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During the month of October, the Church celebrates "Respect Life Month." This week, The Pilot presents another in a series of reflections offered by women who have found healing from the pain of abortion through the post-abortion ministry, Project Rachel.
These women have offered to write about their experiences in hope that other women and men who are living in the often secret pain of abortion will come to know the same peace and healing of God's divine and tender mercy. Due to the nature of the subject, the names of the authors have been withheld.
Dear Precious One,
Yes, you! You, the one who chose abortion for yourself, or for someone dear to you. Perhaps it was long ago, or perhaps more recent.
I know the hidden pain. I share my story so that you may have hope. Hope for healing, and hope for a full life.
I share my story, so that maybe someone near to you will read it, and no longer pass judgment on you, but simply feel compassion. Maybe they can radiate Christ's love for you, until you are able to feel it again, or for the first time.
I share my story to those who belong to Right to Life ministries. I hope that you are aware that the man or woman next to you in church may have already experienced the loss of a child because abortion was the solution used to hide the product of their relationship. I also thank you for praying for me, my baby, and the baby's father until I could.
I have received such healing from my journey with Project Rachel. I am a full member of my parish, together with my husband and children. We juggle our schedules to fit in altar serving, religious education and service to our community. This is an amazing thing, because I never dreamed that I could be worthy of belonging, because I believed my sin was too great.
Imagine me deciding, even though I had fully confessed and had changed my ways, that I was doomed to be unforgiven. I could not believe that the forgiveness given to others for despicable acts could also be for me.
My journey began as a good little girl, or at least one who tried to be good, till I broke down. These are the lies that I allowed into my being, "Everyone is doing it," "Why not have some fun," "Who wants to be accused of being a prude or a lesbian," "Oh, but there is birth control, so it's perfectly safe," (except that it wasn't), and there I was alone, far from my family, and pregnant.
Again the lies started, "Of course you're going to have an abortion." The only solution to your pain is abortion." "No one need ever know, and you'll be free of your problem." "It's simple and painless." "Then you can go on with your life."
So now you've heard the very bottom, and now you can hear the rest of the story. Long after I had received sacramental forgiveness, I didn't know what was wrong with me. I began to experience emotional pain from the past. How different in a committed marriage, to be pregnant and wanting this baby. Then realizing, that I would have loved the aborted baby as well, but I never gave him/her a chance. But how can one get help for a secret that one can never tell?
The pain grew worse until on Right to Life Sunday 2003, I drove by a church with 4,000 white crosses on the front lawn, signifying the babies that would be aborted that day in the United States. But I still didn't know what to do with my excruciating pain, until I read a small and loving note in my parish bulletin, about healing for post-abortive women. A special ministry called Project Rachel, where you could share your story and know that you could be healed, through the witness of other post-abortive women and specially trained ministry members.
I was so grateful for those women, who prayed with me, and listened, but also told their stories. They taught me that I needed to open up the wounds to allow the light of God's love to bless my entire story. My abortion was no longer a secret. No longer secret was the harm that a past abortion was causing my marriage, and impeding my ability to parent the children my husband and I had.
The compassion and love that I have experienced now compels me to share. I fervently hope that someone else hears this, and seeks forgiveness and healing for a past abortion.
For more information on Project Rachel, including an explanatory video, visit the website at www.ProjectRachelBoston.com or call 508-651-3100. All calls are confidential.