Monday, July 09, 2007

Valerie Call Jacobs, MA -- coordinator for Project Rachel of Western Washington sent the following letter to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer after their mean-spirited attack on Project Rachel and women who suffer after abortion. We'll see if they print it.

Dear Editor
To those of us who work in the field of post-abortion healing, questioning whether post-abortion syndrome (PAS) exists is absurd, but expected. In the same way, other significant conditions have suffered through periods of social denial. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was not recognized for decades; veterans who suffered from the condition were described as weak men. Pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) was also dismissed. After all, we know that women are emotional and a bit crazy. Only recently have we begun treating the grief of miscarriage with greater empathy, allowing space for a process of resolution. In each case, society has moved from dismissal, and even ridicule, to acknowledgement and empathy.

Fortunately, the tide is turning with regard to PAS, as evidenced by a recent scientific study by Dr. David Fergusson, of New Zealand, published in the Journal of Child Psychiatry and Psychology (January 2006). It is one of many current scientific studies of PAS. Philosophically pro-choice, Dr. Fergusson found that women who had an abortion had elevated rates of depression, anxiety, suicidal behaviors and substance abuse, unrelated to prior mental health history.

This study scientifically validates what we have witnessed over the last 30 years, as we have listened to the stories of women of all faiths, and no faith. It is ironic and unfortunate that women who have experienced crisis, trauma and grief in relation to their abortions continue to be dismissed by others – especially by other women. This tyranny of ridicule suppresses the resolution of grief and prevents healing.

Women and men, of any faith or no faith, who come through the Rachel’s Vineyard ™ Retreats offered through Project Rachel in Western Washington receive unconditional compassion and love.

Valerie L. Call Jacobs, MA
Coordinator, Project Rachel
PO Box 398
Kent, WA 98035

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