Supporting Life

Pope Francis has said that every child conceived in a mother’s womb ‘is a gift that will change the story of a family, a mother and father, grandparents and siblings and this baby needs to be welcomed, loved and cared for.’ (May 2019, Vatican City, Catholic News Service.) He has reiterated on many occasions that, ‘Abortion is never the answer,’ however, he has also said that women must be offered assistance to overcome the trauma of abortion, including a spiritual reconciliation with the child who was terminated (January 2019.) His remarks underline how he has shaped a more compassionate pastoral strategy for responding to abortion, embracing an explicitly gentler, more forgiving approach to women who have had terminations. ‘The message of mercy is for everyone, also for the human being that is the developing child. It is for everyone,’ adding that abortions are ‘terrible traumas’ and that, ‘Mercy also means helping the woman live through this trauma.’

In a particularly compassionate set of remarks, on one of the Church’s most emotive topics, Pope Francis has also explained how he advises women who are ‘desperate’ following abortions to sing a lullaby to their child in heaven. ‘They need to re-join their child. I always advise (women), when they call and are desperate, I tell them their child is in heaven, talk to him, I tell them to sing them a lullaby, the lullaby that they had never been able to sing. Here they find a path for reconciliation, between mother and child, with the forgiveness of God. God is all forgiving.’ Pope Francis said the issue of abortion was both about ‘forgiving’ but also ‘helping, accompanying the woman who understands and is aware of what she has done by aborting.’ (January 2019.)

If you, or someone you know, is pregnant or has had an abortion and would like some sympathetic listening, advice and practical help, the following organisations may be useful. Descriptions of these services have been taken directly from their websites and they may differ in their style and approach. So, it is important that each person finds the one that they feel most comfortable with.

Pregnancy Crisis helpline: ‘Finding out you’re pregnant can be incredibly stressful. Worries about your situation and pressure from other people can make it difficult to know what to do. Whether you just need an honest chat or if you are thinking of having an abortion, or suffering after an abortion, we are here to help. The Pregnancy Crisis Helpline offers you a safe, confidential place for you to chat things through.’  08003689296

LIFE: Pregnancy matters, Life matters: ‘Our Mission To create a just society which has the utmost respect for all human life from fertilisation. We believe that opposition to abortion has to go together with the provision of alternatives.’ Freephone 0808 802 5433; or text message to LIFECARE 88020; Pregnancy Matters™ online (Helpline, Text-to-Talk, Chat) Tel. 01926 312272.  Email:

Good Counsel Network: Mediating the Mission of Motherhood: ‘A life-affirming women’s organisation which offers a pregnancy test, moral support, medical information, legal advice and practical help to women seeking abortion. We reach out to these women to inform them about the risks to their physical and psychological health and present them with realistic alternatives to abortion. We deal with the hardest cases of crisis pregnancy every day.’  02077231740

Rachel’s Vineyard: ‘Around 200,000 abortions take place each year in the UK resulting in thousands of women in need of support and healing. Thankfully, there are a few organisations who are offering help to women – and men – who have been affected by an abortion. Among them is Rachel’s Vineyard founded by Dr Theresa Burke in the USA in 1984. She opened a centre for post abortion healing that offered counselling to women grieving the loss of an aborted child. She adapted this to a weekend retreat format. Now the movement has spread to 25 countries worldwide including the UK. A Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is a spiritual and emotional healing process. Each retreat is run by a team of trained volunteers that includes a professional counsellor and a priest. In the safety of a loving, non-judgemental group those suffering can find restoration, healing and peace.’ or National – 07734 059 080 (Rachel); Midlands – 07734 059 080 (Rachel); South East – 07851 331 816 (Pam); South West – 07900 734 207 (Sona); Scotland – 07816 942 824 (Andrea)

ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care & Helpline): ‘Dedicated to promoting the emotional, psychological and spiritual well-being of clients, by the provision of real understanding, counselling and supportive help to women, men and families after an abortion. Margaret Cuthill was the National Co-ordinator of ARCH working for over 20 years helping others before retiring. She herself has had abortion and struggled before receiving counselling. She still volunteers on the Helpline. ARCH (Abortion Recovery Care Helpline) 0845 603 8501

Premier Lifeline: This national Christian helpline is a confidential telephone helpline offering a listening ear, emotional and spiritual support from a Christian perspective, prayer, and signposting. Premier Lifeline is open 9am to midnight every day of the year.’ 0300 111 0101