22 Aug Responding to Tough Questions: “I had an abortion and I don’t regret it.”
The prompt this week was “Respond to the statement ‘I had an abortion and I don’t regret it.'”
This scenario has happened to me.
During this past March for Life Chicago, I was approached by a woman who told me: “I had an abortion, and you know what, I don’t regret it.”
I didn’t know what to do.
We had just finished a conference where Mary Griffith from Waterleaf Women’s Center spoke. During the conference, Mary spoke about how to talk to a woman who has had an abortion, since she has had one herself. I absolutely loved Mary’s talk and her perspective on how to help a woman who has had an abortion. I had learned so much from Mary, but I didn’t say anything to this woman who approached me. I wish I would have used what I learned and spoke to her with love.
I had learned so much from Mary, but I didn’t say anything to this woman who approached me. I wish I would have used what I learned and spoke to her with love.
It is difficult to respond in these moments, but the most important thing to remember is that this person needs to be shown love. She has been through a lot and the last thing she needs is judgment. We need to walk with her and be with her on this difficult journey and we do this by using an approach I learned from Mary: L.O.V.E.
L: Listen and Learn
Ask her what her story is and how she got here. The only way to get to know someone is by listening to them and learning about them. She has been greatly impacted by the tragedy of abortion and needs someone to listen to her. By actually listening (not just being there) you can gain a trust with the woman you want to help. Using words of love and care will really help this woman in hurt. Be an understanding listener and hear her words so you can help her.
O: Open Options
Make sure that you are not being judgmental. The last thing this woman needs is more judgment than she has probably already put on herself. Let her be open and don’t be afraid to ask her questions. If she says, “I’ve had an abortion,” just tell her, “I’m so sorry you were put in that situation. It must have been difficult.” You need to have empathy. You need to have a connection with her emotion. You don’t have to have been in this situation in order to understand her. You need to be vulnerable with her as well and say, “me too. I understand how you feel.” You just simply listen without holding judgment, connecting with her emotionally, and saying, you are not alone.This allows her to be sad about the situation and share what she has gone through because you have broken down that wall of judgment and will let her just be.
V: Vision and Value
Let her know that she has a bright future and can do anything she sets her mind to. This is extremely important since she most likely does not feel this way. Let her know that she is loved, and if that is only you, it is even more important to tell her this. Ask her what she wants in life and tell her that you can help her there. There are many pro-life organizations that are more than willing to help any woman in crisis. There are many resources for her and the pro-life movement is here for her and can provide post-abortive counseling. She has options.
E: Extend and Empower
This is where you give her the resources. Tell her about healing organizations that would fit her situation. Try and stay in touch with her. It is important to keep in contact with her so that you can still be that foundation of help she received. Empower her by being there and supporting her. Continue your trust with her and be a friend.
Sarah Storto is a summer intern with Students for Life of Illinois. She is a junior at Loyola University Chicago majoring in music and social work. Sarah aspires to be a music therapist for individuals with disabilities.