There’s a lot of emphasis in the pro-life movement on preventing abortions. But what about women who have already had abortions? We have a responsibility to be there for these women, too. And there are things that can help post-abortive women heal from the trauma of abortion.
1. Follow-up care
It’s not exactly a secret that women who have abortions are forgotten by the abortion industry after the procedure is finished. Women hand over their money, their preborn baby is killed, and then they themselves are butchered…and then they’re sent on their way. There is no follow-up care to ensure that they’re healing properly or that the procedure was performed correctly. The abortionist certainly doesn’t care if the woman is having trouble afterwards with feelings of guilt, anxiety, or depression. Women can turn to a comprehensive health clinic or a Federally Qualified Health Center to get the medical care or to a pregnancy resource center for the post-abortion counseling that an abortion facility often will not provide.
Women who are healing from an abortion need to be surrounded with people who will show them compassion and mercy. Many women grieve the loss of their baby, and they need people who will be there for them without judging them or being cruel. A woman needs to have a community that will care for her and show her kindness — a community who won’t turn away from her, gossip, or retaliate in any way. They can help her get by, one day at a time, as she recovers. And they also must be respectful and understanding as she navigates the emotions that can be conflicting and overwhelming.
3. Group support
As a woman recovers from an abortion, it can be immensely helpful to be surrounded by other women who have also been there. Organizations like Rachel’s Vineyard can fill this need, as they offer retreats for post-abortive women. Group support can also help eliminate the secrecy that so often surrounds abortion, and women who have gone through the same experience can help validate the post-abortive woman’s feelings and give her a level of support that can’t be found anywhere else. Too often, abortion advocates claim women should “shout” their abortion and be proud of it, but this is not a feeling that many women identify with. Pro-lifers need to be the group that allows a woman to express her grief and pain without being shamed or forced to fake emotions she doesn’t feel.
The abortion industry fiercely denies it, but abortion can have a serious impact on a woman’s mental health. The reality is that abortion has been proven to have negative psychological consequences. In fact, 29 out of 30 studies found higher incidences of mental health disorders among post-abortive women. This includes depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and suicidal or self-harming behavior. In addition to mental health disorders, women who have abortions are also at higher risk of domestic violence. It’s not hard to see that women can greatly benefit from receiving counseling after undergoing an abortion. Project Rachel is one ministry that can help women get help in their area. A post-abortive woman can also enter her zip code at this website, and organizations and contacts in her area will be provided.
A post-abortive woman who blogs under the name Infinite Grace has been very open about her experience with abortion: she was lied to by the abortion facility’s ‘counselor,’ and 26 years later, she still feels guilt and pain for her decision. She now fights to protect preborn children and believes that post-abortive women need to be more welcomed in the pro-life movement. She talks about how pro-life events are often scary for post-abortive women, and while some are compassionate towards women like her, others are cruel — like the person who told her, “You. Make. Me. Sick. I sincerely hope you die a death as horrible as your unborn baby did. Good riddance.” Pro-lifers must be compassionate towards post-abortive women. No one can possibly know what going through an abortion is like better than a woman who has been there, and post-abortive women can also likely provide remarkable insight into what abortion-minded women need. We must not be unaccepting or cruel.
6. Speak out.
The abortion lobby encourages women to shout their abortions, denies that there can be negative psychological consequences from abortion, and lies about the humanity of preborn children. It’s vital that post-abortive women speak up about the reality of what abortion is. It can be both healing and empowering for women to reclaim the truth of what they’ve been through and stop letting pro-abortion extremists speak for them.