About one third of pregnancies in Canada end in abortion. We don't really have good enough statistics to know how many women that represents, but obviously post-abortive women are a significant proportion of the population.
If you are a post-abortive woman, you are not alone. And if you have never been personally involved in an abortion, it's probable that you know and love people who have been.
Unfortunately, many people suffering regret or grief over an abortion feel isolated and unable to communicate that grief even to their loved ones. The resources on this page provide spiritual, emotional, and psychological help for those suffering from the pain of an abortion.
After Abortion -Post Abortion Grief
Elliot Institute - The web's most complete source of information on the after effects of abortion and post-abortion healing. They have over 500 hundred links to thousands of pages of original research, testimonies, articles, and resources. Most of these are drawn from articles and books published by the Elliot Institute, one of the United States' leading authorities on post-abortion issues.
Voices Who Mourn - Feminists for Life's publication for women who want to openly mourn their abortions.
Project Rachel is an international healing ministry to those who have been involved in an abortion. The program is sponsored by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Edmonton, but has counsellors from many faith backgrounds to assist you in your healing process.
Project Rachel Edmonton - (780) 424-4538
Project Rachel Lloydminster (780) 871-3584
N.B. Edmonton Prolife is not affiliated with Project Rachel. The information here is reproduced from their pamphlet, as they do not have a local website.
Have you or a loved one been hurt by an abortion experience?
Without a doubt, abortion is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can have.
Both before and after abortion, feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt, panic, and pressure are common - not only for the woman who undergoes the abortion but also for the father of the unborn child, the grandparents, close friends, and even medical personnel.
For some, the pain can be intensified by a sense of alienation from God and church.
If you are in this position you want you to know that the Christian community understands and cares. As ministers of the loving and forgiving Christ, we reach out to you in compassion and concern.
Above all, we want to help you through the healing process. Catholic Social Services, the Redemptorist Centre for Growth, and the Family Enrichment Centre invite you to participate in Project Rachel - a post-abortion program offered by certified counsellors and trained priests and ministers who are ready to help all who have been involved in an abortion.
About Project Rachel...
Project Rachel is a ministry of reconciliation and healing for women and men who have had a past abortion experience. It seeks to engage all whose lives have been touched by the loss of a child through abortion. For some, the choice of having an abortion has left them feeling that they are no longer welcome in their worshipping community, and are perhaps even beyond God's love and mercy. For others, having to live with the choices made by a loved one is a source of great pain, profound loss, or even anger. For many, abortion is a source of grief and regret. Project Rachel seeks to invite all those whose lives have been affected by abortion to a journey of healing and reconciliation with God and their church community.
What Can You Expect?
Project Rachel is a sensitive, private, and confidential experience.
It begins with a call to the Project Rachel confidential phone line. A staff member will then refer you to a certified counsellors and/or a member of the clergy in you area. For Catholics, the Sacrament of Reconciliation can be a powerful part of this healing journey.
Project Rachel provides an opportunity for you to receive the healing grace of God and to move forward in a caring and hope-filled atmosphere toward reconciliation - with yourself, your unborn child, your church, and your God.
To initiate your participation in Project Rachel, or get further information, call: (780) 424-4538
Symptoms of Post-Abortion Syndrome
Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion. Weekend retreats offer you a supportive, confidential and non-judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.
The Abortion Recovery Centre offers counselling for post-abortive women. The centre is an arm of the Pregnancy Care Centre which is a non profit, faith based organization.
"In order to address the specific needs of individuals impacted by their abortion experience, the Pregnancy Care Centre has responded to the need of these individuals by “creating” this new website and developing new materials for both individual and group settings."
Canada Silent No More is a national campaign of Post-Abortive women reaching out to other women who regret their abortions and have been hurt physically, emotionally or spiritually because of it.
If You've Just Had An Abortion. Some practical advice from an American post-abortion recovery organization. Covers basic medical issues, mood-improving diet and exercise suggestions, and how to cope with other people. Immediately after an abortion is not the time to resolve all your issues, but a time to take care of yourself so you are mentally and physically healthy enough in the future to do so.
Hope After Abortion -Project Rachel's Online Resources site, with stories of healing and spiritual resources. It's normal to grieve a pregnancy loss, including the loss of a child by abortion. It can form a hole in one's heart, a hole so deep that sometimes it seems nothing can fill the emptiness.You are not alone...
