Jay Nies, editor for the Catholic Missiourian discuss how self-reflection, or examen of conscience, can increase our capacity for compassion. An increase of compassion, not only within ourselves, but also within our communities can lead more men and women suffering from the pain, shame and regret after abortion to seek hope and healing.
Jay begins by stating, “there are alot of people carrying the burden and self-imposed stigma of abortion.” Through consumer based market research, conducted by Support After Abortion, the research shows that over 22 million men and women, in the United States, are adversely impacted after abortion. Of the 22 million men and women impacted by abortion, 90 percent do not know where to go for help. The impact of abortion includes, but is not limited to, feelings of anger, shame, regret and depression. If emotions, such as these, are not healed they can cause a man or woman to engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as codependency, addiction, etc. Liz and Jay both agree it is crucial for the community to come together and provide compassion and unconditional love so that instead of anger and shame after abortion, women and men impacted by abortion experience hope, healing, forgiveness and restoration.
Although it is crucial for communities to come together to deliver compassion, the journey to inspire this change must start with the individual. Jay’s journey to exemplify and practice more compassion started with self-reflection. As a Catholic, he applies “examen of conscious” to reflect and grow spiritually. Examen of conscious is a daily devotional exercise involving reflection on and moral evaluation of one’s thoughts and conduct. During this devotional exercise, Jay asked himself, “Have I been a part of driving men and women to an abortion decision?” He realized that there were times when instead of compassion, he cast the first stone of judgment and instead of offering resources to abortion-minded men and women he delivered messages of condemnation. In an effort to inspire more compassion on the hearts of those within our communities, and to help those hurting from abortion, compassion must increase. Jay states, “The empathy and love we give to our friends and family, needs to extend to those we do not know as well.”Jay’s desire for more compassion continued when he recently joined over 200 people to watch the live play Viable in Jefferson City, MO, as part of the Midwest March for Life. He recalls, instantly being drawn into the story of Viable through the relatable and real presence of the actors. He states, “after the audience is drawn in by the powerful acting, they move into discovery or revelation as they (the audience) can see that abortion is a larger experience that impacts more than just the unborn child.” The audience comes to understand that there is more than one loss the day of an abortion. Jay states, “the repercussions of a decision can go from one generation to the next.”
This generational impact can be seen during the play, as “Judy” the main character, struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her husband and child. The shame of her abortion and her fear of judgment leads “Judy” to unknowingly cause pain to her family. Abortion has been legal for 48 years in the Unites States, causing five generations of women and men to be impacted by abortion. In order to build stronger communities we have to have more compassion for those hurting within our own. Compassion can be the catalyst that drives men and women to seek healing after abortion. Compassion can also extend further and help parents, siblings, friends and children begin their healing journey as well.
Stronger families build strong communities.
If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, you’re not alone. Support After Abortion meets you where you are, with compassion and without judgement. We care for men and women who experience loss, regret, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts from abortion. 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.
As a leader in the Pro-Life movement Brad Baumgarten, director or Coalition for Life – St. Louis, experienced meaningful change within his heart and Viable has the power to be a catalyst for hope and healing in the hearts of men and women impacted by abortion.
Brad watched a live performance of Viable in Jefferson City, Missouri after the Midwest March for Life in April of 2021. He admits he went into this event with low expectations. It was a cold windy day in Jefferson City and he was less than enthusiastic to sit outside and watch what he thought would be the same type of Pro-Life event or performance he has experienced so many times before. He states, “I was there to fill a seat, and had no idea how this play would impact me.” Viable, is an off broadway play that portrays one family’s journey from the pain, shame and regret after abortion to finding hope and healing. The main character, “Judy”, like millions of women in the United States, suffers adverse effects after her abortion. After her abortion, “Judy” suffers silently with anger, shame, and regret and it is these emotions that cause harm to her family dynamic. As Brad watched this story unfold, he was moved by how engaging the actors were, and how the audience could feel the pain, hurt and anger that the actors portrayed. The actors invited the audience into the impact of abortion in such a relatable and real way and as someone who is not an overly emotional guy, Brad admits, “something sparked in my heart.” Brad has never had an abortion experience, but states that Viable inspired him to become more passionate about championing healing for those impacted by abortion. After years of service in the Pro-Life movement he was given a new perspective on the issue of abortion, and felt challenged to learn more about abortion healing and why it is so vitally important for men and women impacted by abortion. Brad became compelled to help the 1 in 4 women that will impacted by abortion by the age of 45, and came to realize that men suffer the same devastating impact.
