For years, pro-life activists have focused on the babies who are lost in abortions. Now, one group is bringing attention to the women who, years later, still feel the horrible after-effects of their abortions.

Silent No More is the brainchild of three organizations – the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life, Priests for Life, and the Justice Foundation. The American campaign aims to raise awareness of the terrible fallout of abortion on women by publicizing the stories of those who feel remorse over their decisions to abort.

Georgette Forney, NOEL’s executive director and a founder of the campaign, knows first-hand the dangers of abortion – she had one when she was 16. “To say I regret my abortion is, in a strange way, freeing,” she told The Interim. “It takes away the silent suffering and publicly acknowledges the grieving.”

The now-married mother planned to make the issue part of the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade. She discovered the Justice Foundation wanted to do the same thing in 50 states, and the coalition was born.

Forney discovered she was not alone in her feelings of repentance; in fact, the response to the campaign has been phenomenal. “Once women heard about it, it took off,” she said. “They were contacting us quicker than we could respond to them. It was nothing to get 40 or 50 people communicating with us in a day. It captured the imagination of people, helping them to finally deal with their grief and unresolved issues.”

Forney says that while she would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, that is not her group’s goal. She talks about the women abortion has hurt, not just the babies who have died. “This is a voice that’s never heard from,” she explained.

“Thirty years ago, when women were fighting to make abortion legal, they were talking about the women who were being hurt by the – quote-unquote – ‘back-alley abortions,'” she said.

“Now, 30 years later, women who have had legal abortions are talking about how they have been hurt by abortion. The problem isn’t whether it’s legal or illegal, the problem is that abortion hurts women.”

About 50 or 60 women attended the D.C. rally at the March for Life on a bitterly cold January evening. A total of over 700 women attended 52 events in 46 states.

Charles de Nunzio, editor of a Catholic web review, attended the D.C. march. “I must say, these women left me the strongest impressions of the day,” he wrote of the Silent No More group.

He described them as “a phalanx of some three dozen or so women, all holding large signs saying ‘I Regret My Abortion,’ standing in place and facing the icy wind with a serious mien – many without hats or headcoverings! – each taking turns to tell their stories.”

Shelley Glanton, a 47-year old registered nurse from Asheville, N.C., was also at the D.C. rally. She is now married with two children, but has had two abortions, the first when she was 17.

She wondered beforehand whether someone who has killed her own children can help others, but found the event inspiring. “I found the Silent No More rally to be very moving and I know that it has touched people’s lives to hear the truth, the aftermath of abortion,” she told The Interim.

“I think to go in front of the Supreme Court steps and tell your story was very frightening at first, but as people prayed, you could feel them become more courageous and being moved by the Holy Spirit.”

Forney said she receives from 10 to 20 e-mails a day from those wanting to participate in future events, including many letters from Canadians. The next events are tentatively scheduled for May. “We’re just gearing up,” she promised. “We’re determined to make abortion unthinkable in people’s hearts.”