NRL News

Abortion with the permission of the victim?

by | Apr 29, 2024

By Sarah Terzo

Editor’s note. This appeared today in Secular Pro-Life and is written by guest author  Sarah Terzo. You can read more of her articles here.

Pro-lifers are often accused of opposing abortion solely for religious reasons. If you follow Secular Pro-Life on Twitter long enough, you will see tweets from pro-choicers claiming SPL is really a Christian group. Some pro-abortion people say that atheists like me who oppose abortion are closet Christians who have no reason for our views except for our (alleged) faith.

Pro-abortion people have also used this argument to discredit religious pro-lifers. Even when a religious pro-lifer relies solely on secular arguments, they almost invariably hear that they only oppose abortion because their religion tells them to.

Sometimes, though, it is pro-choicers who have religious beliefs that drive them to support abortion. Some people having abortions use their religious beliefs to justify their choices. Many times, these religious beliefs, and the excuses and justifications derived from them, sound absurd.

In a 2006 article in The Daily Mail by Natasha Pearlman and Jenny Nisbet called “Abortion: The Legacy,” one woman tells her abortion story and gives a good example of this.

The article isn’t online, but you can read an excerpt here(Note: This link contains a graphic photo.)

The article quotes a British woman who was considering aborting her baby. She wanted advice, but says, “I felt there was no one else to turn to for impartial advice; all my family and friends were emotionally involved.”

So instead of turning to someone she knew, she contacted a woman who referred to herself as a “Reiki master and spiritual healer.”

This woman, like many new age practitioners, claimed to be in contact with a “spirit guide,” — a deceased disembodied spirit that helped her communicate with other spirits.

The women telling her abortion story asks the “Reiki master” to have her spirit guide connect with the spirit of her preborn baby. This is what the “Reiki master” says:

She said she had a very strong sense that the baby wasn’t 100 percent perfect and that he was happy to go to the other side but would be back again soon.

According to the woman, “Immediately, I felt enormously relieved because I’d been feeling so guilty.”

Satisfied that her preborn baby was fine with being aborted and would return to her at another time, she booked her abortion appointment in a local hospital.

At the hospital, she says she “couldn’t bear” to look at the ultrasound. However, a nurse told her that her baby was a boy.

She was in her twelfth week of pregnancy, which means she was carrying a ten-week-old preborn child. (This is because length of pregnancy is counted as days from the last menstrual period, about two weeks before conception.)

As you can see from the ultrasound below, her child was already very developed.

The baby she aborted had had a beating heart for seven weeks. He had a brain that was giving off waves. A baby at 12 weeks responds to touch and shows a startle reaction.

This woman’s baby was already right or left-handed. Not only did he have hands and fingers, he even had fingerprints.

In a first trimester abortion, the powerful suction would have torn the child apart violently, limb from limb.

Despite her belief that her child was okay with being aborted, the abortion was hard for this mother. She says, “[T]he only way I got through the termination was knowing that the spirit of my foetus had forgiven me and that he was going to come back.”

There have been other cases where pregnant people have allegedly communicated with their preborn babies and gotten permission from them to have abortions.

Consider the article “Conscious Abortion: Engaging the Fetus in a Compassionate Dialogue” by Claudette Nantel, which appeared in the Journal of Prenatal and Perinatal Psychology and Health.

Nantel openly admits the humanity of preborn babies. She defines “fetus,” as “an unborn baby in its mother’s womb, at any time from conception to birth.”

Nantel quotes practitioners who work with pregnant people to help them communicate with their babies before they abort them.

She quotes family doctor G McGarey suggesting that someone having an abortion should have “a heart-to-heart conversation with her baby in the womb, explaining how this is not a good time for her to raise a child, reassuring them that they are deeply loved.”

Most people don’t kill the people they love, but McGarey tells pregnant people that as long as the baby knows you love them, aborting them is fine.

Another practitioner, M Axness, says women having abortions should communicate with the baby:

through prayer, imagination, art, letter, dance, song—a level of communication with the newly arrived being in their wombs through which they explain to the baby that it isn’t the right time for him or her to come and that it is necessary to separate.

While belief in telepathy isn’t exactly a religious belief, it is another belief and claim that science can’t prove. It is, for this reason, quasi-religious.

HH Watkins has women with unwanted pregnancies ask the baby to consent to their abortion. The child, according to Watkins and Nantel, will then telepathically communicate to the mother that they agree to be aborted.

She instructs pregnant people to connect with their preborn babies, get their permission for the abortion, and then abort without guilt, knowing that their babies consented to be killed.

This process, Watkins says, leads the aborting person to have “a deeper sense of self, more respect for life, and positive feelings about a better-timed future pregnancy through the process of dialogue with their baby.”

Unsurprisingly, in all but one case, every time Watkins did this exercise with a pregnant person, the pregnant person “heard” their baby give permission for the abortion. Clearly, these people hear what they want to hear.

