Seeking and Accepting Forgiveness After Abortion

Do you ever hold onto the guilt and pain from a sin, even after bringing it to Confession? For post-abortive mothers and fathers, the trauma causes physical, spiritual, and emotional wounds that can be difficult to heal.

A listener called Go Ask Your FatherTM and explained that in her 20s, she had six abortions. “I’ve gone to Confession, but I feel like that’s not good enough,” said Sarah. She asked if she would ever be really forgiven for what she had done.

“First of all, God bless you that you’ve come back and you’ve recognized that this is not what God wanted for you,” said Msgr. Stuart Swetland. He assured Sarah that by going to Confession, she is absolved from the sin.

Msgr. explained that all priests have the power to “lift the excommunication associated with this sin. So we have all the power we need in the confessional to reconcile you to God and to the Church. And that’s happened, and you have been reconciled.”

It can be difficult to feel forgiven, especially for a serious sin that may have separated you from God for some time. Even if you don’t feel the peace of forgiveness right away, it’s important to trust in God’s mercy through the sacrament of Confession. “This is one of the beauties of the mysteries of grace—the fact that God freely gives forgiveness. We don’t earn forgiveness in any way; we freely receive this stupendous gift of God’s reconciling love,” said Msgr. Swetland.

If you or someone you know is struggling with the pain of abortion, there are resources to help. Project Rachel and other similar ministries help women and men heal from the loss of a child through abortion.

“God wants you to feel his forgiveness as well as experience it. You’ve already experienced it—it is true that you’ve been forgiven—now you just have to allow that to kind of soak in to the rest of your being,” said Msgr. Swetland. “And there’s things that God will call you to do. Probably, he will call you to give witness like you just did … to tens of thousands of people that there is hope for those who have committed even serious sins to be reconciled. … My guess is God’s going to do some wonderful things through you in helping others like you.”

Lindsey is a wife, mother, and contributing author at Relevant Radio. She holds a degree in Journalism and Advertising from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Lindsey enjoys writing, baking, and liturgical living with her young family.