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Illinois Federation

For Right to Life

Daily News

Friday, November 21, 2008

What Do We Say to the Woman Who Has Aborted?


What is, or ought to be, the pro-life attitude toward women who have aborted?


Let me come at this sideways, so to speak. Let’s begin with how pro-abortionists say pro-lifers ought to respond if we really mean what we say. If abortion is the taking of an innocent life, at the very least we ought to affix a woman who has aborted with a contemporary Scarlet Letter, if not insist she be sentenced. So says the pro-abortionist, expecting we will be so tongue-tied we say nothing.


Others have written to ask if we aren’t, in effect, letting women “off the hook” by talking (as I often do) about the enormous pressure so many women find themselves under when they find themselves unexpectedly pregnant. Granted, there may be a menacing boyfriend or unsupportive parents, but isn’t the “final responsibility” for the abortion hers?


Before I begin, let me ask that after you read what I have to offer, you please write me with your thoughts at


I guess anyone’s answer would start with the question, what is your primary objective? Mine would be that the hole in a woman’s soul is mended and that no additional babies are lost to abortion. In other words my objective is the same as our Movement’s: reconciliation, not recrimination. I’ve come to that conclusion by asking myself a series of questions.


First and foremost, would stigmatizing her bring the dead baby back to life? Would giving her the cold shoulder provide the kind of support and affirmation she most likely did not receive when she was in the throes of making that life-and-death decision?


Would looking down at her increase or decrease the likelihood that she would get pregnant again with a “replacement baby,” many of whom would be aborted for the same kinds of reasons the first child was lost? Would any of us really want her to live a life of bitter regret and soul-sapping remorse?


Finally, someday when we are called upon to give an account for our own behavior, would it be a credit to us, individually, or as a Movement, if we had chosen to ignore the better angels of our own nature?


Pro-abortionists, hearing this, would likely roll their eyes: See, you don’t really think “fetuses” are unborn children, because if you did you would demand a pound of flesh in revenge.


The moment I first laid my hand on my mother’s abdomen and felt my brother kick, I knew that James was one of the Andruskos. The only difference was instead of sharing a bedroom, he had private quarters. And if I knew that, can I really believe that pregnant women don’t know that with far more certainty?


I don’t need for a woman who has aborted to fall apart in my presence to know that most likely she is hurting in a deeper way than I could ever imagine. That some are able to act as if the decision were no big deal only illustrates the intricate defenses the human heart employs to shield itself against unbearable hurts.


None of this “excuses” the woman who has aborted. But were we to fix an unloving gaze on her, paradoxically we would be unintentionally accepting the same morally stunted calculus beloved by the anti-life set: that the abortion decision is the woman’s, and the woman’s alone, to make.


Equally bad, we would be buying into the other half of the pro-abortionist’s autonomy myth: that women are freely making the decision to abort.


I shall never forget how Frederica Mathewes-Green of Feminists for Life, once put it: "No woman wants an abortion as she wants an ice cream cone or a Porsche. She wants an abortion as an animal caught in a trap wants to gnaw off its own leg."


Contact: Dave Andrusko

Source: National Right to Life

Source URL:

Publish Date: November 20, 2008

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The IFRL is the largest grassroots pro-life organization in Illinois. A non-profit organization, that serves as the state coordinating body for local pro-life chapters representing thousands of Illinois citizens working to restore respect for all human life in our society. The IFRL is composed of people of different political persuasions, various faiths and diverse economic, social and ethnic backgrounds. Since 1973 the Illinois Federation for Right to Life has been working to end abortion and restore legal protection to those members of the human family who are threatened by abortion, infanticide and euthanasia. Diverse though we are, we hold one common belief - that every human being has an inalienable right to life that is precious and must be protected. IFRL is dedicated to restoring the right to life to the unborn, and protection for the disabled and the elderly.   Click here to learn more about the IFRL.