How To Talk To A Friend Who's Had An Abortion
"Almost everyone knows someone who’s had an abortion. Many people know someone personally who is suffering because of an abortion. If a friend confided in you tomorrow that she had an abortion, would you be able to respond in a way that brings her closer to healing?"
Healing After Abortion- Afterabortion.org's page on post-abortion healing. The most complete source of information on the web. After Abortion, 'Life after abortion: News, opinion, personal experience, resources' is to my knowledge the most welcoming, helpful site on the internet for both the post-abortive woman and the person who wishes to learn more about the hurt of abortion. It's a 'blog' (a frequently updated site where one can interact with others in discussion about the entries) run by two women who have had abortions. Its best aspect is that the webmistresses, Emily and Annie, maintain a peaceful, charitable atmosphere where no one is mocked or made to feel attacked.
Post-Abortion Healing For Men
The resources and organizations linked here all provide services for men as well as women, but this site specifically focuses on the special circumstances that surround a man's journey through post-abortion healing.
(And How To Find Them)
Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion
Theresa Burke with David C. Reardon
Forbidden Grief is a compelling, haunting review of Dr. Theresa Burke's experience in counselling hundreds of women for abortion-related emotional problems. Dr. Burke exposes the obstacles in the way of post-abortion healing, reviews the full range and depth of post-abortion adjustment problems, and illustrates how we can create a more understanding and healing society where women will no longer be required to hide their pain.
It's time to listen and help.
Learn the secrets that women who have had abortions tell only to their therapists, but want everyone to understand.
Understand how traumatic abortion experiences can be re-enacted through repeat pregnancies, multiple abortions, substance abuse, eating disorders, and broken relationships.
Discover how to help loved ones—or yourself—take the steps needed to find healing and joy.
Learn to Look Deeper.
Abortion causes conflict. It fragments political parties, churches, schools, and neighbourhoods. It divides families. Husband against wife. Mother against daughter. Sister against sister.
These conflicts reflect the discord that also occurs within individuals. After abortion, many women face a daily internal battle between condemning and defending themselves.
Psychotherapist Theresa Burke, Ph.D., has specialized in treating women struggling with post-abortion issues through individual counselling and group therapy sessions since 1986. Many of the women she treated had been rebuffed by other therapists who would not believe their abortions had caused such trauma. Others came to her because their family and friends refused to acknowledge the reality of their grief.
In Forbidden Grief, Dr. Burke explores the cultural and psychological obstacles to post-abortion healing. She examines why friends and families erect walls of silence around a loved one's grief and reveals how we can and should listen to those who are struggling with past abortions.
Drawing on the experience and insights of hundreds of her clients, Dr. Burke shows how repressed feelings may be acted out through self-destructive behavior, broken relationships, obsessions, eating disorders, parenting difficulties, and other emotional or behavioural problems.
Forbidden Grief also explains how to help loved ones, or yourself, simply by better understanding the nature and origin of unresolved abortion issues—and what steps will help you find healing. You'll also learn about the most up-to-date research on abortion problems, and the inside story of the fight within the psychiatric community over recognizing post-abortion trauma.
Read the introduction here. Theresa Burke is the founder of Rachel's Vineyard, an international organization that facilitates retreat weekends for post-abortive women. Check the Calendar of Events for the next Rachel's Vineyard retreat in Edmonton.
This book can be borrowed from the Edmonton Prolife office or through The Alberta Library Online.
Or you can buy it from the publisher. Ordering information here.
A Solitary Sorrow: Finding Healing & Wholeness After Abortion
Teri and Dr. Paul Reisser
Review first published in the Post Abortion Review:
This book addresses the issue of post-abortion trauma in a clear, easy-to-read, and yet compelling fashion. Terri Reisser, a marriage and family therapist who has counseled many post-abortive women, has written a book that not only tackles the topic of post-abortion healing but also explores issues like the symptoms of post-abortion trauma and the social stigma surrounding abortion itself. Her thorough treatment of these issue makes this book an invaluable resource for post-abortive women seeking to understand and overcome their pain.
A Solitary Sorrow is divided into two parts. Part one explains post-abortion trauma and why it is so difficult to find healing. Reisser explains the symptoms of post-abortion trauma and the five stages of grieving that most women face after abortion. She describes what happens when a woman gets "trapped" in one stage of this process, such as denial or numbing, and why it is important to resolve and move beyond it.
