Disrupting the Cycle: Compassionate Care After a Woman Has an Abortion

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Hello, my name is Lisa Rowe. I’m a licensed clinical social worker. I’m the CEO for Support After Abortion, and I’m thrilled to be here and be invited by Stand For Life. It was at a Stand For Life event that we named the title of this conversation today. We’re going to be talking about how abortion healing actually disrupts the cycle of abortion. 

As a therapist, as a mom, as a leader, I feel like this is on the beginning part of a conversation that you might not have ever heard. You might have seen abortion healing as something that was maybe seventh down the line, but I’m here to talk to you about how this is a pro-life issue, how abortion healing is actually an ingenious way to stop abortion, and I’m really thrilled to talk to you about that today. 

So, we’re gonna talk about the big picture: who’s experiencing abortion, how trauma plays a role in that, what happens when the decision to have an abortion is made, the impact afterwards, what opportunities our culture has for healing. We’re going to talk about how you can get involved, how you can help your friend, your loved one, maybe yourself find the healing that they need and really learn that they can live free of the shame and guilt from their abortion experiences. 

Who is Support After Abortion? We are an organization that is helping men and women impacted by abortion find the healing that they need. We want to shift the conversation from condemnation to compassion. We want to help grow leaders. We want them to understand that they’re not alone on this journey. We want to be the gold standard, best practices offered for healing providers across the nation. 

We also are training people every day to offer healing that meets the needs of men and women in our culture. This is not a conversation about politics. And I know most of us are familiar with abortion being a political issue. We are really trying to change that paradigm. We’re not going to talk about religion today. 

We’re going to talk about the human connection to abortion. And we’re not going to talk about what you think or what I think about abortion. We’re going to talk about what the man or woman who’s experienced abortion needs from us so that they can find the healing that they need.  

Fifty percent of pregnancies in our country are unexpected pregnancy. Why is that important for us to understand? If you and I are faced with an unexpected situation, it’s hard to make decisions there. We weren’t anticipating it. We weren’t planning for it. And so, it’s important for us to know that one out of every two pregnancies is not something that somebody was planning for. 

Some of the vulnerabilities that come with an abortion experience are the unexpectedness of an abortion. Other things that we find are risk factors, low income, women between the ages of 20 to 29 years old. Men and women who are cohabitating, Black and Hispanics are more at risk. And if you find yourself in a lower education category, that is also a risk for unexpected pregnancy and further abortion. 

I want to just lay the landscape for trauma as we talk about abortion today. What is trauma and what is specifically generational trauma? Generational trauma is when we have a pattern of behavior in our family of origin. This could be divorce, this could be poverty, this could be domestic violence. Oftentimes this is abortion, too.  

We see this happening in our parenting journeys, how we see the world, and we need to understand that trauma just doesn’t start. It’s over time that it develops. And so as we look at abortion today, I want you to see it as a trauma that has been generation after generation, after generation. 

I also want you to understand abortion as a symptom. Perhaps you’ve heard abortion is the change in somebody’s life. It’s the thing that changed them forever, and I’m not discounting that, but there are vulnerabilities that led up to that abortion decision. There’s roots underneath the abortion experience, and I want you to remember that as we think about people who have experienced abortion, there are so many vulnerabilities underneath the surface, and if we can understand that they are in this situation because of other reasons, maybe perhaps we can see their humanity a little bit more, no different than our own. 

When we think about abortion, we stand out, and as a clinician, I’ve seen this time and time and time again. Abortion is over here, and all the other human issues that we struggle with are over here. The reality is, we are more alike than we are different. Some of the things that we struggle with that I experience myself are divorce, other life stressors, codependency, addiction, emotional abuse. 

These are all things that we see as trauma, that we see as stressors, that we see as contributing to poor decision making. I want you to see us as more alike than we are different. That although my life might have come from divorce and turned into codependency and then a divorce in my adulthood, this might also manifest in the same way, but the outcome might be abortion. 

