Thursday, January 27, 2005

Be Gentle with the Wounded Soul

Mimi ni sauti, lnayo lillia haruma

I am a voice,
Crying for mercy
Crying for love
Crying for peace
Crying for justice
And dying in need

I am a voice, crying for mercy

~ "I Am A Voice," written by Trish Short

The Silent No More Awareness campaign turned some heads at Monday’s March for Life. For excellent reports on the event, visit the After Abortion blogspot (see sidebar), and my thanks to Emily and Anne Marie for the comments I am using below.

There are some lively remarks about the phenomenon of vocal post-abortive women, from both sides of the issue. One pro-life leader was heard to say, “I think some of these women are just seeking attention. What are we supposed to do when we see a woman holding one of these signs? Applaud? Tell her how wonderful she is?"

A pro-choice writer says, “The thing that gets me is the picture of the two women holding up signs saying, "I Regret My Abortion." You know what? It's your right to regret your decision...And now, because you regret your own actions, you want to take that right away from others? Who are you to decide? Who are you to say that someone else would also regret theirs?”

There is a growing belief in the pro-life movement that it will be post-abortive women who will bring an end to abortion. I believe we will, because we are the common ground on which both sides will meet.

Our pro-life leader laments having to include us in her efforts. For years, she has been telling us not to abort our children. She has given her life to the unborn babies. When we stand before her with all our regrets, we remind her of her failures. How is she supposed to treat us? Are we simply seeking attention?

Speaking for myself, of course I am seeking attention, but perhaps not the attention she might imagine. Many women do not do well after exercising their choice to abort, and the majority live in silence about their feelings. Many women are misinformed before and after the procedure. From a humanitarian perspective, we have to let them know they are not alone. For the purposes of the pro-life movement, we are the graphic images of women who have suffered harm, even if it was at our own hands. We are asking you to use us in your mission to warn others away from abortion.

I wonder if this pro-life leader considers herself a good Christian. And if so, would it help to remind her that He came to heal the sick? No one needs healing more than a woman who regrets her abortion. The pro-lifer need not worry about sending the wrong message by letting us in. I have seen no evidence that a woman who is embraced by the pro-life movement for healing ever feels she has been given tacit permission to abort again. Our healing is incomplete without the realization that abortion is unnatural. So, yes, we want your attention, but not for accolades. When you see a woman brave enough to hold that sign, remember mercy and pray for her. She is there to help you.

The pro-choice movement isn’t any happier about our existence, either. Is it because we threaten the institution they want to uphold, or does it go deeper than that? I hear betrayal in the cry, “Who are you to decide?” We are traitors. We tried to identify with them at least once, and they are confused about why we would change our minds. For a pro-choice woman who has had an abortion or is considering one, we are a grave threat because we cannot be moved, and the more she protests, the more I think she suspects we are right. We don’t have suppositions about how abortion helps people. We have personal experience that we were not helped. Many of us were harmed so that we did not become what we should have been. We represent their failure, too.

Have the pro-choicers considered, though, that they betrayed us first? We trusted them and what they told us, but now they won’t help us with our suffering. We thought they understood us, because they understand the sometimes vicious forces that drive us to slay our own children in the womb. But they forget us after the abortion, because we don’t conform to the happy, well-adjusted women they think we should be after exercising our reproductive freedom. If they were as compassionate after the fact as they proclaim to be beforehand, they would let us march with them, too. What possible threat do we represent, after all? The opposite of abortion is birth. Surely they don’t stand in opposition of reproduction itself?

The inability of the post-abortive woman to fit neatly into either side of the abortion issue is exactly why we are going to build the common ground, and yes, bring the atrocity of abortion to an end. We know the pro-choice arguments through and through because we have lived them and made the choice. We also learned the pro-life lessons, the hard way. All we ask of either side is to let us speak. Listen to what we are saying without an agenda, and with mercy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Healing the Heart Chapter One

I recently added a link to the after-abortion healing program known as “Healing Hearts.” I’ve begun their support program, via e-mail. It would be impossible to follow the program with any degree of honesty and blog the results. But there may be value in some of the things I am learning.

If you read this with any regularity, you know I struggle to remember many details surrounding my abortion. The first part of Chapter One of Healing Hearts required me to describe the decision-making process and the abortion itself.

I tried to avoid answering, “I don’t remember,” although that phrase repeated itself in my head a thousand times. Always behind it was the memory. When I tried to recall my feelings the morning of the abortion, I reached for the emotions or circumstances. As soon as the emotions welled up, I heard the thought, “I don’t remember.” But this time I knew I was lying to myself to avoid those feelings. There was a hint of memory that slipped behind that familiar phrase, playing hide and seek. I thrust the thought away, and went in search of the truth in my own mind.

In her book, Forbidden Grief, Dr. Theresa Burke says “many women have an acute memory of particular aspects of their abortions, but other portions are shrouded in a mist,” (Burke, p. 129). This is a perfect description of what my memory of the event is like: the proverbial Swiss cheese. Some things stand out with such clarity, they will never leave me. Other details are so heavily cloaked, I can only remember them as if they happened to someone else. And others I remember only because I know they must have happened, and not because I have access to the actual memory. One of my goals in post-abortion healing is recall, to find and connect the memories to the emotions, and reconcile them to who I am.

So what have I learned, half-way through the first lesson?

