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Abortion: What if We Started to Listen?

woman-depressionI came out of the abortion closet in 2008 and I sometimes deal with religious Pro-Lifers who consider that I have committed the unforgivable sin and who lecture me about the past (you were selfish, you should have kept your legs closed etc…).

I also deal with secular Pro-Choicers telling me I’m Pro-Life because I’m a “religious fanatic who wants to take away women’s rights and control their bodies“.

-Twitter conversation about reaching out to women who had an abortion:
Me: “Women need hope and healing after abortion #RachelsVineyardRetreat“.
Pro-Life user: “They need not to have abortions to begin with. Try abstinence
Me: “I can’t go back in time and undo the past. I can learn from my mistakes and help others.”
Pro-Life user: “That’s not a mistake, that’s a choice. Sorry choices have consequences.”

-Secular Pro-Choicer about my support of a Pro-Life bill on Facebook: “You cannot force me to give a kidney to my living child and you cannot force me to bring one to term. I’m not a vessel for your religious commitments. Full stop. I have rights which you cannot take away.”
Same Pro-Choicer, commenting on my essay about the satanic aspects of abortion (in which I indicate that I experienced Satan’s presence as an atheist): “Oh you ARE a fundamentalist who believes in supernatural things… that helps clarify your position.”

Do these people actually listen to women’s stories? Maybe they don’t have time to read and listen because in this age, everything has to go fast and conform to one’s culture and preconceived ideas.

It’s too bad they don’t see the women among us who struggle, who are not “reproductive rights” activists but had an abortion and need to know that they are not alone and that help is available.

Not everybody was raised with Conservative values or high moral standards and no one can change the past. We can only meet people where they are at, both those considering abortion and those who had abortions. Focusing on a person’s sins with a lack of empathy can discourage post-abortive women from seeking help and move them to rationalize their abortion and live in denial.

Jesus forgives and heals. However, there are always dates, sounds, smells and places that may trigger memories and symptoms. Three years ago, I had a mental break down as the 10th anniversary of my second abortion was approaching. The 20th anniversary of my first abortion is coming in January. Honestly, I don’t know how I will feel at that time but I know I have friends who will pray for me.

Abortion doesn’t end when we leave the clinic, it stays with us always and healing is a long process. It’s hard but it’s liberating to not lie to ourselves anymore. Abortion recovery programs help us to remember our abortion with less pain (in the words of a counselor on my Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat), but we can never forget.

Experiencing abortion is a lot different than “supporting choice”. Countless pro-life women had one or more abortions and have experienced regret, addictions and depression as secular women, even if some of them had a religious conversion years later.

As an atheist, I knew that abortion is humiliating, traumatizing, that it benefits immature men who use it against us. I had a conversion to the Catholic faith in recent years, but in the past, I admitted that abortion was evil; only, I was repeating to myself, “it’s a necessary evil,” to justify my abortions and to not completely lose my mind. But now I’m not afraid to say that abortion is an unnecessary evil. I named my aborted children Alicia and Gabriel and I was able to say goodbye and grieve, but nothing could bring them back.

Despite the mean comments and straw man arguments, I will continue to be a Pro-Life advocate because what is important is the pregnant woman who need information, support and alternatives to abortion. What is important is the post-abortive woman locked in her bathroom right now, crying and considering suicide. What these women need is not condemnation, not somebody defending a political “right to choose”. What they need is hope and love, not judgement and indifference.


Beatrice Fedor blogs at 400 Words for Women


  • Florence Sundberg

    I am really sorry you had to experience such cold and heartless attitudes – I believe that most who stand for life – the sacredness of all life – are compassionate and caring. You (and no one else) cannot judge yourself for what you have done in the past. God rejoices in your new beginning just as the father of the Prodigal son rejoiced in his son’s return…I am sure you will be able to help many because of your pain and suffering…may the Lord bless you with His peace and joy and hope now and always…

    • Béatrice Fedor

      Thank you Florence for your kind words. God Bless you.

      • Florence Sundberg

        Hello again, I wanted to tell you of an experience I had while I was studying in Italy some years ago. There was a student there from Sweden and we became good friends. Just before she left to return to Sweden, she told me she had something to share with me; she had had an abortion years before; she had gone to her mother to tell her she was pregnant and her mother suggested an abortion; her boyfriend wanted nothing to do with it. My friend was still grieving for her lost daughter. I told her that she could not judge herself with her present knowledge for something she had done years before, when she had no one to help her or advise her. She seemed relieved and the, sometime laster, she came to visit me in the States and I took her to a Benedictine Abbey where she stayed for a while, working on the land. One of the Nuns there met with my friend and asked her if she had named her baby – my friend hadn’t thought to do that–she did name her baby Sophia and that put something at peace within her because she felt connected to her daughter and knew her baby was not lost to her forever. I continue to pray for you and I am so grateful for your courage to witness to life…

        • Béatrice Fedor

          That’s a beautiful story Florence, naming our children is an important part of healing. I like the way you talk about judging oneself with our present knowledge. God Bless, Bea

  • TobiasRaphael1

    God’s grace brought you to search for the truth and to repentance.
    You obviously responded to His grace. The courage and good will to do that is admirable because admitting our sins can be the hardest thing to do in life.
    So, don’t let peoples comments get you down. God has done wonderful thihgs for you… and for this, we should all praise and thank God for His goodness to us.
    Blessed be God and God bless you Beatrice!

    • TobiasRaphael1

      I thought of one thing that might be helpful.
      An old Priest confessor of mine told me this when I was worried about sins I had already confessed. He said, “Sorry forever… worry never.”
      Meaning that we can be sorry for offending God by our sins for all eternity (because we love God) but once they are confessed and absolved, we should never worry about them being not forgiven (because that would offend God’s goodness and mercy). This is a tactic of the evil one to rob us of our trust in God. Don’t listen to him!