Unplanned is the film detailing the true story of one woman’s journey of transformation after discovering the truth about abortion; abortion hurts women. After a pivotal moment in her career, Abby Johnson decided that despite all odds, she had to fight for what was right and true.

Abby Johnson wanted to help women. Thus she began her career advocating for what she thought was women’s rights. Working her way up in Planned Parenthood, she became one of the youngest and most successful Planned Parenthood clinic directors in the nation. Abby was involved in upwards of 22,000 abortions and counseled countless women about their reproductive choices advocating for abortion. Her passion led her to become a spokesperson for Planned Parenthood, fighting to enact legislation for the cause she so deeply believed in. That is, until the day Abby was asked to assist in an abortion and saw the truth. Abby Johnson quit her prestigious job to join her former enemies at 40 Days for Life and become one of the most passionate pro-life speakers in America.

Nearly 33% of women in the United States will have an abortion by age 45. These women come from all walks of life, but hardly any of them will ever talk about the abortion. The reason is simple. They experience deep emotional consequences following the act of ending their baby’s life. It can leave them feeling confused, without really knowing which feelings are coming together to make them feel this way. The intensity of these emotions will depend on the individual woman, her beliefs and attitudes, her support systems and the circumstances in her own life.

You or someone you care about could be exhibiting some symptoms of emotional or psychological distress related to abortion. These can include:

  • Guilt from violating your own sense of morality.
  • Anger about aspects of the complex situation surrounding the pregnancy.
  • Self-destructive behaviors such as eating disorders, alcohol and/or substance abuse, abusive relationships, promiscuity.
  • Re-experiencing events related to the abortion such as memories or nightmares involving lost or dismembered babies.
  • Anxiety that leads to headaches, dizziness, pounding heart, abdominal cramps, muscle tightness, difficulty sleeping.
  • Psychological numbing—your unconscious vows never to let anything hurt this badly again hampers your ability to enjoy an emotional, intimate relationship.
  • Depression, which reveals itself through deep sadness, sudden and uncontrollable crying, poor self-concept, sleep and appetite disturbances, loss of normal sources of pleasure, even thoughts of suicide.
  • Preoccupation with becoming pregnant again, an unconscious hope of replacing the baby you aborted.
  • Anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues, fearing that God will punish you by not letting you bear children.
  • Trouble in bonding with your other children, either by being overprotective or feeling detached from them.
  • Anniversary reactions such as an increase in symptoms around the time of the anniversary of the abortion, the due date of the aborted child, or both.

It’s important to pay attention to what your body and emotions may be trying to tell you. When you finally recognize your need to come to terms with a past abortion, that’s when the path to healing can begin.

Is forgiveness after abortion possible? Can God forgive me, let alone love me?

God offers full forgiveness to hurting women grieving from causing the intentional loss of their child through abortion. God sent His son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for our sins. God knows everything that we do, and He still stands right by our side forgiving us because we are His children.

The Lord forgives all those who ask. You need to know that God has already forgiven you if you have asked. You now need to forgive yourself. He is the God of the broken and the weary, not the perfect and the pure.

In the words of one young woman who had an abortion: ‘It took me a long time to understand that I was forgiven for these abortions. One day, I sat at home alone crying to God to forgive me for having the abortions, and in my heart, I heard the Lord say to me, “I forgave you the day you asked.” I felt the forgiveness of God in my heart at that moment.’

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9

If you are struggling with the emotional pain and angst surrounding abortion, we encourage you to reach out and seek professional counseling and support. Lutheran Family Service offers Christian counseling in a safe, confidential and judgement-free setting. We offer hope and healing because we know that nothing is impossible with God.

Sue Shields
Licensed Independent Mental Health Provider / Licensed Professional Counselor for Lutheran Family Service

Ready to seek professional support and help? Reach out today at: https://lutheranfamilyservice.org/mental-health-counseling/

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