PBH100H: Understanding the Heart of a Vulnerable Women in a Crisis Pregnancy

FIXME Paul Swope, summary of the research:

The summary report of the study bears the intriguing title “Abortion: The Least Of Three Evils-Understanding the Psychological Dynamics of How Women Feel About Abortion.” The report suggests that women do not see any “good” resulting from an unplanned pregnancy. Instead they must weigh what they perceive as three “evils,” namely, motherhood, adoption, and abortion.

Unplanned motherhood, according to the study, represents a threat so great to modern women that it is perceived as equivalent to a “death of self.” While the woman may rationally understand this is not her own literal death, her emotional, subconscious reaction to carrying the child to term is that her life will be “over.” This is because many young women of today have developed a self-identity that simply does not include being a mother. It may include going through college, getting a degree, obtaining a good job, even getting married someday; but the sudden intrusion of motherhood is perceived as a complete loss of control over their present and future selves. It shatters their sense of who they are and will become, and thereby paralyzes their ability to think more rationally or realistically.

When these women evaluate the abortion decision, therefore, they do not, as a pro-lifer might, formulate the problem with the radically distinct options of either “I must endure an embarrassing pregnancy” or “I must destroy the life of an innocent child.” Instead, their perception of the choice is either “my life is over” or “the life of this new child is over.” Given this perspective, the choice of abortion becomes one of self-preservation, a much more defensible position, both to the woman deciding to abort and to those supporting her decision.

Even those women who are likely to choose life rather than abortion do so not because they better understand fetology or have a greater love for children, but because they have a broader and less fragile sense of self, and they can better incorporate motherhood into their self-identity.

Adoption, unfortunately, is seen as the most “evil” of the three options, as it is perceived as a kind of double death. First, the death of self, as the woman would have to accept motherhood by carrying the baby to term. Further, not only would the woman be a mother, but she would perceive herself as a bad mother, one who gave her own child away to strangers. The second death is the death of the child “through abandonment.” A woman worries about the chance of her child being abused. She is further haunted by the uncertainty of the child’s future, and about the possibility of the child returning to intrude on her own life many years later. Basically, a woman desperately wants a sense of resolution to her crisis, and in her mind, adoption leaves the situation the most unresolved, with uncertainty and guilt as far as she can see for both herself and her child. As much as we might like to see the slogan “Adoption, Not Abortion” embraced by women, this study suggests that in pitting adoption against abortion, adoption will be the hands-down loser.
  • Provider for two, I can barely provide for one
  • [missing four others]

No woman wants or desires to have an abortion. She feels often that she has no other choice.

“I am all alone.”

  • She feels that there is no one to support her
  • This is one of the most common fears
  • Those she trusts most have abandoned her
    • You can't say this unless you mean it 100%, but it often just melts the fears: “I promise I will not abandon you.”
  • This is a time when she desires support the most

“I am so afraid.”

  • Fear is natural – realization that this is an immortal soul placed in her care
  • “You're trustworthy” or “you can do this” or “you might need help, but you can do this”
  • It's in the nature of man to protect and for women to nurture. Abortion emasculates men – encourage a man to protect his baby.
    • When they said that to a man, his partner was in there the whole time waiting for him to come in a take her out


  • Perfect love casts out fear
  • No one is able to be totally self reliant. We are made in the image of God who is relational

Coaching example: employer finds out an employee asked for a Christmas bonus in advance to pay for an abortion

  • You have to understand what's going on, that she's scared and afraid
  • employer got her alone after work, let her know that she knew, and asked if there was anything she could do to help – the employee just shut down
  • Employer replied: “You must be so afraid” and she broke down and they embraced – the employer named what was going on in her heart

There is no room in the heart of the Father of the baby

  • She gave her whole self to him [missing]
  • The father rejects the mother when he rejects the baby
  • Women often are willing to suffer for another – unfortunately they will even suffer an abortion in order to “save” the relationship

FIXME reflection on this from a woman whose partner initially wanted abortion https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=pfbid02H6uYfXUG1pziEknbfTV1jxsjE1EFhzDHSFvoXke9AwNnNZEeyWGH8FVgqdyR78ZLl&id=100064858744264

There's no room in the heart of my parents for this baby

  • It is natural for parents to be surprised, even shocked
    • it's natural and pretty healthy
    • parents need a chance to mourn the ideals they had first – this pregnancy has put everyone into an emotional chaos
    • she's wanting support and is telling people she loves, but they can't and they're incapable (except for the rare saint) to offer support immediately without first dealing with their own emotional chaos
  • Their daughter deserves better than abortion
    • Sometimes, the Sisters can help the daughter by helping the mother. Often times, when parents are pressuring their children for abortion, it's because they think it's all going to fall on them.

My boyfriend told me that he would support be whatever I decide.

  • She hears in that: he really wants me to have an abortion
  • What she hoped he would say: “This is our baby.”

My mom had an abortion and she is fine.

  • Having suffered such a traumatic event a woman copes by repressing feelings for up to 20 years
  • “There is a difference between ignorance and denial.” – beINSPIRED

One day I want to be a mother and the next day I cannot even imagine it.

  • Unexpected pregnancy brings about unexpected joy
  • Normalize this feeling: it is very natural, especially for new parents, even in non-crisis pregnancy situations

Do not give way to fear

  • Let her cry
  • Help her to get in touch with what her heart is really saying to her

FIXME Choice42 videos as examples to consider, how the stories relate to the guidance? https://www.choice42.com/stories