Brad states, “men have an inherent nature to be a provider and protector. Temptations can slowly make their way into a man’s heart, and then the man is motivated to do the best he can to ‘fix’ things, or limit the consequences of that temptation.” This often results in men silencing themselves when faced with an abortion decision, taking their girlfriend or wife to the abortion clinic, and ultimately giving up their role as provider and protector. Brad feels Viable can help men become inspired to take back that authority, reclaim their voice and become the provider and protector God created each man to be. He states, “Viable can inspire a man to make a different decision when faced with abortion, and can inspire courage within his heart to seek the abortion healing that he deserves.” As Support After Abortion continues its outreach to men, virtual healing groups have been added for men so they can safely and compassionately receive abortion healing without fear of judgment.Another dynamic in the play that caught Brad’s attention was the devastating impact that the shame and secrecy after abortion can have on the family. In Viable, “Judy” and her husband “George” are divided by anger and a lack of trust. The regret and shame “Judy” experiences after her abortion causes her to be irritated and indignant towards her husband. “George” then gives away his authority and becomes complacent in his marriage. Brad states, “the presentation of Viable will plant the seed and inspire everyone (men and women), to reclaim their voice, and make better choices for themselves and their families.” It will inspire men and women to seek healing, to find hope and build a stronger foundation for their relationship and family. Support After Abortion’s sponsorship of Viable, across the United States, is so important because it reinforces our effort of recognizing abortion as a human issue, and human issues call for healing.
With great spirit, Brad declares, “this is why everyone needs to go see this play. It is important for men and women impacted by abortion, but also organizations and leaders within the Pro-Life movement. Viable challenges the audience to walk in the same shoes as someone who has experienced abortion, feel the emotions of pain and anger, and let that inspire you to do more within your community.” Over 22 million men, women and families suffer from the impacts of abortion, and they need help. Attend or host Viable in your community, and allow the play to inspire passion in your heart and help give hope and healing to men and women impacted by the pain, shame and regret after abortion.
To learn more, reach out to Christian Creative Media to see or book the play near you.
Joan Kane, board member for Support After Abortion shares her experience about the play, Viable, and the impact it will have in your community. Joan has two sons and one daughter and recently moved to St.Louis, MO. In addition to being a board member for Support After Abortion, Joan has been facilitating Luncheons4Life in the Alton, IL and St. Louis area since 2018. Luncheon4Life is a grass roots luncheon designed to bring together like minded life affirming people, and it was at a Luncheon4Life event, that Joan was given a different perspective on the issue of abortion.
Joan has always been ProLife, having a son with Down Syndrome, she is aware of the high abortion rate of babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome and her and husband chose life, upholding the dignity of life has been and is important to Joan and her family. At a Luncheon4Life Joan was inspired and challenged to go deeper in her faith and ProLife beliefs. The speaker for that luncheon, was a woman who courageously shared her abortion experience. As Joan listened to woman recount her pain after abortion, she learned that there was more than one life impacted by abortion. For every unborn child, there is a mother, father and family member that is impacted as well. For the first time, Joan recognized the need for healing after abortion for all women and men involved. When Joan began her work as a board member she learned just how many women and men need abortion healing. Consumer Research conducted by Support After Abortion shows that one in four women will experience abortion by the time they turn 45. For every woman impacted, there is a man, and family impacted as well, making the number of individuals adversely impacted by abortion over 22 million. Ninety percent of the 22 million, do not know where to go for help, but would seek help, and start abortion healing, if they knew where to go.
Abortion is a human issue and human issues call for healing. Viable, is not about the legality, constitutionality, or the politics of abortion therefore making it the perfect way for Support After Abortion to compassionately portray the need for abortion healing within churches, communities, ProLife organizations, etc. across the US. The main character of Viable is Judy, and like Judy, millions of women in the United States, suffer silently after abortion. Joan states that “the self-condemnation and guilt women and men silently carry is not ok, and they need healing.” Other common emotions experienced after abortion include, but are not limited too, depression, anger, shame, and regret. Additionally, as depicted in Viable, relationships are impacted by abortion as well. “Judy” and her husband, “George” experience a lack of trust and anger for one another because of the pain and hurting. In April 2021, Joan had the opportunity to see Viable live on the capitol steps in Jefferson City, Missouri. She states, “I had seen a video for the play, but when I saw the play in person I was really moved.” As she sat in the crowd of 250 people, Joan was captivated by the play, and how it powerfully delivered the message of hope and healing after abortion. She felt the impact of abortion while walking with the main character “Judy” through this journey of pain after abortion to receiving hope and healing. Joan remembers thinking, “we have to start talking about the pain after abortion and the healing that can happen, to help more women and men. This play gives us an opportunity to talk about the abortion issue from a healing perspective.”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 judgment. We care for men and women who experience loss, regret, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts from abortion. 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 for Support After Abortion, and Gisele Gathings, lead actress for the play, Viable, discuss the play, and the impact it carries for women and men seeking abortion healing. Viable is a one-act play, with a simple-but-powerful storyline that portrays one woman’s journey through attempting to protect her own emotions of trauma, pain, anger and guilt after abortion. Through heartbreak, grief and sorrow, the main character Judy, finds healing through grace, mercy and forgiveness in a most unconventional way.
