Abortion creates trauma. Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS) is the condition occurring in both men and women after the abortion experience due to unresolved psychological and spiritual issues. PAS is actually a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a commonly recognized condition that often follows traumatizing events such as witnessing an act of violence or experiencing a natural disaster. Patterns of long-term emotional disorder include: depression, grief, anxiety, helplessness, despair, sorrow, lowered self-esteem, distrust, hostility, dependency on alcohol/chemicals/food/work, guilt, sexuality problems, self-condemnation, weeping, emptiness, distrust, frustration, insomnia, nightmares, dysfunctional relationships, flashbacks, anger, fear of rejection, bitterness, un-forgiveness, fear of commitment, and the inability to form close relationships.
Theresa Burke, PhD, founder of Rachel's Vineyard and co-author with David Reardon of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion says the following:
"Post-abortion healing is a specialty unto itself. The average psychiatrist, psychologist, social worker or counselor of any other academic stripe who does not understand post-abortion issues can often inflict more harm than good on the unsuspecting woman. Many may believe they have enough insight to help, but unless they have had additional training, they often don't. Certainly, if your thoughts and feelings become so overwhelming that you feel you can no longer cope, seek professional assistance immediately. But generally, I encourage you to take the time to find one of the growing numbers of professional therapists and experienced lay counselors who have received special training in post-abortion healing."
Abortion Recovery helps individuals overcome the emotional trauma and spiritual issues experienced after an abortion. Workshops and programs are usually free and are available through local pregnancy help centers, churches and national organizations. Abortion recovery programs should address the following to help participants heal from an abortion experience; grief, guilt, anger, depression, fear, un-forgiveness, shame and defense mechanisms. Teaching on the love, mercy and grace of God should also be included so that healthy reconciliation can occur.
If you desire to start a workshop or group, you can be very effective in serving as a facilitator with the appropriate training and preparation.
Here are some thoughts to keep in mind if you decide to start an abortion recovery program.
- Understand the regret of abortion touches people deeply – emotionally and spiritually.
- Choose yourself to participate in an abortion recovery program to receive and/or confirm healing for any past abortion regret.
- Commit to be non-judgmental.
- Be able to facilitate participants’ movement towards goals while recognizing that person’s healing process involves their own commitment to the process.
- Have a desire to serve and minister to others (not looking for recognition or for fulfillment of personal needs).
- Be able to create a healthy balance between caring for the group members and limitsof responsibility for someone else’s actions.
- Be eager to learn and to realize that everyone is at a different place on their emotional and spiritual journey.
Recommended Heartbeat Resources
- H.E.A.R.T. (Healing the Effects of Abortion Related Trauma)
- H.E.A.R.T. Leader's Guide
Here are more resources to help you get started:
If you’ve experienced an abortion or participated in the decision making process, you may be struggling. Click here for resources available to help.