Rebuttal to Study Claiming Women Don’t Regret Abortion

The reality is that a large majority of women suffer post-abortive regret in silence. However, many women have found healing and hope from the trauma of abortion through post abortion healing services. 

Woman Crying
The Pain and Regret of Abortion

The following article was authored by Katherine Ranck for Human Defense Initiative.  

A recent study out of the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) claims most women do not regret their abortions. The study is a part of UCSF’s Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) research department. Abortion advocates are touting this as proof abortion regulations are unnecessary and harmful to women. However, this ignores the many problems with this study and the incorrect premises it is founded upon. While the study claims to have “no competing interest,” the entire aim of ANSIRH is abortion advocacy. This means that at its core, ANSIRH is biased towards abortion and can make no claim of being free of bias or competing interest. It is dishonest of them to claim so and creates serious questions as to the accuracy of the study and its outcomes from the outset.

Secondly, there are several problems with the way the study was conducted and subsequently reported on. The study boasts 95% of the women who participated in the study did not regret their abortions five years later. However, the sample size of this study can hardly begin to provide an adequate view of the majority of women who undergo an abortion.

According to the study itself, 62.5% of women approached for this study refused to participate, which means that out of the 2,549 women approached, only 956 women agreed to participate. Moreover, 30% of women who agreed to participate dropped out by the end of the study and 15% dropped out before the study even began. This left the researchers with 667 women by the end of the study. This number is only 26% of the original research pool.

According to CDC reports from 2008, 2009, and 2010, the time period in which ANSIRH was collecting data, 2,375,722 abortions were performed. Based on this number, the sample size of this study covers only 0.03% of all abortions. That number is minuscule. Using an easily available survey sample size calculator from CheckMarket, we are able to see that the optimal sample size for a population of 2,375,722 (abortions obtained in 2008-2010), should be 2,399. ANSIRH’s sample size was 28% of what it should have been for a successful study. This alone should disqualify ANSIRH’s study from being used as any serious evidence that women who get abortions do not later regret them.

Another factor this study fails to consider is that women who agreed to participate in the study were more likely to be those who had positive emotions regarding their abortions. We cannot say for certain why 62.5% of those approached for this study refused to participate, but if the reason for their non-participation was that they did have negative emotions associated with abortion, it is at least possible that more women actually regretted their abortions than not. We do not know and this study cannot tell us because no data was collected as to why these women refused to participate. The study itself even admits it “has limitations” and that “probing participants about their abortions twice annually over five years may have led to higher levels of feelings of emotions than they otherwise would have felt.” With the known bias ANSIRH has towards abortion, there is a potential for biased or leading questions as well as a potential for those looking for validation for their choice to receive it.

However, despite the way the study has been reported on, the highest percentage shown by the end of the study were not positive emotions, but were women reporting None or Few emotions. This does not indicate a healthy emotional state. The state of feeling no emotions regarding a stressful or anxiety inducing event (such as an unexpected/crisis pregnancy and/or an abortion) is called detachment. The state of emotional detachment or “numbing” is the result of a variety of disorders including anxiety, depression, and PTSD. It can also be the result of trauma and abuse. Many people often intentionally choose to emotionally detach from a person or situation as a way of protecting themselves.

According to Health Line, “Numbing yourself to emotions and feelings may not be healthy. Indeed, frequently “turning off” your emotions may lead to unhealthy behaviors. These include an inability to show empathy or a fear of commitment. What’s more, people that struggle to express emotions or process them in a healthy manner may seek out other outlets for those feelings. This could include drugs, alcohol, or aggressive behaviors. These aren’t a substitute for emotional processing, but they may feel like a way to release that energy.”

Based on this data it is not surprising and concurs with research done showing women who receive abortions are at a much higher risk of mental health problems. A study of 877,181 women (163,831 of whom had experienced abortion) published in the British Journal of Psychiatry showed that

“Women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be attributable to abortion. The strongest subgroup estimates of increased risk occurred when abortion was compared with term pregnancy and when the outcomes pertained to substance use and suicidal behaviour.”

The number of women participating in these studies dwarfs ANSIRH’s numbers. However, the media tells women they should not feel guilty about their abortions, leaving many women confused about the complex emotions they feel. They do not want to talk about their grief because they have been told it is not valid. It is dishonest and dangerous for society to continue silencing the thousands of women who have been hurt by abortion. Women deserve to know the truth about abortion and that includes the heightened risk of mental health problems.

The reality is that a large majority of women suffer post-abortive regret in silence. However, many women have found healing and hope from the trauma of abortion through post abortion healing services. Compared to the 667 women who completed ANSIRH’s study, 300,000 individuals, couples, and families have found healing from their post abortive regret through Rachel’s Vineyard, a retreat that offers hope and healing to men and women after abortion. In 2017, based on a report from Charlotte Lozier, pregnancy centers associated with CareNet, Heartbeat International, and NIFLA offered post-abortion services to 23,578 women and 563 men. Silent No More is a campaign dedicated to “Mak[ing] the public aware of the devastation abortion brings to women and men.” There are currently 19,483 people registered with the campaign along with 6,324 women and 678 men who have not joined but have registered their regret.

