Several months ago, a visibly distraught woman walked toward the abortion clinic with tears sliding down her cheeks. As is often the case, a clinic escort wrapped her arm tightly around the woman’s shoulders and walked her toward the front door.
As a sidewalk counselor, I walked beside them. The pregnant woman greatly feared being alone as a single mother. I told her she could get a free ultrasound at the pregnancy resource center next door, and that they could offer her any resources she might need. I spoke words of hope and life, telling her she could find true help and strength in Jesus. I told her I was from a local church that was willing to provide her with the support and care needed for every step of her journey. I pleaded with her to spare the life of her little boy or little girl.
For a brief moment, my soul leapt as she stopped, turned around, and started to walk back toward her car! As I urged her to walk into the pregnancy resource center, she took a few steps in that direction.
But then the clinic escort came around in front of her, physically blocked her way, grabbed her by the shoulders and insisted, “It’s going to be easier if you just go in!” Several other clinic escorts appeared, collectively funneling her through the doors.
Her reason for abortion was a fear of loneliness.
Motivated by Fear
In another situation, the young woman had been going back and forth on the choice to abort for weeks. She wanted to keep her baby and felt guilty about abortion, but the baby’s father heavily pressured her toward abortion. Because this child would be inconvenient for him, he fed her the lies that she’d never be able to pursue the career she wanted, and that she’d always be poor and dependent on others for herself and her child. Eventually she trusted his deceit.
The abortion clinic always asks women—usually multiple times during the process—if they were coerced into their decision and if they are sure they want the abortion. Yet, in this case, because the young woman succumbed to the pressure and lies of her baby’s father, she affirmed that she was sure.
Her reason for abortion was fear of rejection and loss of freedom.
On another morning, I spoke to a young woman who was about to enter the clinic and was accompanied by her mother. I quickly discovered that what she feared most was her mother’s rejection and becoming homeless. Her mother made it apparent that if the baby was born, she’d kick her daughter out of her home.
Her reason for abortion was a fear of becoming a single, homeless mother cast out by her family.
As a sidewalk counselor and executive director of Speak for the Unborn, I’ve heard women from across the continent give many different reasons for abortion. I recently saw a social-media post written by a woman who had been an OB-GYN for almost 17 years. She listed many of the reasons she’d heard for abortion, reasons like “I fear for my life,” “I don’t want a baby right now,” “I am alone,” “I’m starting grad school in a week,” and “My baby has multiple anomalies.”
The root of every choice for abortion is the same: fear.
The root of every choice for abortion is the same: fear.
Sometimes it’s traumatic fear, like being afraid the father will abuse the baby, just like he has his other children. Sometimes it’s the fear of losing a certain lifestyle. For other women it’s the fear of not being able to finish school or to provide for the child. Whatever the situation, fear always remains at the core of abortion choice.
This is why using abortion as a pillar for female empowerment is such a grotesque lie. The propaganda of “choice” merely encourages women and men to surrender to their fears.
Unique Message of Hope
Christians must be involved in pro-life ministry because we alone have a message of hope great enough to conquer all fear: the gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of the power of God’s love—demonstrated through Jesus’s life, death, resurrection, and ascension—we know that “perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18).
Those who belong to Christ need not fear condemnation for sin (Rom. 8:1). Those whose eternal future is secure need not fear temporary afflictions caused by men (Matt. 10:28). Those who hope in a loving and sovereign God need not fear an uncertain future (Matt. 6:24–34).
As stewards of this message, we must be voices for life. Abortion-minded women and men need gospel hope.
How we speak this hope matters. When my little boy wakes up in the middle of the night, afraid of the dark and the monsters in his dreams, I wrap my arms around him, help him process his fears, comfort him with the love of Jesus, and pray for him. Adults aren’t typically afraid of the dark, but our fears seem just as big and real.
We meet the fears of those pursuing abortion by truth spoken in love, gospel hope shared with compassion and empathy, and prayers offered in humility.
We meet the fears of those pursuing abortion by truth spoken in love, gospel hope shared with compassion and empathy, and prayers offered in humility. By God’s grace, we can help tear down the walls of fear, opening minds and hearts to repent of sin and embrace Jesus Christ, the hope of the world.
Practical Ways to Meet Fear with Hope
Ministering to abortion-minded individuals on a regular basis takes intentional outreach. One way to do this is to go to the sidewalk in front of your community’s abortion clinic. This allows you to pray for and speak to abortion-minded women and men in a way that is gospel-centered, winsome, and compelled by love.
There are other ways to serve that speak for life and give us the opportunity to share gospel hope with abortion-minded women and men:
- A mother or father could spend time mentoring young parents in a pregnancy resource center.
- We can volunteer with a refugee ministry, serving those who are far from home and isolated from family and friends.
- The church can reach out to women who have been trafficked and may have had abortions against their will.
- Families can foster or adopt, and the church as a whole can support them by providing for any needs.
- We can promote racial justice by serving those blatantly targeted with abortion marketing.
The best place to start is for every church leader and member to take a step back and ask, How does my church as a whole actively and frequently promote a high view of life? Write down anything that comes to mind—praising God for what’s there yet also noticing what’s missing. Next, ask the Lord to give your church guidance on how those gaps can be filled, and to raise up individuals with the capacity and passion to lead them.
Then, humbly bring up these things to your church, in either a formal or an informal capacity. You never know how the Lord may be already working in the minds and hearts of those he’s calling to those particular ministries.
Because Christians have the only ultimate answer to eliminating fear, let’s share gospel hope with abortion-minded people in any capacity that we’re able.
Written by: LAURELEN MÜLLER
First published 27.07.20: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/hope-to-fearful/