So, we are all experiencing the pains in our early childhood. We all have stressors. We all have different things that connect to us that influence decisions along our journey. Until we meet healing, we will repeat these patterns of behavior time and time and time again. So, I want to invite abortion into the conversation, just like we have divorce and poverty and domestic violence and rape and all of the things that our culture has really embraced as things people struggle with, I want to invite today in the conversation that abortion is one of them as well. 

So, who has abortions? One in four women before their 45th birthday will experience abortion. One in five men will experience abortion by their 45th birthday. Why is that important for us to understand? Envision yourself around a dinner table at a restaurant. Most of the time it’s set with four people at the table. 

These statistics tell us that we can assume that one of the people at the table has experienced abortion. If you think about that, that means in some way, shape, or form, if you’ve not been personally impacted by abortion, you know somebody who has.  

Perhaps you’re somebody who helped somebody experience that abortion. Maybe you knew and you didn’t say anything. Or maybe you’ve been walking with a condemning spirit, and you said something that really hurt them. I hope this presentation helps you understand that there are people in our midst that we are more alike than we are different, that have experienced abortion. 

And if we don’t learn to change the conversation and begin to talk about it with compassion and let these people know that they deserve a healing opportunity, we’re going to keep dismissing them. They’re going to live in the silence and suffering of the shame and guilt that comes with abortion. So, what do we know about men and women who’ve experienced abortion? 

Three out of four women are low-income. Three out of five are between the ages of 20 and 29. So, if you’re listening to this and you’re in college, or you’re in this age demographic, you can expect that one out of four of your friends will experience an abortion. How are you walking that out? How are you thinking about that? 

Three out of five women will have experienced a previous birth. So, this is no longer a question of whether I’m carrying a baby or not. This is a question of what I need. That’s what our society needs to understand. We’re not fighting with people anymore to better understand, “Is that a life growing in me? Is that a clump of cells?” This is, men and women are telling us that, “I was so selfish at this time in my life. I couldn’t see another way. I was afraid that my career would end. My parents would judge me. My relationship would end.” It’s not a matter of whether they know that they’re carrying a child.  

And here’s a real big kicker for the pro-life movement. Fifty percent of abortions are repeat abortions. What does that mean? That means 500, 000 abortions every year are conducted on somebody who’s already had one or more abortions. So, that means a woman who’s already experienced abortion is going back into the clinic to have another abortion. What if we could intercept her, disrupt the cycle, and help her from not going back into that abortion clinic? 

That’s why abortion healing matters to the pro-life movement. It matters because men and women are hurting, but it also matters because we could end 50% of abortions today if the healing message was loud and clear and compassionate. 

What’s happening with the abortion landscape? In the early 2000s, it was very popular to get a surgical abortion. What is that? It is when a woman went into a clinic, perhaps with her partner. She was met with a clinical member of the abortion clinic team. She was likely given medication to anesthetize her, and then she went under with an abortion doctor who would then surgically remove her baby. 

Times have changed a lot in the last 20 years. In fact, we’re projecting in 2023 that 80% of abortions will actually be very different. They will be medication abortions. It will be what we’re hearing, chemical abortions. And what is that and what makes it different?  

Now a woman can go into that same clinic, receive a pill while she’s there. And it’s not to anesthetize her. It’s to start the abortion process. She’s left with the rest of the regimen to go home, to go to her work environment, to continue on with her life, where then she will deliver her baby all by herself, often without medication.  

We’re hearing more and more that people are getting these drugs on the black market. We’re hearing that they’re getting them in the mail. We’re hearing that now the pharmacy in our local community will be prescribing these to men and women in the community. Why is that important, and what makes it different? Medication abortion is like being your own abortion doctor. I like to compare it for some of us that might see this a little too egregious. 

When we go to the dentist, and we go under to have a tooth removed or worked on, we don’t touch our tooth, we don’t see our tooth, we don’t have to even experience it sometimes, because the medication helps us get through it and endure it. What if we became our own dentist and had to pull out our own tooth without medication and be left with the bleeding and not the resources to stop the bleeding and to look at the tooth and the decay? 

