Primal Fear: The Impact of Abortion on Adult Children of Divorce

November 14th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

When we think of the impact of divorce on children, there is often the assumption that if the parents work together in good faith, and do not place the children in the middle of their conflicts and relational drama, then in time the children will adjust and be fine.

Leila Miller is the editor of “Primal Loss: The Now-Adult Children of Divorce Speak.”  Miller shares in an article entitled, The Adult Children of Divorce Find Their Voice, that as she began the process of compiling research for her book she was shocked at the level of pain she encountered:

“… I started asking adult children of divorce about their experiences. I eventually wrote up a brief questionnaire, appealing on social media for volunteers… I learned that not only does the pain of divorce continue into adulthood, but the suffering is not lessened even if the child experienced a “good divorce.”

…A 50-year-old wife and mother whose parents shared custody and got along well after their divorce told me:

I was devastated as a child when my dad drove away, and I will never forget standing in our front yard literally screaming, ‘Come back!’ I didn’t understand what was happening, and my three-year-old sister certainly didn’t understand…I would honestly say I ‘survived’ the divorce, but the fall-out wasn’t pretty: Lots of acting out and ‘unsettled’ behavior. It really skewed the way I looked at guys and what I thought ‘love’ was. If marriage wasn’t forever, why should anything else be?”

A 55 yr old woman shares her emotional experience of divorce:

I believe [the divorce] instilled a fear of abandonment in me with regard to all of my relationships. I developed problems trusting people to be there for me, believing that when the going got rough, people would leave me. I never learned any skills for solving conflict in relationships. As much as I desperately craved intimacy and love, the closer someone came to me, the more terrified I was of getting hurt, or worse—abandoned. I unconsciously sabotaged relationships, as I didn’t know how to receive and accept real love…”

Abortion and Adult Children of Divorce

I have worked as a counselor for the last 20 years with women and men who later regret their participation in abortion, and are looking for healing and peace. On our weekend abortion recovery program, Rachel’s Vineyard, Saturday morning participants share their abortion story.  But they are encouraged to share that abortion event in the context of their overall life experiences.

Their stories reveal that some children from divorced families can be overwhelmed by their emotions when facing an unplanned pregnancy, and in the after math of the abortion procedure.

Divorce can be such a seismic emotional event for some kids, that when faced with an unplanned pregnancy later in life, they may panic and try to establish some sense of control as soon as possible – control they did not have as children.

They may have deep ambivalence about becoming a parent and terrified of losing their partner. While these feelings are common to others facing an unplanned pregnancy, with children of divorce, the level of anxiety and panic can be even more intense.

The aftermath of the abortion event is a complicated grief for the children of divorce. It seems that there is a complex emotional dynamic at work here that touches on both the divorce and abortion event.  It may be helpful to look at abortion and divorce in the context of of being both victim and perpetrator.

The experience of divorce can be like an emotional abortion.   A child can have the sense of being violently separated from what was previously thought to be a stable and lifelong family unit. A child who was traumatized by the experience of divorce and later participates in the death of their unborn child magnifies an already deep and complex wound.

The adult child of divorce has the experience of being both innocent victim of and later a type of perpetrator by participating in the abuse/death of their innocent unborn child.  In other cases a woman or man may feel pressured to have the abortion, overwhelmed by their emotions, or have no voice or say in the matter.  These feelings of anxiety, panic and powerlessness can reenact the emotional devastation of the divorce event.

The abortion experience may connect in a very toxic way with that wounded inner child resulting in depression, anxiety, anger issues, sleep disturbance, increased drug and alcohol use, and acting out this complicated grief leading to problems in intimate relationships.

Building A Foundation of Healing and Peace

Abortion recovery programs like Rachel’s Vineyard can create a foundation of peace and healing at the heart of this deep and complex wound.  As women and men find healthy ways to process their abortion related pain, and grieve in healthy ways, they are reconnected in love with their aborted children.

As they reconcile with God, loved ones and their unborn children they have the opportunity to also grieve other losses in their lives. They have a safe place to share their childhood wounds, and allow their own inner child to have a voice, to be consoled and move toward healing and peace.

Women and men who have experienced divorce and abortion will benefit from developing a relationship with a counselor so they can continue to build on that foundation of healing in their lives.


Our childhood wounds need not sentence us to endless reenactments of our trauma, paralyzed by our inability to trust and find the intimacy and love we so deeply desire and need.  Reach out for the help you need.

I wrote and performed the following song (produced by Henry Gennaria) and created this music video that I dedicate to adult children of divorce, and in a special way for those that suffered both divorce and later abortion loss in their lives. It affirms the loss and pain of divorce, but ends with a message of hope and healing.

Evermore Music Video





“God Why Me?” The Powerful Connection between My Childhood Trauma and Two Abortions – and the Catholic Priest Who Opened the Door to My Recovery and Healing

October 22nd, 2018

By Charles Brian

As a young boy, I used to lie in bed at night and wonder…God, why me?

I grew up an only child adopted at birth. When I was 8 years old, my father almost died in a car accident leaving him totally disabled.  My mother was diagnosed schizophrenic and had several mental breakdowns and suicide attempts.  Verbal and physical conflicts were an everyday occurrence in my home.  My father committed adultery when I was 9 with a family friend who used to have us over for dinner and card games.

When I was age eleven, my parents divorced and my mother bought a tavern. By the age of 15, I saw everything a child should not see.  My father moved back in with us right before we bought the business and continued his alcoholic and gambling ways.  My mother focused 90% of her time working at the tavern, and eventually found a boyfriend even though my father was still living with us.  There was constant jealousy between the two as they played their relationships against each other.  I felt abandoned and alone most of my childhood.

