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Victims of Choice helps women seek healing

By Mary Ann Wyand
The Criterion
Archdiocese of Indianapolis
March 14, 2003

Last of three parts

Women suffering from the pain of abortion must confess their sin to God, Elizabeth Verchio of Bowling Brook, Ill., explained, and seek his healing love and mercy.

Verchio is executive director of Victims of Choice, an international abortion reconciliation ministry based in the Chicago area that helps women shattered by their decision to kill their unborn children.

The confidential abortion reconciliation ministry can be reached online at www.victimsofchoice.com.

"Abortion is murder and must be confessed to God," Verchio said. "Women must seek mercy and forgiveness from God. When they do that, then God is able to begin his healing work."

It's a hard truth to accept, she said, but otherwise the abortion experience will continue to affect women in negative ways.

"Abortion complicates every area of a woman's life," Verchio said. "Until all of that is resolved between the woman and a holy, merciful and righteous God, there will always be that part of her life that will never be complete, that will never be whole, because there will be that place in her life that she has not allowed God to heal."

Verchio said she struggled with depression that led to alcohol and drug abuse for four years after her abortion in August 1976, just three years after the U.S. Supreme Court's Roe vs. Wade and Doe vs. Bolton decisions that legalized abortion during all nine months of pregnancy.

Not much was known about the harmful, long-term effects of abortion on women at that time, Verchio said, but immediately after the abortion she realized that killing her unborn child had changed her life forever.

"I was young, stupid, naive and selfish when I decided to have the abortion," she said. "I didn't have any emotional support from family members. It is only by God's grace that our marriage survived."

Verchio and her husband, Gene, will celebrate their 29th wedding anniversary this year, but their marriage was marred by her post-traumatic stress disorder caused by the abortion until she sought healing from God in 1991.

"The abortion clinic was totally depersonalized," she said. "I never heard the clinic staff use the words `abortion' or `baby' and the information was presented with the use of a uterine model that was empty. I felt rushed and confused, and I wanted to get up from the table and get out of there. But even though I had second thoughts, I was afraid to do that. I felt numb. I dealt with it by shutting down my emotions."

Because of the pain of her abortion experience, Verchio later decided to undergo a tubal ligation, a sterilization procedure for women, so she would not have to think about pregnancy again.

"I felt like abortion was something you didn't talk about," she said. "You didn't tell anyone about it. It's not something that people want to hear about."

Verchio said she expressed her post-abortion trauma through anger until she turned to God for help and healing.

"I knew I was going against what I knew in my heart was right," she said about the abortion. "My whole lifestyle at the time was going against what I knew in my heart was right. I was very angry and self-destructive for four years."

With God's help, Verchio said, she was able to address her anger and bitterness then reach out and offer help to other women suffering from the pain of abortion.

"Over a 15-year period, God slowly began to get my attention," she said. "I finally realized that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. I knew I had to give an account of my life to God."

The pain of abortion is so strong, she said, that it took her years to figure out that her anger was caused by the death of her child.

Verchio said a crisis pregnancy center volunteer introduced her to a woman trained in abortion reconciliation.

"In the spring of 1991, I started the [abortion reconciliation] process with her," Verchio said. "It took me 18 weeks to complete the nine-week program. Then it was several months after that, before I was actually able to grieve about the death of my unborn child who I believe was a boy. At that point, I asked for God's forgiveness and the pain finally started to go away."

Victims of Choice is an ecumenical, Christ-centered, internationally recognized ministry that promotes abortion awareness and education, offers a one-on-one recovery program in a proven 10-step process, provides referrals to local clergy and abortion reconciliation facilitators, and promotes a variety of books and brochures intended to help women cope with the pain of their abortion experience.

The Victims of Choice Web site lists a variety of reconciliation opportunities for women suffering from the pain of abortion, including memorial services, as well as training programs and speaker's bureaus for women who want to help others.

"Abortion hurts and keeps on hurting until women turn to God for hope, help and healing," Verchio said. "We must realize that, as a society that has allowed abortion, we're going to have to live with the many consequences of abortion unless they are dealt with in a God redeeming fashion."

 

 

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