Understanding Abortion’s Aftermath

by Grace Kern, Director of Word of Hope

Since 1973, there have been more than 58 million abortions in the United States.

LFL’s Word of Hope receives around 250 calls each month from people across the country hurting because of a past abortion. Many say the experience has devastated their lives, causing long-lasting emotional, psychological, and spiritual trauma.

Counselors and pastors increasingly attest evidence of post-abortion trauma. Abortion aftermath is largely ignored by most in the general public. Groups organized to protect abortion on demand claim that abortion is no different than any surgical procedure and that the pro-life groups are fabricating the existence of post-abortion suffering. Consequently, many women think that their grief reactions are somehow abnormal and believe that they are the only one experiencing these feelings and that there is nowhere for them to turn.

Who are these women? They are your aunts, your mothers, your cousins, your neighbors, your co-workers, and your church friends. These women come from all different age groups, races, and religions. They are single women, married women, and divorced women. So where are all these women and why aren’t they talking about it? The fear of negative reaction from family and friends keeps most women silent.

Women hurt by abortion have some or many of the following symptoms:

  • Grief
  • Depression (sometimes to the point of suicidal thoughts and attempts)
  • Guilt and shame
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feeling of being numb, isolating self from others
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Anger toward self, partner, parents, and God
  • Sleep disorders (nightmares, flashbacks, or even sounds of a baby crying)
  • Alcohol and drug problems to dull the pain and sorrow
  • Desire for a “replacement” baby
  • Anniversary reactions on the date of the abortion or the baby’s due date
  • Fear that God will punish them in some way.

Many women walk on a path of grief and hopelessness after abortion, usually alone. Along their path they eventually begin to understand they have very deep spiritual wounds. Sadly, however they also are likely to believe that they have committed the unforgivable sin.

When these women call me they have many questions, the answers are the beginning of their healing. Will this pain ever go away? How can I sit in church when I didn’t protect my own child? What if my church knew? Is healing possible? Can God ever forgive me?

The answer is YES! YES! YES!

"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Being forgiven by God does not mean you will instantly have all the answers and all painful memories will be gone. It does mean we now have a way to resolve our problems–God’s way. If you draw on God’s power for your life, your anger and bitterness will eventually be replaced with love and peace. By proclaiming the truth we can bring hope and healing!