The following is the second part of a book excerpt from The Cost of Our Silence: Consequences of Christians Taking the Path of Least Resistance. This is from the compelling, statistic-filled chapter, “The Anguish of Abortion.”
Largely unreported by pro-abortion media is the fact abortion often causes women years of emotional pain, torment, and guilt. Many young women try to act normal and hide the fact that they are in pain, often experiencing severe trauma soon after receiving an abortion. Moreover, countless women have experienced increased alcohol or drug use and eating disorders. They suffer from depression and nightmares. They agonize with self-destructive behavior and suicidal thoughts or attempts. God help us help them!
There are two battles on this front and we should be engaged in both. First, we must raise awareness about biblical truth that God is the Author and Creator of all life. He values every single human being. Life begins at conception, and destroying innocent life is an immoral act against His law. Second, we must love, support, and care for women and young girls who have had abortions, pointing them to the forgiveness of Jesus Christ and loving arms of the Father. We also need to embrace and support struggling single moms, praying and caring for them however we can.
If you have had an abortion, here are some questions to consider: Would you now advise your best friend or sister not to have an abortion if she were considering it? If you were a Christian before having an abortion, has your relationship with God or with those in the church changed?
A young woman who gets pregnant is often confused and intimidated into aborting her baby through emotional, financial, or relational threats. According to a 2004 study on post-abortive women reported by the Medical Science Monitor, 64% of the women felt pressured to have an abortion. Sadly, an often-neglected subject is how women are affected afterwards. As many as 91% of all abortions cause severe psychological problems, both immediate and long-term, according to reports of the Department of Education and Alan Guttmacher Institute.
Approximately 40% of minors who’ve had an abortion don’t tell their parents, and 51% of women having abortions are under twenty-five years old. This is another important reason to have open communication with your daughters. Conversely, in cases where young women do tell others about their abortion, they often try to act normal and hide the fact that they are unhappy or in any kind of pain. Many experience severe trauma soon after receiving an abortion. The following are post-abortion symptoms that may be experienced:
Alcohol or drug use to distract from the pain; anger, anxiety (probably non-specific or in forms of a panic attack), abusive relationships (believing she doesn’t deserve better).
Denial or repression (the “pushing down” of intolerable emotions), depression, deterioration of self-worth/self-image, disruption in relationships (increasing inability to be intimate or social with friends and family), anger, violent behavior.
Eating disorders, feelings of helplessness or powerlessness, flashbacks, grief, guilt, purposely having unprotected sex or increased sexual activity as self-punishment.
Nightmares about a baby or babies crying, the same nightmare over and over; preoccupation with the abortion procedure or thoughts of babies.
Regret, remorse, sadness to the point of inability to handle basic responsibilities, self-destructive behavior and suicidal thoughts or attempts; death.
In a study of post-abortion patients eight weeks after their abortion, researchers found 44% complained of nervous disorders, 36% had experienced sleep disturbances, 31% had regrets about their decision, and 11% had been prescribed psychotropic medicine by their family doctor. A New Zealand study that tracked women for more than three decades discovered 42% of women who aborted experienced major depression.
According to Priscilla Coleman of Bowling Green State University,
Women who have had an abortion have an 81% higher risk of subsequent mental health problems compared to women who have not had an abortion. Also, women who aborted have a 138% (another study showed 160%) higher risk of mental health problems compared to women who have given birth.
Tragically, many so-called “counselors” at abortion clinics downplay mental and physical health risks the majority of the time in order to sell customers abortions, not to mention the fact the procedure will violently end their child’s life. My heart goes out to those who believe the godless lie that this “procedure” can be justified in any way.
I came across a familiar Bible verse from the story of Mary that you and I have probably read dozens of times through the years during Christmas. But something jumped out at me this time when I read Luke 1:43-44:
But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Notice babies in the womb are able to sense such feelings as “joy.”
