The following is the second part of a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence: Consequences of Christians Taking the Path of Least Resistance. This is from the compelling, statistic-filled chapter, “The Anguish of Abortion.”
Largely unreported by pro-abortion media is the fact abortion often causes women years of emotional pain, torment, and guilt. Many young women try to act normal and hide the fact that they are in pain, often experiencing severe trauma soon after receiving an abortion. Moreover, countless women have experienced increased alcohol or drug use and eating disorders. They suffer from depression and nightmares. They agonize with self-destructive behavior and suicidal thoughts or attempts. God help us help them!
There are two battles on this front and we should be engaged in both. First, we must raise awareness about biblical truth that God is the Author and Creator of all life. He values every single human being. Life begins at conception, and destroying innocent life is an immoral act against His law. Second, we must love, support, and care for women and young girls who have had abortions, pointing them to the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and loving arms of the Father. We also need to embrace and support struggling single moms, praying and caring for them however we can.
If you have had an abortion, here are some questions to consider: Would you now advise your best friend or sister not to have an abortion if she were considering it? If you were a Christian before having an abortion, has your relationship with God or with those in the church changed?
A young woman who gets pregnant is often confused and intimidated into aborting her baby through emotional, financial, or relational threats. According to a 2004 study on post-abortive women reported by the Medical Science Monitor, 64% of the women felt pressured to have an abortion. Sadly, an often-neglected subject is how women are affected afterwards. As many as 91% of all abortions cause severe psychological problems, both immediate and long-term, according to reports of the Department of Education and Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Approximately 40% of minors who’ve had an abortion don’t tell their parents, and 51% of women having abortions are under twenty-five years old. This is another important reason to have open communication with your daughters. Conversely, in cases where young women do tell others about their abortion, they often try to act normal and hide the fact that they are unhappy or in any kind of pain. Many experience severe trauma soon after receiving an abortion. The following are post-abortion symptoms that may be experienced:
Alcohol or drug use to distract from the pain; anger, anxiety (probably non-specific or in forms of a panic attack), abusive relationships (believing she doesn’t deserve better).
Denial or repression (the “pushing down” of intolerable emotions), depression, deterioration of self-worth/self-image, disruption in relationships (increasing inability to be intimate or social with friends and family), anger, violent behavior.
Eating disorders, feelings of helplessness or powerlessness, flashbacks, grief, guilt, purposely having unprotected sex or increased sexual activity as self-punishment.
Nightmares about a baby or babies crying, the same nightmare over and over; preoccupation with the abortion procedure or thoughts of babies.
Regret, remorse, sadness to the point of inability to handle basic responsibilities, self-destructive behavior and suicidal thoughts or attempts; death.
In a study of post-abortion patients eight weeks after their abortion, researchers found 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor. A New Zealand study that tracked women for more than three decades discovered 42% of women who aborted experienced major depression.
According to Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University,
Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion. Also, women who aborted have a 138% (another study showed 160%) higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
Tragically, many so-called “counselors” at abortion clinics downplay mental and physical health risks the majority of the time in order to sell customers abortions, not to mention the fact the procedure will violently end their child’s life. My heart goes out to those who believe the godless lie that this “procedure” can be justified in any way.
I came across a familiar Bible verse from the story of Mary that you and I have probably read dozens of times through the years during Christmas. But something jumped out at me this time when I read Luke 1:43-44:
But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Notice babies in the womb are able to sense such feelings as “joy.”
It is also indisputable and documented that babies in the womb have a developed nervous system and feel pain. How irrational to think a baby senses or feels nothing until the very moment they are delivered, and then all of a sudden upon seeing daylight or when the umbilical cord is cut, pain receptors kick in. Abortion mills such as Planned Parenthood do not give a baby in the womb pain medication before they are destroyed.
Here is some eye-opening information about newly conceived babies:
Her DNA, everything she will grow into, was fully present at the moment of conception.
Her heart began to beat eighteen days after conception.
Her brainwaves were detectable forty days (six weeks) after conception.
Your baby could move at six weeks.
She could suck her thumb (and hiccup!) at seven weeks.
Eight weeks after conception, all of her major organs had developed.
Your baby’s respiratory system began to function, and she began to breathe amniotic fluid at nine weeks.
…Abortion in America has created a culture that disregards the dignity and value of human life, endangers women, and demeans motherhood. Our sexually permissive and progressive culture encourages young women and teenage girls and boys to be sexually active. Those who have had abortions need our prayers, not our judgment. Being a product of America’s secular culture, post-abortive women, especially religious women, suffer enough for their sin. They first need God’s forgiveness; they then need to learn how to forgive themselves.
We hear little talk of purity and self-restraint. The teaching of biblical principles and abstinence education in churches, schools, and society is vital to effect positive change. Stop messing around, yes. Limit abortions, yes. Vote for pro-life candidates, yes. Stop funding Planned Parenthood with our tax dollars, yes! But we also need to remember the power of prayer and true, caring Christianity. People may not respond to debates, laws, or rules, but many will – eventually – respond to genuine love and truth.
Are we willing to confront abortion defenders and speak about some of these facts? Will we do a better job promoting the truth that every baby is a gift from God, created in His image and has value? We need to reach people with the message “every single life matters.” The root of this culture of death and of every problem is sin, and the only solution is Jesus Christ.