How does a woman find healing after abortion? Is there hope after abortion?
It’s no secret that abortion happens in our country. Less known is the reality of the pain and devastation that results after abortion. Few of us fully understand how to begin a healing journey after abortion or how to truly offer hope to post-abortive men and women.
My dear friend, Leanne Garner, is a faithful follower of Jesus who knows the reality of abortion and the hope and healing available to everyone. Here’s her story:
My Unplanned Pregnancy Crisis
Prior to my unplanned pregnancy, I would have identified myself as pro-life. I was living a promiscuous life in my 20’s and found myself pregnant.
At first, I thought I would have the child and keep it, facing life as a single mom. As the days passed, I went from this decision, to thinking I would give the baby up for adoption, and finally landing at the decision to abort.
It only took me 7 days to turn 180° and take my baby’s life.
My Life After Abortion
I began exclusively dating my aborted baby’s father and we became engaged. Then the Lord got a hold of my heart and I became a Christian.
My then-fiancé had been raised in a very works-based religious home. So when I decided to live for Jesus, we decided to attend his church denomination. Shortly after that we were both baptized and then married. Life continued.
Little did I know how the sin of abortion plagued me. Cycles of depression, chaos in my life, and explosive anger were all consequences of this sin and symptoms of deeply rooted pain.
Even in my new Christian life, I remained silently trapped in shame and believed the lie of the enemy: “No one would understand.”
I feel fortunate that I didn’t have physical consequences from my abortion. I was able to have 2 children later, but the emotional and spiritual bondage was greatly oppressive.
I sought healing in organizations that claimed to be Christian. While I experienced some relief when the abortion was revealed, I was never free.
The Lies of the Enemy About Healing After Abortion
The overarching theme within Christian circles was that I was forgiven and, therefore, I was healed. Although this can happen for some, most of us need to go through a process of healing from the Word of God before we experience healing from past sin (see Matthew 9:1-2).
After several years, we moved to Canada and joined a church that taught the Bible verse by verse. That’s when my relationship with Jesus began to really grow. This growth helped me to understand God’s word.
I naturally began doing what was modeled before me by women who had strong relationships with Jesus in my church: I had a devotional time, attended Bible study, had an active prayer life and was serving the church body.
Although I was living an active Christian life, there was a chasm that prevented me from entering into that deep faith relationship with Jesus that I so desired and saw in the women who were around me.
I want to pause here and address a side note: I was not comparing myself to these women, however, I had a healthy desire to have the close relationship with Jesus that they demonstrated in their lives. And that is what we’re meant to do as Christians – to live in a way that is attractive to others so that they will want to know our Lord the way we do.
In review, don’t miss the 2 lies I bought into:
- Forgiveness = healing
- Spiritual growth = healing
The Healing Journey After Abortion
That brings me to 2009. At a Ladies Retreat at my church, the guest speaker asked for prayer for a woman who was giving her post-abortive testimony that same weekend at a different church. We began to pray, and the guest speaker prayed for her friend and then began to sense by the Holy Spirit that there was at least one person there that had also had an abortion and was needing to be set free. I distinctly remember thinking, “I’m glad that it isn’t me, I have been healed of my abortion.”
The next 24 hours became a huge turning point for me. I was compelled to find out if the speaker could make it possible for me to speak with that woman who was post-abortive.
I waited and waited for an opening to speak to this woman and it never came. While I was waiting, I was visiting with one of the women who had travelled with the speaker. She finally said, “I’m just going to go and get her.”
As she walked away, I called out, “Wait!” She stopped and turned toward me and I asked, “Do you know how I can get in touch with that woman in California?”
The next words she spoke brought me to tears of utter brokenness. “She is my best friend.”
God is so amazing. You see, this woman didn’t typically travel with the speaker. I truly believe she was there specifically for this divine appointment.
The next days held much emotion and fear for me. I was able to speak with the woman in California and she answered many of the questions that plagued me at that time. I was so afraid to face that sin.
This woman directed me to Healing Hearts Ministries International (Healing Hearts), a ministry that helps men and women understand abortion in light of the truth of God’s word and to find hope and healing.
Despite my fears, I signed up for the Binding Up the Brokenhearted study online and started down a path of healing.
As I journeyed through the study, Jesus met me there and broke the chains that bound me through teaching me the truth in His Word.
Today, I experience a richly abundant relationship with my Savior and have a fuller understanding of His love for me.
Shout it From the Mountaintops
Being freed from such deep sin and hurt, I was like the woman at the well in John 4. I felt I had to share with others.
