The Effect of Abortion on Women

“You write to me that three children appear in front of you when you close your eyes and this terrifies you. You say you went to physicians to take medications to get rid of this image. The doctors said, ‘It is nothing' and you say, 'if it is nothing then please take this image from me. It does not let me rest for six months now.' These three children are your children who you aborted. Look at David and how he was tortured by the injustice done to Uriah who was murdered by David. Understand and confess what you did. Ask the priests what to do and seek God’s peace in confession.”

-Saint Nikolai Velimirovich (Serbia) 

A Path Without God is Not Possible, published (in Greek) by EN PLO publication;  translated by OrthodoxProLife

* * * * * * * 

In discussing abortion we must also understand that the unborn child is not the only victim. Women themselves are victims, just as the unborn children are. Women have not been told the true nature of the unborn child. They have not been shown the true facts of what an abortion truly is. Women in increasing numbers...hundreds...thousands...and even tens of thousands have had their wombs perforated, infected, destroyed. Women have been sterilized, castrated, all as a result which they have had no true knowledge. This film and other films which may follow like it, must be a part of the informed consent for any woman before she submits herself to a procedure of this sort. I accuse the National Abortion Rights Action League, I accuse Planned Parenthood and all its co-conspirators in the abortion industry of a consistent conspiracy of silence of keeping women in the dark with respect to the true nature of abortion. And I challenge all those purveyors of abortion to show this real time video tape or one similar to it to all women before they consent to abortion.

-Dr. Bernard N. Nathanson, M.D. (OBGYN, former abortionist, co-founder of NARAL: National Abortion Rights Action League)

from The Silent Scream documentary film (

* * * * * * *

A Letter from a Single Woman in Greece about her Abortion 

My psychology before and after the abortion seemed fine. Later, though, I realized what I had really done. In reality, I had purposely repressed my psyche and did not allow myself to feel the internal pain. I used logic and reasoning to assure myself that there was nothing else I could have done but to have the abortion. I had to appear that I was in control of myself. After I had the abortion, I changed drastically. I became harsh and hardened. I did not trust men and I did not trust myself. I appeared to have many symptoms of the Post-Abortion Syndrome. I lost the comfort that I had with children. Once I adored children, and they adored me, but after the abortion I avoided sitting next to them because I had nothing to say to them. I was afraid to hold infants in my arms in fear that something might happen to them. Finally, I made it to church for different reasons other than the abortion. In my confession I mentioned the abortion that I had had. Once I confessed that I had aborted a child, I felt my heart soften. I knew I had done something wrong and I started repenting. Even though I knew for many years before, that such an act is unnatural and is evil, I never wanted to accept this because then my unjustified reasoning that I had created internally would crumble. I have cried for my child. Every time I see a single mother, raising her child, I know that I could have done the same. All I had to do is to direct my efforts towards raising my child and take responsibility of being a single mother. I was able to overcome all my difficulties through confession and I never needed psychotherapy. Other friends of mine that have had abortions and insisted that they did the right thing and that it is their right to do as they wish in their life have suffered severe depression and have been prescribed medications. In reality, they have not forgiven themselves. Because to forgive yourself involves accepting that you did wrong. These women do not want to accept their wrong-doing or seek confession or forgiveness from God. They believe that the Church will condemn them if they approach confession. These thoughts lead these women to become hostile towards the Church. This hostility did not exist before in them prior to their abortion. They fail to understand that accepting our faults does not mean condemnation. Accepting our faults is the only path that will lead to freedom from any consequences that our acts may cause. Please include this confession of mine in your publication. I believe that by reading my confession some women may benefit and decide not to have an abortion, walking towards that decision blind-folded like I did. Or maybe some will benefit by knowing how to escape from the internal problems this act will cause in their future.

-Evanthia A.

The above letter was received on April 22, 2006 by The Organization for the Protection of the Unborn Child (in Greece) and published in volume 8 of their magazine, Some Children Need You.  Republished in The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011; translated by OrthodoxProLife from the Orthodox Kypseli publication.

* * * * * * * 

When a woman destroys a pregnancy, she destroys herself. A psychological price is paid. It may be alienation, it may be a pushing from human warmth, perhaps a hardening of the maternal instinct. Something happens on the deeper level of consciousness when she destroys a pregnancy.

-Julius Fogel, a pro-abortion psychiatrist

Abortion and Mental Health, by Dr. Pravin Thevathasan

* * * * * * *

The Evil of Abortion - A Personal Testimony
by Vera Lord

I have a small ghost who follows me everywhere. He changes. Sometimes he's an infant, sometimes a toddler, sometimes - mostly now - he's a teenage boy.

I was thirty-four when I killed my child. If I had allowed him to live, he would have been born in August, just like his mother. There is not a moment of my life that he is not with me. Our relationship has changed. In the past, I always saw him as my accuser or my judge. Today, my murdered child is no longer my judge, but a sad regretful ghost, whose smile I have never seen.

