August 2002 - Volume 1, Issue 6
VINE AND BRANCHES
The Monthly E-Newsletter of Rachel's Vineyard
Rachel's Vineyard is a division of the American Life League.
Publisher: Rachel's Vineyard Ministries
Editor: Leslie Graves
Information or comments:
"And then all her former fear falls away,
and she knows clearly that she is free,
and sings with joy to see herself
in such serene and tranquil peace."
John of the Cross
"The Dark Night of the Soul"
- How abortion trauma can
change a relationship
- Dear Peter, from your new father.
- News briefs:
- ACTION ALERT from the Elliot
Institute - New study reveals psychological problems following abortion
- Marketing your
post-abortion ministry; new booklet
Please feel free to spread the word and pass along this
newsletter to friends and colleagues. If you are receiving this newsletter
because a friend forwarded it to you, details on subscribing (or unsubscribing)
appear at the end.
ABORTION'S IMPACT ON
Abortion often hurts our relationships. Theresa Burke
writes about this in "Paradise Lost: Abortion and Ruined Relationships", a
chapter in the book "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion" (Acorn
Books, June 2002).
We include here some excerpts, which may help you to
identify damaging relational patterns that may be hurting you or a loved one.
The chapter starts out with the story of Tasha and Steve,
two young musicians. Tasha becomes pregnant prior to their timetable for
starting a family. He persuades her to have an abortion.
"Steve's gentle nudging proved more effective than his
steely silence and angry demands. Soon, Tasha began to surrender her hold on her
excitement about the baby in favor of Steve's justification. When Tasha finally,
reluctantly, agreed to have an abortion, Steve put his sheltering arms around
Eight years later, Tasha sat in my office. After the
abortion, she said, her relationship with Steve was never the same. Their nights
were no longer worn comfortably, fitting their bodies like a second skin. Sex
had no sensation; it just reflected the numbness of her heart....
...Tasha and Steve tried to part ways after a stormy and
somewhat abusive split. But they kept coming back together in an attempt to mend
the fractured picture of their lives together.
In trauma theory, it is well recognized that traumatic
experiences affect not only the traumatized person, but also the attachments and
relationships of that person to loved ones and the community. According to
psychiatrist Judith Herman:
'Traumatic events call into question basic human
relationships. They breach the attachments of family, friendship, love and
community. They shatter the construction of the self that is formed and
sustained in relation to others. They undermine the belief systems that give
meaning to human experience...and cast the victim into a state of existential
Traumas related to sexual molestations and abortion are
particularly damaging to one's ability to trust and engage in relationships. In
the case of abortion, some form of relationship, whether casual or committed,
was directly involved in the circumstances that led up to the abortion. It is
not uncommon, therefore, for relationship issues to become mixed up with
unresolved abortion trauma...
...As Nicky learned, in some cases abortion can cement a
woman to even the most dysfunctional and unsatisfying of relationships. In many
cases, women seek to hold onto the memory of their lost pregnancy by maintaining
a relationship with their aborted child's father. He is the substitute for their
...David and Penny had stayed together as a means to
figuratively 'keep their baby alive'. They were trapped by a form of complicated
mourning. They had sacrificed their child so that their relationship could
survive without resentment. Since the price they paid for maintaining the
relationship was the termination of their pregnancy, their unhappy relationship
had to be endured as a memorial to their lost child. In that memorial lay the
pain of loss and isolation, re-experienced each day by Penny. Unable to work
through her grief and loss, she clung ferociously to their relationship. The
thought of giving up David, despite the fact that she knew he would never meet
her emotional or intellectual needs, was akin to giving up her baby.
Their relationship served to buy them time. It allowed
them to put off their genuine aching grief over the death of their baby until it
was more bearable. Their countless relational conflicts became a means of
focusing the pain of their losses into something more tolerable. Once Penny
became aware of these dynamics, her real grief over the abortion flowed out
effortlessly. After that, it was easy for her to say goodbye to David and move
on to a future that promised more personal and relational fulfillment."
For further information about "Forbidden Grief: The
Unspoken Pain of
Abortion" please click here:
to Amazon.com at
Amazon.com: buying info: Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion.
"Life breaks all of us at times, but some grow strong at
the broken places"
DEAR PETER, FROM YOUR NEW FATHER
Nancy Blom (firstname.lastname@example.org)
wrote this to the prayer supporters of the August 9-11, 2002 retreat just
concluded in St. Paul, Minnesota:
"I would like to share the story of two of our
retreatants, a young couple in their early twenties. They had been through
much in their lives. The wife had experienced a traumatic rape that resulted
in pregnancy. She aborted the child and became promiscuous. She became
pregnant again but miscarried. Eventually she met her husband. They married
this past April and he spiritually adopted her two children and comforted her
through her grief and trauma. When they learned of this retreat he immediately
saw it as an opportunity for her healing and signed up to attend with her.
