Ann Caldwell / June 29, 2022

Caught in the Crossfire — Women After Abortion

Behind every abortion there is a woman who is either in denial about the life she took or has a broken heart.

The decision by the Supreme Court repealing Roe v. Wade has evoked intense reaction from both sides, leaving this author concerned that we may be hopelessly divided as a nation on this critical issue.

A massive number of American lives have been lost as a result of “safe and legal” abortions. And even though a legal milestone has been achieved, we are still pushing a heavy rock uphill. Our culture will long be impacted by the soul-crushing reality that abortion is the “go-to” solution for too many women with unplanned pregnancies.

My first child died in the fall of 1980 in the office of a practicing gynecologist in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I did not consider any alternatives, nor did I seek wise counsel. As a sophomore in college, I felt invincible! But I will always remember the sights and sounds of that particular Saturday morning in November — the flood of tears and the unnamed ache that I soon buried. My secret became a part of my story that for years seemed perfectly normal. I did not know I was suffering.

It was legal, and it was “safe,” thanks to those who had discovered how to extract a living baby from a mother without (for the most part) damaging her body. If only our hearts and souls were as resilient as our bodies!

It has been more than four decades since my abortion became a touchstone in my journey. I am one of tens of millions of women who have had abortions since 1973. Just one. And my abortion had a deep and lasting impact on my life. (In fact, reading this aloud still brings me to tears.)

Thankfully, I am blessed to have found the path to healthy healing. My loving family and dear friends who know my story have truly been there for me.

But there are many women and men in your very midst who have not healed. Folks like us are often caught in the crossfire of the pro-life celebrations and the pro-abortion protests. Even in our places of worship, praises about the Supreme Court decision often overlook the hurting women and men in those pews.

I urge us all to consider that many broken individuals are carrying the burden of abortion with them every day. It may be hidden in the mix of failed relationships, addictions, unmet potential, and suffering of all sorts due to shame, embarrassment, false pride (“nobody is the boss of me!”), grief, and long-held secrets.

No one makes a heart change when they feel condemned. No one turns toward hate.

As this Supreme Court decision plays out in the coming months and years, remember that there are many who are hurting. Show mercy. Be the help someone needs. Pray for unborn babies. Support women in crisis pregnancies. But also be someone who offers a way out of the heartache of abortion through genuine kindness, respect, and understanding.

That’s how we heal our nation.

Two resources for post-abortion healing are the National Memorial for the Unborn, a place of encouragement for women and men scarred by abortion, and Empty Arms, a book with 60 life-giving stories of hope and healing after abortion.

Finally, for each mother and father reading these words who harbor the pain and suffering of having chosen to end the life of your child, I pray your journey out of that lonely darkness begins today.

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