Women deserve to know the truth about abortion. They deserve to know all the risks associated with it. The media does not serve women by lying to them and hiding the truth about the pain and suffering abortion causes women. And the women who suffer from its consequences deserve to have their voices heard.

If you are a post-abortive woman, know that there is forgiveness and healing after abortion. You are not alone and you do not have to suffer in silence. Reach out to organizations like OptionLine, Project Rachel, Ramah International, PATH, or go to Care Net to find a resource center near you that can provide post abortive counseling services.e

Human Defense Initiative Website

 

 

Eucharistic Adoration – Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat – September 20 – 22, 2019

The following was sent to me from Evelyn Walsh, Director of Rachel’s Vineyard in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.  

If you know someone who could benefit from this retreat, please pass this information on to them.   If you live in the area, please try to make some time for  the Perpetual Adoration from the  Friday, September 20th until Sunday the 22nd.  Information as well as contact information is listed in the post below. The National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa is located at 654 Ferry Rd, Doylestown, PA 18901. (map) 

Rachels Vineyard

I am pleased to announce that we have another Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat scheduled for the weekend of September 20 – 22, 2019 at Our Lady of Czestochowa.  Jesus waits for us all in the Blessed Sacrament, we will have Perpetual Adoration from the beginning of our post-abortive healing retreat on Friday, September 20th until it ends on Sunday the 22nd.  The team and participants are eternally grateful to you for taking the time to pray for our intentions as the hard work of reconciling with God and accepting His graces and forgiveness occurs during that weekend.

If it’s possible for you to come to the Ave Maria Retreat House and spend a Holy Hour with Our Lord during our retreat, please contact Deb Nerviano at 484-432-0622 or dnerviano@live.com.  She is looking forward to hearing from you.  As we get closer to the retreat she will advise you as to what the door code number will be.  If you are new to the retreat house, the Adoration Chapel is on the second floor.  The chapel is directly above our meeting room and I can assure you that your prayers are felt flowing down upon us.  The enemy is not pleased with the beautiful healing that occurs during this retreat.  Your prayers are an integral part of each participant feeling renewed, refreshed and healed by His love.

You have my utmost gratitude for your prayers.  Please consider praying for the intentions of this Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat even though you may not be available to come to the retreat house chapel to pray.  Start praying even today to encourage anyone who is anxious about attending that weekend to find the courage to call me soon.  As of today, we’re more than half full.  It’s very common to receive registrations at the last minute due to the content and nature of this retreat.  You may even know of someone in need of post-abortive healing.  I look forward to hearing from them.

As always, we love to receive your special treats such as cookies, brownies, (sweets of any kind really, and healthier appetizers (hummus, veggies or fruits perhaps) to offer during our breaks throughout the weekend.  If you would like to drop some goodies off, please contact me as to what it is so that I can keep a list.  And, if it’s on your heart and you have the means to donate financially to offer scholarships to those in need it would be most helpful.  May God bless you for your generosity.

For more information or to register, please contact Evelyn Walsh at 215-317-5752.

 

Eucharistic Adoration to be Included for Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat on June 7 – 9, 2019

 

from Evelyn Walsh, Director, Rachel’s Vineyard

I am pleased to tell you that we are now offering the Rachel’s Vineyard post-abortive healing retreat at Our Lady of Czestochowa in the Spanish language.  Our very first entirely Spanish language retreat is quickly approaching the weekend of June 7 – 9, 2019.  Praise God that our registration is just about full!

Could I ask you to consider praying for every member of our team as well as the participants who intend to join us that weekend?  Even now they need your prayers to maintain their courage to attend this retreat.  We all fall prey to our minds working very hard to convince us that doing something difficult but has the potential to be good for us can be a very scary thing.  We can even talk ourselves out of it to only regret that decision later.  Feel free to pass this prayer request on to those you know who understand how important this retreat is.  Please pray that Our Lord comforts the participants in their decision to seek God in His Mercy and Forgiveness.

Eucharistic Adoration

I will be coordinating the Eucharistic Adoration hours for this retreat (since I’m not fluent in Spanish).  I have several team members joining us from New York to facilitate this retreat and I will be learning much from them.  So, please call or email me if you can schedule an hour or more with Our Lord in the chapel at the Ave Maria Retreat House at the Shrine during the weekend of June 7th to the 9th during the retreat.  I trust that you know how much your time and effort is appreciated by everyone involved with this beautiful retreat.

And, as always, if you feel inclined to send along some food donations for our break times we would all love it!  I am always so humbled by your generosity.  Just contact me at some point to tell me what you plan to bring.  One last thought, you can imagine that this particular population of the church may not have the financial means to typically attend a weekend retreat for any reason let alone for something so personally healing.  If it’s on your heart to donate any small sum for their benefit we would be eternally grateful.

