Men who accompany women for an abortion or who just want to be helpful usually do not know where to turn to get clear, unbiased information. In order to help to provide some of this information, we have divided questions that are frequently asked at abortion clinics into three categories: the factual, the emotional and the spiritual.
SPIRITUAL Frequently asked Questions
1. We both made the decision together to have the abortion, and we do not treat it lightly. It was not something that we just blew off. Are there some things we can do to kind of acknowledge that this would have been a child? We don’t want to pretend that it never happened.
Many people, both individuals and couples, do create some personal way to put the pregnancy to rest. Whether you think of it as a child or not, you probably still want to treat the pregnancy with respect. You can do something as simple as lighting a candle to something more complicated like creating a whole ceremony. Our own culture in the US has a variety of funeral rituals and borrowing from one of them may be just what you are looking for. On the other hand, you may want to create your own way of saying good-bye. The section called “Feelings: Healing Afterwards” in www.pregnancyoptions.info may be of help because it includes some rituals from other cultures as well as some personal rituals that other people in this situation have told us about.
2. I do not believe in abortion, but I am not stopping her from going to the clinic to have it. Does God look at me as a sinner too?
First of all, not all religions consider abortion a sin. You may be surprised to know that. If your religion does think it’s a sin, then you can make peace between you and your God through prayer or through consultation with clergy. Sometimes an issue like this one feels like such a big deal that you cannot work through it without professional help. Both pastoral counseling and relationship counseling can be helpful for couples wanting to work this out together. Remember that in most religions, all sins can be forgiven through prayer, repentance, penance, or good works. For example, in the Christian faith, Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross was for the forgiveness of ALL sin and the salvation of all sinners. It may be more difficult for the two of you to forgive one another so if you feel that the relationship is worth saving, do consider getting professional help.
3. Even though I believe in God’s mercy and forgiveness, somehow this feels like a sin that cannot be forgiven. This is a sin of murder.
Many Christian ministers point out that “a sin is a sin”. No one sin is more or less forgivable than another. When God created us, he did not expect us to be perfect. Also, he knows your heart. He knows that no one ever really wants to have an abortion, but that sometimes it seems to be for the best if you cannot provide the kind of life you want your child or children to have. While it is true that abortion is the ending of a potential life, most pastors, doctors, and religions do not view it as “murder”. God knows that your decision to participate in an abortion was not being done out of malice or hatred, but rather out of love and after deep reflection.
4. I was raised to think that abortion is just wrong, that the deliberate taking of life is wrong. But now that it’s me and my girlfriend in the situation, I just cannot imagine us having a child. We are not prepared in any way. But now I feel like such a hypocrite!
There are some things in life that only begin to make sense when you experience them first hand. You have probably heard the old saying that you don’t know what it’s like for the other person until you walk in their shoes. This is a perfect example of that. Hopefully, you have learned some things about life from this experience and you will be more compassionate toward others as they too make difficult choices in their lives. There are many good people, even religious people, who believe that it is morally right to bring life into this world only when you can best be responsible for it. You would only be a hypocrite if you went along with the abortion in your situation but continued to believe it was wrong for others.
Claire Keyes, Allegheny Reproductive Health Center, Pittsburgh, PA
Ann Baker, Hope Clinic, Graniite City, IL