In his 97 years of life, famous evangelist Billy Graham has witnessed the pain and havoc legalized abortion has wreaked on American culture.
In a recently published advice column, Graham mourned the spiritual and emotional insensitivity toward abortion in today’s culture as he reached out to a hurting, post-abortive woman.
The woman, J.N., wrote to Graham: “Maybe some women can go through an abortion and never feel guilty, but I’m not one of them. I feel terrible over what I did, and every time I drive by a school playground I’m almost consumed with grief.”
Graham responded compassionately, reassuring the woman that God has not rejected or abandoned her. Even though what she did was wrong, she still is loved by God, Graham wrote.
“He loves you, just as He loved the child that was growing in your womb (and is now, I am confident, safely in His presence). Furthermore, when Christ died on the cross, all your sins — without exception — were transferred to Him, and He took upon Himself the judgment you deserved. As the Bible says, ‘He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins’ (1 John 2:2),” he wrote.
Graham’s compassionate response is one that should be modeled by religious leaders and churches across the U.S. Many women sitting in church pews have had abortions and are silently suffering. Abortion is tragically common even among American Christians, despite Christian teachings about the sanctity of life. In 2014, 24 percent of women who had abortions identified as Catholic, 17 percent as mainline Protestant and 13 percent as evangelical Protestant, according to the Guttmacher Institute.
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Even Graham’s own family has not been immune to struggles with pregnancy and abortion. His granddaughter Windsor Bauders faced three different pregnancy struggles, each which could have ended in abortion, according to the Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation Blog. Fortunately, she chose life for her children in each case.
The abortion industry sells women abortions as easy, quick solutions to their struggles; but it does not tell them the pain and suffering that abortion causes – always for the unborn child, and almost always for the mother. Fathers, siblings, grandparents and others also can be negatively affected by a child’s abortion death.
In response, more churches and faith-based organizations are offering counseling and post-abortion healing programs to individuals struggling with past abortions. Earlier this month, for example, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia announced a new program of “healing and mercy” for people who have aborted a child. Abortion is wrong, but parents deserve to know that they can heal and find forgiveness for aborting a child.