To the Post-Abortive Woman Sitting in the Church Pew

As a civil war rages in the streets and social media feeds of America, you try your best not to think about it.

Still, “My Body, My Choice” signs feel like daggers shoved deep into your heart. You believed that lie too. Your last name isn’t “Roe” but you know it might as well be. In a moment of panic, confusion, or hurt, you looked at a pink stick and looked at your options and decided it wasn’t a baby—it was a choice, your choice—a choice you’d make differently today.

The pro-life message hurts your heart too—perhaps even more deeply—because now you know that unborn babies are not blobs of tissue. You believe that life begins at conception and that Jesus is the Author of all life, including the life you snuffed out so many years ago, the life you’ve thought of every day since.

There was a child stamped with the image of God in your womb, and you chose the path of abortion, but that’s not the only path you’ve been on. You’ve also chosen to walk the way of Jesus. You’ve seen with fresh eyes the weight of your rebellion and the punishment you deserve because of it. You’ve reached out and found Jesus already waiting, ready to take your sin and shame and offer His grace and goodness.

You know that the cost of your abortion (and every other sin you’ve committed or will commit) was paid by Jesus on the cross, but erasing your debt and erasing your regret are not the same thing.As you move through your days, you are accompanied by a constant, dull pain and a deep sense of loss knowing that what could have been never was. 

Our churches are full of women like you, born again followers of Jesus who are also post-abortive. They are the women who lead Bible studies, sing from the stage on Sunday mornings, and lay their hands on the hurting to pray, but hope no one ever asks where they stand on abortion. Seven in ten women who have had an abortion identify as Christians. They sit in the pews of every church, not just yours. (And there’s no way for those numbers to account for the many women who have never told another soul about their sin.)

As the debate about this issue reaches deafening levels, I’ve thought of you often. I believe you are uniquely suited to win hearts and minds toward God’s truth on this issue, even though I understand if you’d rather sit this one out. After all, how can you encourage other women to choose life when you didn’t? How can you take a stand so hypocritical? Who are you to look into the eyes of this evil and take the moral high ground? Sister in Christ, I mean this sincerely, you are exactly who we need.

Abortion Is a Gospel Issue

Few things have exposed our depravity as fully as the abortion conversation. “Hands Off Our Bodies” rallies reveal our desire for autonomy at any cost. “Summer of Rage” promises showcase how easily angered we’ve become and how willing we are to say whatever it takes to have our way. We worship so easily at the altar of convenience that we’re capable of seeing children—our childrenas an obstacle to be removed. We are sinners prone to call good things wicked and wicked things good (Isa. 5:20). My use of “we” was intentional there. Sin is not an us vs. them proposition, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23).

You can cut through the political debates, the marches, the picket sign activism, and the non-stop media coverage with the message that Jesus moves toward us in our brokenness and offers grace. You can look into the eyes of the woman who is considering an abortion and the woman who has had an abortion and offer something she needs desperately: compassion. I am confident that many women who have been personally affected by abortion are terrified to step foot in a church for fear that they wear a scarlet letter. But you know better. You know that Christ came for sinners (Luke 5:32), that His love is impossible to cancel (Jer. 31:3), and that His blood fully covers the sin of abortion (Col. 1:20). You have a story worth telling in this cultural moment. 

You are not abortion’s poster child. That may be who you were, but because of Jesus, that is not who you are. You are a trophy of God’s grace (1 Cor. 6:11). That makes you a voice we need to hear. 

Abortion Hurts Women

The sandy foundation the pro-choice position has been built upon is that abortion “rights” are good for women. No reasonable person has ever argued that abortions are good for babies, but flip on any news channel or scroll to any post about this issue and you will see:

“Women”

“Women”

“WOMEN!”

Yet when we pull this issue back from the public square, it’s easy to see that abortion is not a choice any woman dreams of making. Most women don’t have to be taught to play house and rock our baby dolls to sleep as little girls. Motherhood is something God has hardwired us to desire, and any time a woman is considering that choice, she’s also watching a long list of dreams fall apart. You are a woman who knows the real truth: abortion is devastating to women because sin always leaves destruction in its wake (Prov. 14:12).

  • I think of my friend Sarah who aborted a baby girl forty years ago, and though she went on to have sons, she never got pregnant with a daughter again. Her ache is real and relentless. 
  • I think of Laura who was told that if she didn’t choose abortion, her child would suffer. Despite a deep desire to grow her family, she never got pregnant again. It’s a reality that still brings tears to her eyes. 
  • I think of Kathryn, who had an abortion in college. Though she’s now a grandparent, she sets aside one day a year to grieve the child she lost. 

These are the stories the news isn’t telling, the ones angry crowds and signs held high can never communicate. You are uniquely able to say, “I had an abortion. It did not lead to my freedom. It led to deep and lasting hurt, but there is real, lasting freedom from sin available in Jesus Christ.” You are the reason the Psalmist declared, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble” (Psalm 107:2 ESV).

The Church Was Built for This

Our world is aching for the redemption of this moment. We know the deep truth that so many do not—that Jesus is able to redeem every unwanted pregnancy, every terrifying diagnosis, every choice made from fear, every regret . . . and work them for our good and His glory. As His Bride we are to shine like spotlights in the darkness. Post-abortive or not, as Christian women, we are ambassadors of hope. 

You don’t have to march on Washington to make this point. You don’t need to launch a non-profit or become a talking head. But will you join the chorus of saints who are crying out to Jesus to overturn every law that celebrates abortion as a God-given right? Will you bravely share your story with the women in your Bible study so that their hearts are soft to what’s at stake? Will you ask the Lord to put you in the path of a woman who is hurting from her own abortion and offer grace? Will you be a voice crying in the wilderness that this is not about policies and politics, it’s about life? 

It’s tempting to go underground, to ignore what’s happening and stop watching the news. But the Church has a job to do. We are on co-mission with Christ to make disciples and teach His Word. When darkness and light clash, we are made to shine (Matt. 5:14). Jesus is the hope the whole world is longing for. Like a steeple visible for miles around, the Church was built for this. You were built for this. May we rise to the occasion together and celebrate that Jesus chose life (John 10:10). 

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