Why is there a need for post-abortive counseling?
In recent years, one of the loudest pro-choice narratives has been that “women do not regret their abortions.” We see movements such as “shout your abortion” where women brag about their abortions and share how they don’t feel remorse.
Celebrities like Alyssa Milano, Miley Cyrus, and Busy Philipps use their platforms to tell women there is no reason to regret their abortion. They state that “abortion is healthcare,” and having an abortion is liberating and empowering. The American Psychological Association even tells us that “most women” don’t suffer mentally after an abortion.
At Save the Storks, we understand that having an abortion often does come with mental health issues that many do not understand.
Post-abortive research studies
In the journal SAGE Open Medicine, David C. Reardon notes the problem with many of these studies: the women who choose to take part. He said, “any sample based entirely on self-selection (voluntary participation) no longer represents the full population of women actually having abortions. Indeed, since feeling pressured to abort is a major risk factor, the practice of excluding women aborting intended pregnancies from [abortion mental health] studies makes the results from such studies less generalizable to the actual population of all women having abortions.”
Victoria Robinson, a former pregnancy center director and Director of External Relations at Save the Storks said, “For over two decades, I’ve met or counseled thousands of post-abortive women. I can count on one hand how many of these women have told me they did not regret their abortions. The majority of them reported having very negative consequences, which they believe started after their abortions.”
In line with Robinson’s experience, The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry confirms that there is, in fact, a strong correlation between abortion and mental disorders. They found that “abortion was associated with an increased likelihood of several mental disorders. Mood disorders, anxiety disorders, substance use disorders, as well as suicidal ideation and suicide attempts are listed in the Journal.”
So how do we help these women?
Thousands of women around the world hear that they should not regret their past abortion. They hear that they should feel empowered that they were given that choice. They are guilted into suffering in silence.
Every Mother’s Day, we recognize that the need for counseling may be even greater. Post-abortive mothers around the country often feel left out of the celebration due to their past decisions. This anguish opens the door for the grief, depression, feelings of loss, and “what could have been” thoughts.
It is crucial for us to help counsel these women and offer the resources they desperately need.
Luckily, with nearly 3,000 pregnancy resource centers (PRCs) nationwide, women around the country have access to counseling services. They also have access to other resources that are not always known. The need for counseling, especially post-abortive counseling, often goes without notice or is not discussed.
Post-abortive women need to know they are not alone and that their feelings are valid. They need to know they have people standing beside them, who can help them through their healing process.
The need for pregnancy resource centers
“Pregnancy resource centers are one of the most valuable resources in our country today when it comes to helping the single mother during one of the scariest and most critical times of her life,” Robinson said. “When a single mother has no support from her partner or even her own family, these centers help her find housing, a job, baby supplies and more. They’re also an excellent resource for post-abortion counseling.”
Save the Storks partners with over 60 pregnancy centers nationwide. Nearly 60 mobile medical units operate around the country as of mid-2020. In 2019, affiliate pregnancy centers reported over 2,100 positive pregnancy tests and over 1,800 choices for life aboard their mobile medical units.
To find post-abortive help and counseling, visit: https://optionline.org/after-abortion-support/
To see our list of PRC affiliates and their Stork Buses, click here.
If you are a counselor and would like to volunteer your counseling services, contact your local PRC to learn about the specific counseling needs in your community.
To find a pregnancy resource center near you, visit:
CareNet Pregnancy Resource Center Locator: https://www.care-net.org/find-a-pregnancy-center
Heartbeat International Worldwide Directory of Pregnancy Help: https://www.heartbeatinternational.org/worldwide-directory