Ending the Abortion Nightmare
Dr. Theresa Burke’s latest book on post abortion therapy, Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion is endorsed by the great enemy of the feminist agenda - Dr. Laura Schlessinger. Burke concurs with Dr. Laura that the feminist movement brought us many psychological problems and the trauma culture.
She applies psychology to cure this trauma, but says that abortion-trauma can only be completely healed if one asks for and receives God’s mercy. Her work shows that if the grief of abortion is not healed then the world can become a Freddy Krueger-like nightmare.
Let us first hear from Dr. Burke herself, with whom I discussed these themes:
FM. Dr. Burke, what effect did the feminist movement have in bringing about the trauma culture?
TB. If you examine the women's movement you can see that many of the women who laid the groundwork were women traumatized by their own abortions. They believed that legalizing abortion would take away the trauma. But even offered in the most pristine and legal hospitals - abortion can only destroy.
What happens to a culture when millions of men and women have the memory of an aborted baby haunting their unconscious? Can you give us one example of what can happen?
We can act out our trauma through play, through art, through movies and music. The college students I witnessed playing "baby soccer" were actually trying to master their trauma by belittling it through a game with decapitated baby doll parts.
This amusement and mesmerizing allure to engage in the traumatic play is a symptom of our cultures need to overcome the horror - like the baby in the blender jokes, which all surfaced coincidentally after Roe v Wade passed.
The "Baby Soccer" story in your book reminds me of a Stephen King novel with its broken heads of dolls being kicked around the room, their eyes gouged out, their cheeks burned with cigarette butts and a boyfriend putting the ember of his cigarette between the doll's legs, then ripped them off, leaving only a vagina hole. Do you think abortion is connected to the horror genre in our culture?
Absolutely, I think that evil child movies are all around us. The child is the victimizer, the one who torments. Other movies, like Freddy Krueger [the diabolic character from the Nightmare on Elm St. series – Ed.], illustrate the horror of being tracked down by an "abortionist" figure who is out to kill her baby.
I've watched MTV shows with women shrieking in anger and pain, lyrics of abandonment and death. I think there is a collective unconscious anger and rage. It’s acted out in the violence between sexes and the complete sterilization of our life giving capacity. I've watched MTV where baby dolls are thrown off cliffs, discarded, abused and unwanted - revealing the unconscious conflict shared by all who have rejected children or been abused themselves after having been used for sexual pleasure.
You said "As the group's enthusiasm for this game demonstrated, the acting out of post-abortion trauma can be contagious...collective guilt and trauma have the capacity to disguise massive injustice." Do you think this is why more pro-abortion candidates seem to be getting elected?
I believe that any system, political or entertainment that can deny the pain or attempt to desensitize us to the truth will be popular unless there is deep and transformative healing. We all know that misery loves company - and it is that misery that seeks so desperately to normalize the act - legalize, sanitize, and protect us from facing it in truth. So politicians who fight for our right to kill can be seen as friends and co-conspirators in the unspoken pact to protect us from abortion as an act of violence and the destruction of human life.
Do men have post abortion trauma (PAT)?
Yes, men suffer also. They might try to deny and numb their feelings through substance abuse and ‘workaholicism.’ For those men who suffered the loss of their child because of an abortion they were unable to stop - they feel a sense of powerlessness - as if they have been castrated - they may also struggle with sexual difficulties or turn to fantasies and pornography as an attempt to reassure themselves of their virility.
Tell us about men and women with PAT whom five to twenty years after their abortion suffered in confusion and silence?
The wound strikes at the heart of their spiritual life, causing feelings of guilt, shame, self-loathing and alienation from God. These symptoms can plague ones life for decades - and the secret is borne deeply in the heart and soul of those who suffer. They are frightened to expose this shame and grief for fear that others will judge them or think less of them. We had one woman come on our retreat who was 87 years old. She suffered over half a century with this secret that she had never revealed to anyone until she came to Rachel's Vineyard. She was so relieved to be with others and to finally receive God's forgiveness.
You said: "That's a sign of healing. When your greatest and ugliest cross becomes that which you want to share with the whole world!" Tell us how this comes about?
I had heard Father Mike Mannion, a Catholic priest and writer say: When a woman is giving birth to a child - the mother is the child's physical lifeline into the world. When there has been an abortion the "child" can become the mother's spiritual lifeline to God. When we are given permission to grieve this secret loss, and embrace the crucible of our suffering united to Christ - the search for healing does become a spiritual journey - and in the process of that journey individuals find the love and mercy of God in a way they have never known.