There were times when my feelings would surface as I struggled to express my pain and anger.   This led to angry exchanges with my mother.

Her response?

She would hold a gun to my head or chest as she threatened to shoot me. Sadly, this type of trauma was the norm for my family.  After each incident, I just went about my business not thinking anything was wrong with my mother almost shooting me.

I held intense shame about my parents’ actions and our overall family dysfunction. Having friends over to play or hanging out was never an option.   Most holidays I kept to myself or went over to friend’s houses.  It was strange seeing “normal families” who loved each other and spent quality time together.

In my teenage years, I was considered a good looking guy and was successful at sports – which got me lots of female attention. For an insecure young man from a dysfunctional family, starving for love and affection, this was powerful stuff.

Young Love…and My First Abortion

In high school, I met a wonderful girl and fell into that intoxicating and immature love of youth. We soon began having pre-marital sex and faced an unplanned pregnancy.  We felt our parents would kill us and friends disown us.

The decision was made after a 20-minute conversation.  A friend of my girlfriend offered to drive her to the abortionist and the problem would go away.  We both agreed and I offered to pay for the procedure.

Two weeks later my girlfriend had the abortion. One evening, I called her house not knowing that her mother had learned about the procedure.  My girlfriend answered the phone and told me never to speak with her again or her mother would tell her father, and he would surely kill me.

I was so ashamed that her mother was aware of the abortion! Shame led to anxiety and depression.  I had no one to talk to and nowhere to turn. How do you tell your friends that you helped kill your own child?  Who can handle that type of drama?  As a result, I kept everything inside and eventually became numb.

 A Second Chance

In college, I met an amazing young woman and fell in love. We dated for one and a half years in a serious relationship.  As the relationship deepened, we began having unprotected pre-marital sex.

I remember experiencing joy when she told me of our pregnancy.  I felt God had forgiven me for the first abortion.  I told her how excited I was to be a father and that I would marry her.

Her response to the pregnancy:

“This is not going to happen!” We are not having this child!  I’m almost 12 weeks pregnant, and I am getting an abortion.”

I tried negotiating and offered many suggestions for solutions that would save the life of our child.  She had no interest in anything I had to suggest.  With my back against the wall, I offered to tell her family and the police that I got her drunk and raped her, thinking this might persuade her.  I was willing to lie and go to jail to save our child.

Being an adopted child, I couldn’t understand why she wouldn’t consider placing the baby for adoption. She was usually the most loving, caring and a very spiritual person, and was from a loving family.

Now she seemed cold and calculated with no sense of empathy for the child or me. She explained that her parents would kill her, and her friends would disown her.  She offered me no other choice but to man up, drive her to the Planned Parenthood and pay for the abortion.  She called and set the appointment for the following week.

The time in between was hell for me. I slept very little and was an emotional mess.  While I hardly ever prayed to God, now I was praying and pleading for him to help me.

When the day came, I drove her to the center and paid for the abortion. I remember the long drive was in total silence.  After we parked the car, I begged her one last time not to have the abortion.  I remember holding her hands and sharing what was on my heart.  She kept saying no!

Back in the day, I knew very little about Planned Parenthood.  However, because the name was Planned Parenthood, I was hoping they would counsel us and help us reason things out.  Instead, I was directed to go to the back of the clinic to sign paperwork and pay.  A person dressed as a nurse asked us if we wanted to donate the body parts for research.  In my confused emotional state, I signed those evil forms.

I remember freaking out in my mind and panicking thinking this can’t be happening.  I wanted out!  I felt like crying but did not want to hurt my girlfriend.  I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs stop as she went into the room, but nothing that I had to say mattered.  As I sat there alone, my feelings went away, and I once again I became numb.

The Descent into Hell

When she came out of the procedure, I’ll never forget how she looked at me with such contempt and pain.   I was tortured after the procedure feeling I did not fight hard enough for my child‘s life.  This would exact a heavy toll on me in the days and years ahead.

I did not fully understand the powerful connection of abortion and my childhood wounds until I read a book by Kevin Burke called Tears of the Fisherman.

Kevin writes about men who experienced divorce, abuse and neglect as children and later have abortions:

“When men experience neglect, abuse and abandonment from their fathers this rejection leaves the child with the experience of being emotionally aborted.   A man who felt emotionally aborted as a child and later participates in the death of his unborn child magnifies an already deep and complex wound.  He has the experience of being both innocent victim of childhood abuse and later a perpetrator by participating in the abuse/death of his innocent unborn child (or victimized again by being powerless to prevent his child’s death.)  The abortion experience connects in a very toxic way with that wounded child resulting in deep rage, depression, anxiety and acting out this complicated grief in destructive and self-destructive ways.”

I suffered from major depression and attempted suicide after the first abortion. I tried overdosing on pain pills from a sports injury.  All I wanted to do was stop the pain, but no amount of pills would help me.  Over time, I developed delayed PTSD and OCD thinking about my lost children 24/7.

I had two vivid dreams in the aftermath of the abortions where I entered into a dark and empty cavern of despair. A felt the dreams were revealing my eternal destiny as a soul condemned to hell.  I saw God at that time as a stern judge who already sentenced me to hell, as I was beyond redemption.  I lost all hope and was filled with self-loathing for many years.  How could I kill two beautiful children and hurt two people that I dearly loved?

For years, I was unable to put words to feelings. If someone asked me how I was doing, I would say “I’m fine.”  Faking happiness one day at a time was my mantra.  I learned to trust no one, especially anyone who tried to get close to my heart.  The only feelings I had were anger, self-hatred, and a strong belief that God also hated me.  I suffered in silence too ashamed of myself to tell anyone about the abortions.