1. I was a bookish kid. I used my study hall hour as a library aide to look up abortion before the fact. I saw the pictures of what abortion looks like, before I had an abortion. This memory has been creeping back since I started the somewhat controversial dialogue regarding graphic images. I knew all about pregnancy from watching my mother give birth to my brother, who was an infant himself when I learned I was pregnant. I had read the pregnancy books which always, with hope and reverence for the creative process, tell the expectant mother every known detail about the developing fetus. And then I saw its polar opposite – the hopeless and torn consequences of rejecting God’s greatest gift. Yes, it made me withdraw my assent to the abortion, which I had already given with great reluctance, and under pressure, before I saw “what abortion looks like.” But as often happens to girls and women coerced into unwanted abortions, my withdrawal was met with resistance from all sides. Of what use were these photos to me then, except to show me exactly what was going to be destroyed? They had their desired effect on ME, but I was ineffectual.

2. The entire time I was pregnant, I had a relationship with my child. I spoke to him. I felt the indescribable joy of it, and I had to let that go. I had to let it go forever, because allowing my child to be killed made me unworthy of maternal joy. While I was running through my mind the limited options available to me before the abortion, though, I was a mother. I thought in terms of saving “us,” Baby and me. I held him, not in my arms, but within myself. My budding love for him was always tinged with fear for both of us – would we survive?

3. I fought harder for his life, and mine, then I would later give myself credit for. There were multiple meetings between related parties, and I was always protesting. I begged. I offered reasonable solutions that were shot down – “no, you can’t live with this person or that.” I cried, and cried. Now I understand why I hate crying so much. It is a worthless activity, because tears are always easily ignored even by the people who are supposed to care about them.

4. I hated my mother more than anyone else. She had just had an unexpected baby. Hers was allowed to live. Mine had to die, and she was the principal agent forcing me to go through with it. I never understood it, and still don’t to this day. In hindsight, I look back at the pain she wanted me to suffer, and understanding that it was a pain she also suffered once doesn’t make it any better. I hope in death she found the wisdom she lacked in life, and if I’m honest, I hope there was punishment for her – not eternal damnation – I don’t want to burn in Hell myself, so I have to hope for redemption for all. But at least two souls are screaming for justice from this woman – three, if you count my own.

How could I forget the extenuating circumstances that mitigate my own guilt? Remembering how hard I fought and struggled did not fit in with the image I had of myself after the abortion. After I had the abortion, all that mattered was that I had failed miserably, so it no longer mattered what I done before. I wanted no excuses for myself, and I took all of the blame without regard to my age or the pressures that were being exerted on me. Yet, if I looked at another young girl in my exact position, I would feel nothing but pity and sorrow for her helplessness.

And here is yet another thing for which I must grieve. No wonder I have avoided this for twenty-five years. What could be worse than my having to completely forget everything about my pregnancy that was loving and right? It was a great gift to find these feelings again, even as I am still challenged to be able to feel them without also feeling the fear, helplessness, and horror that accompanied my first and only experience with motherhood.

Marching Vicariously for Life

Unable to attend a march myself this year, I watched the coverage on EWTN intently. It had to be on EWTN, since no one else in the media saw fit to give the 2005 March for Life much attention, before or after. Shame on them. More than 100,000 people marched through Washington, D.C., and I had to dig to find any news reports. For first hand accounts and photos, don’t miss the After Abortion blog (link at right).

Signs of Life in the Crowd:

Ave Maria School of Law

Franciscan University of Stubenville

Nashville Cathedral of the Incarnation

Christendom College

I Regret My Abortion

This last sign was trembling, as if in a strong wind, and then I noticed the hands that held it were trembling, too. Suddenly I realized that I was also trembling. I saw more of these signs, many of which were quivering gently. As the prayer began, the signs steadied, and these heads bowed and nodded. They closed their eyes, and felt the words.

No one else mattered to me. I could see only the women on stage carrying the black signs of mourning. “I Regret My Abortion;” “My Abortion Hurt Me.” I wanted to be with them even though just watching on my living room couch was bringing me to tears. I broke down completely just as the information scroll was telling me, “If you are suffering because of an abortion, call 1-800-5-WE CARE.” How ironic.

I saw my reflection on the stage: a woman about my own age, holding her sign with white knuckles. She was smiling, and crying. In her expression was a range of emotions impossibly melding together in one sweet face. She grieved, as I could see in the deeply-etched lines furrowing her brow. Her eyes were strained, red, and swollen with tears. But there was that brave smile, her courage shining through in spite of the sorrow. She didn’t want to have to be there, but she was. She was there for us. She was there in my place, wearing my expression.

But through the sorrow and woe, there was a glimmer of hope in her eyes. Hope. She will never stop grieving, but she has found something that gives her hope anyway. Perhaps it is just this march – perhaps she finds hope in the people who are embracing her, guilt, pain and all. Hope in the Lord, whose mercy is boundless. Hope that her sacrifice this day will make recompense for whatever sacrifices she did not make at an earlier time in her life.

I wanted to be with her. Every thing I felt was written on her face.

May God bless all of the Silent No More women who took up their signs and their courage, and showed us their wounded hearts.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

More on Graphic Images

I have been doing more research on the use of graphic images as a tool to end social injustice, as described by Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life. They have a good page regarding the efficacy of this tool:

I have a feeling I am going to be in the minority on this one, but I cannot change my opinion even after reading very well-written and logical arguments in favor of using them. Why do you suppose that is? Is it because everyone else in the pro-life movement is so well-adjusted and I am not? Well, I’m not, obviously, (!) but I can’t be sure that’s the answer. I would like to hear from more women on this issue.

