Secrets, Shame and Abortion
“We must each fully embrace how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.” Hebrews 9:14-15 MSG personalized
Strap yourselves in, this is going to get real, the kind of real that you may have brushed to the side, swept under the rug, voiced an opinion, or harbored strong emotions. Right here I want to say that there will be those of you who stop reading at this point or maybe in one of the next paragraphs, it may get to tough or real however, I encourage you to take this journey of truth with me.
I need to get some statistics out of the way so that we can really see how abortion in the United States is destroying all of us. I was sick to my stomach as I was gathering these numbers from reliable sources. So here we go…
Reported Abortions from 1970-1979 were 7,977,611, the female population ages 15-44 in 1979 was 41,857,686 or 19.06% of the women had abortions during the 70’s.
Reported Abortions from 1980-1989 were 13,283,150, the female population ages 15-44 in 1989 was 58,512,473 or 22.7% of the women had abortions during the 80’s.
Reported Abortions from 1990-1999 were 16,633,105, the female population ages 15-44 in 1999 was 49,554,764 or 33.57% of the women had abortions during the 90’s.
My findings were supplied by the Abortion Surveillance Organization and the National Center for Health Statistics, CDC as well as the population numbers through PopulationPyrimad.net and USGOV.org. Note: A small percentage were women who had multiple abortions or were out of the age range however the numbers do give us a picture.
A further break down of these numbers reveal a greater number of people who have been affected by abortion in the United State during 1970 through 1999. Let me be clear why I choose these years and age groups. These women are you and I today, you and I fall into one of three categories we are the daughters, mothers, or grandmothers. We are the ones who have suffered in silence. But this number is much larger let me explain. For every abortion there are at least five people who are involved not including the pregnant woman or her unborn child. There is the father to consider, the confidant, other family members, the doctor, the nurse, even other staff members. Abortion touches way beyond the woman and the unborn child, it is like a pebble thrown into a pool having numerous ripples carrying a horrible secret and shame. All of that being said can we agree to multiply the number of abortions by six and see how many people have really been affected. Let that sink in…
The Secret…as you shop in the grocery store, sit in your favorite spot at church, attend a movie or sporting event; look around…there is a very strong likelihood that you are very near at that moment to someone who has had an abortion and it’s a secret shrouded in shame. This is an all-consuming situation that is affecting everyone lives.
The woman who had the abortion is the victim (yup! I said “victim” every single one of them), you see behind every abortion is a woman who had to make that decision. Every story and circumstance are unique, yet the bottom line is the woman carries the secret and the shame. The procedure is a violation of her body and the killing of an innocent child, both are a complete defilement of God’s design.
Here are some scriptures to support how every child is by God’s Design…valued, loved, not a mistake and created to live with purpose.
The Old and New Testament confirm why God created the world and us.
Isaiah 45:18 God’s Word Translation (GWT) says “The Lord created the heavens. God formed the earth and made it. He set it up. He did not create it to be empty but formed it to be inhabited.”
Ephesians 1:4 (MSG) explains how the earth was created for us “Long before He laid down earth’s foundations, He had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of His love, to be made whole and holy by His love.”
There are many passages that speak of how God is our Creator and Father, each one of us He set in motion from the very beginning, here are two of my favorites.
Psalm 139:15 in the Message (MSG) translation says “You, God know me inside and out, You know every bone in my body; You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit, how I was sculpted from nothing into something.”
Psalm 139:16 in the Living Bible (LB) Translation says “You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your book!”
Other verses speak of how “He knew the sound of your voice before you were born” and “He (God) breathed life into you.”
No matter where an individual is in their relationship with God, every person knows that we belong to something greater, we embrace the knowledge that every human life matters, every unborn child is more than important, that baby is precious and a gift NO MATTER THE CIRCUMSTANCES. This is why, abortion operates in darkness shrouded in secrets and shame.
The secret causes the victims to display many of the symptoms associated with PTSD. Abortion and PTSD share this description “A soul injury, an overlooked, unassessed wound that separates one from their own sense of self.”
