The weekend before my abortion I was sitting in church.
This is the first post in a four-part series on preventing abortion in the church. These posts are reprinted with the author’s permission from https://www.care-net.org/abundant-life-blog/what-every-pastor-can-do-to-prevent-abortions-in-their-congregation-pt-1
“Twenty years ago I had my abortion. The week before I had my abortion, I was sitting in my seat in my pew at my church. The week after my abortion I was sitting in my pew at my church. For the last twenty years, I’ve sat in that same seat, in the same pew. Never once has there been a message in our church offering hope and healing, and as a result, I assumed [abortion] must not only be the unspeakable sin, but therefore it must be the unforgivable sin.”
“If you think you are doing something compassionate by not bringing this issue up, if you think by being the priest or the Levite by avoiding it and just hoping it will go away, and you’re helping people, you’re not.” Do everything you can. Help those in need. Help those in unexpected pregnancies. Help our culture that is sick. We have the answer. The gospel of Jesus Christ was not only a gospel of salvation, but it was a gospel of building His Kingdom here on earth. The way we do that is to love our neighbors as ourselves.
There are thousands of women sitting in church who need to hear that God’s gift of forgiveness is offered to all, not just those who have never had abortions. There is a long list of steps pro-life advocates would like to see their pastor take to stop abortion, and, unfortunately, pastors find that list intimidating. They can’t do everything, and they often don’t feel like anything that they can do would make a difference. I’d like to suggest one minimal (and not even controversial) leadership decision that pastors can make that is likely to save lives within their congregations.
I would love for all pastors to include that message occasionally, but I also understand that it’s a harder sell. Fortunately, there is something even easier that pastors can do, one thing that I believe every pastor and youth pastor ought to do: make a public commitment on behalf of the whole church that they will treat women who become pregnant with grace and compassion instead of shame and rejection.
If you are finding it difficult to find a place to worship while in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy, we can help. The Pregnancy Resource Center is in relationship with a number of churches across Central Oregon that will welcome you with grace and compassion.