I was twenty-one weeks pregnant. I had felt movement. There is no easy "it was just a piece of tissue" argument for me. One more week, and I would have been beyond the legal limit for abortion in the state where I lived. There are many so-called "mitigating factors" that led to my killing my baby at twenty-one weeks of life:

Until three days before the abortion, I did not know I was pregnant. I had had three negative pregnancy tests and thought my growing stomach was a tumor similar to those that had killed several in my family. The movement I felt I dismissed as gas. Having no idea of my condition, I had continued to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day and abuse alcohol and drugs - mostly methamphetamines. I was in a dysfunctional abusive marriage and my baby was not conceived in love - he was conceived in extreme violence.

I was going to leave out all three of the above, but I have told you about them for a very important reason: The abortion industry would cite any and all of the above as reason enough to kill my child, since they consider any "inconvenient" pregnancy abortable, and, although mine was not life-threatening to me, it went far beyond "inconvenient." Those who practice abortion would have you believe that all three of these factors absolve me of guilt and make the murder of my child perfectly all right - rather like the extraction of an impacted wisdom tooth - painful and regrettable and stressful, but totally necessary.

Well-meaning friends have all at one time or another said things like this: "With all the nicotine, alcohol, and drugs, you would have had a seriously damaged child; abortion was the kind thing to do." "Considering who the father was, the child could've been a serial killer; better to abort." "It was the result of a near-rape in a violent, abusive marriage; better to abort." "You were forced into it by your crazy ex when you were in a weakened condition; you're not responsible anyhow." "You did the best and only thing you could do; get on with your life."

You see? I have to tell you my story, because if any case exemplifies a supposed guilt-free abortion, it is mine. I've heard every rationalization - every single one. I have lived behind the feel-good, warm and fuzzy walls of public opinion, political correctness, and conventional wisdom - and I am here to tell you it is all unmitigated [absolute nonsense].

I believe that on [a] primal gut level we all know - really know - that abortion is murder at its most horrific. Telling ourselves that it is anything else is pure denial. All the careful layers of makeup we blend over it are for naught. We know it for what it is. And that pure soul-knowledge cannot be erased or eradicated by all the feel-good rationalizations on earth.

Self-hatred may be the worse sin - I know it is certainly the worst feeling. After I killed my baby, self-hatred became my whole life. Subconsciously I thought suicide to be too easy an out (much like the notion that lethal injection is too easy a punishment for many really brutal murderers). So I did not kill my physical body as I had killed my child; instead I committed emotional and spiritual suicide.

I created a whole new personality. Since then, I have had psychiatrists tell me that what I did was not unusual - very similar to child abuse victims, who "split-off," and become another personality in order to deal with the abuse.

During the next seventeen years, there were many times when I literally did not know the person in the mirror. Self-hatred colored my every waking and sleeping moment. It was as if I had pushed an invisible self-destruct button. I divorced my husband only to enter into a disastrous marriage with a man I did not love, whom I knew to be totally dependent and incapable of honest work, and proceeded to allow myself to be used by him and his family for thirteen years. Deep inside, I was convinced I deserved all of it. My self-worth had totally disappeared. All the things I had loved to do in my old life were now off-limits; I would not allow myself enjoyment. Dreamless sleep was my only respite, and it did not come often. When I did pray, it was a secret prayer: I prayed to die, to simply cease. I believed in an after-life, and I knew that hell itself could not be any worse than the life I was experiencing.

The pain would lie in wait and ambush me at unexpected times. A scene on TV, a passage in a book - always about someone's missed chance at being a mother. I would be overcome by the kind of racking sobs that are more like spasms than crying. I wanted to just lie down and go to sleep and never get up. I lived in this self-imposed hell for sixteen years.

Then, in 1997, a heart condition I'd had since childhood became suddenly worse, and I decided to move back to the East Coast to die. As always, I was last on my own priority list. My main reason for the move was so that the leech I'd married would have a better chance at getting work after I was gone.

Living again on the East Coast and in the same state where I'd had a happy youth was like sprinkling water on a nearly-dead plant. The total change in environment created the first crack in my shell of self-hatred. I slowly began to feel like me again.

In the fall of 1997 came the event that finally set me free. I was taken as a guest to the All-Saints Greek Orthodox Church. Although in my youth I had studied nearly every major religion, I had never entered an Orthodox Christian church. Suddenly, I was home. All the pieces of my life fell into place. Although I really knew no one there except my host, it was undeniably my home. I took instruction with my spiritual father for the next ten months, and on August 28,1998, I was chrismated. At the confession before my chrismation, I finally, after nearly two decade of wandering in hell, laid down my burden. My spiritual father, an Orthodox priest who can trace his priesthood in a direct line to the Apostles, in much the same ceremony performed in the catacombs, laid his hand on my head and, in Christ's name, forgave me of the murder of my child. I was free. Regaining my self-love has led to my regaining something else that I thought was lost forever. I have entered into a loving relationship with the most wonderful man in the world, and I am truly blessed. I am indeed free.

Which brings me to the reason I am telling you my story. When I first began classes in the Orthodox religion, I read everything I could about Orthodox views on everything. All that I read said that Orthodox Christians were anti-abortion. I asked when and where does the local Orthodox Right-to-Life group meet. Huge faux pas, vaguely akin to a loud burp at a sophisticated cocktail party. I am a very fast learner; I never make the same social error twice.