I tried filling the dark void by sleeping around with other women. However, nothing could fill the emptiness inside of me.  As time went on, my depression got worse, and I was fighting it daily and by the hour.  I felt this way for many years, unable put feelings to words.

I tried not to think about my aborted children because it was too painful.  The emotions were too strong to handle.  Seeing a pregnant woman or a newborn baby would depress me.  I was unable to go to children’s stores or baby section of a store without crying.  I developed irregular sleeping patterns frequently waking up in the calmness of dawn going into the living room to cry my eyes out grieving the loss of my two children.  I struggled with overcoming the numbness inside.

Stepping out of the Darkness – and Into the Light

I finally met a woman who came from a similar background of growing up in an alcoholic and abusive family. While she never had an abortion, she was open and honest and had a very traumatic childhood.  In previous relationships, I always stayed silent and avoided telling anyone about the abortions.  However, I took a leap of faith one night and shared my story.

She supported me with open arms.  We dated for three years before getting married.  I thought after marriage that I would feel better.  I tried counseling and medicine, my wife heard about a 12-step program designed to help people who grew up in an alcoholic family.  The turning point for healing was on the program where I learned about a “higher power.”  I remember going through the 12 steps having to make a list of people that I had harmed and became willing to make amends to them.  I finally got the courage to contact the mother’s of my aborted children and apologized.  They both apologized to me.

Learning to re-parent myself and take responsibility for my actions helped me break through the numbness to put words to feelings. As my self-esteem rose, I became a new person helping me heal from growing up in a dysfunctional family.  However, the program could not address the deep wounds abortion inflicted on my heart.

My wife and I decided to adopt a child that was in the foster care system and needed a home. This led to a very stressful period of court battles to relinquish parental rights.  The child came from an abusive home and was with us from the time he was a baby.

This experience brought me closer to God. I remember being on my knees at night pleading to God to keep our child if that was His will and best for our son.

Out of desperation, I began going to a local Catholic church. I was fearful of church and facing God.  But having lost two children to abortions and now fearing the loss of my adopted son, I had nowhere else to go.

Father Mike was a priest at our parish.  Something about this priest was genuine, real and trustworthy.  I couldn’t wait to hear his homily every week.  One homily had to do with Divine Mercy.  He shared that God loves the sinner, but not the sin.

After sitting with my arms crossed in the last row of the church every Sunday for about a year, it finally started to sink in that maybe God did not actually hate me.

I decided to visit Father Mike for confession and reconciliation. The appointment lasted for two hours.  I confessed all my sins including the abortions.  I cried like crazy the entire time fearful I’d be asked to leave the church because of my grave sins.

Much to my surprise just the opposite happened. Fr Mike was so loving and gentle. He made me feel safe at the most difficult time in my life.  There was no judgment or shame towards me.  He was empathetic to my suffering, and I was shocked – that he was not shocked hearing my story.

Fr Mike also explained that our church was full of sinners, not saints. I did my penance, and out of my old habit of stinking thinking, I waited for something bad to happen.

As time went on, just the opposite happened. I ended up teaching Sunday school, and I became a Eucharistic Minister. I served at masses and did rounds at our local hospital.  For the first time in my life, I began to trust God and the church.

Fr Mike helped me during the stressful period when my son’s adoption was in jeopardy. He taught me how to pray to God with an open heart asking only for his will for me and to pray for the best outcome for my son.  Thankfully our prayers were answered, and we were awarded full custody of our son.

Rachel’s Vineyard

Even though we were overjoyed with the adoption of my son, over the next few years the pain of the abortions would not go away. A counselor diagnosed me with depression.  My general practice doctor prescribed medication but with no real results.  No one knew how to help me with post-abortion grief.

It wasn’t until Fr Mike encouraged me to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat that I started truly healing.  At the program, I met the most amazing people including two loving Priests serving on the team.  I was able to share my story and fully participated in the program.  I named my children, and in the memorial service at the close of the weekend, I read a love letter I wrote to them.  I also named them; Marie and Jacob.

For the first time in my life, I was able to deal with the hurt, sorrow and pain in a loving way towards myself, my children and their mothers.  It was very helpful being around other people who understood my pain, and validated my suffering.  I also experienced God’s loving mercy and grace.

I left the Rachel’s Vineyard program feeling free of pain for the first time in my life. I attended several reunions with the team and other participants.

Unfortunately, my work moved me to another state. As time went on, the pain and anxiety over the second abortion began to emerge again. I called the Director of Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats in my area and shared my situation.  She suggested that I attend a second retreat to deal with unresolved grief and trauma from my second abortion.

Three months later I attended my second retreat that ended up being as equally beneficial as the first one. While the program was the same, I became completely open to God’s healing and mercy.  I met another man serving on team who lost a child to abortion and this made a huge difference for me.  We shared common experiences and really bonded during the program.

The Director of the program did an amazing job supporting and encouraging me to fully participate in the program to receive God’s mercy.  She modeled for me what a true representative of Christ is all about.  Later she called me to reach out to other men with abortion loss, and I became a member of the Rachel’s Vineyard Team.  We are planning on offering a men’s abortion group in addition to our Rachel’s Vineyard weekends.

For the past 6 years, I’ve been a regular member attending Catholic Church. Our pastor Father Rick is just overflowing with love for his flock.  He is truly a Christ-like man and an inspiration to me.  I am also involved with the pro-life team at the church.

God is now the driving force in my life. My goal in life today is to spread the word about Divine Mercy.  I had a very warped view for many years about God and that caused me great pain and anguish.  There is amazing healing to experience if you open up and trust God.

