My Friend Had an Abortion, and She’s Struggling. How Do I Help?

Do:

  • Give her credit for dealing with major problems in her life. For many women, it takes courage to talk about an abortion experience.
  • Ask, “How can I help?” and follow her lead. She may need professional help, but you can also give her the additional emotional support that she needs.
  • Help her recognize that it’s normal to grieve a pregnancy loss, including the loss of a child by abortion.
  • Adjust your own attitude. You can’t change the abortion, but you can change your attitude towards your friend. Make sure she feels your love and compassion for her. Let her know that she is important to you.
  • Choose your words carefully. Statements such as, “Why did you do something like that?” implies judgment. Instead, ask, “Are you comfortable with telling me more about what happened?”
  • Gently encourage her to seek post-abortion care. The BsideU Resource Center offers post-abortion counseling and group healing studies. If your friend doesn’t live in or near Louisville, Kentucky, check out Ramah International and Silent No More for support in other cities.

Don’t:

  • Tell her to put it in the past and just concentrate on happy things. Your “gut feeling” will be to protect and shield her from pain and grief, but this does not foster healthy grieving.
  • Talk to just anyone about her abortion. Treat her confidential information with respect. If you need to seek professional help or crisis intervention (especially if she tries to harm herself or others), get help immediately. But be smart and share only the details that are necessary to provide her safety and care.

For more information about the BsideU Resource Center’s post-abortion programs, check out Help After Abortion.