an After abortion: 04/04/2004 - 04/11/2004

REAL, CONFIDENTIAL, FREE, NON-JUDGMENTAL HELP TO AVOID ABORTION, FROM MANY PLACES:
3,400 confidential and totally free groups to call and go to in the U.S...1,400 outside the U.S. . . . 98 of these in Canada.
Free, financial help given to women and families in need.More help given to women, families.
Helping with mortgage payments and more.More help.
The $1,950 need has been met!CPCs help women with groceries, clothing, cribs, "safe haven" places.
Help for those whose babies haveDown Syndrome and Other Birth Defects.
CALL 1-888-510-BABY or click on the picture on the left, if you gave birth or are about to and can't care for your baby, to give your baby to a worker at a nearby hospital (some states also include police stations or fire stations), NO QUESTIONS ASKED. YOU WON'T GET IN ANY TROUBLE or even have to tell your name; Safehaven people will help the baby be adopted and cared for.

Saturday, April 10, 2004



"Resurrection is the reversal of what was thought to be absolute. It is the
turning of midnight into dawn, the turning of hatred into love, the turning
of dying into living anew, the turning of despair into hope. If we look
more closely into life, we will find that resurrection is more than hope,
it is our experience. The return to life from death is something we
understand at our innermost depths, something we feel on the surface of our
tender skin. We have come back to life, not only when we start to shake off
the shroud of sorrow that has bound us, but when we begin to believe in all
that is still endlessly possible. Extraordinary things do happen in the
ordinary moments of our lives."

Molly Fumia in Safe Passage.



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Happy Easter Vigil.

I'm going to a sunrise service in the morning. Usually I go to the Easter Vigil--it starts in my parish in ten minutes! I'll be praying for the five people in our small parish who are being received into our Church tonight.

I wish and hope that my dear blog readers would share my sense of deep contentment this evening.

My daughter got back a little bit ago from picking up extra yeast from my Mom, so that I could make another batch of hot cross buns. In the morning, two of my children will drive around and drop off batches of these buns with some of our local friends.

I can't recall making hot cross buns before. We usually make braided loaves. These have cinnamon in the dough and we are using cranberries instead of currants (because I couldn't find currants).

We're also making a batch of Pasqua Cheese to go with the buns--and also to go with the brioche that my dear mother is making to bring over in the afternoon.

The recipe we are using for Pasqua Cheese comes from an Arizona cookbook, courtesy of the cooks at Taliesin West, Frank Lloyd Wright's winter home near Scottsdale. This recipe involves blending (cuisinarting) cottage cheese, sour cream, butter, ground almonds, freshly grated lemon peel and vanilla. Raisins are then added (except I used cranberries instead). The whole mixture is poured into a linen towel sitting in a colander. The colander sits over a plate to catch the drips. A plate is placed on top of the mixture and weights are added. It's sitting in our refrigerator. Totally yum.

My husband has built an early season fire in the fireplace and simultaneously is conducting an outdoor burn to help with a prairie area he wants to help nurture. My son and a friend are helping. They just came in, excited about helping with a great big and yet allowed fire.

I'm simultaneously reading two books, a thriller, In the Night Season and The Mistress of Husaby: Volume Two of the Kristin Lavransdatter trilogy.

They are both gripping. I've never done that before--read two very absorbing books at the same time. I highly recommend the Kristin Lavransdatter series.

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Candidate's startling disclosures good for the soul, maybe not for the polls.

I'll follow up on this interesting story about a candidate for U.S. House of Representatives who has recently disclosed her abortion history when I have more time early next week.



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The blogmistress at worshipping at the altar of mediocrity has posted her thoughts on why she is pro-choice, along with links to some other current discussions of this question.

One of the reasons she gives for being pro-choice is "[pregnancy] is nine months of changing your lifestyle, your future, the risk of having to leave school or a job, the risk of being abandoned, abused, and/or alienated by your family, etc."

It is too true that many people and institutions in our society are deeply punitive about and hostile toward certain pregnancies. In a more enlightened age, young women will understand that they are buying into their own oppression when they bow to these pressures.