Think about that. Nobody would want to do that. But that is happening every day to women in our country and abroad. They are going to their bedrooms, their bathrooms, and they are experiencing the pain of labor and delivery all by themselves. Only to find, at the very end, that they are actually holding their child, seeing the baby’s eye sockets, seeing the limbs, and having to reckon with themselves right then and there. 

They can’t leave it behind. They are in that moment all by themselves often, in great pain, experiencing what I wouldn’t want any one of my children or anyone that I care about having to walk through. And then, they have to go back to that bathroom, back to that bedroom, the very next day, maybe not have told anyone about the experience, and get ready for work, get ready for school, get their other living children ready for the day. 

Can you just imagine the layered trauma that comes with this new abortion movement? We are hearing and seeing more and more men and women reach out for help as a result because that moment where they’re in their bathroom looking at their child is so profound for them and so difficult that they are looking for somebody to help them. 

And so, we’re seeing men and women, we’re seeing the trajectory change from when people reach out to right afterwards, sometimes in between the pill regimen. It’s important to know that the medication abortion is only approved up to 10 weeks. And so many people are having these medication abortions after 10-weeks gestation. 

So, they’re entering into our emergency rooms, into our doctor’s offices, and people don’t know how to meet them. They’re not ready for what’s happening. So, if we know 8 out of 10 pregnancies in 2023 will be a medication or chemical abortion, many of them ending with some sort of medical need in the doctor’s offices, in the hospitals, we need to be equipped. 

We need to be ready with a compassionate conversation. I heard the other day in another conversation that doctors are saying things like, “What did you expect to happen?” We want to disrupt that cycle, and we want them to know just like we’re providing now sex-trafficking survivors and domestic-violence survivors with the resources right then and there. 

We want that woman and man to know that there is hope for them, and that there is a healing place where they will not be judged and met with a neutral conversation. Let’s equip them. Let’s make sure we’re ready with whatever profession we’re leading, that we’re ready to meet that man or woman.  

Here’s a story of a man and woman who called our hope line. They, this is what they told us. “We were not prepared for what was going to happen.” Real life story. We hear it all the time. “We couldn’t stop crying. We saw the baby’s arms and legs. We were so shaken and distraught. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. We were both so emotional that we needed to talk to somebody.” 

That’s an important thing to hear. They made the decision already. So many of us are on the lines of hoping that they don’t make that decision. And we hope for that too. But when they have made that decision, how are we comforting a story like this? How are we choosing to show up for this man and woman? 

Do our programs offer the support? Are we loud in our conversations about how we feel about the man and woman who’s experienced abortion? Or are we only loud on the front end about what we think about abortion and the resources available? We need to have a spectrum of care for all people that are choosing abortion, have been impacted, and continued on this journey. 

At Support After Abortion, we have published research that is helping you become better equipped on the impacts of medication abortion. I’m going to go through the statistics today, and I want you to be looking for the men’s research that we will publish this year. It’s going to echo a lot of the same things that you see in today’s presentation, but perhaps it becomes a resource for you as you continue to navigate what this information means to you. 

So, in our research, we hear things like regret, anger, isolation, sadness, guilt, grief. These are all big words that we hear people say that they experience after abortion. And I want to talk about the word relief. Our culture has really cemented that abortion causes relief. And we hear that, too. We hear that men and women feel relieved initially after their abortion experiences. 

However, days, months, years later, they begin to feel differently about the experience. As life intersects, as they struggle to get pregnant, as they have a living child, as they grow in their maturity, they begin to see what that mistake perhaps looked like for them. And although they felt relief initially, it’s important that we look at the longevity of that person’s life, and we identify that there are other real emotions underneath abortion. 

So, the research, super important for us to understand what our consumer research has shown us. Here’s some really important statistics for you to understand. Five percent of the time, women reported that they didn’t feel like they had a voice in the decision. That means 95% of the time, women feel like they have control over the abortion decision. 

Why is that important? I think our culture has given us a different meaning about that. I think our culture has told us that women feel forced into these abortion experiences. Perhaps they think that they have, right? They forecast or project their experiences. But the research actually says that only 5% of the time did they feel like they really didn’t have a choice. 

