Abortifacients -- The Other Forbidden Grief
Associate Director, Priests for Life
I was born in Brooklyn, New York in 1952 and grew up educated in
Catholic schools. I am the oldest of four children with 14 years separating
the oldest to youngest in my family. I graduated college in 1974 and married
in 1975. It was a time when my Catholic faith no longer seemed to make sense
to me and I gradually drifted away and became a non-practicing Catholic. At
the same time all my close friends were getting married and so marriage
seemed like the next step to take— or so I thought.
I became engaged after dating my future husband for three months. From there
things snowballed towards our wedding day real fast. At Pre-Cana classes the
priest told us that if there were a really good reason to delay starting a
family then birth control pills were an option we could consider. What I didn't
realize was that this was bad advice both theologically, spiritually,
psychologically and physically!
As I was the oldest of four siblings I already had many years of dealing with
diapers and babysitting and so I felt that delaying starting a family was a good
idea. Also I had taken birth control pills back in high school (although I
wasn't sexually active) as prescribed by my OB/GYN for menstrual problems. Now a
priest and doctor were both giving me the green light and so I began my journey
down the slippery slope.
Three months before my wedding date I started taking birth control pills. I
continued taking the pill for two years until it seemed like it was time to
start a family. Once I came off the pill, I got pregnant immediately and gave
birth to an absolutely beautiful baby girl. I threw all my attention into trying
to be the best mother I could be and because of that wanted to delay having
another baby right away. So I went back on birth control pills until my daughter
was thirteen months old. At that time I felt she needed to have a sibling so I
decided to go off the pill. Once again, I became pregnant almost immediately.
The lesson I was teaching myself was this: no pills equals countless children!
This time I gave birth to beautiful twin girls. By this time information
started to be released showing there was a risk for clots and strokes by taking
birth control pills. Since there was a history of strokes in my family I was
afraid to go back on the pill. I didn't know about NFP, in fact the only natural
method that I knew of was the old "rhythm" method, which was considered by most
to be not very reliable.
When the twins were three I thought I was pregnant again. It was just a scare
but it was enough to make me do something really drastic. I had a tubal
ligation. Now I felt I had solved all my problems— or so I thought.
I had embraced all the things that the feminist movement had been promoting
as being liberating for women and empowering them. I had not been liberated but
rather felt more and more trapped every day in a bad marriage.
As my marriage continued its downward spiral I focused more and more on my
three daughters. The good news is that I became reconnected with my Catholic
faith. As I began to rediscover my faith and the teachings of the Church I
learned about God's beautiful plan for marriage, including what NFP was all
At the same time I also became aware of how birth control pills really
I thought birth control pills stopped fertilization when in fact that is not
the case. The pills stop the already-fertilized egg from implanting in
the uterus. In other words, they act as abortifacients.
I didn't realize the impact this new found information would have on me until
several years later when I was with a friend visiting Epcot Center in Disney
World. It was in the Wonder of Life exhibit where I would come to the complete
realization of the consequences of my birth control actions. As I began to watch
a beautiful photographic video showing the wonder of how life began, I realized
what taking the birth control pills really meant: aborting new life. In
the years that I had been taking birth control pills, I had been very sexually
active. I also knew that I was an extremely fertile woman. Given this fact,
there is no doubt that I had successfully conceived new life many times, but
that I had never given these little babies the chance to grow inside me. For the
very first time in my life, I came to grips with the fact that I had not only
shut myself off to life, but had also destroyed an unknown number of children.
I came out of that exhibit and there was a giant rushing water fountain nearby.
I walked over to it and began to sob uncontrollably. I stayed there for quite
some time absorbed in my sudden feelings of grief and remorse. This was the very
first time I became aware of the full impact of what I had done.
As my work in the pro-life movement continued I became more aware of the
damage that abortion does to women. I realized that many of these women had felt
alone with their grief but had found mercy and healing. These women who had come
through healing needed to be a voice for other women who are still locked in the
secret sin of abortion. I co-founded the
"Silent No More Awareness"
Campaign. People began to question me as to why I was involved in such a
campaign when I hadn't had an abortion. Here again I had to come to grips with
all the children I had lost because of birth control pills.
Most people that work in post abortion ministry only recognize the pain and
grief from surgical abortion. Yet I know in my heart that the loss I feel is
just as real as if I had had a surgical abortion. In fact, women who come to
realize this loss from using abortifacients often have just as strong a sense
of loss and grief. And yet there is an even bigger problem: Not enough
people, not even those in post abortion recovery programs, realize the need to
reach out to those of us that are suffering in silence. I know I am not alone.
In fact when I am at conferences speaking about the "Silent No More Awareness"
Campaign I have many women come up to me and share the grief they have from
years of taking abortifacients.
But there is good news. I was able to come to grips with these feelings of
grief and loss recently at a
Rachel's Vineyard Retreat. It was a first step in having my feelings
validated, and I began to deal with my loss in a new light. I am here to say
that I will be "Silent No More" about the children that I aborted through birth
control and I am reaching out to the other women who I know share these
feelings. I am sure I am not the only woman with a testimony like this. I want
others that would like to share their story to send it to me. I will post these
testimonies here on our website. I know we can help many families realize the
damage birth control will do to their lives by getting the word out. I also want
to reach out to others that feel the pain that I have described and tell them
that they too can take the first steps towards healing.
To find out more information about attending a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat, you
can go to www.rachelsvineyard.org.
Or you may contact me directly at