September 16, 2011
The Feast of Our Lady of Sorrows,
celebrated Sept. 15, is a good time to address the sorrow experienced by
women and men following abortion and the hope and healing available to them
through Project Rachel.
The abortion industry tries mightily to downplay
or even dismiss any negative physical or emotional consequences from
abortion. While there is certainly plenty of credible research exposing real
consequences from abortion, the most compelling evidence comes from the
personal testimonies of post-abortive women and men.
One woman who shared her story with me said, "I
was so taken back by the pain and the thought that my baby had just been
sucked out of me… a year later, I don’t feel a sense of relief, I feel a
sense of loss, of emptiness and panic…. I constantly have nightmares about
bad things happening to babies, or I hear them crying and I can’t help
them…. This baby is a piece of me that I have lost and cannot get back."
Another woman told me: "My life has never been the
same. I mourn every single day for the child I don’t have, a child who would
have maybe had my eyes, or his nose…. People will tell you that you will
forget, you will never have any regrets, but that is not true."
Many other testimonies from post-abortive women
are available on various websites such as
Homily notes provided by the U.S. Bishops’ Pro
Life Office reflect on Jesus’ Divine Mercy with the Samaritan woman at
Jacob’s well and apply it to those tempted by abortion.
"Jesus knows the weakness of the human heart. He
knows that our fears – often arising from a lack of trust in God’s love and
support – can lead us into grave sin. Fear, not cruelty, is the force that
motivates the majority of abortions.
"Teens and young women are afraid to tell their
parents about their pregnancy for fear of disappointing them, or fear of
being rejected or punished. They fear not being able to complete their
education and the loss of the future life they had planned. They fear that
they lack the resources and maturity to care for a baby. They fear that an
adoptive family may not love their child as they would.
"Some single fathers want to marry their pregnant
girlfriend or at least support their child, but others fear that they’ll be
stuck with the young pregnant woman they never planned on marrying and stuck
paying child support for 18 years.
"Parents whose daughters are young or still
dependent on them, fear the struggles their daughters may face in trying to
raise a child alone; they fear that their daughters will be kept from
reaching their full potential when their studies or career are sidetracked
by an unplanned pregnancy. Some parents fear how their friends will react to
the family’s "shame" of an out-of-wedlock pregnancy.
"And expectant parents whose unborn child has been
diagnosed with a serious genetic condition, may fear that their child will
suffer in life, that they won’t be capable of caring for a child with
special needs, or that the emotional pain of carrying a child to term only
to witness its death will be more than they can bear.
"But in every case, our Lord is ready to provide
all the grace and help we need if we simply ask him for the courage and
strength to act in ways that affirm the priceless gift of life. He willingly
died for us. Why do we doubt that he’d help us through any crisis, that he’d
bring people into our lives who can offer the support we need through
"And should we fail to do the right thing,
sacramental Confession is always available to us.There we come face to face
with God’s Divine Mercy – Mercy that forgives our worst sins, removes our
guilt and our shame, fills us instead with God’s grace."
Project Rachel, a post-abortion outreach available in Nebraska (toll free
at 888-456-HOPE), helps facilitate God’s Divine Mercy. Project Rachel is
based upon the Old Testament figure who mourned the loss of her children
(Jeremiah 31:15-17): "Thus says the Lord, Cease your cries of mourning, wipe
the tears from your eyes. The sorrow you have shown shall have its reward…
there is hope for your future."
You can contact Greg at The Nebraska
Catholic Conference, 215 Centennial Mall South Suite 310, Lincoln, NE 68508;