How can a woman experience healing and recovery after an abortion?

Women choose to have abortions for many reasons. Perhaps they are unprepared physically, financially, or emotionally for motherhood or afraid of being shunned by their community for getting pregnant outside of marriage. Maybe the baby is the result of a sexual assault. While the reasons vary, society often responds in one of two ways: praising a woman as a symbol of her rights over her own body or accusing her of murder and treating her like an outcast. Yet few take the time to consider the negative lasting effects abortion has on a woman.

Abortions can have a negative impact on a woman's health. If something goes wrong in the medical procedure, the health impacts could last a lifetime. A lack of education about taking care of themselves afterwards or trying to hide the abortion from others also keeps many women from healing properly. In addition, abortions have a negative impact on a woman's emotional health. Regardless of why they choose to have an abortion, women can experience many negative emotions including guilt, regret, sadness, and depression. Some women feel forced into aborting their babies or realize later that what they were told was just a lump of tissue was actually a human life. These women might feel betrayed or as if they've been fooled. The range of emotions can be complex and difficult to manage. When these emotions are suppressed or ignored they can affect a woman's self-image and confidence, future relationships and pregnancies, and overall happiness.

However, women can heal and recover after having an abortion. That healing begins with repentance and acceptance of God's forgiveness. Romans 3:22 says, "We are made right with God by placing our faith in Jesus Christ. And this is true for everyone who believes, no matter who we are" (NLT). Abortion is a sin. According to the Bible life begins in the womb (Psalm 139:13–16; Jeremiah 1:5; Job 10:8–9; Judges 13:7); therefore, abortion is killing a baby. The good news though is that God will forgive us no matter what we have done if we repent of our sins and put our faith in Jesus Christ (Romans 8:1; 1 John 1:9). We cannot earn this forgiveness through our actions, but it is offered to us because of God's grace.

When we put our trust in Jesus as our Savior not only do we receive forgiveness, but we also are filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit begins to minister to us and help us transform from sinners into the people God wants us to become. God renews our minds so that we dwell on what is good (Philippians 4:8) helping us to overcome negative thoughts about ourselves. He forgives us for our past, present, and future sins promising to separate us from them as far as the east is from the west (Psalm 103:12). He fills us with unfailing joy that is not based on our circumstances or feelings, but on His presence within us.

In addition to following God, it is also important for women to talk with a counselor or a trusted mentor or friend. Such people can help women work through the pain, learn to forgive themselves, and move forward. Medical doctors can also be helpful, particularly with any lasting health impacts of the abortion. As women move forward they can begin to live out God's plan for their lives and even help other women who have had an abortion or are considering abortion. There is healing and recovery for women who have had abortions because God is a God of redemption. "Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come" (2 Corinthians 5:17).

If you are looking for help in healing or recovering from an abortion, we recommend If Not For Grace Ministries (www.infg.org) for free resources and counseling.

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