Opposite of that, 45% of the time men feel like they didn’t have a voice in the abortion decision. So often, we villainize men. We villainize men for the reason that women have abortions. And our research is actually saying exactly the opposite, that nearly half the time, men don’t feel like they even could say that they didn’t want to experience abortion. 

Six percent of the time, women say that they didn’t have the ability to make the decision. Their partner did. Somebody else did. Fifty-seven percent of the time men said that women chose abortion. I didn’t have a right. Thirty-four percent of the time women reported an adverse change after the medication abortion. Seventy-one percent of men, that’s a shocking number to our organization, said they experienced an adverse reaction. 

We’re going to elaborate more as we publish a white paper in 2023, but I want you to ponder what that might mean for our culture. If our men are saying 70% of the time that they experienced an adverse reaction, what might they be looking for? What might they be needing from us? Sixty-three percent of the time, women said they could have benefited from talking to somebody after their abortion. Sixty-three percent of the time. So, it’s not that they’re dismissing their experience. It’s not that they don’t want to talk to somebody. They know that they need to talk with somebody.  

Eighty-three percent of the time, men needed somebody to talk to afterwards. Now here’s the difference though. You hear that they wanted to talk with somebody, but only 18% of them knew where to go after. Only 18%! Why is that? Why is only a little under 20% of our culture aware of the healing resources that are available to them after abortion? If this was any other issue, you would know there was a suicide hotline, you would know where to go for your divorce support in your community, you would know where to go if you’re a foster kid, wherever you are. 

In fact, I was just on the airplane where the sex trafficking numbers are on the back of bathroom doors in the airport. Because abortion has been politicized, and we do not yet see the human behind the experience, only 18% of the time do men and women know where to go for healing afterwards. I’ve already shared this information, but it’s really important that we understand that abortion is a pro-life issue, abortion healing is a pro-life issue. 

Twenty million men and women over the last 20 years have experienced abortion. Eighty-two percent of them do not know where to go for help. That is a substantial number. Think about the impact. If we could even just shift that 82% to 72%, and people would know where to go afterwards, we could make a huge difference being mindful that almost half of the abortions in our country are repeat abortions. 

What if these 20 million people knew where to go afterwards, before we repeated the behavior again? It would make a huge change. And that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing.  

So, you understand the landscape now. You know what our culture’s contending with. You understand what that man and woman who’s between the ages of 20 to 29 years old is facing as it comes to their reproductive health. 

You understand that abortion is generational. You understand that this is something that many families have normalized as an answer to pregnancy. You understand that there are many people hurting afterwards, and they don’t know where to go for help. So we’re going to talk about abortion healing and what is it. 

Similar to other traumas that men and women face that we’ve talked about already, abortion requires healing, and it is a process. We need to think about all of the experiences that we have healed from and how it’s been exposed because our culture has accepted those things. Abortion is often called a disenfranchised grief. 

What is that? Our culture does not validate it as a grief and loss experience. How I like to compare this, think about the most recent person who passed in your life. I’m sorry for your loss, and I want you to consider how you were given the opportunity, I hope, to grieve them.  

Did you have an opportunity to visit them at a wake? Was there a celebration at life? Was there an opportunity for you to say goodbye prior? Our culture has these amazing veteran ceremonies for funerals, and we bring life to people when we offer these opportunities to grieve their loved ones. Yet with abortion, we don’t do that. We have politicized this issue. 

We have created this to be a religious issue first, which creates this huge spectrum where someone who’s experienced abortion fits right in the middle of it. They don’t feel loved by the pro-choice movement, and they don’t, they feel contemned by the pro-life movement. So they find their secret place, and often say things like, “I was never going to tell anybody about this experience. I didn’t feel like anybody wanted to hear what, I don’t even know if I’m allowed to hurt afterwards.”  

That is shame. And when we live with shame in our humanity, it’s cultivated through secrets and privacy. But it makes the noise in our head louder. It causes stress in our bodies. It causes, it manifests a lot of mental health issues that we see every day. 

