Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

The Abortion Pill: The Psychological Experience of Labor and Delivery in the Home

Tuesday, April 11th, 2017

Abortion Pill 2

by Kevin Burke, LSW

Counselor Cullen Herout has an important article on home based chemical abortions in Crisis Magazine.

Cullen shares that in March 2016 the FDA approved the use of the abortion pill Mifespristone for women up to 10 weeks pregnant.  Close to 25 percent of abortions in the United States are chemical abortions and this number will likely continue to rise.

Like Cullen, I also serve as a counselor on Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for women and men suffering after abortion.   Couples often rationalize that the abortion pill merely initiates an early miscarriage.  They are tempted to see the pills as an easier solution than a medical procedure at the abortion center.  However the actual experience of the abortion pill can be a shocking and traumatic event.

On a recent Rachel’s Vineyard retreat, a couple shared their traumatic chemical abortion story. The mother was 6 weeks pregnant and after an extended period of severe cramping the child was delivered in their bathroom.  The father had to fish the tiny child out of the toilet.

The father buried the child in their back yard.  He frequently visited the “grave site” as he struggled to process the grief and trauma of that event.  They found significant emotional and spiritual healing of that experience on their Rachel’s Vineyard weekend, but they remain wounded by that abortion individually, and as a couple.

What are the possible psychological and physical trauma associated with chemical abortion in the home?

What happens to couples when their home becomes the abortion center and procedure room?

Please read Cullen’s article to learn more.

We need to increase our efforts to educate the public about the reality of chemical abortion. Women and their partners need to understand the psychological risks of at-home abortions and the likely individual and relational impact of labor and delivery of early pregnancies in the home.

Does Christianity Form us to Be the Passive Doormats of the World – or Horses Trained for Battle?

Tuesday, March 28th, 2017

Sword of Revelation

When Jesus said “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth,” and St Paul refers to the “meekness” of Christ, we tend to think of passivity, vulnerability, and spineless submission.

Sadly, many are turned off to Christianity because they think it forms it’s adherents to be weak doormats for abuse.

Author Sam Whatley tells us…we got it all wrong.

This brief article has some priceless wisdom and inspiration for those on the front lines of the battle to end abortion and proclaim reconciliation and recovery to anyone who participates in the death of unborn children.

We are not called to be hot-headed, irrational firebrands nor are we passive and powerless bystanders on the sidelines of a culture of death.

We are called to be meek – meek as ancient horses trained to remain united and obedient to our Master,  focused and resolute amidst the chaos and carnage of war.

Read the article:  Meek Like a Warhorse

 

A Comprehensive PATH to Healing Abortion Loss: An Atlanta Ministry Shares the Benefit of offering both the SaveOne Bible Study and Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

PATH

In 1987 MaryAnn McNeil and Anita Willoughby saw the need in the Atlanta area for emotional and spiritual healing of those hurting after abortion. They founded PATH (Post Abortion Treatment and Healing)  at St. Jude the Apostle Church in Sandy Springs, Georgia.

PATH developed a comprehensive outreach for those wounded by abortion that features bible studies, weekend retreats, counseling and community outreach.

The current director of PATH is Jody Duffy, RN. Jody has served as a volunteer in abortion healing ministry with PATH from 2001 until March 2016 when she took over as Director.

I recently interviewed Jody to learn more about PATH.

Kevin:   PATH has offered support groups and later retreats since they started. Recently you began to use the SaveOne Bible Study program at PATH.  Can you share with us your experience with SaveOne?

Jody: Last April, 2016, I attended a training for the SaveOne Bible study that was being sponsored by psychiatrist Dr. Martha Shuping.   Dr Shuping serves as a PATH advisor and is also trained as a Rachel’s Vineyard facilitator and counselor.  The workshop presenter was SaveOne founder Sheila Harper.

I brought the information back to PATH and began training our Bible study leaders shortly after. Since last April, with over 20 volunteers PATH has completed four SaveOne Bible studies and currently has five running at six different locations in the Atlanta areas.

 Kevin: Jody can you share with us about your experience offering both the Rachel Vineyard weekends and the SaveOne bible study for those hurting after abortion?

Jody: PATH offers 3 Rachel’s Vineyard retreats each year.  Rachel’s Vineyard is like no other experience for a person needing healing from a past abortion experience. However, participants benefit from a continuation of that process of healing. That is why we offer the Bible study format as well to our clients.

Due to time and schedules and even geography, some people are limited to the retreat. That is why we always advocate Companions on the Journey, an online after care program offered by Rachel’s Vineyard.  As with many other Rachel’s Vineyard sites, people come from different parts of the country and would not be able to participate in our local programs.