The word secret is defined as “not known or seen or not meant to be known or seen by others; something that is kept or meant to be kept unknown or unseen by others. The skeleton in the closet; a discreditable or embarrassing fact that someone wishes to keep unknown.”
I cannot express to you more clearly how much I am 100% against abortion (the killing of innocent life). It has to STOP! As women we need to create a better, safe place where a woman can come and be encouraged, helped financially, physically, spiritually, and emotionally when they find themselves carrying a beautiful new life unexpectedly.
Now take it back a little farther to the root of the situation…intimacy belongs in the marriage bed between one man and one woman, not before! God has a design for us, a plan and every detail of His plan is found in the Bible. We destroyed His plan when man decided to call it sexual intercourse as if it was a function, sport or game instead of a precious gift to be shared, the “knowing” of someone is one way it is expressed in the Bible, for “two to become one” another. The price of intimacy outside of marriage and the painful results are well documented by God in the Bible. God knew how man would twist this precious gift and that is why He clearly explains His plan to keep intimacy a sacred gift within a covenant created by God.
Right now, I would like to address any unmarried woman as clearly as possible…First, a man who wants intimacy before marriage does not respect you and will never be the man you are looking for. Second, you do not have the “sexual desires” of a man that is a lie made up by men to fulfill their sinful desires. God also explains this plainly in His Word, just read the Song of Solomon.
I know you are probably thinking…who does this person think she is, she does not understand. BUT I do and I will say this…I know on a very personal level every sentence, action, emotion along with the price paid, the life lost to man’s wickedness the idea that it’s permissible for man to murder innocent unborn life. Please stay with me…keep reading.
The shame…let us talk about the symptoms associated with shame and abortion.
I found this statement from the National Library of Medicine. “Many women experience long-term emotional, spiritual, psychological, and interpersonal difficulties following abortion, including complicated grief, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and relationship disturbances. Guilt and shame play important roles in generating and concealing post-abortion symptoms.”
There is a great brokenness physically, spiritually and emotionally when a woman finds herself contemplating abortion, that’s when the secret and shame begin. She does not set the appointment or enter the “clinic” smiling and confident…NO…she is broken, lost, bitter and disappointed in herself that this is where that day is heading. Little girls play with baby dolls for a reason…God wired us to be the one to carry His gift of new life and to raise, nurture those children.
I cried for days after finding out I was carrying a child, unmarried, my mother said these words of encouragement to help “it’s just blood, cells, tissue”, “you are not capable of being a mother”, “this baby is better off not being born”. The shame and guilt overwhelming…my decision…how did I cope, I shoved every emotion, every dream down deep inside…like blowing out a bright candle cutting the wick so short it can never be lit again, my life changed forever…the path was one of self-destruction.
Pro-Choice would say “it’s your body so it’s your choice” that right there puts all the shame and guilt right on the woman. Abortion should never be a choice; should never enter a woman’s mind. Pro-Choice is man’s way of trying to justify their sexual habits and the killing of unborn children.
Those who suffer from post-abortion PTSD experience a disconnection with life. The shame will manifest itself into one or more behaviors, there is NO maybe…we find ourselves self-destructive, suicidal, victims of substance abuse or eating disorders, depression, extreme anxiety, suffering complicated grief, self-loathing, destructive relationships, even anger and violent behavior.
This is true for the Christian and non-Christian alike, each woman must come to grips with her decision, the death of her child at her own hands. There is a natural emotion to grieve the loss of life however in abortion those emotions are suppressed. Women feel they have no right to grieve because they were the ones who made the decision.