Perhaps I won’t have many supporters precisely because most post-abortive women who cannot face the images also cannot face the text and the other reminders of their abortions. They won’t be looking at my blog. They won’t be anywhere near the pro-life movement. According to the Elliott Institute, when polled, fewer women will report they have an abortion in their past than is possible, knowing as we do the number of procedures that have been performed. Many of us deny we’ve ever had one, which I did for many years.

Consequently, they aren’t here to support me when I say that the images are intolerable. They can’t be here. They can’t see it, they can’t hear it, and they won’t think about it. Yet, those who have been doing this for thirty years say the images are important to recovery.

Images and sounds can be used effectively to treat people with post-traumatic stress disorder. It is called “exposure therapy:”

“Exposure therapy is one form of CBT that is unique to trauma treatment. It uses careful, repeated, detailed imagining of the trauma (exposure) in a safe, controlled context to help the survivor face and gain control of the fear and distress that was overwhelming during the trauma. In some cases, trauma memories or reminders can be confronted all at once ("flooding"). For other individuals or traumas, it is preferable to work up to the most severe trauma gradually by using relaxation techniques and by starting with less upsetting life stresses or by taking the trauma one piece at a time ("desensitization").”

The patient is being reintroduced to something traumatic and is deliberately re-traumatized, but in a safe place with assistance. If exposure alone were effective, there would be no PTSD or PASS, as everyone would eventually desensitize to the triggers that bring about emotional turmoil and the physiological stress reaction. We see enough violence in our world to be desensitized to a great deal of it. This doesn’t happen to PTSD sufferers though, which makes it clear that the therapy is only effective because of the therapist’s assistance and the safety therein.

The woman suffering from PASS who runs across your photos by accident is not desensitizing. She may feel threatened by the photos and turn away, as I did. She is avoiding. She is dissociating. She is running away. She is not coming forward to help you, because she cannot. The internet is not a safe, controlled environment. I don’t surf in the presence of a licensed therapist just in case I come across something that upsets me. Therefore, I question not the actual use of the photos – since they do work for those who don’t have the experience – but what I consider their overuse. Not every website has to have the photo of tiny arms next to a dime on the front page in order to show what abortion looks like. Place them in a more strategic area, place a warning, and put at least one more action between the viewer and the photo. People are curious about these things, and they will make an effort to click one more time. They will see your pictures, and they will have the desired effect on the people who don’t know the truth.

Post-abortive women already know the truth, whether they find it in pictures, sounds, doctor’s offices, gynecological exams, or even the mere word, “abortion.” Post-abortive women who are traumatized cannot be helped or brought into the pro-life fold without compassion and care, and that must include attention to those things that cause them pain. And there are so many of us now. Too many.

Yes, our pain is of our own making. But mercy and forgiveness must prevail. The ex-Bishop of my Catholic diocese has the distinction, poor man, of being the only American bishop convicted of a felony. He was driving home one night and hit a pedestrian with his car. The accident victim died at the scene. The Bishop was charged with hit and run, but not with the man’s death. Apparently, the accident itself could not have been avoided. Still, I am positive that the Bishop suffers anyway from guilt about the man’s death, as his supporters report. Do you think it would be emotionally healing for him to show him morgue pictures of the accident victim over and over again? It was a violent accident. How would it help the bishop to know what his dead victim looked like? He was there when it happened, even if as he reports, he didn’t know what he struck. In hindsight, he knows what made the hole in his windshield. He knows already. He lives with the man’s death on his soul every minute of his life, and guilt is a part of that whether we mitigate his responsibility for him or not.

The tiny arms and hands. Little feet. Heads. To some, the photos are tools against social injustice. For post-abortive women, these are our children. If you asked me if you could use a photo of my dead child to save the lives of other children, I would give you a resounding “yes.” He would want that, too. But I do not want to see it (again) for myself. Fair warning – that’s all I ask, so I can look away while the people who need it can look and look and hopefully, learn.

Monday, January 17, 2005

Is the Picture Worth a Thousand Words?

I was surfing the web yesterday, looking for interesting news and articles about abortion that would inspire my next article. Following a link or two to find one that looked interesting, I came across a line warning that there were photographs ahead, and one must be 18 or older to view them.

From experience, I knew these would be photos of aborted children. Quickly, I scrolled down the article page thinking the photos would be on a separate link and easy to avoid. I started seeing diagrams, though, and as I feverishly hit at the scroll bar to escape the website, there it was: a ragged, wretched corpse of an infant destroyed by surgical abortion slapped me in the face.

I immediately closed all programs and closed the laptop. I sat in stunned silence while the image flashed across my mind over and over again. I instantly felt an overwhelming sense of violation.

For the rest of the day, the image wouldn’t leave me. It didn’t take long until I became furious. Not angry – but furious. I had a clear mental picture of taking that photograph and mashing it into the face of the person who posted it. I felt exactly as if I had been physically attacked. Someone had jumped out at me from nowhere, disguised as someone who wants to help, and shoved a photo of my victim, my dead child, in my face. I needed not only to retaliate, but I felt an intense need for self-defense and more: I needed to defend that child. These images that some of the pro-lifers use – these are all someone’s children. Are we absolutely sure we need to use them? Have we considered all possible responses to them?

When we show America what abortion looks like, we are also showing it to the forty-three percent of American women who have personal experience with the trauma of abortion. Some of those are suffering from post-traumatic stress in the nature of Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome. Forced and coerced abortions are particularly traumatic in nature and represent a large percentage of abortions. “The worst situation is when the injury is caused deliberately in a relationship with a person on whom the victim is dependent---most specifically a parent-child relationship,” (

What is psychological trauma? “…a traumatic event or situation creates psychological trauma when it overwhelms the individual's perceived ability to cope, and leaves that person fearing death, annihilation, mutilation, or psychosis. The individual feels emotionally, cognitively, and physically overwhelmed. The circumstances of the event commonly include abuse of power, betrayal of trust, entrapment, helplessness, pain, confusion, and/or loss.

