Partisan deceit impedes post-abortive mental healthcare

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Shout Your Abortion is a poignant artifact of the pro-abortion machine’s predation upon women. The website purports to be a place where women can talk about their abortions, for better and for worse, without judgment or fear. 

And so women do, by the thousands. Many submit stories online and via social media. They write in to tell strangers about what is or will likely be the defining event of their lives. Many are triumphant or defiant pro-abortion messages, of course, but many tell very sad stories. 

“I’m struggling to forgive myself,” writes one woman.

“I live with grief and regret every day for what I did,” writes another.

“My heart still hurts and grieves sometimes, but I’m mostly grateful for how much I’ve grown since,” writes yet another.

These sad stories, written by grieving women, belie the very abortion industry they’re meant to prop up. 

Women struggle with post-abortive anxiety, grief, depression, and regret. When they do, the abortion industry callously dismisses or undermines these very real responses as if they were unfortunate but foreseeable side effects of routine medical care. 

It raises the question, do all women’s voices really matter? Or only the voices exploited to prop up the abortion industry?

We know the answer. To the abortion industry, women experiencing very real regret and suffering from abortion are as disposable as their children.

Moreover, the pro-abortion advocacy apparatus impedes women’s mental healthcare by lying about the abortion procedure and obfuscating its very real physical and emotional ramifications. This is especially true for post-abortive women.

Women deserve to know that their loss is real, not imagined. They deserve to know the truth about their bodies, their pregnancies, their abortions, their suffering, and their options.  

And the truth is that pregnancy itself prompts a physical and psychological transformation, one that often begins weeks before the woman realizes she’s pregnant at all. 

Pregnancy pushes the body to its limits. It wildly reshapes a woman’s hormonal balance and even changes the structure of her brain. Every one of these processes is natural and will progress naturally unless disrupted in some way.

It’s absurd to insist that abortion — the violent, forced disruption of these processes — will be easy, noninvasive, or routine. It’s cruel to trivialize the many and varied mental health ramifications of abortion, even implicitly, by framing abortion as a routine and non-traumatic medical procedure. 

We know it is traumatic. We know it is not routine. 

One study found that each exposure to abortion increases a woman’s risk of developing mental health disorders by 23%. Women who have abortions are three times more likely to use marijuana than women who haven’t, and twice as likely to use or abuse alcohol. They’re more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety. Their suicide rates are even higher.

Yet the abortion industry would have us believe that these are transient, acceptable side effects of a routine medical procedure.   

If abortion is really about “choice” or “freedom,” why shroud it in deceit and exploitation? Why are women fed jargon and branding instead of medically accurate information to help them have truly informed consent?

Pro-abortion advocates deceive women by dehumanizing the fetal heartbeat at six weeks as “electronic impulses that signify fetal cardiac activity,” gaslighting women to believe a child is just a “blob” of “pregnancy tissue” at nine weeks when we know that major organs have formed and are developing, or, worse, refusing to let women hear their growing child’s heartbeat or see their sonograms.

We ought to do everything within our power to help women understand the reality of abortion and prevent them from ever feeling it is their only option. 

We know, for instance, that support structures improve their sense of well-being overall and can reduce emotional and physical stressors during and after pregnancy. Women who seek abortions often do so because of lack of support. They’re afraid they won’t be able to pay the bills, raise the child, or get adequate medical care. But options exist to help them do all of these things. 

The “Alternatives to Abortion” programs serve them all over the nation. They’re an excellent example of just this sort of support structure. More than 2,700 pregnancy resource centers around the country help connect women to employment, housing, counseling, mentorship, material support, and medical referrals. Women need support, not loss and fear.

Women’s empowerment looks like education, medical care, material resources, and mental health support. Empowerment means trusting her with the truth about abortion, the hard ugly truths. Empowerment means telling her she is capable and supporting her in whatever capacity she wants until she believes it for herself. Empowerment isn’t ending her reproduction then abandoning her with the consequences.

But the abortion industry isn’t offering meaningful options. Instead of emancipation, it offers exploitation. It’s an industry built on deceit to profiteer off women’s desperation.

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There’s an alternative: a vast network of care for women decades in the making, ensuring they know the truth about abortion’s mental, physical, and emotional consequences. 

These resources continue to shed light on the untold stories of women devastated after losing their children. They share the stories of women who chose life after being empowered with the truth. And contrary to the abortion industry’s foundation of deceit, this network is built upon care and trust.

Chelsey Youman is the national director of public policy at Human Coalition, a pro-life organization that operates a network of telecare and brick-and-mortar women’s care clinics across the nation.

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