Twenty-four years ago, I walked into an abortion clinic. While I could describe all of the gruesome details of my abortion procedure (I’m not going to), I don’t know that I could describe a single detail of the clinic itself. I remember a seemingly dark waiting room with some low, soft lighting, but no specifics of the place. I can’t describe the chairs. I can’t recall any artwork on the walls. I can’t recount the facial features of anyone else in the clinic besides myself and my parents who were with me. I can’t tell you where the entrance was located, or how we entered the clinic in the first place, so I certainly couldn’t point you to where the emergency exit door was located in the clinic.
But that is the reason you are reading this article. You have a desire to be able to point people to the exit door of an abortion decision, perhaps a deep longing to do so, because you or someone you love was once involved in an abortion. As followers of Christ, we need a plan to help people locate and leave through the metaphorical emergency exit when they are contemplating an abortion.
Here are some ways you can point people to the emergency exit.
1) Help them find the Door in an unfamiliar setting.
Any time you go inside a building you have never been in, it can be difficult to get your bearings. Finding the emergency exit in case you need it would be the last thing on your mind.
That is exactly where individuals facing an unexpected pregnancy find themselves - an unfamiliar setting. As a young, single teenager I never thought I would be the one to face an unexpected pregnancy. I always knew it could happen, but thought it just wouldn’t happen to me. I needed another Christian to help me find the Door. John 10:9 illustrates this truth where Jesus says, “I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture.”
Whether the person you are sharing with has come to know Christ already or not, hope is found in the Gospel. Faith in Christ is the Door we need to walk through for any of life’s troubling circumstances. Share the testimony of Jesus’ power to save you when you were lost.
Sometimes believers can get spiritually disoriented in the trials they face. This was the case for me and my parents who were all professing Christians at the time of my abortion. Remind those who may already belong to Jesus that He is still the Door they need to walk through and His Word is their exit plan in the midst of temptation. Share John 10:9 with them, and the hope that in Christ they will find pasture, a place of provision, and rest for their troubled souls.
2) Help them clear any obstacles out of the way of escape.
This primarily involves navigating the mental and emotional obstacles blocking their escape route to the exit door. A non-Christian is going to need to know why abortion is sin. Have them read through and ponder passages like Psalm 139 and Genesis 1:26-27 which establish God’s purpose in creating us.
As an immature believer, my theology surrounding the decision to abort my baby was skewed. In 1 Corinthians 10:13, we are given insight into how to navigate theological obstacles in order to clearly see the way of escape and take it.
It states, “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.”
You need to point out that many others have been in a position similar to theirs and found a way of escape. It is common to think, “I am the only person who has ever faced this.” The Bible shows us this is not true. Sharing the testimonies of others who have faced similar trials and temptations can be extremely helpful in pointing the way out of an abortion decision.
You need to point out that God is faithful, and also share some of His other attributes. I’m not sure I fully grasped God’s sovereignty over sin and suffering. Knowing His faithfulness and sovereignty could have kept me from aborting my child.
You need to point out that God will not allow those who belong to Him to be tempted (pressured to abort in this case) without giving them a way of escape. This is where helping them navigate difficult conversations with the baby’s father, with family, and with friends may be helpful. People could be the only obstacles standing in the way. However, please realize that each one has obstacles in their own heart and mind which need to be dealt with. Most importantly, everyone involved needs to know that there is practical help awaiting them as they take the way of escape God has provided, and that you and others in your church will continue to be there for them after they choose life.
3) Help them to see there is Hope on the other side.
There are some who have mistakenly walked through the emergency exit door with someone contemplating abortion only to leave them standing there, alone, on the other side of the door of their decision. They are misguided in believing their job is done.
The Bible warns us as Christians not to simply wish people well and then abandon them in their time of physical need.
James 2:15-16 tells us, “If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Go in peace, be warmed and filled,’ without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that?”
An unexpected pregnancy is God’s gracious opportunity for family and the Church to come around a young woman or couple, and to show the love and care of Christ. However, some people do not have the support structure of a loving family or a local church. This is a great opportunity for the Church to reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus.
What kinds of things would a young woman/young couple need if they decide to honor God by choosing life for their baby? Here's a list of suggestions, though not exhaustive:
- Parenting classes/training
- Healthcare - help with transportation to appointments, childcare for other children while they go to appointments
- Job opportunities
- Furthering their education – tutoring, GED prep, or online schooling, encouragement to finish, etc. According to one statistic, more than 50% of teen moms never graduate high school(1).
- Financial assistance/Financial stewardship classes
- Discipleship – Growing in Christ in all areas of life, but particularly in relationships. Whether a couple has chosen to stay in the relationship, or a young woman is single parenting, knowledge about God’s design for relationships and parenting are essential and should be modeled for them through discipleship.
- Biblical counseling – Many young people have traumatic situations or other life struggles that precipitated the unexpected pregnancy which need to be worked through.
Oftentimes the only ones who have a chance to point out the emergency exit in an abortion decision are close family members or friends who have displayed the grace and mercy of God in previous conversations regarding culturally controversial topics. They have been able to relate compassionately to someone in the midst of their sin, yet have not compromised the truth of God’s Word regarding sin. If you are one of those trusted Christian confidants, I am grateful for you and want to encourage you to have your emergency exit plan mapped out and ready.
Parents and Christian leaders possess the unique opportunity to implement an emergency exit strategy for children and teens far in advance of needing to use one. Knowing how to escape a building before there is ever an emergency is invaluable. While we teach young people that the Bible is central to life and godliness, if we haven’t been walking through the emergency plan -- the way of escape from sin -- and consistently pointing to Jesus as the Door, we may have missed our greatest opportunity as their parents and leaders. The time is now. Let’s be prepared.
Camille Cates is the Assistant Director for Healing Hearts Ministries as well as a certified biblical counselor through ACBC. She is an author and speaker who has shared with thousands on the topics of sexual purity, heart idols, and post-abortion healing through God’s Word. Her testimony can be heard in this video or this audio. Healing Hearts Ministries offers help through an intensive Bible study written for people still hurting from abortion. For more information, go to Get Help Now.