Band Aids Don’t Fix Bullet Holes

​”The Only Person Who Judges Me For My Abortion — Who Matters  — Is Me.” These are the words of Anna Spargo-Ryan, a gifted writer and talented blogger who recently wrote a piece for Medium about her parenting and abortion experiences.

Anna perfectly captures the grieving process in a way I never could.

“No one who loves me is critical of the decisions I made then. They don’t say to me, Anna, I still can’t believe you did that to your unborn child. They don’t say, Wow, you made some really bad decisions. The only person who does that is me. The only person who stands in front of a mirror and screams into it is me.The person who needs to forgive me is me.”

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Every time I read these stories or hear “inspirational” quotes from women who say abortion is such an empowering experience, my heart breaks. Not for the child who lost his life, but for the mother who lost hers. Anna admits that her experience has been a little different. She doesn’t feel empowered, she doesn’t feel judged. She doesn’t feel at all.

I believe (and I think Anna agrees with me) that every woman who has made the decision to abort her son or daughter is shattered inside. It’s a grief that is different for everyone but a grief nonetheless. Anna dreams of screaming into a mirror as she recognizes her own desperate need for forgiveness.

But Anna’s missing the key here. Healing doesn’t come until we’ve acknowledged our sin and its gravity. Only after we say “Yes, it was wrong. Yes, I hurt someone” can we ask for forgiveness. To put it bluntly, without sin, there cannot be redemption.

Last week, Planned Parenthood released this mission statement: “​At Planned Parenthood, we believe that a woman’s decision about her pregnancy should be hers. We support the women who come to us, we make sure each woman has the information she needs to make a decision for herself, and we work hard to make sure she does not face political hurdles or financial hardship because of the decision she has made. We believe in providing nonjudgmental care no matter what.”

Here’s the thing, I don’t know many crisis pregnancy centers or pro-life organizations that would disagree or refuse to adopt any of these principles. We should support women, regardless of the decisions they make and we should absolutely provide non judgmental care. I honestly believe that’s a big part of why the national abortion ratio has continued to drop every year since 2007.

We have to acknowledge women where they are at and realize that the story doesn’t end with a child’s life or death. It begins. Anna does a great job of reminding us what’s really at stake here. Women don’t forget; it may change, but the memory doesn’t fade.

“At the beginning of my book there’s a dedication. It’s not to my partner, or my kids, or my parents, or myself. It’s the only way I know how to forgive myself — to create something permanent (or with at least one print run) that gives some meaning to the experience I had, without dismissing it or dismissing my perpetually correct decision. It says:”

For the person I knew infinitely,
and momentarily.

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