About a month before the retreat, they suffered the loss of their own
honeymoon child through miscarriage. Their tenderness and love in the midst of
their grief was a powerful and beautiful witness to the rest of us on the
Here is a letter written by another adoptive father, whose
wife had an abortion several years before they met. It was shared recently at
another memorial service.
"My Dear Peter,
It's a beautiful day, and as I am writing I see my
shadow on the page. You could never cast a shadow, or play with your brother
and sisters. But your soul remains free of the sins of time on earth.
I am happy today to adopt you spiritually as a son, and
to apologize for not having done so long ago.
You have a wonderful mother, my wife, whose love for you
and the others has no limits in space or time.
"Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders You have done, and
Your thoughts toward us no one can recount to You; were I to speak and tell of
them, they would be too many to declare."
Rachel's Vineyard was favorably
featured on August 6 in a broadcast news story on News 9, the Oklahoma CBS
affiliate. Susan Lepak, retreat coordinator, was interviewed, as were two women
who had attended past retreats. If you have RealPlayer, you can watch the video
clip by going to this page:
Welcome to NewsOK.com and clicking through on the headline about healing
The Monument of Hope.
The exceptionally gifted sculptress Beverly Paddleford has created a sculpture
to bring hope to those who have lost children through abortion. "Hope" is a
full-size statue featuring Jesus holding a baby as he comforts the mother. You
may view this sculpture at
www.hopemonument.com, and also learn about the different locations where it
has been installed.
Post-abortion training for Seminarian
Life Link Conference August 16-21. Theresa and Kevin Burke spoke on
post-abortion trauma and healing at the 1st annual Seminarian Life
Link Conference in Pittsburgh on August 16-21. For information about this event,
please click here:
National Seminarians Retreat and Conference August 16-21
Patron Saint Productions.
Leslie Graves was interviewed for an article, "Rachel's Vineyard Blooms", in
the August 2002 monthly newsletter of Patron Saint Productions, a publishing
consultancy specializing in online marketing strategy, campaigns and training.
The website is located at
www.patronsaintpr.com. PSP was founded by Steve O'Keefe. O'Keefe is an
instructor at Tulane University, author of the recently released "Complete Guide
to Internet Publicity" (Amazon.com:
buying info: Complete Guide to Internet Publicity) and a 20-year book
"The hour has come for me to wake up from sleep, for my
salvation is nearer now than when I first believed. The night is nearly over;
the day is almost here."
ACTION ALERT from The Elliot
Please help spread the news about new PROOF that abortion
is associated with far more subsequent PSYCHOLOGICAL PROBLEMS than childbirth!
(See below a model news release about a new study published in a major peer
reviewed medical journal.)
Don't let this news about this important study be buried
by pro-abortion news directors.
ACTION STEP 1: Call your local pro-life groups. Make sure
they have this notice and will act on it ASAP. Don't rely on someone else. YOU
need to make the call today.
ACTION STEP 2: All pro-life groups, especially pregnancy
centers and post-abortion ministries, should immediately modify the news release
below-inserting comments from their spokeswoman-and send it to ALL your local
newspapers and radio and television news desks.
ACTION STEP 3: Both individuals (you) and organizations
should start a letters to the editor campaign to either comment this story in
the news or to ask why the paper has not covered this important story.
ACTION STEP 4: More important studies from the Elliot
Institute will be published soon. We will need your help to publicize those
also. Please sign up for our email list at
NOTE: The Elliot Institute is sending news release on this
story out to the major news outlets, but we expect, as usual, the major media
will generally bury it. YOU are vital to the effort to get the news out through
the GRASSROOTS and through smaller local media outlets.
Even if the major media does cover it, you should still do
all of the above.
YOU are the key to putting a local spin on this national
YOU are also vital to the effort to keep this issue in the
news AS LONG AS POSSIBLE. This is where letters to the editor are especially
During the next six months, as several similar studies are
published, YOU are a vital part of our public relations campaign. YOU can and
will make a difference in rapidly raising the public awareness of abortion's
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
For Immediate Release
Women Need More Mental Health Treatment After Abortion,
New Study Finds Local Group Offers Help to Women
Springfield, IL-Six months after her abortion, Jane had
a mental breakdown. When she later delivered a healthy son, unresolved grief
over her abortion contributed to severe post-partum psychosis. "I remember
wanting to throw him out the window of the hospital room," she later told her
A study published in the July issue of the American
Journal of Orthopsychiatry reveals that both the early and delayed psychiatric
episodes experienced by Jane are significant risks associated with abortion.
By examining Medi-Cal records for 173,000 low-income California women, the
research team compared the rate of psychiatric outpatient treatments for women
who had abortions versus those who carried to term. To control for differences
in prior psychological health, they excluded all women who had any psychiatric
care for a year prior to their pregnancy outcome.
