Repeat Abortions

Theresa Burke
with David C. Reardon
Forbidden Grief: Chapter 11
Reproduced with Permission

Sheron had the look of a woman who had done some hard living. Her forehead was furrowed deeply with lines carved by decades of stress. Her leathery facial skin was the backdrop for sea-green eyes worn weary and bloodshot from drinking. She was slumped over to one side, resting her head on the side of an overstuffed armchair. In a matter-of-fact tone she stated, "I've had seven, you know."

I let her announcement hang for a moment. This was an admission that needed to be approached gently. I knew Sharon suffered from a lot of anxiety and frequently used alcohol to calm her nerves. I wondered if she was ready to explore her past, as she seemed rather cut off from it. Her collarbone protruded sharply from beneath a checkered halter top. It struck me that her emaciated body was striving to express an anguish and misery that defied words.

"Do you mean seven abortions?" I asked.

"Yeah, seven. That's supposed to be a lucky number, isn't it?" she asked in a childish tone. Twisting long pieces of hair around her middle finger, she looked up at me with a suspicious stare, curious to know if I could help her. She appeared nervous, but also faintly distracted.

"Do you feel lucky?" I asked.

"Lucky to be alive, I guess. There must be some reason why I'm still here," she mused, twisting her hair into a tight knot. "I just haven't figured it out yet."

Sharon began to speak of her life. Her oral history was a desensitized account of abandonment, betrayal, multiple abortions, and abuse. Yet she was starkly detached from her experiences. While divulging her multiple losses, she appeared to be reporting the soapy drama of someone else's life. As a 48-year-old woman with no children or partner, she was isolated and lonely. No sooner did she acknowledge her painful solitude than she would retreat, insisting that none of it really bothered her because she had no reference point for what she was missing. She was numb to both pain and pleasure. She complained that she had little memory of the past twenty years and wondered if it was normal to feel nothing.

"How do you stay so numb and detached from your own life?" I asked with curiosity.

As Sharon drew in a deep breath, the sides of her mouth curled into a grin. "Drinking, I guess . . . but I sure as hell can't do that anymore . . . I've got liver problems now," she said with a droll laugh.

Sharon attended a Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreat to find some peace. She knew that the self-medication provided by alcohol was no longer an option. She attended a weekend with other women who had also undergone the trauma of multiple abortions. This particular group of 12 women had aborted a total of 65 pregnancies. Loretta had twelve, Gianna and Lisa each had nine, and Emily and Roe had eight. There was another woman who had seven . . . Sharon's "lucky number." All of these women suffered from alcoholism. As the group began to reconnect to the past and all their buried feelings, the level of grief was heartbreaking.

Among them was Shelly. After five abortions, Shelly had discovered a way to submerge her menacing grief through severe workaholism. She recalled her powerful desire to become pregnant:

I wanted more than anything to become pregnant right after the abortion. I wanted to replace what I had lost . . . to continue what I had started. I wanted to prove to God and myself that I had the capabilities of being a good mother.

Hoping to recover her happiness, Shelly quickly became pregnant again within a few months of her first abortion. But since many of the stresses that led to that abortion still existed, she ended up aborting again. Then again, again, and again. Five pregnancies and five abortions.

After my first abortion, I felt like my life had spun completely out of control. With each abortion, I was crushed. I couldn't believe that things could possibly get any worse. Eventually, I felt like I didn't deserve to ever become a mother, a wife, or anything. I was paralyzed by depression, anxiety . . . fear.

Shelly's cycle of repeat abortions was part of a self-defeating behavior pattern that began after her first abortion. In every area of her life where a new opportunity for a relationship, attachment, or achievement opened up, Shelly slammed the door on her future. For example, nine months before she would have graduated from college, she dropped out. When she subsequently landed a decent job, she worked for only ten weeks before terminating her employment. (Incidentally, her abortion had been at ten weeks of gestation.) In her relationships with men, she would abruptly break off the relationship whenever it reached the point of a possible commitment, and then grieve her lost love. At every turn, she aborted all of her hopes and plans, thereby mirroring the abortion of her children's lives. She was frozen in a longing, dependent state - stuck in the past, reenacting the trauma of her original abortion through the rejection of every opportunity.

Joyce also had five abortions. She reluctantly obtained her first abortion at the urging of an abortion clinic counselor who informed her that since she used medicine for acne, she would probably give birth to a "defective child." Joyce greatly feared such an outcome, so she consented to the procedure rather than take a risk. Likewise, her boyfriend pressured her by saying that he would never be able to raise a "kid with problems."

Joyce felt frightened and helpless over the abortion and became quite depressed. She cried constantly and wished she had known for sure if something was wrong with the baby. Alcohol and drug abuse followed.

