The Right to Remain Silent After Abortion

“I don’t understand why women aren’t flooding onto platforms to share their abortion truth, Sydna,” a male pro-life leader declared during a long ago phone conversation. “I’m angry that you aren’t pushing women to take a stand against abortion when you know what it cost you!”

I responded, pointing out the obvious, “Which dark secret sin–like fornication or adultery–are you going to share on that platform first to encourage us to speak? Post abortive women have the right to remain silent.”

I ended the conversation as the leader’s rage seemed directed at me personally, despite the fact that I’ve shared my abortion truth publicly for many years. His goals were entirely political, while mine involved compassion and outreach.

If one third of all American women have experienced abortion, why is it that so few speak publicly about this choice? Does post-abortive silence mean women are delighted about their abortion? Or does it outline the overwhelming trauma we endured that is impossible to vocalize?

Post-Abortive silence is a form of self-defense. Anything we say about this choice can and will be used against us at various levels of society.  Overhearing conversations that spout vague obscenities about us reinforce our stance to never share this truth.

Memories of shouting protesters that taunted us as “murderers” outside the abortion clinic obliterates any reliance for those who stand against abortion.  Recollections of our typically traumatizing moments inside the clinic demolishes any confidence in pro-choice forces as well. We are left in a quagmire of silence, not knowing whom to trust.

Abortion truths remain locked away in the deepest sanctuary of a woman’s heart, encircled by numerous other lies required to maintain this secret. Abortion façades are often designed to simply ensure the family name remains respected in a community.

Abortion concealment is often rehearsed to ensure no physical reaction if the term is discussed in our presence. We can stand in both pro-choice and pro-life settings and maintain our silent reverie.

As one of the first women to share my abortion truth publicly on a Focus on the Family radio broadcast in 1992, I know the costs of being public about this sin. Dr. James Dobson offered me confidentiality at that time, but that would have diminished the presentation’s goal. Sharing my name allowed women the opportunity to talk to me directly.

The result of being identified by my abortion was a revival among post-abortive hearts. God’s healing restored many hearts, allowing them to live as better wives, mothers, sisters, and friends. Yet even with the healing, few joined me in speaking publicly. My ongoing public sacrifice of sharing this secret was enough to release them from such a task.

Sadly, my mother suffered great agony when I came out of the closet about this choice. “You are telling the world I was a bad mother!” she responded.

While my mother was not involved in my abortion decision, my choice was a source of shame to her. By sharing my name, I sacrificed her dignity. You see, my abortion secret belonged to my entire family, not just to myself.

Family sins are often covered up by abortion so small town scandals are averted. As time passes, more lies are offered to conceal this choice, making a heavy layered argument for silence.

Yet there is a difference between a private and public confession. 1 John 1:9 outlines, If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

Confession to God from the deepest part of your heart is the first step in healing abortion’s pain. I’m happy that God’s purifying process doesn’t necessarily involve a public admission of such sin.

God knows our hearts and each sin we have committed. When we come to the point of surrendering to his mercy and grace, we can begin God’s purifying process. Abortion recovery programs, available through pregnancy centers, are designed to help that process, not to prepare women for the public confession.

God’s healing process doesn’t necessarily include the requirement of full public disclosure. While a public testimony may be God’s plan for a person’s life in the future, the healing process must come first. The large majority of post-abortive women may never publicly speak due to a variety of variables, the most being God isn’t leading them to do so.

If you have experienced abortion, please know that God holds the keys to that silent sanctuary in your heart that houses your secret sin. He can unlock that door and set you free from the bondage of any sin. By asking for his help, your healing can begin. As your heart becomes stronger in his grace, he will lead you specifically and I’ll be happy to help.

For those who are frustrated or angry with post-abortive silence, James 5:9 outlines, Don’t grumble against one another, brothers and sisters, or you will be judged. The Judge is standing at the door! 

Everyone is affected by abortion.  Please share this post to help quietly promote the hope of God’s healing.

Photo by Dollen via Flickr

Sydna Masse
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