What I’ve Learned About How Abortion Affects Women

Woman on beachBy Katy Schriner, intern, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Over the past four decades, Roe v. Wade is the case that allowed for abortion to be legal in the United States. The law has led to nearly 61 million deaths of unborn children across the United States. Over that time, this law has allowed doctors to perform this outrageous practice that doesn’t only hurt the unborn baby but also the mother. Not a lot of doctors who perform those abortions tell patients that. What those doctors aren’t also telling are the mental effects that come with getting an abortion–effects such as depression, emotional distress, and many more.

Luckily, there are places like Rachel’s Vineyard that help women heal post-abortion. The program allows the mother to examine her abortion experience, identify the way it has affected her life and helps the mother to acknowledge any kind of unresolved feelings she may have struggled with after abortion. Rachel’s Vineyard has programs located in Canada, Mexico, Panama, Puerto Rico, and 49 locations in the United States. Besides Rachel’s Vineyard, there are other resources for mothers who are unsure about going through a pregnancy or who have taken a first abortion pill. There are pregnancy help centers that provide free and confidential assistance to pregnant women and new mothers. In Pennsylvania, there are more than 200 centers that offer this kind of assistance.

As a college student, I have experienced some of my friends’ and professors’ opinions when it comes to abortion. Their opinions tend to be more of the pro-choice/pro-abortion philosophy (depending on whom I was talking to) but that has never stopped me from maintaining my viewpoint on the subject matter. I had several friends who I have grown up with having kids and never thinking about abortion. I know there are challenging circumstances facing pregnant women, but now I have learned that I am more pro-life then anything after all of the research I have done to understand what the Pro-Life Movement is all about.

It Only Takes a Moment to Share

This week as I write, I think back to my college years.

And I must admit that the famous quote by Edmund Burke describes my college self well: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”

I did nothing. That was my problem.

Pro-life college students spend a summer at the National Right to Life Academy.

Pro-life college students spend a summer at the National Right to Life Academy.

Sure, if you looked at my schedule, you could hardly say I was lazy. I held down up to three jobs at once. I commuted to college daily – 40 minutes one way. I took a full course load and made the dean’s list, volunteered at my church, did some freelance editing, and tried to spend some quality time with my boyfriend, friends and family.

But I did nothing when professors talked about the need for more diversity and acceptance, and then criticized and mischaracterized pro-lifers. I simply sat in the back of the classroom, feeling angry and alone.

Now, I wonder what would have happened if I had spoken up. Perhaps others would have felt encouraged to share their differing points of view, too. Perhaps I would have found others who shared my opinion and encouraged them to speak. Perhaps I would have offered a perspective that someone never heard before. Or perhaps I wouldn’t have found any like-minded peers. Perhaps I would have been mocked.

I can only guess at what could have been, but I am sure of one thing: I missed an opportunity. I ignored one of the greatest chances I had to talk about abortion with an audience that was only hearing one perspective. That missing perspective could have come from me.

This fall, I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to speak to several college pro-life groups. It’s been encouraging to interact with the students and hear about their campus outreach – whether it’s starting conversations while handing out cupcakes, organizing debates on abortion, or setting up a diaper drive. These students are doing amazing things!

As I see all the time and energy they’re putting in to saving babies and helping women, I can’t help but regret the opportunities I missed in college.

True, I didn’t have much free time. But I didn’t need to form a club or a rally. I just needed to take the opportunity to comment when the conversations arose, to ask a question when one side of the issue was missing.

Like the amazing pro-life college students I’ve met recently, we need to make time to be advocates for life. We need to stand up for the truth – that preborn babies are being killed in their mothers’ wombs at a mind-numbing rate.

But when our schedules seem overwhelming, we can still advocate in small ways. We can refuse to waste an opportunity.

Carpe diem!

Offering Pregnancy Resources to College Students

Study after study has shown that college campuses lean strongly liberal on social issues.

A recent poll of college professors showed that 90 percent identify themselves as liberal on social issues such as abortion, according to a Washington Times article.

Yet, college campuses really are the places where the pro-life message needs to be heard the most. Almost half of all abortions in America are performed on college-age women, according to Students for Life.

Therefore, we really need to encourage pro-life students to reach out to their peers – because they may be the only ones doing it. Pregnant students need to know that they do have options other than abortion, and they can receive support.

Students for Life offers free resources for college students facing unplanned pregnancies. A special kit designed for RAs (residence advisers/assistants) can be downloaded here. It provides a counseling guide, pregnant and parenting resources, fliers, healthy relationship advice, and pregnant and parenting student rights.

We also offer information to help parents educate their children about pregnancy and abortion, and fliers specifically for college students. Check them out here or request free copies by emailing lifelines@paprolife.org .

Help us spread the word about life!