The largest and best-known programs for mothers who regret their abortions, like Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More, are faith-based. This is unsurprising when you consider that Christian doctrine promises supernatural forgiveness of wrongdoing and reunification with the aborted child in the afterlife. Many women who have had abortions derive great comfort from those beliefs. But what about those who are not Christian and not interested in conversion? According to the Guttmacher Institute, 38% of women who obtain abortions have no religious affiliation and another 8% identify with non-Christian religions. That’s a huge population who may need secular services.
We wrote about this several years ago, but this is an important topic that deserves an update. Here are a few options for those who want acknowledgment of the actual source of their grief—their children’s lost lives—without bringing the Bible into it.
We highly recommend Abortion Changes You (also offered in Spanish), led by the wonderful Michaelene Fredenburg. We collaborated with Michaelene for a secular abortion healing workshop at the 2019 Rehumanize Conference in New Orelans and hope to work with her again. Abortion Changes You operates under the umbrella of Life Perspectives, which also provides care for families who have experienced miscarriage and other forms of reproductive loss.
AfterAbortion.com is an informal collection of message boards where people can help one another through their pain. Formal counseling is not provided; this is purely peer support. Pro-life vs. pro-choice debate is not allowed.
Some women adopt secular elements of Christian post-abortion healing programs, including rituals such as naming the unborn child or dedicating a physical memorial to the child. Some also benefit from one-on-one therapy with a psychologist—but of course, you will have to carefully choose a psychologist you trust. This directory may help.
Finally, please bear in mind that grief and regret are extended processes, and most abortion healing programs take the long view. They are therefore not appropriate for emergency situations. If you are struggling with self-harm or thoughts of suicide, call 911 or 1-800-SUICIDE immediately.