Kevin: Jody you have shared with me that you see SaveOne and Rachel’s Vineyard working nicely together.

Jody: We recommend and offer both the Weekend Retreat and Bible Study to those that come to us for help.  The two programs really complement one another.

The Rachel’s Vineyard retreat is an intense weekend of sharing, learning, and healing. In itself it is a profound and valuable recovery experience.

However, recovery is a journey and by offering the Bible study, we can walk down that road for 11 weeks and dig deeper. Our clients as well as our leaders are very impressed with the SaveOne Bible study.

SaveOne is tender, experiential, deep, and healing. It really allows participants to look deeper at what really happened and how to trust God to walk that journey with you. The program guides one through some of those emotions which may have been left unchecked and teaches them how to rely on God to help them face their past and walk on the healing journey with them.

So clients can begin with either program initially and then later experience the retreat or support group if they like.

Kevin: PATH offers its services to men as well as women correct?

Jody: Yes, our Rachel’s Vineyard retreats have always been open to both men and women. The SaveOne program has a separate model for men and women and we offer both.

Kevin: It’s great to see in the Catholic Church how many Deacons are getting involved in abortion recovery ministry. You are blessed to have Deacon Mike Mobley serving with PATH.

Jody:  We are truly blessed and Deacon Mike Mobley has worked on our Rachel’s Vineyard team for over 10 years. He has also led Bible studies for men. Sometime he ministers in the group format and other times he meets one on one with the men.  It all depends on the need at the time.

Deacon Mike recently completed our first Men’s SaveOne study. He and the man he worked with were very pleased with the study. Another men’s group just started last week at our Roswell, GA location. Bible study allows time for the men to form a true brotherhood and friendship, just like it does the women.

Kevin: You also minister to married couples right?

Jody: We have had married couples on both the retreat and in the Bible study. However, some prefer to do the retreat and Bible study separately. We are always flexible depending on the situation.

Sometimes participants in our SaveOne support group will later attend the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend with their spouse who may or may not have a past abortion.   They always find a deeper healing of their loss within their marriage.

Spouses who are not the biological parent have the opportunity to not only come and support their partner but also experience the blessing of the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat process. On Sunday at the memorial service they can spiritually adopt their spouse’s unborn child or children lost to abortion.  This provides another level of healing for families.

Kevin: What other outreach is PATH involved in?

Jody: Along with providing the Retreats and Bible studies, PATH speaks at parishes, to youth groups, Respect for Life gatherings, the Knights of Columbus, Students for Life groups, and anyone else who will listen to our message about the pain and hurt abortion causes and importance of healing from abortion.

____________

–                  Here’s the Contact info for PATH Atlanta and their website here.

–                  To find out more about the SaveOne program please visit this page on their website  or Phone: (615) 347-8800 – email: info@saveone.org

–                  To learn more about starting a Rachel’s Vineyard program in your area please contact the International Rachel’s Vineyard Office or phone 610 354 0555.

 

 

“My Dad Made Me Have the Abortion”: A Desperate Father Wrestles with Pride, Denial and the Love for his Daughter

Monday, March 13th, 2017

father daughter

“I was hoping you could help my daughter. She needs counseling…my daughter, Gina, is dating this guy. He’s verbally and physically abusive.”

Mr. Davis sounded desperate. In his voice I could detect anger and hurt but worst of all helplessness.

“I can’t just sit back and watch my daughter ruin her life…I love her so much but I’m losing her.”

I informed Mr. Davis that [as a counselor] I couldn’t break them up but I could help Gina examine her relationship and sort out her feelings about this man.

Then I asked Mr. Davis if anything else had happened between Gina and her boyfriend. The question itself was a threat.

Mr. Davis hesitated. Finally he answered;

“Well, there is something but it should really come from her. I think she should be the one to tell you.”

“Did your daughter have an abortion?” I asked in a matter of fact tone.

The word was said – Abortion.

There was silence, as is almost always the case. I had a telephone listing for Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats (For Post Abortion Healing), yet still people would often struggle to explain why they were calling.

I met his daughter that night. Gina was 19, with long blond hair and sad blue eyes.

“My dad made me have it,” she explained. “He told me I could not live with them if I didn’t. He knew it might make me hate him but he was willing to take that risk. I’d get over it, he said. I was not raised to believe in abortion. In high school I even wrote a paper on it.”

Gina’s story came out in between distressing sobs and gasps for air.

