Church elders coerce woman into having an abortion

In the pro-choice Christian book Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace, a Christian woman describes how her husband and elders at a fundamentalist Church she was attending coerced her into having an abortion.

She and her husband were separated. When he discovered she was pregnant, he demanded that she have an abortion.

“I sought out a trusted elder and explained my dilemma to him. What should I do? I asked him if he would intervene on my behalf with my husband.

After conferring with the other male leaders in the church, he came back with his response. The male leadership agreed it would not be good for me to have the pressures of an additional child while trying to resume a marriage. But the most important issue was that I must obey my husband’s decision.

The church did not approve of abortion and believed that I would be committing a grave sin if I had one; nevertheless, my husband’s authority was absolute and none of them would speak to him about changing his mind. The only help they offered was to pray that Tom of his own accord might decide to allow me to keep the baby.

That change of mind did not happen, so the day came for my abortion. One of the elders and his wife dropped me off at the corner of the street where the abortion clinic was located. It was obvious that they did not want to be seen anywhere nearby. “Were going shopping and will meet you for lunch at the diner on the corner,” they said, quickly disappearing.…

The young woman assigned to be my counselor asked me why I wanted an abortion, and I told her how I was learning to be a submissive wife and how my husband had to learn to assume responsibility for his leadership.

She didn’t understand any of this talk and especially not any of my tears. I kept clutching my New Testament and praying for the miracle deliverance that was supposed to save my baby and me from this trial.

As I returned to the waiting room, I noticed that nearly everyone else had someone with her to stay by her side during the waiting period and then take her home afterwards. I had only my New Testament. “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil… Lord, forgive them, for they don’t know what they do… Wives, be subject to your husbands in everything…”

I kept repeating verses over and over to myself, interspersed with prayers for deliverance: “Lord, you honored Sarah’s faithfulness and obedience to her husband when he sold her off to a harem. I beg you to intervene miraculously on my behalf, too.… God, as Abraham was called upon to sacrifice his dearly beloved son, I offer this baby up to you in obedience. Where is your substitutionary ram? Even now you can deliver my baby as you did with Isaac.”

But there was to be no miraculous intervention, only the sound of my sobs, with no one there to hug me or wipe away my tears. The doctor’s assistant proceeded with the abortion. I tried to close my eyes so that I could at least mentally escape, but the attendant said I had to keep my eyes open “to make sure I was alright.”

Afterwards I was sent to lie down in a recovery room with several other women. Between sobs, I noticed that every other woman in the room had someone else there with her offering her comfort and support…

An hour later the elder and his wife picked me up at the diner and took me home. No one else in the church was informed about what I had done…

When my children and I moved back to Delaware [To reunite with her husband], the illusions of the people in the church remained intact. I was going off into the sunset with another healed marriage for which they could praise God.…”

Within a short period of time, her husband admitted that he had been having an affair all along and left her for the other woman. She concludes:

“This church continues to speak out against the situation ethics of liberals and non-Christians, contrasting it with an ethics based on the inerrant truth of the Bible. Nevertheless, in actual situations not clearly covered in the Bible, fundamentalist Christians like these rely on a sort of working code that defies logic and ignores God’s concern for persons.”

The emotional price paid by me and my children during this period in our lives was tremendous… But the greatest pain was in not finding any loving support from Christians… Instead, we found hypocrisy.”

Anne Eggebroten, ed Abortion: My Choice, God’s Grace (Pasadena, California: New Paradigm Books, 1994) 94 – 98

This terrible story shows what can happen when a Christian church does not uphold the sacredness of all human life. One out of every five women who has an abortion identifies as a born-again or evangelical Christian. Did they find (or would they have found) support in their churches?

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About Sarah

Sarah is a member of the board of The Pro-life Alliance of Gays and Lesbians.
This entry was posted in Personal Stories, Women's Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Church elders coerce woman into having an abortion

  1. michel06 says:

    Le premier commandement que Jésus a dit : Tu aimera Dieu de tout ton coeur , de toute
    ton âme, de toute tes pensé et de toute tes action. A qui doit tu obéir? A Dieu ou a l’homme, même s’il est-on mari. TU NE TUERA PAS.

  2. Pingback: Church elders coerce woman into having an abortion | Irrelevant Thoughts of Chandler

  3. “The church did not approve of abortion and believed that I would be committing a grave sin if I had one; nevertheless, my husband’s authority was absolute and none of them would speak to him about changing his mind. The only help they offered was to pray that Tom of his own accord might decide to allow me to keep the baby.”

    This is one of the sad stories where a child lost its life and its mother didn’t get a choice. The illusion of men having authority over women is one of the things that Christianity promotes. This story makes me angry because of the sexism, but aside from that, neither a man or woman has authority over the life of someone else.

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