If you ever lived with a fear of being “ found out” regarding something in your past, you would have an inkling of what countless women who have had an abortion live with every day.
The fear can be paralyzing, keeping you from healthy relationships because you are never free to let your guard down completely for fear of rejection if the other person learns your secret and withdraws their love.
This secret life is manifested in countless relationships with husbands, parents, boyfriends, siblings, children, and friends. The list can go on and on. The result is a personal isolation and a lack of true intimacy, that somehow creates a false sense of security for the love you are protecting, but in truth are never really able to truly enjoy.
Abortion is complicated. Telling people is scary and certainly most people do not need to know, but there is no doubt the secret takes a toll on intimate relationships where behaviors and reactions are unexplainable to the person who does not know the demons you may be fighting.
It is no secret that one of the new strategies of those who support and have had an abortion is to dissolve the stigma surrounding it by telling stories of how right the decision was for them. We see it everywhere.
My Abortion, My Life, The One in Three Campaign, and Shout Your Abortion are just a few groups striving to abolish abortions stigma through trying to make it appear common and normal.
The campaign, organized by the national sexual health advocacy organization Advocates for Youth, hopes to bring more awareness to the fact that abortion is a more mainstream issue than most Americans realize. It draws its name from the fact that one in three U.S. women will have an abortion at some point in her lifetime — and it wants to encourage those women to tell their stories.
“We need to have a conversation about abortion that is personal,” Deb Hauser, the executive director of Advocates for Youth, explained in a statement. “We are facing unprecedented cultural and legislative attacks on our rights. We must speak up about the need for these services. By sharing our stories — of students, moms, young professionals — we can change the conversation around abortion care.”
In a similar stance Think Progress tell us:
“Many people feel like they’re not allowed to talk openly about it — largely because they’ve internalized society’s shame-based message that having an abortion means they’ve done something wrong.”
Here it is, the ultimate good of abortion challenging the natural response of its being wrong. The message, “killing your unborn child is ok, you feel bad because society has it wrong.” No wonder so many women feel caught in a whirlwind when it comes to abortion!
On the other side of the issue, the wrong of abortion is often focused on without the compassion needed to bring people in for healing. More often than not, we hear testimonies of abortions horror, but the story often stops there instead of bringing it full circle to the healing that can be theirs. We often do not give the hope so desperately needed. If you come forward juts to tell your story without hope of healing, why bother? Many in the movement are fearful that if healing is focused on and shown to be true, people will think it is okay to have an abortion and falsely believe there are no consequences.
They fail to recognize that those who have abortions already know there are consequences even if they are not voicing them. They are often n denial specifically because they cannot look at the truth if there is no hope of healing. It is just to horrific.
Thankfully, there are groups who have experienced abortion that do speak out to show the truth of how abortion has hurt countless numbers of people while also calling those women and men in for healing.
The pro abortion side says that these groups inflict guilt and shame, but if you ask anyone involved in them you would find that is far from true. Those who come to groups like Silent No More and Operation Outcry are already feeling guilt and shame. These groups help them to move past it. Women and men feel camaraderie, an acceptance of their feelings surrounding their abortions that legitimizes what they experienced instead of denying it. They also give hope through the witness of those who have experienced healing, compassion and understanding to the issues they are facing, while still recognizing and voicing the wrong of abortion. They are others who have been there.
Still, sadly, the majority of those who have experienced abortion are still sitting in silence with their secret. They are not sure who to believe. They are often confused. They know abortion is a big thing because they have experienced it not because society has inflicted shame, but they also don’t want to be judged and condemned by some in the pro life movement, so they stay in their own little prison.
Thankfully, as more and more people are reaching healing, they are shouting out in compassion to those who are still trapped in the secret life of abortion, calling them to healing and wholeness and confirming the truth they know in their hearts.
Yes, abortion is wrong, it takes the life of an unborn child, but healing is possible and you can be whole again. Will you forget your child? Of course not, but do you want to? But you can remember them in a new way, a way of reconciliation embracing the bond that was rejected and reclaiming them as your own. You can be freed from the chains of deceit which will allow you to live and love, freeing you from the secret life of be-ing post abortive.