Gisele has always had a passion for theater and music. From a young age, she remembers her father teaching her the art of photography, and it was this love of art and theater that led her to the play, Viable. While Gisele is also an engineer, it is important for her to utilize her creative talent to tell a story that will impact millions of women and men throughout the United States. Support After Abortion knows that 1 in 4 women will have an abortion by the age of 45, and 9 out of 10 women do not know where to go for help. To learn more about Support After Abortion’s Consumer Research into women impacted by abortion, watch this previously live webinar. The main character of Viable is Judy, and like Judy, millions of women in the United States, suffer silently after abortion. Some common emotions experienced after abortion include, but are not limited too, depression, anger, shame, and regret. Additionally, as depicted in Viable, relationships are impacted by abortion as well. “Judy” and her husband, “George” experience a lack of trust, anger and distaste for one another because of the pain and hurting that happens after abortion.
As an experienced actress, Gisele’s favorite part of each role is getting to know, and understanding her character. Understanding her character, “Judy”, sent Gisele on a healing path of her own to face past trauma and pain. Gisele states, “that while she has never been personally impacted by abortion, the heaviness and pain of Judy’s secret could be felt as wearing, tiring and cumbersome.” As Gisele entered, Judy’s world of denial, she felt the sadness that comes from this suffering and felt the desperation for healing after abortion. Both Lisa and Gisele agree that healing starts when women and men feel safe enough to share their abortion experience and safe enough to have courage to take the first step towards healing. In one of the many virtual healing groups offered by Support After Abortion, men and women are met with compassion to begin the healing process from pain to restoration and wholeness. Viable, beautifully portrays this healing process and communicates the message, that with compassion and forgiveness, women and men can experience healing from the pain, shame, and anger after abortion.
Pastors and clergymen in churches across the country have the opportunity to offer abortion healing to the millions of women, men and families that are impacted by the adverse effects of abortion. Starting this conversation and creating this space can be difficult and uncomfortable because the issue of abortion has been heavily politicized. Viable, is not about the legality, constitutionality, or the politics of abortion therefore making it the perfect way to compassionately start the conversation of abortion healing within a church.
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 judgment. We care for men and women who experience loss, regret, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts from abortion. 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 for Support After Abortion and Deborah Tilden, co-creator of Life Victory, discuss communication surrounding abortion, how the lies hurt men and women impacted by abortion and resources that are available to heal from the pain after an abortion.
Deborah’s abortion happened forty years and she still can remember exactly what she was told to expect after her abortion. She recalls being told, “you will go back to normal.” Vulnerable and facing an unplanned pregnancy Deborah believed that she would go “back to normal” and had no idea the enormous impact her abortion would have on her life.
Shortly after, Deborah suffered from depression, guilt and shame after her abortion. Consumer research conducted by Support After Abortion in the US shows that the common emotions experienced after an abortion include, but are not limited too, depression, anger, a feeling of loss, regret, guilt, shame, grief and sadness. In addition to these common emotions, the result of carrying toxic abortion secrets often causes men and women to make dysfunctional and damaging choices. Deborah made a series of very unhealthy decisions to cope with her emotional pain, leading her to develop substance abuse habits, obsessive eating habits, and compulsive exercise habits. Her life did not return to normal and she spent years committing herself to changing her damaging behaviors and healing from abortion.
Abortion can be a toxic secret that men and women carry in silence. Deborah was told that she should not talk about her abortion experience. Deborah and Lisa both agree that healing often begins when we start to share our abortion experiences. Deborah shared her abortion story on the steps of the Capitol in Sacramento, CA. By sharing her story she released the pain and shame and found freedom in releasing her secret. She went through multiple healing groups, started to journal, and became a certified Life Coach so that she can help other men and women impacted by abortion receive the healing they need.
It is not required to share on this level, but there is an immense amount of healing that comes from sharing an abortion experience with a therapist, within a support group, or with family and friends. Healing groups can be in person, or done virtually. Through Support After Abortion we offer many virtual groups that are faith and non-faith based such as the faith based group Where Do Broken Hearts Go and the non-faith based group Unraveled Roots. Each help to heal not only the pain after abortion, but also wounds that can be deeply rooted and driving damaging behavior. When a man or woman starts to discuss the trauma associated with abortion and the wounds that led to an abortion decision, slowly but surely, each layer of pain, and shame is peeled back and healed.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by abortion, you are not alone. For a complete list of the virtual healing groups offered by Support After Abortion, please visit https://training.supportafterabortion.com/virtual-support-groups/. If you’re ready to start your healing journey, or need immediate assistance we are here to help you confidentiality and anonymously. Call or text Support After Abortion at 1-844-289-HOPE.
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