After years of this preparation, I only recently realized that there was a question I was completely unprepared for. “Ardee, I am pregnant and I am thinking of having an abortion. Can you help me?” How would you answer that question? 

Are there any questions you are afraid of someone asking you? As a parent of two young children, I am already bracing myself for the heart palpitation inducing question of, “Daddy, where do babies come from?!”  Thankfully, my daughter and son are content with the fact that babies are simply in a mommy’s tummy; they have yet to show much interest in how they got there and I am happy to leave it that way for now.

I think we all have a list of these types of questions. Questions that are awkward, uncomfortable, and generally difficult to tackle. As hard as it can be to answer an innocently awkward question from a child, it can be even more difficult to answer a question that could transform a life. These questions may include things like, “Why is there evil in the world if God is good?” Or, “Why do bad things happen to good people.” I may be a naturally born extrovert, but even I don’t relish answering these questions. Growing up in the church, I would read the verse, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.” (1 Pet. 3:15) I heard sermons on this verse challenging me to be ready to introduce someone to Christ.

Yet, after years of this preparation, I only recently realized that there was a question I was completely unprepared for. “Ardee, I am pregnant and I am thinking of having an abortion. Can you help me?”

Now, I have been pro-life as long as I can remember. I know the apologetic arguments against abortion inside and out, forwards and backwards. Yet, I realize that debating abortion with a pro-choice person is very different than speaking about abortion with a woman or man facing an unplanned pregnancy. The former is detached from the pressures of a difficult pregnancy decision, the latter is enmeshed in them. When someone believes they are in a crisis, logical and rational arguments often take a back seat to empathetic and sensitive ones.

That is why I am so thankful for the training I received when I started working at Care Net. For more than 40 years, Care Net and its affiliated pregnancy centers have served those facing unexpected and unexpectedly complicated pregnancies. The more than 30,000 staff and volunteers at our more than 1,100 affiliated centers have these difficult conversations daily. The insights gleaned from these life-saving encounters have been distilled into a free resource called Ten Things Not To Do When a Woman Says She Wants an Abortion.

When I first read the list, I realized just how poorly I would have handled this question. It gave me answers that were likely to empower my friend to choose life.

Let me give you an example.

The third “don’t” from the eBook is, “Do not lose eye contact.” The first thing I would have done is look away as I frantically tried to come up with a response. This would have shown my friend that I was uncomfortable, leading to her feeling more uncomfortable herself. Instead, I need to soften my face and my voice.  As the eBook says, “Our facial expressions can send several messages. For example, if you are talking to a pregnant woman and she is experiencing fear because of the situation, it’s important to relax your face and focus on the fact that she is telling you very personal information. Show your concern by listening attentively to what she is saying and how she is feeling.”

By reading through Ten Things and practicing these techniques, I became much more comfortable with this question and now feel prepared to introduce a woman or man considering abortion to the hope of Jesus Christ.

Now, you are probably thinking, “But Ardee, I don’t know anyone who would consider an abortion. All my friends are pro-life or Christians.” That may be. However our research into abortion found that nearly four out of ten women who had abortions were attending church regularly at the time of their first abortion. This means that you and I are probably attending church with someone who had an abortion in their past or may be considering one in their future.

So, would you like to learn the 10 things you should not do when faced with such a question? If so, grab your own free copy of Ten Things Not to Do When a Woman Says She Wants an Abortion at this link.

After all, simply dreading the question won’t prepare us for it and there are too many lives at stake to not be ready.