CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

 

How Can I Help Others
Avoid the Same Mistake?

 

 

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"I feel that maybe my story could be used to help a woman know she doesn't have to go through all I went through.  There is hope and his name is Jesus." 

Anonymous

 

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ost-bortion women suffer ¾ of that we are certain.  When the abortion laws are reversed and/or the medical profession finally admits the reality of post-abortion trauma, two things will happen:

1.  Women by the thousands (perhaps millions) will begin to seek help because they will realize they have done something wrong which they thought was right because it was legal, and/or they will realize their inner turmoil and feelings of guilt are genuine.

2.  Many will seek help in the wrong places unless we reach them first.
 

The implications are awesome and far-reaching.

 

 

Would I be a help to someone, like me, who has gone through abortion?

 

            People need love and healing.  They need healing because they hurt.  They need love, com­pas­sion, and forgiveness in order to heal.  They need someone to tell them how to be forgiven and get on with their lives.

            My friend, you have no idea how many women are yearning for another post-abortion woman with whom they can talk.  Although I believe that a person does not have to experience something in order to help, I know that if you have gone through a particular situation, doors readily open for you to help another.  Because you have had an abortion, other post-abortion women know you will under­stand their pain, guilt, and grief.  They know you will keep what you hear in confi­dence.  Most of all, a post-abortion woman coming to you for help finds hope as she sees and hears how God has worked in your life. 

            In addition to being a listening ear and offering wise counsel, you can offer help in another very needed and practical way.  In a crisis situation a person needs to concentrate on getting the major problem resolved.  Facets of everyday life can become major obstacles to working through the problem.  A woman may need extended periods of time alone to pray, study, or seek counsel.  Most likely, she would be glad of your offer to baby-sit, help with housework, fix a meal ¾ anything you can think of to alleviate her load so she can concentrate on resolving her problem.  That's love in action!

 


How do I find other post-abortion women?

 

            When I had my abortion in 1971, women were just beginning to "take advantage" of legal­ized abortion in New York State.  I knew no other women who had submitted to an abortion.  Women weren't talking. The only reason my abortion was not secret was that the father had spread the news across campus in a effort to convince people that he was not the father.  Eleven years after my abortion, I finally met another post-abortion woman.  It was by accident that I found out her secret.  One of my closest friends, she had had an abortion several years previously.  For the first time I had someone who could really understand what I'd gone through.

            Since that time I have met hundreds of post-abortion women and have heard from hundreds more by phone and letter.  The only reason I know so many post-abortion women is because I write and speak on the subject.  Just as most of us tried to keep our abortions secret, so millions of other post-abortion women keep their secret well hidden too.

            In recent years, locating post-abortion women has become easier.  Women are slowly beginning to come forth to receive the help they need.  Post-abortion outreaches encourage women to come forward to get help in resolving their post-abortion problems.  I encourage you to participate in a post-abortion support group or Bible study.

            As women heal, they often voluntarily come forward in order to help others.  Phyllis Lefort writes, "The Lord has already opened doors for me to share on a one-to-one basis with a few women and I was amazed how easy it is when I know it is in His timing and with the right person." 

 

 

Now that I see abortion for what it is, what can I do about it?

 

            There are several avenues available for effective work in both the pro-life and post-abortion areas.  Regina shares her work: "I go every other Saturday morning and stand for two hours on the sidewalk in front of the abortion mill where my first child was killed, and try to talk to the women before they go in.  I offer whatever help they need to let their babies live; as well as pray.  Some­times they turn away; usually they don't.  I also write to all my elected officials and try to get them to shape our laws according to the pro-life beliefs of the majority of their constituents." 

            Following is a list of ways you might help.  You're certain to find an area that suits your par­ticular talents and gifts:

                 ·  One-on-one sharing as the Lord opens doors

                 ·  Lay (or professional, if you have a desire to study for a degree)
    counseling at crisis preg­nancy centers, for post-abortion groups,
    or privately

                 ·  Contacting legislators by phone and/or letter to make your beliefs
    known (each of us should be doing this!)

