Archive for the ‘Stigma’ Category

Ellen Burstyn: I don’t recommend abortion to anybody

Friday, October 24th, 2014
Actress Ellen Burstyn still regrets the abortion she had in 1950.

Actress Ellen Burstyn still regrets the abortion she had in 1950.

The actress Ellen Burstyn has had more than her share of hard times. She had a mother who didn’t love her. She was already divorced twice when her third husband became an abusive stalker. But asked during a 2007 interview with a Toronto radio station what the low point of her life was, this is what she said, according to a Lifesite News transcription:

After a pause during which the interviewer prompted her about single motherhood, struggles with her son and more, Burstyn said, “You know, I guess, I hate to talk about this on the air, but having an abortion.”

Burstyn continued, “You know that was really an extremely painful experience.”

“Did you feel you didn’t have a choice?” asked the interviewer. “At the time I was just young and dumb, I didn’t really want to have a baby then,” she replied.

“It was the wrong thing to do and I really didn’t understand that till later,” said the actress.

“That was very very painful, that was probably the worst.”

Ms. Burstyn, now 81, is talking about abortion again. In an interview on WNYC’s “Death, Sex, Money” podcast series, Ms. Burstyn and host Anna Sale had the following exchange:

Sale: Speaking of a young woman with wanderlust, in the early months of leaving home, you discovered you were pregnant. It was 1950.
Burstyn: “That was before I left home. I was still in Detroit. When I left home, I was 18. I think that was just before then. Yeah at that time, there were no legal abortions. And you could only get an illegal abortion. And that’s not a pretty sight. There’s nothing but shame connected to that. And although I don’t recommend abortion to anybody, I don’t think it’s a good thing to do, at the same time if women are pregnant and don’t want to have a baby, under any circumstances to take care of a baby, they will get an abortion one way or another. And if it’s illegal, they will get an illegal abortion. As I did. And it’s a scarring experience …
Sale: Did you go alone?
Burstyn: … I had no one. I had no one to go with me. That’s not a good way to go. It’s not a good experience. It’s harmful. And I would always, if I had the opportunity, counsel somebody — a girl –to not have an abortion. To have the child and give it up for adoption. But, it has to be legal.”
Sale: Is that because of what you personally experienced, having gotten an abortion, that you advise against it?
Burstyn: Yes. Yeah, I think it’s a very traumatic experience, not necessarily at the time, but later. It doesn’t go away
.

The host then asks if the abortion played a role in her inability to get pregnant later, and Ms. Burstyn replies: “The illegal abortion just botched me up so I could never get pregnant again.”

It’s disappointing, of course, that Ms. Burstyn still thinks abortion should be legal, but her logic is flawed.

Making abortion legal did not make it safe. Women still die. Women are still injured. Women still lose their fertility. We have to stop pretending that making abortion legal made it safe and sanitary. That is just not the case.

As I wrote about in my book, Recall Abortion, a pregnancy termination is like no other medical procedure. There is no pre-admission testing, no meeting beforehand with the doctor, no follow-up care.

On the day of an abortion procedure, women arrive at free-standing abortion clinics – many of them uninspected and completely unregulated – pay their cash (usually) up front, and see the “doctor” for the first time when they are already on the exam table.

My book and the Silent No More website are full of stories of women who received sub-standard care at abortion clinics. Tamah Warren of Tennessee recalls how, when the pain of the procedure (being performed without anesthesia) became too great, one of the women attending the doctor gave her a washcloth to bite down on. Can you imagine that happening at any other medical facility?

Kim in Mississippi remembers changing her mind and telling the doctor she wanted to get off the table. “After that, I was forcefully held down by two people and given another sedative.”

Can you imagine the lawsuit if this happened in a dentist’s office, or at any legitimate medical facility?
Don’t tell me that making abortion illegal will bring back the back-alley abortionists. The abortion industry never left the back alley, they just took their shingles off the back door and put it on the front door.

Ms. Burstyn says abortion has to remain legal because women are always going to have abortions, no matter the risk. I argue in my book that abortion has to be taken off the market because it is a failed product that harms women and kills their children. Which approach makes more sense to you: Keeping a dangerous procedure legal, or looking for life-saving options?

