We met with a client who was experiencing a significant amount of trauma and depression from a past decision to abort. In sharing her story, she told us about the crowd of people outside the abortion clinic, picketing and protesting, and a woman who came up to her aggressively, shook her by the shoulders, trying to get her to change her mind. When she came out several hours later, a van blocking her car was covered with graphic, bloody images of aborted babies.
Walking in, she only felt unseen and condemned. Walking out, she only felt trapped and hated.
There is hope and healing for this woman. And sometimes, those who protest outside abortion clinics are able to meet these women walking in with compassion and grace, rather than fear and condemnation – and sometimes, these women end up changing their minds because of such people.
What’s missing here, however, is the fact that in an effort to bring about what is righteous, just, and pure, while we are trying to “save babies,” we forget that we must see the mother first.
We must see the woman before we see her baby – quite literally, the only thing we can see initially is her body, her personhood.
For the woman walking into an abortion clinic, there’s been a disconnect on the inside of her from the reality of what’s going on in her body. In meeting her with gentleness, compassion, and truth, God is able to move in a way that allows her to slowly reconnect with her body, and her whole self, again.
As Christians, we get to live with a different worldview, one that is holistic and brings honor and value to the whole person in body, mind, and soul.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. All things were created through Him, and apart from Him not one thing was created that has been created, said John in the first chapter of his gospel account. The Greek word used here for “Word” is “logos,” literally meaning “reason or logic.” This leads us to infer that through Jesus – the epitome of God’s perfect reason – were our bodies created.
The Word became flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:14). In a body, Jesus showed us how to be human. He was glorified in a body, raised from the dead, and ascended to the right hand of the Father in His body.
Nancy R. Pearcey says in her book Love Thy Body, that before sin, the body was a full, honest, undistorted expression of the whole person, and because of Christ, the redemption of our bodies can begin on this side of Heaven when we abide in Him.
The woman looking for an abortion is unable to see abortion as a violent act against her body because, right now, her body is less meaningful than the rest of her life – which means that baby is too. Her body has no true relation to her identity at this point, leaving her ability to experience wholeness in fragments.
In helping her connect with her whole self, helping her realize that she is worthy not because of what she can do or offer – and not just because she is carrying a baby – but for the sake that she simply exists, then there is room for her to change her mind.
Submitting to God’s design for our whole lives is the one true thing that brings us into freedom. With the opportunity to see through a more holistic lens, the God who created and cares about her mind, soul, and body can heal the parts of her that have been fractured. In belonging to Christ, we can be formed into His likeness – we can become truly human.
It can be hard to put our ideas aside and remember to actually see the woman in the pro-life conversation. In helping her to know that she is seen and cared for just as she is, then she will begin to be able to love her baby as herself – as God has loved her. And in our humble attempt to partner with God in this way, we get to humanize her again.
What a wonderful, sacred gift to get to help women realize their full worth as whole humans for the first time.
More scriptures and resources:
“Then God said, ‘Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.’ So God created man in His own image; He created Him in the image of God; He created them male and female. God blessed them” (Genesis 1:26-28 CSB).
“So [Hagar] called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen Him who looks after me.” Therefore the well was called [the well of the Living One who sees me]” (Genesis 16:13-14 ESV).
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. The second is, Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other command greater than these” (Mark 12:30-31 CSB).
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is going to be revealed to us. For the creation eagerly waits with anticipation for God’s sons to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to futility—not willingly, but because of him who subjected it—in the hope that the creation itself will also be set free from the bondage to decay into the glorious freedom of God’s children. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together with labor pains until now. Not only that, but we ourselves who have the Spirit as the firstfruits—we also groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for adoption, the redemption of our bodies. Now in this hope we were saved, but hope that is seen is not hope, because who hopes for what he sees? Now if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with patience” (Romans 8:18-25 CSB).
Pearcey, Nancy. Love Thy Body: Answering Hard Questions about Life and Sexuality. Baker Books, 2019.
By Katelynn Martin, repost from 2022