“I came home from college on a Friday to tell them about the pregnancy and what we were planning to do…. My dad hit the roof. Dad took my boyfriend into the kitchen to have a man-to-man talk. They would not let me in. Dad tried to pressure him to convince me that abortion was the best thing.”

With much difficulty, she continued.

“Two days later I was up on a table, my feet in stirrups. I cried the whole way there. My mom took me. I kept telling her I did not want this…They killed my baby.”

After a long tearful pause, Gina continued,

“Just as quickly as it had happened everyone seemed to forget about it. My parents never talked about it. They were furious when they found out that I was still seeing Joe. Things were not so good between Joe and me either. We were always fighting.”

Joe signified Gina’s connection to their aborted baby. Gina feared that giving him up would destroy the only bond remaining to the child she still needed to grieve.

Gina was trapped in a vicious cycle by which she was punishing both herself and her father.

Once Gina was in treatment for the emotional trauma of her abortion, she was able to express these feelings. It was important for both her sake and her family, however, that her parents should also enter into the therapy process with her.

Father Knows Best?

The night before our [family counseling session, Gina’s father] called me.

“My stomach has been upset all week since I heard about this meeting,” he said. “I want to do what is best for Gina.”

Then his tone became more formal and forceful:

“I just want you to know that this is NOT a moral issue to me. Gina had to have that abortion! I still think we made the right decision…”

With renewed determination, I explained,

“Mr. Davis, I know you love your daughter very much. The fact remains that your daughter lost something. What she lost was a child. Gina thinks about it every day. She cries about it every night. The event is far from over for her. You need to hear how the abortion has affected her.”

Mr. Davis did not respond. With conviction, I continued:

“When someone dies, the worst thing another can say is ‘it was for the best, its better this way.’ This does nothing to comfort and console; it only makes the person angry because you are not appreciating their loss or grief. Worse for Gina is that you do not recognize the life that she is missing. Gina misses her baby, a child you have not been able to acknowledge.”

Eventually, Mr. Davis agreed that he would try to listen and that maybe he had something to learn.  I really couldn’t hope for more than that.

When Mr. Davis came in the next morning, he opened with a surprising statement.

“I had no right to make that choice,” he said.

After wrestling with various points in our conversation all night, he admitted that for the first time he realized that abortion was not Gina’s choice.

A Shining Light

The family session began and it was very intense.

Gina expressed her anger, hurt and feelings of rejection. She also shared her grief about the aborted baby.

Suddenly grief came upon Mr. Davis. He stared in disbelief, as if a light had abruptly cast shocking rays into a blackened room.

His voice broke with anguish.

“Oh my baby, my sweet baby, my Gina,” he cried. “I am so sorry. I was so wrong.”

He pressed his face against her cheek and the tears finally came.

His tears mingled with Gina’s as they both wept. Gina put her arms around him. They embraced tightly as her father gently stroked her long hair. All the anger, the bitterness, the pent-up emotions, the grief, gave way. They sobbed in each other’s arms.

Mr. Davis begged for her forgiveness. Between tears and tissues, he told Gina she would have been an incredible mother. In one beautiful moment, her motherhood had been validated and Gina wept with relief.

[Excerpts from Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, By Theresa Burke, Ph.D. with David Reardon.] You can read the complete chapter and purchase Forbidden Grief here.

 

A Grandmother’s Story of the Traumatic Abortion of Her Grandchild and the Priest Who Helped the Family Heal

Wednesday, March 8th, 2017

mother-daughter-relationship

I begged my daughter Lisa not to have the abortion.

I called my Parish Priest, Fr. Dominick.  He rushed to the hospital to try and persuade Lisa to change her mind.   Father gave her a rosary blessed by Pope John Paul, and spoke of what a gift this child would be to the family.

Lisa walked away from the priest in tears and went into the procedure room to allow the doctors and nurses to end the life of my grandchild.

I cannot explain the level of grief and anger that flooded my heart and soul. I was filled with rage at the hospital and all involved with the procedure.

But I was most hurt by my daughter going through with the abortion even after I pleaded with her to give life to this child.

Reaching Out from the Pain

My mother and father have always been very close to my children and they were aware of the abortion. They were deeply grieved by the loss of their great-grandchild and heartbroken for Lisa.

When my mother learned of the abortion she prayed immediately and asked her deceased dad to receive the baby since the child died on my grandfather Adam’s birth date.

Shortly after the abortion I went to talk to Fr. Dominick. After I shared my pain, he suggested I consider a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend, a program of emotional and spiritual healing for individuals and families suffering after abortion loss.

The Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat was a powerful experience of healing and went to the heart of my post abortion trauma and grief. The weekend helped me to find peace and closure. I formed a number of close friendships from that weekend and the follow up support group meetings.

During this period I would pray during Eucharistic Adoration and beg Jesus to call my daughter to healing. I could see how she was suffering terribly after the abortion.

She knew of my Rachel’s Vineyard experience and my friends from the retreat. Lisa would react with cynicism and mock my “abortion friends.” But beneath that defensive behavior, she was hurting and in need of healing.

A Miracle Unfolds

Six months after the abortion, my son asked Lisa to be the Godmother of his baby boy. This event triggered a release of her pent up post abortion grief and pain and Lisa suffered a nervous breakdown requiring hospitalization.

She recovered from the breakdown, but remained deeply wounded.

Two years after the abortion she met a man with an abortion in his history. He encouraged her to consider the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend. When Lisa told me she was considering making a retreat, I was overjoyed.

I was blessed to be able to attend the memorial service on Sunday of my daughter’s weekend when participants honor the children with a special ceremony and Mass.

When I opened the memorial service program I looked over the list of names of the babies being entrusted to the Lord.  I knew right away the name Lisa had given my grandchild – Dominick Leonard.

Lisa named the baby after the priest, Fr. Dominick who had been so kind to her and who tried to stop the abortion – and after the abortion continued to reflect the love and mercy of Christ to my daughter. She gave the baby the middle name of Leonard after my dad, who Lisa loves dearly.

This memorial service was deeply painful but it was the suffering of the cross, with the faith and hope of the resurrection. We trust that Dominic is alive with the Lord. We grieved and honored the child together.  This was a time of grace and healing of our relationship which had been so deeply damaged by the abortion.

For the next 6 years I had the privilege of serving in various capacities on the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats offered by the Archdiocese of Newark.  I encourage any grandparent suffering after the loss of a grandchild to abortion to consider if a healing program would help you find peace and bless your family.

– Leann Domico-Vasquez

 

La Pena Ocultada de los Abuelos Después Del Aborto

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Grandparents

Un pastor local le pidió a un terapeuta de Rachel’s Vineyard en la ciudad Palm Beach de la Florida que diera un breve mensaje de esperanza y sanación en las misas del fin de semana. Después de aprender sobre el programa Shockwaves of Abortion, decidió centrarse en el tema de “shockwave” (o onda sísmica) para marzo – “Sanando a los Abuelos”.

La terapeuta compartió un breve mensaje sobre el dolor no reconocido de aquellos que han perdido a sus nietos al aborto. Mientras hablaba notó que muchos en la congregación estaban profundamente conmovidos por el reconocimiento de su dolor como abuelos; Observó los ojos llenándose de lágrimas cuando se les dio permiso para reconocer su pérdida.

Ella se preguntó si esto era una casualidad que tantos en la congregación estaban movidos por su mensaje. En las siguientes 3 misas descubrió el mismo nivel de dolor expresado abiertamente por el gran número de abuelos sentados en los bancos de la iglesia.

El aborto no es sencillamente una decisión privada entre una mujer y su proveedor médico, como la propaganda pro-aborto nos hace creer – es una pérdida en la familia. Dependiendo del papel de un abuelo en el aborto y su nivel de dolor emocional y espiritual, pueden beneficiarse de programas como Rachel’s Vineyard que dan la bienvenida a los abuelos.

El programa Rachel’s Vineyard le ofrece a los abuelos la oportunidad de reconocer su pérdida y desarrollar una relación espiritual con un miembro único de su familia. Los abuelos que asisten el retiro del fin de semana cuentan que la gracia y la bendición de la experiencia les han abierto la puerta a la curación adicional de esta pérdida en sus familias.

[Para encontrar un retiro de Rachel’s Vineyard e información de contacto en un sitio mas cercano, visite nuestra página de recuperación del aborto: ingrese su código postal para encontrar retiros y otros recursos en su área: www.abortionforgiveness.org]

 

Yesenia Lepe Lost a Sibling to Abortion: “A Cloud of Sadness Loomed over our Family…Rachel’s Vineyard Brought Salvation to Our Home”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017
Light Shines in Darkness

[The following letter from Yesenia to Theresa Burke, Ph.D., was originally published in the Rachel’s Vineyard newsletter Vine and Branches.]

More than 35 years ago, my parents found themselves newlywed, with a one month old baby, and again with child. Heartbreakingly, they bought into the lie that abortion was an answer to their fears.

Since that moment, they promised to keep that choice a secret. Years passed, and they had three more children (myself included).