It is also indisputable and documented that babies in the womb have a developed nervous system and feel pain. How irrational to think a baby senses or feels nothing until the very moment they are delivered, and then all of a sudden upon seeing daylight or when the umbilical cord is cut, pain receptors kick in. Abortion mills such as Planned Parenthood do not give a baby in the womb pain medication before they are destroyed.
Here is some eye-opening information about newly conceived babies:
Her DNA, everything she will grow into, was fully present at the moment of conception.
Her heart began to beat eighteen days after conception.
Her brainwaves were detectable forty days (six weeks) after conception.
Your baby could move at six weeks.
She could suck her thumb (and hiccup!) at seven weeks.
Eight weeks after conception, all of her major organs had developed.
Your baby’s respiratory system began to function, and she began to breathe amniotic fluid at nine weeks.
PERSPECTIVE OF AN ABORTION SURVIVOR
I was blessed to interview Kim Pearson, living proof that God has a plan for every human life. Through an abortionist’s mistake, Kim survived. Originally from the Detroit, Michigan, area, Kim’s mother became pregnant during her senior year in high school. She was ashamed and quit school. Being pregnant and unmarried was frowned upon at that time. Her mother kept Kim even though their home environment was not ideal.
Kim was sexually abused by her stepfather when she was only four years old, so she went to live with her grandmother, a strong Christian woman, who took her to prayer meetings at a Pentecostal church. Being at church gave Kim some comfort and would later give her some understanding about God that she would desperately need. Her parents divorced when she was thirteen years old, and because of constant physical and mental abuse by her stepfather, Kim resorted to drugs, which he gladly introduced her to.
Kim sank into depression. About four years later when Kim was seventeen, she learned she was an abortion survivor. Heartbroken after finding out her Mom intended to abort her, Kim remembers:
That’s when I started hearing the lies of the enemy such as “nobody wants you.” Rejection is an ugly tool of the devil, and I battled depression for years because of this.
She became pregnant by a boyfriend, had her first child, and considered giving him up for adoption to her mom and new dad. Then Kim found out Josh, her newborn son, had jaundice, and Kim decided to keep the baby. She and her boyfriend planned a wedding but cancelled it six days before the ceremony, because, as Kim explains, she was messed up at the time and very confused.
She got pregnant again less than two years later, made an appointment for an abortion, and went to a Fourth of July parade in town to try to forget her troubles. Partying with friends and watching the parade, she saw a float approach with a sign that said, “Abortion: Thou Shalt Not Murder.”
The second she read the sign, Kim thought, “I couldn’t go through with it,” so she cancelled the appointment for the abortion. Here she was, a single mom with a very young son, wondering how she was going to make it, but somehow she thought God would come through for her. Kim confessed:
I know myself well enough that if I had gone through with the abortion, I would have been suicidal. I really don’t think I could have lived with myself.
Today, her daughter is a beautiful, intelligent, talented young Christian woman. If you’re curious about Kim’s mother – she is also a Christian now, and they have a strong relationship today. They pray together and can talk openly about the past without dwelling on it. Kim has had a third child, Michael, and considers herself blessed by the gifts God has given her.
God used my children to save my life; they are my jewels and joy; I can’t imagine what I would do without them.
I asked her what she would tell a confused young woman today who has already gone through an abortion:
Don’t look back except to heal and to help someone else out, but keep your thoughts and your heart fixed on Jesus. He is our only source of help and healing. He alone can deliver you from the pain or bondage of an ugly past. To walk in the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we must keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and not on our past.
We ended the interview with Kim sharing one of her four favorite Scripture passages in the Bible, Psalm 139:14-16.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Wonderful are Your works, And my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from You, When I was made in secret, And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written, The days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them.
PRO-LIFE EXCEPT IN CASES OF RAPE?
