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January 27, 2020 11:11 am
This week on Family Policy Matters, NC Family Communications Director Traci DeVette Griggs sits down with Jackie Bonk of Project Rachel in Eastern North Carolina. Bonk discusses her work with post-abortive mothers and fathers, and how there can be hope and healing for those who have gone through this heartbreaking experience.
Family policy matters in engaging and informative weekly radio show and podcast produced by the North Carolina family policy Council hi this is John Rustin, presidency, family, and were grateful to have you with us for this week's program is our prayer that you will be informed, encouraged and inspired by what you hear on family policy matters and that you will fall better equipped to be a voice of persuasion for family values in your community, state and nation, and now here's our house to family policy matters Tracy to vet grants. Thanks for joining us this week for family policy matters.
Despite the fact that pro-abortion advocates at times talk as if they're proud of their actions or even celebrate the taking of a pre-born babies life.
We know that many women suffer immensely after not choosing life for their unborn child. Those side effects might be physical, emotional, psychological and often spiritual with today's guest has dedicated herself to helping women and men seek forgiveness and healing.
Sometimes many years after an abortion. Jackie bonk as Dir. of Project Rachel and Eastern North Carolina. Jackie bonk welcome to family policy matters. Thank Tracy and really happy to be here. I will start off by telling us about Project Rachel once its mission and why is it unique will Project Rachel offers postabortion healing and reconciliation to those who are wounded by abortion. The woman or man is invited to recognize and grieve their loss which is likely not have happened at this point, and the post-abortive woman who is the parent who is a mother, and the post-abortive man with the father, who had lost the child but they don't see themselves as parents we help them recognize their parenthood and encourage them to grieve their loss to move through the stages of grief to reconciliation with herself himself.
The child or family and God understand there are often long-term effects of abortion and that women and men don't necessarily find that they are having difficulty until years later in our culture today. Some people suggest these difficulties are either fabricated or overblown.
But how do you know that these long-term effects are real well. From experience, primarily because I involved in this for almost 25 years now and some research to me there's there's certainly data out there on long-term effects of abortion on the physiological, spiritual and psychological wounds.
I think in general from abortions are complex and and quite deep and they reach more than one aspect of the person I would say that the emptiness resulting from the loss of innocent life is vast and a woman who is experiencing some psychological consequences is going to display shame or regret or unreconciled grief.
She may have experienced depression or anxiety. And there's a term for this postabortion syndrome, eating disorder, substance abuse, those that those are just some of the possibilities that every person is different. Some of the biological consequences that are pretty well-known now is that the procedure of abortion increases the risk of preterm birth and subsequent pregnancy. So that's a concern as well as perhaps him again or infections from the procedure and some women have experienced infertility and then on the spiritual side may have seen herself as a basically good person before the abortion and a good relationship with her God. But after that you she starts to look in the mirror and she sees an evildoer, and if she has faith is a problem with their morals and now she becomes distant from God and may be seen herself as one committed what is an unforgivable sentence.
So those are the long-term effects of abortion and we don't see these sometimes until 1020 3040 years later some of them do show up earlier on, but many of them. Not until later in life are there certain events in a person's life that you are finding cause them to begin to see or have some of these difficulties, yet childbirth is one that that's a real complicated one because you know when she becomes pregnant again and this time the child wanted she has to deal with that complexity of the past abortion or or may just push it back further and result in psychological problems and other trauma events in life. Sometimes death of a family member.
Maybe it was her own mother that took her to the abortion facility. She dies so that there's something there's unreconciled.
There so we often think of difficulties with abortion or postabortion as being a woman's problem, but men are affected to write that they are they affected in some ways that are similar in some ways that are different coming man who is a father and if he recognizes his parenthood and he recognizes that this child is real.
He needs grief he needs to grieve his loss, like the woman – but at the same time, men and women are different other questions that we asked the man, such as does your current wife if he has one know about this situation that you had in the past in public that affect the marriage and in both cases I would say men and women they know when they contact us, even if they're not willing to admit it at the time, but they know their hurting and they know that they've made a mistake, but then you also need to know that they're not a mistake that their identity is not what they have done some pro-abortion advocates actually go as far as to say that religion actually creates some of these difficulties that women and men have after an abortion because we make people feel guilty or whatever you respond to that bond again from experience because many of our women and men are not practicing Christians or practicing any kind of faith probably 20% over the years are either agnostic or what they know there's something terribly wrong with a violation of their moral compass. There was a violation of rape, incest, and this happens to. But religion is tied to a moral compass that we all have good enough and I think that's the conflict that they have that they know that they've experienced something that's a loss they can all recognize that whether there practicing Christian, or believe in God at all. They all know that something has been lost.
