To conclude its annual Week for Life, Notre Dame’s Right to Life club invited the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to campus to allow women who have had abortions to speak with students. The campaign, a project of Anglicans for Life and Priests for Life, provides a forum for women who regret having an abortion to share their experiences with the public.
The Silent No More Awareness Campaign spreads awareness about the regret that often accompanies abortion in order to prevent women from choosing to abort their children. According to the website, “The Silent No More Awareness Campaign attempts to raise awareness of the devastation abortion brings to men, women, and their families. Our hope is that the emotional and physical pain of abortion will no longer be shrouded in secrecy and silence, but rather exposed and healed.”
The campaign stresses that going public with experiences with abortion helps bring healing to women, allowing them to experience solidarity with other women who made a similar decision. Speaking out on their experiences also educates the public on the issue, allowing women who might be considering abortion to hear from women who were once in their position.
For the campus event, several women from the Indiana chapter of the Silent No More Campaign spoke to a crowd of about a dozen students. The situations of the women varied; some college-aged women only just recovering from their abortions spoke, as did some who had their abortions many years ago. One woman in attendance only began speaking about her abortion recently, after hiding it for decades. All agreed that hiding their abortions brought much pain, and that speaking about it brought a certain degree of healing. The women also stressed that prayer and conversion of heart were central to their healing process.
As the event revealed, many women who have had abortions state that they seek an abortion unaware of the full implications of the procedure. They see it as a solution to a desperate situation, but they often feel regret immediately following the abortion. The speakers testified that the memories of the experience can haunt a woman for a lifetime, and that the inability of the women to forgive themselves often leads to desperate actions, such as attempting suicide or resorting to drugs and alcohol. For this reason, the speakers’ mission is to help prevent other women from carrying that lifelong burden of conscience.
The event had an effect on the students in attendance, many of whom attested to being very moved by the testimonies. Anecdotal elements, such as the fact that all of the women still remember their due dates and know what age their child would have been, left the students touched. Sophomore Christopher Damian commented on his reaction to the event, “It was a very emotional experience. Many of us tend to say a lot of things about abortion, but it was different to talk to ‘the face of abortion,’ as one woman described herself. It makes you really remember that abortion is both about the child and the mother. Both are hurt by abortion, and both need our love and care.”
Another student contributed his thoughts: “Many of us are quick to lay the blame on the mothers, and automatically place them on the same level of culpability as the doctors, but really they are oftentimes victims themselves.”
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