an After abortion

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Monday, January 30, 2012

Message boards, e-groups and chat rooms that offer online support after abortion.                                  ** UPDATED 2012 **

Here are the links. Below, I include my descriptions of and opinionated commentary on these message boards.

"Safe Haven: a place for healing from the trauma of abortion" -- on this page are 2 links, to a message board and a chat room.
The Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) website
ARIN offers 3 message boards: "How Abortion Affected You?" "How Has Recovery Impacted Your Life?" and "Online Memorial for a child lost to abortion."
Forgiving Abortion
Cheryl's Page
Yahoo e-groups for support after abortion.

My comments on these resources.

The Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) website is the largest message board for post-abortion support with about 9,000 registered users [as of 2010, they state they have had 31,443 members]. It offers a highly moderated set of message boards on many different topics of interest to those who are suffering after abortion. Registration is required to view or post on the message boards. Message boards include "recent abortion", "seriously grieving", "triggers", "coerced abortion", "eating disorders", "multiple abortions", "late-term abortions", "media content warnings" and many more.

Jilly, the founder of the PASS website, has strong views about the meaning of emotional distress after abortion. She writes:
How you feel after an abortion should not be a 'political' or 'religious' issue - if you have a need for support, or emotional or physical problems, they should be treated just like the issues with any other medical procedure.

We treat this as a medical issue for women, not a political or religious one. Therefore at our message boards, our chats and our email lists there is no discussion allowed on prolife vs prochoice issues, judgement or questioning of women's reasons, or discussions about the "morality" of abortion.
This policy encourages women to share what they are actually feeling, without getting sidetracked into intellectualizing headtrips. That's valuable. On the other hand, many women find that their feelings about their abortion inextricably have a moral dimension. Thus, they need to discuss this, too, as they come to grips with what abortion means to them. Women who want to engage with their abortion wound in the more holistic sense that involves coming to grips with a moral assessment have told me that they experience the PASS website as sterile and limited.

Similarly, Jilly's view that emotional problems after abortion "should be treated just like the issues with any other medical procedure" and "PASS is a medical condition, and has nothing to do with politics or religion" strike me as highly idiosyncratic and hard to defend. A core reason that women experience profound and lingering emotional distress after abortion is that they believe--at times, with part of their mind, or at all times and wholeheartedly--that they paid someone to kill their child. One hears this over and over again in post-abortion ministry.

Perhaps one of the reasons that Jilly believes this is because she is aware (as is anyone who works in post-abortion support) that many women who are non-religious and politically pro-choice suffer enormously after abortion. However, one cannot go from that observation to the conclusion that PASS is therefore just like the issues someone might experience after any other medical procedure.

The PASS website also offers regularly scheduled online chats.

Safe Haven offers the second-largest message board for post-abortion support, along with regularly scheduled chats. The focus at Safe Haven is on Christian recovery. You don't have to register in order to read the boards. My sense in reading the message board there is that the moderators often refer women to weekly post-abortion Bible studies at their local crisis pregnancy center as a preferred way for women to recover. I doubt that it is intentional, but sometimes it sounds as if they are damning with faint praise the multiplicity of other excellent resources out there, such as a one-on-one therapeutic relationship with a Project Rachel-trained Christian therapist or healing retreats. Safe Haven has an evangelical flavor. Some Catholic women may not relate well to this.

Forgiving Abortion is an MSN-based message system.

Cheryl's Page offered a low-traffic post-abortion message board since the late '90s. Her other page seems to indicate that maybe the message board hasn't been active, but the archives are still there for the reading...

There are over forty [in 2012, now over 80] post-abortion e-groups in the abortion recovery section of Yahoo E-groups. About ten have a respectable amount of members and traffic. Not all of them are supportive of someone's grief and pain over their abortion, but you'll be able to tell that from the short summaries. The most active ones appear to be CompanionsOnTheJourney and a_h_ which "provides help for PASS", the PASS website mentioned above.

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