Emotional problems following abortion are at last beginning to be tackled. The pro-abortion counselor does not tell the pregnant woman that she can expect to feel guilt, shame, grief, regret, remorse, lower self-esteem, despair and anger. Nor is the woman told that these emotions can appear immediately, or come later, or disappear and reappear at intervals, or that she in fact may suffer in some way through the rest of her life.
Many post-abortion women do not attribute their emotional disturbances to the abortion. And many who do suspect the roots of the problem prefer to deny that the abortion has anything to do with it. It is only when these women face up to the cause that the effects can be worked on.
Sooner or later, the woman has to recognize that the problems exist, that they can be dealt with, and that she can be healed.
Women who have an abortion and are not told that there are emotional consequences feel cheated. They become angry with the “counselors,” the “doctor” and “friends” who have not warned them. And they are right to feel this way. No other surgical procedure is carried out with such disregard as to the pros and cons of the procedure being fully explored.
There are now groups springing up across the world to help women who have had abortions and who are suffering.
In the States
Nancyjo Mann of Des Moines, Iowa, is founder and president of Women Exploited By Abortion (WEBA). In 1974 Nancyjo had a saline abortion and, because of complications, she had a total hysterectomy at the age of 22.
WEBA educates women on the trauma of abortion. Women who have personally experienced emotional and physical difficulties after abortion are crying for help and cannot be ignored. WEBA provides a forum for post-abortion women to share their experiences, and counseling to help them heal themselves.
Nancyjo Mann can be contacted at WEBA, 1223 24th Street, Des Moines, Iowa 50311
I’ve Had An Abortion
In Calgary, Alberta, Tanya Hughson started the organization I’ve Had An Abortion, because of her personal experience. Tanya speaks across the country and runs a counseling service from her home. Through word of mouth publicity, Tanya’s phone now rings with distressed women around the world needing her advice and help.
It takes great courage to speak publicly on such private matters. Tanya told me on the phone that it is often very difficult for her to do it, but she feels she cannot simply watch other women go through suffering such as she has when a word from her can make them think.
Tanya is now writing a book about her work. She hopes to have it finished by the end of the year. She can be reached at 524 Queen Alexandra Way South East, Calgary, Alberta T2J 4C8. Tanya’s telephone number is (403) 278-2728.
Pregnancy Aftermath Helpline
Feminists for Life started the Pregnancy Aftermath Helpline (PAH) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. PAH helps women sort out their feelings after they have lost a child through abortion, miscarriage, or through adoption.
Felicity Coulter, who has many years’ experience in pregnancy counseling with Birthright, was the prime mover in getting the PAH service started in Toronto. The PAH phone is open from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday, in Toronto at (416) 862-1011.
While PAH refers women to professional services where appropriate, it is often a great relief to the caller when she is reassured that her feelings are not unique to her. Many women cannot talk about their problems to people they know and the recognition of their feelings shared by many others is a vital first step in the healing process.
Love the sinner
Even women who feel they have made a rational decision to have the abortion are not immune to later trauma. Many pro-lifers find it hard to help those who have had an abortion. It is important to remember that, while we deplore the sin, we love the sinner. Until the escalating abortion rate is stopped, there are more and more distressed women who desperately need help.
Many of us have never been in the position where we have perceived abortion as the answer to a crisis pregnancy. And we must be sincerely thankful that we do not have to face the suffering from that decision. We have a duty to strongly support the brave women who speak out from their own personal experience to save another. And we have a duty to love and nurture those women who are suffering the consequences of having aborted their child.