Almost two-thirds (65 percent) of women who choose to abort their babies show symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder following the abortion and Finnish studies have shown that the mortality rate from suicide or violent death in the year following an abortion is six times higher than in women who carry their babies to full term.
This from bioethicist and founder of the Elliot Institute in the United States David Reardon. Dr Reardon was keynote speaker at the second All for Life conference in Nelson at the end of October.
He has spent much of his academic life researching and writing about the effects of abortion on women. ‘A request for an abortion is a plea for help that requires a loving, caring response,’ he told the 170 conference delegates.
Dr Reardon presented research which showed that 54 percent of women were unsure of their decision to abort at the time and 80 percent of these were not counselled about alternatives.
With almost 18,000 abortions a year, New Zealand has the second highest per capita abortion rate among OECD countries.
‘Abortion cannot turn the clock back,’ Dr Reardon said. ‘Doctors may take babies out of the womb, but they can never take them out of the heart and mind.’
Australian educator Tina Jack introduced a Youth Sexuality Education programme used in Perth secondary schools. The topics ‘Towards Loving’ (Year 7–8), ‘Choosing to Love’ (Year 9–10) and ‘Loving Forever’ (Year 12–13) highlight the age-appropriate themes that incorporate parents on their child’s journey to sexual maturity.
Papal Nuncio Archbishop Charles Balvo opened the conference with the words of Jesus to his disciples, ‘Do not be afraid.’ We live in such a climate of fear, he said, where human beings are often viewed as a cancer on this earth that we must be willing to offer the world a different viewpoint – one in which the culture of life is seen as a ‘Yes’ culture, based on the trust, love and hope which empowers us to say ‘Yes’ to human dignity and the sanctity of life, ‘Yes’ to care for all people in just ways and ‘Yes’ to care for the earth on which we live.
Archbishop Charles reminded delegates that ‘we all possess different gifts and responsibilities which we must use to engage with today’s culture if we are to bring life to all’. This was illustrated by the plethora of workers from the pro-life arena in attendance including Adoption Option Trust, Buttons Project, Voice for Life, Family First, Purely Girls, Billings Ovulation Method of Natural Family Planning, ProLifeNZ Students and Dr Albert Mackary with his ‘Prescription for Change for NZ Youth’ all gave testimony to the wealth of work being done throughout Aotearoa for the good of all New Zealanders – those born and those yet to be born.
The conference praised the continuing work of GP-based Crisis Pregnancy Support in Nelson, House of Grace in Wellington, Family Life International (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch) and other services which give women the time, space and support in early pregnancy and beyond. As well, delegates welcomed Rachel’s Vineyard, the post-abortion counselling service which came to New Zealand from Australia and the US in June.
Let us pray that all those who use their gifts in this way will bring hope, life and love to those most in need.