The non-Christian woman might be able to bury her decision and death of her child for a period of time. However, the truth is her conscience is built on God’s truth. She will still suffer, there is grief to be dealt with along with shame. She might find temporary excuses, distractions, however, her life will take a different course, who she is, her self-image, self-esteem will be built upon her decision and the death of her child. Anger, resentment, empty self-righteousness, over-achievement, stress, and anxiety, numbness take over, her life will spin out of control. Society will not see it, blame will be laid at her daily commute, finances, disappoint in her career, relationship issues to name a few. She will eventually seek help to cope with life based on man’s acceptable fixes which may or may not address the true root of her physical and emotional state. Self-help books or counseling lead to even a bigger sense of social separation and she reaches to medication eventually substance abuse.
The Christian woman will experience all the above and even more than the woman who does not know Christ. She has the Christian community who unknowing continue to condemn her. She seeks absolution outside of her church family, if she even has the strength to seek. You see, she knows that forgiveness is found in the blood of Jesus but not this…Christians are really good at ranking sin (wrong doing) from one to hundred. Scripture tells us that all sin is equal. She has listened to the lie whispered to her by Satan, possibly for many years, about how her decision and abortion has no forgiveness available. She gathers enough courage to seek out help within her church, unfortunately she witnesses the look of horror and condemnation on the well-meaning Christian she has finally reached out to. This is the hard truth in today’s church.
For me it took over 30 years to gain the courage needed, I had sought forgiveness at the cross after I became a Christian, but the damage done, the shame and guilt remained. The devil had done a work and I had punished myself experiencing most of post-abortion PTSD. So many years lost to self-loathing…
Through the love of some amazing women, I began to embrace God’s truth about forgiveness and sin. I know that God sent them to me when I was ready to forgive myself and accept His forgiveness. It is not an easy journey and I had to stand my ground as Satan tried over and over to destroy. Scripture was so key. My life verses of 2 Corinthians 10:5, Philippians 4:8, Hebrews 4:12 were my go-to every time the devil whisper lies. I had to allow God to cut the damaged flesh thinking vulnerable to Satan’s voice from my inner man, my God given spirit.
Today, I stand with confidence given through God and His forgiveness. I walk in His righteousness, His daughter, restored and free. There is still the pains of guilt a consequence of sin BUT more importantly there is hope that in my forever home my child is waiting. In fact, my story is now His story and He has given me to courage to speak His truth about secrets, shame and abortion from personal experience.
In closing, while researching for this blog, I stumbled onto an article written about women suffering under the weight abortion and how we as a church can help. The article called, ”Post-abortion Counseling” by Julie Ganschow, link can be found below. Here I have included some profound truth which I could not have said better…
Her article written in 2017 opens with this staggering truth…It is estimate that 43 percent of women under the age of forty-five have had an abortion. One is six women in the evangelical church.
Her article ends with these words of hope and our responsibility…
Bringing Gospel Hope. Along with watching the negative things that we say, we also have to actively bring gospel hope to her. Romans 8:1 is very clear that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. So we have to point her to Christ, to the freedom that comes in His forgiveness and His work on the Cross.
We can also turn to passages in the Psalms, particularly ones like Psalm 32:3–5, David’s response to his adultery with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David says, “My body wasted away through my groaning all day long. For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me” (NASB). What a beautiful illustration of how a post-abortive woman feels. This guilt is weighing on me constantly. He continues, “My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer.” Many of these post-abortive women express this idea that they are so burdened by this that it destroys their strength. It consumes them.
But then David says, “I acknowledged my sin to You, and my iniquity I did not hide; I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.’” And then, here’s the hope: “You forgave the guilt of my sin.” Even with murder and adultery, sexual sin and taking the life of another, his sins were forgiven. God provides restoration, and He provides freedom in Christ. We have to communicate these truths to hurting post-abortive women.
Ultimately, we desire healing through Christ for each post-abortive woman. In our awareness of the very real effects of abortion, as well as the impact of our words on these women, we have the opportunity to love them and point them toward Christ. As pastors and caregivers, we can point them to the One who brings true hope and true healing, but we must do it with grace and compassion rather than judgment or condemnation.
Find the whole article at https://www.careleader.org/post-abortion-counseling/
Blessing, Sister Laurie