Deep in the heart of every post-abortive woman, there’s a silence that echoes with condemnation. Guilt holds her captive to her shame – leaving her without the hope of ever finding relief. It’s time the silent speak!
Early in Canadian history, all abortions were illegal. The Criminal Law Amendment Act, 1968-69 , legalized abortion as long as a committee of doctors signed off that it was necessary for the physical or mental well-being of the mother. No one ever told Jeannine Rodgers that an abortion would cause her physical and mental illness.
Jeannine grew up with a Biblical world view. She understood right from wrong. By the age 24, Rodgers life was falling apart. She was married, with an infant and a toddler, when she found out she was expecting her third child. This was not good news for Jeannie, and she felt desperate for options.
Just 9 months before, Jeannine had given birth to a preemie. Due to an under-developed stomach, her daughter nearly died. She also had her own health-related complications, due to her second pregnancy.
To complicate matters, Jeannie’s husband was an abusive alcoholic. When he wasn’t out drinking, he was home but had little patience for his family. Frequently, he yelled for his wife to “shut those kids up”. When Jeannie informed him they were expecting, again, he strongly urged her to terminate the pregnancy.
Jeannine’s physician recommended abortion as the “best” option, which struck with a wave of relief. The doctor felt that if Rodgers tried to carry the baby to term both mother and child would be at risk. With peace in her heart, Rodgers followed through with that procedure.
Abortion did bring instant relief from Jeannie’s circumstantial pressure. No one, including Rodgers herself, ever mentioned the abortion again. In fact, Jeannie rarely thought about what she had done. But the silence echoed deep within her.
Jeannie’s single quest in life was to alleviate her emotional pain. If she could run far enough, or fast enough, Jeannie thought she could escape. From what? She didn’t know. “Some people thought I was mentally ill. I thought so too,” said Rodgers. She had sought out counseling, and was even hospitalized because of her depression, at one point. Her life went from crisis to crisis, always treating the symptoms — never connecting the dots.
Some 25 years later, twice divorced by then, Jeannine was living in Kelowna. A Pro-Life fundraising event was scheduled nearby, and she felt compelled to attend. The OVPCC (Okanagan Valley Pregnancy Care Center) had a venue at that event. Jeannie thought it would be a “nice idea” to volunteer her time at that center. Although the Center had no immediate openings for volunteers, someone recommended Jeannie take the training to become certified.
The training process proved to be a catalyst for Rodgers own healing. She learned about the indicators, resembling those of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, that are symptomatic of most post-abortive women. Rodgers had all the signs. Pro-choice had not been best for her, rather, it ushered in a life-time of emotional illness. Rodgers had been drowning in her guilt.
The culture will tell you you should never feel guilty. Guilt is a useless emotion, according to the “feel good” experts. However, guilt is a God-given emotion. The trick is not to allow your feelings to paralyze you, but to examine the cause of your guilt.
Through her recovery, Jeannine recalled her most shameful moment. Her dad had hitched a ride with someone, traveling some 8 hours just to be with his daughter. Rodgers, just out of surgery, was resting at home when she heard the back door open, and then her father’s voice.
At first, Jeannine was afraid her father would be angry. However, his eyes – brimming with love – reassured Jeannie of the deep concern he had for his daughter. To this day, that brief memory reminds Jeannie of God’s unconditional love, mercy, and forgiveness, toward her.
Jeannine can never undo what she’s done. “That piece will always be with me”, she said. “However, it no longer defines who I am”. Since then, Rodgers has dedicated her life to help other women make more informed decisions, in dealing with an unexpected pregnancy. Rodgers is a Client Services Director for the OVPCC.
It’s estimated that one in every four women has had an abortion. Those are old statistics because the media chooses to remain silent about this issue. The internet has opened the door, going over the heads of mainstream journalists who say abortion is good — it’s a woman’s right! This article is part one, in a three part series, highlighting other choices, and a new Post-Abortive Counseling Service offered at OVPCC.
It’s time the silent speak!
Most women don’t connect the dots between their emotional pain and their abortion. Jeannie’s labor of love is to spread the word. She wants every post-abortive woman to know there’s help, and healing is possible.
Getting the word out will take a collaborative effort. We’re asking you to partner with us.
The statistics indicate that someone you know has had an abortion. Her silence may not speak to you, but it echoes with condemnation deep within her soul. Don’t be afraid. Speak out!Forward this series to every woman/man you know and put an end to the silence.
For more information, contact:
Okanagan Valley Pregnancy Care Center
201-2622 Pandosy Street Kelowna, BC V1Y 1V6
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