Archive for July, 2018

The Elephant in the Examination Room: Why Are Medical Professionals Reluctant to Talk to Women About this Common Medical Procedure?

Thursday, July 19th, 2018

 

By Lauren Kretzer

Seeing a new medical provider means you get handed the brown clip board from the receptionist with that tedious multi-page “new patient form.”

Some questions are quite detailed and frankly, embarrassing.

Others may make us squirm in our seats; e.g., weight, smoking, daily wine intake, etc.

But if you are like me, there is one question that hit me harder than any other; HAVE YOU EVER BEEN PREGNANT?

As someone who experienced abortion, and was unable to conceive as a result of complications from the procedure, the answer had ALWAYS been, “No”.

I didn’t think about it.

I didn’t agonize over it.

I simply answered, “No”.

This is the denial that marks the daily lives of millions of women and men touched by abortion.

Until someone breaks through that blindness and sheds some light on how abortion may have hurt you, and the good news of spiritual and emotional healing, you remain in the darkness.

I learned about an abortion recovery program, Rachel’s Vineyard, and made my retreat in March, 2013.  The program gently allowed me to lower my denial defenses built up over many years.  The experience cleansed the gaping spiritual and emotional wounds left from participating in the death of my unborn children.

This Doctor’s Visit…Is Going to Be Different

Fast forward to 2017. I went to see my primary care physician.  Her medical practice is part of the Abington Hospital network.  Because Abington Hospital provides abortion services, I was in conflict about continuing with my current doctor.

But I have been with this doctor for over 15 years and did not want to be hasty making the switch.   And I have always felt very comfortable with her.

Since that Rachel’s Vineyard weekend in 2013 I have grown stronger spiritually and emotionally.  In 2017 I became part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.  The Campaign has connected me with a network of other women and men called to share about their abortion loss and recovery.

Coming out of that foundation of healing and peace I decided that this medical appointment was going to be different.

This was going to be an honest encounter where I was going to share my “complete” medical history.

In my evaluation with the doctor she asked if I had any questions.

I told her, “There is something very important in my medical history that should be added to my records.”

I began to tell her about my abortions and some of the common emotional and physical complications many women suffer after the procedure.

She looked at me with compassion, but did appear a bit taken aback. The doctor agreed to add it to my records.  I was pleased when she told me, “In the future, if a patient shares with me a history of abortion, I will be sure to ask them how they are doing emotionally.”

I shared some pamphlets and contact info with the doctor for anyone looking for emotional and spiritual recovery for their abortion loss.

I spend the next couple of days praying for this physician, that her heart and mind would open up to the physical and emotional damage many women suffer after abortion.

“How Many Children Do You Have?”

Now here we are a year later and time for my annual check-up.

This time I did not see my regular doctor. Instead, I saw a nurse practitioner, Susan.

Susan pulls out her lap top and begins to ask me a bunch of questions. It is clear she is using a very detailed but standard questionnaire for physicals.

She even asked me if I ever smoked. When I told her, “yes as a stupid teenager” she went on to ask me how much I smoked – and the ages I started and quit.  That was over 40 years ago!

Another question. Have you ever had surgeries?

I am thinking major with general anesthesia…so I answered no.   Then she said any surgeries?  Wisdom teeth?  Yes, I had my wisdom teeth out (30 years ago).

I then told her, “Susan, there are also two surgeries that I had that should be in the records. I had two abortions.”

This revelation clearly shook her up as she fumbled at the lap top.  She was very quick to respond, “No I do not see them…they do not need to be in the records.”

I replied “I had requested them to be there.”

Avoiding any eye contact, she went on to the next question on her form.

Much to my surprise, a minute later came the question…are you ready for this?

How many children do you have?

I told her that I lost two children to abortion and that the reason why I do not have living children today is very likely due to the physical damage caused by those abortions.

For a second, she looked angry, annoyed, and horrified at the same time.

But being professional, she composed herself and said, “We don’t need that information.” She then went on to the next question.

I left there feeling sad and angry because when it comes to abortion, the “right to choose” takes precedence over “the right to complete, accurate medical information and care.”

Abortion is looked at as some medical “non-event.”

Yet it is a life-changing experience, and certainly a medically significant part of the medical history of millions of women.

I thought about that nurse practitioner, Susan, as I processed our encounter in the days after my appointment.

Perhaps her reaction comes out of her personal history.   It is quite possible, given her role at Abington hospital, an abortion provider, that she may have helped in some way to facilitate the death of unborn children.

It is possible a family member, even her daughter had one. Or maybe she herself had lost a child to abortion, and what I shared touched that sensitive wound in her heart.

I am grateful for my journey to recovery and connecting with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. This equipped and empowered me to find my voice, and share the truth about my abortion losses.  It has empowered me and many other women to openly share our experiences, bringing light to the darkness, even behind the closed doors of the doctor’s examination room.

 

Let That Light Shine! 10 Ways to Promote Your Abortion Recovery Ministry

Friday, July 6th, 2018

 

By Susan Swander and Kevin Burke, LSW

  1. Meet with your Pastor/Minister

Contact the pastor or another minister active in your church. This kind of personal connection is important.  You or someone on your team can share about a past abortion, faith related struggles after the procedure, and how abortion recovery was such a blessing.

Most pastors are not sure how to address the issue of abortion. Some fear hurting or alienating those that had the procedure.  Your personal sharing will be a valuable education about the issues women and men struggle with after the procedure.  It can also open the door to a ministry partnership as you assist the pastor in reaching out to those in the congregation hurting after abortion.