                 ·  Lobbying

                 ·  Working hot lines

                 ·  Leading a support group or Bible study

                 ·  Demonstrations (you can picket, sit-in, counsel, or simply be there
    to sing and pray)

                 ·  Writing articles and/or books addressing the topic of abortion

                 ·  Public speaking in schools, churches, rallies, and the like (groups
    are always on the look­out for a good speaker with an interesting
    and current topic)
[1]

                 ·  Radio and television interviews

                 ·  Financial support for post-abortion work and crisis pregnancy
    groups

                 ·  Prayer (this is one area each of us should practice regularly
    because all the preceding will be in vain without God's help)

 

 

I've never prepared a speech, what should I include?

 

            Stick to the central issue ¾ abortion kills babies and leaves the mother with physical and/or emotional problems.  People need to know certain facts, some of which follow:

                 ·  Life begins at conception.

                 ·  Statistics on the development of unborn babies (such as, the baby
    is distinguishable at eight weeks as a human being, his heart
    begins beating at twenty-four days, his skeleton is formed at
    forty-two days, and the like), which provide graphic and concrete
    evidence of human life in the womb.  (I often use photographs of
    unborn babies during this part of my presentation.) 
·  Abortion is the most common elective surgery in the United 
    States.

                 ·  Abortion is legal the entire nine months of pregnancy.

                 ·  Methods used to perform abortions (including a hesterotomy, 
    which is the same procedure as a Caesarean section, but is the 
    term used for late term abortions).

                 ·  Thirty percent of post-abortion women call for help during a
    subsequent preg­nancy.

                 ·  Abortion causes women physical and/or emotional problems (see
    Chapter Two for listing).

                 ·   Four thousand abortions are performed daily (I usually mention
     that during the half hour I speak, almost one hundred babies die
     from abortion).

            You will be surprised by the number of people who do not know the basic facts regarding abortion.  Post-abortion women's silence coupled with pro-abortion propaganda has done a thorough job of hiding the truth.  People can't pass on the truth to others until they know and understand it themselves.[2]

            Additionally, tell what God has done for you.  Include where your were before God found you (lost and in despair), what God did for you (salvation), and where you are now in your life (forgiven and sharing the truth).  People want to hear your personal story.  No one can tell your story and touch people with it as you can.[3]



Can you give a sample testimony?

 

            Speak from your heart.  A pastor made a comment, which has profoundly affected my approach to people, especially regarding giving my abortion testimony:  "People don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care." 

            A testimony might go like this one, quoted in full from a woman who wrote to me: 

 

He Set Me Free

I've never told my story publicly so I hope you'll bear with me.  I'd like to tell you a little bit about my life.  My mother and father had 12 children and I was number 12.  My father died when I was 2 years old.  My mother did the best she knew how raising all of us by herself.  My family doesn't show or express affection, so I guess I sort of felt lost in the crowd.

       I wanted someone to hold me and love me so much ¾ I ached for it.  At the time I didn't realize how much God loved me.  I started dating a certain guy when I was 16 and soon after confused making love with being loved.  So at the very young age of 17 I found myself pregnant.

       I felt so all alone in the world and so unloved.  All I heard from my doctor and friends was, "it's only tissue, have an abortion, get it over with and no one will know."  A close friend had just had an abortion and she kept pressuring me too.

       I never once heard, "it's a baby, how about adoption or about the deep pain and emotional scars that abortion causes."  I wrestled with this decision but since I wasn't given any positive information or wasn't raised with any knowledge that this was right or wrong ¾ I chose abortion.

       Now I don't mean to sound like this was their fault because it was my deci­sion.  But I believe if I would have had counseling from a Crisis Pregnancy Center I would not have made the decision that I did.

       Since I was only seventeen I had to have my mother's permission, which she gave and it was never discussed again.  You see if it wasn't something you could laugh about it wasn't discussed.

