Will I Be Punished for My Abortion?
"I suffered severe baby blues until I found out I was pregnant again, then I carried my daughter in utter guilt expecting God to punish me for my previous abortion."
ost-abortion women have committed murder. We struggle with the knowledge, that because of the method chosen, the murder was legal. Therefore, no investigation, trial, or conviction by a court of law will ever occur. We know we committed murder ¾ yet society declares we merely terminated a pregnancy. We know we are guilty ¾ yet society declares we are innocent of any crime. We know we deserve punishment ¾ yet society declares there was no crime.
Because we understand that we committed murder, our conscience desires retribution to satisfy the guilt. That's us. We believe with all our hearts we deserve punishment. But we will never experience punishment from society. If not society, then from whom? Our minds quickly respond, "God, of course!"
Is God punishing me?
This question implies that God is punishing you. Women asking this question invariably view the punisher as God, the cause of the punishment their abortion, and the recipient themselves or their loved ones. People generally view punishment not as a consequence of their own actions, but as judgment passed upon them by another. For instance, a child refuses to obey his mother. Mother spanks him. The child sees his mother as a condemning judge. However, although the punishment is carried out by the mother, it results as a consequence of wrong action on the part of the child. Mother spanks to correct wrong behavior.
Love and concern for another's well being demands that discipline be done following incorrect behavior. I sometimes tell my children before I discipline them, "This will hurt me more than it will hurt you." That's true! It hurts me terribly to cause my children any pain. However, because I love them, I discipline them in order to get their attention and focus it on the fact there is a problem which needs correcting. This idea of some type of punishment to correct behavior is the brainchild not of any person, but is from God. God has chastised people since the Garden of Eden incident when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit and were evicted from the garden.
The key concept to grasp here is that punishment from God is not against us. It is against disobedience to His Word. God always punishes unrepentant sin in order to bring us to repentance and restoration. God disciplines us as a father would his children. Once we choose to correct our wrong action and obey, God no longer "spanks" us (Hebrews 12:5-11). Although natural consequences of our actions may result, these are not punishment from God. Be assured, God does not sit in heaven looking for ways to punish you for your abortion.
Is there a reason God might still punish me?
God punishes only unrepentant sin. Examine your life. Are you habitually doing anything of which God would disapprove? If so, you are in danger of being chastised.
Let me give you an example of a specific sin God would punish if not confessed and repented of: Since approximately 80% of abortions are performed on unmarried women, most of us were involved in fornication (sexual relationship outside of marriage) at the time we became pregnant. We got caught at an untimely moment. We were surprised. We had thought, "It will never happen to me." We worried about the pregnancy to the point of having an abortion. Yet most of us never gave a second thought to the fornication that resulted in the pregnancy. The fact is, if we had not been involved in fornication, pregnancy would not have occurred and therefore abortion would never have been considered or chosen.
God forbids fornication. In Old Testament times, death by stoning was the penalty for fornication. However, in our modern age, sex outside of marriage is the norm. People are no longer ostracized (let alone stoned to death) for living together without a marriage license. But punishment for fornication still exists. The difference is that now it is the innocent unborn children along with their mothers who pay the price.
Often fear causes us to turn to God and to do right. Once that fear passes, our natural inclination is to return to our old ways. Following an abortion many women return to the very lifestyle that led to pregnancy. Yet fear should continue be very real because God will punish those who continue to commit fornication: "Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" (Hebrews 13:4).
Some sin will not be easy to give up. We may enjoy it. Our deceitful heart tells us, "Aw, go ahead, God won't punish you for this." What we need to say is, "Lord, I'm wrong. You are right. With your help, I will choose to obey."
How does abortion affect my chances of conceiving another child?
This is a frequently asked question. Because we have lost one baby so tragically, the thought of not being able to have another burdens our mind. Do you find yourself thinking about the following?
· Is there hope of bearing future children? I've read it's hard to get pregnant after an abortion. I have been trying for nine months to get pregnant. I don't know if the problem is stress and guilt or past infection or past abortion. Not knowing is the worst part. We plan to get it checked out soon.
· Could psychosomatic illness because of guilt over abortion prevent me from getting pregnant again?
· How will this affect my childbearing ability?
· I'm afraid I'll never be able to have more children.
· Will I be able to have children without any problems? Normal children?
· Am I to never have a child of my own? Is this the punishment?
Many criteria are involved in becoming pregnant. Conception can only occur during certain days of your monthly cycle. Your husband and you must both be fertile. Illness can inhibit your becoming pregnant. Then too, your mind is very powerful and can control certain bodily functions. Guilt and fear are two culprits. Our bodies work as a complete unit ¾ mentally, physiologically, emotionally, and spiritually. When any one of these is out of kilter, a pregnancy could be blocked.
If you can't get pregnant, see your doctor and find out if there is a medical reason. If both you and your husband are fertile, try to relax during sex. Being "uptight" may keep conception from occurring. Ask your physician for other suggestions on increasing the likelihood of conception.
Why am I frightened of another pregnancy?
Any pregnancy causes concern to the extent that we hope for a healthy baby and anticipate changes in our lives as we assume new and awesome responsibilities. After all, babies come to us without an instruction manual!
However, following an abortion, women often find their apprehension heightened. This is normal. You may still have unresolved conflicts about your abortion. You have lost a child during pregnancy. He died because you aborted him and you may believe God will punish you by allowing something to go wrong with a future pregnancy.
Following my abortion, I feared pregnancy. I feared I would not be able to become pregnant, and when I did, I feared God would punish me by allowing my baby to be deformed. When Michael was born "perfect" in every way, I accepted the fact that God would not punish me in this way.