From the moment I was free from the bondage of shame, I’ve pointed countless men and women to the studies at Healing Hearts (including my husband), so they could experience this freedom as well.
Then I entered their training program and became a Healing Hearts certified Biblical Counselor.
Just the (Abortion) Facts, Ma’am
I’ve now been involved with Healing Hearts for a decade – first as an e-client for post-abortive healing, then as a Leader, Area Coordinator and now the Regional Director for Canada.
Since being involved with this ministry, I’ve become more aware of how prevalent abortion is in general and within the church. Here are some statistics:
US Abortion Stats (Guttmacher Institute)
- 862K abortions were reported as performed in 2017.
- 24% (1 in 4) of women will have an abortion by the age of 45.
- 59% of women obtaining abortions are mothers.
- As of 2014, which is the most current data I could find, 24% of patients having abortions identified as Catholic, 17% were mainline protestant, and 13% were evangelical protestant; that makes up 54% of all abortions that year.
Canadian Abortion Stats (Canada Institute for Health Information*)
- 94K abortions were reported as performed in 2017.
- 78.7% of abortions are by women up to age 34.
- 52.6% have had at least one previous abortion.
- I could not find any reporting on the overall percentage of women who have had abortions. However, articles written about Canadian abortion rates often cited the United States stat of 1 in 4 women have had an abortion.
- I was also unable to find stats on religious affiliations among those who have had abortions in Canada.
* Hospital reporting of abortion numbers is mandatory, but clinic reporting is not. However, all clinics do report for most years as far as we know (despite some CIHI footnotes to the contrary). Known exceptions are noted within the reporting data on their website.
My Heart for Post-Abortive Women
My heartbeat has always been bent toward Christian women who are in bondage to the sin of abortion because that is my story. I know how deceived they are about their non-existent healing, believing that, because they are forgiven, they are healed. But they continue to operate with much woundedness, wreaking havoc in their lives.
Forgiveness and healing are 2 different things that can occur at the same time, but, more often than not, they happen independently of one another.
Although I had my abortion in the US, the Lord also specifically put Canadian women on my heart. Due to the attitude within Canada that it is an acceptable medical procedure, abortion is readily available and paid for by the socialized medical system here. There are no abortion laws.
What God’s Word Says About Abortion
The pro-choice movement has seen a shift in the past decade from the scientific misinformation of the fetus being a clump of cells to simply placing more value on the women’s desire to not be inconvenienced by an unplanned pregnancy. This is a sanctity of life issue and that is why it’s so very important to pause to consider what God’s Word says about life and children.
- Life is God given. (Genesis 2:7, Genesis 29:31; Job 12:9-10, Isaiah 42:5, Ezekiel 37:4-5, Act 17:24-25, Revelation 11:11)
- Within the womb, God is creating people and has a plan for their life. (Psalm 119: 73; Psalm 139:13; Ecclesiastes 11:5; Isaiah 44:2, 24; Isaiah 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; Galatians 1:15)
- Children are a blessing from God. (1 Samuel 1:19-20; Psalm 127:3-5; Genesis 30:22; Genesis 25:23; Genesis 33:5)
God creates and sanctifies each life regardless of the circumstances surrounding the pregnancy.
This is a hard truth to understand, so I encourage anyone having aborted a child to complete one of the Healing Hearts post-abortion trauma Bible studies. For women this would be Binding Up the Brokenhearted and for men it is Restoring a Father’s Heart.
There is hope and healing from abortion.
What Can We Do About Abortion?
In conclusion, I want to encourage you with 3 points:
- If you’ve had an abortion, please seek help and healing. Your Lord and Saviour does not want you to continue to be in the pain.
- If you’re considering abortion, please reach out to someone who will help you in the short term and long term. This may be your church or your family. If you need to speak with someone who has been through abortion, please contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. (All inquiries are confidential.)
- If you’re a Christian and have not had an abortion, I want to challenge you to ask yourself what you’re willing to do to come alongside someone in a crisis pregnancy so they do not feel that abortion their only option.
It’s easy for us to be against something, but as followers of Christ, we’re not only to share our perspective, we’re to act on it.
Pray with me that the Church would become a safe place for those who already made the choice of abortion and for those who find themselves in a crisis pregnancy.
Leanne Garner currently serves as the Regional Director in Canada for Healing Hearts Ministries International. She is a pastor’s wife and mom to 2 adult children and a Terripoo named Ruby .