As a pregnancy center counselor, I've noticed more people who've experienced an abortion in their past coming out to assist in pro life work.
Their testimonies are bringing much needed attention to the pain and regret so common after abortion.
At the March for Life, we see their moving, "I Regret My Abortion" or "Men Regret Lost Fatherhood" signs. We've heard them speak at pro life dinners and fundraising events.
Knowing at least three post-abortion men and women who help out at the center where I work, I wondered how common this is around the country.
I called a few centers affiliated with Heartbeat International.
I spoke to Shelley Lewis, executive director of the Arkansas Pregnancy Resource Center in Little Rock. She said there have been a number involved, both past and present.
"I think it's very prevalent, a primary motivator in getting involved with pro-life," Lewis said.
Lewis didn't hesitate to share that she too had an abortion years ago. Her story is heartbreaking, which makes it all the more remarkable that she now assists others in avoiding abortion and in healing from abortion.
Recently Lewis gave her dramatic testimony at the center’s annual dinner.
Through seeking God, Lewis's life, "became transformed. It's fascinating how God can transform you even when you think you're unworthy."
"What an honor it is now for me to put my love for God into action with the pregnancy center,” she said, “to have a testimony that others need to hear."
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At the Alight Center in Hudson, New York, there are presently two post-abortive women involved with the center's healing program.
"I think it provides a sense of security for the women who come to us for healing," shared Director Jennifer Lawlor. "They're talking to women who've experienced the same thing.... maybe they feel there's less chance of a judgment. The emotions they discuss are something they share and maybe they've never shared it with anyone else.
In Denver, Colo., Amber Havekost, director of Counseling after Abortion at You Have Alternatives sees many post-abortive women.
I have some women who wish to help others know the possible full impact of abortion as they often weren’t told about the possible negative effects,” she said.
“Most say they were told very little about it other than, ‘it’ll be straightforward and you’ll get back to normal in no time,’” Havekost said. “Most want to use their experience or story to help other women think to slow down and take more time, help them consider not just the immediate circumstances but also future consequences.”
In Indianapolis, Ind., First Choice for Women has three centers around the city. Linda Kyle, director, spoke about two people on staff who are post abortive, both of whom have been through healing abortion center.
Kyle shared that not everyone who is post abortion, even after going through a healing program, can work with clients.
"For some the emotions are just so strong,” she said, “to listen to these stories and relive the factors that were involved in their own situation."
So, for a number of post-abortive people, Kyle stated, helping out in other ways is preferable. That can be sorting through donated baby or maternity clothes, data entry, picking up donated cribs, strollers, car seats, etc.
Arkansas First Choice runs an office and a mobile unit. Sarah Short, co-interim director says the need remains in spite of abortion now being illegal in the state.
"For anyone who wants to help out and has had a previous abortion, we require them to go through a healing program first,” she said. “It's a question on our application."
Short spoke of a woman on staff who provides counseling.
"She gave her testimony at our last banquet,” Short said. “We also have a handful of volunteers who are post abortion who help out in other ways. One of the men is starting a men's ministry for those who regret an abortion in their past."
Being healed prior to assisting with pro-life work is very important.
"These are the people we want helping, of course,” said Short. “But for some it doesn't work.”
“For one woman for whom it just brought up the old wounds; she hadn't been through any kind of healing ministry yet,” Short said. “She ended up divorcing divorce and quitting.
Sometimes seeing the ultrasound is too hard,” she said. “So, we now require healing before they can work with us. There's absolutely no judgment ... these people can help the girls who come to us like no one else."
Abortion healing resources are available HERE.
Editor's note: Heartbeat International manages Pregnancy Help News.