“Deidra” sobbed uncontrollably as she explained why she had to have an abortion. Deidra is a 19-year-old freshman at North Carolina State University, the first in her family to go to college, and has her sights set on being a Physician Assistant. She loves the Lord, is active in her church and her parents have raised her well, teaching her God’s standards of purity and abstinence until marriage. Despite all that, Deidra and her boyfriend went “too far” and now, here she is at Gateway Women’s Care, scared to death and too afraid to tell her parents she’s pregnant. As this intelligent, capable young woman sits in front of me, the words tumbled out…
I’m so scared to tell my parents I’m pregnant. I have to have an abortion because my parents can never know I’ve been having sex; they would be horrified and I’d rather go through an abortion than have to face them and disappoint them.
Unfortunately, Deidra’s response is extremely common. It is heartbreaking to witness the genuine fear and indecision that many Christian girls experience when faced with an unplanned pregnancy and how it drives girls to NOT seek help from those who love them the most—their parents. These fears are why “good” Christian girls abort and why their parents will most likely never know.
I imagine you are thinking, “This would never be my daughter.” I beg you to think again. More often than not, “good” Christian girls in relationships are determined to abstain from intercourse and therefore are not actively using contraception. Therefore, it takes just one poor decision by either your son or daughter to create an unplanned pregnancy, regardless of all you’ve taught them. Your child’s absence from home, if they’re living away at college, makes an abortion decision easier to hide from you.
How then should we talk to our children about sex, purity, unplanned pregnancies and abortion?
More than ten years of experience at Gateway Women’s Care has shown me that quite often there’s a piece missing from the “talks” parents have with their daughters and sons. Without knowing it, we are leaving no doors open for our children to come back to us should they stray. We are making good, strong cases for purity until marriage and yet neglecting to communicate the message of grace: that we are there for them no matter what, and should they make a mistake—in this case, get pregnant—it is safe for them to come to us for help and support.
Simply put: Parents, talk to your children.
Parents, talk to your children about God’s design for sex and marriage, about the benefits of purity and how that plays out practically in our sex-saturated culture. Don’t avoid this conversation since the world will most definitely jump in and fill whatever vacuum you leave. Emphasize to them that we all fall short of the perfect standards of God and that nothing, not even an unplanned pregnancy, will separate them from your love and support.
The most difficult conversation of your life.
Young people, if you find you are pregnant—and I hope and pray that you will never need this advice—understand that talking to your parents will most likely be one of the most difficult conversations of your life. But DO IT! Most parents would be horrified at first to hear that their child aborted and did not come to them for help.
God has a purpose for every life. An unplanned pregnancy may not seem like a blessing but the Lord can turn your sorrow into joy. God can open your eyes, both parents and children, to see this “unplanned” child as a blessing from Him.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11
Wendy Bonano is Executive Director of Gateway Women’s Care, pregnancy centers in Raleigh and Durham.
This story is featured in our latest Family North Carolina magazine, available in print and on line. To read the entire issue, and our most recent issues, go to NCFamily.org > Research > Magazine or click here!