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What Should We Do with Unwanted Pregnancies?

We may inadvertently push women into abortions by our responses. Here are 6 ways to keep that from happening.
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Most pregnancies are a cause for joy, making it easy to know what to say when you hear the announcement. But what if the person who's pregnant is unmarried, feels she's too young, too old, or has too many children already? What if this baby interrupts school, a career, or simply comes when life seems tough enough?

Often Christians respond exactly as the world does—in disappointment and sorrow.

A Gallup poll conducted for the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) revealed the following:

  • 76 percent of evangelicals believe sex between an unmarried man and woman is morally wrong.
  • 77 percent of evangelicals believe abortion is morally wrong.
  • 79 percent of evangelicals believe having a baby outside of marriage is morally wrong.

These figures suggest that an unmarried evangelical who unexpectedly becomes pregnant may face a challenging situation in relation to her church community.

"We need to encourage couples to courageously and responsibly honor the gifts of sex and life," says Aaron Mercer, NAE generation forum project director. "The Bible's standard for sex is very clear: abstinence outside of marriage and fidelity within it. But when unmarried individuals do have sex and end up conceiving, might they fear rejection from their church family whether or not they carry the baby to term? Whether or not this fear is warranted, we need to consider its possible consequences."

In 12 years of counseling at a local pregnancy center, I observed that the most common fear a woman with an unexpected pregnancy has is in telling her mother, father, or church. As Christians, we have to make the herculean effort of getting over the shock of such news and moving quickly to help the person whose life is being turned upside down.

This is important! One of the things I did at the pregnancy center was post-abortion counseling. It wasn't uncommon to hear that some women had an abortion so they never had to admit the pregnancy to those closest to them, so it becomes the great secret that eats away at them for years to come. Particularly heartbreaking was one woman who had marched in protest picket lines at abortion centers when she was a teenager. When she got pregnant in college, she quietly arranged an abortion because she didn't feel she could tell her mother or her church. When I began to meet with her, she was in her mid-thirties and had been carrying her secret for more than a decade. Her mother still didn't know that she'd had an abortion.

So by our very zeal and commitment to the prolife cause, we can end up pushing our kids, friends, and acquaintances toward abortion by the way we react to unexpected pregnancies. What does a woman (or man) in this situation need? I've found these six actions help:

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JoHannah Reardon

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January 31, 2012  10:44am

I know what it is like to have an unplanned pregnancy outside of marriage. Looking back (as my son is now 9) I thank God the He is not like man. I was discouraged and emotionally beaten down by family and peers. When faced with a situation like this it is easy to take the alternative route. During and after my pregnancy, my relationship with God grew closer and I am so grateful that He continued to hold my hand and I didn't let go. Now I am married and would love to have more children but my husband, whom I thought wanted the same thing I wanted, has changed his mind. I am grateful for my son because if I had given him away or terminated the pregnancy, I would now be longing for a child that I may never have.

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January 19, 2012  6:55am

This is sound and compassionate advice. As a single young person, I am so grateful for the support I knew from my church at the time of becoming pregnant. No condemnation and such love and acceptance. I gave my baby for adoption which of course is the most difficult decision to make, but I am also now amazed that we have recently been wonderfully reunited. His plans are surely for our good !

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January 16, 2012  10:08pm

As someone who has gone through the challenges of unmarried and unplanned pregnancy, I can heartily agree with listening and praying for girls in this situation. I grew up in a big church with parents in leadership, who later became missionaries. I had a whole lot of advice, and not enough love from the very people God calls to love, his church. We as lovers of Jesus need to realize that there are no degrees of sin. Some are just more obvious to everyone that someone has made the wrong choice, ie. sex before marriage resulting in pregnancy. To CW and the person upset that they wouldn't get a shower like that, you also won't get speculative looks, people talking about your "fallen" state, people refusing to talk to you, or your church refusing to dedicate your baby because they don't want to be seen as encouraging others to do the same thing. Because of the reaction that I got in CHURCH I considered abortion. Because someone outside the church showing me the love of Jesus, I didn't.

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