WINNIPEG – Ingrid Krueger has a 24-hour hotline in her home.  In this way she provides sympathetic listening and advice to women of all ages who continue to suffer grief and guilt following an abortion which may have taken place a few days previously or 20 years earlier.

Krueger, founder of Women Exploited by Abortion in Winnipeg, was guest speaker at the League of Life’s information night Feb. 12.

Women Exploited (WE) and Women Exploited by Abortion (WEBA) are self-help groups offering an opportunity to talk, on a one-to-one basis, with someone who is sympathetic to the pain, guilt and feeling of loss.

The Winnipeg group, founded in March 1985, had eight women actively involved, most of whom have had abortions.  They meet once a month, more often if necessary.

Information about the service is spread by those using it, and by a terse notice in the “personal” column of a local newspaper.  It reads: “Had an abortion?  Want to talk?” followed by the telephone number.

Krueger speaks from personal experience and without religious overtones.  In July 1976, when she told her fiancé that she was pregnant, he gave her an ultimatum – she could have him or the baby, but not both.  They went to a local clinic which refers women to the United Stated for abortions and were told that a simple, three minute procedure would solve her “problem.”  She received no counseling, no information about the dangers inherent in an abortion procedure.

She and her fiancé drove to Grand Forks, N.D., and found the office of the doctor who would perform her abortion for a fee.  She was not kept waiting, but felt increasing alarm when presented with an elaborate waiver form which she was required to sign, absolving the doctor from any responsibility for complications which might arise.

Until then, she had not been conscious of possible physical or emotional dangers.  The masked physician and his assistants did not speak to her at any time and she was sent home without a rest of observation period.

Krueger has had three miscarriages which she relates to her abortion.  Her one living child, aged three, now accompanies her when she takes her place in shopping malls with League for Life displays.

After an abortion, Krueger said, no one wants to hear that there has been a child involved, that you need and want to grieve when you realize you have made a wrong decision.

Those who call Krueger’s hotline need to talk with someone who’s been there.  They may not even realize that depression and a wide spectrum of physical symptoms, like nightmares, may be related to the experience they have undergone.  She and her co0workers feel that the baby is not the only victim.  Uninformed choice is no choice at all.  Nothing positive can come out of something where the desired end is death, Krueger said.

One of the young women at the meeting had been a pro-abortion counselor.  When she became pregnant after five years of marriage, she cried.  Although she decided against an abortion, she refused to see or hold her baby for two days, she said.  She told the group about her early life as the oldest of four children, overwhelmed by caring for the younger ones, battered by an alcoholic father.  Today she has worked through her problems, loves her child, and speaks to groups on behalf of the League for Life.

Another support group, Abortion Alternatives, is in the planning stages and is expected to open an office in Winnipeg by June this year.

(Reprinted with permission, from the Prairie Messenger, March 17, 1986.)