I remember the first time a woman intent on abortion turned from the front door of the abortion clinic as I called out, “We can help you!”
She approached me, tears streaming down her face. “How?”she asked.
I was a brand new counselor at the time.
However, I was trained by wonderful, experienced women and men through Cities4Life. I knew we offered housing resources through local maternity centers, baby showers that provided two years of the baby’s needs…and…other things. What I didn’t know, I would find….somehow.
As she came to me, tears flowing, I sensed in the depth of my spirit that this woman did NOT really want to abort. I also understood that what she needed more than tangible resources at that moment was compassion.
I held out my arms, and the now sobbing woman fell into them.
The first thing she needed to know was she was not alone. Someone cared about her. Someone cared about her baby, and would not suggest the death of her child as the answer to her problems. I believe most women who come to the abortion center are conflicted. Some can be persuaded to reconsider if there is a strong voice speaking what they know in their heart to be true: the child is of sacred value. God created and loves that baby. That child’s life is created with a plan and a purpose which will not be realized if the abortion occurs. A mother should never take the life of her own child.
In another blogpost, we will recommend several effective Bible verses in response to situations and rationalizations you will face. For now, this is a framework for initial encounters with abortion-minded women.
Not all women who agree to talk to you on the sidewalk will have soft hearts as this one did. Some are combative, angry, mocking, and furious at you for attempting to discuss the possibility that abortion is not a good choice. Sometimes, the best we can do is plant seeds that will help them pause and perhaps consider other choices in the future.
As I looked back on that early interaction as a sidewalk counselor, I remember how it was the first of many very similar interactions over the years. Every woman is different of course, and the specifics of her situation are different, but the conversations follow a similar pattern. The blog today recreates a typical counseling session when a conflicted mom approaches and agrees to talk.
“How can you help? You don’t know my situation. I have to abort this baby.”
“What brings you here? What are the obstacles that make you feel abortion is a good choice?”
“My boyfriend doesn’t want this baby. He said he would kick me out if I don’t abort. Also, it is not a good time. I was hoping to go back to school. I don’t have enough money to even begin to think about buying all the things a baby would need. I want a kid someday…but not now!”
“Ok. Let’s look at those things one at a time. Remember, just as you were probably surprised and shocked by this pregnancy, so was your boyfriend. Sometimes we say things out of shock and fear that we may not fully think through or mean. He may yet change his mind. We can connect you and your boyfriend with free counselors that can help you process this situation. Secondly, if he does kick you out, and you need a place to stay, we have a huge resource list of maternity homes and other housing options. Next, while going to school is more difficult with a baby, for sure, it is not impossible. Many women have done so, and we are happy to connect you with some women who have navigated school and single parenting. Regarding how to afford the baby’s necessities, we provide baby showers through a wonderful mentorship program that will meet the needs of the baby’s first two years of life. Finally, this child will not be ‘replaced’ by another. God has made this child unique and special to occupy the place in the world no one else can ever occupy. Additionally, there are studies that show abortion increases the rate of miscarriage in future pregnancies. It is an unnatural destruction of pregnancy, and can damage the cervix. What if this is the only baby you ever have?”
“It doesn’t matter. I still need to abort. I cannot have this baby.”
“Do you know that if you have missed a period, your child’s heart is already beating?”
“No…but it doesn’t matter.”
“Did you know your baby has detectible brain waves at 6 weeks? Have you seen a photo of a 5-8 week old baby?” (Show the photo.) “Does this look like a clump of cells… or a baby? If not a baby, when does this little being morph into becoming a baby? Science tells us that from the moment of conception this baby has all the human DNA she will ever have.”
“It might be a baby, but it doesn’t matter. Are you going to pay for its college education?”
“Do your circumstances or ability to plan out the next 18 years of this baby’s life determine his or her value? Do any of us know what the next 18 years might bring? Do we kill a child because we may not be able to afford something 18 years down the road?”
“I think if you are considering taking the life of your own child, you should consider what gives her value. Is your baby’s value determined by whether you are rich or poor? Are YOU of more value if someone loves you or doesn’t? ”
“Let me ask you, do you believe in God?”
(The overwhelming number of moms we meet at least in Charlotte say YES.)
“What would God have you do?”
“He probably would not want me to abort, but He is ok with it because He is a forgiving God.”
“You are right, He is a forgiving God. But if you are willfully disregarding what He has asked you to do, are you asking His forgiveness or His permission to sin? Are you familiar with the Bible verse where Jesus asks ‘Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do what I say?’ What do you think Jesus is telling us?”
“Do you know that the Bible says that our value is determined by God because you and I…and your baby are all created in the image of God. The Psalms talk about how we are knitted together by God in the womb, fearfully and wonderfully made. Jeremiah was appointed by God as a prophet to the nations before one day of his came to be! The same word is used for Baby Jesus in the womb as the Baby Jesus outside of the womb. God clearly believes both to be a baby, known by Him, loved by Him from the moment of conception. When did God start loving you?”
“I guess when I was conceived.”
“When did He start loving your baby?”
“Can I encourage you to let me take you to a Pregnancy Resource Center just a few minutes away? Look at your baby on the ultrasound and give yourself some time to consider what we have talked about.”
Remember, ultimately, the choice to abort or not is up to the young woman and God. Our job as sidewalk counselors is to ask questions that help the woman in three main areas.
First, identify what her fears and obstacles are that make her feel abortion is a valid choice.
Secondly, using Biblical truth, affirm the sanctity of that child’s life, through truths about human development in the womb as well as Biblical affirmation of the sacred nature of human life.
Thirdly, present resources, and bring her to an ultimate understanding that whether or not resources are available, the crux of the issue is whether she is willing to follow God’s clear commands. If she is not a believer, presenting resources helps expose the root issue at hand. If solutions are presented yet she is still determined to abort, she will come face to face with the bottom line: she is choosing to sacrifice an innocent human life, her son or daughter, in the brutal violence of abortion.
After counseling abortion minded women for over five years, I have learned there is no “formula” that works. The Holy Spirit will guide and equip you, but ultimately, the results are up to God and the woman. I hope this “typical” conversation will be useful to you in framing your discussions, but know that it is God who convicts all of us to follow Him or to rebel against Him.