An important reference book for persons working with pregnant and post-abortive women has recently been launched.
Complications: Abortion's Impact on Women was released this past Thursday, November 7, 2013, by the deVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.
The well written book comes with introduction, abstract, glossery of terms and index. Also, there are over forty pages of references listed.
Billed as the world's most comrehensive investigation of abortion and women's health, the book's 21 chapters are organized into four sections: The Big Picture,The Medical Impact,The Psychological, and Social Impact, and Women's Voices. Details regarding each chapter may be found here.
For a review of the book click here.
A welcomed story for persons suffering the trauma of having had an abortion and their helpers appeared Wednesday on Lifesitenews' listing of stories.
"U.S. Bishops Approve First National Hire Dedicated for Post-Abortion Recovery" ran the headline. Funded by a fraternal organization, the american bishops approved this past Tuesday at its annual General Assembly to support a ministry providing "prayer, support, and healing for those suffering from abortion."
The article notes that an significant increase in the demand at the diocesan level for such a ministry.
Offering links to relevant scientific studies, the story notes the harmful effects of abortion.
Numerous studies show that abortion can lead to a wide variety of negative emotional, spiritual and physical effects, including heightened risk of alcoholism, thoughts or commissions of suicide, breast cancer, and even death in future pregnancies.
Yesterday, I accompanied Yolande as she left the hospital after having given birth to her fourth child and third daughter. Born this past Saturday afternoon, the little one weighed in at 1.310 kg, after spending 26 weeks growing inside of mommy.
Yolande came to our attention a couple of months ago as someone thinking about aborting her child. Over that period we supported her by accompanying her to her medical appointments and in other ways.
Her newborn like her other children was pretermed; her brother delivered at 31 weeks, while the two sisters at 24 and 25 weeks.
As we left the hospital room and travelled the corridors and down the elevator, Yolande's mood was not quite what I had become familiar with; she was more pensive, more introverted than usual.
My perplexity was allayed this morning on perusing my emails. I came across an article written by Lauren Enriquez (seen here) entitled "Postpartum Women: How Our Pro-Life Values Can Help Us Help Them." This article helped me contextualize yesterday's experience.
The author writes about the "physical demands and trauma of labour and delivery."
Also, she is critical of the American culture that ignores these demands, unlike many others which give women plenty of time to adjust and be cared for after a birth, "up to a month or more."
Fortunately, Yolande will be receiving some nurturing. Here in Quebec, paid paternity leave exists and on speaking with her husband, I learned that he was prescient of Saturday's delivery. Last week, he approached his employer in order to inform him of the impending delivery and requesting time off.
Returnng to the article, the author concludes her entry by noting how persons with pro-life values can aid postpartum women, citing four suggestions. These are the following:
1. Just show up. Postpartum recovery is not a time to be texting the new mother saying “Hey, let me know if you need anything.” Go to the grocery store and pick up some fresh fruits and veggies (pre-sliced, if possible) as well as a high-fat soup or comfort food, and show up on her doorstep. If invited inside, ask how, not whether, you can help: laundry? Watching older kids so mom can take a nap? Chances are, the last thing she needs help with is sitting on the couch holding her cute little newborn, so let her do that while you pitch in with the more physically-demanding tasks, if she’s comfortable with it. Offer to make her coffee or tea, ask if she needs to take a shower, or a nap, and adjust accordingly.
2. If you don’t live nearby, send her a gift, or at least a card (but please, not an e-card). Moms love getting cute little things for their new babies like bibs and toys. But it is also very touching to consider the new mom herself: how about a gift card to a coffee shop that has a drive-thru (because nothing is more wonderful than to be able to put your infant in the car seat and head out for drive-thru coffee and a pastry in your pajamas). Or a comfy new pair of pajamas and nail polish, to encourage her to take it easy but also to feel like she’s still a beautiful woman.