I circled warily around the issue and, by bits and pieces, I learned that the charitable organizations, the food festival committees, the fund-raisers, were all politically correct. Even the occasional weekend retreat at the monastery, as I was in the habit of doing, was just fine. But, abortion? "It's no one's business and each woman's private choice"; Now, tell me again, which food festival committee are you joining? Excuse me, but it is my business. It is not your private choice to kill your baby, and, if I can persuade you not to commit the same, awful, life-ruining act that I did, it is my duty to do so.

There is a huge echoing silence from the Orthodox Church on abortion. Strange, but everyone who tells me that "it's a woman's private choice" is a mother and/or grandmother. Perhaps they fear their daughters or granddaughters may be faced with a life-disrupting pregnancy and want an escape hatch.

I'm not asking you to march in parades and wave placards and sign petitions or even to put a bumper sticker on your car. I can't do any of those things. I am not a placard-waving, in-your-face activist. Here it is: The next time anyone, even a dearly-valued friend or family member tells you, "It's a woman's choice," don't say anything. Just give them a copy of this article. If reading this can make one person even just begin to reconsider their "Pro-Choice" position, I have succeeded.

I would give my own life to be able to go back in time and allow my child to live. I cannot. I pray that your showing someone - just one person - this story will cause someone to stop and reconsider before they perform the same horrible act that killed my child and nearly killed me.

I need no perfect, logical arguments. You know, in your soul, that abortion is the murder of your baby. In the name of 2,000 years of Orthodox Christianity, I say now, break your silence and speak - not in parades and demonstrations, but quietly, as you are reading this now, one child of God at a time.

-Vera Lord
Bethel Park, PA

Reprinted and slightly abridged from Rachel's Children, Spring/Summer/Fall 1999, Vol. 12, No. 1.

* * * * * * *

In the Surgery Room

When you enter the surgery room you think you are fine. You ignore your conscience and seem untouched by all that is going to take place. In reality you feel parts of your body immobilized out of fear, your blood ceasing to circulate in your veins. You feel paralyzed. You stop hearing the external sounds and all you hear is your heart beating rapidly. You want to cry or to run away, but instead you pressure yourself to move forward because you have decided to do this act. You feel indifferent to the physician-surgeon who smiles at you approving of your decision and trying to pacify you. You feel the doctor's behavior is hypocritical because in a few minutes they will empty the life you are carrying in your womb in a bucket. When they awake you, you feel you have come back from Hades. You have a sour taste in your mouth. You have to put yourself together and leave because they need the clinic bed for the next woman. Sadness and depression fill your heart for many days. If a friends awaits you after the abortion, she will probably try to encourage you and pacify you by saying “you're all done; you got rid of 'it'; and now you can continue your life just as before.” But in reality you will always wonder how your life would have been if you had given birth to your child and your life will never be as it was before.

-Anastasia Arbatzis

This is an excerpt from article entitled "Women Facing the Dilemma of an Abortion," by Anastasia Arbatzis.  This article was published by The Organization for the Protection of the Unborn Child (in Greece) in volume 1 of their magazine.  Republished in The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011; translated by OrthodoxProLife from the Orthodox Kypseli publication.

* * * * * * *

I have two children, two little girls, 6 and 8 years old. I got pregnant with my third and my husband quarreled with me saying:

“Go have an abortion because I can not afford another child. I cannot take care of three children. Can’t you see that I am struggling to feed so many people. We also take care of the elderly family members. I can’t handle it!”

At the beginning I was against his command. I was horrified listening to them pushing me into committing such a crime. Unfortunately, even my mother-in-law and father-in-law pressured me. My husband became very harsh and he threatened to divorce me. I finally succumbed to the pressure and in despair had the abortion. The evil act had been done. The child was a little boy who my husband had longed for since we already had two girls. They were all saddened, but it was too late. I went to confession and the spiritual father said to me:

“Five years with no Communion and that is being lenient because I understand you were pushed to do this terrible act.”

I patiently accepted the penance because this would save me from the spiritual consequences of the abortion. My soul ached when all the family members would go to Church especially on Special Feast Days and take communion and I could not. Even my husband, who caused the evil, would receive Communion. My little girls would ask me innocently:

“Mother, why are you not taking Communion?”

I had to find different reasons. My little daughter would say to me:

“Mother, I wanted to have a brother so I could love him very much.”

Another time my daughter said to me:

“Mother, I saw in my dream a little boy. He said he was my brother, the brother who I wanted to have and love so much. But why is he blind and cannot see me?”

I started crying because I had had the same dream: A blind little boy running to embrace me but he never could because he was blind. I thought to myself, “My child, I removed your eyes and that is why you cannot see. I was not strong enough to say 'No' to the terrible crime of the abortion and I made you suffer. And made myself suffer even more.”

The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011; translated by OrthodoxProLife.