This definition of trauma is fairly broad. It includes responses to powerful one-time incidents like accidents, natural disasters, crimes, surgeries, deaths, and other violent events. It also includes responses to chronic or repetitive experiences such as child abuse, neglect, combat, urban violence, concentration camps, battering relationships, and enduring deprivation. This definition intentionally does not allow us to determine whether a particular event is traumatic; that is up to each survivor. This definition provides a guideline for our understanding of a survivor's experience of the events and conditions of his/her life.”

Not everyone who experiences psychological trauma will develop PTSD. Not every woman who has an abortion will develop PASS. It is important, however, for those who work with post-abortive women to understand the nature of the disorder and the effects of re-experiencing the trauma, particularly if they want to use shocking and violent images in their pro-life efforts.

"Survivors of repetitive early trauma are likely to instinctively continue to use the same self-protective coping strategies that they employed to shield themselves from psychic harm at the time of the traumatic experience. Hypervigilance, dissociation, avoidance and numbing are examples of coping strategies that may have been effective at some time, but later interfere with the person's ability to live the life s/he wants.

“A person who is hypervigilant is extremely anxious and worried that something bad will happen. He/she therefore is excessively aware of his/her surroundings, so as to "catch" the harm that is approaching,” (

I am always on the lookout against those things that will trigger uncomfortable and painful memories for me. One of the most intense is a photograph of an aborted child. In studies of trauma, the following emotional responses have been observed in those who are re-experiencing it: “…panic, fear, intense feelings of aloneness, hopelessness, helplessness, emptiness, uncertainty, horror, terror, anger, hostility, irritability, depression, grief and feelings of guilt,” (

I experienced all of those emotions yesterday after being attacked with the photo of a child who, for all I know, was my own, and whose blood was on my hands. Once the fury had subsided, because absolute fury is difficult to sustain for any length of time, I was left with intense sadness that lasted for the rest of the day. Tears ran uncontrollably from my eyes. I relived guilt, felt insecurity and fear stemming from I know not what, and grieved yet again.

Dissociation is just as it sounds. When an event is too traumatic for the mind to handle, we will split from it in whatever way possible. Often, dissociation involves repression of memories of the event in an effort to remove oneself from the cause of the trauma. I did this for twenty-five years. I know I saw the remains of my child, but I cannot force myself to recall the image. I have seen the film, “Silent Scream,” but I cannot remember the details of the movie (which shows a surgical abortion via aspiration from inside the womb). I also cannot remember where I was when I saw it, or under what circumstances. Even in smaller things, I shut out the memories. I saw the movie, Solaris, twice. The second time I saw it was the first time I consciously realized that the female character had committed suicide because of an abortion. The first time I watched the movie, I had blocked this information completely. I’ve done this a number of times, apparently, and every time I find the evidence of how easily I can dissociate from abortion, I am surprised. This is textbook dissociation, honed to a level that doesn't involve my conscious will any longer.

As a coping technique it fails, however, because the memories and the response they bring are still there whether they are brought to conscious mind or not. Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, in describing emotions, said that emotions are always preceded by an idea. In order to choose an appropriate emotional response, we need to know the thought behind it. When we dissociate, we remove from our conscious minds the thought behind the emotions in an effort to remove those emotions. Unfortunately, the emotional response remains behind, firmly entrenched, and we are left clutching at air, unable to find the thought that preceded the emotional response. Consequently, our responses are often misdirected. Anger at a coerced abortion becomes just plain anger, and we often look for a source, any source, other than the one we cannot face.

Avoidance is also a commonly used tool against the anguish of a traumatic event when reminders of the trauma can reasonably be avoided. This isn’t always possible, especially in our culture of death. For a post-abortive woman who is anti-abortion, coming into the pro-life world is difficult at best. She is beset by images and descriptions of abortion and aborted children. She must immerse herself in the event that triggers the flashbacks of emotion and long-repressed memories. In order for her to succeed in this arena, she must be highly motivated and steeled against the pain. If she decides it is too much to bear, she will go back to using avoidance, and the pro-life movement has lost a valuable ally.

Numbing one's self against the pain of re-experienced trauma simply fails. We cannot ignore emotional responses. In order to change them, we have to know the idea that led to them. Numbing doesn’t involve any self-reflection. It is a denial of reality. “What are you angry about?” is a question I hear too much, and too often my response is, “I’m not angry,” while my body language, facial expressions, and tone of voice all contradict that statement. Saying it doesn’t make it true.

Why does the pro-life movement use the photographs of mutilated children to make their point? Apparently, there is a place for these images. For people who really don’t know what abortion is, and who have never given it any thought, the pictures of its reality are shocking and bring humanity to the children. But for nearly one in two American women, these photos are reminders of a traumatic event. I cannot help but feel we run a very real risk of driving away the very people who will help us end abortion – the ones who have been there and who can speak with authority and skill as to its damages.