Fruits of Healing

The Catholic Church is going through a very painful process as the light of truth exposes some very dark and damaging acts of abuse, neglect and sexual immorality by some clergy and Bishops.   As a child who has suffered abuse and neglect, my heart breaks for all who have suffered at the hands of men consecrated to be servants of Christ Jesus.   This is truly an abomination that strikes at the heart of the Church’s mission.

Yet, while acknowledging this darkness, I must also witness to the fact that my story reflects the power of a holy priest like Father Mike to lead me from despair into the light of recovery and reconciliation with God. I have been blessed by the sacraments of Confession and Eucharist, and the ministry of Rachel’s Vineyard that brings the mercy and healing of Christ and His Church to women and men wounded by abortion.    I have been fortunate to experience the Church at her very best.

My wife and I later adopted our daughter from Ukraine. She is truly amazing and fills our heart with joy.

In three year, I also met my biological mother, two sisters, and two brothers. They are amazing people who love me.  Since both of my adoptive parents have passed away, I get a second chance at happiness with my new family.

I also want to recognize my biological mother Marilyn for being a hero to me. Even though she was going through a difficult time as an unwed mother with multiple children, she decided not to abort me.  As a result, she changed the lives of my adopted parents, friends and family.  I love you mom!!!

As you can probably tell, I am a staunch supporter of adoption. It’s a great alternative to abortion and a terrific way to build a family.

In Christ Jesus,


[Charles serves with the Rachel’s Vineyard ministry. He is also active in supporting several ministries for post-abortive women and men.  To find out more information about Rachel’s Vineyard retreats in your area please go to ]


Rivers of Blood: Understanding the Deeper Roots of the Rage and Hysteria of the Anti Kavanaugh Protestors

October 10th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, LSW

In a New York Times op-ed Democratic Strategist Alexis Grenell writes:

“After a confirmation process where women all but slit their wrists, letting their stories of sexual trauma run like rivers of blood through the Capitol, the Senate still voted to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.”

Grenell tosses a feminist grenade at those women who, out of a concern for the men they love, supported Kavanaugh:

“These women are gender traitors…the people who scare me the most are the mothers, sisters and wives because my stupid uterus still holds out some insane hope of solidarity…”

On Saturday, as Judge Kavanaugh was taking his oath to serve on the Supreme Court, a largely female contingent of protesters broke through a police line to the Court’s chamber. They stood before the large chamber doors screaming, pounding and clawing at the doors trying to enter the chamber and disrupt the confirmation process.

Regardless of your political loyalties, we all know what this confirmation hearing was really about…abortion.

But it’s not just the normal political and ideological conflicts that rage about the issue of “reproductive rights.”  We need to dig deeper.

Sexual abuse and abortion loss are two volatile experiences of trauma and complicated grief that are exploited by some liberal politicians and radical social movements.

Women and men with trauma in their history (physical/sexual abuse, divorce, abortion loss etc.), without an emotional and spiritual healing of their trauma, are vulnerable to directing their powerful feelings of anger and pain into radical social activism.

Complex Grief and Pro Abortion Activism

After an abortion some women turn to pro abortion activism as a way to validate their choice and re-direct the powerful emotional energy arising from this loss.

Some of the key pioneers of “reproductive rights,” such as Kate Michelman who served for many years as the director of the National Abortion Rights Action League (NARAL), and feminist Gloria Steinem, zealously promoted abortion rights after their personal abortions.

Abortion, regardless of the circumstances, is a complex experience of loss. Abortion severs a perfectly natural and intimate physiological and emotional relationship between a woman and her developing child.

The powerful emotions generated from the abortion event can be successfully repressed for many years as women and men focus on educational and career pursuits.  [i]

Others divert any abortion related grief and pain, and validate their own abortion decision, by “empowering” other women to make the same “choice” as they did.

Sarah Weddington, the attorney representing the Jane Roe in the 1973 Roe V Wade Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion, travelled to Mexico to abort her unborn child in the fall of 1967.

Norma McCorvey, (the Jane Roe of Roe V Wade) shared in a radio interview  about her lunch meeting with Sarah Weddington in 1970. Sarah was trying to convince Norma to be a plaintiff in the case.  Norma already had 2 children and a failed marriage, with a family history of abuse and addiction.  This meeting between Sarah Weddington and Norma McCorvey was held on the anniversary of Sarah’s abortion in Mexico.

Men can also find an outlet for their painful feelings arising from participating in the death of their unborn child, by promoting abortion rights.

Consider that a key strategist in the plan to legalize abortion in the U.S., Dr Bernard Nathanson, was himself the father of an aborted child, and experienced a painful relationship with his own father.

The late Dr Nathanson’ denial, and sick mastery of his own abortion related grief, led him to preside as medical director of an abortion center in over 60,000 abortions, including an abortion procedure he performed  on his own unborn child.   (You can read more about Dr Nathanson’s amazing life story in my article “The Sins of the Father.”)

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.” [My emphasis]

Tripping Over the Truth

When Democratic Strategist Alexis Grenell writes of rivers of blood running through the Capitol, her “stupid uterus,” and pro abortion radicals weaponize sexual abuse, they are unwittingly tripping over the truth.

The abortion procedure is often experienced by women with past sexual trauma as a type of re-enactment of that abuse.  The abortion procedure and sexual abuse are an intimate and very painful violation of a woman’s body, mind and spirit. [ii]

It is shameful how the left exploits the trauma of sexual abuse victims and the repressed grief of women who experienced abortion loss.  The political circus during the Kavanaugh hearings, and the rage and pain that fed this debacle provided a very volatile and useful cover for the real agenda, which is all about protecting legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy.

Rivers of Blood

Yes Alexis Grenell, there is a river of blood running through our nation’s Capitol and across our nation.

