'May You Find Peace After Your Abortion'

By Patrick Goodenough | July 7, 2008 | 8:06 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Greeting card companies may not - yet - offer products to send to someone after an abortion, but a California-based organization that offers a "non-judgmental" talk line service for women in that position are hoping to fill the gap in the market.

"Do you know someone who's had an abortion?" the group, Exhale, asks on its website. "Are you having trouble knowing what to say? Do you want to let them know you care? Send them an e-card."

Electronic cards are the increasingly popular form of greeting card sent via the Internet. Rather than shop around for the perfect card, an Internet user simply selects a card, inserts a recipient's email address, adds a personal message, and hits the "send" button.

Exhale is offering a selection of five cards, each available with the message in English or Spanish.

One option, which is described as offering "encouragement," reads: "I think you're strong, smart, thoughtful and caring. I believe in you and your ability to make the best decision. I think you did the right thing."

Another, "thinking of you," says: "I want you to know that I care - about you, and how you are feeling. My thoughts are with you."

"Sympathy" reads: "There are no words to express my sympathy for your loss. As you grieve, remember that you are loved. I am thinking of you."

"Spirituality" says: "Healing is possible. May you find peace after your abortion."

"Religious" reads: "The promise of God is to be with us through all of life's transitions. God will never leave you or forsake you. May you find comfort in God's constant love. Know that my prayers are with you at this time."

"Remember, each person's experience with abortion is unique," Exhale advises visitors to the site.

"These e-cards were created to address the range of experiences people can have with abortion. As you consider which e-card to send, think about the person you are sending it to. What do they need to know? What are they feeling? What message will provide the most comfort?" the group adds.

Although few people would question the need to offer comfort to a loved one facing a difficult situation, the cards - and their messages - have raised eyebrows.

"This 'soft sentimentality' is no substitute for the hard thinking required of Christians who want to reach out to those who've had an abortion," commented Janice Crouse, director of the conservative Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute.

"With any sin, repentance must come before restitution. These cards smack of a 'too easy' approach," she told Cybercast News Service.

"Any psychologist will tell you that internalizing forgiveness is a process that can only follow acknowledgement and acceptance of having done wrong. From a Christian perspective, repentance must follow acceptance; then, according to Scripture, mercy and grace are abundant and free."

Attempts to get NARAL Pro-Choice America's view of the e-cards were unsuccessful. The abortion rights group was asked whether it thought the idea was helpful, whether the sentiment "I think you did the right thing" was likely to hearten someone who has had an abortion, and whether NARAL would like to see more such initiatives.

"Acknowledging an abortion experience isn't about making a political statement," Exhale's executive director, Aspen Baker, said in a release. "It is a chance to support someone you love."

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Patrick Goodenough
Patrick Goodenough
Spencer Journalism Fellow