These women may not only avoid pro-life workers, some will be hypervigilant about doing so. I remember the first and only time I ever saw a pro-life protest outside of an abortion clinic. It was twenty years ago. Again, it seemed as if they snuck up on me – they had to, because I was hypervigilant about avoiding them. I had no idea I was even driving past an abortuary. Sitting at a stoplight, I glanced over to see what the crowd was about, and saw a sign. On that sign, I got a good look at an aborted infant. That is all I remember. I never “saw” them again. I remember feeling the anger, and very pro-choice it was. I immediately felt they had violated my privacy and that of other post-abortive women, and I felt very strongly that they were not on my side.

I dissociated myself from pro-lifers. They were born-again Christians, bombers, nut-jobs, any number of things I could think to call them that I was not. I did wish someone with a true sense of what abortion is about would get on the case, but certainly I could not join their ranks. I could not use the tools I had developed over many years to suppress the trauma of my abortion and work with the pro-life movement at the same time. I would not be able to dissociate any longer, or avoid the subject, or numb myself against the emotional fallout.

What made me change? Not long ago, an episode like yesterday’s flashback would have left me confused. I would have been unable to figure out the source of my anger and defensiveness, but those emotions would have been there. Now, while I still have the emotions, at least I know why, and that does help. “Flashbacks can be triggered by external or internal events, often occur spontaneously, and cannot be controlled.” But understanding them can be key to entering into appropriate coping behavior.

I got here through prayer, specifically the Rosary. It is becoming easier to deal with the triggers because I can understand them. It has also been life-saving to find a community of like-minded women who DO have a true sense of what abortion is. But what about the women who are now where I was not long ago? Can they be reached in the depths of their guilt, pain and repression, or are we driving them away and into the arms of pro-choice people who will agree that they have been violated by this ugliness? The idea of latching onto the privacy notion is attractive. If we keep it private, we can better avoid it. But privacy and silence are contraindicated in the fight to end the abuse of women and children through abortion.

We cannot live outside of Auschwitz and continue to deny that anyone is being killed. But we don’t use pictures from the Holocaust indiscriminately and irreverently. I have been to the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C. I think they understand how and when to use images of violence. The most moving displays, to me, are those that show the ordinary humanity of the victims, things that make them just like me and you: their eyeglasses, clothing, journals, and photos of them while they were alive. These were people, after all. Using the more heart-wrenching images of how they were destroyed, in order to educate, inform, and warn is important to prevent us from allowing it to happen again. There is great power in visual stimulation, but if I can steal from Spider Man, “with great power comes great responsibility,” or to go to the original source of this thought, “to those whom much is given, much will be required.” If you must use images, please use them responsibly, with discretion, and with a compassionate eye for those who will be more than just shocked.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

Of All The Things I've Lost...

Of all the things I’ve lost, it’s my mind I miss the most.

I have been trying to remember all of the events surrounding my abortion with little success. Last night, I had a snippet of recovered memory. The first time I told the story of what happened in that clinic was to a Franciscan priest. (Thank God for the Franciscans!) Now I can clearly recall telling him these words, “I saw my baby,” an admission moaned in horror as I was crumpled on the floor, rocking myself and holding my hands on my belly without realizing it. I remember saying the words, but I cannot now remember what I actually saw. I know I saw more than just the blood and gore-filled jars when I sat up “too soon.” The nurse was busy at the cart with her back to me. I can guess from what I have learned about abortion procedures that she was probably going through the shredded remains of my child, making sure they removed every part of his tiny body from my womb, which I had unthinkingly clutched in remembered pain while reliving the telling of his death.

I read that many women suffer on the anniversaries of their abortions or near what would have been their children’s due dates. I cannot even remember the month in which I had the abortion. I didn’t go back to school afterward, but school had been in session when I learned I was pregnant. So it must have been May or June. But my mother’s birthday is at the end of May, so I should remember if it was near that date. I don’t, and at this moment, nothing bothers me more than that.

I am desperate to find words to write this week that aren’t hateful, angry, accusing, and despairing, but I cannot even remember the date my child died. So I offer you the words of other women that ring with truth in my own life. I included an excerpt of my own testimony, which startles me every time I re-read it. It is both unfamiliar and indelibly written on my soul.

Overcome with heartache, Gina began to moan. Bent over holding her womb, she couldn't believe she had actually had an abortion.

At the abortion clinic, I wore new house shoes that my mother had bought me. They had blood on them from my walk from the bathroom to the bed. After I returned home, I wrapped them up in a towel because I couldn't wash off the blood and hid them under long dresses in the back of my closet. Every time I moved between dorm rooms and apartments after college, I moved them and hid them at the back of my new closet. After several years, I washed them but still couldn't look at them because [I] could still see the blood. Finally, it came to me that I could throw them away.

I dreamed that I was contentedly floating in a beautiful pool, enjoying the clear sky. It was very peaceful. But then I noticed that my legs were becoming entangled in the hose of one of those vacuums they use to clean a pool. At first I was just annoyed to have my peaceful swim disturbed. Then the pain struck. I was trapped by the suction of the hose. It began pulling me apart, piece by piece. I cried and pleaded for someone to stop it, but there was no stopping it. Piece by piece I watched myself being pulled apart, thinking how unfair it was that I was being denied the joy I had known only a few minutes before. When it was over I was just aware of floating through the darkness of the tube, and then there was a sharp slapping on my thigh and a rude voice shouting "Get up." The nurse at the abortion clinic was waking me. The dream was over but I couldn't get it out of my mind.

I began sabotaging everything that played into my decision to have an abortion.

I became overwhelmed with grief, I did not know that is what it was at the time. I just knew I was very, very sad.

looking back now its hard to even believe this all does not even seem real....
once he was done his work...he gave me a pad..told me to clean myself up and to leave....