To donate to help in running this retreat, especially to offer scholarships to those in need, please email evelynwalsh59@gmail.com for more information. May God bless you for your generosity.

 

 

Post-abortion retreats offer healing in multiple languages

*The following is an article from Catholicphilly.com written on Thursday, May 9th by Kevin Burke, Sr. regarding Rachel’s Vineyard. This has been republished with his permission.

A renowned post-abortion healing ministry recently marked its first decade in residence at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown.

Rachel’s Vineyard, a weekend retreat model developed by psychologist Theresa Karminski Burke, offers participants the opportunity to reflect on their abortions through group activities, discussion, and prayer. Founded in 1995, the outreach – now a ministry of Priests for Life – features over 1,000 retreats per year in 49 states and 70 countries.

Last month local site leader Evelyn Walsh and her team of volunteers celebrated the 10th anniversary of their first-weekend retreat for abortion healing at the shrine.

The group has now expanded its program to include sessions in three languages: English, Polish and Spanish.

“We were so happy to offer this first retreat in the native tongue of the pilgrims who visit this Polish shrine,” said Walsh, whose family has worshiped and volunteered at Our Lady of Czestochowa since 1963.

The Polish team had been preparing for a number of years to conduct the retreats, which have drawn attendees from a number of states throughout the Northeast. During one such gathering, attendees from both the Polish- and English-speaking retreat groups joined each other for spiritual exercises, liturgies, and meals.

(Related: Post-abortion healing ministries transform grief into grace.)

In the process, women and men from both groups discovered that despite their differences in language and culture, they shared similar spiritual and emotional wounds from their abortion experience.

“They were deeply touched by the consolation and peace of our merciful Lord,” said Walsh.

The Polish outreach is “a little flicker of a flame,” she added, noting that as word spreads, her group expects a “growing demand for our retreats.”

Walsh also said that the shrine’s clergy, who are Polish-speaking members of the Pauline Fathers and Brothers, welcome the multilingual sessions, which take place at the shrine’s Ave Maria Retreat House.

The shrine’s first Rachel’s Vineyard retreat in Spanish will take place from June 7-9, facilitated by a ministry team from Long Island, New York.

Three of the shrine’s English retreat team members are fluent in Spanish and will also be part of the team. In addition, the group is collaborating with Estela Reyes-Bugg from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Project Rachel to expand the outreach to Spanish-speaking women and men in the area.

(Related: Couple shows the path to life on journey of healing from abortion.)

Walsh said that the retreats also invite clergy, counselors and new team members to experience the weekend program and see if they are called to serve in the ministry. Rather than simply observe, each prospective team member must enter fully into the weekend activities.

“Even if they have no personal involvement in abortion, they bring the abortion loss of a family member, their role in friend or family member’s abortion, or some other personal loss, so they have an experiential understanding of this amazing retreat process,” said Walsh. “This is very important preparation for service in the Lord’s vineyard.”

Walsh said that the retreats are “an intimate encounter with the Lord Jesus” through Scripture, eucharistic adoration and “the spirit of love and compassion (that) deeply touches those who attend.”

In turn, she said, attendees “want to share the Good News” with others, which “has fed the growth of our Rachel’s Vineyard ministry at the shrine.”

***

For more information about the Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa in Doylestown, contact Evelyn at 215-317-5752 or by email at evelynwalsh59@gmail.com, or visit the website of the Rachel’s Vineyard group at the shrine. All inquiries are strictly confidential.

Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats for Healing After Abortion

 

from Evelyn Walsh, Director, Rachel’s Vineyard

Rachels Vineyard

Rachel’s Vineyard is an extraordinary opportunity for any person who struggles with emotional and spiritual pain of past abortion(s). The weekend is a unique and effective process designed specifically to help you experience the mercy and compassion of God. There are many exercises to help you grieve your loss and an opportunity to understand and release the deep feelings of anger, shame, guilt, and grief that frequently accompanies an abortion experience. This process is extremely helpful for those who struggle with forgiving themselves or others. The weekend will help your soul find a voice, and transform the pain of the past into hope. Rachel’s Vineyard is a “therapy for the soul” which combines a unique and creative process for psychological and spiritual healing.

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries will be hosting a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat for Healing after Abortion on September 20 – 22, 2019. 

This weekend retreat will be held in Doylestown, PA at the National Shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

For more information please call Evelyn at (215) 317-5752.

This retreat will also be offered in the Polish language the same weekend. Please call 201-754-8201 or email kontakt@winnicaracheli.org to register. Read more about our retreat online at www.rachelsvineyard.org

All requests are strictly confidential.

To donate to help in running this retreat, especially to offer scholarships to those in need, please email evelynwalsh59@gmail.com for more information. May God bless you for your generosity.