Nearly 1 in 4 American women will have had an abortion by the time they are 45. Chances are likely that someone you know has had an abortion. Abortion is a sensitive subject, and many women don’t want to talk about their experience. But some do. This might be uncomfortable for someone who is pro-life, though. How can you speak with sensitivity and love, without compromising your beliefs that all lives are sacred?
Jim Burnham was recently a guest host on The Patrick Madrid Show, and a listener named Richard explained that some of his family members have had abortions. He asked Jim the best way to talk to them about this as someone who cares about them, but is also pro-life.
“Obviously you have to wait for a moment when she is receptive,” Jim advised. “She may still be grieving, she may still be closed off to wanting to hear about it. But if she is willing to discuss it, I can’t think of anything better that you can say to her than the words of Pope St. John Paul II.”
In his papal encyclical Evangelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), Pope John Paul II wrote extensively about the sanctity of human life, and how crucial it is to defend human life in all its stages. He also specifically addressed woman who have had abortions, assuring them that God’s love and mercy was open to them.
Jim noted, “I think sometimes the pro-life movement is accused of not being compassionate, or not caring about the woman, or about the children who are born.” But he pointed out that Pope John Paul II’s words are a compassionate expression of the Church’s love and mercy, while at the same time remaining committed to the truth.
“I would just read that, pray about that,” Jim encouraged. “And see if there is a way to bring part of that to this woman who is probably deeply scarred by this incident and in need of your love and mercy, and God’s love and mercy.”
“Approach her in mercy and respect, and encourage her, if she hasn’t, to confess it, to bring it to the Lord,” he continued.
Assuring Richard that he would pray for his loved ones, Jim emphasized that those who have had abortions are in need of accompaniment, not accusations.
“It’s an important issue, but one we have to approach with a great deal of sensitivity and care,” he said. “Not the kind of judgmental, self-righteousness of which we are sometimes accused.”