To most effectively intervene and help abortion-determined women choose life, it is critical we know the reasons women feel they need to have an abortion. I conducted my own informal study with a group of about 200 women who chose life in our area. Not all the women answered but I asked them to please tell me the top three reasons they considered abortion. The top reasons were not a surprise. Anyone who has ministered on the sidewalk for very long has heard this list.
Top Reasons to Abort (from moms who considered abortion/did abort)
- Financial reasons
- Domestic violence and/or Terrible Baby Father
- Have other children
- Not Ready to be a Parent, Not right time
- Emotionally unstable
How to Counter the Top 10 Reasons
In every one of the situations, never neglect the Gospel. The hope and guidance of the Lord is always our first priority and answer. Nearly every situation listed is the ultimate result of disobedience to God’s will. The only real answer is always submit to Him in all things as Lord of our lives, and that will begin the path to healing and help.
Remember: Abortion is NEVER the answer; however, the women are in crisis and sometimes cannot see past the difficulty. Having tangible help can be crucial in getting them to a point where they can trust us enough to trust what we hope to share about God.
This is probably the most commonly voiced concern. The mother has limited or no income. She has no idea how she will provide for the child. The father is often not in the picture or of no help financially. Oftentimes, these women have no one in their lives they can count on to help them.
There is little doubt that the only long term solution is for the woman to find work. She may have little idea, time, or resources to figure out how to best go about this. Providing a volunteer to help her find a job, help with a resume, and to explore her vocational goals and skills is very helpful. We also have a list of at-home work, since leaving the children is often impossible due to cost of daycare. Many women appreciate the idea of working from home.
Always remind the moms that even this dire situation does not justify murder. Options such as adoption may need to be discussed. Sharing the cost of an apartment with another mom is a possible solution. Explore public housing programs which are geared towards helping vulnerable families achieve independence. Home-based businesses that require little start-up costs – such as cleaning businesses or catering – are also possibilities.
As in most of the situations mentioned, it is important to help the mom see that God’s plan is always better and always protective. He would not have her engage in sex outside of marriage to protect her. Most of the moms we meet are unmarried, and, often, have other children out of wedlock. It is necessary to graciously but truthfully help them understand that their breaking of God’s laws led to this situation. Breaking another commandment (thou shall not murder) is not the way to solve the root issues.
Many of the women expressed the concern of having to raise a baby alone as being more than they could bear. Some are already single mothers of other children and know how difficult it is. They do not want to do that again. Many are being coerced or have been abandoned by the father of the baby when they became pregnant. Many have fractured families and poor role models with little or no support systems available. Being all alone in motherhood is daunting.
The Love Life mentorship program is one of the best ways to counter the sense of aloneness. The role of a good mentor is to be a friend and develop a relationship with the mom so that she will have someone in her corner. Ideally, the mentor will also be instrumental in connecting the mom to a church community, as well as discipling the woman.
Domestic violence and/or terrible baby father
One mom described this situation poignantly:
Narcissistic baby daddy who would completely weaponize the child to control mama and can possibly hurt the child, as well, and mom is afraid of what life looks like with him in the picture. And because mom is not financially stable yet mom can’t hire an attorney to defend her baby. Did you know that NC doesn’t provide legal aid for family court cases? So mamas have to either represent themselves (which is a terrible idea) or pay an attorney to fight to protect her baby and that can be very expensive.
The fear of danger to herself or the child is not uncommon. Sadly, many of these abortion-determined women have made terrible choices with the men in their lives. Many of them have struggled to set appropriate boundaries and have low self-esteem or emotional struggles. When they find themselves pregnant by men who have threatened or already harmed them, they do not want to be further tied to the abusers through their child.
As the mom who wrote the quote above recognized, she would not easily rid herself of his influence. She knew she needed to escape him, but now the unborn baby made that less likely. The court system in place was of little help to her. She saw no way out.
Her story is sadly not uncommon; but, despite all the struggles, her child is now the light of her life. She has managed to overcome incredible odds. Her testimony, along with others like hers, are powerful things to share with moms facing similar situations.
There are many national and local domestic abuse ministries to help moms in these hard situations. They often provide free counseling and strategies to help the women. We also have certified Christian counselors in our area who offer free services. This can help women learn to set better boundaries now and in the future.