2. Notices in Church Bulletins

Susan shares: “In the fall of 2003, I saw a small box ad in the local Church bulletin. It said something about healing for women and men who had abortions – and it referred to a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend in our area.  It gave a website and phone number. The website really spoke to me and I registered for one of their weekend programs.”

3. Testimony During Church Services

Susan: “I had such a powerful experience of emotional and spiritual healing from the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend I attended. After careful discernment, I felt called to share my story.  I have shared my testimony of pain and hope at a number of churches throughout Oregon.  I have been moved by how many fellow church-goers also suffer after abortion, or know someone who does.”

4. Create an uncluttered, engaging, easy to navigate website so people can learn about your ministry. Donors are often interested in helping out with such a project and a tech savvy person from your church community could assist with set up.

5. Connect with the local Christian radio stations in your area – and some national shows as well. Let them know you have women and men who can share about abortion loss and recovery – this is especially helpful around the time of the March for Life, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and for Catholic Christians in the month of October (Respect Life Month) when media are more open to our message.

6. Social Media   Cultivate a current team member, volunteer, or alum from your abortion recovery ministry to help develop a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Once you get the hang of it this is an effective way to create brief messages and images to promote recovery resources and share about your ministry.

7. Tear-off flyers on church bulletin boards, pamphlets and drop cards that provide info on your website and contact number.

8. Contact your local churches, seminaries, and catholic/Christian educational institutions. Let them know you are available to share with their students and ministers-in-training about abortion loss, the ways this can impact women and men, and the road to recovery. This is a great way to help them better understand and reach out to their future congregations.

9. Connect with the campus ministry and pro-life groups at secular colleges in your area and offer to come share your testimony with the students, how to best reach out to abortion minded students based on your experience, and resources for recovery for those that had abortions.

10. Planting Seeds, Support, and Networking

Come together regularly as a team and pray for God’s Spirit to give you wisdom, discernment and patience. Consider becoming part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and find women and men in your area who are called to speak out about abortion loss and recovery.   This is a great way to find support and network with others in your area and nationally that share a heart for this outreach.

Keep in mind that people often need to hear messages about abortion loss and recovery multiple times before they are ready to take that next step, and reach out for help. It can be years before that seed you planted bears fruit.

 

Crossing The Border of the Womb: Understanding the Emotional Fireworks of the Left on Immigration

Monday, July 2nd, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

In late June  thousands gathered across the U.S. to protest the Trump administration’s border policy. Rallies in Portland turned violent and had to be shut down by police.

US Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) recently urged her supporters to harass members of the Trump administration in public places. At weekend rallies she called for the impeachment of President Trump.

Immigration is perhaps the most contentious issue that defines an increasingly divided electorate.

While there are reasonable differences on immigration policy across the political spectrum, the reactivity of the left on this subject makes substantive and reasoned dialogue impossible.

The reaction of Trump opponents to the President’s immigration policy, especially the the supposed cruel separation of children and families at the border, may actually be partially rooted in a repressed personal and national trauma.

Understanding The Shockwaves of Abortion

Many of our nations leaders in business, academia, media and government have promoted “reproductive rights.”

Millions of our fellow citizens have participate in the death of their unborn children.

Countless others have served as accessories to abortion – e.g., driving a friend to the procedure, paying for it, or persuading a pregnant woman that abortion is the only reasonable decision.

Large segments of the population have lost an unborn son or daughter, grandchild or other family member to abortion.

Trauma and Weak Personal Borders

The Shockwaves of Abortion impact people across the political spectrum.

But when we look at the liberal left, particularly those who are most reactive on the issue of immigration and border concerns, this is a group of people that are zealously pro-abortion.

We know that women who are traumatized by the invasive procedure, especially those with previous abuse, can for a time lose a sense of healthy personal boundaries and respect for their own bodies.

This  traumatic separation of parent and child can lead to self-destructive and abusive behaviors and relationships.

Another way that caring women and men can deny and displace their disenfranchised pain and grief from abortion is by involvement in various forms of political activism and charity work.

There is often an unconscious need to atone for the death of the unborn child that helps to fuel their human rights and charitable activities such as advocating for victims of human trafficking, immigrants and justice for the poor.

Others focus passionately on issues such as animal rights and the environment. Some promote abortion rights to continually validate their own personal abortion decision.

How Abortion Trauma Helps Form the Immigration Policy of the Left

Just as some women can struggle with personal boundaries and self-destructive behaviors after abortion and other abuse, so too can a political movement that is zealously pro-abortion.

Liberal politicians and activists advocate an open borders policy that fails to protect the interests of  citizens and taxpayers.  Such movements tend to reject their own national heritage and culture.

Nations and their citizens can share a collective unconscious need to atone for the death of their unborn children.

In the U.S., intense outrage is focused on the supposed cruel separation of parents and children at the border.

Yet we ignore the violent separation of mothers and their unborn children as their babies cross the border of the womb to the outside world dismembered and broken by the procedure.

Some European nations are no longer preserving and valuing what is best in their culture and heritage as collapsing birthrates and uncontrolled immigration threaten the very existence of some countries.

Restoring National Sanity

The symptoms suffered after abortion are rooted in the inability to express and process the feelings and memories from the abortion event, and come to a place of healing and peace.

The heart of recovery involves going through a safe process to express those painful feelings and memories, repentance of one’s role in the abortion, and most importantly, reconnecting in love with the aborted child or children.

Hopefully, as we continue to share the truth about the impact of abortion and resources for healing, we can step back from national divorce, and come together once again as a nation.