#1in3Speaks Increasing Abortion’s Stigma
“No one will ever have to know you were pregnant,” the orderly at my abortion clinic outlined dryly. “You can go on with your life as if nothing ever happened!”
I absorbed her comments, working to believe her. She “sold” my abortion as something that would protect the secret of my lost virginity and unplanned pregnancy. If I was going to endure a surgical procedure to protect this secret, why would I ever want to talk about it afterwards? Privacy was my main concern at that clinic.
Hoping to impact the unique stigma surrounding a past abortion choice, abortion activists are now working to get women to share their abortion stories to defend the work of Planned Parenthood. They’ve even set up a special day and time for women to speak out this week on November 20th from 1-9 EST.
Whether through #shoutyourabortion or #1in3speaks social media campaigns, the primary confessors are those who are in the “relief phase” of this pain. Many simply haven’t lived long enough with this choice to understand how the passage of time can change naïve perspectives.
It took many years for me to understand that I was sold a lie by the abortion industry. There were many other fabrications that I embraced about abortion then. These included, but were not limited to:
- Your life will be better because of this safe and legal choice!
- No one need ever know about this pregnancy and you can just go on with your life as if nothing happened.
- You clearly are not in a position to bring a baby into the world without support – you are doing your child a favor in making this abortion decision.
- Remember that it’s not a baby but just a blob of tissue.
- Your parents would want you to do this if they knew you were pregnant. You don’t need to involve them in this decision.
My own misunderstood internal condemnation of my actions kept me in a silent prison of pain secured for many years. After my horrific surgical abortion procedure, done without benefit of anesthesia, I became a completely different person. Abortion PTSD’s impact began instantly.
My first decree about my future in leaving that abortion clinic was that no one would ever discover my abortion truth. I believed that I could actually forget it ever happened! It didn’t take more than a day to learn that ignoring this choice was impossible for my tender heart.
For the first three weeks after my abortion, I had the hand-prints of my child’s abortionist on my upper thighs in bruise form to remind me. He had to hold me down using great force because I physically fought the pain of their suction machine vacuuming the inside of my uterus.
I didn’t expect sorrow on the week that my child would have been born. Sadly, the third week in March of 1982 was filled with unknown grief and tears. I thought I was going crazy and could not bring myself to believe my child’s death had anything to do with my heartbreak. My body was responding by mourning but my head was believing I had lost my sanity.
For eleven long years I worked to convince myself that my abortion didn’t impact my life negatively. Silent signs of post-abortion pain were discredited and ignored. Even speaking or hearing the word “abortion” caused me to become anxious and upset. Thankfully, a spiritually-based abortion recovery program removed abortion’s stigma from my heart in 1992, providing healing to help share my story to encourage others to make a better choice.
Silence speaks volumes in the case of a past abortion. If abortion is so common that one in three of all American women have experienced it, why is it that no one ever shares this secret?
Perhaps the greatest element preventing individuals from sharing their abortion secret is the fear that their confessions will lead to judgment and rejection from loved ones and society. These unhealed hearts sit in silent prisons of pain longing for spiritual, psychological, emotional, and even physical release.
Sharing an abortion story rarely improves the post-abortive experience. As young women take the bait and broadcast their abortion stories to the general public, society’s judgmental side will ramp up in the opposite extreme. The stigma of abortion will likely be enhanced with every “post-abortive and proud” story-line. The resulting ire developed among society with these proud women will likely increase of humiliation and shame in the hearts of women who regret their abortions. That’s why it’s important that we reach out to these hearts with Godly compassion and mercy.
The next time you are vocal about abortion, please prayerfully consider those around you who may have chosen abortion. God wants to use us to reach abortion’s wounded hearts as well as educate on this topic. It’s easy to do both! Either avoid two words – murder and kill – or follow them with overt compassion for the post-abortive listener! You never know who is listening!
Sydna Masse is President and Founder of Ramah International and author of the book, Her Choice to Heal: Finding Spiritual and Emotional Peace After Abortion