- The Washington Times - Wednesday, January 22, 2003

Some 800 women who say they regret their abortions are speaking out against the procedure this week as part of a nationwide campaign called "Silent No More."
The campaign, the largest of its kind, is an attempt by abortion opponents to show that women who terminate their pregnancies often deal with depression, guilt and shame.
"We are the voice that hasn't been heard," says Georgette Forney, executive director of the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life. "There is a lot of talk about rights and choice, but very little attention is given to women who have abortions."
Mrs. Forney, one of the campaign's founders, said she was inspired by God.
"I regret my abortion, and I know others feel the same way," says Mrs. Forney. "After 30 years, it's time to listen to us, the women who have experienced it."
Organizers are hoping to connect with women across the country. Women who feel remorse about their abortions will relay their personal and sometimes painful accounts at state capitals and other major cities this week as part of the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court decision legalizing abortion nationwide.
The District's Silent No More event will be held from 5 to 8 tonight in front of the Supreme Court.
Pro-choice groups counter that the American Medical Association never has verified the existence of "post-abortion stress syndrome." They say abortion affects women differently and not everyone who has undergone the procedure regrets the decision.
Marion Syverson, 47, and Shira Stern, 46, look back at their decisions and reach contrasting conclusions.
Mrs. Syverson, a stockbroker from Hampden, Maine, with two sons in their 20s, expressed regret about the two abortions she had as a troubled teenager. She has worked with a group called Feminists for Life to dissuade other women from having abortions.
"I know abortion hurts women, so I'd sure like to make it hardly ever happen," she said.
Mrs. Stern, a rabbi from Morganville, N.J., and daughter of violinist Isaac Stern, said she was grateful to have had a choice. She had an abortion in 1984 after sonograms indicated that the fetus had no brain and was severely deformed. She and her husband, also a rabbi, later had three sons, now in their teens.
To get out their message, pro-life groups are taking a friendlier approach infused with woman-to-woman warmth.
They say their main focus is no longer to overturn Roe v. Wade, but rather to teach women that abortion may not be the best choice and that help is available if they choose to continue their pregnancies.
"Whether women regret or don't regret their abortions, there are very few who feel they had all the options available to them when they were pregnant," says Michaelene Jenkins, organizer of the Silent No More San Diego, Calif., event.
"I don't think we're at a place to close all the doors," Mrs. Jenkins said. "I want to see options that empower women."
This article is based in part on wire service reports.

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