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A radical left-winger regrets her abortion. Here’s how we should respond

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September 22, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Since post-abortive women have found their voice and told the world about the pain the abortion industry caused them, the Left has made erasing “abortion stigma” a top priority. Unfortunately ignoring the truth about abortion, like ignoring the truth about gravity, does not exempt even its apologists from its harmful effects.

That’s the story in a complicated article written yesterday by Denise Yankou, which is remarkable for the fact that she is the communications manager of the far-Left website AlterNet.org. (How left-wing? Imagine if Bernie Sanders and Medea Benjamin gave birth to a website.)

Yankou writes that she cried copious tears after learning she had gotten getting pregnant at age 31 with her “newish boyfriend.”

“I barely knew him,” she confesses.

She couldn’t believe her luck when she called Planned Parenthood, and “they wanted me to come in the next day for the abortion. The next day!”

That’s when the first swerve comes. She discovered she was only five-weeks pregnant, and the abortionist refused to perform an aspiration (suction) abortion, insisting she take an abortion-inducing drug, instead.

Medical, or chemical, abortion uses a regimen of two drugs to induce a miscarriage – and sometimes the birth of a living, extremely premature baby. However, it requires little time from the abortionists and reaps greater profits, especially since the FDA legalized its previously practice of flouting the law. Yankou continues:

Nothing seemed worse than being pregnant a day longer than necessary—except taking that pill. A friend in college had a terrible time with it, vomiting, bleeding and in pain. Going through that alone (or worse, with my inept boyfriend), away from any medical professionals, in my tiny apartment bathroom was unthinkable...I didn’t stop crying all night.

After the abortion, Planned Parenthood quickly fit her for a copper Paraguard IUD – something the abortion factory calls its “two-for-one special,” according to Yankou’s sister, a Planned Parenthood employee.

But then something happened, she writes. “I felt intensely sad. This was unexpected.”

It shouldn’t be. Numerous studies have confirmed a link between abortion, depression, and suicide. Perhaps she believed the abortion industry’s lie that regret is due only to “abortion stigma,” and post-abortive women would be just fine if only pro-lifers would stop highlighting unhelpful biological facts about the child’s personhood, the industry’s shoddy standards, and mothers’ often intense remorse.

After all, Yankou still believes firmly in the cause. She salutes the “most joyful” moment when NARAL President Ilyse Hogue told this year’s Democratic National Convention that she had an abortion (to rousing applause). Unlike 62 percent of Americans, she backs taxpayer-funding of abortion for “women, as well as transgender men” (i.e., women).

True, she grew up pro-life but she changed her mind after she learned that “childbearing has been historically used to control women’s fates,” leaving them intensely unhappy. (Actually, a 2014 study from The Open University in Britain found, “Mothers are significantly happier with life [overall] than any other group.”)

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That’s about the same time Yankou says that he discovered “typically, the question of when life begins was often a matter of faith, even among some doctors.” I can more than sympathize, empathize even. I once thought that myself. She may be as surprised as I was to learn of the overwhelming scientific consensus that life begins at conception.

In the meantime, her emotions are leading her her where her mind has not yet gone:

Gloria Steinem said of her abortion, "I used to sit and try and figure out how old the child would be, trying to make myself feel guilty. But I never could.” I had the opposite experience. Before my pregnancy, I expected that if I ever needed an abortion I would feel grateful, exuberant and deeply satisfied that I was taking control of my own life. But I didn’t feel any of that for a long time after the procedure, and I still have complicated feelings about it. This experience seems to run counter to the pro-choice movement’s narrative, which emphasizes that few women experience post-abortion depression or regret. I wonder if there’s room for women who embrace reproductive choice but look back at their own abortions sadly, realizing they made the right choice at the time, but wishing that things could have been different.

Yankou’s nuanced view deserves an ear – and an outstretched hand. Yes, she’s on the other side of the debate. She likely demonizes “people like them” (that is, people like us) as the centerpiece in the “basket of deplorables.” But she’s obviously grappling with a deeply felt pain and yearning, as well as unsettling self-discoveries.

One of her upcoming epiphanies is the fact that she cannot hold her view and remain an accepted member of the pro-abortion lobby. “Safe, legal, and rare” is passé. Today, it’s “Abortion on demand and without apology.” No regrets, no second-guessing, no exceptions.

Since the truth has begun trickling out about abortion harms, the industry is being squeezed like never before. Planned Parenthood believes it is at war.

Unfortunately, the first casualty of war is the truth.

And Ms. Yankou is merely collateral damage.

Emotional healing is available. She can seek out counseling that is available for post-abortive women, like Rachel’s Vineyard and Project Rachel, as well as groups of women who have the same feelings, like Silent No More Awareness.

She’ll be amazed to see the real pro-life movement: condemnation-free, ears and hearts open, and hands extended to all. 

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Ben Johnson

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Ben Johnson is U.S. Bureau Chief of LifeSiteNews.com. The author of three books, Ben was Managing Editor of FrontPage Magazine from 2003-10. He is also a regular guest on the AFR Talk network's "Nothing But Truth with Crane Durham."