I don't watch the news, but I listen to the radio enough to know a little about what is going on in the world. In recent local news, from what I can gather from the two minute snips between songs, the hottest topic seems to be a bill that was passed in Oklahoma wherein women seeking an abortion must obtain an ultrasound before the procedure can be done. I always try and look at things from both points of view, but I have read many articles from people opposing this bill and I just can't see how (whether you are pro-life or pro-choice) this law could be a bad thing. Wouldn't people on the pro-choice side of the issue want women to be informed about the choices they are making? Some of the articles I have read opposing the bill stated that an ultrasound would be a "traumatic experience" for a woman obtaining an abortion. If you can find logic in this argument, please share it with me, because it doesn't make sense. Until then, I'll tell you about some traumatic experiences I have witnessed in my life.
Before I had children, I was very involved in pro-life work. One of the ministries that I worked closest with and which was closest to my heart was Rachel's Vineyard. It's a weekend retreat for women and men who have had an abortion or have taken part in an abortion and are now trying to find healing from the experience. I went into the ministry as a young 19 year-old thinking I could be of great help because the majority of women who have abortions are of college age. Surely they needed someone young who was around these women's age to help on the retreats. Boy was I in for a shock. At my first retreat, (one in which I had to participate, not facilitate even though I am not post abortive) I walked into a room of women (and some men), none of whom were less than 35. I was a bit intimidated to say the least, but I tried to trust that God had me there for a reason.
As I listened to these women's stories throughout the weekend my heart broke, and I was given a deep love for women who are post abortive. Most of the women did have their abortions in college, but it had taken them some fifteen to forty years to finally deal with the events that occurred that day. Some women fell into a life of drugs, anorexia and sexual promiscuity shortly following their abortion and could never understand why their life went so downhill after the event. Some covered their pain by having two or three more abortions. All this hurt, all these addictions and all this acting out because of a "choice". You want to hear traumatic experience? How about an experience that interferes with your everyday activities? Countless women who can't vacuum their own homes because the noise of the vacuum cleaner reminds them of the machine used the the day of their abortion. Or some women who are haunted by the sound of a crying baby when they are in the quiet of their own home. These are just a very few of some of the sufferings I have heard women speak of and that are common to post abortive women. These are real women, feeling real pain every single day for the rest of their lives.
On the last evening of a Rachel's Vineyard retreat, the women are given bereavement dolls. They are small, white cloth dolls no bigger than your hand that the women carry with them to bed at night. The dolls symbolize the child that the woman aborted. I know this may sound silly to some, but it brings great healing to these women to spend one night with their "babies;" to physically hold something that they were never able to hold. These dolls are given, clean and white, and sent to bed with each woman. They are given back the next morning to the facilitators usually covered in various shades of lip gloss and spotted black with mascara. For one night these women kiss and hug and cry over their babies. They talk and sing and hold and rock the child that is lost to them forever. For one night they are the mother they were never able to be, even if it is only to a small cloth doll.
I've seen first hand the results of a traumatic experience, and that experience is an abortion, not an ultrasound. My heart aches for all the women still out there who need healing from their past abortions, but I pray and hope that through this law and the gift of ultrasounds that soon there will be no more need for Rachel's Vineyard. That women will make informed decisions and have the joy of rocking a real baby to sleep at night.
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