I awoke this morning pondering the similarities between a couple a marvelous Latter-day Saint women I have known over the years who I consider to be real pioneers in their generation. Strong, righteous, faithful women who are true leaders and who touch the lives of many people. And these women also share the common feature of a painful past involving, among other things, the tragedy of abortion. It was their decision, and based on what I know, I see no easy way to paint it as anything but a sin. The abortion did not make them stronger or better. It was a terrible setback that caused them much loss, grief, and enduring regret. What did make them stronger and truly liberated women was repentance, turning to the infinite mercies of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to repent and move on with their lives. And how majestically they have moved on.
There are many in our midst who have had or will have an unnecessary elective abortion. May they get the help they need early to consider other alternatives. But when they don’t, let’s recognize that the woman has not sold her soul, but may be on the path to truly finding it (ditto for the men involved). Today’s target of malicious gossip about sexual immorality, abortion, or other sins, may be far closer to God than any of the gossipers, and may be tomorrow’s righteous pioneer woman that future generations will hold up as a role model, perhaps not knowing the grief she had to encounter on the way.
I love chapter 8 of John, where Christ defends the woman taken in adultery. Others wanted to condemn her and even kill her for her terrible sin (notice that the man was left unaccused). Christ, our God and Ultimate Example, gently turned their pointing fingers toward themselves. With majestic love and gentleness, he rescued her, healed her, lifted the condemnation, and sent her on her way. All of us need to ponder His example more thoughtfully and improve our ability to love those in our midst who face unusually heavy burdens of sin and guilt.