By Elizabeth Manring | Intern
“I know God put you here. He is leading you.”
Tasha, a post-abortive mother, told me this as she struggled to hold back tears. I will never forget her voice or her story. Years ago, she had an abortion, knowing, she said, exactly what she was doing. It ruined her life. It was the worst pain, the worst regret imaginable and despite counseling she has been unable to get past the guilt. On the day I spoke to her, she had been riding the bus through downtown Columbus trying to find peace with God about her abortion. The first thing she saw when she stepped off the bus was me, standing next to an image of an aborted child.
Over the next half hour, I was able to share with Tasha the beauty and sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross and the full forgiveness God offers. We prayed together, her hand gripping mine, and she thanked me for being there – both to speak to her and to keep other women from making the same mistake she made.
Before our conversation, I was worried about the impact our outreaches might have on post-abortive women. But since then, I have spoken to many mothers and fathers who have lost children to abortion and over and over they have thanked me for being there. Healing, it seems, can only begin when pain is acknowledged.
In Mike’s case the pain had been denied and buried. He had always felt burdened about the two abortions his girlfriends had but neither of the children had been biologically his and he thought it was the mother’s right to choose. By the end of our conversation he understood the value of preborn life and knew why he was still struggling with the decisions made years before. There was sorrow in his eyes as he thanked me and said, “You’ve changed my life. I will never let that happen again.”
It can be difficult for post-abortive parents to come face-to-face with the gruesome results of the “right to choose.” The images of children torn by abortion undoubtedly revive feelings of regret and pain, but they also open the door to forgiveness, healing and peace. The witness of these hurting parents, looking at what they chose for their child, is among the most powerful when it comes to convincing others to keep their children.
In Tasha’s words, “Women tell themselves that they don’t have the resources or that they need to finish their education first or that the dad needs to be involved. I told myself all of these things but deep down it was cowardice. If women only knew the horrible pain and regret they will feel” – I could hear heartbreak in her voice – “they would never have abortions.”