62 Days of Life: What is Post-Abortive Ministry?
Tragically, most in the pro-abortion movement refuse to believe (or acknowledge the evidence) that there are psychological scars from having an abortion. Abortion is likely one of the most traumatic experiences anyone can have. As the Catholic Diocese of Charleston puts it:
“Both before and after abortion, feelings of fear, anxiety, guilt, panic and pressure are common–not only for the woman who experiences the abortion, but also for the father of the unborn child, the grandparents, brothers and sisters, close friends, even medical personnel involved with the abortion. People from a broad variety of religious affiliations (or with none) may experience some or all of these feelings.”
A few years back I was hosting a “Townhall Meeting” panel at the Values Voters Summit with some Members of Congress including Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ). An older woman stood up (in front of not only the sitting audience but also an audience of CSPAN watchers) and gave testimony on how she had experienced multiple abortions and how she believes the aftereffects of those abortions led her to drinking and drugs. It was a very public and emotional scene and the Members of Congress on the panel showed tremendous compassion for that woman. However it was what happened afterwards that finally made me break down in tears. Immediately following the panel breaking up I witnessed Rep. Smith turn to one of his staffers and say “find me that woman.” I was then able to witness Rep. Smith and his wife privately (no cameras and no constituents) consoling that woman and talking to her of places she can get help.
Rep. Smith is not alone among the pro-life and pro-woman community in seeking out to help post-abortive women who are seeking for someone to talk to about their very real pain and loss. For the Catholic Church, the umbrella outreach to those who have been affected by abortion is called Project Rachel, taken from the scripture:
“Rachel mourns for her children; she refuses to be consoled because her children are no more. Thus says the Lord: Cease your cries of mourning. Wipe the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shall have its rewards. There is hope for your future.” – Jeremiah 31:15-17
When it comes to this outreach there can’t be a “one size fits all” approach. I agree with Ashley in her blog as she states her assumption “that reactions to individual abortions [are] as diverse as the women having them.” Earlier this month the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops reemphasized and solidified their support for Project Rachel by approving the hiring of its first full-time staff member for Project Rachel.
While Project Rachel is open to those of any (or no) faith – there are also other similar post-abortive projects that are outside of the Catholic Church. Two such ministries are PACE (Post Abortion Peer Counseling & Education), which is under the CareNet umbrella, and “PATH” (Post Abortion Treatment and Healing.)
We live in a society where very few can say they have not been touched by abortion. Know you are never alone.