       So I graduated from High school one month pregnant and an emotional mess.  The night before my abortion I was extremely depressed.  I was with friends at a park.  They were off having a good time as I sat by the water on that warm beautiful star-lit night.  It was like something out of a painting.

       As I sat mulling it over and over in my head, I couldn't believe what was about to take place ¾ it was a very bad dream.  I sat and fought for hours with God.  Oh how I didn't want to have that abortion.  My whole body and mind screamed NO!  But I didn't know why I didn't want to have this abortion and all I could think of is ¾ I have no other choice ¾ I have to.

       That day in June of 1974 was the worst day of my life.  It was a day I would live to regret daily.

       The doctor and nurse had no compassion for me. They were rushing through the procedure so they could get someone else in there.  The doctor made a very crude remark to me that cut like a knife in my heart.  I received no pre or post abortion coun­seling.  From that day on I was never the same.

       I had such pain and guilt in my heart I thought I would go crazy.  I had abso­lutely no self esteem.  I grieved for my lost baby, but I had to push it down and out of my mind because I was the cause of my baby's death.  I briefly contemplated suicide but thank God I was too scared.

       So here I was feeling unlovable but within a year God sent me my husband.  Only God could have sent me a man as sensitive, loving and understanding as Bruce and at the perfect time.

       So a year later we were married but my problems didn't stop there.  I still had guilt, low self esteem and physical pain ¾ all caused from my abortion.  I lived with this for over ten years ¾ eating away at me.

       Then I met Jesus Christ and He changed my life.  He became my personal Lord and Savior and God forgave me for all my sins including my abortion. He not only for­gave my sins, He forgot them!

       I believe God forgave me that November day in 1984 but I didn't forgive myself.  I still held guilt and disbelief that I could do such a terrible thing.

       Well that would take almost 3 more years for me to be rid of.  One summer day in 1987 when I was working at the CPC, Gretchen [the director] was the counselor and I was the client.  She prayed for [God to heal me], and God granted that prayer.  Praise God ¾ He set me free once and for all from that sin that held me in bondage for years!

       He took away the guilt and pain but I still have a sadness and regret for what I did.  I thank God for how He has turned my life around.  I thank Him for the two beautiful children He has blessed me with.  God has made Romans 8:28 very real to me.

       I have been sharing my experience at the CPC with abortion-minded girls.  I felt led to reveal this to you so I can be even more effective in helping more girls say no to abortion and yes to life for their babies.  And I believe through all of this God will be glorified.

       In conclusion I would just like to say the Crisis pregnancy Center isn't just for young pregnant girls.  It's for people like me who want to help but first need help them­selves.

       God took a horrible thing in my life and turned it around to be used for good.  If God can use me He can certainly use you.  It's not what we can do, it's what we can let God do through us.

       The Lord has touched many lives through this ministry including mine and I praise Him for that.[4] 

 

 

What do I do when my counsel fails to change someone's mind?

 

            This is an important question for you to consider.  What will your response be if someone has an abortion after you have counseled them against it?  What if a woman you counsel fails to apply biblical principles to her life?  What if you must watch a friend go slowly "down the tubes" because she continues to deny she did anything wrong in having an abortion?  How will it affect you?

            Each woman makes her own choice in response to a particular situation or piece of advice.  You are responsible for speaking the truth in love.  The guilt for failing to follow sound advise rests not with you, but with the other person.

 

 

Will I ever see any good coming out of this?

 

            Thousands of women's lives have already been changed for the better because of their abor­tion experience.  They are more compassionate, more caring, more patient, more focused on serving others and more forgiving than before their abortions. 

            I believe some of us must experience the depths of despair before we will turn to God.  Only then will we permit God access to our lives and hearts.  Your abortion may be what turned your life around and caused you to realize you needed Christ to forgive your sins.  We are told "In everything give thanks; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  Thank God for your abortion if it brought you to Him.  In this sense it served a "good" purpose.



