While the Nonviolent Choice Website does not advocate or refer for abortions, we believe strongly in the right to compassionate, nonjudgmental post abortion care of any woman who has had an abortion, any man who is the father of an aborted child, and anyone else who has been involved with the procedure, including abortion providers. That includes healing treatment for the psychological and spiritual as well as any physical wounds. It includes, whenever this applies, assistance with unmet sex education and family planning needs, domestic violence, a history of childhood abuse, poverty, or any other problems that, if not addressed, could contribute to another abortion (or abortions) in the future. Having an abortion is a known risk factor for having one or more abortions in the future.
Today there is much attention paid in prochoice/abortion rights and prolife/antiabortion circles to the matter of post abortion care. Unfortunately, much of it is so often overburdened with prochoice or prolife ideology that pressures suffering people to specific political and/or religious outcomes instead of respecting the integrity of their own journeys and healing processes. So it is difficult to find good resources on post abortion care. Bur we have found some that may assist your healing.
AbortionChangesYou. Online healing space for anyone who has been negatively affected by your own or someone else’s abortion. Started by Michaelene Fredenburg, a woman who herself experienced deep grief and trauma after an abortion, to help others who have also been hurt.
Authentic Happiness. From the Positive Psychology Center, University of Pennsylvania. Suitable for people of all religions and none. Positive psychology emphasizes “positive emotions, strengths-based character, and healthy institutions.” Research in this field “has demonstrated that it is possible to be happier, to feel more satisfied, to be more engaged with life, find more meaning, have higher hopes, and probably even laugh and smile more, regardless of one’s circumstances. Positive psychology interventions can also lastingly decrease depression symptoms.” This site offers free questionnaires that you can take to help recognize, honor, and build on your strengths. Although it does not deal specifically with post abortion healing, this website can be very helpful. If you are like many people who experience abortion, you may feel dispirited and disempowered. Positive psychology may help you to get in touch with strengths you have lost sight of or have never quite seen in yourself before.
Befrienders Worldwide. (English, Arabic, Chinese, Dutch, French, Hindi, Italian, Korean, Polish, Russian, Spanish, Tamil, Bengali, Danish, Finnish, German, Hungarian, Japanese, Lithuanian, Portuguese, Serbian-Croatian, KiSwahili.) Are you or is someone you love feeling suicidal? Many people have suicidal feelings connected to abortion. Thankfully help is available for suicidal people and their loved ones throughout the world. Befrienders promises to “listen to people who are in distress. We don’t judge them or tell them what to do – we listen.”
The Buddha’s Way and Abortion: Loss, Grief, and Resolution. By Yvonne Rand, a Zen Buddhist priest who conducts healing rituals for people who have lost a child to abortion or other causes. She had an abortion herself as a young woman and now describes herself as both “antiabortion and prochoice.” Powerful reflections that may be helpful for people of any political or spiritual persuasion–and indeed Rand intends them to be.
Exhale. ”Offers a free, After-Abortion Talkline that provides emotional support, resources and information. The talkline is available to women and girls who have had abortions and to their partners, friends, allies and family members. All calls are completely confidential and counselors are non-judgmental.” The number is 1-866-4 EXHALE (1-866-439-4253) and is available Monday-Friday: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Pacific Time, and Saturday-Sunday: 12 p.m.-10 p.m. Pacific. Exhale was founded by a group of prochoice and currently prolife women who all had had abortions. They agreed on the need for better postabortion services. Exhale officially refrains from taking public positions on the ethics or legality of abortion.
Healing Abortion Ritual. From “The Sword Was Not With the Goddess: A Spiritual Midwife Addresses the Need to Heal Abortion,” by the late Jeannine Parvati Baker, who wass schooled in the practices of Wicca and yoga and identified as a prolife feminist. However, this ritual could be helpful to a wide range of people, and again it is meant to.
Mental Health Services Locator (US). From the US Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Center for Mental Health Information. Many postabortion people benefit from competent, caring mental health treatment. The FAQs include such topics as insurance and other ways to pay for your treatment; homelessness; and protection and advocacy for people with severe psychiatric problems. See also Davis Mintun Professional Services’ How Do You Choose a Good Psychotherapist?; and Mental Health America’s How Do I Find Treatment? and How Can I Get Help Paying for My Prescriptions? .
Not in the US? Please try contacting the World Psychiatric Association member society for your country or region of the world.
Note: Although it does not specifically talk about postabortion issues, the Davis Mintun page on choosing a psychotherapist describes red flags for identifying a psychotherapist who does not put your healing and wellbeing first. Finding a good psychotherapist is vital for anyone who seeks treatment. But it is especially important for you if you are dealing with the aftermath of abortion. Because abortion is a sensitive and often explosive issue, postabortion people so often feel there are few or no places of safety where they can express their real feelings.
For the sake of your healing, you will need a therapist who does not, for example, dictate how you “should” or “shouldn’t” react to having an abortion or abortions, or being otherwise involved with the procedure. Please consider this: you already contain the seeds of your own healing, and a good, compassionate therapist will act like a skilled gardener who aids you in growing those seeds and tending the plants that sprout from them. Generally, a good therapist will accomplish this in large part by listening deeply and mercifully to your story.
Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress (PITS): What Is It? and Mind Field. By and about peace psychologist Rachel MacNair. In scientific research, literature, and popular culture, she investigates the psychological consequences for people who do the “dirty work” of war and other types of socially permitted/sanctioned lifetaking, including the death penalty and abortion.
Post-Abortion Care Global Resources Center. For health care workers who treat women presenting with either induced abortion or miscarriage, which are major causes worldwide of maternal and fetal mortality and morbidity. For health professionals in any country, whatever the legal status and availability of induced abortion there. From USAID, the US Agency for International Development. “This site provides comprehensive, standardized, scientifically accurate, and evidence-based information on postabortion care. It serves as repository of basic instruments intended for policymakers and program planners who are designing or revising their current postabortion care program. Organizations that provide assistance to PAC programs worldwide may also benefit from the information found here.” Covers followup patient care in the areas of family planning; sexually transmitted, including HIV, infection prevention; and psychological sequelae (mental health effects of abortion).
Post Abortion Care: Technical Resources and Publications. (English; some French.) From EngenderHealth; oriented to health care workers.
Pregnancy Prevention. A section of the Nonviolent Choice Directory. Pregnancy can happen as soon as you start having intercourse again.
Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries. Holds weekend retreats and support groups in several countries for the psychological and spiritual healing of both women and men affected by abortion. Appropriate for people who share the organization’s Catholic spirituality or who are comfortable with it.