In the second part, "The Healing Journey," Reisser illustrates the healing process by taking us through what would be a typical course followed by one of her support groups. In order to give readers a better understanding of this process, Reisser drew on the experiences of four women from her groups, recording their reflections and reactions at each stage of the healing process. Each chapter in this section covers various issues tackled in the group, such as facing a past abortion, dealing with guilt and forgiveness, releasing anger, mourning one's loss and finally, moving on from the abortion.
The"Moving On" chapter includes a list of questions to help the woman in post-abortion counselling identify and evaluate the work she has accomplished so that she will be better able to understand where she is in her healing journey. This chapter also offers insight on how to deal with recurring memories or negative emotions that might crop up even after one has "achieved" post-abortion healing. Reisser reassures women that post-abortion healing is an ongoing process and that such feelings are normal and can be handled.
Other issues addressed in the book are post-abortion healing for teens, the effects of abortion on marriages, and issues related to deciding how and when to tell loved ones about a past-abortion. Especially welcome is a section on how to help a friend or loved one who has had an abortion but is unable or unwilling to talk about it.
A Solitary Sorrow is not a complete post-abortion "workbook," and those who are struggling with unresolved post-abortion issues should contact one of the ministries listed in the appendix for further counselling. However, this thoughtful and sensitive book will help women better understand their post-abortion pain and encourage them to break the silence about their "solitary sorrow."
Review originally published in The Post-Abortion Review, Vol. 9, No. 2, April-June 2001. Copyright 2001, Elliot Institute. The Elliot Institute is the web's most complete source of information on the aftereffects of abortion and post-abortion healing.
This book can be borrowed from the Edmonton Prolife office.
Or you can buy it from Amazon by following this link.
Forgiven of Murder: A True Story
Denise Mountenay has some powerfully heartfelt things to say about abortion. Raped at the tender age of 13, she fell into a life of alcohol and drug abuse. And she used abortion as a form of birth control. When the miracle of Christ presented itself to her, Mountenay's life changed forever. Forgiven of Murder...A True Story recounts her epiphany and the inner peace and strength it has brought her. Not simply for pro-lifers, this book is a must read for anyone involved in the abortion debate or considering abortion.
“Passion is a compelling and beautiful quality in story telling. ‘FORGIVEN of murder’ is packed with passion and it holds an important vision. Denise’s true life drama of being on the front lines of the abortion debate is authentic and gripping. An important book to understand the dilemma of choice and the future of the unborn.” Lorna Dueck Host of 100 Huntley Street and Listen Up TV.
“Denise’s book, ‘Forgiven of murder...A True Story’ is a transparent account of Denise’s own struggles with abortion in the past and a convincing argument for the cause against abortion." Dick & Joan Dewert, Founders/President of The Miracle Channel.
This book can be borrowed from the Edmonton Prolife Office, or the University of Alberta Libraries.
Or you can buy it from Amazon by following this link.
Aborted Women: Silent No More
David C. Reardon
A comprehensive review of the aftereffects of abortion, this book documents:
The physical aftereffects of abortion
The psychological aftereffects of abortion
Characteristics of high-risk abortion patients
Post-abortion conversion and reconciliation patterns
Complete testimonies of 20 aborted women
A detailed national survey of 252 aborted women
It is a definitive work. Focus On The Family's CITIZEN magazine calls it the "standard reference book on post-abortion problems." Booklist, the professional librarian's buying guide, rates it "highly recommended." Librarian's World recommends it as "an excellent resource recommended for all libraries." Pro-life reviewers are even less restrained:
"Deeply researched...powerful analysis...thoroughly readable." - Fidelity
"Moving, thoughtful, and informative." - Rev. Richard John Neuhaus, Author
"An exposé of the unscrupulous abortion merchants."- Cal Thomas, syndicated columnist
"Cuts through platitudes...gives exploited women a voice."- National Catholic Reporter
"Do yourself a favor and buy this book."- Dr. Wanda Franz, President, National Right to Life
"Well-written, informative, powerful and in the end hopeful." - Voices in the Wilderness
Also recommended is David Reardon's Elliot Institute site, the web's most complete source of information on the aftereffects of abortion and post-abortion healing.
Or you can buy it from Amazon by following this link.