* * * * * * *

“When I see a woman suffering in pain and crying about a serious issue that torments her, I ask her: 'Have you had an abortion?' 90% of the women will answer 'yes' to me. Behind great pain hides an old sin in man’s life. God allows this torment not for revenge or punishment. God does not punish us. He is OUR FATHER. But He allows this pain for the benefit of His child. Maybe this woman confessing had not realized what a great crime she had committed and God brings her to this contrition and pain, so He can bring her to confessing and realizing her sin.”

-an Orthodox priest in Greece serving as a spiritual father

from the Greek magazine: Politekni Oikogeneia, volume 127;  translated by OrthodoxProLife

* * * * * * *

I had an abortion: the Testimony of Woman in Russia

When I was 24, I was unbelievably dependent on my mother. There is probably no reason to talk about the background of our family. I will just say that practically all my life my mother was seriously ill, and her physical illness put stress on her psyche. The atmosphere at home was constantly oppressive — there was unbelievable petty-mindedness, suspiciousness, self-will, and hysterics. My smallest attempts to disobey my mother’s commands ended in scandals, serious accusations, and the most frightening, phrases about how my disobedience would unavoidably make my mother deteriorate and die.

It is so hard to live when childhood burdened with the feeling that any of your mistakes could cost someone their life, someone you love more than all the world. In general, despite all my fear before my mother, I did stupid things. After some time I prepared to marry a complete stranger whom I did not love. This was my one chance to at least break away from the mess of my family. I tried not to think of how I was going from one trap into another.

My mother’s suspiciousness sharpened even more at that time, and she began to check my monthly periods. My attempts to somehow escape such petty-minded supervision only brought me new scandals and accusations in everything that could possibly enter into her head.

And so in that kind of background I happened to have a delay. One day passed, two… I was not simply in a panic, I was terrified. To openly tell my mother was completely unthinkable since I was absolutely sure that from such a shock she would quickly die, and I could not live with her death on my conscience. I had to meanwhile pretend having periods and look for a way out. According to the advice of some friends I took mustard baths, handfuls of redoxon, but nothing helped.

After another two days I forced myself to tell two co-workers, who were old enough to be my mother, about my problem.

“What are you howling for, Dura? How many weeks has your delay been?”

“Four days.”

“Listen, not far from here a clinic opened that does “mini’s” if the delay has not been longer than a week. This is all child’s play, we did it—it is nothing like a normal abortion. You come, and everything is quickly done and your are home in an hour. It is all for a song. Do you have money?”

I did have some money. It just so happened that not too long ago they gave me three hundred rubles from the family budget for marriage expenses, and so I could try to claim the “abortion” costs as other expenses. My fiancй was quite indifferent to the news, and left everything to me to decide. He also did not give me any money, but he did agree to accompany me to the clinic.

I called the clinic, made an appointment, and slowly dragged myself from the house as required, with a blanket and a nightgown. At the entrance of the clinic my knees were already shaking, I became nauseous, and I walked in a daze.

In the waiting room sat dozens of girls, mostly of much lesser age than mine, and there were few adults among them. They took us in order for little more than the required examination, analysis, and then to the dressing room before the operating room. No one tried to talk us out of it, and their attitude toward us was disdaining and degrading.

When there was already no one left in front of me, I had a strong urge to abandon everything, spit on my money, and run away. Then I remembered the face of my mother, and I stayed. From the operating room came a stooped over girl, white as paper, and it was my turn. They gave me “No-spa” tablets to drink in order to weaken my muscles a little. I carefully asked about anesthetics, and the nurse rudely called me down and said that people like me do not get anesthetics, and that we were not lords to get them.

They laid me on a high table, hooked me up to some kind of hose, and started up a machine… There was such pain that I have never felt before or since. Pain and terror…

The nurse then told me to get down and go into another room and lay down for half an hour with an ice pack on my stomach. It seems to me that I fell into a swoon, but in all respects my consciousness definitely turned off, and I literally fell into some kind of dark place. After some time they pulled me awake and told me to go home. A nervous shiver shook me all the way home, but at home I had to put a smile on my face, tell some made up story about a romantic walk under the cherry trees, and I went to sleep. This happened in the middle of May, 1989.

There was later marriage, which ended after a year and a half in divorce, then baptism and unsuccessful attempts at becoming churched, a second marriage, two children, and the death of my mother. I had serious depression, and I could not find the reason for it.

Since then, I have come to understand some things better. Most importantly, I was not actually pregnant the first time. There were some problems even before that, the possibility of pregnancy from our “experiments” with my first fiance were extremely low, and even he himself, as it turned out later, was practically sterile. They sent one and all to this operation with the machine “in order for it to be a lesson”, even though the money which they took was not little in ’89.

I tried to set my mind at ease with this, but the depression did not go away. Sometimes the depression became stronger, and sometimes I simply sat numb with pain. I went out of my mind from this feeling and I did not know how I could live further with it. After some time I at last came to the Church.

Slowly the idea of what I had done came to me for real. Whether it was a child or not is not important. Many years ago I decided in myself to have an abortion, and that was all that was needed to make myself feel like a murderer.

