For many, having an abortion is a life-changing decision. For the advocacy group called Abortion Hurts, God Heals, the post-abortion healing process starts with one’s faith. Guest lecturers from the group joined Tigers for Life (TFL) to share their stories and to promote healing.
TFL welcomed roughly 20 students to the Tehuacana Room on Monday, Jan. 22, to listen to these testimonies of grieving and healing. After offering their experiences to the group, the women from the advocacy group opened the floor to questions. Luke Ayers, president of TFL and senior economics major, helped organize the event.
“My friend who leads the pro-life club at UTSA had an event with TFL member Cristina and two other women from Abortion Hurts, God Heals, and I went to that,” Ayers said. “It was a really powerful event, so I got their business card there and emailed them so that we could do the exact same thing here.”
TFL vice president Kaylie DeLuca, a sophomore anthropology and marketing double major, initiated the event with some opening remarks, noting that day was also the 45th anniversary of the controversial Roe v. Wade decision. She later emphasized the importance of having discussions about abortion and accepting others despite the decisions they have made.
“I’m really glad that we decided to do this because abortion is such a controversial and uncomfortable topic to talk about. But like these women said, it’s something that should be talked about,” DeLuca said. “People should be able to discuss their experience in a safe space and know that they’re loved and cherished no matter what they’ve done in their past.”
Following the introduction, two members of Abortion Hurts, God Heals stepped forward to share their personal experiences with having an abortion. The interview-like discussion was led by member Virginia Lange, who stressed the importance of religion in their experiences of healing.
“If it wasn’t for God’s love, his courage and the forgiveness he grants us, we wouldn’t be here today,” Lange said. “It’s hard to talk about abortion without getting passionate … Sometimes those arguments can cause friendships to end — and even familial relationships.”
In addition to Lange, members Christina Wang and Saundra Decker also spoke about their personal experiences, reflecting on the stigma of abortion in the United States and how it affected their decisions.
“It was shocking to me because there’s so much silence surrounding it … There’s so many people who are just not talking about it at all,” Wang said. “Many women choose abortion and don’t know what it entails, our media and society just sell it as a quick fix.”
At the start of their discussion, Wang and Decker showed pictures of themselves that had been taken around the age of their first abortion.
The advocates later discussed the process of coming to terms with that decision, citing the regret that they all shared.
“The relief does not last forever,” Lange said. “Women later realize what they’ve done, and what’s happened to their unborn child.”
Lange then led the others in a discussion of how they found healing and acceptance through attending Bible studies and post-abortion healing classes. All six representatives then presented baby shoes, each one representing one of their unborn children and consequently, the profound loss that they all felt.
Towards the end of the event, Lange invited students to participate in lighting candles for any unborn children they wanted to pray for. Those who knew of an abortion or miscarriage were asked to light an electric candle in order to celebrate the child’s memory.
The talk concluded with a question and answer session. Attendees asked representatives about what prompted them to share their stories, how they sought out forgiveness, and why religion played a central role in their experiences of healing. DeLuca emphasized the importance of these discussions following the conclusion of the event.
“I thought it went really well. I know that I’m not a very emotional person, but I definitely teared up at some parts,” DeLuca said. “Hearing other women’s stories touched my heart to know that they were so brave to say that. I hope that other people felt the same way.”
DeLuca emphasized the importance of having discussions about abortion on college campuses and enlightening younger people to the effects of abortion.
“The majority of women seeking abortions are college age, which is one of the reasons why we feel it’s so important for women to hear other women’s stories,” DeLuca said. “So that if they do fall into a circumstance where they feel they do have to choose abortion, that they can make the most educated choice possible by listening to and learning from other women’s experiences with that topic.”
For those interested in learning more about the topic, resources are available on the Abortion Hurts, God Heals website.