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Posts Tagged ‘Danish study’

Twenty five of my friends, relatives, or acquaintances have had an abortion.  Of the 25, 18 are Lutheran.  Two are wives of pastors.  At least three have had more than one abortion.  These are just the women who have told me.

Each one of these women have said, “Please warn other women: Abortion hurts.  It hurts a long time.  It affects other choices, relationships and families.”

Recently, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) printed a Danish study that concludes there is not a statistically significant difference in mental health issues in women before and after an abortion.  Grace Kern, Executive Director of Word of Hope, writes, “This study is flawed and presents a view that is not at all consistent with more than 30 studies that have been published in recent years showing abortion does increase the risk for a variety of mental health issues.”  Grace Kern and I have worked together.  She has spent what seems like a lifetime caring for women who suffer from depression, perpetual anger, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders,  and thoughts of suicide following their abortion choice.  She is called by women serving time in prison who point to the anniversary of their abortions as a “trigger” for some other kind of violence.

My life has been affected by the women who’ve shared with me their spiritual and psychological trauma from abortion.  In part, the little ministry of Titus 2 for Life (the mentoring outreach of Word of Hope) came into being because of these women.   The very least I can do is help other women — those who may feel trapped between a rock and a hard place — be informed about the very real, long-term risks and consequences of abortion.  It would be heartless of me to withhold truth and a word of warning for a younger generation of women.

Grace explains that one of the biggest flaws in the Danish study is it’s duration.  “It only followed women for 12 months after their abortion or childbirth . . . [but] negative effects of abortion may not surface for many years.

“The death of a child,” says Grace, “is perhaps the most difficult loss to mourn.”  It is for this reason that nurses, doctors, social workers and clergy are encouraged to be sensitive to hurting parents.  With the death of a premature baby, a stillborn child, or a miscarriage, parents are attended to and even encouraged to name and hold their dead baby.

“Every woman who has an induced (unnatural) abortion also suffers the death of her own child,” says Grace.  “Yet, these women typically find themselves alone to cope not only with the loss of the child she will never know, she also has to deal with her feelings of personal responsibility in the child’s death.  She may have difficulty understanding how, on one hand, she feels relief that she is no longer pregnant but, on the other hand, feels a profound sense of loss and emptiness.”

Following an abortion, the woman may feel such relief that she seems cheerful and “o.k.” with what’s happened, but doesn’t want to talk about it.  As feelings of relief subside, a period labeled by psychiatrists as emotional “paralysis” or post-abortion “numbness” sets in.  “This may explain why research into the psychological impact of abortion in the immediate post-abortion period often yields negative results,” says Grace.

The Danish study does not consider the long-term impact of abortion.  Nor, as Grace points out, does it consider “how the mental issues manifest themselves, or that the mental issues do not always result in a measurable event, such as a woman seeking psychological care.”

Women close to me prove that the Danish study is not only flawed, it is harmful.  Following her abortion, one woman allowed herself to float from one man to another.  She suffered assorted health problems.  She abused alcohol and had little respect for herself.  One woman married a few years following her abortion.  She gave birth to two children but believed, since she had aborted her first child, it was impossible for her to be a good mom.  She resisted the love of her husband and children and, instead, made life difficult for her family.  Another woman allowed herself to spiral downward after her abortion.  She ran with the wrong crowd, abused drugs and alcohol, and was sexually promiscuous.  Pregnant a second time, she again aborted.  What did it matter, she asked herself.  I’m a miserable excuse for a person.  She set herself up for failure in relationships.  Years later, after marriage and the birth of three children, peace alluded her.  Looking at her living children only reminded her of those to whom she had denied life.

So, yes, abortion does hurt women.  The Danish study, terribly flawed, completely disregards real women and men — mothers, fathers, and grandparents, too — who experience a delayed reaction to the violence of abortion.  If you are the mother or father of an aborted child, I would like you to call my friend Grace Kern at Word of Hope.  She will welcome you, be honest with you, and lead you toward a future of hope in the mercy of Jesus Christ.  Please visit www.word-of-hope.org or call 888-217-8679.

(Note: Resources for hope and healing are available from Word of Hope and also Lutherans For Life.  Two I have authored are the Bible study, From Heartache to Healing, and brochure “The Secret Pain.”)

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