an After abortion

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Tuesday, October 5, 2004

Today's Cincinnati Post: Ministry Celebrates Anniversary.

Can a woman have an abortion with little or no long-term emotional side effects? Or does having an abortion cause all sorts of psychic damage to women?

Count Vicki Thorn among those who believe the latter.

Twenty years ago, Thorn, 54, started Project Rachel, a ministry of the Roman Catholic Church for women who have had abortions.

She named it after a Bible verse in Jeremiah, "Rachel mourns for her children; she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more."

This year, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati celebrates the 10th anniversary of its own Project Rachel ministry.
Great to see this coverage in a large daily newspaper.

But Sue Momeyer, the CEO of Planned Parenthood Cincinnati Region, said it's rare for women to have major problems after an abortion. "It's normal to be sad. It's normal to feel some sense of loss," she said, but with appropriate counseling and information about the procedure, women don't normally suffer any ill effects. "There are traumatic effects of childbirth, adoption," she said. "You have to put the emotional effects of abortion in that perspective. There are some pretty awful effects of unwanted childbearing, as I'm sure you know."
It's normal to be sad? The Planned Parenthood party line is supposed to be that the emotion you'll experience is relief. Or sometimes relief combined with a sense of personal empowerment.

But one Cincinnati woman said the abortion she had as a teen-ager left a mark on her psyche that stayed for 16 years. The woman, who asked that her name not be used, said she had her abortion when she was 17, a senior in high school, a cheerleader and a member of the National Honor Society.

She really didn't consider any other options. "To me, it was a crisis situation," she said. She had the procedure at the Margaret Sanger clinic in Mount Auburn, and said she remembers everything -- the smells, the sounds, even the kind of cookies the staff gave her. Although she didn't feel guilty about it at the time, she blames the abortion with helping to start a cycle of self-destructive behavior that included alcohol abuse and promiscuity. She married and had an autistic child, which she at one time believed was God's punishment for her abortion. Once a year, she would seriously consider suicide.

"People think that once you have an abortion, you're not pregnant, but the reality is that you were pregnant, and it changes your life, period, whether you decide to have the child or not have the child," she said. "You just can't erase it."

She joined a Project Rachel support group, and went on a weekend retreat. "I found peace beyond belief in that,'' she said. "I can honestly say, looking back, I know it saved my life."
Thank God for everyone who has rolled up their sleeves to create more and better post-abortion ministry.

Action Item: I'm sending a short note to Kevin Eigelbach thanking him for this balanced, fair article. You know that many women who read it will gain new hope and perspective. I'm also sending a letter-to-the-editor to the Cincinnati Post to thank them for running this article, and encouraging women who have been hurt by abortion to seek help.

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