Spiritual Frequently Asked Questions
1. “We both made the decision together to have the abortion, and we did not treat it lightly. It was not something that we just blew off. Are there some things we can do to 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 acknowledge a pregnancy loss. 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 involved like creating a whole ceremony. Our own diverse culture in the U.S. has a variety of loss 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 Helpful Healing Ideas in this workbook may be of help or this section which 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 trying to prevent it from happening? Does God look at me as a sinner too?”
First of all, you may be surprised to know that not all—or even most-- religions consider abortion a sin. If you think your religion does consider it 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 so important 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, compassion and forgiveness are available 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. For Muslims, fasting is a way to express penance. Typically, self forgiveness is hardest for many people. If you find yourselves blaming yourself or each other, do consider getting professional help. Visit: faithaloud.org • cath4choice.org • rcrc.org
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 say no one sin is more or less forgivable than another. When God created us, Christians believe He knows what’s in your heart--that sometimes stopping a pregnancy seems to be for the best if you cannot provide for a potential child. Other religions believe in compassion or, if necessary, forgiveness. While it is true that abortion is the ending of a potential life, most faith leaders do not view it as “murder” which is defined as killing done out of malice or hatred. 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, “you don’t know what it’s like for them 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, including religious people, who believe that it is morally right to make a decision to terminate a pregnancy as an act of conscience. 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.