by Maria Vitale Gallagher
LifeNews.com Staff Writer
May 30, 2005
Oakland, CA (LifeNews.com) — A new movement is gaining ground within pro-abortion ranks to acknowledge the feelings many women experience after undergoing abortion. Still, the movement stops short of recognizing that abortion is psychologically damaging to women.
In June, pro-abortion activists plan to go national with an abortion talk line established in the California Bay Area in the year 2000. The project, known as Exhale, carefully avoids terms such as “feminist" or “pro-choice," even though it represents both.
The talk line currently receives about 60 calls a month — ten percent of them from men. “We didn’t know if we’d ever get a call," pro-abortion activist Aspen Baker told Connecticut’s Fairfield County Weekly. "But we got our first call the second night. It was from a father who wanted to know how to support his daughter."
Baker told the newspaper she herself experienced sadness and confusion after undergoing her own abortion.
"I thought I’d never have an abortion–and now I had," Baker told the Fairfield County Weekly. "I questioned my moral beliefs as a human rights activist. I didn’t believe in the death penalty. I felt bad about the boyfriend, who had gotten back with his ex."
The talk line appears to be part of a shifting strategy by the pro-abortion movement, from a hard-line stand to a more moderate tone.
For instance, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton, a vocal supporter of abortion rights, said this past January that abortion can be “tragic" for some women. While some pro-abortion forces accused Clinton of backpedaling, others see her as simply attempting a change in rhetoric.
In some circles, this change in attitude is being described as an effort to “listen to women’s stories."
For instance, Peg Johnston, who opened an abortion facility in Binghamton, New York in 1981, says that women seeking abortion are struggling with the value of life and how to do the right thing.
Speaking of her own clients, Johnston told the Fairfield County Weekly, “Frequently they were already mothers and they knew a time when, at that same stage of pregnancy, they had welcomed the life and felt like it was their baby. They weren’t mouthing an anti-choice message—they were acknowledging that this was serious stuff. How can I want one kid and not the other?"
In some abortion facilities, women who come for abortions are urged to write down their thoughts in journals provided by the staff. In some cases, women are offered the chance to view their dead unborn babies after abortions have been performed. Such efforts are attempts to appease women and to recognize their feelings about abortion.
As pro-abortion writer Jennifer Baumgardner wrote in the Fairfield County Weekly, “It is a critical moment to acknowledge this, since supporters of abortion rights have been losing ground, while President Bush been commending the pro-life supporters on their respect for life."
"The threat that legal abortion could be overturned has animated most strategic discussions of choice for the past three decades," Baumgardner, creator of the controversial "I had an abortion" t-shirts, added.
Yet, despite their new rhetoric, pro-abortion activists continue to refuse to recognize the serious harm abortion does to women. As a result, efforts by pro-abortion organizations to counsel post-abortive women stand in stark contrast to groups such as Rachel’s Vineyard, which provides healing and hope to women suffering from the aftermath of abortion.
As stated on its website, Rachel’s Vineyard, “is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion." It provides solace to women who have experienced post-abortion trauma, the symptoms of which can include anxiety and panic attacks, flashbacks, suicidal urges, and nightmares.
Take for instance the story of Connie, who came to Rachel’s Vineyard after a suicide attempt.
“With quiet deliberation, I took my handgun from under my pillow, checking to make sure the clip was loaded. I chambered a round, walked into my living room, sat in a chair, put the gun to my head and pulled the trigger. To this day, I cannot think why the gun did not fire. I had always kept it in perfect working order," Connie wrote.
In Rachel’s Vineyard, Connie found the peace of mind she was searching for.
“I cannot describe the healing I have received from being present at that wonderful retreat. Thanks to Rachel’s Vineyard retreat I can look in a mirror without hating the reflection I used to see," Connie wrote.
Or consider these reflections from a woman named Mary:
“I was scared to death to attend Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. I was so leery about attending that I made my friend drop me off and take my car so that I wouldn’t be able to leave if I wanted to. What I experienced that weekend is hard to put into words. I went through so many different feelings in three short days but I did not go through anything alone that weekend. There was always someone there with a hug or the words I needed to hear."
Related web sites:
Rachel’s Vineyard – https://www.rachelsvineyard.org