Women were 63 percent more likely to receive mental
health care within 90 days of an abortion compared to delivery. In addition,
significantly higher rates of subsequent mental health treatment persisted
over the entire four years of data examined. Abortion was most strongly
associated with subsequent treatments for neurotic depression, bipolar
disorder, adjustment reactions, and schizophrenic disorders.
Dr. Priscilla Coleman, the study's lead author, said
that the study design was an improvement over previous studies because it
relied on medical records rather than on surveys of women contacted at an
"Most studies of mental health status after an abortion
rely on small groups of women-usually less than 300-and face high drop out
rates of 50 percent or more," said Coleman, a professor at Bowling Green State
University in Ohio. "By looking at medical claims for a large group of women,
we were able to capture a more accurate picture of the differences between
abortion and childbirth."
Another of the study's authors, Dr. David Reardon, said,
"Our results are likely to underestimate the true difference in psychological
treatments because the information on obstetric histories was incomplete.
Since many of the women classified as 'childbirth only' actually had prior
abortions which we did not know about, this would most likely dilute our
Reardon is the co-author with Dr. Theresa Burke of a new
book, "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion," in which Jane's
experience, summarized above, is included as part of a comprehensive review of
post-abortion reactions. (See
www.forbiddengrief.com). "Forbidden Grief" was recently highlighted as the
book of the week selection by radio talk show host Dr. Laura Schlessinger.
Reardon believes the results these recent studies
underscore a key message of "Forbidden Grief."
"We need to expand outreach and referrals into
post-abortion counseling programs," he said. "There are many women who have
great difficulty coping with the emotional stress following an abortion.
Without help, and especially the understanding of loved ones, they will be
more vulnerable to self-destructive behavior and other psychological
INSERT LOCAL COMMENTS HERE Following are examples
NAME, director of NAME OF ORGANIZATION,
which provides counseling and support for women facing unexpected pregnancies
or struggling with past abortions, says her organization frequently sees women
struggling with suicidal tendencies, substance abuse, abusive relationships
and other self-destructive behavior arising from a past abortion.
Many women come to NAME OF ORGANIZATION after
years of therapy, she says, because many counselors who don't understand how
to recognize and treat post-abortion problems.
"Some therapists even refuse to admit that abortion can
cause emotional problems because of their strong political beliefs in support
of abortion," NAME said.
Public interest in the health effects of abortion was
last raised in 1989 Surgeon General Koop reviewed the research on abortion at
the request of President Reagan. Koop concluded that all the studies done up
to that point was so methodologically flawed that no firm conclusions could be
drawn about abortion's risks or benefits.
In a letter to the outgoing president, Koop recommended
that a major federally funded longitudinal study of abortions health risks was
the only way to secure definitive answers. His proposal for a major study died
in the Democratically controlled congress, however, when abortion advocates
argued that the appeal for such research was politically motivated and a waste
of tax payer dollars.
NAME hopes the results of this recent study will
rekindle the effort to make the investigation of abortion's health effects a
priority of the government's National Institutes of Health.
"If the government had acted on Koop's recommendation,
we would have had definitive answers by now," NAME said. "Women deserve
to know the true risks associated with abortion."
Elliot Institute: (217) 525-8202
LOCAL ORGANIZATION: <PUT YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION
STUDY CITATION: Deaths associated with pregnancy
outcome: a record linkage study of low income women. Reardon DC, Ney PG,
Scheuren FJ,, Cougle JR, Coleman, PK, Strahan T. Southern Medical Journal.
Learn more about post-abortion issues, visit the Elliot
You might also consider subscribing to the e-newsletter of
the Elliot Institute
Project Grace is a non-profit ministry that creates tools
for abortion recovery ministries, hosts abortion recovery groups and raises
awareness of abortion trauma and recovery through speaking/singing
presentations. Chris Jackson, who lives in Michigan and who worked in radio
advertising for eight years prior to founding Project Grace, has written a
booklet: "Marketing Your Ministry- Advertising to reach the Post-abortive
This forty-page workbook explores advertising options for
abortion recovery ministries, paid and free. "Marketing Your Ministry" focuses
primarily on the effective use of paid advertising, and gives suggestions for
how best to spend advertising dollars for five different levels of annual
advertising budget: 0-$200, $3600, $15,000, $25,000, and $63,000.
The ideas in "Marketing Your Ministry" readily apply to
crisis pregnancy centers that are starting post-abortion ministries or want to
expand their existing ministries.
"Marketing Your Ministry" costs $25.00 and is available
online at the Project Grace e-store at
www.projectgrace.com. Shipping is free and if you order by September 30,
2002 there is a $5.00 discount.
Questions or comments about Vine & Branches: The Rachel's
Vineyard Newsletter may be directed to the Editor, Leslie Graves, at
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