How to help Someone who’s had an Abortion

Abortion is a very touchy subject. Even when a parent felt they had no other choice, like my husband and I: our unborn son was diagnosed with anencephaly – had he have survived (and those chances were very slim), our baby would have never gained consciousness, nor would he have had any quality of life. Many people have been so compassionate about it with us.

But, please also try to be sensitive about people who aborted a healthy baby. Far too often it happens because of pressure put on the mother (or both parents). For example, parents of teenagers and of women with an intellectual disability, often force them to have an abortion. So where’s the choice in that?

Now some people do choose to abort what might be a healthy baby. But this choice is never an easy one to make – and they still suffer, perhaps more than any of us whose baby has died – because they feel they can’t tell a soul about it.

More than anyone else who has lost a baby (through miscarriage, stillbirth, neo natal death, and abortions for other reasons) – we who have had an abortion often suffer the longest and the hardest, simply because our society can be very judgmental. In the aftermath of any abortion, our grief is made so much worse because our loss is so utterly disenfranchised by our society. We suffer alone and in silence as a result.

So, what can you say and do that might be of comfort, when someone you love has had an abortion?

Well, since their greatest problem is that they feel they just can’t talk about; it's simple: let them talk! About what happened, their thoughts, their emotions, where they are ‘at’ now. And when they tell you about it, please don’t be critical, for this will only destroy the help you are trying to give them. Show empathy and validate their words. It doesn’t mean you have to agree with them: all that matters is that you’re letting them express what’s been bottled up inside (sometimes for decades), and that you’re showing them you care in a non-judgmental way.

For plenty of actual words you can say in these situations, please click here.

Thank you for caring so much. Your loved one (or patient) is lucky to have you.

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