What about the one exception? Well, the woman had the abortion, anyway.

After getting the “answer,” of no, the woman says to her baby, “You don’t mean that?”

Apparently, the thought that a child might not agree to being dismembered or poisoned was shocking to her.

Watkins recalls what happened the pregnant woman did next:

[She] continued the process of weeping and talking to the fetus at home until there was only silence in response. She concluded the fetus accepted her intended surgical intervention…

The surgical intervention was accomplished without complication, healing was rapid, and the client felt little or no remorse. She knew at all levels she had made the appropriate decision for herself.

Nantel gives another example of a woman who allegedly got her babies’ permission for abortions. This woman had three abortions. With the first, she didn’t attempt to communicate with the baby because, she says “I was much more centered on myself and my life circumstances than on the baby.”

She claimed to have had an “intimate relationship” with the other two babies, who agrees to be aborted.

The woman explains:

I never felt I was doing them harm. Just before the abortion for each of them, I asked the lady who showed me the ultrasound screen to give me five minutes alone with the baby before the intervention.


I spoke to each of them in a fluid, soft manner, more like saying, ‘Thank you, see you later…’ The ultrasound screen conversations were way of recognizing the relationship, expressing my gratitude…


It was so clear for me that these two children had not come to me saying, ‘Let me be born.’

She came to believe that her babies intended to teach her a life lesson through the pregnancy and subsequent abortions.

These babies helped me, and I acted on what they helped me with. I honored them. And they had a tremendous healing effect on the guilt and angst which I carried a long time during and after my first abortion.

The babies, she says, were “beings who were my equals, partners in learning.”

I ran into this kind of thinking in a writing group I attended a few years ago. A woman at the meeting believed that everything in the universe works for her benefit. In keeping with the religious concept or “manifesting,” if one wants something, they just need to ask the universe for it. If they really believe the universe will deliver, it will. If it doesn’t, of course, the person doesn’t have enough faith.

This woman told the group that she had done this, and several months later, her husband died. This, she said, was an answer from the universe, because it set her free to pursue her writing full time.

I wasn’t sure what was more shocking: the incredible self-centeredness of someone who believes the universe kills people for her benefit, or that the others in attendance were nodding in agreement. I left the group as quickly as I could and never went back.

The writer’s view was in keeping with the belief that the entire universe revolved around her and her alone.

(She did say that after her husband’s death, she communicated with his spirit, and he told her he was at peace with dying to promote her career. I guess that lets her sleep at night.)

The last story comes from Anna Runkle, a Planned Parenthood worker who counsels women in abortion clinics. Her book In Good Conscience: A Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion was written to help pregnant people decide whether to have abortions.

In the book, she tells the stories of several women. Once was a 40-year-old woman named Claudia.

Claudia explained how her preborn baby, who she named Rose, communicated with her from the womb and told her having an abortion was okay:

I got into the car and sat there and [the baby] spoke to me. She says, ‘I am looking forward to having you be my mother, but I want you to know this is your decision and whatever decision you make is perfectly fine with me. If you choose not to continue this pregnancy, I will be waiting.’1

Claudia says, “I sat in the car and cried for about an hour, feeling very grateful and very sad at the same time.”2

She had her abortion, and about a month later, had a session with her “ministers.” She explains that “[i]n my practice, we channel our higher selves.”

While “channeling her higher self” (whatever that means) she got the following “message” from her aborted baby:

[T]he message that I received during this counseling was very similar to the reassurance that my child Rose had given me in the car. Ever since then, I have felt a full heart relationship with this being…the relationship has given me great comfort and has been a source of joy for me…


I also believe that souls choose to be born or to live a certain amount of time in the womb and then depart, or they choose to be aborted…


Given my agreement with my child, who is eternal, I did nothing other than delay her return to the earth by agreement with her.3

Clauda’s religious belief, which she holds onto despite a complete lack of evidence for it, is that her baby chose to be aborted and will return to live in the future. She even claims she has a “relationship” with the baby she had killed.

The level of religious delusion and cognitive dissonance here, and in the other examples, is astounding.

I am an atheist. As such, I don’t believe religious claims without evidence. I admit I don’t know everything. It’s possible I’m wrong about the nonexistence of God and the soul.

But I am extremely doubtful that all these babies consented to their abortions.

Religious beliefs sometimes inspire people to do good and noble things. Other times, they act as excuses to justify atrocities. We’ve seen that with the 9/11 terrorists and with various religious wars throughout history. I would consider this another example.

1.      Anna Runkle In Good Conscience: A Practical, Emotional, and Spiritual Guide to Deciding Whether to Have an Abortion (San Francisco: Jossey–Bass Publishers, 1998) 46.

2.      Ibid.

3.      Ibid., 46-47.

Categories: Abortion