I thought of iced tea in big jars. Sun tea. We made sun tea at the restaurant in glass gallon pickle jars. That’s what they looked like, but that wasn’t iced tea. No, not iced tea. It was a blood bath. It wasn’t entirely liquid. I was drugged, but I remember thinking, "there’s so much blood….someone has to be dead." There was a hose, like a vacuum cleaner attachment, and some metal instruments, all clotted with blood, but I couldn’t take my eyes off the jars: two of them, over half-filled. Blood isn’t just red, and it wasn’t all just blood. Blood is bright, and compellingly deep, like a ruby, I suppose, but I wasn’t reminded of gemstones then. Is there a biological hardwire for recognition of real blood? It was an obscenity. My heart races just in recalling the evidence of violence all over that cart, and all over me, the blood was also on me: on me, and in me. Here was the pain my mother had promised, and the death she hadn’t wanted to consider. The death was in the jars, and now it was in my soul, where it has stayed.

I tried to kill myself. I couldn't even look at a newborn for years. I still have trouble with it today (10 years later). I cry for my child. I love her and want her. I'm angry about the lies that were told to me. I'm angry with the government that continues to promote and protect these lies.

Friday, January 07, 2005


"Consumer Reports has become a shill for the culture of death." ~ Judie Brown, American Life League, in response to a post in EWTN's Q&A Forum (, in which the poster wrote the following:

URGENT! Calling all pro-life activists! Please forward to friends! On the eve of yet another March for Life, on the eve of yet another anniversary for the legalization of abortion in the United States, here comes the February 2005 volume of Consumer Reports magazine with a splendid overview of the "options" available to women these days for birth control and for getting rid of an unwanted pregnancy. Yes, CR has now determined that abortion and birth control are just more "services" that needs to be evaluated, so that just the right method might be promoted (all for the benefit of the common good of course). They have now blatantly argued that abortion is just another form of birth control (so much for legal, safe, and rare) to be used at will. But, now now, which to use? Chemical or surgical abortion? Which is easier on the woman? Here is the breakdown of the article (thanks to online source Briana for the overview): There are three distinct articles and one informational table.

1st - "Condoms Extra Protection" with a colour photograph of condoms (not packaged).

2nd - "Birth Control More & Safer Choices" which included a section subtitled "Help in Emergencies" which advises one on how to get the best results from the so-called "morning after pill".

3rd - A table titled "Your Comparative Guide to Contraceptives" which includes all forms of contraception. Though it inaccurately lumps all forms of Natural Family Planning into the category of "Rhythm Method" and inaccurately lists the failure rate as "1 - 9 % if used perfectly; 25% if used typically".

4th - A side bar article titled "Abortion Options" listing the comparative risks of drug induced abortions vs surgical abortion. Please, go to

and complain to Consumer Reports NOW about this offensive and misleading article!!

I did write to Consumer Reports to tell them I was appalled to hear they are reviewing abortion procedures as though this was a legitimate health option for women. I encourage everyone to do so.

Michelle has started a new pro-life website, Exposing the Truth About Abortion. Please visit the link at the sidebar and let her know you support her efforts.

In honor of my brother David, who is openly homosexual, I've added a sidebar link to PLAGAL, an excellent gay pro-life group. May we embrace all who love life, and remember we are all sinners and all one people.

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

If These Walls Could Talk, They Would Be More Honest

Yesterday I watched a movie entitled, “If These Walls Could Talk.” Two quick notes – if you’ve not seen it, and want to watch it, you’d best leave now. I will be giving away the plot. If you are a pro-life veteran, you already know everything there is to know about the film, I’m sure. I had never heard of it. Repression is a skill, and I am an expert after 25 years.

The film is done in three parts, each focusing on the residents of the same house over forty years – hence, the walls that could talk. The first is set in the fifties. A young widow, played by Demi Moore, has sexual intercourse with her younger brother-in-law while under the influence of grief and alcohol. She conceives as a result. Her in-laws are her only family and financial support. She cannot scandalize them by having the child. The vignette ends with her in a pool of her own blood after a kitchen-table abortion, phoning for help.

Part Two brings us to 1974, featuring a wife and mother played by Sissy Spacek. She already has four children. She’s going to college, and has aspirations to be a poet. A baby will require her to sacrifice her plans for herself, and possibly for her daughter, who wants to go away to college but will have to settle for a state university if another child is brought into the family. This ends with Spacek’s character opting to have the baby. Why? They don’t spell it out for me, and I guess I needed them to do just that.

The final part features Ann Heche in 1996 as a college student impregnated during an affair with one of her professors. This pregnancy will require her to give up – something, I’m not sure what. She wept over the mistake, questioning if she would have to be punished for it forever. The focus of this story is on the gamut the young woman had to run through protestors and sidewalk counselors to gain access to the abortion clinic. We come full circle in transparent symbolism to the young woman on the floor in a pool of blood, but this time it is the abortionist’s blood, because a nutcase got in and shot her – but only after the procedure was finished.

Why did I subject myself to this? There were enough details in the abortion procedures to make me physically ill, particularly in the final scenario when aspiration is used. They showed the jars, but they didn’t show their contents. In the first story, Demi Moore’s character is bloodied and there is a pail on the floor that suggests some horror, but it isn’t shown. And the sounds were simply untenable for me. I thought I would just climb out of my skin and round about the walls, until strangely enough, it began to hail outside. I live in the desert, and we’ve been in a ten-year drought. We don't get a lot of hail. But the pounding on the roof was a welcome filter with perfect timing.

