January 11, 2018
Abortion may have taken 59 million lives since Roe v. Wade, but it's created at least 118 million victims. Every one of those children had a mother -- and not one of them will ever be the same again. For generations of women, a procedure that can take ten minutes will leave them with grief that lasts a lifetime. Groups like Planned Parenthood want us to believe that taking the life of an innocent baby is just a simple outpatient procedure. But according to countless women, the real pain begins once they leave the clinic. Lost somewhere in the pro-choice picket lines are the deeply personal stories of women trying to cope. And at least one researcher refuses to let that go.
Priscilla Coleman has spent years trying to expose the regrets of moms who've had abortions. Her latest study, just published in the Journal of American Physicians & Surgeons (in time for the 45th March for Life), ought to give us all a fresh compassion for the other face of the pro-life movement -- the mother. The Left has tried to wave off the depression women face after an abortion, but they'll have a much harder time doing that now with the release of Professor Coleman's powerful journal article, "Women Who Suffered Emotionally from Abortion: A Qualitative Synthesis of Their Experiences."
In it, 987 women who've had abortions talk openly about their regrets. What may surprise you is that the grief doesn't take sides. It haunts women on both sides of the political debate. According to the latest numbers, one in three women will have at least one abortion by the time she's 45, and almost all of them suffered emotionally as a result. Sixty-six percent told Coleman's team that they knew in their hearts they were making a mistake with their abortion, but most (58 percent) said they were doing it to make others happy. Sixty-seven percent said it was the hardest decision of their lives.
For many, the deep emotional scars were followed by a lifetime of guilt. Hurting, many reached out for help. Only 13 percent were seeing a counselor or psychologist before their first abortion -- a number that skyrocketed to 68 percent afterward. Others turned to medicine to cope. "Only 6.6 percent of respondents reported using prescription drugs for psychological health prior to the first pregnancy that ended in abortion, compared with 51 percent who reported prescription drug use after the first abortion. These data suggest that the women as a group were generally psychologically healthy before their first abortion."
In one of the more heartbreaking findings, Coleman asked women what the positives were of their abortion. "None" was the biggest answer. They don't talk about it in the rosy lens of freedom or feminism liberals use. On the contrary, most of these moms wished they'd known that taking a baby's life would dramatically change theirs. "Even in an ideal environment," the study explains, "wherein women receive adequate counseling, are offered support to continue their pregnancies, and do not present with established risk factors, it is still possible to be blindsided by an abortion and suffer ill effects due to the inherent complexity of abortion." Telling the truth has never been good for business in the abortion industry. But people need to understand that abortion isn't making a choice on life -- it's taking a chance with yours.
So when millions of Americans pack into cars and busses to come to Washington next week, join us in praying for the four decades of mothers who wake up every day knowing they made a decision they can't take back. Let's march for the survivors, giving them hope for healing; grace for regret.
For more information on the March for Life, which now includes House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), check out the official website.
Tony Perkins' Washington Update is written with the aid of FRC senior writers.