My hands shook and my voice trembled the first time I shared my abortion testimony in public. God had done incredible work in my heart through his Word. This gave me the courage to share my most private sin with the people gathered for an evening service in my church. It was an opportunity to testify to the beautiful redemption the gospel of Jesus can bring to broken sinners.
Yet, something else emboldened me to come to the front of the sanctuary and tell my story—other hurting women. I wanted them to know that Jesus can and does forgive all forms of sin, including the sin of abortion. I was compelled to convey to them that not only does Christ forgive . . . he heals. Psalm 147:3 promises that God binds up the wounds of those who have been brokenhearted, even the self-inflicted wounds of abortion. It was this hope I was wishing to share with the women sitting in the pews.
When I had finished sharing, my pastor prayed and closed out the service. I then waited for another brave woman in our church to come up to me and confide that she too had had an abortion. No woman came.
However, to my surprise, one of my brothers in Christ approached me. As we stood in the middle aisle of the church, I thought it was kind of him to come and encourage me. The more we talked, the closer he leaned in, his voice quieted, and his eyes filled with tears.
“When I was younger,” he confided, “I got my girlfriend pregnant, and I pressured her to have an abortion,” he stammered, barely able to get out the word “abortion.” I was able to point him to a male biblical counselor who was also post-abortive so that they could work together.
Almost as soon as he and I were done talking, another man approached me. His tears were visible, falling on his cheek, as he told me, “Years ago, I got my girlfriend pregnant and she decided to get an abortion, against my wishes. I’ve been torn up over it ever since. I felt helpless to save my baby.” He broke down and wept.
Caring for Post-Abortive Fathers
These are not the only stories I’ve heard from brokenhearted fathers. One devastated man had been carrying around in his wallet—for decades—the receipt for the abortion he had paid for. Another man, an elder in his church, just couldn’t bring himself to attend the worship service when the Sanctity of Human Life Sunday rolled around every January. He would stay at home on that particular day filled with sorrow, instead of sitting in the pew where he belonged rejoicing at Jesus’s redeeming, sanctifying work from the sin of abortion. Intellectually he knew he was forgiven, but he wasn’t healed.
Abortion affects men as well as women. While it is rare to hear sermons about the devastating impact on mothers who have aborted their preborn babies, it’s even less common to hear preaching that addresses abortion’s effects on fathers.
Psalm 127:4–5a says, “Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, So are the children of one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them” (NLT). What do you do to help the despairing dad who has had one of his arrows snapped in two either by his own hand or someone else’s? He knows his quiver is lighter than it’s supposed to be, and his heart is heavy.
Many Christians, including pastors and biblical counselors, want to jump straight to God’s forgiveness. However, this is an overly simplistic attempt to resolve something that runs deep in the soul. The work of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God alone can heal.
Start by Listening
Where do you begin with the brother who is hurting because of a previous abortion experience? Start by listening to his story and asking good questions. Proverbs 20:5 tells us, “The purpose in a man’s heart is like deep water, but a man of understanding will draw it out.” As believers, we have been called to help bear one another’s burdens and to help apply Scripture to each other’s lives.
Here are a few questions to consider as you sit with him, seeking to point him to hope, healing, and redemption in Christ:
- What were the circumstances leading up to the abortion?
- Whose idea was it and how were you involved (or kept from being involved)?
- Can you share any thoughts you had about God at the time?
- What was your relationship like with the mother of your child after the abortion?
- When you reflect on your abortion experience, what thoughts or feelings come to you now?
- How do you believe God sees you in light of what happened?
- Is there anything he has been convicting you of regarding your abortion experience?
- What hope do you have in Jesus to heal and grow you after your abortion experience?
The taking of a life is one of the most traumatic events a person can experience. The Bible says death is our enemy (1 Corinthians 15:26). Death deeply affects the one who wielded it as a weapon in their own hands (or witnessed it being used) against their pre-born baby.
There are many complexities to sin, especially the sin of abortion, and every person’s experience with it is unique. As Christians, we must seek God’s wisdom in coming alongside other suffering sinners and point them to their Savior, Jesus Christ. In him alone will they find the hope and healing their souls truly need.
Moving Forward After Abortion
Counselor Camille Cates points women who may be facing hurt, confusion, and unanswered questions after an abortion to finding grace and mercy in God’s love. In Moving Forward after Abortion, she helps them to see that God is forgiving, gracious, merciful, and loving, and offers comfort to those who come to him to experience restoration instead of brokenness.