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The Anguish of Abortifacients

By Janet Morana and Theresa Burke, Ph.D.

We’ve learned a good deal about the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion. However, a different anguish, is sweeping along untouched shores with growing recognition. The widespread practice of contraception presents another surfacing tide of unspoken and completely unrecognized grief.

These methods are called "abortifacients" because they do more than just prevent pregnancy. The Pill, the IUD, and other hormonal contraceptives such as the morning after pill, Depro-Provera and Norplant can cause an abortion of human life.

Ovulation is not always suppressed by oral contraceptives. In these cases, the egg is fertilized, conception takes place, and a new human being begins to develop. These contraceptives interfere with the pregnancy by changing the lining of the uterus so that a newly conceived child cannot implant in the womb. This hostile environment causes the fertilized egg to die.

Janet Morana, Associate Director of Priests for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, shares her personal story:

"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.

After having a daughter and set of twins, information was released showing there was a risk for clots and strokes from the pill. Since there was a history of strokes in my family, I was afraid to go back on it. I didn't know about Natural Family Planning. Since my marriage was built on only on a physical relationship, you can just imagine the amount of arguing and fighting that began. Eventually, I had a tubal ligation as my marriage continued its downward spiral."

Researchers have found that marriages in which contraceptives were used are twice as likely to end in divorce than marriages in which there was no contraceptive use.

After her sterilization, Janet and her husband continued to close themselves off from each other, and from God. But Janet continued to search for her dignity and rediscovered it in her Catholic Faith. Janet shares:

"As I began to study the teachings of the Church I learned about God's beautiful plan for marriage, including what NFP was all about.

My grief finally hit me at the Wonder of Life exhibit where I came to a complete realization of what taking the birth control pills really meant: aborting new 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 began to sob uncontrollably. I was overwhelmed with sudden feelings of grief and remorse. 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."

The Church has always asserted the inseparability of the life giving and unitive dimension of the marital act. Therefore, She can also serve at the forefront in ministry to the countless hearts wounded by contraceptives. Our church continues to be a prophetic guide in a new movement to re-claim inner voices that have been silenced, paralyzed and obscured by the demands of a contraceptive culture.

The Priests for Life website invites those who have experienced the grief of contraception to share your testimony. Contact 

To find out more information about attending a Rachel's Vineyard Retreats for healing after abortion, visit

Priests for Life
PO Box 236695 • Cocoa, FL 32923
Tel. 321-500-1000, Toll Free 888-735-3448 •