My sin, not yours.

There are days where memories creep as a reminder from my time inside Planned Parenthood. When those thoughts happen, I try to document them. I don’t always share them. Some of them I just won’t ever be able to share with you. Some of them are things most of you wouldn’t want to know. However, there are some thoughts that I’m eager to share. This is one of those times.

Often, there is no communication between an abortionist and a woman having an abortion. None. Typically the doctor walks in without introducing himself, mask on his face, sits on a stool, performs the procedure, and walks out without saying a word to the woman on the table. We never had any complaints either. I guess women don’t expect the doctor who will take the life of their child to have a wonderful bedside manner.

Close to three months before I left Planned Parenthood, we had a young woman in the clinic who I had counseled before her abortion. She was very noticeably upset about having an abortion. I questioned her and encouraged her to go home and think about her decision. She insisted that this abortion needed happen that same day. This is what she wanted. She was just emotional, she said.

She asked me if I would be in the room with her to hold her hand during the procedure. I was happy to do that for people I counseled, especially for those that were nervous or upset. We got her in the room, I sat down beside her, placed her blood pressure cuff on, and the sedation was administered, but the sedation didn’t make much of a difference.

She cried even harder. She was crying so hard that she was shaking and her body was moving off the table. The doctor entered the room in the usual manner. He was about to sit down on his stool and realized she was very upset. Then he did something that left me speechless. He walked over to her and stood next to my chair. He took her hand and began talking to her.

“Why the tears?” he said. “I just feel really guilty about doing this,” she responded. He asked her why she felt guilty. She said, “Because I just know this is a sin.” He paused for a minute and looked at her. He looked at her so carefully, so cautiously. I had never seen one of our doctors treat a patient like this before.

He smiled gently at her and said, “No. It is not your sin. It is mine. I will take on your sin. I commit the sin. Not you.” He patted her hand, walked back to his stool and sat down. Her crying stopped. It was bizarre. Did he really think he was committing a sin? How could he do it if he really thought that? Did he think he was taking on the sins of these women by helping them obtain abortions? What a heavy burden to bear. It was hard for me to process then and it is still difficult for me to process today.

As I recall, while working at the clinic, I had a thought that if I died while I worked there, I would probably go to hell. I thought at the time that it would be worth it. I couldn’t imagine not working at Planned Parenthood. I did think that it was God’s will that I be there in the first place. I was so unsure of who God was or what His “will” actually meant, I was completely misdirected.

However, this doctor was different. If he really believed what he said, he was intentionally taking on the sins of these women. Why would he do that? Why would he want to? I won’t ever know the answer to these questions, but I do know that sin doesn’t work that way. He can’t be the scapegoat for these women.

Wouldn’t it be easy if we could pass our sins on to someone else? I mean, we are sinful people. We don’t even like to think about just how sinful we truly are. So, instead of thinking about our sins, we usually focus on everyone else’s.

Did you see what she wore to church? Do you know what kind of music he listens to? Did you hear what came out of her mouth? Do you know what he did last weekend? And on it continues. We are so concerned about the sins of others that we fail to remember that we are also sinners, we fail to look inwardly at our own sins first, there are even many times that we fail to correct them. It’s easier to pass judgment on others and shift focus from ourselves.

I frequently hear people say things like, “Shame on those abortion clinic workers. How can they do that to those poor little babies?” Or, “Shame on those abortionists. There will be a special place in hell for them.” Even, “Shame on those women who have abortions. They are the most selfish women ever.” You know what?? SHAME ON US.

Dr. Bernard Nathanson often talked about the strategy that was used when they founded NARAL, the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws. Dr. Nathanson said they just needed the Christian churches to stay silent on the abortion issue. The abortion groups just needed the churches to silently buy in, in a sense, in order to legalize abortion. That’s exactly what happened.

The statistics show that over 70% of women who choose abortion are Christians, and please don’t give me the “well, they say they are Christians” attitude. No. These are women who go to church, sit in Bible studies, attend Mass, lead praise and worship groups, daughters of pastors, wives of deacons, and so. You name it and there are women somewhere having abortions.

Why would these women have abortions? Don’t they know it is wrong? Sure they do. Why do we all sin? Why do you sin? We justify it. We rationalize it. We think we just HAVE to. We make sense of it. And are we talking about it? Nope, not really.

I go around the world talking to pro-life advocates and I ask them about abortion and the Church. Everyone’s response is fairly similar, the church isn’t talking about it. Sure, I will find a church every once in a while where the clergy bring it up in church or they actually have a ministry for single moms, I am always shocked and elated! I am shocked because it is SO uncommon.

Why don’t we want to talk about abortion? We have groups for everything in churches! Grief, beginning yoga, quit drinking/smoking, quilting, orchestra, low impact aerobics, how to deal with a problem kid, groups for homeschooling parents, divorce, how to manage your money, detailed studies on every single book of the Bible, 500 Beth Moore studies, knitting for beginners, weight loss, the list goes on.

I’m telling you, if you want it, you can find it at your local church. Well, unless you are in a crisis pregnancy or are suffering from a previous abortion. Oh, no ma’am. We don’t talk about THAT in church!!! But, if you would like to come meditate with us in yoga, we would love to have you on Tuesdays at 9am. One in three women have an abortion in this country, over 70% are Christian, but we won’t talk about it. Yeah, shame on us.

What are we waiting for? Are we waiting for permission from God? Well, we have it. We have it in the Scriptures. Check. Are we waiting for permission from our clergy? I hate to tell you this, but while you wait, babies are dying. We don’t need permission from the clergy to make things happen at our churches.

Women in your church right NOW are suffering and hurting. Families in your church are suffering right NOW from the devastating effects of abortion. But we wait?? What are we waiting for? You can make something happen.

You could:

  • Start a small group at your house and advertise it to the women in your church.

  • Connect with your local pregnancy center and put a table with all of their brochures and information at the back of your church.

  • Ask to put a small ad about your local pregnancy center in the bulletin every week.

  • Start bringing it up to your friends at church.

  • Hold a screening of a pro-life movie like Bella or Blood Money at your church.

  • Start a 40 Days for Life and get the people in your church involved.

Start making some noise!! Get uncomfortable! Make other people uncomfortable!! The people who are uncomfortable are the ones who need to hear it the most. Don’t wait for someone else’s permission to do the right thing!! It is always the right time to stand up for life! Now is the time!

Someone in your church is waiting for you to step out of your box and shake things up. You won’t be alone. We are never alone when we stand up for Christ and follow His teachings. These moms and babies deserve to hear our voices and we should be loud. In the end, we will not be able to pass our sins and apathy off on someone else. We will be accountable. We will say, no, these are not their sins, they are mine. There is no scapegoat.