Growing up, we were taken for our sacraments, but never fully alive in the faith. We did not even own a Bible.

Fast forward to 2007, my mother came across a bulletin for Rachel’s Vineyard, and our lives changed forever.

Because of my parent’s healing at Rachel’s Vineyard, they were able to come home and open up their hearts to my siblings and I.

The cloud of sadness which had loomed over our family life for so many years finally disappeared…with the power of God’s truth and God’s love.

We came to know Jesus in a profound way through experiencing with my parents His healing power. Today, we live for The Lord, sharing the good news and giving Him praise for all His blessings and graces.

In closing, I just want you to know that my family and I deeply appreciate you and the work the Lord entrusted you with. Rachel’s Vineyard is a treasure for our Church…a gift that transformed our lives.

Please know you, you’re team, and your family are always in our prayers.

God BLESS YOU! Love, Yesenia Lepe

 

Childhood Abuse Survivor has a Message for Emma Stone and the Hollywood Glitterati: “Planned Parenthood Enslaved Me to a Self Destructive and Soul Crushing Lifestyle – A Pregnancy Care Center Set me Free”

Wednesday, March 1st, 2017

Emma Stone

Celebrities like Emma Stone sported pins at the recent Oscar awards to show their support for Planned Parenthood.

They tell us that Planned Parenthood empowers women with essential reproductive healthcare, especially families in our poorest communities where many of their facilities are located.

Meet Susan

Susan was a client of Planned Parenthood for many years.

She was born with 2 strikes against her.

“My childhood was full of verbal, emotional, and physical abuse by my father, and at a very early age, I went looking for a man’s love thru sex.”

As Susan travelled down the self-destructive road of looking for love in all the wrong places, she was desperate for of the care and acceptance of a father who abused and rejected her.

Susan shares about her first abortion using the RU-486 pills she obtained at Planned Parenthood:

“The abortion was very painful physically and emotionally; the baby looked like a little turtle when it came out. I buried the baby outside because I couldn’t stand to flush it.”

Without healing, women with previous abuse and trauma are more likely to have repeat abortions – close to 50% of all abortions are repeat procedures.

Back Alley Chemical Abortion

Susan returns to Planned Parenthood for her second abortion:

“The second abortion was kind of a “back alley” abortion. I had gone to Planned Parenthood for pills and was turned away because I was a few days past the cutoff for having a medical abortion…one of the employees there agreed to help me anyway, and she offered to meet me in a parking lot where she would give me the pills.  This obviously wasn’t the first time she had done it because she had a system in place.”

Note the expert counseling and medical care offered by Planned Parenthood to this increasingly self-destructive young woman.

Susan was locked into repeat patterns of re-enacting her past trauma.

Planned Parenthood was waiting with chemicals and procedures to keep her enslaved to the behaviors and dysfunctional relationships that can flow from abuse and neglect in childhood and adolescence, and arising from her unhealed abortion losses.

Planned Parenthood Staff: Jaded by Choice

Susan began to realize that the staff at Planned Parenthood really didn’t care about her. They were motivated by greed but on a deeper level, the daily immersion in immorality and death takes a toll on the staff.

Employees at abortion businesses often have their own wounds from abuse and past abortions.  The can suffer from burnout and become callous and even abusive towards their clients.

Susan shares:

“The staff was cold and unsympathetic and the doctors were even worse. It’s like they despise you, but conceal it under the guise that they are ‘helping’. I had never felt cared for or understood at these places.

It was clear to me then that money mattered way more than my health to them, but it didn’t stop my careless behavior towards sex because I had not changed nor had I changed what I thought about myself. In fact, the abortions only led to lower self esteem…I knew what I was doing – and I hated myself for it.”

If you read the testimonies of the thousands of women who are part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, you will learn that this treatment of women by Planned Parenthood staff is quite common.

Enabled in this self-destructive path by Planned Parenthood, Susan experienced her final and most traumatic abortion:

“The fourth and final abortion was a D&C type at Planned Parenthood. I was too far along for a chemical abortion and so this time I actually had to face the reality. I was placed on a table and stretched and pulled, and suctioned, and it was horrifying and painful.”

A Light Shines in the Darkness

Thankfully Susan’s long nightmare came to and end.

It was not Planned Parenthood with their pin wearing celebrity glitterati that finally stopped Susan’s descent into hell.

It was the services of a Pregnancy Care Center:

Susan shares:

“I became pregnant again in 2008 when I was heavily addicted to Meth – a way to self medicate my pain and depression. I was broke and homeless and ended up at a Pregnancy Care Center.  The director there listened and offered help, but no judgment…She gave me a grocery store gift card, a gas gift card, and free maternity clothes.

