How to respond to a friend who has had an abortion

May 11, 2016

 

Almost everyone knows someone who’s had an abortion. How would you respond if a friend confided in you tomorrow that she'd had an abortion. Would you be able to respond in a way that brings her closer to healing?

If this is the first time your friend has told you about her abortion, she may be afraid that you will be critical or that you will repeat to others what she tells you. She must know that you are a real friend who cares about her, and that you are not sitting in judgment of her.

Before you talk to her, keep in mind: What does she need today?

  • someone to listen?

  • a shoulder to cry on?

  • a referral to a professional counselor,

  • a priest or minister?

  • or even crisis intervention?


Listen with your heart! Let her pour out the whole story without interrupting her. You don’t have to understand every detail. It’s important that she lets go of some of the burden she’s been carrying and that she no longer feels alone.

She may talk about:

  • what happened at the clinic

  • rage and anger—at the boyfriend, her parents, the clinic personnel, God, herself

  • guilt, regret, depression, nightmares

  • using alcohol or drugs to try to forget, and even suicidal thoughts

  • unbearable grief

  • being alienated from her boyfriend, family and friends

  • feeling that she doesn’t deserve to be loved or forgiven


Assure her of your love and support

Much as you’d like to make all her suffering go away with the right words, her grief and loss won’t disappear after one conversation. Assure her of your friendship. Tell her you will be there for her and help her find healing.

Ask your friend if she has ever heard about help for people struggling after abortion. There are safe places where trained people can help her overcome grief and loss, and give her hope. There are counselors, priests and ministers prepared to help, as well as support groups and retreats. (Material taken from: http://www.usccb.org/about/pro-life-activities/respect-life-program/2014/how-to-talk-to-a-friend-whos-had-an-abortion.cfm. More information available at this link.)

 

A Haven for Healing is here to offer confidential help and a program to help her overcome her grief and loss.

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