Her Secret Heartache

Ways to respond when a friend reveals she's had an abortion.
Her Secret Heartache

After an intense discussion about grace during our women's Bible study, my friend Susan seemed disturbed when she left. I called her later that afternoon.

"How are you?" I asked.

"Oh, Gayle," she sobbed. "I have something to tell you, but I can't yet. You don't know everything about my past. I have to tell my daughter first before I can talk to you about it. I hope you'll still love me after I tell you."

After we hung up, Susan's words played over in my mind. What could be so bad she'd think I wouldn't love her anymore?

Two weeks later, Susan was ready to share her story. When she was only 15, she became pregnant. Her mother, a single mom, and Susan's boyfriend saw abortion as the only solution. They agreed to split the expense for the procedure; then Susan's boyfriend drove her to the clinic. Susan aborted another baby at 17. As Susan told me her story, I felt overwhelmed by emotions of grief for Susan and the burden she'd carried for years, sorrow for her two aborted babies, and shock. I'd never considered one of my closest friends could have had an abortion.

I later learned Susan is one of an estimated 43 percent of women who have had an abortion by age 45; almost half that group has aborted more than one baby. Abortion knows no boundaries; age, race, socioeconomic status, even religion makes little or no difference in whether or not a woman's had an abortion. It's likely someone you know is post-abortive. She could be the woman who sits beside you at Bible study, your child's Sunday school teacher, or your best friend.

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