What do you say to a woman who wants to abort her baby?
That’s a good question, but not one many answer. Those working in crisis pregnancy centers who speak with abortion-minded women must answer that question in a real and practical way.
Most pro-life people, however, do not ever have to look at a pregnant woman dealing with an unwanted pregnancy.
It’s easy to theorize what you would say. Since you are on a pro-life site, you may be pro-life yourself and familiar with the arguments for the pro-life position. But the usual pro-life arguments are not very effective when dealing one-on-one with an abortion-minded young woman.
You can say that she’ll be killing her unborn child. That just adds more guilt to what she’s already feeling. She’s likely to turn and walk away at that moment. You can say it’s morally wrong or reprehensible, but that is not her concern at that point. She wants out of a tight spot. Morality just isn’t high on her list. You can review all the potential complications of abortion–pain, bleeding, infection, infertility and death–but she probably already knows several women who have had abortions and they survived, so why shouldn’t she?
Being a pro-life OBGYN doctor, I’ve had occasions where I’ve had to speak to women with unwanted pregnancies who were contemplating abortion.
However, some were already set on their course and just wanted a uterine sizing. What’s a uterine sizing? Most abortion clinics require a note from a physician or nurse practitioner confirming their pregnancy and stating their gestational age (how far along they are). By doing that, the abortion clinics make sure that every abortion scheduled turns into an abortion done. No false alarms, no false positive pregnancy tests, no patients saying they were eight weeks when they were really 18 weeks. It’s just more efficient that way. (Read: more profitable) I don’t do uterine sizings for abortions. If a patient comes in with that request, I do not honor it. I do take they occasion to try my best to dissuade them from aborting, mostly by getting an ultrasound. It’s harder to abort when you’ve seen the baby kick and move and seen the heart beating.
But some were considering abortion and were willing to talk. The “willing to talk” is a key thing. If the girl (I say “girl” because most I’ve dealt with have been teens) is willing to talk, there is always hope.
My usual way of dissuasion has developed through the years based on the experiences that I’ve had. I’m not sure if it fits the standards set by CPC’s or not. However, it seems right to me and I usually get woman to listen.
In the past, I’ve taken occasion to ask women who have had abortions how they feel about their abortion. I’ve asked open-ended questions without letting them know about my pro-life views. The response is interesting in its consistency. Most regret it and say it’s the biggest mistake they’ve ever made. That statement is usually followed by tears. Most are quite willing, in the privacy of a doctors office, to discuss this traumatic event openly and honestly. Most deeply regret it. The amount of angst and sorrow is truly remarkable.
That isn’t everyones response. Some are quite defensive and still in denial and pain. They’ve been told that abortion was “no big deal”, it was “her reproductive right”, her “choice”, her “decision”. The last thing she wants to do is rock the emotional boat and think deeply about it. “Fine, just fine,” I’ve had patients say with a defensive tone. Oh, dear. My heart goes out to those tormented souls.
My words of counsel, of dissuasion are rooted in the response I’ve received from the honest, from those who have looked into the reality of their “choice.” “If you go through with this abortion, I can tell you that you will most likely regret it deeply. You may have tears, long term sorrow, possibly depression,” I tell her.
What I say has the ring of truth, because it is true.
Then I try to identify the problem that she specifically faces and deal with it. Boyfriend not supportive? I’m sorry. Parents will be disappointed and angry? Well, they may understand more than you think. Took a cold pill and are afraid the baby will be deformed? Not likely, but let’s do an ultrasound to check. Can’t afford a baby? Let’s call some organizations that would be willing to help.
After she leaves (and sometimes silently, while she is there) I pray for her and her unborn baby and the decision she faces. For her salvation, her mental health, her social situation, her unborn baby and I pray that God will help her see that abortion is never the answer.
So trying to get her into some forward thinking–the regret, the sadness, the depression–and trying to deal with the current problem in a practical way are the ways I use. That and asking God for mercy and compassion for her and her unborn. I’d be interested in any real life examples that have worked for you.