I don't get involved in pro-life/pro-choice debates much. I am more interested in how people react to individual abortions--their own or those of people they care about.

Often the political debate is a not-very-useful proxy for the real discussions people need to be having.

I know a couple that used to talk about abortion with each other purely as a political issue. I heard them do this on several occasions. She appeared to be mildly pro-life and he appeared to be mildly pro-choice. I found out from her after some years that they had had an abortion together early in their marriage and they had never talked about that abortion. They could only talk about "abortion in general". Meanwhile, she had come to believe that in the abortion, they had killed their child. She didn't feel safe saying this to him. The only way she could sort of suggest to him that she was not at ease about that abortion, that it had started to haunt her, was to express mildly pro-life views when the subject of abortion came up in group discussion at parties.





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Thursday, April 8, 2004


Woman sues Ohio abortion facility, claiming that RU486 rendered her infertile.



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The April 2004 edition of Vine and Branches from Rachel's Vineyard Ministries has been sent out via email, but is not yet posted online.

It mentions locations that have recently started new Rachel's Vineyard retreat sites. These include Dublin, Ireland; Madrid, Spain; Westcliffe, Colorado; Gainesville, Florida; Lafayette, Louisiana; Fargo, North Dakota; Valley City, North Dakota; Mendham, New Jersey; Staten Island, New York; Akron, Ohio; Ada, Oklahoma; Ocoee, Tennessee; Roanoke, Virginia; and Russia...

"Arrangements for Rachel Vineyard Retreats in Russia have been finalized. Diana Szurley, of the Alaskan RVR team, will be leaving Anchorage on April 23. Her first stop will be in Magadan. She will facilitate three retreats plus a few workshops. Her next stop will be in Vladivostock. Diane will be conducting not only a retreat and training workshop, but plans are for her to speak at a university and to medical personnel."

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For the second time this week, a person who posted a comment on this blog has aroused someone's ire.

Here at After Abortion we do welcome dialogue about our own writing, thoughts, and experiences.



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Here is a link to all the current testimony in the PBA trial in NY.

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Tuesday, April 6, 2004



Go read this.

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Stop me before I say "fascinating' again.

Here we have an, uh, absorbing and provocative article from the Sunday magazine of The New York Times, The Quest to Forget. (Link registration required, but it's well worth it. Just do it!)

After her bike-messenger collision, Kathleen was taken to the emergency room of Massachusetts General Hospital. Once her physical wounds were attended to -- she wasn't badly hurt; just a few cuts and bruises -- she was approached by Anna Roglieri Healy, a psychiatric nurse. Healy was engaged in a pilot study to test whether administering drugs immediately after a traumatic event could prevent the development of post-traumatic stress disorder. Did Kathleen want to be part of the study?

"The Quest to Forget" is about a drug, propranolol, that interferes with the action of stress hormones in the brain. Some researchers believe it has the potential to prevent people from developing post-traumatic stress disorder if it is taken after a significantly stressful life event.

I wonder what it would be like to have taken this after my abortion.

Besides the deeply interesting description of the impact of propranolol on how traumatic memories are (or are not) implanted in the brain, this article is important to read for those who are interested in the onset of post-abortion traumatic stress disorder. I was especially interested in the observation that four weeks after a traumatic stressor has occurred, people who are going to get better are already starting that process. But some people get stuck, and those people are still stuck (the article says) four years later.

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My abortion and my baby.

This long personal reflection piece appeared in London's The Observer over the weekend:

People who know me will be surprised to hear I had an abortion. In the past
it has not been something I have talked about openly. You just don't. But
abortion is something that stays with you, most often as a secret, and it is
not something you forget. Coming out about my abortion to a television
audience was something I never thought I would do.


It was written by Julia Black, an independent film-maker who recently completed a documentary, My Foetus.

She had an abortion when she was 21 and more recently carried a pregnancy to term. It's very interesting in the article how when Julia expresses dissonance or confusion over abortion and what a fetus is, it's always in terms of whether her new insights should lead her to question her pro-choice views--and not in terms of what her emotions might be about that earlier abortion.



