Lisa Rowe, CEO for Support After Abortion, and author of Unchained, Dell Anderson discuss Dell’s journey through codependency, horrific pain after abortion, and how she was able to find joy again.
Dell has lived a difficult and hard life. At a very young age, she became responsible for caring for her ailing father. At the age of 15, Dell’s father passed away and she was determined to move far away and start the family she had always dreamed of having. Dell realizes now that caring for her father led her to never knowing what a healthy relationship with a healthy man should look like. Functioning in the role of caretaker, Dell tied her identity and value to how well she could rescue or fix someone else. This can be referred to as codependency. Codependency occurs when we become too closely intertwined with others, depending on them to provide our sense of value or purpose. It causes us to unconsciously be drawn to those who are similar to our parents. We look to others who we can help in order to continue to fill our ongoing need to feel valuable and important.
Dell was married by the age of 18. Shortly after, her husband was sent to Vietnam. He returned with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and when Dell found out she was pregnant, he left. Alone and pregnant, she moved again, and found herself in a new relationship. Dell thought she had found her “knight in shining armor.” The first night of the honeymoon, this facade faded and Dell was beaten within inches of her life by her new husband. Dell was scared, confused, disparaged and shattered. She spent the next three years running from him, only to be found and beaten several more times.
While Dell was able to get a divorce, she was wounded, ashamed and lacked identity or and value in herself. It was during this time, she met another man and although she was hesitant, Dell eventually felt as though she had finally found the man God intended for her. They were married and planned on starting a family. At 24 weeks pregnant, Dell caught her husband having an affair. She remembers immediately thinking, “What is wrong with me, why am I so unlovable?” Dell felt she had nothing to live for, she wanted to die and thought the only option was abortion, because as she stated, “I was so unlovable that this child was better off without me.”
Lisa understands the pain Dell experienced and she observed “that abortion can be a symptom of deeper roots.” Dell had experienced wounds of rejection, codependency, and abuse. These wounds, or roots, in conjunction with suicidal thoughts, depression and an absence of self worth led Dell to consider and decide to have an abortion.
The abortion procedure was extremely painful. Saline was injected into Dell’s womb, and she then went through an immensely painful labor to deliver her daughter. She recalls seeing her child in a pool of blood on the table. She went home and no longer wanted to live, she cut a slit into her wrists and felt like there was no hope for her.
Whether a woman has had a surgical abortion or a chemical abortion, also known as the abortion pill, the physical pain is much more intense than expected and women share they are traumatized after seeing their lifeless child. Like Dell, women who have had an abortion feel shame, regret, depression and sadness after their abortion.
Fortunately, Dell’s story does not end there. The abortion healing journey is an on-going journey in which men and women heal not only from the pain after abortion, but also heal from the pain of the past. The first step Dell took was rededicating her life back to God. She returned to church and it was here she found mercy and restoration from the Lord. To break free of the shackles of pain and trauma Dell was committed to an ongoing healing journey to find her value and self-worth. Support After Abortion, understands the need to go through multiple healing programs. Men and women, like Dell, start with an abortion healing group but then continue on this journey to heal past wounds through groups, such as, Unraveled Roots, and Codependency.
As Dell continued her abortion healing journey she found herself happy, but without joy. Dell recognized she needed to unravel and heal another layer of pain. She realized that she lacked joy because the image of her lifeless daughter was still constant in her mind. While attending an event at her church, Dell had a vision of her daughter laughing and dancing in Heaven with Jesus. She heard the Lord tell her, “From this day forward, no longer will you minister in pain, but you will minister out of your joy.” Dell was overwhelmed with joy after receiving this message, and felt she had received “real healing” that day.
While the healing was real for Dell, the journey was not over. She was invited to participate in another abortion healing group through Support After Abortion. Dell admits, she felt this was unnecessary, because she was “already healed.” To her surprise, she discovered another layer of pain, and realized in this moment, healing will always be an on-going journey. She states, “it can be painful to relive the abortion experience, but each next step leads to more forgiveness.”
Perhaps her proudest healing moment is when she had the courage to name her daughter. Lisa was able to help Dell realize that naming your child is an important step while healing from abortion. It is a powerful step because it gives life and dignity to the child. After all the abuse, trauma, shame and pain after abortion, Dell named her daughter, the only name that seemed fitting….Joy.
