I still remember the day a friend of mine told me that someone she knew was considering an abortion.
The reason I remember this day is because I didn’t say anything.
One of the reasons I held back from trying to help this young woman who was considering an abortion was because she had told my friend not to tell anyone. So, my friend wasn’t supposed to have told me. So, I wasn’t supposed to know. Furthermore, I actually knew this person my friend was telling me about.
My friend said that this young woman didn’t think she could stay in school and have a baby. When she said the baby was already at five weeks’ gestation, I had to look up what that stage of fetal development entailed, because at the time I didn’t know off the top of my head.
And I discovered that at that stage, the baby has a brain, heart, and other vital organs already present. So, my friend and I agonized over what to do, if anything. We knew this was a developing baby. We wanted to help this girl, but we didn’t know how.
I still remember the day that my friend told me that this young woman did indeed go through with the abortion.
The next time I saw this girl, she seemed just fine on the outside, like nothing ever happened.
I don’t know how it affected her internally, but for me, something inside me sank when my friend had told me the girl had the abortion, and I wondered if I had made the right choice to keep quiet like I was “supposed to.”
This event occurred a number of years ago, but I still think about it sometimes.
At the time this happened, I was in college and, unfortunately, had little knowledge of the widespread help that was available to women facing unwanted pregnancies. I considered myself pro-life, and in no way, shape, or form did I want this girl to abort her unborn baby. But I didn’t know what to say, or how to help, or if I should even say anything, because again, I wasn’t supposed to know she was even pregnant.
If I had known about life-affirming pregnancy help centers, about all the wonderful people who would jump at the opportunity to help this girl in her unplanned pregnancy to have her baby, finish college, get a job, and fulfill all her other dreams, I probably would have said something. But, under-equipped on how to handle the situation, I remained silent.
Me – a self-proclaimed pro-life Christian girl – didn’t say anything.
Sometimes, I think about how different this young woman’s life would look today had she not chosen to abort her baby. She would have a son or daughter. Her parents would be grandparents.
In the past couple of years, I have learned there is a significant difference between simply saying I’m pro-life and actively helping women in unplanned pregnancies to choose life. It is one thing to do the former. It is another to do the latter.
Based on personal experience, and because I don’t want other people to go through a similar situation of being under-equipped and unknowledgeable about how to come alongside a woman in a crisis pregnancy, I would encourage people, especially those who are ready and willing to take action and help, to do a few things.
First, learn about the pregnancy help organizations near you and what kinds of services they offer, and then tell people about them. The pregnancy center locator on Option Line’s website is a great tool that is very user-friendly and resourceful.
Many of these centers are licensed medical clinics that perform pregnancy tests and limited ultrasounds, while also providing maternity and baby items, hosting pregnancy and parenting classes, and offering information about the many options that women do have when it comes to their pregnancies, all at no cost (yes, that means the services are free).
This could be one of the single most important resources to help a woman considering abortion, especially if she is in need of tangible resources or is facing financial hardship.
Second, don’t be afraid to offer a listening ear, an open mind, or a helping hand (or all three of these) to a woman facing an unplanned pregnancy and contemplating abortion.
Oftentimes, this is just what women in crisis pregnancies need. They don’t need to be judged, condemned, or questioned on how they ended up in their present circumstances. They just need to be heard; they just want to be understood; and sometimes you just need to tell her you are there for her, to listen and help in whatever way you can.
Offer support. Encourage her to take her time to consider all her options.
If you really want to actively go to where these women are, I highly recommend signing up to volunteer for 40 Days for Life and even going through the counseling training by Sidewalk Advocates for Life, so you can both meet these women and be equipped to have those conversations with them.
These two things—educating yourself and offering yourself (your time, your heart) to a woman in need—can truly mean the difference between hopelessness and hope, fear, and courage, and even death and life.
Do I carry guilt or regret for not saying anything back when I could have?
Of course, I do wish I could have said something. I could have helped to save this baby’s life. Or, at the very least, I could have offered the baby’s mother some real help and hope in the form of tangible resources and loving relationships, so she knew she was not alone.
And I know I am not alone in this. I know that there are men and women all around the world who know someone who had an unexpected pregnancy and was contemplating an abortion and subsequently went through with it. Maybe some of them, like me, didn’t say anything.
So, my answer to the question I asked myself back then of “Should I say something?” is this:
Yes, you should say something. You never know what kind of response you might get. Sure, you might get some resistance or even a refusal to talk with you. But on the other hand, you might get such an overwhelming response of a cry for help and gratitude for speaking up that you wonder why you even questioned whether you should have said something.
Sometimes, I do still feel like I could say something in the present to offer encouragement and healing to this young woman who had the abortion, even though it was years ago. While I wish I had said something back then, it's never too late to be there for someone. Maybe one day I will, and I will prayerfully consider how best to do so.
I don’t want to be held down by past regrets or failures. I realize now more than ever that knowledge is power, and this kind of knowledge inspires the taking of action.
Tweet This: I realize now more than ever that knowledge is power, and this kind of knowledge inspires the taking of action.
So, what I have decided to do from now on is this: to do what I can to help women facing unplanned pregnancies and contemplating abortion to feel like they have what it takes to choose life and that they can do it.
This is what I have been called to do. And that is exactly what I will do. And that is exactly what I invite others to join me in doing as well.
To advocate for both a woman and her child. To help women realize they are not alone, and that they can achieve their dreams while being mothers. To connect women to whatever help they need to do just that.
That is my heart for these women, and I hope and pray that is your heart as well.