Why so Sad, My Soul? The Aftermath of Abortion

For both women and men, a problem pregnancy is a major crisis. Often there are real concerns about affording a child, housing, their reputations, lack of support, thinking they are too young to parent, or the ending of their future dreams, often all while being unmarried. Some are illegally threatened, coerced, or forced. Some have addictions and don’t want to have a damaged/addicted child. To many, the issues seem insurmountable. Too often, they see the baby as the “problem” and think if they just get rid of the baby quickly, all will be well, so they decide on abortion.

Abortion does not solve the problem

They have the choice because abortion is legal, but their little son or daughter has no choice, no protection, and finally, no life. Moreover, by this choice, they often exchange what they consider to be one problem for what becomes a host of other problems. The aftermath of that supposed “quick fix” is often much more than they bargained for; the baby is gone, and all is NOT well.

Although researchers disagree as to whether or not Post-Abortion Syndrome exists, many men and women are adversely affected by abortion. Below is a list of some of the after effects that are experienced by many following an abortion.

  • Shame, hopelessness
  • Intense guilt
  • Anxiety, panic attacks
  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression, suicide
  • Difficulty conceiving and carrying subsequent children
  • Drug, alcohol addiction, sometimes leading to incarceration
  • Sexual promiscuity
  • Greater vulnerability to future abortions
  • Relationship disruption, difficulty bonding with future children
  • Difficulty completing things, abortion of the very dreams they hoped to save
  • Fear of rejection by God
  • Post-traumatic stress, including flash backs of the abortion experience
  • Eating disorders
  • Anger/rage at others involved and/or at themselves
  • Increased potential to develop breast cancer

God has “wired” parents to protect their children, so when a person chooses abortion they betray God’s design for them. As a result, shame and guilt frequently follow the destruction of a child. The knowledge of the choice will last a lifetime, and sometimes the guilt colors relationships with family, spouses, and God. True healing can take a very long time.

I have intentionally mentioned men in this discussion. Some fathers don’t want their child aborted but are given no rights and no choice, no matter how much they want to parent the child or support the mother. No matter how much they beg and plead, the choice is made. For these men, the abortion of their child can be devastating, and salvaging the relationship thereafter is difficult to unlikely. At the other end of the spectrum are fathers who want no part of being a father, refuse to be involved, or even force the mother to have the abortion. At some point even fathers in this latter category may have a revelation of their responsibility in killing their child and be negatively impacted by it.

But nothing can separate

But the good news is that nothing can separate us from the love of God. The guilt may be strong, but we are all guilty. "All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23. We all stand on even ground at the foot of the cross in need of the saving and healing that Jesus purchased through His death and resurrection on the cross. God is passionately in love with all human beings, loves us no matter what we do, and stands waiting for us to come to Him through faith in Jesus. Jesus is the Healer. There is healing in no other Name.

As with all mankind, post-abortive men and women can know that God still loves them and reach out to Him for His forgiveness. This is often difficult because many go into denial, even refusing to admit the abortion to themselves, thus needlessly postponing healing for years or decades. The Good News is that God was not taken by surprise by anyone’s decision to abort their child. He loves the child AND the child’s parents and family.

Nothing you can do or have ever done will stop God from loving you. As Paul says, "I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord" Romans 8:38-39 NIV.

Thankfully, in Christ, there is healing available for women and men. The following are important ways to pursue healing:

  • Admit to yourself that you may have been harmed by abortion.
  • Seek counseling from a therapist/counselor/pastor who has specialized training and/or experience in counseling post-abortive men and women.
  • Seek out a support group for post-abortive people.
  • Confide in a loving, non-judgmental friend who will accept and support you. Secret sins seem to be where the enemy likes to attack us.
  • Participate in a Bible study, such as "Forgiven and Set Free."
  • Find a loving, pro-life church where all are welcomed but encouraged to be forgiven and healed.

The following are some online resources for healing:

The National Helpline for Abortion Recovery can be reached by calling 866 482-LIFE or visiting their website at www.NationalHelpline.org.

About the author — Lynne Scherschel, MS, LMFT

Lynne Scherschel is a Licensed Marriage & Family Therapist in Indiana and works at Chicago Christian Counseling Center. Her expertise includes over twenty-five years working to facilitate God's healing for people who have experienced childhood trauma and those who are encountering issues of death and loss, parenting, divorce, and step-families. Additional training includes Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) and Prepare/Enrich certification. Chicago Christian Counseling Center is a nonprofit and has provided professional Christian counseling in Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana since 1973. For more information, call (800) 361-6880 or visit www.chicagochristiancounseling.org.

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