We don’t know how many women died from illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton because the people who were fighting for legalization lied. We don’t know how many women have died from legal abortion since 1973 because reliable statistics are impossible to find. The deck is stacked against life.

But we do know that times have changed. Even though abortion in 1950 was no less wrong than it is today, we have to acknowledge that is it NOT 1950 anymore. An unplanned pregnancy is not the catastrophe it was in the past. Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, for all her pro-abortion filibustering, was a single teenage mother. Cathy Lanier had a baby at 14 and now she’s the chief of police of Washington, D.C.

There are three times as many pregnancy resource centers as there are abortion clinics, and growing numbers of maternity homes, so there are real options for women now. Choices that no one has to die for.

And then there is the loving choice of adoption, which is so often dismissed. After discussing her abortion and how it robbed her of her fertility, Ms. Burstyn talks about the son she adopted.

“I do have the feeling my son is my son, period… When you mother a child, that relationship is formed.”

We need to stop accepting the premise that finding adoptive parents for a child is somehow worse than abortion. That’s a ludicrous argument. Hundreds of thousands of couples undertake unhealthy, immoral and frankly, strange, procedures to become parents while more than a million babies a year are literally thrown away in this country alone. One woman’s unplanned pregnancy can be another woman’s treasured child and that is the truth.

Even though I disagree with Ms. Burstyn about keeping abortion legal, I’m glad she was honest about her own experience. As long as we are, for better or worse, a celebrity-obsessed culture, let’s make sure to tune in when someone in the spotlight has the courage to tell the truth about abortion. And pay attention, again, to what Ms. Burstyn said about abortion with the clarity of hindsight:

“I think it’s a very traumatic experience, not necessarily at the time, but later. It doesn’t go away.”

If you agree with me that it’s time to recall abortion, please go to RecallAbortion.com and sign the petition.

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Left behind

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

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The testimony of a faith-filled, passionate pro-life teenager who learned her mother was post-abortive was published yesterday on the web site of Stand True, which is Priests for Life’s youth outreach. The whole piece is worthy of a read, but there’s one part I want to delve into a bit deeper.

The girl was almost 13, the oldest of her siblings, when her mother told her that, years earlier and in a previous relationship, she had aborted her first child, a son.

“Big brother,” Zoe wrote. “For years I had been saying, ‘I wish I had an older brother or sister!’ Now I knew that I had one.”

The truth is that Zoe probably always knew – perhaps buried deeply in her subconscious — that she was not her mother’s first child.

Dr Philip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist, discovered in the late 1970s that siblings of aborted children often have this awareness and, as consequence, suffer from Post Abortion Survivor Syndrome (PASS). In a 2011 opinion piece published by LifeNews, Dr. Ney wrote:

“The most prominent symptom of PASS is existential guilt, ‘I feel I don’t deserve to be alive.’
“Other symptoms include pervasive anxiety, fear of the future, sense of impending doom, self injury, obsessive thinking, poor self identity, low self esteem, self destructive behavior, fear of becoming psychotic and dissociation.
“PASS helps explain low rates of child bearing and raising. PASS people are afraid of having children. PASS helps explain economic recession. PASS people are pessimistic about the future. PASS helps explain the younger generation’s fascination with the occult. It helps us understand mad bombers who are extremely angry at adults and politicians who have allowed the massive slaughter of their siblings. It helps explain suicide bombers who have no joy in living but want a ‘noble’ meaning to their death. It helps explain the large number of depressed people who have unresolved grief of an aborted sibling. It may help explain the growing interest in euthanasia. PASS people are poorly bonded to their parents.”

None of this is true about Zoe, and I’ll discuss why a bit later. But first I’d like to repeat a story Dr. Ney told me, and that I recounted in my book, “Recall Abortion.”

A woman came to Dr. Ney for counseling because her 6-year-old daughter was having nightmares, wetting the bed and suffering from separation anxiety. In his interview with the mother, Dr. Ney asked her about pregnancy losses, and she confided – out of earshot of her child – that she had undergone two abortions prior to giving birth to this child.

Then, working alone with the child, Dr. Ney asked her to draw a picture of her family. Although she was an only child, her family portrait consisted of her mother, her father, herself and two siblings – a brother and a sister.