Your book says when society trivializes abortion, people suffering from it will cry out by their actions, "I'm not OK! I'm in tremendous pain!" How can the pro-life movement help them?
Of course! We can validate their pain and lead them to places for healing. We can support them in love and compassion for the tremendous suffering they have endured. We can offer the Lord's mercy by not seeking to judge or condemn them, but by inviting them to thoughtfully reflect on their experience - by being the one ear that will listen, or the one heart that cries with them for the loss.
In a review of Forbidden Grief, E. Michael Jones, editor of Culture Wars, agrees with the Burke thesis that when one represses guilt one creates even greater monsters in the unconscious. He said: "... depression, suicide attempts, compulsive political activism, reveals itself upon closer inspection to be neurotic compensation for the guilt from abortion, which the culture of death instructs woman to repress."
"Feminists could hardly suppress their glee when Lorena Bobbitt cut off her husband's penis," wrote Jones. "What they did suppress was the connection between this bizarre and otherwise inexplicable act and the fact that her husband had forced her to abort their child."
This is only one example of what happens to a culture when millions of men and women have the memory of an aborted baby haunting their unconscious. Forbidden Grief tells us in story after story of "bizarre" behaviours. Such as the one referred to above, about a dorm party in which the students, many post-abortive, played "baby soccer. " As indicated, this account and others convinced Burke that abortion is connected to the horror games that our culture plays: symptoms showing that millions of Americans need to overcome the "collective guilt" associated with abortion.
According to Life Dynamic's Mark Cruther, this massive injustice – in which millions have been killed – can be stopped by ending access to abortion-bound women. His booklet Access states that between 40 percent and 60 percent of American women of childbearing age have had at least one abortion. There is also a similar percentage of males who are post-abortive as well.
The booklet claims that the reason for our increasingly pro-abortion elective government is these percentages of persons who are in internal conflict. After violating the moral commandment of "Thou shall not kill," they vote pro-abortion, seeing the stance of the pro-life politicians as a personal attack on themselves.
"What I'm saying is that since the vast majority of elections are decided by slim margins, anything which influences even a small percentage of voters can be a powerful force," Cruther said. "The point is that the potential impact is staggering. Moreover, this force grows considerably more powerful every day as another 4,000 abortions are racked up."
His booklet says studies have found that these women do not have abortions unless there is easy and local access to them. The vast majority of these women, according to these studies, will not travel long distances or pay large amounts of money for an abortion.
Cruther writes: "... our opponents' ability to continue fighting comes from a high abortion rate. That is what fuels their political machine. As long as they have $64,000 an hour to draw on, and the potential for at least 4,000 new pro-abortion voters every day, the legal status of abortion will not change."
The way to defeat the abortion nightmare on the political front, according to Cruther, is to sue doctors. And Steve Mosher, head of the Population Research Institute (PRI), says there are many legitimate reasons to sue. Says Mosher: "The failure to stop an abortion procedure on request, or even depriving women of their right to full information, can be construed as a denial of a woman's freedom of access to reproductive health."
According to Access, very few new doctors want to be abortionists, so malpractice suits make the abortion business even more unattractive. As fewer young doctors enter the field, access to abortions becomes costly and inaccessible.
The abortionists and the pro-abortion media seem to agree. In 1992, abortionist David Gritmes said: "Distance clearly matters in women's reproductive choices ... abortion rates were found to be inversely related to the distance to a provider."
In 1998, the New York Times Magazine stated that "... abortion is retreating into a half-lighted ghetto of pseudonyms, suspicion and fear ... today 59% of all abortion doctors are 65 years old ... nearly two-thirds are beyond legal retirement age."
Access presents 81 such quotes from abortionist and pro-abortion publications to show, as it says, "access doesn't just influence abortion politics; it is the determining factor in which side wins and which side loses."
Along these lines, another way to end the abortion government is to reach out to the millions of post-abortion trauma voters with God's mercy, as Dr. Burke is doing. If even a small percentage changes sides, as Cruther said, these slim margins in elections may start going to pro-life politicians. And, as with the elderly woman mentioned by Dr. Burke who found peace after more than 50 years, it is never too late to start reaching out to those in post-abortion trauma – offering them in Burke’s words " the Lord's mercy by not seeking to judge or condemn them, but by inviting them to thoughtfully reflect on their experience – by being the one ear that will listen, or the one heart that cries with them for the loss."