3. Initiate a “dinner tree.” Don’t wait to get invited to the one that someone else is ‘surely’ going to start, because chances are, no one will. Email her friends, co-workers, and relatives, and ask them to choose a day in the two-three week period after her birth when they will volunteer to bring her a complete meal, packaged for freezer storage in case that is the most convenient place for it upon arrival. Waiting until she is in labor to choose the dates is a good way to guarantee that if she has the baby early or late, it doesn’t throw off the dates that everyone has signed up for.
4. Call her to tell her that you’re thinking of her, and ask her what she needs, what you can do for her (again, not whether she needs anything). It may just be giving her company, in which case you could try to come by sooner than later.
In outward appearance, this house in east end Montreal differs little from its neighbouring ones - one-story bungalows with a basement, red brick facades, and canted, shingled rooves. Yet, its claim to infamy lies less in its outward appearance than in its history. Some thirty years ago, Dr. Henry Morgentaler clandestinely performed abortions inside.
This past Sunday, twenty five women gathered outside this house to mourn not only the destruction of life that went on here but also the impact it has had on Canadian society to this day.
For close to an hour, these women chanted hymns, shared periods of silence, consoled a victim of this legacy. They listened to a native elder take back the land stained with innocent blood by ritually pouring water as an act of cleansing. Finally, each themselves then poured an ounce of red wine into the land, symbolic of the blood spilled on this site.
These women are all participants in the Back to Life Movement Canada. They number twenty-five because it has been twenty-five years since the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Canada’s abortion law was unconstitutional and, thus, opened the door to abortion practice through the entire nine months of a woman’s pregnancy. A distinction that Canada shares with only two other nations in the world – China and North Korea.
On this day they will begin walking from Montreal to Ottawa and the Supreme Court – 222 km, not only to inform Canadians of this infamous distinction but also to help women. For abortion hurts women and our society has collectively denied this.
Nathalie is a case in point. After the ceremony in the east end, the group reconvened an hour later in Lahaie Park in central Montreal, where today across the street is the current site of the Morgentaler abortion mill. Here, as they prepared to begin their trek, the twenty-five met Nathalie - in the white jersey (below photo). A resident of the area, her presence in the park this day seemed more providential than happenchance. She shared with the women about her own abortion story and the struggles and chaos of her daily life since. She received support and strength from having been listened to and prayed over by the group. She gained some measure of healing.
The documented harm to women from undergoing one or more abortions continues to grow. This past week I received two emails to this effect. The abortion-breast cancer link was the subject of a series of four articles published by the group afterabortion.org. Second, the adverse impact of having one or more abortions on mental health was the conclusions of a New Zealand study.
The 222 km, 11 day trek of these women will end in Ottawa on May 9, the day on which the 19th annual National March for Life is scheduled. Last year 20,000 came to our nation’s capital to protest the lack of legislation protecting the most vulnerable within our society – the child in his or her mother’s womb. As these 25 women are showing, more and more Canadians are not remaining silent about the harm that abortion is doing to our society.
The former Morgentaler abortuary in east end Montreal shows little signs today of its former ignominy. Yet the impact of what began what it represents continues to haunt Canada and many women. Canadians need to awaken to the injustices affecting our land.
For information on accompanying us to Ottawa on a chartered bus, click here.
In today's Montreal Gazette, columnist Janet Bagnall writes a pretty good commentary on the plight of women. Her inspiration is drawn from the current political landscape in India, yet she touches upon issues related to aboriginal women here in Canada.
Her column would have been great had she not left out the high-number of sex-selective abortions there occuring. Children are being aborted at a high rate in India solely because they are girls.
As soon as public figures like Ms. Bagnall step out of the cloak of silence concerning this atrocity will women begin to receive the respect they deserve and their children the lives that is their right.
The adverse after-effects of an abortion upon the health of the woman is garnering ever greater evidence. May it be the physical, social, or psychological, science is corroborating what faith traditions have long asserted - the destructive nature of abortions.
A recent example regarding the psychological effects may be found in the British Journal of Psychiatry. American academic Priscilla Coleman's research covers nearly a million women and reports that nearly 81% of post-abortive women experience an increase risk of mental health problems.
Also, the pro-abortion community tried to discredit this research;an examination of this criticism may be found here.