Things that keep us stuck are often connected to shame. And so, the first step in abortion healing is to let somebody know that it’s okay. They have a place to share their story. They can feel like they aren’t all alone. We see the statistics. They’re telling us that there’s a lot of people that have experienced abortion, yet because of the isolated nature, people feel like they’re all alone in this experience, and they’re never going to tell anyone. 

We want to validate the emotional experience through healing. We want to talk about feelings like anger and sadness and forgiveness and fear and shame and regret. We want to go through all of these feelings. And we want people to start to identify them because of the vulnerabilities we talked about earlier. 

Oftentimes these are folks that aren’t connected to their emotions and through the healing process, they can get connected to maybe some of the things that they didn’t know were happening for them emotionally. As I mentioned, it helps us grieve losses in the way that we know that grief and loss is best met. 

Many times, men and women named their child. And they get to bring dignity and life through a memorial service. It’s a big deal for many people to name their baby, to name their experience, to validate what they walked through. And they find themselves being able to be free of previous trauma, previous decision-making, previous belief systems. 

It breaks us out of old patterns, breaks us out of paradigms. It gives us new understanding. It creates courage and self-esteem. 

Some things we need to know about healing, outside of what it does for us, is that this isn’t a one-and-done experience for many people. Oftentimes, the abortion is the symptom, and there are so many other things underneath the surface. Oftentimes I see women share their sexual abuse experience, their mother and father wounds as a result, their relationship issues. 

So, we want to make sure that as men and women are walking through the healing process, that it’s not a one-and-done experience for them, that they don’t go to a retreat weekend and we don’t have follow-up opportunities for them, that we understand that there’s more underneath. We want to make sure that we meet people right where they are. 

When Support After Abortion was launched, we learned that there was this one-size-fits-all mentality, that you would come to a pregnancy center or a church, you’d sit in a room with a bunch of other women, mostly 60-year-old women, and you’d sit there for 12 weeks in a Bible study environment. 

And it was effective, but it was only meeting a few people. It wasn’t meeting the vast majority. And so, what we learned as we continue to grow our organization, is that we need to have different opportunities. We need to have text messaging options. We need to have one-on-one options. We need to have therapists on standby. 

We need to offer sexual-healing groups and codependency groups. We need to offer secular opportunities, not just faith-based opportunities. We need to have virtual groups. All of these things are helping to meet more and more of the population that we know has been impacted by abortion.  

Here’s a really interesting quote by somebody who we have serving on our board. He is an amazing priest, an OMV priest, and here’s what he said: “We can’t always lead with Jesus or prayer. We need to lead with love. Our role today is to help them find hope, healing, and peace at this stage in their journey.” That’s from a priest who’s saying we need to meet them with love first. Start wherever they are, and then we can watch them grow and mature in their spiritual journey. 

I want you to understand that men and women heal differently. Women often like to be connected with other women. They like to share their feelings. They like to connect in that way. Where you often hear that most of the time men like to be side-by-side with one another. They like to be on a journey towards something. They like to be on an adventure together. They want to know that they’re not having to make eye contact all the time.  

What are we doing about that? In our culture, with this one-size-fits-all mentality, men are being forced to heal the way women need to heal. And if we know that men are needing healing too, we need to be considerate of how they heal. Are we creating opportunities creatively for men to find healing after abortion? 

We have a lot of opportunities in our culture with healing after abortion. There are some programs that offer a variety of approaches and others that offer a one type. If you’re a healing provider listening today, a church listening today, I want you to consider what’s one thing you could add to your program today to maybe meet a larger group of people. 

Here’s some of the options that we have felt have been effective. I’ve said some of them already. In person, one-on-one, weekend retreats, secular options, where you’re known and seen, maybe in person, virtual options, group options, weekly meetings, religious-based options, anonymous options. These are all things that we want you to consider as you’re thinking about healing options if you are a program provider. 

So, I want to remind you of the statistics that our research showed. Sixty-three percent and 83% of men would have benefited from help. How do we reach that? How do we reach that number of people? How do we get in front of those people that are hungry for healing? If we’re only offering one of these approaches, perhaps another one might offer 10 more people to come in. 