Real repentance came to me at that time, to tears. Several times I tried to tell all this at confession, but each time I started explaining that a sin which I committed before baptism is tormenting me, and at this point the priest would interrupt saying, how can this be, it seems that you do not believe that the sacrament of baptism washes away all previously committed sins. I did not have a chance to explain that I was baptized practically off-hand, not understanding the sense of anything, not prepared… There was no moment of repentance and renunciation of my previous life at the moment of baptism…

During Great Lent of this year the memory of what I did became even more intense. Every time I prepared for confession (I confessed every week) I involuntarily remember first of all the abortion, and I tried to convince myself that once the priest said that, it means that there is no reason to return to it. Unfortunately, it came back with more and more spiritual pain.

At last there came a day when literally I fell onto the gospel stand, and the “good” priest was not there (whom I wanted to confess to) but the “strict” priest. I blurted out “I can not go any further… in my youth because of fear of my parents I had an abortion…”

I do not remember what I later said, or what the priest said. I do remember how his reaction impressed me. I expected him to upbraid me, deal with me strictly, but instead I saw compassion and pain for me… I did not prepare for communion that time since my spiritual conflict tormented me so much that I could not bring myself to take with me my prayer book, and the two days before confession I simply broke down (there was something else added to my abortion sufferings).

Nonetheless he blessed me to have communion. “Go, take communion, such wounds need to be healed…”

Since then little by little I have begun to heal…

published by Bishop Alexander (Mileant)
translated from Russian by Fr. Savatii Lewis (Jordanville)
posted in English at

* * * * * * *

My Chemical Abortion: Nothing Went as 'Advertised'
by Abby Johnson

I was eight weeks along and that made me eligible for a medication abortion (the cut-off is nine weeks) using RU-486, also known as Mifeprex, the abortion pill. It seemed to me that for early abortions, the medication abortion was more private, less invasive, more comfortable way to go. And it appeared to offer more control. No anesthesia, no surgery – just a few pills, right?

My experience proved otherwise.

As is typical, I took one pill, Mifeprex, while at the clinic. That pill separates the 'pregnancy' from the lining of the uterus so that it is no longer viable. (Did you notice that I said 'pregnancy'?.. the power of semantics. Planned Parenthood's terminology reinforced that we were 'removing an unwanted pregnancy', not killing a fetus.) I was also given an antibiotic, then sent home with a prescription for a painkiller and antinausea medication to take as needed, in addition to pills called misoprostol to be taken between twenty-four and forty-eight hours later, which would complete the process of cleaning out the uterus.

The days that followed, alone in my apartment, were sheer agony. If all had worked out as it should have, I would have passed the fetus within the first six to eight hours and the rest of the uterine lining within about forty-eight hours. But nothing went as “advertised.” Of course, since law requires “informed consent,” I had been told about possible complications such as severe cramping, hemorrhage, and infection.

My cramping was excruciating and went on for days and days. I was too ill to get out of bed, ran a fever, and bled heavily. I was frightened, but whether out of shame, humiliation, or self-punishment – or maybe some combination of the three – I would not call the clinic. I couldn't bear the thought of going to an emergency room or an ob-gyn because there was no way I was going to confess that I'd brought this on myself by aborting my second pregnancy. My phone kept ringing, but I wouldn't answer. I mentioned nothing to my parents by phone. I suffered alone.

After two weeks I returned to work though I still felt so weak I'd come home exhausted and go straight back to bed. Finally after about eight weeks of feeling ill, I felt recovered enough... In the months that followed, I tried to just put the entire event out of my mind.

-Abby Johnson
Unplanned, pages 46-48

* * * * * * *

We watched a DVD of pictures of our past. We had loaded pictures from my husband’s and my youth. My seven year old don said, "mother you were fat and ugly here. Were you pregnant?" I answered, “no.” But he insisted and I got frustrated with him. Night came and he went to his room and I went to mine. I was thinking of his questions... Could he have possibly seen my pregnancies?

I was young and dating my husband at the time. He was then my classmate in college. My God... I had had two abortions during that time because he pressured me. I decided to confess my sin and I felt guilt and depressed. I wanted to end my relationship with my partner but relatives and friends told me to go ahead and marry him.

After our daughter was born he did not want another child. I was on birth control which is another sin and accidentally conceived my son. He was the one who foresaw my tragedy 23 years ago. After my son was born my husband insisted on avoiding children and so our relationship became tense. One day he left us. This was traumatic for me and my children. May God enlighten and forgive him.

I listened to a nice neighbor couple that advised me to go to confession And when I did the miracle happened—I felt power in me, a sweet light flooded my life. This keeps me standing strong.

The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011, pages 100-102; translated by OrthodoxProLife

* * * * * * *

A Personal Testimony from an American Convert
regarding her Abortion

I did not grow up with much moral guidance. My parents were divorced and my mother did not discuss anything with us children. I left home in the age of “women’s lib”. In the end I found it was women’s imprisonment. I started as an innocent in a world of “free sex” and no commitment. I’m not sure why I did the things I did... a lack of insight, lack of father, education, spiritual foundation or the combination of the above. I would like to think that if someone had taken the time to teach me that I would not have done the things I did. However, my siblings took other safer paths so I’m not really sure.

