Few mothers will choose abortion if they are supported by caring people. When facing an unplanned pregnancy the pressure of circumstances can seem too much to deal with. Women often decide to abort without knowing the risks involved or the alternatives to abortion.
Is abortion a first choice?
Surveys of women who have had an abortion show:
- 60% felt forced into having an abortion by others or their situation.
- 80% would have carried the baby in a better situation or with the support of loved ones.
- 70% felt it was wrong, but aborted because of pressure.
- 40% were still hoping for another option at the time of the abortion.
Women facing an unwanted pregnancy or who think they may be pregnant are welcome to visit their local pregnancy centre for confidential counselling. Churches can refer people to a centre. The centres also counsel women suffering from Post Abortion Syndrome.
Post abortion syndrome
After an abortion, it may seem like the problem is solved. But the initial relief is often replaced by unexpected emotional side-effects that can surface years later. Symptoms can include depression, guilt, regret, eating disorders, alcohol or drug abuse, feelings of helplessness and isolation, low self esteem, recurrent dreams of the abortion or the unborn child, a sense of loss or emptiness, anger at loved ones, and relationship difficulties.
What is a Pregnancy Centre?
There are over 60 pregnancy centres in South Africa offering help to those facing an unplanned pregnancy. The centres provide women with information and support so they can make the right choice for their pregnancy. Services include:
- Free confidential pregnancy testing
- Education about the child in the womb
- Information on abortion, how it is done, and other options
- Counselling for the mother, her parents and partner
- Moral and spiritual support
- Help and referral for adoption, if necessary.
- Some centres have homes for unmarried mothers
- Pre and post-natal guidance
- Maternity & baby clothes and equipment
With the support of the church and community, many women have been able to plan positively for themselves and their children, and face the future with hope. The centres also help prevent unplanned pregnancies by presenting special school programmes to teach young people to make healthy choices about their sexuality.
“It was when the counsellor prayed with me that I felt God tell me that abortion was wrong.” Client from Pregnancy Help Centre, Cape Town
Your church can help
Whatever your profession, talent or spiritual gift, your local pregnancy centre will be happy to have you join them. You and your church could make a difference in any of the following ways:
- Pray for the pregnancy centre as a church and in small groups.
- Volunteer for counselling and administrative jobs.
- Offer financial support. Include the centre in your missions budget, collect a special offering, support the centre’s fundraising activities, or offer maintenance services. Donate baby clothes and equipment.
- Tell the congregation about the centre.
- Preach on the Christian response to abortion.
Africa Cares for Life
(Pregnancy centre network)
If there is no pregnancy centre in your area, your church could start one. Africa Cares for Life helps start new pregnancy centres. The organisation is a Christian networking body providing help, support and training to pregnancy centres. The goal is for pregnancy centres to operate in unity with a common vision of being pro-women, pro-life and non-militant.
Some Cape Town Pregnancy Centres