It’s the blood of close to 60 million unborn boys and girls aborted since 1973. This blood mingles with the tears of those that participated in the death of these innocent preborn children.

It is time to elect leaders that will not weaponize the intimate pain of women and men to advance agendas that breed more traumas, more rage and grief.

Let us turn away from the revolutionary violence and chaos being fomented by these wounded and misguided radicals.

Instead let us in humility acknowledge that we are a deeply wounded nation in need of repentance, healing and the peace that can only come from the Creator of life.

[i] There are still symptoms of this complicated grief present but usually not consciously connected to the abortion event; e.g., the abuse of substances, sex, or over involvement in work/school to self-medicate the pain.

[ii] PTSD or trauma symptoms after reproductive trauma: Seng and colleagues (2009) found that 20% of pregnant women from eight U.S. clinics had posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Women were asked to identify the single worst trauma they had ever experienced, considering five types of traumatic events.  The two types of trauma most frequently identified as their “worst” were past abuse and reproductive trauma. Miscarriage and abortion were specifically identified as reproductive losses that for many women were their “worst” trauma ever.  –From Recovery After Abortion, Martha Shuping, M.D., M.A., Ashford Institute for Interdisciplinary Studies, Inc.


A Terrifying Vision In July 1917 Was a Prophetic Warning – And a Roadmap for Renewal in the Church Today

August 26th, 2018

July 13 2018 was the 101st anniversary of the 3rd apparition of the Blessed Mother to the shepherd children of Fatima in 1917.  This particular apparition was deeply disturbing, and would have a lasting influence on seers Lucia, Jacinta and Francisco.

Lucia writes in her memoirs of the apparition of July 13, 1917:

“As Our Lady…opened her hands…rays of light seemed to penetrate the earth, and we saw as it were a sea of fire. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form…floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves…without weight or equilibrium, amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear…”

The vision of hell had a profound impact on little Jacinta. Sr Lucia shares:

“The vision of hell filled [Jacinta] with horror to such a degree, that every penance and mortification was as nothing in her eyes, if it could only prevent souls from going there.”

After the apparitions ended, Jacinta’s final journey featured excruciating physical and emotional pain.   In one of her visits to see Jacinta in the hospital, Lucia asked her dear friend:

“Do you suffer much?”

“Yes, I do suffer; but I offer everything for sinners and to make reparation to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.”

Now More than Ever – The Church Needs Saint Jacinta

The vocation of Jacinta cannot be understood apart from the profound and life-changing encounters with the Angels and the Blessed Mother at Fatima.

Lucia describes the supernatural power of those angelic apparitions that preceded the appearances of the Blessed Mother. The Angel led the children to an encounter with the fearsome majesty of God:

“[The Angel] left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence…we could not speak…our souls were completely immersed in God…The force of the presence of God was so intense that it absorbed us and almost completely annihilated us…the peace and happiness which we felt were great……On the next day, too, this same atmosphere held us bound, and it lessened and disappeared only gradually.”

Lucia goes on to share how this angelic apparition left an indelible imprint on their minds as he asked the children to “make everything a sacrifice, and offer it to God as an act of reparation for the sins by which is offended…and for the conversion of sinners.”

All Hell was Breaking Lose

It is important to understand the events of Fatima in the context of that tumultuous historical period.

In 1917 Europe was still experiencing the devastation of the First World War. The seeds of massive rebellion against God, of future war, genocide and famine were being nurtured and planted by sinful men. These seeds would bear their toxic fruit in the rise of Nazism in Germany and Communism the former Soviet Union, the outbreak of a Second World War, and the Cold War that followed.

The Fatima apparitions ended in October 1917 with the greatest public miracle since the resurrection of Christ – the Miracle of the Sun, seen by over 70,000 people.

The Blessed Mother was doing everything possible to call the human family, and the Church to face the grave threats on the horizon, and to repentance and conversion.

Fatima Today

Thanks be to God the Soviet Union and the world were consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in 1984 by John Paul II, as requested by our Lady of Fatima. Widespread world war and catastrophic nuclear conflict between superpowers has, for now, been averted.

The Orthodox and Catholic churches in Russia and the former Soviet Bloc can once again welcome the faithful as the nations ravaged by communism struggle to spiritually recover after years of persecution.

But we would be very wrong to thing that Fatima is a message set in the past with no relevance to today. The dark spiritual, political and philosophical forces unleashed during that time continue to impact the world and the Church, and compromise her mission.

In a previous blog I shared how the ongoing abortion holocaust has deep roots in communist Russia:

“…history attests to the fact that Russia spread her errors throughout the world… through the single greatest error of our time: abortion. Russia was the first country ever to legalize abortion up to birth without restriction and also developed and promulgated technology to this end.[1] Russia and areas formerly controlled by the Soviet Union have the highest abortion rate in the world.[2] Further, those countries sharing in the political and ideological legacy of Russia at that time such as China, Cuba and others continue to carry on this violent imperative.[3]” (Geoffrey Strickland, J.D., J.C.L., Rome Office Director for Priests for Life)

Frogs in the Pot

Because we are immersed in this world, we can become blind to how we are gradually compromising with “the world.” How our lifestyles, entertainment, and moral choices are eating away at our faith.  This is as true for Cardinals and Bishops as it is for you and me.

If we were to be immersed in God’s presence, as described by Sr Lucia, and see ourselves in the annihilating light of God – would this be an overwhelming experience of joy and peace as it was for the children?

Or would it make us repel in horror and pain as we see the true impoverished state of our souls.

Could that pain lead us to cling to our sin, and choose eternal separation from God, rejecting his salvation?

This all sounds crazy to modern ears. And that is part of the seduction of the evil one.

