The Spiritual Effects of Abortion
by Debbie Ward
First published in the Western Kentucky Catholic, Sept. 2015
I have been a team member with Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries which offers weekend retreats for women and men who have experienced the wounds of abortion for over 9 years. The wounds of abortion can be devastating physically, emotionally, and spiritually; sometimes leading to suicide. However, with this writing I will focus on the spiritual effects of abortion.
First of all, I am not post-abortive. I have always prayed and continue to pray for an end to abortion. Before I even heard of Rachel’s Vineyard I was called one day while in prayer to pray for healing for women who have had abortions. Up until that time it had never occurred to me the great need to pray for the healing of the women who are left behind to suffer the consequences of their “choice” and the possibility of the loss of their souls. This call to prayer, which I am convinced was from Our Mother of Sorrows, was for another type of war against women – spiritual war.
Jesus said, "Peace" I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give it to you. Do not let your hearts be troubled or afraid.” The world says, “have an abortion, it’s not a child, it’s just tissue. You can’t take care of it alone. You can move on with your life; be at peace and have no worries.” All lies from the world --- all lies from the devil. There is no peace in unsurmountable grief and guilt. There is no peace in despair. There is no peace with fear of no redemption. There is no peace with the fear of going to hell. The devil will do everything in his power to keep the soul tangled up in fear, misery, darkness, and doom. His greatest weapon is fear.
As a contact person for those inquiring about Rachel’s Vineyard retreats and an active team member on retreats I can easily say that I hear this over and over, not in those words, but it comes out in the stories, the searching; the longing for healing, restoration, freedom, and desire of hope for the future.
I would now like to share a short testimony from a past retreatant:
It was my birthday but I wasn't celebrating. 44 years old. Never married. No children. And no denying that my biological clock had finally run out. I'm never going to have children, never going to be a mom. Sad and depressed I talked to my therapist. I had been in counseling for years, fighting clinical depression, struggling with drinking, battling weight, trying to quit smoking, managing relationships with men who couldn't commit. But never once in all those years had I been asked nor had I volunteered that I had an abortion when I was 16 years old. Wasn't the abortion supposed to solve all my problems? But I couldn't forget it and couldn't numb the pain and guilt any more. Face it, I had my chance, I don't deserve a child, it is my punishment for the wrong I did: God won't forgive me and I'll never be able to forgive myself.
Although I hadn't been to church in years the pain made me desperate for help. Without a plan except to be in the presence of the Lord I went to church that Sunday and the next. And on that day I read the bulletin which announced : " If you are suffering from an abortion experience the healing love of Jesus Christ on a Rachel's Vineyard retreat. The weekend offers a beautiful opportunity to experience God's love, forgiveness and compassion." In an instant God answered a prayer I couldn't even formulate because I had lost all hope.
Although fearful, I signed up for the weekend and participated in the discussions, spiritual exercises and memorial service with 9 other women who were also in pain and struggling. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done but with expert help my life started to change for the good and I began to experience peace. Although what I did was and remains wrong I could finally trust in God's forgiveness. Who could know that my child would bring me back to the Lord? Now I truly believe these words from the Bible "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and hope."
In April of 2015 the woman who wrote this testimony married her high school sweetheart.
Consider the number of abortions just in our nation. Even if abortion were to end tomorrow, the need for healing of the mothers and fathers left behind could go on until the end of time as we know it. As Christians we are all called to engage in the battle for souls through prayer which makes all things possible in, with, and through Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. Pray the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, the Rosary of the Seven Sorrows http://www.sorrowfulmother.net/seven-sorrows-rosary.html. And because we are engaged in spiritual warfare don’t forget to call on St. Michael the Archangel.
For information on the next Rachel’s Vineyard retreat at St. Joseph’s Monastery, contact Debbie@hopeafterabortionky.com. Go to our team website www.hopeafterabortionky.com. For a complete listing of retreats in the United States go to www.rachelsvineyard.org.