Redeeming GriefHave you heard about the trauma and grief abortion has caused women?

When you grasp its reality, you’ll realise this is not just another intellectual debate.

It distresses me, so so much. Encountering angry, post-abortive women who protest that "Thou Shall Not Mess With Women’s reproductive Rights – Fallopians 4:28”…can send me into tears.

It distresses me that women are taught to fight for their dignity in this false way.

I feel helpless for them. I want to say, sister, no, no, noooo…

But how do you relate to someone who is adamant that they are correct?

Especially when you can see – they are suffering…

Have you known any couples? The sheer joy they shared with the world when they finally conceived, had their first child? If you have your own child, do you remember how that is like? Do you remember?

Have you also known couples – women, who miscarried, and their babies died? Did you feel the sorrow they felt? Do you know how that is like?

Remember the emotions? They are etched into our human psyche.

Now think about post-abortive women. They are denied this grieving…and taught to fight for their “rights” to remove “a clump of cells”.

In Redeeming Grief, Anne Lastman says:

Beginning with a society that has decreed that abortion is acceptable and is "the choice of the woman" the same society then proceeds to build and maintain social taboos about this procedure. This leads to a collective silence. Into this silence enters the abortive woman who must then live according to the rules, which govern the society with its taboos. That is, she acquiesces to the hiddenness of her abortion and so must remain silent about any emotions that she may experience about the event.

Because the abortion has been her "choice" alone, or her "choice" with the assistance or coercion of others close to her, it is believed that there should not be any grief associated with the experience. Therefore no grief will be experienced or grief-work required. This is not so. Abortion is a death experience. A death has occurred. A violent death has taken place and a life has been summarily terminated. In actual fact two deaths occur when an abortion is carried out: the death of the infant and the death of the woman’s primal innocence. Two losses have been sustained and must be dealt with as losses, especially if the woman is to retain her emotional and mental health.

Where there is no grieving the unexpressed grief can paralyse, because it remains unresolved, unacknowledged, leading to psychological impairment. We must clearly understand this because from research we know that denial and suppression are two features most prominent in post abortive women. Unresolved grief has been suppressed grief and the result of suppressed grief is mental pain.

By denying and suppressing any emotions a woman has about her abortion, the woman (at times man also) sets into place defence mechanisms guaranteed to protect her from intrusive thoughts which she knows intuitively are too painful to bear. Intrusive thoughts about "baby" have the potential to destroy her "psychological equilibrium". The woman knows that she is unable to cope with the notion that what she aborted was her infant; therefore for her (she considers) it is better to not think about this at all.

How does the grief show up?

Abortion trauma and grief does not start the moment the woman leaves the abortion clinic. It can start any time, even beginning during the decision making process prior to the abortion, or at any time from then on, even as much as forty or fifty years later. Counselling begins after the pain, the memories an especially the guilt becomes too great and the woman seeks help, love and understanding. Post abortion grief, trauma, psychosis, leading to breakdown may begin with a simple trigger in her day to day life. A word, a smell, a sound, a song, a face, a baby, a young woman, a pram.

Post abortion counselling does not lessen the seriousness of abortion nor does it negate the sinfulness of the abortion. Its aim is to help the woman to return to a place of peace.

A warning for us today:

Past societies have at times practised euthanasia and abortion, and in primitive cultures even infanticide (when it was felt there was a need because of shortage of food), but no society or culture has practised these to the extent that it is done today, and further, no society has practised these because of a hatred of children, a love of self, and a belief that it is a "good" and a "right". A new attitude has arisen which sees nothing sacred in life. It is a frightening vision of a future culture where all, except the "appropriate", will be disposed of without emotion.

On fatherhood (which the reproductive rights movement tends to downplay), Anne writes:

Fatherhood in its truest sense means reproduction or an extension of oneself in body but above all in spirit. We have a clear image of this in the Genesis story of creation. God moulds, shapes, and breathes life into the newly fashioned figure.

Modern understanding of fatherhood fails to capture the importance of the bond between God and man and man and child. There is transference of something dynamic in the transference of a father’s essence into his son or daughter. The moral, physical and spiritual bond and the acceptance of this bond make the human being very different from the other created species.

Here’s why you should read Anne’s book:

The book Redeeming Grief reveals abortion as a trauma which at times is linked with other traumas that even today are dismissed; and pro-choice lobbies continue to deny the fact. Thanks to the true stories of more than 1,500 women counselled by Anne Lastman for post-abortion distress and presented in her book, this is revealed. Through the pain of unborn babies and the pain of their mothers – and of all involved people – healing and redemption are possible. Redeeming Grief outlines why this grief is a good and redeeming grief. – Benedetta Foà, Psychologist and post-abortion counsellor, Italy

Perhaps, you are thinking, “This is so far removed  from my life. As long as I don’t abort or don’t ask my partner to abort children, that’s fine, this has nothing to do with me.”

That is not true. In many places your money (taxes) is being spent on facilitating terminations (there’s currently a bill in Australia to stop Medicare funding for sex-selective abortions – it’s a good bill to support). Whether you take any proactive action – at the very least, you need to be able to make a clear judgement: it is wrong to take an innocent life.

Many people are losing clarity, the waters are getting murkier. But it is simple: the baby dies. The woman suffers. The vast majority of abortions are performed for “mental health” or psychosocial reasons – another way of saying “the baby is inconvenient”. The hard cases (rape, incest) are very few and far between. Late-term abortions are increasing. Our world is losing respect for life.