- The Washington Times - Thursday, January 8, 2015

Grandparents, siblings, friends and others affected by the nation’s 56 million abortions are being invited to connect with a new project aimed at relieving their grief and loss, a group of pro-life leaders said Thursday.

Abortion “doesn’t happen in a vacuum,” said Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Even years later, grandparents can grieve for their missing grandchildren, and siblings for their aborted brother or sister, said Ms. Forney.

Others too can come to regret an abortion, such as friends who helped a woman get an abortion, clergy who didn’t offer counsel to a woman struggling with her pregnancy, or health care workers who participated in the procedures.

The Silent No More campaign has spent years reaching out to women and men who regretted abortion decisions, said Ms. Forney. Its new “Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion” project will seek to help the other people negatively impacted by abortion by offering them ways to unburden themselves and experience grace and forgiveness, she said.

“Secrets don’t have to control your life,” added Ms. Forney, who had an abortion as a teen and was pro-choice for years until she had an epiphany about her lost child and attended an abortion-recovery program. The new project will be officially launched at the Jan. 22 March for Life in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Anthony Levatino will attend the march — the first time a former abortionist has done so, according to March organizers. According to a brochure, the new campaign’s focus in August will be on abortion providers who have since stopped performing abortions.

The Rev. Alveda C. King, director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life, told the Thursday press conference at the National Press Club that abortion’s impact on the black community will be highlighted in February.

Nationwide, while black Americans make up just 13 percent of the population, black women have 36 percent of the abortions, and since the Roe vs. Wade ruling in 1973, 16 million black babies have been killed by abortion, she said.

It’s time for “nonviolent solutions to unplanned pregnancies in our families” and “including the unborn when we insist that ‘black lives matter,’” Ms. King said, citing her the work of her family, including her uncle, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We will find that when we grieve, reconcile and heal from abortion loss, the blessings will extend out to our loved ones, and in time can help transform our families and our communities,” Ms. King added.

Abortion remains a major social controversy, despite hopes among feminists and liberals that the issue was settled by the Supreme Court’s twin rulings on Jan. 22, 1973 that made abortion a Constitutionally protected right.

The number of U.S. abortions peaked in the early 1990s and has declined to about 1 million a year, with an estimated 56.4 million terminations having occurred under legal protection since 1973.

The procedure — which is frequently done early in pregnancy with pills or a vacuum process — remains common, with “one in three” women obtaining an abortion in their lives, says the Advocates for Youth “1-in-3 Campaign.”

Pro-choice groups maintain that legal abortion is an essential part of women’s reproductive health care, and, in response to the idea that women typically are remorseful about having an abortion, encourage women to speak up about why they have “no regrets” about getting an abortion.

The Rev. Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life, told the Thursday press conference that efforts to “destigmatize” abortion haven’t worked in 40 years because “human nature rejects it.”

The new “Shockwaves” outreach and healing campaign will be successful, he said, because it is only “articulating something that everybody already knows.”

• Cheryl Wetzstein can be reached at cwetzstein@washingtontimes.com.

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