And then we get comfortable with that and 10 more people will come in. This is important. Sixteen percent of women and 40% of men want a religious-based program. I want you to hear that. The majority of men and women needing help after abortion, they are not looking initially for a religious-based program, yet so many of our programs are based in Scripture and in prayer. 

What are we doing to meet these folks where they are? A large group of men and women say they need anonymity first. In fact, 66% of women and 77% of men need anonymity after abortion. What does that mean? That means they don’t want to show up to a church meeting and share their abortion experience. It means they want to keep their information close. They don’t want maybe even to share their name or what they look like.  

We had a woman who said my husband’s a really prominent businessman in this community. If people ever find out who I am as it pertains to him, he could lose his job. Because of that political nature and the religious nature, we still have that judgment. So she wanted that anonymity initially.  

We’re going to see this increase even more as we see legislation across states, as we see abortion become a criminal act in some states. We’re going to need to be really careful that people feel safe to reach out to us after abortion. And a really unique number that I’m trying to help programs understand, that if they don’t have a clinical connection, they don’t have community members who are licensed therapists in their community. I want to encourage you with this number, and maybe this can be a goal for this year for you. Thirty-two percent of women and 46% of men said that they would have benefited from talking to a licensed clinical professional. It’s a really important number for us to understand. It’s also important for the clinicians listening or the medical professionals listening. 

On your intake form, do you offer an opportunity for somebody to say, “I’ve experienced abortion?” Do you give that a place in your office during your initial consultation? For somebody to express that they’ve experienced reproductive loss, miscarriage, abortion, adoption. We want to give that space to them. 

A lot of my fellows are not providing this question on their intake form. So, what happens there? We become part of the culture who says we don’t talk about this issue. We want to make sure it’s known that we’re willing to talk about and treat this issue. Ultimately, we want abortion healing to become purpose filled. 

We want people to see the pain after abortion through the eyes of their healing experiences. We want them to see that they have purpose despite the experiences they’ve had. And we see this in every other area of our humanity. We see this with people who come home from war, have told us that they’ve killed people, and they can’t live with themselves, and they find healing as a result. 

And then they begin to share their story. They begin to tell us about their experience and how it cultivated purpose in their life. We hear women who’ve been abused for years. Who didn’t know who they were, their self-identity, their esteem, everything that they knew was crushed from a really early age. 

And as they begin the healing journey, begin to connect with themselves, they begin to see that their life still has purpose. We want that for men and women who’ve experienced abortion. Healing has a ripple effect.  

So, as you think about the purpose that is cultivated in men and women through healing, think about what could happen, how we could change our entire culture as people begin to feel the healing journey take place in their life and they share it with their family members. They share it with their churches. They share it with their work colleagues. They share it wherever they’re going, their softball leagues, their, wherever they’re meeting people. They begin to share their story.  

And if we know that one in four of the folks that they’re going to come in contact with will experience abortion, can you just imagine what bringing light to the conversation about abortion and the pain afterwards will do to somebody that might be contemplating or might be in that secret stuffed place? 

It has a ripple effect and can change the world. We’re going to move into how you can truly walk this journey out. Some of you might be like, “Okay, Lisa, I get what you’re saying. I totally hear you. I have been that person that posts on my social media condemning message.” Some of us are talking that, “Oh yeah, I do abortion healing. I know what that’s all about. But I’ve only ever talked to people in my circles. I’ve never talked to somebody outside of my church. I don’t even know how I’d start that conversation.”  

So I want to talk to you about a four-step process. I developed it because we needed somewhere for us to land. Just these easy steps as we move into what we can do today to help people in our lives who’ve experienced abortion. It’s the first thing I want you to do and I want anybody who ends up talking to somebody about abortion to do is examine their judgment. We all have judgments, right? You can say, I don’t, I’ve rectified that part of my life. 

We all do. We all do. And some of us have a lot of judgment around abortion. And whether we try to present one way or not, if we don’t identify that, ” I don’t really like people that experience abortion, or I have a belief system that they’re murderers and they’re murderers till the day they die, and they need to know they’re murderers,” right? 