So this rhetoric that we often hear that basically people should just get over it that abortion is not that big a deal that actually stifles people from seeking the help that they that they need to get on with their lives. It is, and it's so sad to hear. Some women have gone to counseling there or has you listen to the advice of a friends that say this wasn't your problem. You did the best you could move on and and that is never a helpful thing to say to someone you did the best you could move on. They may have done the best they could get likely they did the best they could be known as denying the reality of that child, their connection to the child is apparent. And when they realize there's a loss and then we move into the grease grieving process and they had the opportunity to grieve the loss, but that has to be understood first because you know when you experience a loss, even if it's natural for a miscarriage. For example, there some some similarities there. A life has come to an unnatural and in their suffering. For a woman who's had a miscarriage. It is come to an unnatural end for a woman that his head and abortion, but the difference is that she know she participated in the death of this child and she is not given permission to greet no one showed up with a casserole at her home. The culture says nothing was lost that was important, but in her heart and her being she knows that there's a lot there's that symbiotic relationship that is been attempted to be severed by by this situation and you mentioned at the beginning that you help people come to grips with the fact that they were already were parents talk a little bit about more about that because that could be baffling maybe to someone who hasn't gone through pregnancy or had a miscarriage at some point in their life that connection that you feel with the baby from the very beginning so there's a connection to the biological connection to motherhood and so again I get from my experience I did. Even though the women are so different in their journeys and coming from different belief systems. No, something was lost, and it's almost like the first time we meet.
Even though they're fearful. It might be in 40 years and they don't know really where to go but there just in so much pain. And if we mentioned to them they have a loss there's almost immediate recognition of yeah there was a venue might want to grieve the loss that another step into it takes a while for them to agree that okay why I'm willing to going to a support group and and learn more about what we what we know is that she needs compassion. She needs confidentiality and she needs community support. So tell us what kinds of response you get from people who walk through your program. What are you seeing are you seeing some some healing happening.
Oh, absolutely. We see miraculous transformation and basically we have a process it's kind of a two-step process where they are introduced to the grieving process. We kinda break that out and look at you know what what happened is there anger there is there shame there. Where are they in terms of the denial process. We work through that and then the second part is to meet their child, and by meeting their child. That means they name their child. They write a letter to their child. They moved to that level of relationship with the child that most of them come to understand is with God because their innocence and their their holy. In essence, so where were going, and sometimes that takes six months. Sometimes that takes six years depending on the woman and sometimes the women or the men you will begin the process and it just gets to be too much to come out of that denial.
But I would say if they've met with more than one there's probably a 50% chance they're going to enter into the program and then probably 70% state through the program once they get the retreat. Most of them stay the whole time, but there's the deep amount as of regret and shame and fear. There's a lot lot underneath this, especially if the woman is has buried this for 40 years or 30 years.
I want to kinda wrap up by talking about just the cultural view, especially among people who are more conservative and an pro-life. Sometimes there's some hateful rhetoric that can come out on one side, even maybe mention how pastors if they're going to address the stirring of sanctity of human life months they need to take into consideration that there are all kinds of people listening to them. I think recognizing how vulnerable and broken. This person is that she actually shared this information with you as a friend are you with the pastor that dad put her you know in a very vulnerable situation. She may not have told anyone she needs to know that you're not going to judge her. She needs to know that everything is kept in confidentiality and she needs compassion and likely need the community, is what we offer. We offer this private community.
Some of the women in the group are companions that have been through the program and they can share their journey, so I think that reassuring her that she needs to grieve her loss reassuring her that there is hope there there is a healing God and that God is merciful. I believe there are two twin truths about the sanctity of life and that is that yes all human life is sacred from the moment of conception to the end of natural death, but the second truth is that God's mercy is the heart of the gospel and so Rachel and Jeremiah could not heal herself.
She had to reach out to the Lord healing. So I would say them reach out to project. Rachel, you don't have to know everything about Project Rachel give them our website or phone number.
Tell them that you're familiar with it, and if your friend or a pastor and week we work with pastors and counselors so we can provide them with more information as well. Jackie how would people get in touch with Project Rachel what's the best way.
Well, they can contact us on our website which is Project Rachel and see.org so that TRO J ECT RAC ATL NC.work or they can contact us by phone which is 919-852-1021 okay will Jackie bonk, director of project Rachel in eastern North Carolina. Thank you so much for sharing with us today on family policy matters listening to family policy. We hope you program to do it again next week to listen to the show online insulin more about encourage and inspire families across the water in our website it into family.ward that's into family.org. Thanks again for listening and may God bless you and your friend