As I came to understand God's ways better, I realized that had one of my children been born handicapped or deformed, that would not indicate God had punished me or my child. God permits people to be formed as they are for a reason ¾ so the glory of God may been seen in their lives (John 9:3; Exodus 4:11). If you should bear a "special" child, thank God for the baby and ask Him to help you and the child know His purpose.
Would God try to punish me by letting something happen to my other children?
Just as God does not punish your future children, so He would not punish your living children to "get back" at you. God loves you and your children. He wants only the best for you and them. You believe that, don't you? Then grab hold of it and hang on! "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power, and of love and of a sound mind" (2 Timothy 1:7). If you fear that God will "do something" to your living children in order to punish you, your life will be spent in pessimistic expectation. The only child punished by your abortion was the baby you aborted.
How can you forgive yourself for any future problem pregnancies that may occur (miscarriage, stillbirth, etc.)? How do you handle the grief and guilt when you realize that the abortion may have affected this?
Problems in future pregnancies can occur as a result of your abortion. But they are a natural consequence and not related to God punishing you.
If you are living with a difficult situation resulting from your abortion, I understand how you feel. My daughter, Sarah, is a surviving twin. I miscarried her fraternal brother or sister during my third month of pregnancy. Whether or not the miscarriage was a direct consequence of my abortion, I will never know. I do know wallowing in grief and guilt won't correct the problem and would only lead me to despair. I find it helps to ask God how He wants to use such a situation to help me or another person to grow stronger.
God wants to meet your need. It's foolish to try to cope with our feelings on our own. An anonymous woman writes, "I thought time would heal the wounds that I self-inflicted, but it only made it worse. I had a miscarriage a few years after and felt I was receiving just payment. I thought God took a life since I did. Then I turned to Jesus Christ and received forgiveness from this horrible sin. Now I have peace and comfort to make it through the day that only God can offer." This woman has learned to cast her burdens on Jesus (Psalm 55:22). His shoulders are broad and strong. Jesus wants to bear your burdens. Won't you let Him?
What if I can't have other children?
There are women throughout the world that yearn to bear a child and cannot. Not all of these women have experienced abortion. If your abortion has resulted in sterility, your pain must be great. I know getting pregnant is probably the most important thing to you at this point in your life. Try to keep it in perspective. You can have a fulfilling life without children, but you must choose to do so and set your mind in that direction.
Because I believe God can do anything, I want you to know something. I personally know four women who wanted desperately to become pregnant. All four were medically determined to be barren. Through intervention of prayer, two of these women now have children. Yes, these are miracles. Our God is the God of miracles. Two women still remain barren. For whatever His reason, God chose to deny these women the children they so desire. Although people perform the act that can result in conception, God opens and closes the womb. Julie's words carry much wisdom: "Someday I'll get married and will want to have children. It often scares me that I won't be able to. But the Lord will be there to comfort me. I don't know what His plans are for me, but they will be in His will."
If you cannot have children, you may want to consider adoption. Because of your experience, your capacity to love may have been enlarged. Phyllis Lefort wrote this acrostic:
Transmits vs. Thoughtfully
Nobody hears Next home
Perhaps God has chosen you to provide a home for a baby to whom a woman has chosen to give life.
I'm still single in my thirties. Is God punishing me?
Most questions related to punishment following an abortion focus on children. However, one woman asked the question just posed. For a woman who wants very much to marry and raise a family, this can be a tormenting question. You may believe God sees you as unfit to marry and mother another child. Again, God will not punish you for your abortion by keeping you unmarried. Sometimes there is a very logical reason why a woman remains single. The woman who asked this question recently married. She responds this way: "Now I know that singleness later [in life] is a product of our generation and of accepting the world's view of what is fulfilling for a woman."
We do not know the future, but God does. Remaining single may be His perfect plan for you. On the other hand, God's timing is perfect. Perhaps this very minute your future husband is looking for you!
How do I deal with or lose the feeling that someday I am going to "pay" for this?
We feel so bad about our abortion we can't believe the punishment we so justly deserve won't follow. We want the release that punishment will bring and at the same time we fear what the punishment will be.
You may still feel guilty about your abortion. We must not live our lives in accordance with our guilty feelings. Feelings can err, mislead, and confuse. Guilt often causes us to run in an attempt to escape impending punishment. In the Bible, Moses ran when he had killed the Egyptian; Jonah ran after refusing to obey God; David killed Uriah to hide his sin of adultery with Bathsheba. In all three cases, these people were found out, punished, and at their request, reconciled to God once more.
The Bible admonishes, "Be sure your sin will find you out" (Number 32:23). Your sin did find you out ¾ your conscience revealed it to you ¾ and you were punished until you repented. Some natural consequences of having had an abortion may include the inability to bear or carry more children. Infections and other medical problems may occur. Even though some of the consequences of your abortion may remain throughout your life, you are forgiven for the sin of abortion once you choose to trust Christ as your Savior.
The punishment you should have had for your abortion has been negated by the laws of our land. One woman writes, "God has been so good to us and I really can't understand it. If things were as they should be I should be in prison with a life sentence or even have already been executed." God has not dealt with us according to our sin. God is just but He is also sovereign. In His sovereignty He chooses to be merciful to those who love and obey Him. The punishment we deserved was spared us. Yet a crime was committed and someone must pay. Someone has. His name is Jesus.
Before I read this chapter, I had a question about . . .
In this chapter I have learned . . .
To resolve my post-abortion trauma, I will . . .
I need to talk to God about . . .
A verse from the Bible which helped me in this chapter is . . .
After reading this chapter, I have hope because . . .