We are fortunate to have volunteers who work for DSS or other social services who love the Lord. They have helped us so much in assisting the women to navigate the social services available. They can advise on practical issues such as whether to put the father’s name on the birth certificate, or to pursue child support.
Too many other children
This combines the issues of feeling overwhelmed and financial concerns. We often hear moms tell us that they struggle to meet the needs of the kids they already have. How can they handle another?
While all mothers of young children feel overwhelmed at times, most would never consider killing any of them! Most of the women we meet admit they cannot imagine life without their kids and love their children deeply.
It is good to remind them that they will love this unborn child just as much. The mentorship program can be critical in helping line up low-cost childcare and other programs that will alleviate some of the stress of caring for several young kids. Moms of Preschoolers (MOPS) is one such program that helps support moms who are struggling with the stress of young kids.
The church can be vital in providing respite and support to these moms: taking the kids for a few hours, bringing dinner, giving gift cards for house cleaning, meal delivery, etc. With the church’s support, these things can be huge reliefs for these overwhelmed women.
As in all the examples mentioned, the answer never is to kill the unborn child, just as it would not be the answer to kill one of the siblings! Reminding them that it IS stressful for a season, but only for a season. The young children do grow up, and, one day, they might support the mom!
Bringing God’s word to mind is always fruitful:
“Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, The fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has his quiver full of them; They shall not be ashamed, But shall speak with their enemies in the gate.” – Psalms 127:3-5
Not ready to be a parent (not the right time)
The most immediate response I have to this is always as follows:
“Whether or not you are ready, the baby is here, in your womb. You ARE a parent now. Your choice is whether you will be a parent of a living or a dead baby. And this may not feel like the right time, but it is the time you have been presented with this baby. This baby is here NOW. There will never be a perfect time. God doesn’t make mistakes and God saw fit to give this child life NOW.”
From there, I will usually enter a discussion of what are the obstacles and fears and try to link resources or help to address each point raised.
Coercion is VERY common. Some studies indicate that 64% of abortions involve coercion. Nearly all the women I counsel express there is some form of subtle or overt coercion. Most women tell me that if the father were enthusiastically happy and helpful about the baby, they would not abort.
In the face of coercion, remind women it is illegal. They can seek help if being coerced. Remind them that to abort because someone else is telling them to shows the character of that other person. They should not trust or follow the demands of someone telling them to go against their desire to protect or keep the baby. Coercion is NEVER the result of love. It is the result of fear and selfishness.
Remind them that they hold the final choice in their hands. They will stand before God one day for all their actions. Their excuses for defying “Thou shall not murder” will fall far short.
Coercion to abort is a form of domestic violence. The ministries that assist women in domestic violence situations are often helpful in dealing with the issue of coercion.
If there is active coercion taking place at the abortion center, particularly if the women requests help, always call the police.
Women in poverty, who are single, and those who have few healthy support systems are likely to feel emotional upheaval. Add the hormones of pregnancy, and emotional instability is no surprise.
A woman I counseled recently fit the above description. The power of the Bible to calm, convict, settle and help refocus in a healthy way is inestimable. I sat with her during her hard moments and we studied Scripture to deal with whatever she was facing. The change in her was so dramatic that I was sorry I don’t do this more often! Usually, we do not have the kind of time I was afforded with that woman. Nonetheless, we all can use Scripture in the time we do have to address the heart and soul of the women we encounter:
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” – 2 Timothy 1:7
“Honestly, most if not all reasons stem from fear. Fear of not being good enough, fear of the future, fear of being alone.”
One very perceptive mom listed her reasons for considering abortion, but then summarized all the reasons into one basic issue: FEAR.
Fortunately, the Bible addresses the issue of fear. Over and over, God urges us to NOT FEAR. We are to fear Him alone. Thus, despite all our earthly fears, we should never disregard what God tells us to do. He is the one in control of all things, and in the end, we answer to HIM. He is clear. The 6th commandment is “Thou shall not murder.” We need to remind the moms that fear will never be what we should base our decisions on, but on the Word of God.
Our fears of what MIGHT be pale in comparison to the REALITY of what IS if we abort. The baby will be dead. We can overcome fear. The baby cannot overcome death. His life will never have been allowed to be. The consequence of taking our own child’s innocent life is a heavy burden to bear.
Then Samuel said to the people, “Do not fear. You have done all this wickedness; yet do not turn aside from following the Lord, but serve the Lord with all your heart.” – 1 Samuel 12:20