Answering the Call for Help
By Carla Arges & Elea Hofman
That moment when the phone rings and you hear a woman on the other end of the line say, “I’d like to schedule an abortion” is chilling. Immediately your heart rate goes up, blood rushes out of your face and your mind reels to find the right words. You want to tell her all the reasons she should choose life and all the resources at her disposal but what she really needs is to feel safe and a listening ear. So when I walked into work at the Halton Alive office on a Thursday morning and that was the first phone call I received I was thankful for the training seminar we hosted the day before, Reaching Out With Compassion. Our speaker, Teresa Hartnett, taught us and 40 other frontline pro-life workers, practical tools for responding to women seeking abortion or dealing with the grief from a past abortion.
The seminar really helped us step into the shoes of a woman with an unplanned pregnancy – to understand her fear, the pressures around her and the very real impact of the “fight or flight” instinct on decision making. At that moment she feels like she has no choice. We need to help her move out of “fight or flight” so she can feel safe and we can walk with her through very realistic fears she has.
It’s amazing how when we prepare and educate ourselves to handle crisis, God starts sending more people our way. I was able to respond to that woman calmly, hear her story, offer her support and create a safe environment for ongoing help. Our conversation continues and she hasn’t yet made a final decision about her pregnancy but she knows that no matter what, we are here for her.
Since the time God declared in the Garden of Eden that the Saviour would come from the seed of a woman the enemy has been out to destroy her. Abortion is one of the ways. While we need to provide support for the woman who chooses life, we also need to demonstrate God's love and grace to women who have made or are considering an abortion decision. So many women are secretly and silently in bondage to condemnation, guilt and shame. But we know Christ died to bring freedom and redemption to all. So how would Jesus approach a woman wanting an abortion? He would offer her grace, compassion and love. He would demonstrate through his mercy all the reasons he went to the cross for HER.
My challenge to others is to consider, how do people view you based on the way you communicate your pro-life stance? Does what you say, post on Facebook or comment about pro-choicers make a woman in crisis want to turn to you for help – even if she is considering abortion? Our pro-life actions and words must be soaked in love and grace at all times. When we live out compassion and prepare our hearts and minds to offer support, the people who need it most will be drawn across our path. Education – both ours and theirs – really can save lives.