If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, you’re not alone. Support After Abortion meets you where you are, with acceptance and without judgement. We talk to thousands of people who have experienced loss, regret, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts. If you’re ready to start your healing journey, we are here to help you confidentiality and anonymously. Call or text Support After Abortion at 1-844-289-HOPE, or visit our website for a complete list of virtual groups at https://www.supportafterabortion.com/virtual-support-groups.com
Lisa Rowe, CEO of Support After Abortion and Allan Parker, President of The Justice Foundation discuss their common goal of ending the demand for abortion, while focusing efforts on healing and protecting men and women experiencing shame, depression and regret after abortion.
Allan credits attending his first March For Life in 2000 and meeting Norma McCorvey (Roe of Roe v. Wade) to becoming directly and heavily involved in the Pro-Life Movement. The mission of the Justice foundation is to pray, litigate, educate and advocate for life, liberty and justice. Allan and his team do this by providing free legal services to women who have been impacted by abortion, or who are at risk of being impacted by abortion.
The first project is Operation Outcry. Through Operation Outcry, the Justice Foundation, “seeks to end the pain of abortion in America and around the world by mobilizing women and men hurt by abortion who share their true stories of the devastating effects of abortion.” There is a lie circulating in our communities and in the media, that abortion does not hurt women. The Justice Foundation and Support After Abortion, know this to not be true. The Justice Foundation has gathered over 4,600 testimonies for Operation Outcry, from women, that depict the painful impact of their abortion. Allan quotes one account from a woman who stated, “it is a lie that you will not be impacted or hurt from abortion. It is a lie, you will never think about it. I have never stopped thinking of the child I murdered.” Additionally, research conducted by Support After Abortion, shows that women experience shame, depression, anger, regret and guilt after an abortion. These emotions cause women to develop substance abuse habits, engage in toxic relationships, and can lead to suicidal thoughts.
When men and women begin to share their abortion experience they not only continue to heal their wound of abortion, but also, can help other men and women, faced with an unplanned pregnancy, make an informed decision. This was true for Kourtney Kardashian. Allan states he read an interview with Kourtney Kardashian in which she stated, that she kept her baby because she had read online, so many testimonies from women who have been hurt after an abortion. Allan continues, “she was in no desparate situation, she just did not want a baby, but kept the baby after reading the pain that women experienced after an abortion.”
The second project, under the Justice Foundation, is the Center Against Forced Abortions, or CAFA. CAFA provides legal resources to mothers who are being forced or coerced into an unwanted abortion. When abortion was legalized in the United States, it opened the door for parents, spouses, friends, to coerce a woman into an abortion to satisfy their personal needs. Allan states, “If a man does not want to have a baby and the woman does legalized abortion has allowed him to coerce his partner into having an abortion.” CAFA seeks to protect minors forced to have an abortion by their parents, women forced to have an abortion by their partner, and women involved in sex trafficking forced to have an abortion by their abuser.
The third and final project under the Justice Foundation is the Moral Outcry Project. This is a petition that can be signed and serve as a means to overturn Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. In 1993, the Supreme Court ruled to compromise the 1973 decision which weakened the impact of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton. However, by signing the Moral Outcry Petition millions of men and women can declare that they will not accept this compromise from 1993, and are committed to ending the demand for abortion. To sign this petition visit https://thejusticefoundation.org or https://moraloutcry.com.
Allan states that what he loves about Support After Abortion, is that, “like The Justice Foundation we do not support abortion, but instead protect and support men and women before and after an abortion.” In collaboration, The Justice Foundation and Support After Abortion work to end the demand for abortion, while delivering healing to millions of men and women who have been adversely impacted by abortion.
To watch a full presentation on The Justice Foundation, by Allan Parker, visit our New Movement page at https://training.supportafterabortion.com/a-new-movement/. If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, you are not alone. For immediate assistance, please call our hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673) to confidentially speak with a member of our team. For more information on the resources and healing we offer, please visit us https://supportafterabortion.com.
Lisa Rowe, CEO of Support After Abortion and Karen Sweeting, President, and Founder of The Optimum Life Academy, and author of “Get Equipped,” discuss the excruciating pain that abortion regret, shame, and secrecy causes and why providing confidential and nonjudgmental support after abortion is essential.
Karen states, “to be healthy and whole; we have to face the past.” Karen met back-to-back losses as a young adult, first a serious boyfriend and then her brother, to a tragic car accident. As if the losses were not significant enough, she endured an abortion experience very close after. Riddled with the trauma and the tidal waves of grief and loss, she did what most women do and stuffed her abortion regret away for nearly half of her life.
For 25 years, Karen was hiding her shame and abortion regret. She feared that her abortion decision would bring about judgment from her family and friends. Karen’s fears are common and representative of much of our culture, which has created a paradigm of silence regarding the impacts of abortion.
