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New study offers healing from abortion

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Some women “tuck an abortion away for many, many years,” said Pat Layton, author of “Surrendering the Secret: Healing the Heartbreak of Abortion.”

“[T]he secret of abortion is that every woman still thinks she is the only one.”

But at least half of American women experience an unintended pregnancy by age 45 and, at current rates, about one-third undergo an abortion, according to statistics released by the Guttmacher Institute, an organization whose research supports Planned Parenthood initiatives.

Layton wrote her Surrendering the Secret study a number of years ago in response to dealing with her own abortion. The Bible study now has been released by LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention.

“I wrote it after becoming a Christian and realizing the church had very little knowledge on how to deal with abortion and its effect on women,” Layton said on an Inside LifeWay podcast. According to the Guttmacher Institute, 43 percent of those having abortions identify themselves as Protestant.

The eight-week study includes a 20-30 minute video introduction that supports each week’s lesson in helping women through the post-abortion healing process.

“Most women will do the study on their own for a while,” Layton said, adding, “It is written to be a self-study but it is better in a small group. In a small group they minister to each other.”

The church continues to struggle with how to deal with abortion from a ministry perspective, Layton noted. As a result, even women leaders in churches wait long periods of time before they publicly disclose the pain of an abortion in their past.

Because of the prominence of abortion, Layton said it should be included in every counseling session within the church. Every pastor, she said, should be familiar with how many women have had an abortion, because post-abortion trauma presents itself in many ways, including broken marriages, infidelity, promiscuity and relationship issues.

“There are many things [pastors] deal with in the church that are caused by post-abortion trauma,” Layton said. “It is one of those things that should be out there and not denied…. The reason most pastors don’t address the issue is because they don’t know how.”

That is why Layton believes the Surrendering the Secret study will be helpful to women and men. It enables women to deal with the pain and self-condemnation in the context of God’s grace and forgiveness, and it affords men the opportunity to understand the grief women experience. Layton said her next study will focus on how abortion affects men.
The Inside LifeWay podcast with Layton can be found at www.lifeway.com/insidelifeway. More information about the study can be found at http://www.surrenderingthesecret.com.