March Event-in-a-Box: Healing After Abortion:On January 19, 2018, I participated in my first March for Life. For as many times as I have shared my story publicly, spoken to post-abortive and abortion-determined women privately, and vocally professed my pro-life stance; I woke up on January 19 with a very heavy heart. It was a gut feeling that I can’t really describe. I’ve participated in a breast cancer walk, Alzheimer’s walk, and Autism Awareness 5Ks, because they have held some type of significant meaning to me. The March for Life not only held a significant meaning to me, but also a reminder. A reminder of the worst day of my life.
October 5, 2011, I walked into an abortion facility and took the life of my first child. This sentence, even 6 ½ years later, still stings. I have shared the circumstances surrounding that day many times. I walked into that facility thinking that “choice” was my only answer, but I walked out broken, hurt, and misguided. Not only did my unborn child die that day, but a part of myself died that day too.
Years of heartache went by filled with more broken relationships. A need to have alcohol in my hand, a man paying attention to me, and a busy social calendar were what controlled my life. That’s where I found my identity in the years following my abortion. My friends just thought I was doing what any mid-twenty-year-old woman would do in Dallas. However, no one around me knew the grief that I still held onto that I was trying to suppress with my nights out. The flashbacks that would still find their way into my head, the memories of that October day that would randomly resurface at any given moment. And the number of times I would fight back tears at the slightest thought of the “what-ifs.” After all, society had told me that I didn’t need to grieve my abortion. Nurses told me that it wasn’t a baby. My boyfriend convinced me that “it just wasn’t a good time right now.” So why was I hurting?
One morning, after another night out, I found myself sobbing alone in my apartment. I couldn’t live this way anymore. I couldn’t live with the pain of never feeling good enough, of feeling broken and lost. I was tired of hurting and knew that I needed to return to the one thing that I had given up on. I began attending a church in Dallas, TX, that advertised post-abortive recovery for women. I fought to convince myself I didn’t need it and I walked into the first session very half-heartedly.
Post-abortive recovery changed my life. It began the process of healing a wound that that never would have healed on its own. It was the hardest 12 weeks I’ve had to endure, but I would do it all over again. That piece of me that I felt had died was restored. My mom has even said that post-abortive recovery “brought her girl back.” And now, two years after completing recovery, I’ve been called to work in the pro-life movement. I’ve been purposed for this mission to rescue the preborn and help women from the devastation that I faced.
To post-abortive women:
I get it. I know the circumstances you were facing. I understand the thoughts that may have been going through your head that day. I understand the fear of the unknown you faced as you walked through the doors that day. And I also understand your hurt, even the hurt that you don’t think you have.
I hope that I can be a beacon of hope to you. I hope that my story shows you that even though society is telling you to keep quiet and not to worry about that day, I hope I can show you that you don’t need to keep quiet. I want you to see that it is okay to grieve the child you lost and there is hope beyond that grief. I want to show you that you are worthy of healing. You are worthy of love. You are worthy of freedom from regret and those memories. There’s grace waiting for you beyond your regret. I will hold your hand as you take that first step, and there are so many other women I have met that are ready to help and love you.
I’ve met women that have suffered multiple abortions, including women that didn’t seek healing until they were in their 60’s from an abortion that happened in their teens. You are not alone in this, you have a sisterhood standing behind you and will walk with you the whole way.
Helping the post-abortive woman
The post-abortive woman needs just as much love as the woman who chose life. The post-abortive woman is fighting psychological battles that she may not know how to communicate. Just like a woman facing a crisis pregnancy needs compassion and a team to stand up for her, a post-abortive woman needs to feel love and support, not shame. Society tells post-abortive women to keep quiet, so she is forced to fight the battles alone.
Read this for more information on mental and emotional side effects of abortion
3 points in communicating:
Avoid sharing statistics. Statistics are not going to give her the compassion she is yearning for. What she wants from you is a listening ear and possibly a shoulder to cry on. This woman is wanting you to listen to her story and meet her where she’s at mentally and emotionally without a shade of shame or judgement.
Build her trust. I’ve met women that sought abortion after some heart-breaking circumstances. I’m friends with women who have had multiple abortions and their stories are very traumatic. She doesn’t want you to act shocked by her story or surprised. She might confuse that with judgement. Communicate to her how sorry you for her loss. This will build the bridge to referring her to healing.
Finally, compassionately and delicately offer her resources for healing. Whether that is a healing program, or someone like myself that has been there and can just go have coffee with her. I have had the joy of mentoring girls through the same recovery program that I went through, and it all began over coffee (or Chinese food-I will accept either).