Dr. Ney said that for children like this little girl, growing up in a home where she felt there should have been other children created a whole range of deep internal conflicts that likely were the root of her problems.

This is clearly not Zoe’s experience. After learning of her mother’s abortion, she wrote: “I will never forget that experience, but I am kind of glad it happened. I have taken the pro-life movement even more seriously than before. I want to be able to say I avenged my big brother David by abolishing abortion, and I am confident that I am part of the generation that will do that.”

I haven’t had a chance to confer with Dr. Ney about this, but it seems to me that the difference between Zoe and the 6-year-old, and how each of them copes with the internal awareness of someone missing, is the way abortion was treated in their respective homes.

Although Zoe’s mom kept the truth about her own abortion from her children until she thought they were mature enough to handle it, abortion, and efforts to end it, are front and center in their lives.

And even above that pro-life commitment, and as strong, or stronger, than their familial bond, is Zoe’s family’s faith. Her mother suggested she speak to a priest after learning of the abortion, and he suggested visiting Jesus in the Tabernacle. Zoe prayed for understanding, as her mother before her had prayed for forgiveness. Both were freely given by a God who loves us no matter what we do. He always knows we can do better and if we’re listening, he tells us how. Zoe’s mother became a member of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and she speaks publicly of her abortion regret. Her testimony is valuable to the pro-life movement, but its price is above rubies for her daughters.

In his 2011 piece, Dr. Ney wrote that one of the most important factors in determining whether or not a woman will have an abortion is whether her mother had one. The forgiveness that Zoe’s mother asked for and received, and the way she has raised her children since, has broken the chain for her family.

Let’s pray that all families wounded by abortion will find a way to break that chain.

Posted in Abortion, Abortion Complications, Catholic Church, Faith, Family, Post Abortion Survivor Syndrome, Silent No More Awareness, Stigma | 5 Comments »
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Post-abortive dad turns to an advice columnist for help

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

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The truth about the way abortion affects men comes to the surface in places you might not expect.

The rapper Flypside with his haunting video “Happy Birthday,” tells the truth about abortion loss from the perspective of a man wondering what his 4-year-old would be like.

Steven Tyler’s lament, “Jesus, what have I done,” after he forced his teenage girlfriend to abort their child shows that he realized, even if too late, that he had sanctioned the murder of his own son, and it hurt.

Now even advice columnists are hearing from men who regret their roles in an abortion, even if they don’t find out about it until years later.

An advice column in The Sentinel, in Stokes, England, yesterday ran a letter from a man who found out, years after the fact, that a woman with whom he had a casual, but physical, relationship ended up leaving school suddenly because she became pregnant, and had an abortion. His letter is filled with raw, honest, emotion. It tells the truth about how so many people feel after choosing abortion.
He wrote:

“Throughout university I was in a relationship with a girl who loved me more than I did her and I cheated on her and often stood her up. Just before our finals she left suddenly and seemed to disappear. Fifteen years on she contacted me through Facebook and suggested we meet. She eventually told me why she left, that she was pregnant with our child, knew I wouldn’t support her, had an abortion and became very depressed and attempted suicide before getting her life back on track. She finished her degree, has a good job and is married and has one child and she says she is very happy. I was shocked that she had gone through all of that, on her own and largely because of me. I feel so guilty that I treated her so unkindly. Since she told me I have been off sick from work and my friends are worried about me, but I’m too ashamed to tell them what is going on.”

The honesty in this letter almost hurts. He didn’t love her. He cheated on her. And yet he continued to have sex with her, knowing her feelings were stronger and deeper.

The advice columnist first focuses on the fact that the woman might be at fault for having told him after so much time had elapsed, but eventually addresses the real issue, that his feelings are pent up with remorse and regret over his lost child.

The columnist’s reply:

“I would suggest you see your GP if you haven’t already, just to get some support. I feel torn in your case. This, on the one hand, smacks of your ex feeling the need to dump this on you. However, we often do not reflect on how we treat others and hearing what she had to say has led you to look at your past behaviour. That’s no bad thing, providing we learn from our mistakes. I am glad to hear that you have changed and you find that young man unrecognisable. I hope you can forgive yourself now and move on from this, as you cannot change what is done. Counselling would help you to come to terms with this and deal with the loss of your child.”

In their stepped-up effort to eliminate the “stigma” of abortion, pro-aborts are urging women to tell their abortion stories, and, like the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign who have been sharing the pain of their abortions for more than 10 years, the stories, more often than not, include feelings of regret and loss. Pro-aborts listen to these stories and say, “abortion has to remain legal anyway, no matter how much pain it causes.” We hear the stories and we know that we have to work harder to ensure the day will come when no one will make that choice, because the pain is often too much to bear.

Please join me in calling for an end to abortion by pulling this harmful product, this violence masquerading as choice, off the market. Go to www.recallabortion.com and sign the petition.

If you are a man hurting from an abortion loss, please go to Silent No More and click on the photo “Men and Abortion.”

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NY Times’ wedding announcement details a couple’s abortion

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

                                                         Udonis Haslem and Faith Rein

 
The pro-abort camp has sunk to a new low in its well-orchestrated effort to eliminate the “stigma” of abortion. A story in the Sept. 1 print edition of the  New York Times “Weddings/Celebrations” section included information about the couple’s abortion in 2002, when they were deeply in love but too deeply involved in their respective athletic careers to let their child live.

 Udonis Haslem, now of the NBA’s Miami Heat, and Faith Rein, became a couple in May 2001. A year later, she became pregnant. She was a junior at college, he was a senior.

 From the story:

 “Despite the pregnancy, she was busy with track meets and helping him complete homework. The timing was bad.

 “ ‘I am not a huge fan of abortion, but we both had sports careers, plus we could not financially handle a baby,’ said Haslem, noting how he struggled with supporting Kedonis, the son he had in high school, who is now 14 and lives with his mother.”

 This next part will really tug at your heart strings. It’s Ms. Rein’s turn to speak.

 “ ‘Udonis appreciated that I was willing to have an abortion,’ Ms. Rein said. “I found him caring, supportive, nurturing and all over me to be sure I was OK. I saw another side of him during that difficult time and fell deeply in love. He had a big heart and was the whole package.’ “

 I am always amazed by how low we can sink as a society. Now a man can show his big heart by sticking around after an abortion? It’s true, that doesn’t happen much; usually the man has hightailed it while his girlfriend is still recovering in a bloody recliner in the back room of the “safe and legal” abortion mill. But honestly, should his willingness not to bolt be the measure of a man?

 Pro-aborts are ecstatic that the Times included the murder of the couple’s first child in their wedding announcement (they now have two living children together). From ThinkProgress.com: “The New York Times’ decision to include those details in a column in its prominent wedding section is a small step toward dispelling the persistent abortion stigma that’s deeply ingrained in our society.” 

Jezebel.com says the story shows that abortion is “a decision to be considered or ignored or made or nearly made by people based on their own priorities and not some imaginary standard of adulthood made by a pious, anti-choice finger-waggers (sic).”

 The Frisky, Salon, basically all the abortion-loving media sites commended the couple and the Times for courage and commitment to choice.

 But here’s another example of a media site willing to tell the truth, and I think it is much more accurate in showing exactly who is empowered by legal abortion. This post at ReturnofKings.com, written by “Bacon,” is titled “How To Convince a Girl to Get an Abortion.” It details how to talk a girlfriend or “long-term booty call” into aborting her child, and also gives advice for coercing into abortion “girls where minimal emotions were involved in the sexual relationship.”

 This advice is for the girlfriend: “… Explain if she has the abortion now, you will be able to plan your lives together so that everything is perfect. Then, after she agrees and has the abortion, dump her.”

 And this is for the hook-up: “ … Explain to her in no uncertain terms that you will not be a father to this child…. To instill the seriousness of your message, add that you will refuse any efforts in the future to include you in the child’s life.”

 This is reality for the majority of women who make the irrevocable choice to abort: A dead child and an ex-boyfriend.

 It’s not the stigma of abortion that’s the problem. Abortion is the problem.

 To experience what it’s really like to have an abortion, read the stories of dozens of women who are quoted in my book, “Recall Abortion.” Go to RecallAbortion.com to order.

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