Is it necessary to tell your parents of a past abortion?

Years ago, when I was 17, I had an abortion. I confessed to a priest after the birth of my second child, 26 years ago, and was absolved of my sins. I have never told my parents, who are now 94 and 87. While I am now an active practicing Catholic who knows I am forgiven, I struggle with knowing that I’ve kept something from my parents. I don’t want to hurt them. Is it necessary to tell them before they pass on? Or is this something that is between me and God?

I would hesitate to say that this particular sin is between you and God. Abortion affects families and communities, not just individuals. Your parents lost a grandchild, a grandchild they never knew. I don’t think we can forget that.

Nonetheless, it may not be prudent, at this point, to tell them about the abortion. Given their advanced age, the grief may overwhelm their health. I urge you to talk about your concerns with a counselor who specializes in post-abortion therapy (Project Rachel should be able to refer you to someone in your area). Together with your counselor, and perhaps also a spiritual director if you have one, you will be able to ascertain whether or not it is in your parents’ best interests to tell them what happened.

Our prayers are with you. God bless.

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