She actually cared and told me about classes they have at the center that I can attend to earn items that I would need. I began to hear truths in these classes that I had forgotten (or maybe never learned); that I was valuable, that God loved me in spite of my sin – that I didn’t have to stay the way I was…”

Susan gave birth to a child with special needs that she placed in the loving care of an adoptive family.

Susan found in that Pregnancy Care Center something she never found in all her years of going to Planned Parenthood facilities:

“For the first time in my life, when I was at my absolute worst and most disgusting self, I was able to see God showing His love for me.

He began to heal my heart from the previous abortions and abuse, and I was able to forgive those people (my parents and boyfriends) who had so deeply hurt me, which then allowed me to forgive myself.

I left the drugs and promiscuous lifestyle behind and began the long process of rebuilding and reconciliation.

Planned Parenthood didn’t help me… the abortions didn’t help me.

The LOVE of the staff at that Pregnancy Care Center did more than help me, it led me to real salvation and healing.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From The Personal Hell of a Late Term Abortion to A Healing Journey of Divine Mercy

Monday, February 27th, 2017

A Journey to Healing

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Theresa Bonopartis has published a little gem of a book, A Journey to Healing Through Divine Mercy that will be a perfect companion for your Lenten journey. Like many of the best spiritual writers, her reflections are refreshingly simple, yet profound and rich in practical spiritual wisdom.

The book is broken down into small chapters that focus on many of the common core emotional and spiritual issues in the lives of those with abortion loss. Within each section you discover excellent passages from various saints and holy men and women. Excerpts from Sister Faustina’s Diary are featured in each chapter and nicely compliment the author’s own reflections.

A Light Shines in the Darkness

As I read through Theresa’s book, it struck me that this would have special benefit and blessing for those who suffered traumatic loss and the  painful spiritual darkness that can arise from past abandonment, abuse and neglect.

Perhaps that is because the author has travelled through some very painful and traumatic experiences on the road to Divine Mercy.

Theresa opens the Journal of Healing to share a brief account of her traumatic later term abortion as a teenager.

Theresa’s parents threw her out of the house after they learned of the pregnancy and later she is rejected by the baby’s father who pushes her to abort their child. Homeless, impoverished and vulnerable, she gave in to desperation and fear.

Theresa describes her condition after the procedure:

“I can remember the struggle to be faithful, searching in the dark to find God…I remember having to keep moving in spite of the pain, the darkness, the fear, because there was nothing to lose. There could be no greater hell that the one I had made for myself.”

The Power of Denial

Theresa touches on the issue of denial that is so powerful for those that participate in the death of their unborn children. Denial is often a necessary part of surviving the shock and confusion of the abortion event.

Yet without a deeper reconciliation and healing, over time this denial and repression of the truth numbs and starves us of the love and joy that is essential to a happy and fruitful life.  Theresa writes:

“The agonizing pain did not leave as the years went on, although I must admit I fell into such a deep denial that I was not aware that my lack of joy was a consequence of my abortion. Society did not acknowledge my pain and grief.  So in order to survive, I pressed my feelings into the recesses of my mind and, like everyone else, denied their existence.”

Practical Spiritual Wisdom

Theresa found peace and healing through a personal encounter with the Divine Mercy of God that touched her in a very deep and intimate way. The grace from that blessed event fills the pages of her book and later inspired Theresa to develop her after-abortion healing program Entering Canaan.

A Journey of Healing contains practical spiritual and emotional wisdom that touches on some of the common core issues for those with abortion loss; trust, forgiveness, discouragement and despair, impatience and pride.

Theresa acknowledges her own struggles in these areas as she gently encourages and calls those who are afraid to take those small steps in the healing journey. There are some helpful reflections on the challenges, and opportunities that various Holidays such as Mother’s Day and Christmas can present to those with abortion loss.

One of the valuable themes repeated in this book are that of patience and perseverance in the spiritual life. While a seemingly simple concept, it is in fact the most challenging aspects of the spiritual journey and an obstacle that leads many to stagnation or even regression in their faith life.

Interwoven into A Journey of Healing are Theresa’s experiences of suffering and healing of her abortion loss within the context of her family. This is an important as it touches on the reality that while isolation and shame are common after the procedure, this wound touches many people.  Often other family and friends can play a significant part in the abortion decision and are impacted by the symptoms that are common after the procedure.

A Journey to Healing has some valuable sections on how Divine Mercy touched all those relationships in Theresa’s life bringing new understanding, reconciliation and peace. She rightly stresses that this requires much prayer, patience and trust in God.