On January 19, 2018, I Marched for Life. I marched with my head held high. I marched for my child, I marched for the many children that have been lost to the devastation of abortion. I marched for the post-abortive women that still carry their grief. I marched to end abortion.
At the end of the day, I believe Grace wins. I believe in the power of forgiveness. I believe that we all have a story to tell and a cross to bear. I take up my cross daily with my platform in the pro-life movement. If you or someone you know would like to talk about their post-abortive regret or have questions on where to go for help, please feel free to contact me- I will sit and be an ear to listen or a shoulder to cry on. I’ve been there too. If my story can save one woman, one child, one life- that one woman or one child, can save others. That is my purpose.
See the full video of my story and more information on post-abortive recovery.
March 2018 Event in a Box
If you can’t tell, we are focusing on the topic of Post-Abortive Healing and Recovery for the month of March.
We have included several types of outreach material that you can use on your campus.
Campus and Group Activities:
Speaker flyer- host a speaker on your campus for your group meetings or have a speaking event
Ally is the National Programs Coordinator for SFLA and has spoken at many events and churches
Tina, Executive Vice President of Students for Life of America, has volunteered with Rachel’s Vineyard for 7 years and uses her experience there to speak on post-abortive healing
Use the brochures included to reach out to the organizations for speakers
Brochures and postcards-make copies if needed
Use these as resources to give to women on your campus
Ask if you can leave some in the campus clinic
Leave some in your campus counseling office
Leave some in your campus ministry office
Reach out to local post-abortive organizations for speakers and materials
Big pro-life free speech win at the University of South Alabama!
Great news for free speech, specifically pro-life speech, on college campuses! Students for Life of America’s University of South Alabama campus group, along with Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys, have reached a legal settlement in a lawsuit that has increased the amount of the University of South Alabama campus that is open to free speech from less than one percent to the vast majority of campus.
Also, the settlement ensures that the university’s policies will be applied the same way to all student groups and prevents university officials from censoring pro-life speech based on its message.
This is a big win for pro-lifers on college campuses and hopefully this settlement will be a blueprint for other similar cases down the road.
The university had relegated Students for Life USA’s pro-life display – a Cemetery of the Innocents – to a small speech zone on campus because it deemed the event “controversial.” Under the university’s policies, students had to obtain a permit 72 hours in advance if they wanted to use any area outside of that zone. In 2014, ADF attorneys filed the suitStudents for Life USA v. Waldrop in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama on behalf of the student group.
“Universities are meant to be beacons for the free exchange of ideas. Sadly, they have too frequently become safe spaces to babysit kids who may be offended by a particular point of view,” said Students for Life of America President Kristan Hawkins. “We are pleased that the University of South Alabama will now allow its students to hear different viewpoints instead of protecting them from real-world discourse. Hopefully, other institutions of higher education will follow suit.”
In October 2013 and again in February 2014, Students for Life USA requested permission to a hold a “Cemetery of Innocents” event, which consists of students placing small crosses in the ground to represent the innocent lives lost to abortion. University officials denied the request and said it would need to be held in the campus’s speech zone, even though other groups had exercised free speech on other portions of the campus. At the time, the speech zone comprised less than one percent of the college’s main campus.
When Students for Life USA initially requested permission to set up the display in October 2013, the administration restricted them to the campus free-speech zone at the Student Center, which totaled about 1 percent of the campus. The group argued the restriction severely limited the display’s impact. Campus policy at the time required student groups to request permission to use the free-speech zone three days prior to the event. According to the complaint, campus policy gave “unbridled discretion” to grant or deny student requests to the vice president of Student Affairs, John Smith, and the dean of students, Michael Mitchell. “These grants … created a system in which speech was reviewed without any standards, thus giving students no way to prove that a denial, restriction, or relocation of their speech was based on unconstitutional considerations,” the complaint stated.
The university then changed its policy to allow student speech throughout most of the outdoor areas of campus, but it selectively prohibited students from engaging in free speech in areas that are visible from the roads bordering campus. The settlement ensures that this policy will be enforced in an even-handed way and that university officials do not have broad discretion to ban free speech based on its content or point of view. It also includes a financial settlement benefiting Students for Life USA.
“Public universities should encourage free speech, not shut it down or quarantine it to one small spot on campus,” said ADF Senior Counsel David Hacker. “This lawsuit has ensured that University of South Alabama students can enjoy the ‘marketplace of ideas’ that a public university is supposed to be.”