“What is An Abortion?”
If our child asks us about abortions, it may be difficult or tricky to explain to them what it is. How can we talk to them about it in ways that are appropriate to their age?
You would have had a conversation with your child on where babies come from by this time. If you have not done so, now is the time to begin this conversation.
Doing so will set the groundwork for having a chat about abortion. If your child asks you about abortion, you can build on what you have talked about regarding how a girl gets pregnant . You can say something like, “Remember how we talked about the way babies are made? An abortion is when a woman does not want to be pregnant and she asks a doctor to take her baby out from her before the time of its birth.”
As your child ages, he or she may start to wonder about what happens to babies who were taken out of their mothers’ wombs. This is when you can add another layer to your conversation with them by talking about what happens to babies that are aborted.
For instance: “When a baby is aborted, the baby is caused to die in the mother’s womb and is then removed from her. The life of the baby is lost and the woman is no longer pregnant.”
You may wish to help your child understand the difference between an abortion and a miscarriage at this time: while an abortion is the deliberate ending of an unborn child’s life, a miscarriage is the death of a baby in the womb without someone purposely causing it to die.
Building on the chats you have had with your child, you can introduce more information about abortion to give them a fuller picture. It is good to engage them in ways that foster their independent learning as well at this age. Encourage them to do some research on their own before sharing it with you or provoke their thinking by asking them to think about some questions.
You can delve deeper into what the different abortion procedures are with them and which procedures are commonly used in different gestational ages. If you feel they are ready for it, you can watch videos of what happens to unborn babies during these procedures together with them. These videos may be graphic and shocking to them, but you can use this opportunity to talk about your family’s values regarding the horrors of abortion and the valuable life of unborn children.
Ask them to research the effects of abortion on women who have undergone it, as well as men who have been affected by it.
When it is timely, bring the discussion to a more personal level. Talk with them about your expectations and values about dating, relationships, and sex . While assuring them that you trust they will make wise decisions in this area, share with them that if ever they were faced with pregnancy before marriage, you will still love them unconditionally. Tell them about the available life-giving options—such as marriage to their partner, raising the child together, adoption, etc—that can give the unborn child its best shot in life.
Ultimately, these ongoing conversations about abortion are also good opportunities to discuss larger questions to do with values, identity, and responsibility: How should we value life? What kind of person we want to be? How can we play a role in protecting the vulnerable in society?
© 2019 Focus on the Family Singapore. All rights reserved.
Check out the Talk about Sex series for more essential conversations with your children.