If you or someone you know is living in silence after abortion, you are not alone. Contact us today. https://www.supportafterabortion.com or 844-289-HOPE (4673)
The result of carrying toxic abortion secrets often causes men and women to make dysfunctional and damaging choices. Karen made a series of very unhealthy decisions to cope with her emotional pain, leading her to develop substance abuse habits, make poor relationship decisions, experience weight loss, and numerous other damaging choices. Living in silence and dysfunction ultimately caused Karen to struggle with suicidal thoughts, resulting in intensive hospitalization. Suicidal thoughts are a common outcome after abortion, as reported by consumer research.
After many years of running from her past, years of therapy, and abortion healing, Karen has forgiven herself and others. Her commitment to recovery is ongoing, and she encourages everyone to unravel their roots. As she continues to heal, she falls deeper in line with her calling to help others find forgiveness and healing after abortion.
Increasing Abortion Healing through Sharing our Stories
Lisa and Karen agree that exposing our secrets and getting to the roots of our dysfunction is an integral part of the healing journey. Support After Abortion has helped nearly 4,000 men and women heal after abortion. Our confidential support team provides non judgemental support at no cost. Contact us today or sign up for a free virtual support group. Everyone has a story, and the more we share, the more others will share as well.
For leaders, counselors, and others working with men and women who have experienced abortion: Lisa states, ‘If we don’t start talking about abortion, the way we talk about sexual trauma, poverty, divorce, promiscuity, etc., we are not going to help those men and women that live in shame.” Keeping the secret of abortion keeps the individual from searching for and receiving abortion healing. Increasing compassion to respond to an abortion story, not react, will create a space for people to feel safe enough to share their story and begin their abortion healing process.
If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, you are not alone. For immediate assistance, please call our Hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673) to confidentially speak with a member of our team. For more information on the resources and healing we offer, please visit us https://supportafterabortion.com.
Lisa Rowe, CEO of Support After Abortion, and Georgette Forney, President of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of Silent No More, discuss the continuing need to integrate abortion healing into the ProLife movement. They also discuss what the future holds for this movement as it continues to heal those impacted by abortion.
Georgette Forney’s passion for the abortion healing began as a result of her own abortion. She states, “God took her painful, shameful experience and turned it around for His purposes.” As she began her work with Anglicans for Life and started to share her story, Georgette encountered many women that she recalls would quietly whisper to her, “me too”, but never would share their full story. She knew from personal experience that the more a man or woman share their story it becomes less about what someone did wrong and more about the healing and mercy they gain. Georgette knew she needed to raise awareness for those impacted by abortion, give them resources to heal, and allow them to share their stories. God put on her heart the need for a network of abortion healing organizations to collaborate and develop best practices. After being patient, and trusting God’s timing, the Abortion Recovery Coalition was created. Together, a network of abortion healing organizations, including Support After Abortion, have come together to develop best practices for abortion healing groups (both in person and virtually), expanded services for men, and services for the grandparents, siblings, and friends also impacted by abortion.
How Collaboration and Creativity will advance the Abortion Healing Movement
Georgette credits Support After Abortion for taking abortion healing to the next level, and increasing the access for future generations to have the healing they need. Both Lisa and Georgette agree that the key to increasing the number of women and men healed from abortion will come with more creativity.
Support After Abortion has started this creative journey, by bringing a play called Viable to cities across the United States. Viable, is a one-act play that dramatically depicts the real life struggle a couple faces being impacted by abortion. It serves as a passionate portrayal of one woman attempting to protect her own emotions amidst decades of being impacted by abortion and finally finding healing in an unexpected and unconventional way.
Support After Abortion is passionate about bringing this play to as many cities as possible and continue to inspire others to join a new movement aimed towards healing men and women impacted by abortion. Through this play, and future live events driven by creative expression, we can continue to connect with the hearts of many who are passionate about serving those who need healing and the millions that need healing the most.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion please know you are not alone. For immediate assistance please call our hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673). For more information on the resources and healing we offer please visit us https://supportafterabortion.com.
Lisa Rowe, CEO of Support After Abortion and Meiko Taylor, founder of The Power Project, discuss the importance of compassion and training when helping to heal those impacted by abortion and sex trafficking.
Meiko Taylor’s path to working with adolescents was inspired by her personal experience as a foster child. When she moved to Los Angeles, she began working with children in the foster care system, and it was here she first learned about sex trafficking from a client. Inspired to go further, and understand more, Meiko made a film that became a powerful tool for training and led to the founding of The Power Project. The Power Project works to prevent sex trafficking by healing the wounds of those impacted by trafficking and training people within communities on warning signs to look out for.