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Good morning to all our fine readers on this Tuesday of Holy Week. I adopted a number of Lenten observances this year--probably partly in an unhealthy competitive spirit with my teenage daughter, who gave up practically everything. I am allegedly abstaining from alcohol, meat and desserts. It does give me a newfound appreciation for how difficult it is to deny oneself the small pleasures of life.

I'd like to point our readers to several blogs. First up, we have Christus Medicus, a very new blog from a medical student.

Secondly, we have Dean's World. I like the way he interweaves personal and political reportage. I particularly commend this
post on his struggles with alcohol and his reflections on AA.
One of the links he recommends goes to a fascinating page called AA Deprogramming which has an article on What AA does for survivors of abuse or trauma. Fascinating. Many women I know who are in the abortions/alcohol/abuse nexus are well-described by this article.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous makes passing reference to the "root causes" of alcohol addiction, but as the aforementioned article argues, is not perhaps the right place to heal from these root causes.

Thirdly, check out Times Against Humanity for ongoing discussion of sonograms and abortion. Thank you, Earl!

Finally, Ampersand, the man who writes Alas A Blog, got out the long guns recently in order to fisk Selma, the comment she once left on this blog, and our other fine readers and contributors.





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Monday, April 5, 2004



Earl at Times Against Humanity has weighed in with further thoughts on ultrasound technology and abortion. He also was kind enough to send me the following links to other blog discussion of ultrasound technology during pregnancy.

Alicia, the midwife at Fructus Ventris, notes her reservations on the use of ultrasound imaging.

Blogger Liberal Catholic writes about his wife's ultrasound in Baby Pat Doing Fine. Scroll down...waaaay down...to the third entry.

She says that even though we planned this pregnancy and we want a child very badly, and she is happy to be having a baby, she does not think she could handle pregnancy alone. She says the sickness and the mood swings and the changes to her body feel almost overwhelming. She says that even though she has always been strongly pro-life, she is suddenly understanding why single women with unplanned pregnancies have abortions. She states that even though she knows it is immoral, without the support of a husband, she is not sure she could emotionally handle pregnancy as she is experiencing it.

She says she has been meditating on the cross a lot lately, and trying to remember that the crucifixion leads to new life. For her, pregnancy is feeling like a bit of a cross, and she's asking why God made it this way.

Of course, many single women carry their babies to term, and knowing my wife, I believe she would find the inner resources to carry a pregnancy to term if she were alone.

Nevertheless, though it is disturbing, it makes me think hard about the anti-abortion rhetoric we Catholic sometimes use. If a married, pro-life, frequent Mass attending Catholic nurse in a Catholic hospital finds herself feeling some empathy for women who have had abortions, how much compassion and mercy should we be showing to women who have had abortions?


If you read the links and the comments attached to them, you'll see that some people are surprised that ultrasound technology doesn't simply put an end to abortion. The idea is that any woman who saw her very small child on a sonogram would of course refuse to go through with an abortion.

Sonograms do deter some women from abortion. It's important to donate money to pro-life pregnancy resource centers so they can install ultrasound machines. It's important to pass laws requiring abortion clinics to make ultrasound imaging available to clients.

However, when you think about the context of a woman looking at a sonogram of her child in an abortion clinic, you can see why doing this doesn't automatically result in rejecting the abortion. There's a certain surreal quality about being shown a sonogram of your tiny infant by people who you know are fully prepared to abort it. If you know that the nurse conducting the ultrasound examination is prepared to destroy the small moving human-shaped object on the scdreen, doesn't that somehow suggest that even though it looks like a very small human, in some sense it couldn't be fully alive? If this thing you are both looking at is fully alive, then why is the nurse perfectly happy to participate in destroying it?



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Sunday, April 4, 2004

Pointing everyone to Lynn's comments buried back on Mar. 31 about an unborn baby diagnosed as unsurvivable, and yet being born 100% healthy. Can you imagine that mother, on her knees in thanksgiving?

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