What does a Christian—especially pastors—say to someone who had had an abortion/ who do you understand her? Does one say the same thing to everyone—or do the comments change according to individual circumstances and the reasons for the abortion? At one time these questions were more academic than pastoral. No more.
The chances that someone close to you will have an abortion are high, and the need to offer understanding and love is great. One writer a few years ago claimed that abortion was “a profoundly pastoral issue” (Wallis 1980) because nearly 1.1 million abortion were being performed annually. Today, at an estimated 4,500 abortions daily (Griffith 1968, 15), there are nearly 40 percent more abortions in the United States than there were in 1980.
Most of these women, we may hope, will have ad some counseling or other significant guidance before actually aborting the pregnancy. The decision to continue with a pregnancy or to abort it is too important to be made without discussion. We should be grateful whenever individuals seek help in this matter, even if we disagree with the conclusion reached by some. The effort itself indicates that people generally realize that abortion is a serious matter about which a decision should not be made until fully informed as to its consequences and alternatives. Yet, ironically, most available counseling is not directed to the 4,500 who have had abortions. Rather, it focuses on the pregnant woman at the pre-abortion stage. The woman who had had an abortion and who suddenly feels a need to reconsider what she has done may find herself in a vacuum of counseling information.
This essay will reflect upon the theological and ethical frame word that would give perspective and guidance to assist the person who has had an abortion understand her. Hence, the intended audience is actually wider than those who have had an abortion. It would be presumptuous to try to address every situation that might arise. Instead, I hope to indicate the principles that one would follow in a counseling situation. The reader it’s trusted to make appropriate application of the general comments to specific situations.
A Christian understanding for interpreting abortions needs to be placed in the context of carious biblical doctrines. Among these we may include an explicit or implicit view of humankind in the image of God; marriage as a creation of God in which husband and wife are devoted to each other; and children as a gift from God and a joy to both parents.