We do not understand there is a battle raging outside of our awareness, outside of time, to create spiritual blindness, promote a virulent spiritual pride, and the worship of false idols, that leaves us at risk of rejecting the true God we will encounter at our death.

The vision of hell at Fatima was not shared to overwhelm us with anxiety and fear of damnation.  The Blessed Mother showed the children hell because of her great love for us and to inspire us to embrace sacrifice and mortification to save sinners.

And it remains an important message for you and me today – to impress upon us that there are grave threats to our eternal salvation – and move us to a radical re-orientation of our lives.

A Return to Spiritual Basics

The children of Fatima, and especially Jacinta, revealed the mystical power of sacrificial suffering. This is not suffering rooted in self-hatred or psychological disorder.  This is not the suffering inflicted on innocent, vulnerable children and young adults by manipulative, abusive men and women.

Rather, this is a free act of charity and love for those “in most need of God’s mercy.” It arose from the children’s intimate encounters with the awesome majesty of God, the eternal joys of heaven, and the horrifying reality of eternal damnation.

It is a love that flows from the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ – a love that flows from the very heart of our Savior.

If our Church, its leaders, and laity are to follow the example of Saint Jacinta, then we must also pray in deep humility that the Spirit reveal to us anew the awesome and fearsome majesty of God. Our prayer, and especially our liturgical worship, must lead us to this powerful encounter with the Blessed Trinity.

Once again Lucia’s words remind us of the spiritual power of the Eucharist present in the tabernacles and consecrated on the altars of the Catholic Church around the world. Hidden in the forms of bread and wine is the same majestic power of God that was mediated through the angelic apparitions of Fatima:

“[The Angel] left us in an atmosphere of the supernatural that was so intense we were for a long time unaware of our own existence. The presence of God was so powerful and intimate that even among ourselves we could not speak.”

From this profound encounter with the Blessed Trinity may we experience as a Church a renewed awareness of the grave threat that sin poses to our salvation and a healthy fear of eternal damnation – but more a hatred of sin because it offends our Heavenly Father, who is all good and deserving of our worship and our love.

It is past time for Church leaders and the faithful to re-discover the spiritual benefits of daily rosary, and introduce special days of fasting and sacrifice – not just during Lent – but throughout the year. Days of fasting from technology, entertainment, meat, etc.

We are in need of priests and laity that can help us make an intimate re-connection with the apparitions of Fatima, a healthy theology of sacrifice, mortification and reparation, and the spirituality of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

I believe knowledge of the latest scientific research and forensic information revealed in the Shroud of Turin, could be an important partner with the apparitions of Fatima in the reform and renewal of the Church. The horrific torture of Jesus revealed in the Shroud of Turin, can also be a sign of solidarity and hope for those who have been so intimately wounded by the abominable abuse, and the perpetration of abuse, by men called to be pastors and shepherds of souls.

We pray for a Church that is in the world – but not of the world.

A Church that is a bright beacon of light for the salvation of the nations.

Saint Jacinta, pray for us!



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

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

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

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.


Straight Talk About a Serious Health Concern for Fathers

June 15th, 2018

By Kevin Burke, MSS

Psychologist Michael Addis writes in Atlantic magazine of a life threatening illness for some men.

You are probably thinking… prostate cancer, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes?

All important health care concerns.

But this illness often remains hidden because the symptoms lead men to embrace a shame-based silence about their pain. This silence leaves men isolated and vulnerable.  Some would rather die than reveal their suffering to a family member, colleague or friend.

Dr Addis was working in an inpatient psychiatric unit where he met Patrick. Dr Addis shares that Patrick presented as a handsome, successful looking man with no previous mental health history.

He was surprised to read in his chart that Patrick’s son recently discovered his father sitting on a coach in their family room…with a loaded gun to his head.

Initially the interview skated along on a superficial level revealing little of what led Patrick to such an obvious act of despair.

Dr Addis realized he needed to challenge Patrick: “Can we be straight with each other and cut out the BS?”

Patrick opened up about a series of business failures that led to an increasing disparity between his wealthy lifestyle, and the reality of his financial situation.  Things got so bad that he was unable to pay the mortgage for his large suburban home.

As Patrick’s depression increased, he created an illusion for family and friends that he and his business were just fine – even as his economic and emotional prospects were in free-fall.

Dr Addis reveals:

[Patrick] couldn’t face working, but he also couldn’t face telling people how bad things had gotten. Instead, he got up each morning, dressed as if he was going to work, forced a smile for his family, and either drove around the city or sat at a local coffee shop all day reading the newspaper. Eventually the depression became so overwhelming that he saw no other way out.

Deadly Isolation

Why didn’t he open up about his financial difficulties and depression with friends or family?

Patrick shares:

I should have been able to handle it…I fell apart and turned into a sniveling little boy… ‘Oh Mommy, please help me?’ I couldn’t let people see me like that.

A Newsweek feature on male depression reveals that “men often view asking for help as an admission of weakness – a betrayal of their male identities….”

Men learn from the schoolyard to the boardroom that revealing vulnerability, and an inability to handle emotional or physical pain, is a big mistake that can lead to ridicule and shame.

The idea of the solitary male hero is an entertaining and sometimes inspiring image in an adventure movie.

But the real world can be a mine field as men struggle to negotiate the challenges of modern life. Sometimes, men benefit from sharing their burdens with trusted family and friends.

Others need to reach out to their clergy/minister, a counselor, mentor or support group – safe places where men can share their pain, and find healthy strategies to cope with the challenges they are facing.

Men and Abortion-Emotional Quicksand

Financial crisis and depression are not the only emotional quicksand that can entrap isolated men.

A past abortion can also leave men emotionally reeling – without the support and information needed to negotiate this life-changing experience.

