Pro-lifers from the B.C. lower mainland as well as Washington State met here October 27 to attend a seminar on Post Abortion Syndrome (PAS).

Pregnancy and post-abortion counselors gathered in the Burnaby Christian Fellowship’s McPherson Centre to hear U.S post-abortion counselor Teri Reisser share information on the women behind the decision, women who faced problem pregnancies, chose to have an abortion and who then began their own brand of suffering.

Teri Reisser is on the field staff for Christian Action Council (CAC) based in Falls Church, Virginia. Post Abortion Counseling and Education (PACE) has grown out of the work of CAC as the need for post abortion counseling arose. Ms. Reisser, mother of two children, help to manage 16 crisis pregnancy centres in Southern California. She is author of Help for the Post-Abortion Woman and has written two pamphlets for the U.S.-based pro-family group Focus on the Family.

Contrary to the stereotype portrayed in the general media of those opposed to abortion, these volunteer did not come to judge or condemn. They came to learn how to help those who have made the decision to have an abortion. Many of them have loved ones, close friends or clients who have been there. They have seen dysfunction, anger and sorrow. They wanted answers to help hurt women return to a normal life. Ms. Reisser had some of those answers.

Lay counselors

The day was divided into two parts, with the morning session as a basic apologetics course in post-abortion syndrome. The afternoon was geared toward those interested in setting up support groups. Ms. Reisser believes strongly in the ability of lay counselors in this field, especially in one-on-one encounters, such as telephone or face-to-face counseling. She cautions that support groups and any type of group therapy need to have a professional counselor present.

“These situations can be very unpredictable and participants can receive more harm than good if not handled appropriately,” she suggested. The woman’s motive was discussed at length: “Is her reason for wanting to be part of a group simply her desire to be in a room with other women who had done the same thing?” This may not be a good reason to join a support group or to try to lead one. Although most PAS programs deal predominantly with post-abortion women, it is important to know that significant others will be affected in much the same way, she commented.

One of Ms. Reisser’s goals seems to be to get medical journals, the health industry and the counseling profession to recognize post-abortion stress as a bona fide problem.

Her second goal became evident during the eight-hour session. It is to win souls for Christ and to bring lapsed Christians back to a living, growing relationship with Jesus.

Mrs. Pat Hansard, Executive Director of Abortion Recovery Canada, is the new B.C. correspondent for The Interim.