Analysis

Post-abortive women grieve anew in wake of Roe’s reversal: ‘I can’t ever take it back’

When I first got the news about the overturn of Roe v. Wade, I cried non-stop for hours. Tears of joy were quickly followed by tears of bitter regret over what Roe has cost me. Because 28 years ago, a scared, 16-year-old version of me aborted a child who deserved to live in a state where what I did is now illegal. And if not for Roe, I would have children – and maybe even grandchildren – today. As it is, these are dreams that will never come true.

Old Wounds, Renewed Pain

My reaction is not unique. Regretful post-abortive women from coast to coast have been responding to the news – and to the firestorm of violence which has been unleashed as a result – with mixed feelings of joy and sorrow.

Post-abortive ministry leaders say they are seeing an across-the-board uptick in the number of calls and messages they are receiving. More women are signing up for healing retreats and classes. Online post-abortive support groups are seeing an increase in the number of women applying to become new members. And many post-abortive women who have already been through the recovery process have expressed that they are once more feeling the pain of wounds they thought were long-since healed.

Melissa (last name withheld for privacy reasons), for example, says: “I’m 27 years out [from my abortion] and found healing from Rachel’s Vineyard and Forgiven and Set Free Bible study about 12 years ago. Have been doing well but have been truly triggered by everything going on – flashbacks and panic attacks.”

Similarly, Stephanie Jacobson with H3Helpline, an organization which connects post-abortive women with recovery services, expressed this:

I have been very settled with the healing I have received since I began the healing journey 5 years ago. … But the day after the overturning of [Roe v. Wade], I began to think about the legal aspect of what I did. I’ve always said I would have never sought an illegal abortion. I don’t seek to do things against the law of the land. …

So now that … I live in a state that has banned abortions altogether, my heart skipped a beat. It took me back to the original thought: if [Roe v. Wade] didn’t exist, I would have a 42-year-old child. Once again, it stung.

Sarah Steel wrote this response to the Court’s decision on Facebook: 

I believed it was my choice. I believed my life would be destroyed. I was fed a lie at such an early age that being a teen mom was a death sentence. My thoughts were not my own. I was told by the law and medicine to believe it was the best thing. I WAS WRONG. I TAKE IT BACK. I CHANGE MY MIND. Please let me choose the other choice. But I can’t. It’s final. And I can’t ever take it back.

Looking Forward to a More Just Future

Meanwhile, others have expressed a sense of justice served. Serena Dye, who founded Changing the Culture, a non-profit organization which shares the pro-life message with legislators and churches, said this:

As a post abortive woman who was forced to have an abortion as a fifteen-year-old, I was in tears when the news of the overturn of Roe V. Wade came. I never wanted to abort my baby and so I feel that justice has been served for not only me and my baby, but for the countless babies whose lives were unjustly taken. 

Overturning Roe is indeed a step in the right direction – but it’s only the first step towards securing justice for the preborn and caring for all of those harmed by abortion. The pro-life movement is just getting started, and we have our work cut out for us, indeed. Marlene Downing with Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America stated it well: “[T]he bandaid [has been] peeled off, exposing so many wounded women. I pray that healing begins in the most authentic way.”

Author’s Note: If you are a post-abortive woman or man and are in need of help to process grief and trauma, please consult Live Action’s resources page for a list of organizations offering assistance. 

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