Townhall Op-ed: In the grip of abortion grief

Opinion by Kim Ketola | Townhall.com 12-14-2017

The Washington Post has done a surprising service by inadvertently revealing the damage having an abortion did to a woman who chose it.

Grace, profiled in the story, “The long five minutes: Abortion doulas bring comfort during a complicated time,” is not just a doula, but also an abortion survivor. As such she has my compassion and understanding. #Metoo. It took me decades to work through the grief and guilt of child loss through abortion. My pain was complicated greatly by being told it was not, in fact, a child by the people who sold that abortion to me.

Can someone please explain to me why abortion is complicated if it is simply a medical procedure akin to a tooth extraction?

Grace’s story cries out for a response to this question. In her work as a labor and delivery doula, she facilitates families celebrating new life. She says her only experience of abortion was hearing a sermon at a Christian youth event and having her mother threaten to disown her if she ever had one.

But, of course, you’ve guessed. She then had one.

Her parents don’t know, and it seems important for her to shield them, or herself, from their judgments as she returns to their “conservative state” for a visit. The implication is that the parents’ lack of understanding is the only complication in her otherwise emotionally healthy and carefully considered choice.

We meet her as she is being trained to hold hands with patients during a vacuum aspiration abortion.

She’s being told by DC Doulas for Choice trainer Lindsey to go along with the patient’s words: “If someone getting an abortion calls it a baby, it’s a baby,” Lindsey said. “If she calls it a fetus, it’s a fetus. If she doesn’t say anything, don’t talk about it.”

As the story goes, “[T]his is what they were signing up for: To be in a surgical room with a woman through one of the most intimate emotional experiences of her life; to hold her hand while she has an abortion.”

Again, does anyone characterize any other “long five minutes” of medicine as an “intimate emotional experience”?

Not to worry, they train the volunteers to dismiss distress—their own or their patients’—on any level.

“Some women might cry, and that was normal. Some women might feel only relief, and that was normal,” the author writes. “Some might feel guilty about their relief. Feel drowsy after anesthesia. Feel woozy . . . Have cramps. Laugh. . . Normal, normal, normal.”

If only abortion advocates would tell this truth: grief and guilt and prolonged mourning are normal reactions to participating in the death of an innocent human being! Instead they continue the double-speak of intimate, complicated, emotional experiences while assuring women that no one suffers emotionally in the long run because it’s just ending a pregnancy—nothing more.

Grace’s choice to go to work in the industry to try to correct the isolation she felt at her abortion mirrors the stories of several others, who found that compassion without truth is a counterfeit at best.

There’s Abby Johnson who had two abortions before becoming a star at Planned Parenthood in Texas. And Jewels Green who, even as a teen, wanted her child, but was forced to abort, and then ended up working in the abortion industry as a way to come to terms with her loss. (Interesting to note that the hand-holding function of the doula is seen by Green as a form of coercion, “You don’t have to leave. You’ll be OK.”). Carol Everett made a lot of cash selling abortions in Dallas after her abortion.

These women and many others have said they believed they were helping women when they entered the abortion industry. Some admitted an agenda behind the hand-holding role. But as time went on, in the reality of the daily presence of death, they found healing by embracing the simple truth that what had appeared complicated was elegantly simple: Abortion is killing an innocent human being, and therefore it is morally wrong.

Embracing that painful truth sets the stage for the good news: We have the remedy for every wrong through our faith in Jesus Christ.

I thank God for ministry being offered to help abortion workers get out, and to help in their healing.

Through faith many of us have found the redemption available to all for any participation in abortion. Our recovery stories stand as a voice of sanity in the self-reliant alternate reality where the veneer of ‘normal’ so thinly veils a world of hurt emanating from our tell-tale hearts.

The most scandalous thing about this piece is how it reveals the abject negligence on the part of the provider to screen women for the peer-reviewed research findings of the known risk factors likely to cause serious mental health problems in the aftermath of the abortion.

Grace is troubled by this screening gap too, but she’s trained not to care by Lila, the doula she shadows. She wonders what happens to women like the patient in obvious distress offered nothing more than the 5-minute comfort routine. Fellow trainee Lila reminds her the women came “for one reason. If they left and they were no longer pregnant, then they had found what they were looking for.”

What a neat way to erase any actual complication! Was the patient a victim of domestic violence? A sex worker threatened by her pimp? A depressed woman with no emotional capacity to process this loss? A poor woman who simply lacked the means to parent? No worries. They still did a great job if she left having completed that abortion. And Lila is right about one other thing, there will be zero effort to follow up with any of these women. They got what they came for. End of story.

Although this article appears in the Style section, the writer can’t help throwing in references to politics and abortion bans, while failing to illuminate that a 20-week abortion involves either the dismemberment or death by poisoning of an innocent human being just days from viability. Instead she appropriates that battle as a pretext to create a nobility for abortion work: “… all of them banking on the fact that five minutes with a stranger was volunteer work that could make a difference in an issue that went to the moral core of America.”

Again, if there is not another human life taken in every abortion, what is the moral dilemma?

Young women deserve better than this.

They need to be told clearly that science proves life begins at conception and that by the time she knows she is pregnant her baby has a beating heart. They need help to reason through the reality that abortion denies basic justice to another member of the human family, a frail and utterly dependent child, their child. They need to know that if they had an abortion the likelihood that their parents will disown them is small, and that the risk of honesty is the best gift they can ever give their parents and themselves. They need to know the true choice freely available in the pregnancy help community.

They need God’s love, shown through people willing to do more than hold their hands for five minutes and gaslight them that their anguish is normal.

And they need true recovery and renunciation from abortion and its polluting effects on our souls.

Kim Ketola is the host and executive producer of Cradle My Heart Today, a daily pro-life feature airing on over 800 radio outlets, Cornerstone and NRB-TV networks; and Cradle My Heart Radio a weekly pro-life program with guests and timely topics airing and streaming live at cradlemyheart.org. Kim’s work in Twin Cities broadcasting led to her Induction to the Minnesota Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2013. Kim’s Amazon #1 bestseller Cradle My Heart, Finding God’s Love After Abortion was a Finalist in the 2013 Evangelical Christian Press Association Book Awards. Kim is an experienced speaker and media guest. She holds a B.S. in Ministry from University of Northwestern, St. Paul and has studied applied bio-ethics at Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

This article first appeared at Townhall.com and is reprinted here with permission.

Kim Ketola

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