Often the unresolved grief and shame from a past abortion can combine in a toxic synergy with other painful issues; a history of family dysfunction and/or divorce, past abuse or molestation, addictions to drugs, alcohol, sex or pornography.

Over time this accumulated pain can lead to a crisis where men find themselves isolated and overwhelmed.

Given the current abortion statistics, (close to 60 million since 1973), millions of men have participated in the death of their unborn children.  Some are powerless to stop an abortion they do not want.

Jason Baier shares the devastation when he was powerless to prevent his partner’s abortion:

I…would often break down and cry from depression…I was angry all the time…stricken with panic attacks…No one seemed to understand or know how to deal with my loss.

Jason was isolated, in great pain, and unable to find the support he needed. He reached a point of desperation and despair.  He decided to take a bottle of prescribed sleeping pills and “never wake up.”

Fortunately he experienced a moment of spiritual grace that held back his hand, and released a deep seismic explosion of fatherly grief from the loss of his child.  Jason began a process of abortion recovery that brought him to a place of reconciliation and peace.

End the Isolation – Reach out For Help

If you are a father struggling to reconcile this secret area of shame and pain, there are people who understand what you are going through, have been there, and want to help you find reconciliation and peace.

It all starts with that first step; send that email, make the phone call.

It’s not easy…especially for men.

But this act of humility and courage will change your life.

The blessings of that healing experience will benefit not only you, but your loved ones, friends and colleagues.

Resources for Healing:

Enter your zip code and find healing resources near you.

Find a mentor for one-on-one support from a man in your area.




Skating Around the Truth: An Editor at “The Atlantic” Responds to Man’s Letter One Year After An Abortion

June 8th, 2018

Atlantic Cover

By Kevin Burke, MSS
LORI GOTTLIEB is a contributing editor at The Atlantic and a psychotherapist based in Los Angeles. Readers submit questions to Gottlieb and ask for advice and guidance.

In a recent entry entitled Dear Therapist: I Don’t Know How to Feel About My Girlfriend’s Abortion, a male reader writes to Gottlieb:

“About a year ago, my girlfriend got pregnant and we decided right away that we should get an abortion. I was only 19 and she was 24…”

As is typical after abortion, the romantic relationship was terminated along with the pregnancy.

The young man shares that after the procedure:

“…we were overwhelmed by a sea of emotions that neither one of us could deal with properly, and splitting up was the solution we found…A little more than a year later, we’re still friends and see each other regularly, but this subject never comes up…”

While he assures the therapist that he made the right decision and is relieved, he is still wonders if he should try to speak to his former partner about his feelings – and worries about the future impact of the abortion on their lives

Gottlieb’s response is kind, and in many ways helpful.

However she reveals a common blind spot shared by many medical and mental health professionals when dealing with a client’s past abortion:

– Most are ignorant of the complex, and potentially far reaching impact of being part of abortion decisions and procedures – even when there is relief and no conscious regret associated with the abortion.

– They do not understand the short and long-term benefits of abortion recovery programs for women and men.

Skating Around the Truth
This young man, while confused, understands clearly that abortion is not a simple medical procedure like the extraction of a tooth. His concern about future relationships touches upon the truth that abortion is a life-changing experience.

His letter to Gottlieb reveals that he is ripe for a more comprehensive understanding of the abortion event. While he claims to have no regrets, and consciously this may be true, there is much more going on here.

Anniversary reactions related to the abortion are very common. Many women and men have some confusing and painful abortion related feelings, nightmares, depression and anxiety around the time the child would have been born, or on the anniversary of the procedure.

This letter is written to the Atlantic psychotherapist about one year after the abortion. This is likely part an anniversary reaction.

But here is a key issue in this young man’s story that the therapist missed.

Why is the young man’s abortion related anxiety focused on his partner?

Why does he want to connect with her and talk about the abortion and feelings associated with that experience?

He wants to speak to the one person who will understand what they experienced together and share their feelings and memories about the abortion. He may be concerned for her and want to be reassured she is ok.

But, on a deeper level, he focuses on the relationship and his former lover – because their relationship is the life-line and connection to the child he lost to abortion.

In her response, Gottlieb rightly affirms the young man’s emotional experience and the challenges couple’s face when trying to communicate about this life-changing event.

But the therapist, in her attempt to minimize the abortion, inadvertently touches on the heart of abortion recovery ministry:

“You’ve had an abortion, but you didn’t lose a child you’ve held in your arms…”

More accurately stated…abortion denied this couple the opportunity to hold this child in their arms and share the love of a mother or father with their baby.

Abortion Disrupts an Intimate Relationship
Abortion is often presented as a contentious political and social issue, in the context of reproductive rights, or as a private personal medical decision between a woman and her health care provider.

But abortion can be best understood in the context of relationship.

Thirty years in abortion recovery counseling and ministry have taught us that deep within each woman or man there is a hidden love for the aborted child, and an emotional and spiritual hunger for re-connection with their son or daughter.

Many of the conflicting and painful emotions and self-destructive behaviors that sometimes follow abortion can be understood as calling attention to this loss and a need for reconciliation and recovery.

The heart of abortion ministry is gently guiding mothers and fathers through an abortion recovery process, so they can acknowledge the truth of what has been lost.

When parents go through an abortion recovery program, they are able to safely re-visit their memories and feelings about the abortion event. The special exercises and spiritual support of programs like Rachel’s Vineyard help participants come to understand, and intimately experience, a new reality:

The emotional bond of love between parent and child, often denied for many years, is now resurrected and firmly rooted in their maternal and paternal heart.

The spiritual relationship with their child in this life, and the hope of reunion in eternal life to come with the Lord is a source of great consolation and peace.

