02 June 2011

'Women Hurt'. Billboard campaign by Irish women hurt by abortion

This report by Tom O'Gorman was published today by CiNews.

A group of Irish women hurt by abortion have launched a national billboard campaign to reach out to women with similar experiences.

The group, called Women Hurt, consists of women who experienced abortion and regret the decision but have found hope, help and healing over time. They hope to reach other women who have not previously been able to access help or tell their story.

Speaking to ciNews, one of the spokespersons for the group, Lyn Coles, from Co. Down, said that, while every woman's experience of abortion was different, there are a number of common factors.

She said that coercion, by parents, partners, boyfriends or husbands was very often a factor. “Women are told they'll be able to 'get on with their lives',” she said. But she said that, whatever the circumstances of the case, it is the abortion that is the damaging factor.

Involved in helping women hurt by abortion for 15 years, Lyn says that whether the pregnancy concerned was the result of rape, or whether the motivating factor was the desire for a career, the impact is similar. And while later term abortions tend to be more disturbing, abortions performed using drugs like RU-486 can be just as disturbing as earlier term surgical abortions.

For most women who have had abortions, she says, it is a subject they are extremely reluctant to talk about.

“Denial is a strong coping mechanism, and society won't talk to them about it, so the woman feels isolated,” Lyn says. In her own case, she says she was made to feel stupid for asking about whether she had woken up during the abortion.

“I decided there and then, that I would not ask any more questions about the abortion ever again. I would put it out of my mind as never having happened. That day, the walls went up and my voice was silenced,” Lyn says.

The impact of this on many women is akin to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Symptoms like depression, anger, guilt, flashbacks and insomnia are common, and memories of the procedure can be triggered by the child's birthday or Christmas.

Society implicitly tells women that they have no right to feel guilty over the decision, because it was their choice, Lyn says. That is why she and the other women involved in Women Hurt have chosen to launch this campaign, which is intended to encourage women to access their website, she adds.

“It is there as a portal, so women can access help if they need it. It allows them to tell their story anonymously,” Lyn says. She says that many women do not want anyone to know about their abortion, and suggests that is why it has taken so long for a group like Women Hurt to emerge.

Lyn stresses that the group has no political or religious agenda. She says that she has come across many women, who would be politically “pro-choice” and would have chosen to have their abortion in a calculating way, end up immediately regretting their abortion.

The billboard campaign, which is launched this week, is set to run around the country for a fortnight.

by Tom O'Gorman

Read more at http://womenhurt.ie/

Rachel's Vineyard is a safe place to renew, rebuild and redeem hearts broken by abortion.

Healing Weekends offer you a supportive, confidential and non-Judgmental environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortive emotions to begin the process of restoration, renewal and Healing.

Rachel's Vineyard Healing Weekends

'These week-ends offer a supportive, confidential, emotionally safe environment where women and men can express, release and reconcile painful post-abortion emotions and begin the process of restoration, renewal and healing.

'Married couples, mothers, fathers, grandparents, and anyone affected by abortion have come to Rachel’s Vineyard in search of peace and inner healing.

'The weekend is a lot of work, but those who are willing to journey through their grief will experience the power of resurrection in their own lives. They will find meaning in what has happened and allow God to transform the experience into something that gives hope, liberation and peace.'

The links above are to the website of Rachel's Vineyard Ireland. Here are links to websites in other countries:

USA, where the movement began; Australia; United Kingdom.

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