OTTAWA, May 18, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) – During the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC) that followed the National March for Life last Thursday in Ottawa, twenty people from various regions of Canada gave moving personal testimonies about the devastating after-effects of abortion in their lives.
Canadian co-founder of the Campaign, Angelina Steenstra, spoke with LifeSiteNews.com. She said SNMAC participants from Alberta, BC, Manitoba, Quebec and Ontario met pro-lifers returning from the March, to share their post-abortion stories – including two who joined the group at the last moment from out of the crowd – a woman from Montreal and a man from Ottawa.
Three men shared their regret of lost fatherhood, Steenstra said. Seventeen women also witnessed to the emotional, physical, and spiritual pain experienced after abortion. Steenstra said the reason that these people shared their experience was to “break the silence, so that the aftermath of abortion can be healed.”
“After my abortion 19 years ago, an intern asked me to be quiet when I was calling out for my [aborted] baby, because I was upsetting people in the recovery room,” Debby Fisher from Brampton said at the rally. “I remained silent until last year, when I saw women like me standing up to proclaim ‘I regret my abortion’ for the first time at the National Silent No More Awareness Campaign rally in Ottawa. I knew God was calling me to be silent no more.”
“A panel of doctors called the ‘Therapeutic Abortion Committee’ decided that abortion was the best solution for me,” said Dale Barr from Brampton. “What followed was nine years of self-destructive behaviour – drugs, alcohol, promiscuity and four miscarriages within my marriage.”
Abortion’s effects are very real, Steenstra emphasized. Quoting Project Rachel founder Vicki Thorn, who said, “abortion is a loss that changes its meaning . . . we don’t know at what point it changes its meaning,” Steenstra highlighted that the post-abortion experience can be varied and may not immediately follow the abortion, but may begin years later. “SNMAC wants people to know that help is available, whenever the loss changes its meaning,” Steenstra said.
In her own life, for example, Steenstra said that her own abortion following a date rape at 15 years old “was the beginning of many years of regret.” She described one of the most significant effects as the self-hatred that spurred her to promiscuity, which ultimately culminated in a sexually transmitted disease that robbed her of her fertility later in life. “Do I regret my abortion?” she said. “Absolutely.”
Her abortion was a catalyst for self-destructive life choices, Steenstra said, “that only ended after a conversion experience that put me on a path of healing that helped me make sense of all the decisions I made after the abortion.”
“The National Silent No More Awareness Campaign is an effort to make the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women, men and their families,” according to a SNMAC release. “The emotional and physical pain of abortion will no longer be shrouded in secrecy and silence, but rather exposed and healed. This effort is a key to make abortion unthinkable and to persuade society that women deserve better than abortion.”
The SNMAC made its Canadian debut at the National March for Life in Ottawa in 2004. Steenstra said that the name “Silent No More” was also the name of a book written by Dr. David Reardon, a post-abortion specialist and researcher who has documented extensively the effects of abortion.
Dr. Reardon’s web-site, http://afterabortion.org/ has available past journals documenting statistics such as that teenage girls are 10 times more likely to attempt suicide after abortion, that 60 percent of women consider suicide, and 28 percent attempt it post-abortion. Reardon also documents that post-abortion women are almost four times more likely to engage in substance abuse.
Steenstra pointed out that many outreaches exist for women suffering from post-abortion syndrome, including Project Rachel, Ottawa’s Miriam Centre and Toronto’s Second Chance Ministry, which Steenstra co-founded. Second Chance Ministries offers one on one personal support, as well as a weekly open-ended support group from September to June. The Christian Association of Pregnancy Support Services operates a network of Christian crisis pregnancy centres across the U.S. and Canada.
See a list of resources:
Ottawa Miriam Center: Miriam Centre, 2472B St. Joseph Blvd., Suite 030 Ottawa, ON K1C 1G5 Tel: 613-830-8623
Project Rachel: http://www.noparh.org/
Rachel’s Vineyard (retreats): http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/
Sisters of Life (retreats, days of prayer): http://sistersoflife.org/aboraft-fr.html
Franciscan Friars of the Renewal men’s days of prayer and healing: http://www.postabortionhelp.org 1-877-586-4621
Georgette Forney, SNMAC co-founder, Executive Director of NOEL (the National Organization of Episcopalians for Life), Telephone: 800-707-6635, Email: Georgette@NOELforLife.org
Janet Morana, SNMAC co-founder, Associate Director, Priests for Life, Telephone: 888-735-3448, Email: Jmorana@PriestsforLife.org
Angelina Steenstra – Second Chance Ministry, Phone: 905-430-7990 Cell: 647-221-7131, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org