How do I make it right?

 

            We've discussed previously that you can never make right your abortion.  However, you can show God's love to others by sharing what has happened in your life.  Second Corinthians 5:15 tells us we should live for others because of what Christ did for us.  Read how and why some women respond:

Sharing has been relatively easy.  This is my first opportunity to share with a person I don't know personally [reference to letter she wrote to me] and that can sometimes be scary, but I do trust God and I know He honors my sharing.  And as terrible as my sin was, if others have access to my experience and that of others and they decide on the side of life then glory to God ¾ He does indeed use all things for good (Romans 8:28).  Luke 7:47 speaks of the connection between forgiveness of sins and love.  Those for­given much have much love to give.  I have been forgiven much therefore I must have much love to give and I'd best be obedient and share that ¾ to His glory.  (Wendy)

I am so glad to share my feelings if it will help.  I don't want anyone to go through the pain of the procedure itself or the agonizing aftereffects.  My only strength has been my relationship with Jesus.  He has truly forgiven me, and has shown me so much love.  (Miyoshi)

I understand why I chose to have an abortion at that time in my life.  I wish I would have been able to look at the other options seriously, but I was running out of time.  I feel the need to help other teenagers and women who are faced with a similar situation.  I do feel good about who I am today and where my life is going!  (Anonymous)

            Let me offer three cautions as you begin to reach out to others.  One, don't go public because you feel you must to atone for your guilt in aborting your baby.  Nancy Michels puts it so well, "A woman is ready to make a commitment to the pro-life ministry when she comes forward not out of guilt but from freewill and healed conviction."[5]  Two, don't try to help others until you have learned to apply biblical principles to your own life.  Women who have not dealt biblically with their own abortions often unknowingly transfer their anger, bitterness, and turmoil to other women  Three, don't try to help others in your own strength.  Even Jesus took time to fast, pray, and meditate because He knew that power comes from God, not from our inner selves.  Post-abortion work is extremely stressful and burn-out is a very real possibility.  Always bathe your work in prayer, relying totally on God to work through you.  I keep a little quote over my kitchen sink which reads:  ". . . what makes a person valu­able is not what he is able to do, but what God is able to do through him."[6]

            The words of the Apostle Paul in First Corinthians 15:10 also have special meaning for me:  "But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me."



Your Thoughts

 

 

Before I read this chapter, I had a question about . . .

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In this chapter I have learned . . .

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To resolve my post-abortion trauma, I will . . .

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I need to talk to God about . . .

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A verse from the Bible which helped me in this chapter is . . .

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After reading this chapter, I have hope because . . .

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            There is so much I've wanted to tell you.  There are so many questions and no easy answers.  These pages only touch the surface of my heart's desire ¾ that you may go forth in your life healed and whole, having cast your burden upon Jesus, committed to helping others in whatever way He leads. 

            Each hand reaching out to touch and hold another hand strengthens the chain as we weld links so strong no power can break them.  Reach out your hand and touch a hurting life.  Pass on what you have learned.  Someone needs your love, your compassion, the understanding only you can bring to her.  Someone reached out to you.  Aren't you glad they did?
                                                                                         Pam Koerbel

         

           



[1]  You Want ME to Speak about Abortion?! is a booklet written to prepare private people to share their abortion experience publicly.  See the Appendix for details. 

[2]  Always have pro-life and post-abortion literature available when you speak. 

[3]  It may not always be possible to speak of God and Christ.  When you are speaking in a public school, for example, this would not be permitted. However, you can encourage people to speak with you afterward.  When they approach you privately, you can share Christ with them.

[4]  Debbie K. Weiser, speech given at the Delaware Crisis Pregnancy Center banquet, Delaware, Ohio, 1988.

[5]  Michels, Helping Women Recover from Abortion, p. 148. 

[6]  Miltinnie Yih, title unknown of an article in Kindred Spirit" Dallas, Texas, Winter 1986.



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