That’s happening less and less, but there’s people out there that are still like that. What is it? What is your judgment around abortion? And when you can connect with that, it’s not that it’s going to go away. You just get to know that that is there, and that you have an awareness moving into a relationship with people of where this might come out, and where you can work towards a different understanding. 

Remember, we’re more alike than we are different. So, if you’ve been one of those people that have put abortion over here, and all of the other issues over here, what if we invited abortion into all of the other issues? We’d realize that we’re really all very similar, just have different outcomes of the things we experience. 

The second step is I want you to walk with compassion. Here’s two things that I want you to say if you ever hear somebody disclose that they’ve experienced abortion. I want you to say, “I’m so sorry for your loss, and you are not alone.” Why are those two things so important? If somebody finally got the courage, and you created a safe place for them to share their abortion experience with you, that took a lot of courage. 

And perhaps you’re the very first person that they’ve ever shared this with. If you go, “I’m I, how did you get through that?” You add your own experience to that. You add your own color to that conversation. They already have enough color. They don’t need us to add anything more. When we validate their experience by saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss.” 

And we’re not saying, “I’m so sorry for the loss of your baby,” either. Because we don’t know where they are on that journey. We are simply saying, “I’m so sorry for your loss. Sorry for the loss that you experienced. I’m sorry for the loss in the decision process. I’m sorry for the loss of the pain that you had. I’m so sorry for whatever was lost for you.”  

And so many times when people hear that, they get, they take a step back. What does that mean? She’s sorry? What is that? And I want you to understand that if we’re not meeting people like that, they’re going to clam up and not talk about this ever again.  

Next, when we say we’re not alone, it’s so important for us to be able to share that. We need to let them know that they’re not a one-off situation. So many people were in their situation, are in their situation.  

The third part, ask them if they’d like to share their experience with you. Only if you’re ready, but sometimes it’s very helpful, after they release this, to be able to say, “I was 19 years old. I was living at home. I was getting ready to go to college, or I’m in college, and I didn’t want to disappoint my parents. I’m the first person to ever go to college in my family, and I knew this would take me off course. So, my boyfriend drove me, and we walked through the abortion experience together, and I’ve never told a person ever since.”  

And then the last part of this journey, four-step process, is share with them that there’s resources for them. Refer them to Support After Abortion. We have amazing team members that answer our helpline. And they want to walk alongside to help get them connected to the healing and hope that they deserve.  

I want to just mention a few resources as we get ready to end. We have a healing provider training platform that launched last year. It’s training. supportafterabortion.com. It’s a powerful place, no cost to you, where you can get all the resources from today’s conversation and more to help you on this journey of really disrupting the cycle, helping to bring abortion healing to light in your community. 

We have a resource called Keys to Hope and Healing. We built this resource as a way to create the shift from the long-term healing to the right-now healing. Keys to Hope and Healing can be given out in pregnancy centers when a woman says that she’s interested in an abortion experience. We have pregnancy centers across the United States that do that as a resource to them. 

We want you to be able to hand it out on the sidewalk. We want you to have it in your confessionals at your church. We want you to have it in the lobby at your church as a resource. It’s very easy to read. Very beginning level journey for their abortion healing process. We have the four-step process and writing on our website. If you feel like this is something you need to bring back to your team, you need to bring back to the people that you work with, it’s written for you. It’s there.  

And we also have a very popular resource. It’s a business card size that men and women can slip in their back pocket that just says, “There is support after abortion, and here’s the number.” 

Please, please, please know that you are not alone on this journey. I know that for many of you, this is the very first time you’ve heard this conversation. We want to stay connected with you at Support After Abortion. We have so many ways to do that. Follow us on social media. You can join our mailing list and become part of our monthly meetings that we experience. You would do that by texting, “supporthealing” at 22828.  

And then the last thing I want you to know is that there is a very real opportunity that you might have today to take your journey forward with your healing. Please contact us if you feel really like you are ready to dive in, and you need to talk to somebody about it. 

You can contact us at 844-289-HOPE and all of this is available to you at supportafterabortion.com. Thank you so much, and I look forward to working with all of you and joining the conversation about how abortion healing can really shift the pro-life conversations. Thank you.