Pope John Paul IIPope John Paul II's Words to
Those Who Have Had Abortions

As millions of people throughout the world mourn the passing of Pope John Paul II, a true and ardent champion of the dignity of all persons, we share with our readers his words to women who have had abortions, from his encyclical letter Evengelium Vitae (The Gospel of Life), paragraph 99, published March 25, 1995:

"I would now like to say a special word to women who have had an abortion.

"The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision. The wound in your heart may not have healed. Certainly what happened was and remains terribly wrong. But do not give in to discouragement and do not lose hope. Try rather to understand and face it honestly. If you have not already done so, give yourselves over with humility and trust to repentance. The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. You will come to understand that nothing is definitively lost and you will be able to ask forgiveness from your child, who is now living in the Lord. With the friendly and expert help and advice of other people, and as a result of your own painful experience, you can be among the most eloquent defenders of everyone's right to life. Through your commitment to life, whether by accepting the birth of other children or by welcoming and caring for those most in need of someone to be close to them, you will become promoters of a new way of looking at human life."

John Paul II, March 25, 1995, Evangelium Vitae