Holding hands during abortion?

Heart in Hands

istockphoto @ branca escova

One of the biggest barriers to finding God’s love after abortion is dealing with the issue of blame.

  • We blame the partners and parents who failed to support us.
  • We blame ourselves for getting pregnant in the first place.
  • We blame God for allowing abortion to unfold in our lives.

Our healing begins as we take accountability for our own actions and take courage to forgive. This may require having difficult conversations to improve our close relationships or separating from irreparably unhealthy ones.

And we may also need to identify certain people who exploited our problem for their own gain–some of whom put on a mask of compassion to give what we took for a touch of kindness.

Years ago I shared my abortion story with a woman who was a former abortion-trade worker. I told her how “the nurse” took my hand before the procedure began, and how I clung in my memory to that gesture as the only kindness shown me that day. She interrupted me, “Oh, Kim, I doubt that was a nurse.”

I was surprised.

She continued, “Every abortion facility has a designated worker to take the woman’s hand at that moment. She is generally not a nurse and her main job it not to give the compassion many women take it for. Her job is to keep you on the table. Many women will try to get up at the last minute, and she has been trained and instructed to hold you in place if need be. No abortion, no money.”

My mind rebelled against her report. That touch had meant so much to me as a lonely and scared young woman. Was it  just bogus? And if so, what else was a lie that day?

In the ensuing years, I’ve reported many stories of women angry over having been held in place when they tried to leave the abortion table (see especially Roxanne’s story). Their experience is affirmed here by a hand-holder who honestly reports her detachment–and who reveals pursuing her work is a political act (“reproductive justice”) over and above health care (hat tip Jill Stanek):

Hand holding can be physically challenging. I have come home with scratches on my hands from fingernails, or swollen fingers that were gripped too tightly for too long. These occurrences are rare, but happen.

It can be difficult to come to grips with the fact that sometimes destruction wears a caring mask. And it would be easy to blame those who are still selling counterfeit compassion and who deceived us in our distress.

If you’ve had an abortion, I would love to hear your reaction to this story. Was there a worker who took your hand? Was it a welcome touch? Are these workers to blame for children losing their lives? Are you angry at those who worked to take your child’s life? Have you forgiven them? How did God accomplish that in you?

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