My seven year-old’s innocence was shattered in my answering his question.
“Abortion is when they take the baby out of a Mommy’s tummy before it is big enough to live in the World. The baby goes back to heaven with Jesus,” I responded.
My son’s facial expression grew ominous as he put this new concept into a child-like perspective, saying, “Oh, Mom! I’m so glad you didn’t let them do that to me!”
Needless to say, that was not the time for me to share about my own abortion experience. Learning that abortion was “safe and legal” was enough hard truth for him to process that day.
Six months later I would tell him that he had a big brother in heaven. His response was precious – “I have a big brother watching over me? How cool! What’s his name?”
By that point, I had embraced God’s healing by attending an abortion recovery class where my lost child had been named, grieved and memorialized. I was sharing my abortion testimony publicly as part of my job at Focus on the Family (1991-1998). The word “abortion” was a presence in our life because of my work. It was essential for my children to hear my abortion truth from my heart. Thankfully, God went before me and prepared each of their hearts.
With the approaching battle in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood, parents need to be prepared to answer this question from their children. Whether you have experienced an abortion or not, telling our children about abortion’s potential spiritual and emotional regret will help discourage them from considering such a choice.
“My mother had an abortion,” a woman outlined on a phone call. “She told my siblings but not me. I discovered her abortion at her funeral. Why didn’t she tell me this truth?”
This woman’s heartache was tangible. She had been the youngest in her family. She was too young to process this horrific truth when her older siblings were told about the abortion. When she grew up, the subject was forgotten until the funeral service.
She went on, “The last thing I expected was to hear at my mother’s funeral was that I had an aborted sibling in heaven! I can’t ask any questions or find out what happened now!”
Do we need to tell our children about our abortion experiences? 2 Corinthians 4:2 answers that question – Rather, we have renounced secret and shameful ways; we do not use deception, nor do we distort the word of God. On the contrary, by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to everyone’s conscience in the sight of God.
In assisting both abortion-vulnerable and post-abortive individuals for the last 25 years, I’ve noticed clear trends in post-abortion behavior across generations. Post-abortive people often become post-abortive grandparents and great-grandparents when the younger generation follows their same path in life.
“I was so stupid not to talk to my daughter about my horrible abortion,” the post-abortion ministry leader outlined. “She said she could not go to the pregnancy center for help because I worked there. So she went to Planned Parenthood instead and now shares my deep regret! I wish I could turn back time and ensured she would never make this choice!”
Psalm 78:5-6 outlines about educating future family generations about our bad choices – He (God) decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.
Additionally alarming is when post-abortive couples separate, and the abortion truth becomes a blackmail tool in custody fights. One man threatened to tell their children about his wife’s abortion if she left him. Despite the fact that he had coerced her to abort, he was prepared to put all the blame on her shoulders for the choice.
After years of abuse, she finally left him. During their first court appearance, this husband shared a very untruthful story about his wife’s abortion with the judge, concluding, “What type of court would give custody of children to a woman who murdered her firstborn?”
With this tirade, the husband’s dysfunction was obvious and full custody was given to the mother. The shocked husband had no idea what hit him! But the mother knew she had to share their secret with her daughters before they heard any falsehoods from their father.
The benefit of sharing an abortion truth personally is revealed in Proverbs 14:25 – A truthful witness saves lives, but a false witness is deceitful.
The best part of sharing my abortion story with my children was describing how God restored my heart and life. Isaiah 38:19 outlines this truth – The living, the living—they praise you, as I am doing today; parents tell their children about your faithfulness.