This is the peace and resolution that this young man hungers for.


[Keep in mind, some women and men, often many years after the abortion, are surprised by an intense desire to re-connect with the partner of their aborted child – perhaps on Facebook or other social media.
On a deeper level, this is calling attention to the need for  reconciliation of that abortion experience, and the development of a spiritual relationship with their aborted child/children in an abortion recovery program.]

–  Drexel University Professor Arthur Shostak, Ph.D., conducted a survey of 1,000 men who accompanied wives or girlfriends to abortion centers and found the following: One in four men considered abortion to be a participation in the death of their unborn child; Slightly over 80% said they had already started to think about the child that might have been born (29% think of the child “frequently”); Many cried during the interview process.  [Shostak, Arthur. Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love . Praeger, 1984.]

For more information on how abortion impacts men, resources for recovery and research on men and abortion contact the Men and Abortion Network.

Divorce is on the Increase Among Aging Baby Boomers – Boomers Had the Highest Abortion Rates Since Legalization – Is There A Connection?

May 22nd, 2018

senior couple sitting on sofa at home

The first of the Baby Boomers were in their early twenties when the Supreme Court passed the Roe V. Wade abortion decision to legalize abortion in 1973.

The Boomers, as they entered into their peak childbearing years, would go on to have the highest rates of abortion in the last 45 years.

Abortion crossed the 1.5 million a year mark for the first time in 1980 with 1,553,900 … and the high for the decade of 1,590,800 reported in 1988. … The U.S. abortion ratio reached its peak in 1984, with a figure of 364 abortions for every thousand live births.

Now, as Boomers are aging, Jocelyn Elise Crowley writes in The Week that “even though divorce rates across all age groups have stabilized, the number of gray divorces (i.e., divorce after age 50) has dramatically increased.

Currently, about one out of every four divorces is gray.

Crowley interviewed 40 men and 40 women and asked them why, at this point in their lives, they were divorcing.

The primary reasons that women shared for divorce were their partner’s infidelity, verbal abuse, and addictions to drugs, alcohol, and pornography.

Men’s reasons were different and focused on areas like their spouse’s money management (over-spending) and resentment over differences in parenting philosophy.

The Baby Elephant in the Room

There is one very important question that Jocelyn Crowley could have asked those women and men of the Boomer Generation facing gray divorce:

 Have you experienced a pregnancy loss (abortions, miscarriages) either prior to or during your marriage?  What was that experience like for you…for your partner? 

The Impact of Abortion on Relationships

In my book, Tears of the Fisherman, I share an interview with Mary and Joe about an abortion they had when Mary was in college, prior to their marriage.

Here’s an excerpt:

Mary: I told Joe I was pregnant, and that I would have to get an abortion. I was waiting desperately for him to say something, to tell me we’d manage somehow. It never happened.

Joe: I knew it was wrong, but I was silent. I never stood up for the baby. I prejudged her, and decided that her mind was made up. I was angry with her for choosing an abortion.

Mary: My feeling of anger at Joe was pushed down for so many years that I didn’t even recognize it. But it was there all the time. I took my anger out on him without ever recognizing where it came from.

Joe: There was a lack of trust in our relationship. I blamed her for the loss of the baby. I did things that purposely hurt her. I drank a lot, I gambled, I did a lot of things to escape into a private world where I wouldn’t feel pain.

While there can be many factors that contribute to marital problems, you can see in Mary and Joe’s case how this complicated experience of loss  led to problems in their relationship.

Fortunately, when the couple attended an abortion recovery program Rachel’s Vineyard, they were able to begin the process of emotional, spiritual and relational healing they so desperately needed:

Mary: My big breakthrough came when I was able to express my anger at Joe. He had never realized that the abortion had any connection to our behavior. We were able to forgive each other, and to have our baby forgive us.

Joe: I was able to express my anger toward myself at my total lack of courage. Once I released that, it’s easier to accept and take ownership for the acts that I did… I feel reborn. I’ve been accepted by God, my wife, and, most of all, by myself.

The Harvest is Plentiful

Each marriage and the individual and relationship history that couples share is unique. In some cases it will be better for individuals or spouses to attend separate Rachel’s Vineyard weekends or other abortion recovery program.

For others like Mary and Joe, making that journey together will be a powerful and rewarding option. When you contact your local site they can help you discern the best option.

Given the abortion rates among Baby Boomers, this is a vast mission field for the Church. Boomers are approaching a time in their lives when they become more aware of their own mortality.

They have experienced the loss of parents, the aging and separation of living children, and the challenge of careers. They are ripe for taking a step back and revisiting an area of their lives that, while buried for many years, has actually had a long-term, profound effect on their lives.

While there is pain in opening up this wound from the past, those that make the journey will tell you that the rewards that flow from the healing experience can bless all areas of your life.

This dark and often shame-filled place in your heart and soul can be the entryway for God to touch you intimately and powerfully.

It offers an opportunity to shed new light, awareness, and understanding of how abortion impacted your life, marriages, and parenting, as well as how it may have contributed to your relationship problems.

For churches, this is an abundant harvest just waiting to bear fruit.

The first step is in raising awareness.

If you are a clergy, pastor, or volunteer minister in your church, here are some ways you can reach out to the Boomers with abortion loss:

– Have a woman or man share their personal experience. He or she can give a brief presentation as part of your service or at a separate gathering. You can find a speaker in your area by contacting the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

– Share videos and pamphlets with helpful information and resources about after abortion healing.

– Include some of our Inserts and short messages in your church bulletin

If you or someone you love is experiencing marriage and family challenges, and you suspect that abortion may be a part of their story, please have them visit our Shockwaves of Abortion website to learn more.