an After abortion

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Saturday, August 23, 2003



This week's edition of the National Catholic Register has an article--not online--called "The Other Church Abortion Teaching: Mercy".

The article is about post-abortion ministry as it is offered through the Catholic Church in Project Rachel.

Reading it, I was struck by a difference between the way that post-abortion ministry tends to be presented within the Catholic Church versus the way it tends to be presented within the Protestant church.

In the NCR article, writer Joseph Pronechen quotes five or six priests and diocesan employees who are not themselves post-abortive, as they talk about their work with post-abortive women. I don't know what all these people said to Pronechen when they were interviewed by him, but the quotes that he selected for the most part involve these people talking about their own experiences, feelings and thoughts as they work with post-abortive women.

That is to say, the article is much more about these people than it is about the men and women they serve, none of whom were quoted or interviewed. The priests and counselors quoted are also described in hagiographical terms: "the healing touch of a wise and caring counselor" is one example of that.

Within the Protestant church, post-abortion support comes across much more as peer support from others who have also experienced abortion. It has a horizontal flavor, with a "we're all in this together" tone.

Frankly, the NCR article left me feeling queasy. I am confident that effective post-abortion recovery requires a team approach--some combination of peer ministry and the unreactive, unbiased help of those who haven't had an abortion themselves. I don't think it benefits from the "we are saints-in-the-making" tone of this article.

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