I was about 13 the first time I was alone with a male. “Everyone was doing it” so I thought I should too. There was a lot of pressure and I didn’t know myself well enough to stand up for myself and say no. Each time I met a man I secretly hoped he would be the one who would take care of me for life, that he would save me in some way. I never cared for the physical side but pretended to.

While I was very young older girlfriends drove me a half-hour to the nearest Planned Parenthood where I was told that my biggest enemy in life would be to get pregnant and I was given pills to take. I admit to not taking them regularly. I was irresponsible in all things so why would I be responsible in that? I also may have subconsciously thought that if I got pregnant the father would love me and want to take care of us forever.

In the end I had a miscarriage before an abortion and three abortions. I was told by Planned Parenthood, and groups like them, that the pill/IUD was my friend and pregnancy my enemy. They treated all my sexually transmitted diseases gave me pill for next to nothing and sent me on my way...never once was I counseled to consider not having sex out of marriage. The tissue within my body was just that, tissue, a problem to be disposed of, eliminated. The details of my life at that point are long and unprintable. It was a hellish existence, even though I was a fully “liberated” woman I was used and abused by many men.

I always secretly hoped that the fathers (yes plural) would smile when I announced the pregnancy and say: “Great: let’s get married and have a wonderful life with the baby.” What is heard was: “How soon can you get an abortion. I don’t want it.” “How can I be sure it is mine?” “I’ll pay half of the abortion costs.” I always went for these things with a girlfriend who had her own history of abortions so she understood. I always left the abortion mills deeply saddened at the loss of that little piece of tissue but never really knew why.

In the end I found God and the Orthodox Church. I am finally free. Even though many people think the morality of the Orthodox Church is old-fashioned, it is life-saving and authentically liberating. I went on to have children with a wonderful Orthodox man and confessed and repented of the killing of my three children. We lost a child in a 2nd trimester miscarriage. I mourned all my children with that one and was so saddened to think that while people mourn so hard for a wanted child we were not allowed to mourn for the unwanted aborted “tissue”.

Some times when I meet a person who is the age that my aborted children would be I think of how my life would be different and what they would have been like. I honestly did not think of them as human-people when I killed them. It is what I was taught. I am grateful to have found our faith and hope that I can repent more and perhaps help someone else not kill her own baby. I especially speak to my children about abortion and the truth of its horrors.

Orthodox Christian Parenting: Cultivating God's Creation, published by Zoe Press

* * * * * * *

In a Monastery on Corfu, Greece

In a monastery on Corfu Greece a holy Abbess who lived like a true ascetic and who was very pious was asked to pray for the faithful. Many women would seek the Abbess’ advise and prayers for their problems

One day a woman approached the Abbess in tears entreating the abbess to pray for her. She could not conceive a child and this greatly saddened her and her husband. The woman asked for the Abbess to pray the paraklesis service to the Panagia and if possible for the service to be done while she was there. As the abbess was praying the paraklesis to the Panagia with great piety she saw a child in the air moving in blood . The Abbess stopped the paraklesis and turned with tears in her eyes and asked the woman who was knelt and crying:

“ Forgive me my child. Have you ever had an abortion?”

The woman was shocked and to this unexpected question during the paraklesis she confessed to the Abbess, trembling:

“Yes, I had one abortion before I got married.”

“My child have you confessed your sin?” asked the Abbess.

“I have not, my dear Abbess” replied the woman.

“It is obvious my child, the Panagia revealed this to me. You have become infertile because of this abortion which you have not confessed. This is why you have not been able to have a child. First you need to seek confession and ask forgiveness. God gave you a child and you killed him. You need to confess and then we shall entreat the Panagia for a child.”

This anonymous story was told by the holy Abbess to a couple who lives in Corfu.

The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011; translated by OrthodoxProLife

* * * * * * *

A 60 year old woman had a daughter, Maria, who was married for seven years and could not bear children and for this reason got a divorce. Her mother seeing this, started crying, revealing the following:

“It was my sin that my daughter is punished for. I married in 1940, during the war. My husband returned from war and had been injured. After the war we were struck with hunger. I was pregnant four times. But all of the children I aborted. I aborted two female and two male children. I did not have enough faith and I did not know how I would manage to raise them in the time of hunger.

This daughter I saved from the physician's knife because of a miracle. The day before the crime (the planned abortion of my 5th child) I saw a woman who appeared to have a sweet countenance. I recognized her as I compared her image to an icon of the Panagia the Hodegetria (the One who Guides Us) that my mother had given me. She was the Panagia and she told me: 'you are cruel to do this and lack faith! The girl is mine and do not touch her!' I was shocked and shook in fear and did not have the abortion. I saved my child, Maria.

The guilt is still with me and does not let me rest. I often dream that four children are running after me and want to touch me but they cannot because they are blind.. I wake up feeling great remorse and I beg the Panagia to take away the dream.”

The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011; translated by OrthodoxProLife

* * * * * * *

Dreams after an abortion are part of the post-abortion syndrome and can be traumatic and cause fear. The concern with dreams is that Orthodox Christians should not focus on them and try to predict their meaning. They need to consult a spiritual father who is able to enlighten the faithful to seek God; because certain dreams can be allowed in order to awaken one’s consciousness and lead them to confession. But again dreams are not the focus of a Christian’s life and great discernment is necessary.

