seen the damage abortion can do to a woman's heart, body, and soul. I've seen women torn apart physically, emotionally, and spiritually by their choice to abort. I've seen the tears, the vomit, the blood. I've seen fathers weep over the child they weren't given the chance to hold. I've witnessed the desperation, the need to grieve over something they feel they have no right to grieve, and the deep need to be forgiven.
And forgiven they can be. I would be remiss if I didn't say it. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1). That's you. That's me. If we're in Christ—meaning we've accepted his gift of salvation and made him Lord of our lives—we're completely and utterly forgiven...even for that. Even for the worst thing we could ever think of. Forgiveness exists for all of God's children, no matter what they've done. God longs to grant forgiveness and restoration. He wants to heal.
So if you've experienced abortion—whether because you've had one personally, worked with women who have, or had any part in the process—I humbly ask you to tell your story. Maybe, for you, that doesn't mean baring your heart on a blog for all the world to see (maybe it does). Maybe it just means telling your neighbor, whose teenage daughter is pregnant, about your choice and why you wish you'd done something different. Maybe it means opening your home to a pregnant mom so she can get away from the circumstances that make it impossible for her to choose life. Maybe it means going through counselor training at your local pregnancy center so you can comfort others with the comfort you've been given (2 Cor 1:4). Maybe it means opening your wallet, and funding your local pregnancy resource center. Maybe it means going through a post-abortion counseling group, so you can find freedom and forgiveness yourself.
I don't know what it looks like for you, but I'm asking you to be bold, because your story has the power to change the world we live in.
Tell it today. Tell it every day. Tell it until someone listens, until it makes a difference, until the world is different.
"Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you" Deuteronomy 31:6.
If you want to tell your story, and need help knowing how to do it, please contact your local pregnancy resource center. Most have intensive trainings to guide you and help you make your story count for someone else. To find your local center, click here.
If you have shared your abortion story publicly on a blog or in an article, would you link to it in the comments below? I'll share as many as I can. If you haven't, feel free to leave your story in the comments below. This is a safe place and I promise your story will be protected.
To get a copy of my FREE ebook, Surprised by Life: Five Ways to Respond Well When Life Doesn't Go as Planned, click here.