Abortion, as I’m sure you agree, is not a victimless crime. Of course, according to our modern society, it isn’t a crime at all, but instead some would say, “Abortion is a woman’s right!”. However, those who take God’s word seriously do see abortion as a crime committed against the most defenseless victims, unborn children. But here’s a question that many pro-life people grapple with, “Is the baby the only victim?” I have personally spoken with pro-lifers who are greatly offended by the notion that women are victims, as well as the babies they chose to have killed in an abortion. Their stance is if we say she’s a victim then we imply that something was done to her without her consent, when in fact the vast majority of abortions are performed with the express consent and active involvement of the women. I certainly understand and partly agree with this assessment because from my 13+ years being involved at the local abortion centers it’s sometimes very hard to view women coming for abortions as mere victims. One personal story that comes to mind happened a few years ago. A young lady pulled very quickly and aggressively into the abortion center parking lot. As she stepped out of her vehicle I called out to her about the free ultrasound and the resources we offer. Then I said, “Please don’t go in there to take the life of your baby!” She responded, “If I could spit this baby out of my mouth in the parking lot right now I would!” Such a heartless and callous response. Is this young lady a victim or a victimizer? Stories like this make it very hard to view all those aborting their children as victims.
On the other hand, I know many pro-life people who would be appalled at the idea that the baby is the only victim, implying that if we don’t view the woman as a victim as well then we can’t show her the love and support she needs. I certainly understand and partly agree with this assessment as well. We have to be able to look on women coming for abortions with compassion and try to understand their situations as best we can. Over the years we have encountered women going into the abortion centers who I would absolutely describe as victims. We’ve encountered women who were being sex trafficked whose pimp found out they were pregnant and brought them to abort because they didn’t want a baby to interfere with their “business”. We’ve met women whose husbands or other family members have threatened violence against them if they didn’t abort. A personal story that comes to mind is of a young lady whose grandmother told her she had to get an abortion. This girl was only 16 but in no way wanted to abort her baby. Because she lived with her grandmother she felt she had no other option but to go through with the abortion. When she arrived at the center, miraculously, she was able to make it onboard the mobile ultrasound unit to see her baby. Our volunteers listened to her story and offered her housing to escape the pressure from her grandmother. Long story short, the grandmother ended up regaining her trust and a few days later told her to get into the car because they were going to the store. As they were driving down the road she found out that her grandmother had made her another appointment to abort and that they were actually driving to the abortion center. At the next stoplight, she jumped out of the car and ran into the nearest store to call one of the Cities4Life counselors she met earlier in the week for help. Thankfully, we were able to help her and even get law enforcement involved. Praise the Lord she never had the abortion, but it makes me wonder how many young mothers are in essence forced to go through with an abortion that they didn’t want by a parent or guardian. I think most people would consider those ladies victims of abortion for sure.
So I’m kind of in the middle on this question. Yes, the baby is always a victim of abortion but the mothers can also be victimized by it. For that matter, many others can be victims of abortion. I think of some of the dads of these babies who never want their wife or girlfriend to kill their child through abortion. What about grandparents whose daughter had an abortion but they themselves are devastated by the fact that their daughter killed their grandchild, and certainly there may be others who are negatively affected by abortion and have become victims of its destruction.
I think part of the difficulty in answering the question, “Are there really two victims in an abortion?” comes in how we perceive the word victim. When we hear victim we think of someone who has no responsibility in the matter. Now, of course, most situations where a person is the victim of a crime they have no responsibility in what was done to them. Think of the victim of rape. He or she has no responsibly in what was done to them and the perpetrator is certainly not a victim. But in one sense abortion makes almost every women who has it a victim because of the false promises it makes but never delivers. Abortion (like the devil) promises a secure future, a better relationship with her boyfriend or parents, a college education, etc… and yes women who believe these lies are responsible for their decision but we also must be honest with ourselves and see how many of the enemy’s lies we have believed and fallen prey to in our lives. Ultimately, you could argue that all of humanity has become a victim of the lies of the devil but that does not mean that we aren’t responsible for the decisions we make because the scripture makes it clear that we are. In the very beginning our first parents, Adam and Eve, were persuaded by the devil to disregard God’s word and eat of the tree from which God had forbidden them to eat. They were victims of satan’s lies but God still held them responsible for their actions because they knew what the Lord had commanded them not to do. Because of this, all people are born under bondage to sin. However, in spite of all of this the most innocent victim of humanity’s sin, our Lord Jesus, was crucified and became the victim of lost humanity’s depravity, and the devil’s rage, allowing His own creation to kill him. Not so that we would all remain victims, embracing a victim mentality, but so that through His death, burial, and resurrection we could become victors living free from the bondage of sin and in the glorious liberty that He gives. Jesus said in John 8:34, “He who commits sin is a slave of sin.” But He goes on to say in verse 36, “Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed”. As believers in Jesus we have been set free from victimhood, but that freedom isn’t meant to be held onto for our own sake. We are called to go and bring freedom to others who are captive, and that’s what our volunteers do every day at the local abortion centers. Yes, we are there to offer practical help and resources to those going into the abortion centers, but more importantly, we are there to bring the hope of the Gospel to those who are bound and have been made victims of satan’s lies.