Again, I ask myself why I wanted to watch it. I still don’t know whether its message was pro-life or pro-abortion, although if pushed, I would pick the latter. The second scenario, in which the woman chose to have her child, was weak. Her reasons for considering abortion were transparently petty. Why didn’t they present a scenario in which a woman sacrificed something important in order to choose to have the child? Spacek’s character did not have a life out of control. She was only unfulfilled in her self-absorption. Or why not show someone who made the same decision not to abort in spite of the fact that she had no husband, or home, or job, or other children?

The ending of the movie, with the blood and tears of the abortionist (played by Cher), was also puny as irony goes. It would have been honest, and the irony more dramatic and meaningful, to portray the post-abortive young woman of 1996 sitting in a pool of her own blood, unattended in an abortion mill where they run them through as quickly as possible to obtain the most profits. I’ve read a lot of testimony to this abortion experience. Full circle, folks – in some cases, we have sterilized the procedure, but the buckets of blood and gore are still kept hidden, out of sight – don’t look at it, it’s too awful to bear, even in a movie that purports to show us the truth. The people at Priests For Life (www. say the gruesome pictures they use to show people what abortion looks like are effective. I don’t know if I can agree, but they are more educated than I. I don’t need the pictures – they are already in my head and I can’t get rid of them.

Why do I read pro-abortion arguments and the testimony of active abortionists? So I can argue with phantoms in this forum? Most of my readers are probably already pro-life, so who am I trying to convince? Am I just trying to impress someone with my ability to put a few words together? If so, there’s a perfect example of a narcissistic and useless exercise in self-absorption.

I hope instead that I do it because I want people, especially post-abortive women who are in denial as I have been, to understand the title of this blog – abortion hurts. It solves no problems, cures no social evils, frees no persons from bondage to anyone or anything. There is not a post-abortive woman alive who, when she learned she was pregnant, can honestly say she did not have at least one split second of thinking of what would be. It is what drove you to the abortion mill. You had that moment, that thought, the insight – and the knowledge will destroy you in the long run if you do not face it. You may remain avidly pro-abortion your entire life as my mother did. But the knowing will be manifested in all you feel, think and do, even in the smallest things: a little more indifference to the suffering of others, perhaps; a little more reliance on chemicals, alcohol, maybe recreational drugs; a little less respect for your own sexuality. I would love to see the research because I would wager big money that many of you suffer from undiagnosed or somato-emotional illnesses – fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, on and on – illnesses so vague and difficult to diagnose that physicians argue over their very existence, but they are on the rise and they strike primarily at women.

I won’t impose suffering on you. I don’t have to. If I could believe you were actually here reading this, you probably would not recognize the truth, and would slip instantly back into denial in spite of my clumsy efforts. You might pity me, and wonder if there are many women like me (there are – they are you). But your repression will keep you from sites like mine. I am too strident. I compare you to Nazis and slaveholders. I am harsh. But I am exactly like you. I don’t want to punish you. I am not unkind or unsympathetic, or unaware of the problems that made you choose to abort. I want you to recognize the truth, and see the flimsy constructs that support the Great Lie of abortion – it has not been a help to us.

Like the Nazis, I killed to further my own interests. Like slaveholders, I made decisions about someone else’s life with callous disregard and impunity. I am just like them, and I am just like you, but I wear my misdeeds and their resulting wounds on the outside where you can see them while you keep yours hidden. But hidden wounds are still wounds, and there is no need for all of this hurt. I steep myself in your illogical arguments and pseudo-compassion because I have to know your delusions in order to penetrate them with the truth. Abortion hurts. Some mistakes cannot be undone, and the Great Lie of abortion is that they can be. I believe we can do better for ourselves as women, and as human beings. We can do much better than this, but we have to start by properly identifying what is wrong and then seek viable solutions that do not do more harm than good.

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

Testimony of an Abortionist

The abortionist, a woman with a medical degree (I cannot call her a health-care worker, since she, without care, subjects other women to a procedure that is physically, psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually unhealthy), says the following about her life’s work (

"Doing them over and over and over again can be really taxing. All of us who provide abortions believe in what we're doing and think it's a good thing and a right that needs to be available. But when you're in the clinic and in that group of people doing it, it can be tough, and you can get really tired. I don't think it'll ever make me stop doing terminations, but it can move people to tears. And it's not just me -- it extends to the nurses and the people who help us in the operating room. It's not unusual that you'll have only a couple of nurses who will help you out with it. There are nurses that will say, "No, I won't help you take care of this patient." I even know people who feel they can't tell their families what they do; their families think they work on labor and delivery."

Who feels bad when they are doing good? Do people who serve food to the poor have to force themselves to go to work, to get past all of the negative feelings helping the less-fortunate evokes? Should I seek counseling for the grief I must be repressing every Sunday when I drop a few dollars in the collection plate?

If it is so good, why do so many post-abortive women who were given legal and societal free rein to kill their unwanted children feel so bad? Back in the day, which is a long while for me, they used to call this “cognitive dissonance.” The truth of our behavior cannot be denied, so we adopt shaky belief systems to try to support what we have already done, to make it honest and make it right. But we fail – this is dissonance, when reality and what we want to believe do not harmonize.

Surely we forget world history, and dead persons are as unalive to us as the unborn.