The Similarities between those Impacted by Abortion and by Sex Trafficking
Sex Trafficking, like Abortion, is a symptom of a deeper issue. There are many roots that can lead to an abortion, and one that is common to both abortion and sex trafficking is a lack of identity that comes from a low self worth. Meiko reports that sex traffickers will groom and manipulate adolescents who are lacking love, friendship and companionship. They feed on those with low self-esteem, and a low sense of value. Perhaps the child has been kicked out of their home, the trafficker sees this as an opportunity to make them feel safe and loved.
If men and women grow up never knowing who they are, and the value they have, they can look for love and validation in relationships. Trying to find validation in others, can leave people feeling more empty with lower self esteem, and having a low self-worth can increases ones vulnerability.
Healing these Roots with Compassion and Training
Lisa and Meiko agree that there are two focuses they each have when working with and healing those impacted by abortion and sex trafficking. The first focus is training. The Power Project offers trainings to social workers, school administrators, teachers, parents, etc about what sex trafficking is and how to prevent it within our homes and schools. Support After Abortion also utilizes training to help teach those who want to help others in their abortion healing process. Through video training and virtual groups, pregnancy centers, social workers, pastors, etc can learn how to compassionately start the conversation of abortion and how to prevent repeat abortions from happening, by healing the deeper wounds people have.
The second focus is making sure we are not treating the behavior only. Both Lisa and Meiko stress the importance of looking at a behavior for what it is, it is a product of dysfunction. If we meet people where they are and look at the human being as a product of something painful, we could heal the deeper wounds that exist and prevent tragedies like abortion and sex trafficking. Lisa states, “no man wakes up at 15 years old and says I can’t wait to get my girlfriend pregnant and have an abortion”, and the same can be said for women, they do not wake up and think “I can’t wait to have an abortion.” People need to dig deeper, and even if you have not been impacted by abortion or sex trafficking, Lisa encourages everyone to look at themselves and see how they have struggled with lack of identity or purpose. It is a common emotion, experienced on many different levels that will allow those working with others to meet them with compassion, and treat more than a behavior, but really heal the wounds that people carry.
For more information on The Power Project visit their website at www.thepowerproject.net. April is Abortion Recovery Month. If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. For information on ways to get involved please visit our website at https://supportafterabortion.com. For information on virtual groups or for immediate assistance please call our Hopeline, at 844-289-HOPE (4673).
Lisa Rowe, CEO for Support After Abortion and Mark Nicholson, Executive Director for Passion Life International discuss the impact and importance of training individuals within our churches, to compassionately speak about abortion and the abortion healing process.
Mark was a long-term missionary for 11 years in East Asia. During this time he served on the board for Passion Life International, and then transitioned into the role of Executive Director. Mark states there are two focuses for Passion Life International: Training and where will you apply that training, which can take on many different forms. Training, as the first focus, is delivered to pastors within various churches in the community. Passion Life is either asked specifically to come to a certain community, or they go into a community based on data research that shows the areas most impacted by abortion.
However, although they are in areas highly impacted by abortion, they do not go in and train pastors to deliver messages specifically around the evils of abortion. Instead, the training comes from the Bible and discusses themes within the Bible that deal with guilt, shame, hope and healing. The second focus then happens after those trained have gone out into the community, practice their training, and have begun to train others. When this happens, Passion Life, much like Support After Abortion, has helped these communities build abortion healing programs, retreats, and helplines so that they can continue to compassionately serve their community.
Practicing Compassion and Creativity to Build Capacity for Abortion Healing
Passion Life focuses on speaking compassionately during training especially on the topics of guilt, hope and healing. They both agree that the issue of abortion, in America, is very heavily politicized. Pastors, understand the need for abortion healing, and the need to drive the conversation around abortion, but often times feel illequipped or scared to do so because it has become a very sensitive political issue. Mark encourages pastors to remember that they were chosen by God, and to “lead with a father’s heart and not a cultural heart.”
Support After Abortion, continues to develop creative ways to reach out to church communities and equip pastors to start having the conversation of abortion and abortion healing. When churches fail to address these two very important issues, they inadverently are communicating it is an unforgivable sin, and increase the shame that those impacted by abortion can experience. Support After Abortion is pioneering a model, similar to Passion Life, where they provide training to our pastors and churches, and those leaders collaborate with those in their community to continue to share the message of compassion, hope and healing.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. To speak with someone about beginning a virtual group or to be linked with abortion healing resources in your area contact our Hopeline at 844-289-HOPE (4673). For ways to get involved, and become part of the abortion healing movement visit our website at https://supportafterabortion.com.