The differences in attitudes about abortion around the world really stood out in an advice column published this week in a Barbados newspaper.
In the “Dear Christine” column in Nation News, the columnist urged a hurting woman to recognize that aborting her unborn child was wrong and to seek healing.
“I have made a very big mistake, and it is bothering me a whole lot,” the woman began. “I am living in complete guilt because of an abortion I had many years ago. At the time, it never occurred to me that what I labeled as a missed period was in fact a life I had taken.”
The woman said she often wonders if her child was a boy or a girl. When she looks at her friends’ and family members’ children, she said she thinks about abortion and how it could have destroyed their lives, too.
Christine, when I had that abortion years ago, it seemed the natural thing to do because I had just broken up with my boyfriend and had started seeing someone else.
The truth is I never really knew who the father was. It was hard and I was very embarrassed to have had the child outside of marriage. I was also afraid because I did not know what I had gotten myself into. I just imagined the pain – physical pain of giving birth.
You name it, I thought I had all the right reasons to have an abortion, but it sure hurts more now. When I think of friends and family members with their children, I could not imagine any of them having abortions when they got pregnant.
Christine responded in a way that few advice columnists would in the U.S. or Europe. She agreed with the woman that “abortion is wrong” because it destroys a life.
“If you know how to pray, do so and ask God to forgive you for the decision you made years ago to have that abortion,” Christine wrote. “Many people hold the view that abortion is okay, but as you have said in your letter, it’s not a speck of blood, neither is it a case of bringing back a menstrual cycle. Abortion is taking another life. Some anti-abortionists call it murder and I am in agreement with this.”
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The advice columnist recognized how important it is for a post-abortive woman to admit that she hurts because she made a wrong decision, because she destroyed her child’s life. Christine said she hoped the woman would find “closure” through writing and acknowledging the source of her pain.
Too often in the United States, abortion activists blame the stigma surrounding abortion for the pain and regret many women experience. They ignore the root of the pain, often leaving women to struggle silently and alone.
But a number of post-abortion healing and counseling programs are providing hope to many hurting women. They often begin by reassuring women that it is ok to grieve their unborn child’s death. Some encourage women to name their aborted children or hold memorial services for them as part of the healing process.
As the advice column pointed out, women can heal from a past abortion, but the healing must begin with the truth that their abortion destroyed the life of their innocent, unborn child.