A recent article in the Texas Tribune highlighted a group of progressive pastors in Texas and clergy across the country that are trying to change the church’s stance on abortion so that women who’ve had abortions won’t feel shame.

According to the article, these leaders advocate that the, “physical, spiritual and emotional well-being of mothers is equally sacred.” From the pulpit, some of these ministers preach their support of “reproductive rights” citing that the Bible doesn’t, “spell things out for us in terms that are helpful on today’s issues.”

Though there seems to be a range of diverse views, even among those endorsing abortion in their congregations and ministries, one presupposition seems to be central to their rationale. That is: restricting abortion is bad for women.

According to their syllogism, pro-life values hurt women; the church should be supporting women; therefore the church should endorse abortion.

But logical progressions only work when based in truth. What’s missing from this reasoning is the data about how abortions harm women. No matter how Planned Parenthood and others try to spin it, the data shows that abortion has consequences on a woman in a variety of ways””including on a woman’s mental health.

To claim that supporting abortion rights is healthier for women is inaccurate. 1 To purport that being pro-life is harmful to women is just as false. The shame many women feel after abortion doesn’t come from a pastor teaching God’s truth that all life has value. Rather, it often comes from their realization that they have treated a covenant relationship with their child as if it was a consumer relationship with a product of conception as the pro-choice movement has tried to frame it. 

Does the church need to do a better job embracing, supporting, and assisting women who have already had an abortion? Absolutely. That’s what Jesus would have done. His interactions with the Samaritan woman at the well show us that Jesus’s goal is not to shame people for their past, but to invite them to turn from their old ways and walk in new life.

The Gospel teaches us that Jesus covered our sin and our shame on the cross. This message should be loud and clear from every pulpit. This is our hope. This is where freedom is found.

Yet, culture has chosen a different route. And, it seems, this coalition of religious leaders has followed suit. Instead of teaching that sin is real but the remedy for sin (Jesus) is also real, they’ve chosen to ignore both. In an attempt to spare anyone from shame, we’ve normalized everything, including what God disdains.

God is the Creator and source of all life. His goal is for his creation to live, and to live abundantly through Jesus.

The best way for churches to support women is not to hop on the “reproductive rights” bandwagon. Instead, the church should play a critical role in supporting, loving, and caring for women and men facing unplanned pregnancies. Care Net has many resources to work directly with churches to equip church leaders and lay leaders to support these couples in a truth-filled and supportive way.

Likewise, the church should be there to walk alongside women who have already chosen abortion. There’s not Gospel justification for guilt and shame. Instead, these women should be welcomed into fellowship and encouraged with the truth of scripture and invited to lay their shame at the foot of the cross.

1. /center-insights-blog/a-study-of-suffering-after-abortion