There was a family in Macedonia, Northern Greece with children of ages 9 and 12 years old. The wife got pregnant again and wanted to have an abortion but her physician advised her not to. She also saw a dream where the Panagia told her not do this because something very sad will happen to her. She ignored the dream and thought to herself “We should not read into dreams” and and went ahead. Later that year her two children drowned playing near the river. The husband died and the mother moved away to another village and remarried. She wanted children but was not able to conceive.

In the southern part of Athens a couple with eight children decided to have an abortion. The husband became ill with pleurisy and had to close his restaurant. Two or three days after the abortion the mother had a dream and visited a priest to get advise. The spiritual father said

“It is obvious - it is the soul of your aborted child “

“What shall I do?” she replied

“Go and repent and confess and never have another abortion again. Obey God and have as many children as He wills. He gives the children to you and He will help you feed them and raise them.”

But for three years she could not have another child.

The Truth About Abortions, published (in Greek) by Orthodox Kypseli, Thessaloniki, Greece, 2011, pages 103-109; translated by OrthodoxProLife 

* * * * * * *

The violent end of the earthly life of an innocent human being does not deprive that person of the eternal future, but it does deprive those who cooperated in, decided for, or ignored this violent act.

-Metropolis Church of Lemesos, Cyprus

* * * * * * *

A Return from the Dead in Contemporary Greece 
by Archimandrite [now Metropolitan] Cyprian 

About four years ago, we received a call to take Holy Communion to an old lady, a widow living in a suburb of Athens. She was an old calendarist, and being almost bedridden, was unable to get to church. Though normally we do not undertake such services outside the monastery, and would direct people to a parish priest, nonetheless on this occasion I had a special feeling that I should go, and having prepared the Holy Gifts, I set out from the monastery. I found the old lady lying ill in a small and poor room; having no means of her own, she was cared for by various kind neighbors who brought her food and other necessities. I set down the Holy Gifts, and asked her if there was anything she wished to confess. She replied, "No, there is nothing on my conscience from these past years which I have not already confessed, but there is one grave sin from years ago which I would like to tell you, even though I have confessed it to many priests." I replied that if she had already confessed it, she should not do so again. But she insisted, and what she had to tell is as follows:

When she was young and newly married, some 35 years before, she became pregnant at a time when her family was in the greatest financial straits. The other members of the family pressed her to have an abortion, but she refused absolutely. Eventually, however, due to the threats of her mother-in-law, she gave in against her will, and the operation was performed. The medical supervision of the illicit operation was very primitive with the result that she caught a serious infection, and within the space of a few days died, without being able to confess her sin.

At the moment of death, which occurred in the evening, she felt her soul part from the body in the way that is usually described; her soul remained nearby and watched the body being washed, clothed and placed in the coffin. In the morning, she followed the procession to the church, watched the funeral, and saw the coffin loaded into the hearse for transfer to the cemetery. The soul was as though flying a small height above the body.

Suddenly there appeared in the road two "deacons," as she described them, in shining white sticharia and oraria. One of them was reading a scroll. As the car approached, he held up his hand, and the car ground to a halt. The driver got out to see what was wrong with the motor, and in the meanwhile the angels started to converse. The one holding the scroll which was clearly the record of her sins, looked up from his reading and said: "It is sad, she has a very serious sin on her list, and is bound for hell, since she did not confess it." "Yes," said the other, "but it is a pity that she should be punished, as she did not want to do it, but was forced into it by her family." "Very well," replied the First, "the only thing to do is to send her back to be able to confess her sin and repent of it."

With these words, she felt herself being drawn back into her body, for which at that moment she felt an indescribable disgust and repulsion. After a moment, she came to, and started to knock on the inside of the coffin, which had been closed. The scene that followed can be imagined.

After hearing her history, which I have set forth in brief. I gave her Holy Communion, and departed giving glory to God who had permitted me to hear it. Being a matter of confession, I cannot tell you her name, but can inform you that she is still alive. If you feel it would be edifying, you certainly have my permission to publish it.

-by Archimandrite Cyprian

The Soul After Death, by Fr. Seraphim Rose, 1980, pp.232-4.

* * * * * * *

Real Choices

Frederica Matthews-Green, a convert to Orthodox Christianity, directed the Real Choices research project, which was commissioned by the National Women's Coalition for Life. The project was a thorough study of what causes American women to choose abortion and as part of that study Fredrica met with post-abortion women across the country to listen to their stories. The results of her study, as well as clips from the conversations she had with post abortion women, are published in her book: Real Choices: Listening to Women, Looking for Alternatives to Abortion. This book makes a clear case that abortion harms women physically, emotionally, and psychologically.

* * * * * * *

Abortion: Some Medical Facts

Physical Complications

Despite the use of local anesthesia, a full 97% of women having abortions reported experiencing pain during the procedure, which more than a third described as "intense," "severe," or "very severe." Compared to other pains, researchers have rated the pain from abortion as more painful than a bone fracture, about the same as cancer pain, though not as painful as an amputation.