Next, meet Rebecca Kiessling. She was adopted shortly after her birth and grew up with a deep longing to know the truth about her biological mother. When she was eighteen, she learned that she was conceived out of a brutal rape at knifepoint by a serial rapist. Until then, Rebecca never fathomed abortion or rape would ever be issues she would be concerned about, but suddenly she could almost hear the echoes of people who claim to be pro-life: “Well, except in cases of rape.” Sadly, some are adamant, saying “especially in cases of rape.”
She felt as if people who didn’t even know her were standing in judgment of her life, “so quick to dismiss it just because of how I was conceived.” No one should have to justify their existence or prove whether they are worthy of living or not. Moreover, no one should decide who is allowed to live or who doesn’t get to live. We saw this in Hitler’s Germany and nearly experienced the same in America thanks to the eugenics efforts of Margaret Sanger and others. This became very personal to Rebecca:
Please understand that whenever you identify yourself as being “pro-choice,” or whenever you make that exception for rape, what that really translates into is you being able to stand before me, look me in the eye, and say to me, “I think your mother should have been able to abort you.” That’s a pretty powerful statement. I would never say anything like that to someone. I would never say to someone, “If I had my way, you’d be dead right now.” But that is the reality with which I live.
To anyone who might say Rebecca was “lucky” to be born, let it be known the fact she is alive and well is because abortion was illegal in Michigan at the time her mother became pregnant. Similar to the sign Kim Pearson saw at that Fourth of July parade, Rebecca is grateful to people who fight the public pro-life battles in our society and to those who vote against abortion – even in cases of rape – in elections. “I wasn’t lucky, I was protected,” she declares.
What’s one of the most significant things Rebecca has learned? God the Father in heaven is her Creator; a rapist did not create her. The Bible teaches that God is a father to the fatherless (Psalm 68:5) and Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me (Psalm 27:10 NIV). Rebecca explains:
We are told in the New Testament it is in the spirit of adoption that we are called to be God’s children through Christ our Lord … The truth is that you don’t have to prove your worth to anyone, and if you really want to know what your value is, all you have to do is look to the Cross because that’s the price that was paid for your life! That’s the infinite value God placed on your life! He thinks you are pretty valuable and so do I. Won’t you join me in affirming others’ value as well, in word and in action?
…Abortion in America has created a culture that disregards the dignity and value of human life, endangers women, and demeans motherhood. Our sexually permissive and progressive culture encourages young women and teenage girls and boys to be sexually active. Those who have had abortions need our prayers, not our judgment. Being a product of America’s secular culture, post-abortive women, especially religious women, suffer enough for their sin. They first need God’s forgiveness; they then need to learn how to forgive themselves.
We hear little talk of purity and self-restraint. The teaching of biblical principles and abstinence education in churches, schools, and society is vital to effect positive change. Stop messing around, yes. Limit abortions, yes. Vote for pro-life candidates, yes. Stop funding Planned Parenthood with our tax dollars, yes! But we also need to remember the power of prayer and true, caring Christianity. People may not respond to debates, laws, or rules, but many will – eventually – respond to genuine love and truth.
Are we willing to confront abortion defenders and speak about some of these facts? Will we do a better job promoting the truth that every baby is a gift from God, created in His image and has value? We need to reach people with the message “every single life matters.” The root of this culture of death and of every problem is sin, and the only solution is Jesus Christ.
From this point forward, we can no longer say we did not know.
Now the word of the Lord came to me saying; “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you (Jeremiah 1:4-5).
Can a woman forget her nursing child, and have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, but I will not forget you (Isaiah 49:15).
[God] set me apart, even from my mother’s womb, and called me through His grace (Galatians 1:15).
 Abortion Risks: A list of major psychological complications related to abortion, Elliot Institute, Afterabortion.org http://afterabortion.org/2011/abortion-risks-a-list-of-major-psychological-complications-related-to-abortion/.
 Rebecca Kiessling, testimony, http://www.rebeccakiessling.com/index.html.
*photo credit – https://postabortionsyndrome.org/