Julie Woodley was watching her four children playing at the beach when the truth suddenly dawned on her: there should be two more children here. And although she was actively extending hope and healing to others who’d endured abortion—even leading post-abortion retreats—Julie realized she’d not yet processed her own abortion trauma and grief. When the
hosts at a retreat she’d been invited to co-lead gently relieved her of her clipboard, Julie, too, experienced lifegiving redemption alongside other women who’d also been hurting.
We asked Julie—founder and director of Restoring the Heart Ministries, and division chair of the American Association of Christian Counseling’s “Abortion, Sexual Trauma and Mental Health Divison”—how the church can best serve women who’ve had an abortion.
Julie, what do you think women expect—physically, emotionally, spiritually—before an abortion?
I think they’re in trauma and they’re in an urgent place where they need to make a critical decision. Rationally, they’re not thinking about how an abortion would affect them. That’s why it’s important to be able to reach them on the way to the clinic. In fact, I have done that many times where a mother will call me and put her daughter on the phone because the daughter doesn’t have any idea what is on the other side of abortion.1