Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of May 19, 2003
Abortion also victimizes women
Pro-Life Caucus focuses on women who have abortions
By ART BABYCH
Canadian Catholic News
The Parliamentary Pro-Life Caucus shifted focus off aborted babies onto what it called "abortion's other silent victims" at a news conference May 13 held in conjunction with the annual March for Life the following day.
The other silent victims, said the group, are "the women who have had an abortion and are suffering devastating psychological and physical after-effects."
"Many of these silent victims live amongst us today with the psychological and physical scars of abortion," said Ontario Liberal MP Paul Steckle, They are "the scars that many, including politicians and medical professionals say don't exist or are not related to the abortion," he added.
"These women know better but they are being silenced by a status quo mentality that does not want to acknowledge any medical harm associated with abortion."
Newfoundland Tory MP Norman Doyle introduced two "courageous women," Angelina Steenstra of Toronto, and a Montreal woman identified only as Angela, both of whom, he said, "have decided not to be silent any longer."
Doyle said the women want to help others who may be dealing with similar issues and have been afraid to seek help. As well, they also want to "alert politicians and educators to the myth of the so-called safe, legal abortion," he said.
Steenstra, who runs a post-abortion counselling centre called Second Chance, said she had an abortion at the age of 15. "Little did I know that that very short procedure would affect my life the way it has," she said. "For many years I was in denial," she said. After she got on a bus following the abortion she saw her reflection in the window and told herself "I hate you, you're never going to be able to fix what happened here today."
She became an advocate for abortion on demand and spent the next six years "running from the pain of the grief of the abortion," she said. She used drugs and alcohol to "numb the pain," and said, "In my self hatred, I became promiscuous - looking for love in all the wrong places."
The turning point for Steenstra came "through the grace of God" while she was considering suicide, she said. A Christian show was on the TV and was inviting people in trouble to call in. She did, beginning her "upward journey of healing and reconciliation," she said. Soon, the walls and defences she had built up came down and she began to grieve the loss of her child, Steenstra said. "It was something that wouldn't go away without facing it."
With the help of a Catholic priest in Toronto, Second Chance was launched. "I have ministered to hundreds of women over the past 12 years and six that I'm working with right now have been coerced into having an abortion," she said. "What they were in was a crisis pregnancy and what was needed was someone to say 'It's OK, we can help you through this. Killing your baby is not the answer.'"
Angela, now a nurse, had an abortion three months before she finished university. "I suppressed emotions of guilt and loss into my subconscious," she said. But they surfaced on her first nursing shift when she was unable to take care of her patients and was forced to go on mandatory two weeks of sick leave during which she consulted a psychologist. "All the emotional pain of guilt and deep sense of loss re-emerged," she said.
"Post-abortion syndrome is very real for those involved in an abortion," said Angela. "We are not told the whole truth about the physical and emotional side-effects."
Canadian Alliance MP Garry Breitkreuz noted that his private member's bill - Motion 83 - had received the first hour of debate in the House of Commons a day earlier. It asks the standing committee on health to examine whether abortions are necessary and to determine what health risks may be in store for women undergoing an abortion.
The second hour of debate will be held in the fall, followed immediately by a vote. "This is the first vote in 12 years on anything related to abortion in this Parliament," said Breitkreuz, calling on Canadians to contact their MPs and ask them to support the bill.