That 87-year-old woman's conversion represents millions of voters who could convert to voting for pro-life Republicans because the Democrats have steadfastly "positioned" themselves as the abortion party. The problem for the Republicans is that those women swing voters must be reached with psychological and religious help such as the 87-year-old experienced.
The way this can be done is for the Republican leadership and President Bush to attempt to pass legislation that offers psychological assistance to women with abortion trauma. The Democrats and media would go crazy, but if this legislation were positioned as a woman's right to reproductive health, then the Republicans would have the moral high ground.
Even if the legislation didn't pass, the mere publicity would get it into the consciousness of millions of women in abortion trauma. The pro-life movement and conservative churches could then act to start offering those women the help they need.
Once this is done, Bush's Justice Department must prosecute all abortionists who, as PRI president Steve Mosher states, are failing "to stop an abortion procedure on request, or even depriving women of their right to full information." PRI's 2002 pro-life conference introduced new legal campaigns to sue abortionist doctors who fail to provide complete information about the risks of abortion to their patients.
"We're working with these attorneys to inform more and more Americans of their rights," Mosher said. "It's time America does an 'about face' on the abortion industry. Women deserve genuine health and human rights, not violations so routinely committed by the abortion industry."
Increased Risk of Breast Cancer
According to Pennsylvania's Dr. Chris Kahlenborn, 28 out of 37 studies worldwide show that induced abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. Thirteen of 15 studies done in the United States reported an increased risk. (See: http://abortionbreastcancer.com).
The increased risk of having breast cancer after an abortion is 50 percent if it's your first baby. If you're under 18 it goes to 150 percent. If you're under 18 and your baby is more than nine weeks old, your increased risk is 800 percent!
"As soon as there comes a woman who has breast cancer who has had an abortion and takes it to court, she's got a very strong case," Kahlenborn said. "The problem is a lot of young women when they do get breast cancer die from it so quickly – because it's so aggressive when you're young – they might not make it to court."
As Kahlenborn showed, this is not just about winning elections; it's about doing the right thing. Unfortunately or fortunately, for the Republicans this is also about politics. Any increase in abortions – as Cruther graphically shows – leads to the demise of the Republican Party. The recent California elections showed that Gray Davis and the Democrats will not hesitate to play baby soccer-type mind games with women voters in order to win.
But the Republicans are running out of time. Their base is the conservative religious voter – as the recent Bill Simon win in California elections showed again – so they cannot allow the abortionists to have the "$64,000 an hour to draw on, and the potential for at least 4,000 new pro-abortion voters every day." As Cruther said, this is "the determining factor in which side wins and which side loses."
Using Lincoln's Strategy
The party of Lincoln must make a choice. They can become like the Whigs, who kept compromising on the issue of slavery until they were replaced before the Civil War by the Republicans. Or they can stand firm, like Lincoln, and limit the spread of a great evil.
Lincoln never attempted to abolish slavery directly, because he knew that if he limited its spread to only the South, then, like a disease, it would die a natural death. The Democrats – the slavery party – knew this, too. That is why they started the Civil War.
(The South was correct in its claim that it had the constitutional right to secede, and it had the Founding Fathers' idea of federalism to back its states' rights claims. This is what gave the South the moral courage to fight a great war.)
The Democrats - the abortion party - know also that the abortion industry will die a natural death if limited in its ability to exploit women. But they will not start a civil war on this issue, because they are cowards and have no moral high ground.
Can anybody imagine flabby Teddy Kennedy and company having the courage to fight for anything more than six more years of luxury at the taxpayers' expense?
So Bush can go down in history as another Lincoln. (Lincoln was considered dumber by the media of his day than our present media consider President Bush.) Rather than attempt to abolish abortion, all he need do is limit its spread by protecting women's health and human rights as well as letting women in abortion trauma know that he and others are there offering help to free them from their nightmare.
Fred Martinez is a widely published Catholic writer and former TV broadcaster who has been a pro-life activist, speaker and Board member/adviser with various organisations for many years. In 1985 he founded the Juan Diego Society through which hundreds of babies under threat of abortion were saved.