While the tone is one of gentle encouragement and the love and mercy of God, you will also find some healthy and more earthy spiritual wisdom:

“When we look at our sinfulness, there is a temptation to get stuck there… ‘I can’t believe I had an abortion’ mode. This…is false pride.  Why should we be so shocked that we can commit such a sin?  Once we turn from the will of God, any sin is possible.”

Amen! This provides a healthier context to look at our sin, no matter how grievous.  It is also a wakeup call that if we remain trapped in our pride, separated from God’s love, mercy and grace – we can all, in different ways, continue to abort God’s will in our lives.

Take the Journey of Healing

A Journey of Healing is certainly appropriate for those with abortion loss that need encouragement to takes steps to a deeper reconciliation and healing in their lives.

But it is also an excellent resource for those who have been through an abortion recovery program and want to continue on the road to deeper conversion, healing and growth in the faith. Consider this a valuable resource for your study/prayer group and an excellent book for spiritual directors to accompany those with abortion loss.

Take time this Lent to read Theresa’s book. You will find in A Journey to Healing a deeper healing of your abortion loss and a blessed encounter with God’s Divine Mercy.

The Deadly Power of Denial: How Roe V Wade Attorney Sarah Weddington’s Abortion Led to the Destruction of 60 Million Pre-Born Children

Friday, February 24th, 2017

 

Weddington McCorvey 2

By Kevin Burke, LSW and Christa Childs

In 1969, a young Texas lawyer, Sarah Weddington approached a desperate and pregnant Norma McCorvey. Norma already had 2 children and a failed marriage, with a family history of abuse and addiction. Norma was unable to get an abortion of her third child due to Texas abortion law.

Over a pizza lunch Norma signed the paperwork making her the plaintiff “Jane Roe” in the infamous abortion suit against the State of Texas – the rest is history. In 1973 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the plaintiff and legalized abortion in the United States.

What is less known and understood, is how  Sarah Weddington’s own abortion, years before Roe V Wade, played a central role in opening the door to a decision that led to the death of close to 60 million unborn children.

The Price of Higher Education

In 1967 Sarah and her boyfriend Ron Weddington, both law students at the time, were facing an unplanned pregnancy. They did not want any disruption of their educational goals.

Abortion was illegal in Texas. So in the fall of 1967 Sarah and Ron drove south to Eagle Pass, Texas, crossed the border and entered a small clinic in the Mexican town of Piedras Negras.

In her memoir “A Question of Choice”, Sarah, upon waking after the procedure thought, “I hope I don’t die, and I pray that no one ever finds out about this.” Sarah and Ron married the following year.

For 25 years their abortion remained a dark secret that was not shared with family or friends. Only in the writing of “A Question of Choice” did she finally open up about her own abortion.  Sarah and Ron would later divorce.

Weddington’s autobiography reveals that once the Roe decision went to court, her memory of that time is sketchy. She forgets how and where she first heard about the Supreme Court’s decision. A Question of Choice presents Sarah as a serious woman with workaholic tendencies.

The Deadly Relationship between Abortion Advocacy and Complicated Grief

Abortion is not a normal experience of loss. It is often a closely guarded secret.

Remember Sarah Weddington’s first thoughts immediately after the procedure:

“I pray that no one ever finds out about this.”

This reveals a natural sense of shame and desperation about what just happened – and a need to keep this shameful event a secret. Pro-choice feminist will claim this is because of  abortion stigma directed against those who have the procedure.

But even when abortion is felt to be the “best option or decision” and validated by friends and family, there are often feelings of confusion, shame and guilt when you disrupt the very natural process of  pregnancy.

A woman’s body, when experiencing a healthy pregnancy, is naturally pro-life…and not pro-choice. A woman in reality becomes a mother at the time of conception and her body goes through various changes to welcome and nurture the new life growing within her.

Unplanned or complicated, stress-filled pregnancies can cause some mothers and fathers to reject the truth of their parenthood, and lead them to abortion decisions.

Denial of what was lost, and repression of the painful memories and feelings after the abortion event, can be manifest in a variety of ways.  Those with previous trauma and abuse and other emotional vulnerabilities are more likely to experience post abortion symptoms such as depression, anxiety, drug and alcohol abuse, and unhealthy relationships featuring promiscuity that can set in shortly after the procedure.

However among higher functioning and educated women, denial can take a more sophisticated, but deadly form.

The Deadly Denial of the Abortion Rights Activist

Some women deny and repress their natural post-abortion feelings by total immersion in educational and career pursuits.

