How Do I Talk to My Kids about Abortion?

Child viewing ultrasounds

Yesterday the ninth video exposé on Planned Parenthood from The Center for Medical Progress was released. You can watch it and read more on Justin Taylor’s blog.

As the video exposés about Planned Parenthood continue, those with children may be wondering how they can talk to them in age-appropriate ways about the value of life and the reality of abortion.

Someone recently wrote our ministry to ask:

I have four children, ages eight to almost two. At what age is it appropriate to talk to my young children about what's going on at Planned Parenthood and other abortion clinics? Do you have any tips on how to talk to them about this issue?

EPM staff member Karen Coleman provided this great answer:

In Appendix 2 of Why ProLife? Randy gives a list of “Biblical Passages Relevant to Life Issues.” Those would be good passages to talk to your children about, to help them see God’s heart on the issue in a very general but Biblical way.

No one is born pro-abortion, and you can help them grow up knowing how much God is pro-life in every sense of the word. From that list, I would concentrate on the verses in section 5, “God has a special love for children.”

Since the oldest is only eight, you would not want to go into any great detail.  You could say, “There are people who don’t know God and don’t know how much He loves all children. We need to pray for them to come to know Jesus so that they understand His love for even little babies—even babies who aren’t born yet.”  

Your older children may remember when your wife was pregnant with the younger ones. You could use that as a general example, reminding them of the time before your youngest was born. Ask them if they think God loved that child when he or she was in your wife’s womb. They will instinctively know He did! If you want to add more information, you can have slightly different conversations with each of them, since the eight year old can understand much more than the littler ones.

I think you would want to stick to very general terms. They are too young to understand the videos, and might find them quite upsetting. There are many adults who are traumatized by seeing these videos, and you certainly don’t want to go there with your precious children. At their ages, I think they might even be upset by the concept of abortion as you would try to explain it. Many children would not be ready to comprehend more of the details of this issue until they hit junior high.

You and your wife know your children best—how sensitive they are, and how mature they are. You are the best judges of what they can handle, and what they would naturally find disturbing. Ask God for wisdom, and go slowly, speaking in generalities at first. You can always add more detail when you think they are ready, or when they show that by asking more questions.

Randy again:

Another powerful tool to teach children about the value of the unborn is intrauterine pictures (such as these) and ultrasound photographs. In years past, the biggest disadvantage to the preborn child has always been that there’s no window to the womb. But in recent years this has radically changed.

Expecting parents often share ultrasound pictures and video on social media. As you view these with your children, you can talk about how precious and fully human the babies are, and what a miracle that we are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14).

If you know your teenager and their level of sensitivity, they may be able to handle actually seeing a picture or video of an aborted baby, warning them it’s difficult to see, but knowing there’s validity in seeing with their own eyes what an abortion does. It’s similar to responses to the Holocaust: it was just something that happened until people saw actual pictures and realized the atrocities that were committed.

Teach older children and teens to say no to premarital sex. Teenage sexual abstinence is not only psychologically healthy, it’s the only sure way to prevent teen pregnancies. (Josh McDowell’s Why True Love Waits and How to Teach Your Child to Say No to Sexual Pressures, and James Dobson’s Preparing for Adolescence are helpful resources.) We can’t overemphasize the importance and the rewards of sexual purity!

But we should also tell them that regardless of anyone’s opinion about sex outside of marriage, pregnancy is not wrong, even if the act that resulted in pregnancy was. We should never try to cover one sin by committing a greater sin—abortion. Explain to your children that we should love and support women facing unplanned pregnancies, showing them the grace and truth of Jesus.

By teaching and modeling a love for people and children of all ages (see this article for ideas for making a prolife difference), we can pass on a prolife worldview to our children and generations to come.

Your hands shaped me and made me. …you molded me like clay. …You gave me life and showed me kindness, and in your providence watched over my spirit. (Job 10:8, 9, 12)

Randy Alcorn, founder of EPM

Randy Alcorn (@randyalcorn) is the author of over fifty books and the founder and director of Eternal Perspective Ministries