Dare to compare:

Otto Ohlendorf was a young German intellectual who spent a year as chief of Einstazgruppe D. The Einsatz groups were ordered to follow the German combat troops in Nazi Germany to carry out one phase of the “final solution.” At his Nuremberg trial, Ohlendorf cooly testified that his group killed 90,000 men, women, and children in the year of his command. The disturbing consequences of committing themselves to this “work” were not completely lost on the man who oversaw the killings:

“Then they were shot, kneeling or standing, by firing squads in a military manner and the corpses thrown into the ditch. I never permitted the shooting by individuals, but ordered that several of the men should shoot at the same time in order to avoid direct personal responsibility. Other group leaders demanded that the victims lie down flat on the ground to be shot through the nape of the neck. I did not approve of these methods.”

“Why?” asked [the interrogater].

“Because,” replied Ohlendorf, “both for the victims and for those who carried out the executions, it was, psychologically, an immense burden to bear.”

It was a Dr. Becker who would help Ohlendorf with this problem by constructing the gas vans that would separate the men from their foul deeds. Still, the operators weren’t doing it properly, and people died of suffocation instead of gas poisoning, leaving corpses twisted in agony for the men to dispose of. This wasn’t enough, Becker said, to prevent “the immense psychological injuries and damage to their health which that work can have for these men. They complained to me about headaches which appeared after each unloading.”

In a “humanitarian” effort to reduce the stress felt by the men ordered to kill other human beings, Dr. Becker ordered a change in technique: “My directions now have proved that by correct adjustment of the levers death comes faster and the prisoners fall asleep peacefully. Distorted faces and excretions, such as could be seen before, are no longer noticed.”

Heinrich Himmler was so distressed about the reluctance of some medical staff to participate in experimentation, a euphemism for the torture and murder of innocent persons for the “good” of medical science, that he penned a memo insisting that non-Christian physicians be found who would act to further the cause of science without worrying about ethics, morals, responsibilities, cruelty or compassion. The social needs of the state, according to Himmler, vastly outweighed the needs of individuals.

Himmler successfully repressed his negative feelings, if he ever had them, and expressed no self-doubt or reluctance to carry out what he saw as his duty, his right, and his responsibility. But were Becker and Ohlendorf more compassionate simply because they were aware that killing these people was disturbing to the men who had to do it?

Read the lie in the abortionist’s own words:

"I have the utmost respect for life; I appreciate that life starts early in the womb, but also believe that I'm ending it for good reasons. Often I'm saving the woman, or I'm improving the lives of the other children in the family. I also believe that women have a life they have to consider. If a woman is working full-time, has one child already, and is barely getting by, having another child that would financially push her to go on public assistance is going to lessen the quality of her life. And it's also an issue for the child, if it would not have had a good life. Life's hard enough when you're wanted and everything's prepared for. So yes, I end life, but even when it's hard, it's for a good reason."

Oh, well. As long as you are ending lives for good reasons, please – carry on. You have many supporters in history, including the best minds Nazi Germany had to offer.

“Life is hard enough when you’re wanted and everything’s prepared for.” Darn, that’s true, isn’t it? Well, you will just have to kill us all. We will all suffer. We will all eventually die. It is so darned hard – why have any of it? Certainly, why should any impoverished child, particularly one born in the United States with its limited opportunities, be given any chance in life to rise from poverty? Kill us all and be done with it. For that matter, you sound a little sad yourself. You should be more careful to make sure we don’t think you are having an unhappy life after all.

Oh, wait – which ones of us will we kill? Some people will have to survive if only to kill the ones who will not be happy in life because of some monetary short-fall. We must prioritize, too. I have less money than George W. Bush. Oh, crap. Someone kill me already. But the illegal immigrants who work all over the Valley of the Sun where I live generally have less money than I – kill them first.

How many parents out there were completely prepared for the birth of their children? If you weren’t, please send them back to the abortionist. She will take care of the problem for you, and kill them. Or perhaps she should kill you, for daring to give birth without preparation and money. Shame on you. You should be exterminated.

Don’t bother to send money for the tsunami victims in Asia – many of them were poor by U.S. standards, and the poor cannot be happy; ergo, the poor should not have been alive in the first place.

Good heavens, kill all the single mothers immediately. That will take them off the welfare rosters. And since they had their children while in poverty, kill the children with them, or we will just be faced with more mouths to feed. Don't bother to ask them if they want to live, after all, since that will just confuse the issue with people who feel entitled to a life they cannot afford to sustain. It's a lot of people, but Himmler, Ohlendorf, Becker and others have paved the way for you, and left instructions for clean, efficient mass murders to take care of this problem.

While you are at it, release all of the women in prison who have killed their children after they were born. They were only exercising their right to be free of responsibility. By the same token, release all the men who killed their wives or girlfriends – including Scott Peterson. Why would you impose a prison sentence on him anyway? He was only exercising his own right to be free from the responsibilities of his choices. Of course, he stepped on your toes, Ms. Abortionist, and you were unable to collect any money from the death of his unborn son. Perhaps we should leave the extermination of unwanted life to the professionals.

While you are at it, take another page from the Nazi instruction manual, and sterilize all of the men who impregnated women without benefit of a credit check, bank statements, and personal wealth. They simply should not be allowed to do this! How can the state survive when we allow willy-nilly random reproduction and the growth of the poor population?

The next time you feel a little worn out, or even tearful, from mauling womb after womb, ripping apart child after child, and ruining life after life, Ms. Abortionist, open your version of a bible, and find reassurance that you are simply ending life for the good of society in these words:

“The...state...must see to it that only the healthy beget children; that there is only one disgrace: despite one’s own sickness and deficiencies, to bring children into the world; and one highest honor: to renounce doing so.”

~ Adolf Hitler, mass murderer and lunatic, Mein Kampf