Regret an abortion? You don’t have to be silent

Written by Denae Pellerin from University of Saskatchewan Students for Life

This post original appeared in their student newspaper, The Sheaf. Go to this link and show your support for Denae by responding to the poll at the bottom of the article!

In the midst of the “Shout Your Abortion” campaign, more attention is being drawn to women who don’t regret having an abortion. However, women should be free to talk about abortion, regardless of how they feel about it.

The hashtag #ShoutYourAbortion has recently been trending in response to a motion by the United States Congress to defund Planned Parenthood for one year in order to perform a thorough investigation of its services.

The bill was proposed due to ethical concerns raised in reaction to undercover footage, collected and released by the Centre for Medical Progress, showing Planned Parenthood directors and executives bargaining over the organs and bodies of aborted human fetuses.

“Shout Your Abortion” began with the intent of letting women speak about their relief and happiness in choosing abortion, while simultaneously supporting and defending Planned Parenthood, the United States’ largest abortion provider.

There is plenty of controversy surrounding the allegations against Planned Parenthood as well as the overall moral topic of abortion. However, in the middle of all the political activism and shouting, I cannot help but think of women who do not want to shout their abortions — women who regret their abortions.

The Sexual Health Centre in Saskatoon, previously Planned Parenthood Saskatoon, claims that abortion is less invasive than having one’s tonsils removed — so why would women be upset?

Even if the numbers are small, there are still women who experience pain, regret and guilt due to having had an abortion. Regardless of where you stand on the issue, we can all agree that a woman who regrets her abortion should not have to suffer in silence.

Her experience and feelings are real and they are not a mistake. Just as choosing an abortion can be complicated, the feelings after an abortion can be complicated as well. All women should be invited to speak about their abortion experience without fear.

Women in Canada already have begun to take initiatives to offer freedom to those suffering in silence after an abortion. Beginning in November of 2002, the Silent No More Awareness campaign began in the United States and has since spread to many other countries, including Canada.

Organized by women who have had abortions, they share their stories of confusion, relief, happiness and pain in an effort to reach out to those involved in abortions and in need of healing and empowerment. Their presence alone tells us it is okay to regret an abortion and that there is help.

Containing a wealth of resources, Silent No More is able to direct women to places near to them where they can receive assistance. According to the Canadian Institute for Health Information, approximately 38,350 abortions were experienced by women under the age of 29 in 2010.

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Students and NCLN staff with members of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign who publicly shared their abortion testimonies at UBC.

Many of our classmates have likely had personal experiences with abortions and should be granted the freedom to share or hold various opinions and stories. University is a time in our lives when we are encouraged to explore all sides of an issue and determine for ourselves what we will do.

However, as debates go on, we must not forget the people behind these issues. When only one idea or message is accepted on campus, we risk hurting those who do not conform to that idea. It’s important that women who regret their abortions are given the opportunity to be listened to without fear of being judged or labeled negatively.

Every woman is important and must be respected, whether or not her emotions promote a particular political stance. If you or a loved one is in need of care, do not hesitate to ask for help. You do not have to be silent — but you also don’t have to shout.

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BC SNMAC Tour – A Week in Review

Written by Anastasia Pearse

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2 NCLN Staff Members, 4 Speakers, 5 Days, 7 Campuses and Over 10,000 Students Reached!

I first came into contact with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC) in 2009 when I attended the NCLN Symposium in Toronto. I was moved to tears by the story of Angelina Steenstra, National Director of the Campaign in Canada, shared with us. The circumstances that led to her abortion, the regret and pain that followed, and her journey to healing opened my eyes in a new way to the pain that so many students on our university campuses feel because of abortion. With our age demographic – that of university students – undergoing the most abortions, it was clear that this message is so needed on Canadian campuses. But with our club in Victoria, it seemed too difficult to bring the campaign to campus. 

photo 2 (1)The next year, an NCLN staff member based out of Vancouver coordinated a tour of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to several British Columbian campuses. My club in Victoria jumped at the chance to have them on campus and I saw firsthand the impact that the testimonials of the speakers had on students.

Now, several years later, as an NCLN staff member, I was determined to help bring the campaign once again to campuses in BC. After months of planning, we had seven campus groups on board, four speakers confirmed, and pleasant weather in the forecast, and I was ready for a fruitful week of sharing the campaign.  But even from the very first day, I could tell this was more than fruitful: it was life-changing.

On their campuses, the clubs booked outdoor space in high traffic areas. We reached students through our resource tables as well as through posters stating “Women Do Regret Abortion,” “Men Regret Lost Fatherhood,” and “A Pregnant Woman Needs Support, Not Abortion.” The speakers shared their stories of abortion and their journeys of healing through a sound system, helping extend the reach of their message. Students walking by would stop to listen: sometimes they paused for a moment, sometimes for a minute, and often for the entire presentation. Club members, as well as myself and my colleague Kathleen Dunn, were on hand to distribute information as well as engage with our peers in conversation.

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Some students, after hearing the message and talking to one of us, left with resources in hand, seeking to give them to people they knew who had experienced abortion, or to use themselves as they started on a path to healing. We saw lives transformed in front of us with women breaking their silence about their abortion stories – one woman after 50 years – and leaving with a sense of hope. We estimate that we reached over 10,000 students in those 5 days, not including those who encountered the message through student newspaper coverage, discussions in their classrooms, and social media discussion.

The campaign’s impact also extended to the pro-life students and to the speakers themselves. The pro-life students saw the reach the campaign had and were even more convicted and encouraged to be active in sharing the pro-life message. The speakers shared their testimonies multiple times over the 5 days, but by the end of the week felt more fulfilled than fatigued, as they saw the impact they had, and felt the support from each other.

For myself, I was truly inspired: inspired by the speakers’ heart-felt witness to the cause; inspired by the pro-life students’ energy and determination to reach out with the message; and inspired by the students who were open to listening to our message and sharing their stories with us.

It is heart-wrenching to encounter so many young men and women who have been hurt by abortion, but I have a great deal of hope for our generation. I have hope because I see pro-life students becoming leaders who are reaching out with compassion to help their peers, and I have hope because I have seen firsthand how the pro-life message is touching students on campus.
Thank you to all those who supported this campaign! If you’d like to help continue making these campaigns possible, please consider supporting our work financially: www.ncln.ca/donate

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To hear the testimonies that were heard on BC Campuses, visit our Youtube Channel! 

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To see more pictures from the Campus Tour, visit our Facebook page!

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