Studies also reveal that younger women tend to find abortion more painful than do older adults, and that patients typically found abortion more painful than their doctors or counselors expected. The use of more powerful general anesthetics can reduce the pain, but significantly increases the risk of cervical injury or uterine perforation.

Complications such as these are common, as are bleeding, hemorrhage, laceration of the cervix, menstrual disturbance, inflammation of the reproductive organs, bladder or bowel perforation, and serious infection.

Even more harmful long term physical complications from abortion may surface later. For example, overzealous currettage can damage the lining of the uterus and lead to permanent infertility. Overall, women who have abortions face an increased risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy and a more than doubled risk of future sterility. Perhaps most important of all, the risk of these sorts of complications, along with risks of future miscarriage, increase with each subsequent abortion.

The particular type and severity of complications depend a great deal on the experience of the abortionist and the particular abortion method used. Given that most abortions are performed at abortion clinics rather than by a woman's regular ob-gyn, the doctor performing the abortion is likely to be a stranger of whose skill and experience a woman knows very little. Such things as an inadequate gynecologic examination prior to the operation, the carelessness of the abortionist, or the retention of fetal and placental tissue can all bring on complications. These kinds of complications can usually be treated and generally subside (though not always), but few women ever return to the clinics for crucial post-operative examinations.

There is strong evidence that abortion increases the risk of breast cancer. A study of more than 1,800 women appearing in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute in 1994 found that overall, women having abortions increased their risk of getting breast cancer before age 45 by 50%. For women under 18 with no previous pregnancies, having an abortion after the 8th week increased the risk of breast cancer 800%. Women with a family history of breast cancer fared even worse. All 12 women participating in the study who had abortions before 18 and had a family history of breast cancer themselves got cancer before age 45.

Of course, death of the mother is the most serious of all complications. Over 200 women have died from legal abortions since 1973. The risk of death increases according to the duration of pregnancy and the complexity of the abortion technique employed.

In most of the discussions above, the abortions referred to are surgical abortions. Chemical methods being relatively new, most studies over the past twenty or so years usually tracked only complications for surgical methods. Complication rates for chemical techniques may be somewhat different; for example, while there is little risk of perforation and laceration with a chemical method, pain and bleeding will probably exceed that of surgical methods. Chemical methods also bring unique risks of their own.

Psychological Consequences

Clinical research provides a growing body of scientific evidence that having an abortion can cause psychological harm to some women. "Women who report negative after-effects from abortion know exactly what their problem is," observed psychologist Wanda Franz, Ph.D., in a March 1989 congressional hearing on the impact of abortion. "They report horrible nightmares of children calling them from trash cans, of body parts, and blood," Franz told the Congressional panel. "When they are reminded of the abortion," Franz testified, "the women re-experienced it with terrible psychological pain ... They feel worthless and victimized because they failed at the most natural of human activities -- the role of being a mother."

The emergence of chemical abortion methods poses a new possibly more devastating psychological threat. Unlike surgical abortions, in which women rarely see the cut up body parts, women having chemical abortions often do see the complete tiny bodies of their unborn children and are even able to distinguish the child's developing hands, eyes, etc. So traumatic is this for some women that both patients and researchers involved in these studies have recommended that women unprepared for the experience of seeing their aborted children not take the drugs. Long-term psychological implications of this experience have not been studied.

Researchers on the after-effects of abortion have identified a pattern of psychological problems known as Post-Abortion Syndrome (PAS). Women suffering PAS may experience drug and alcohol abuse, personal relationship disorders, sexual dysfunction, repeated abortions, communications difficulties, damaged self-esteem, and even attempt suicide. Post-Abortion Syndrome appears to be a type of pattern of denial which may last for five to ten years before emotional difficulties surface.

Now that some clinicians have established that there is an identifiable patterns to PAS, they face a new challenge. What is still unknown is how widespread psychological problems are among women who have had abortions. A Los Angeles Times survey in 1989 found that 56% of women who had abortions felt guilty about it, and 26% "mostly regretted the abortion." Clinicians' current goal should be to conduct extensive national research studies to obtain data on the psychological after-effects of abortion.

With the growing awareness of Post Abortion Syndrome in scholarly and clinical circles, women with PAS can expect to receive a more sensitive appreciation of the suffering that they endure. Fortunately, a growing network of peer support groups of women who have had abortions offers assistance to women who are experiencing emotional difficulties.

Many post-abortive women have also been speaking out publicly about their own abortion experiences and the healing process they went through.. Women or family members seeking information about this particular outreach program can contact American Victims of Abortion, 512 10th St. NW, Washington, D.C., 20004.

Physical Complications:
Psychological Consequences:

* * * * * * *

How Abortion Harms Women's Health
by Moira Gaul, M.P.H.

This article is posted on the website of The Family Research Council and can be retrieved online at the following web address.  This article is posted format of a three page pdf and includes sources for all studies and statistics quoted.

Family Research Council

* * * * * * *

Induced Abortion and Adverse Mental Health Effects
by The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists

This article is posted on the website of The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists and can be retrieved online at the following web address. This article includes sources for all studies and statistics quoted.

The American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists