Abortion’s Circle of Grief Is Not Limited to Two

By Dave Andrusko

Perez holds a plaque in honor of Gabriella, the name she gave to the child she was carrying when she had an abortion in 2007. (Photo: Carrie Cochran)

Perez holds a plaque in honor of Gabriella, the name she gave to the child she was carrying when she had an abortion in 2007. (Photo: Carrie Cochran)

Last month I wrote two posts about a series of stories in which the Cincinnati Enquirer interviewed six women about their decision to abort, or not to abort. One of the original interviewees, Meg Perez, felt the reporter had missed some very important parts of her decision to abort and was allowed to write her own follow up op-ed which we reposted yesterday.

As Ms. Perez wrote,

There were key elements missing in my story that would have offered Enquirer readers so much more perspective and information on the topics of abortion and unplanned pregnancies, but, most importantly, powerful information for the tens of thousands of post-abortive women and men in the Cincinnati area who may feel regret as I do. These are people who are hurting. Gravely hurting.

The phone conversation I had with Ms. Perez before her op-ed appeared along with the many, many emails I have received over the years reinforced the importance of reminding even pro-lifers that there are many, many hurting women out there who would do anything before allowing anyone to know they had aborted.

Though it is a long time ago, I remember one e-mailer in particular who wrote about just that. The author of the e-mail said that those closest and dearest to her did not know she had aborted and had missed many telltale signs of post-abortion syndrome. As such they couldn’t know of her need for repentance and spiritual healing, because family and friends were not aware of the source of her soul-agony.

One reason that email sticks in my mind is that just a few weeks later, I spoke with a remarkably candid woman, a friend, someone who illustrated the opposite reaction.

She wanted me–and anyone who would listen–to know what she had done to her baby, to herself, and to her family. They had been devastated when they learned after the fact that she had been pregnant and (in fear and shame) had taken the life of a child she now missed enormously.

This death experience (which it is and we must never forget that it is) went back years. She talks often of the “circle of grief” that the loss of her baby caused. Ruefully, tearfully she lives with the thought that more than the lives of just herself, the baby, and the baby’s father were forever changed.

How can it be otherwise? Were, God forbid, one of my children to abort a child that lost life would be our grandson or granddaughter.

But the collateral damage does not end there. That truism hit me like a ton of bricks when during the course of our conversation my friend talked about something particularly kind that the lost child’s “uncle” had done for her.

Uncle? My goodness, that’s right, isn’t it? That child’s life, like all of ours, is wrapped in a web of relationships.

Think of a family member who is in the midst of a difficult medical situation. Think of how the lives of spouses and parents and siblings and aunts and uncles and cousins–not to mention friends and colleagues–are affected.

How much more is this true when a life is lost? Because many/most people’s line of moral sight lacks peripheral vision, they are only able to see straight ahead. Thus, unlike pro-lifers, they are unable to see that when an unborn child dies, it is a family-wide tragedy.

We always say, as we should, that abortion kills an unborn child and maims her mother. But we should never forget that the circle of grief and pain is much wider, deeper, and enduring.

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