In 2013, pro-abortion researchers at a pro-abortion organization did a study funded by pro-abortion foundations to discover what happens to women who want an abortion but can’t get one.
The pro-abortion media frequently cite this agenda-heavy research, called the Turnaway Study, but only once did I read this very telling quote from one of the researchers: “About 5 percent of the women, after they have had the baby, still wish they hadn’t. And the rest of them adjust,” according to Diana Greene Foster.
That 95 percent of mothers found a way to “adjust” is a critical piece of information to highlight now, as many women in the nation’s second-most populous state could find themselves turned away from abortion.
The Texas Heartbeat Law, enacted Sept. 1, protects babies from abortion once a heartbeat can be detected, about six weeks into a 40-week pregnancy. The media likes to repeat that this is before most women know they’re pregnant, but that’s disingenuous. The earliest home test can detect a pregnancy as early as 10 days after conception, which is 24 days, or 3.42 weeks into a pregnancy. It stands to reason that a woman horrified by the thought that she might be pregnant would take steps to find out as soon as possible. But that’s a separate matter.)
The Supreme Court declined to block the act because the abortion sellers challenging it didn’t make a good enough case. Another lawsuit in the days ahead could be successful, and the killing would resume full tilt in Texas. Until then, there will be much wailing and gnashing of teeth from abortion advocates who insist the Heartbeat Law hurts women.
But does it?
Dr. Theresa Burke is the founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry of Priests for Life that offers healing to mothers and others hurt by losing a child to abortion. This has been her life’s work, but she happened on it unintentionally.
As a psychology graduate student, she was leading a therapy group made up of women with eating disorders when the subject of abortion came up at a session. That led to the discovery that six of the eight women in the group had an abortion in her past. To Dr. Burke, working to uncover a link between abortion and eating disorders seemed the next logical step. Her supervisor had other ideas: He told her never to discuss abortion in the group again.
Rachel’s Vineyard was an outgrowth of that discovery. Today its weekend retreat program can be found at more than 1,000 sites in 49 states and 70 countries. The retreat manual Dr. Burke wrote has been translated into 32 languages. And as popular and widespread as it is, Rachel’s Vineyard is far from the only program dedicated to healing after abortion.
These programs are needed because abortion hurts. It hurts women physically on a frighteningly frequent basis, as tracked by our friends at Operation Rescue. It kills a small number of women every year, as documented by the federal Centers for Disease Control. But perhaps the biggest toll abortion takes on a woman is emotional. Abortion breaks a bond not meant to be broken, and all the feminist rhetoric in the world can’t change that.
“The damage is profound, it’s insidious, and it lingers,” Dr. Burke pointed out in an interview with me. “Grieving is very natural, the feelings of loss and sadness,” she said. “That child is unique and irreplaceable.”
Women regret abortion. Maybe not all women, and maybe not right away. But through my work as co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, I know literally thousands of women who were so devastated by their abortion experiences that they have dedicated themselves to speaking publicly about what the right to choose has meant for them. Given a second chance, none of them would do it again.
Abortion supporters know this is true. I had a beautiful and courageous friend named Nancy Tanner, may she rest in peace, who for several years stood outside NARAL Pro-Choice America’s annual celebration of Roe v. Wade in DC, holding a sign that said: “I Regret My Abortion.” Not infrequently, women headed into the fancy restaurant to toast the fact that thousands of babies were dying every day would whisper conspiratorially to Nancy that they, too, regretted their abortions, but they kept quiet about it.
Now is the time for our side to get loud. Pro-abortion forces currently own the Texas narrative, with President Biden promising a “whole of government” effort to respond to the law. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi determined to shove the extreme abortion bill known as the Women’s Health Protection Act through Congress.
Most unborn babies and their mothers are safe in Texas right now, but that could change any time. Women who have had abortions have an opportunity to be heard, and because I know so many of these courageous pro-life champions, I’m confident they will be silent no more.
• Janet Morana is the executive director of Priests for Life and the co-founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. She is the author of Recall Abortion and Shockwaves: Abortion’s Wider Circle of Victims.