Others discover a vocation in abortion rights activism.

To those in abortion recovery counseling, it is no surprise that many of the pioneers of reproductive choice, such as Kate Michelman of NARAL and Gloria Steinem, zealously promoted abortion rights after their own procedures.

Those with previous abortion loss, and consumed with the fight to expand and validate abortion rights, are continually repressing any negative feelings and memories of their own abortion experience. This powerful emotional energy is directed into what they and others see as a noble and just cause.  Any feelings of anger and pain from their abortion experience are displaced onto the enemies of choice.

Sadly, the failure of many abortion activists to acknowledge and mourn the death of their unborn children, has led to so much suffering and death.

Pro Choice feminists like Michelman, Steinem and lawyer Sarah Weddington re-enact and re-validate their own unhealed abortion loss by “empowering” other women to make the same “choice” as they did.

Leslie Blackwell of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign shares about her pro-choice activism after an abortion:

“I discovered I was pregnant and I had just landed my dream job as a TV Talk Show Host.  A roommate drove me to an abortion clinic in Greensboro, N.C. After graduation, I threw myself into the new job creating a façade of the perfect young career girl who had it all together … drinking, drugging and sleeping around … self destructing. Trying to validate my choices, I became a strong pro-abortion supporter and at times militant with anyone who didn’t agree with my opinion.”

Aborted Relationships

As Sarah Weddington’s story indicates, partners that have an abortion and stay together experience higher rates of relationship dysfunction and divorce.

Why is that?

A couple shares physical and emotional intimacy, pleasure and joy that naturally leads to the creation of life. The abortion procedure disrupts this very natural process and ends the life of the developing child.  This loss infects those areas of relational intimacy with the painful emotions and memories associated with the procedure and their role in the child’s death.   Couples rarely share their complicated feelings about the abortion experience and the child that died.

Over time this can create challenges in future communication, trust, and sexual satisfaction. Partners, often throw themselves into work (as Weddington did after her abortion,) and are vulnerable to acting out their unrecognized post abortion issues in affairs.   Some will abuse drugs and alcohol and may be be prescribed anti-depressant and anti-anxiety medication by their physicians. They may appear quite successful – but they remain emotionally and spiritually wounded.

Anniversary Reactions

The body remembers what the mind and heart deny and repress.

Many women and some men experience depression, anxiety and grief on the anniversary of their abortion or on the actual due date of their child.

Norma McCorvey, (the Jane Roe of Roe V Wade) shared in a radio interview  with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life that her meeting in 1969 with Sarah Weddington, when the lawyer was trying to convince Norma to be a plaintiff, was held on the anniversary of Sarah’s illegal abortion in Mexico.

Weddington may have unconsciously channeled her anniversary reaction after abortion into efforts to validate her own choice, as she met with a pregnant Norma McCorvey and worked to legalize abortion in the courts.

Aborting Jane Roe

Those who deny their own abortion loss are often reactively angry and unforgiving with those that challenge the narrative that abortion is always and everywhere a liberating and empowering experience for women.

From the New York Times:

“Sarah Weddington generously praises the Austin women who first sparked her involvement in Roe, but she is unduly harsh and dismissive toward her former client, Norma McCorvey, with whom she has since had differences.”

Why such animosity toward Jane Roe?

Perhaps because Norma was the voice of her conscience, and the millions of women who have been manipulated and exploited at the time of an unplanned pregnancy.

Norma McCorvey came to later publicly regret her association with Roe V Wade and shared her experience of feeing manipulated and lied to by Weddington at a vulnerable time in her life.

Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

Sarah’s autobiography, 25 years after the loss of her own child to abortion, was perhaps in part related to an unconscious need to share her public abortion testimony, break the power of the secret, and find peace and healing.

Sadly she cannot fully repent, grieve and heal of her own abortion loss as she continues to promote abortion as a necessary solution to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy.

Jesus said it is challenging for the rich and wise of this world to enter the Kingdom of God. It is easier “for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle.”

Jesus also shared that the poor and meek of this world are blessed.

The periodically homeless single mother who became the Jane Roe of Roe V Wade later repented of her role in that infamous decision. This required great humility and courage.  Norma was received into the Catholic Church in 1998 and died recently on February 18 2017.  Before she died Norma found God’s mercy, forgiveness and peace.

The journey to conversion and repentance, forgiveness and healing will be much more difficult for Sarah Weddington. But not impossible.

Jesus looked at them and said, “Humanly speaking, it is impossible. But with God everything is possible.” (Matthew 19:26)