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By Jessica Francavilla

When I had the opportunity to speak at March for Life in Washington DC with the Silent No More Awareness campaign, I was looking forward to meeting with other post-abortive women. I knew I wasn’t alone in my experience, but this was my first time meeting a group of post-abortive women who all were working together to end the lies of the abortion industry in our country. I was surprised to find that we had such similar experiences after our abortions. Many of us were unable to maintain healthy relationships. Some turned to drugs or alcohol, and many experienced depression. There is a name for this; it’s PAS (Post-Abortive Syndrome), a form of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).

PAS occurs when the grieving process is not completed. The grief women may experience after an abortion is seldom recognized and is often repressed or denied. Because abortion is considered a voluntary act, a women’s grief after an abortion is often not understood or supported.

Some women experience PAS symptoms within months of the abortion. For others, the crisis occurs two to five years after the abortion – at the time the normal grieving process would have been completed. Sometimes women don’t experience PAS symptoms for ten, twenty, or thirty years because they are unable to deal with the deep emotions caused by the abortion. Here are typical symptoms of PAS:

Typical Symptoms of PAS
• Anxiety • Emotional pain
• Regret/Guilt • Nightmares
• Sadness/Sorrow • Anger/Rage
• Feelings of loss • Suicidal impulses
• Repeat abortions • Self-destructive behavior
• Desire for secrecy about abortion  

Sadly, each symptom on this list could be attributed to other circumstances. Women who have had an abortion are often dealing with stress in other areas of their lives or navigating unstable relationships that led to the abortion in the first place. It would be easy to attribute their post-abortion symptoms to those circumstances. Abortion is also associated with shame; it’s not easy for women to admit they have had one.

So how do we help post-abortive women? First, I encourage every church to partner with a local pregnancy resource center (PRC). Many PRCs have post-abortive resources available. Second, don’t be shy about addressing this issue with your congregation. Talk about how we the church can help to end abortion through prayer, volunteering, adoption, and supporting post-abortive healing.

For resources to help post-abortive women in your community, go to silentnomoreawareness.org where you can search for help by zip code. Listed below are other resources. Rather than attempting to address the myriad of issues post-abortive women face without the necessary tools, I encourage you to partner with one of these established programs:

Abortion Recovery Network
National hotline at 657-464-7071
www.abortionrecovery.org

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats
1-877-HOPE-4-ME
www.RachelsVineyard.org

Reveille Ministry

www.callforhope.org

SaveOne
615-347-8800
www.SaveOne.org

Heartbeat International/CareNet Pregnancy Centers
1-800-712-HELP
www.HeartbeatInternational.org
www.Care-Net.org

The National Helpline for Abortion Recovery
866-482-LIFE
www.NationalHelpline.org

Healing Hearts Ministries
1-505-355-6922
www.HealingHearts.org

Safe Haven Ministries

www.SafeHavenMinistries.org

Ramah International

www.RamahInternational.org

American Victims of Abortion
202-626-8800 x1

Surrendering the Secret
(an eight-week Bible study that offers fellowship and truth)
www.surrenderingthesecret.com

About The Author

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