Lately, I have seen many women coming to abort their baby who report a history of miscarriage. There are several common themes I have observed. It is valuable to note these commonalities as it may help in effective counseling.
I was unable to find anything at all about the incidence of abortion from women who had a history of miscarriage and feared another. It is the reason expressed by four of the women I have counseled in the past month who were tempted to abort. I suspect it is not an uncommon issue.
It is clear that a mother contemplating the death of her child is not keeping her eyes on Jesus and is being tempted by sin. She is walking away from God’s clear commandments. The Bible tell us that when we are walking with God, we should have a spirit of courage and a sound mind:
“For God has not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
Conversely, when we rebel against God’s commands, we are inevitably operating out of fear, weakness and confusion. We are not making wise, sound choices. This explains the perplexing mindset of women who choose abortion in order to relieve the pain of a potential miscarriage.
Recent True Story
Recently, a woman walked into the abortion center as our team called out to her. She was well-dressed and seemed determined. She ignored me completely as I called out offering help. Since we had a mobile ultrasound unit on site, I offered that to her. I cited some verses that indicated God’s love for the unborn and His clear commandments regarding the taking of innocent human life. I spoke about the development of a baby before 9 weeks of age (which is when most abortions occur).
She did not even glance at me and went into the center.
Just a few minutes later, she reappeared at the door. To my surprise, she walked resolutely towards me. As she approached, she asked if she could get the free ultrasound. I told her of course and walked her to our mobile unit parked on the curb. I asked her what changed her mind about the abortion. Tears flooded her eyes and she said, “I am not sure.”
Then she said that she believed in God and knew she didn’t really want an abortion; however, she’d had multiple miscarriages. Her partner had been completely lacking in understanding the grief she experienced. She had endured the trauma alone.
Now remarried, she feared putting her new husband through the same grief. They had endured a miscarriage not long ago. He had been devastated, possibly even more than she was. So when she found out she was pregnant, she panicked. She did not tell her husband she was coming to the abortion center. She did not want to endure the grief and uncertainty of potential miscarriage again … and she did not want to, again, put her husband through the anguish he had experienced.
After she told me her story with many tears, I first told her how sorry I was. I told her I totally understood how she was filled with fear and sorrow over what might happen with this pregnancy. I reminded her that there was a possibility of miscarriage based on her history; but with abortion, there was a certainty of the baby’s death. The difference between the two events was one was totally outside of her control. The second was purposeful permission for someone to kill her baby. That would be on her conscience and likely be a greater grief than the miscarriage.
I also urged her to tell her husband. If she lost the child, it would be tragically grievous to both of them … but it was not a burden she should carry alone.
Then I offered her a free consult with a high-risk doctor. I told her this wonderful doctor would be able to answer her questions and help her deal with all the concerns. I also offered her a Love Life Mentor to walk alongside her no matter what happened. I also offered her free counseling with certified Christian marriage and family counselors. She was struggling with a lot of grief.
She claimed to love God, and had been raised in a Christian home. She said Jesus was her Lord. I did NOT feel I should confront whether that was true or not at this time. This was a judgment call that I rarely make. I almost ALWAYS share the Gospel fully. If someone is contemplating abortion, I always question her allegiance and submission to Jesus as Lord of her life.
This time, I shared my own sense of helplessness and even doubts when enduring terrible suffering. I told her of my experience with breast cancer and how it was hard not to ask God why He let this happen. Nonetheless, I KNOW God is good, even when it doesn’t feel that way. I know that His purposes are often inscrutable, but they are from an eternal perspective we cannot grasp. I also reminded her that God is well acquainted with suffering. After all, He died the gruesome death at the cross on our behalf, to pay the penalty for sin we deserved. Despite how life sometimes sends us terrible situations, it is important to remember the kind of love that sacrifice from Jesus displayed.
In the end, she told us she would tell her husband. She made a solid choice for life. She called the high risk doctor that afternoon. Before she stepped off the Mobile Unit, she told us she was very relieved.
- History of miscarriage
- Recent miscarriage
- Difficulty processing grief
- Others who do not understand, particularly baby father
- Fear of the unknown
- Perpetual worry over safety of unborn baby
- Focus on avoidance of pain of losing another child
- Lack of recognition of the irony of abortion to avoid pain of miscarriage
- Struggling to see God in the face of so much suffering
In the true story I told, it ended with the woman choosing life, choosing truthfulness with her spouse, and feeling comforted and relieved. I think the general counseling principles used could be useful guidelines for others dealing with this situation.
- Express compassion
- Do not condemn her for the ‘craziness’ of her thought process
- Use logic and Bible to introduce sound thinking to the situation
- Provide helpful resources (ie: high-risk doctor) to allay fears and bring clarity
- Return focus to God
- Be truthful that sometimes suffering is incongruent with our perception of how life should be
- Do not be afraid to express the truth that many of us feel doubt and fear in tragedy
- Point out uncertainty/potential miscarriage vs certainty/abortion in death of child
- Provide follow up and encouragement
- Offer mentor if available to help woman not feel so alone
- Offer counseling with Christian professional counselor
Helpful Biblical Encouragement
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” – Romans 8:18 NKJV
“Therefore let those who suffer according to the will of God commit their souls to Him in doing good, as to a faithful Creator.” – 1 Peter 4:19 NKJV
“Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world. But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you.” – 1 Peter 5:8-10 NKJV
Valuable Resources to Find in the Community
- High-risk doctor (pro-life)
- Christian mentor
- Christian counselor
- Christian support groups for moms who have suffered miscarriage, such as H.E.A.R.T. Strings