As a post-abortion counsellor, having helped facilitate the healing of many suicidal women and desperate men, I think it’s horrendous that cruel, uncompassionate and poorly researched abortion legislation is being promoted. For more than 35 years I have heard stories of heartbreak, many women are incapacitated by PTSD, or other debilitating conditions.
I’ve worked with many nationalities, ages and professions, from university lecturers, Queen Service Medal holders, prostitutes, medical professionals, yoga instructors, computer scientists, people with PhDs, university students (who often drop out during their grief). Intelligence, education level, wealth, culture, nationality, all these things don’t protect a woman (or man) from experiencing intense grief after an abortion. Changing the legislation will not minimise their feelings of guilt or anger. It is far more intrinsically related to the grief of losing their child. It is an inner understanding that their souls and their bodies know, even if they live their whole lives in the first stage of grief: denial.
I talk a lot about the social cost of abortion, because I see it every day. The studies and stats back up what I see amongst my client base. Every counsellor and prison chaplain I have talked to says 100 per cent of their prison clients have a “significant” abortion story that comes up in their counselling; that includes men’s and women’s prisons. We cannot ignore the increased addiction rates, suicides, and rates of intimate family violence that occur after abortions. I see women with their teeth kicked in, dislocated shoulders, etc. I know their lives are under threat. Most I see are suicidal when they come. So far, I haven’t lost any clients to suicide, but they certainly have psychiatric admissions.
Most women felt they had been vulnerable when they discovered their pregnancy and had no other choice but abortion. They certainly never received informed consent! I now work with children and grandchildren of post-abortive women. The long-term impact of that vulnerable “unchoice” is intergenerational trauma, as the living children suffer the consequences of the wounded mothers’ unresolved grief for their lost children. I’ve seen mothers grieve a five-week foetus as they would a five-year-old child.
Most major international studies, and, importantly, New Zealand studies, indicate abortion has detrimental long-term impacts on a woman’s mental and physical health. There is also a great deal of evidence that it also impacts men severely.
The stories I hear of medical sloppiness and women being coerced and lied to about needing to make an immediate decision, whether they discover their pregnancy at five or 15 weeks gestation, are frustrating. Many are shocked to learn the legal time limit in New Zealand has been 20 weeks for the last 40 years. Removing abortion from the Crimes Act will increase the bullying that already happens within our taxpayer-funded abortion services.
Let’s not lose sight that abortion is a multi-million dollar business in New Zealand. It is not in the interests of the abortion industry to have informed consent, good pre-abortion counselling, or restrictions or safeguards in their businesses. Removing abortion from The Crimes Act is likely to lead to even more bullying and coercion, more heartache, and lives lost and ruined.
Studies all over the world show that women who have a history of neglect or abuse are far more likely to have abortions, as they do not have the emotional strength to listen to their own desires, they are vulnerable to bullying and coercion. The abortion makes an already vulnerable person hugely weaker, physically and psychologically.
There is a significant social cost of abortion! Like all of us, I am concerned how our tax dollars are spent. When taking into account the long-term detrimental impact of abortion, it is potentially the most expensive procedure on which the Government spends our health budget. The tax system deals with the long-term impacts that impact the whole of society as we pick up the pieces of broken lives.
Evidence from several international mega-studies shows there is a:
- Correlation between abortion and future mental health problems;
- Correlation between abortion and increased physical health problems;
- Correlation between abortion and increased rates of suicide;
- Correlation between abortion and increased risk of death by homicide;
- Correlation between abortion and higher rates of addictions;
- Correlation between abortion and incarceration rates;
- Correlation between abortion and relationship and family breakdown.
As families and communities, we can offer better solutions to vulnerable pregnancies than abortion!
Catherine Gillies is a post-abortion grief counsellor who lives in Auckland. She is a former president of Voice for Life.
This article was originally published in Issue 572 (August 25 – September 7, 2019) of NZ Catholic newspaper.
Republished with permission from NZ Catholic and Catherine Gillies.