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Comforting Those Caught in the Crossfire of the Abortion Debate

It’s been 33 years since the Lord brought me to a place of healing from my abortion, but I remember the journey as if it were yesterday. I had been living with the secret sin of abortion for almost 10 years. Trapped in the middle of a culture war throughout the 1970s and 1980s, I felt I had no place to turn.

I was a pregnant, unmarried 18-year-old in 1972 when I walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic in Topeka, Kansas. They referred me to a clinic in New York City where abortion was legal at the time. (The next year’s Roe v. Wade ruling would legalize abortion throughout the whole country.)

In the years following my abortion, I began to witness two opposing sides lobbing personal insults like grenades. On one side of the street outside the abortion clinic, women demanded their reproductive “rights.” On the other side, pro-life protesters holding pictures of dead babies called women coming out of the clinic “baby killers.” Given my experience, I didn’t feel I belonged in either camp.

Longest Decade

For years I hid my sin—and my wounded soul—trying to cope with the pain that comes from one sinful choice leading to many others. Neither “side” understood how much more harm than good they were causing. I lived in a world of fear.

Sadly, as I look back, I realize it took almost a decade for me to find hope and healing in Christ. Those were the 10 longest years of my life.

I am forever grateful the Lord brought a Christian co-worker into my life who loved me enough to communicate the gospel to me. The way she graciously shared the good news opened up a whole new world, bringing me to a place of healing through God’s Word. I had been lost, drowning in sin and shame, and I desperately needed to hear that Jesus loved me and had died on the cross for my sins—yes, even for my abortion.

All-Out War

The skirmish between two sides picketing outside an abortion clinic has now moved into the public square for all to see. Post-abortive women and men, who may have thought they left the confusing and condemning noise of the picketers in the past, are again confronted with the same warring messages on TV, radio, and social media. What was thought to be left behind is now, years later, seeping back into hurting hearts and minds.

God is bringing to light what’s been hidden in the dark places of unhealed hearts, and he wants his people to minister to the brokenhearted. The church of Jesus Christ has the chance to minister his grace to those caught in the crossfire of the culture war.

Will you step up to the challenge?

The most recent statistics show that for women who’ve had at least one abortion, 37 percent identify as a Protestant Christian. Some of the women sitting next to you on Sunday may have had an abortion. And this doesn’t even account for the countless men who’ve been affected by abortion too.

No Condemnation, No Excuse

I’ve always believed post-abortive men and women compose the largest mission field in American history. Why, then, are they so often overlooked? How might Jesus respond to them?

Our Savior often showed love to persons caught in sin, like the adulterous woman in John 8. She knows she’s a sinner about to perish, yet Jesus never once indicts her. Instead, he rebukes those who are after her: “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her” (v. 7).

After her accusers disperse, Jesus arises and asks, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” “No one, Lord,” she whispers. “Neither do I condemn you,” he replies. “Go, and from now on sin no more” (vv. 10–11). Jesus neither stoned her for her sin nor excused her sin.

No Safer Place

There should be no safer place for wounded persons than the church. Tragically, I’ve ministered to women who’ve sat silently in church for years, fearing someone would discover their “secret.” Fear of rejection and judgment can feel overwhelming. Most of these women look as if they have it all together, but underneath they’re suffering and in desperate need for truth and mercy—truth that leads to repentance and mercy that leads to healing.

The reality of abortion should break the heart of every Bible-believing Christian. At the same time, mercy should flow to those who’ve believed a lie and chose to abort an unborn child. When we talk about abortion in public, what is our default attitude—grief or condemnation? Do our billboards, bumper stickers, and social media posts wound or heal?

Brothers and sisters, let’s reach out to post-abortive men and women. Let’s tell them they’re loved, and that Jesus makes all things new. While there is a much-needed effort to rescue the unborn, may we apply the same effort to reaching the wounded and the ashamed.