When Joyce became pregnant a second time, the fear that she would need another abortion was transformed into anger and hatred. In an effort to master her trauma, she attempted to get out of the victim role by rejecting her feelings of powerlessness and substituting in their place feelings of anger and hatred that triggered a coldness about her abortions.

So what? I did it before and the father of the baby is a jerk. I don't want to give him a child. He had the chance before and didn't want it.

After the second abortion, Joyce became sexually promiscuous. By the time she was faced with her third abortion, she scornfully laughed at it: "Oh, well, I thought, there goes another one. Time to forget about my white picket fence."

The fourth abortion was a "quickie." By that point Joyce was desensitized to her pain and never paused to consider if she was doing the right thing. Her relationships with men had deteriorated. She hated her original boyfriend and first love, the source of her monumental disillusionment. As time went on, she engaged in ongoing relationships with married men. She also had frequent episodes of promiscuous sex with no special attachment.

The abortions caused a striking change in Joyce's personality. Her first abortion, although agonizing, began a spiraling down into an emotional and moral abyss. She lost the ability to have a meaningful relationship with a man who could truly love her and abandoned the hope of ever having children at her side. She felt helpless to change and tossed aside any aspirations for an ideal life, concluding that such goals were unrealistic and stupid. Her view of the future was truncated, with no sense of use or purpose. Her life was overrun with despair, where only the pleasure of the moment or aimless passions offered any distraction or relief. Joyce became a tragic figure - an underdeveloped reflection of the woman she might have become.

The loss of my children has caused a bottomless emptiness and unforeseen grief and sadness. The devastation in my life spanned 26 years. I was damaged psychologically, emotionally, and spiritually. I went on the Rachel's Vineyard weekend retreat for healing, and I was finally able to grieve the loss of my children and give them dignity. I was able to come to terms with what had happened Since making the weekend, I have regained my self-respect and have started living my life instead of just existing.

Reenacting Pregnancy and Abortion

Sadly, the ways in which Sharon, Shelly and Joyce became trapped in a cycle of repeat abortions are not uncommon. Approximately half of all women who have an abortion have had one or more previous abortions.

Women with a history of more than one abortion are likely to suffer more severe physical and psychological problems from their abortions. Studies of women having repeat abortions show that they are more likely to live in less stable social situations, have nearly twice as many psychological problems, and have twice as much reliance on social support services.1 They are also more likely to go through a divorce, to be involved in substance abuse, and to rely on public welfare.2 At the same time, they are also more likely to actively desire pregnancy and to have a low motivation for and irregular use of contraception.

This problem of repeat abortions is not due to callousness or the careless use of birth control. Instead, it is far more likely that women who have multiple abortions are "careless" in their birth control practices precisely because they are caught in a pattern of reenacting their traumatic abortions. For example, Deirdre explained that after four abortions:

I know I should be using birth control. I don't know why I'm not. I'm not trying to get pregnant or anything. I just don't care if it happens. If it did, I'm not sure what I'd do. Maybe this time someone would want to marry me. That's a joke! Who would want me?

Deirdre's statement reflected her low self-worth and ambivalence regarding pregnancy. She felt powerless to control her future. She did not feel that she had a right to expect anything from life and simply accepted whatever happened. She was stuck. The pattern of pregnancy followed by abortion had become addictive and mesmerizing. Like a ship tossed on a violent sea, Deirdre had no control.

A central aspect of trauma is a sense of helplessness. Reenactment is a means by which individuals like Deirdre revisit their traumas. On some level of their minds, they repeatedly expose themselves to the same traumatic situation in the hope that they will eventually confront, conquer, and triumph over the experience, thus vanquishing the cause of their helplessness.

One way in which women who are traumatized by their abortions seek to reassert power over their lives, and simultaneously to "undo" their abortions, is through replacement pregnancies. Unfortunately, this is a very risky proposition. While some women do carry their subsequent replacement pregnancies to term, others quickly discover that the same pressures that led to their first abortions are still there. As a result, they are likely to have another abortion, which reinforces the trauma of their first. While many forms of reenactment are symbolic, as we have seen, in these cases reenactment of a traumatic abortion can be quite literal, resulting in one, two, three . . . or even a dozen subsequent abortions.

Christine had her first abortion at the age of 18. She was under treatment for mild depression, and her psychiatrist advised the abortion. This was before abortion-on-demand became legal. In order to have the procedure done, they told Christine she would have to sign a paper that stated she would commit suicide if she did not have an abortion. Her mental health care workers orchestrated the entire event. In reality Christine knew she would not kill herself, but she went along as an obliging patient who followed doctor's orders.

At the age of 22, she became pregnant again. Although married this time, she felt anxiety and fear over being a parent. This anxiety was rooted in her first abortion. The message from her psychiatrist that colored her view of herself as a potential mother was that she was not mentally stable enough to have a child and that having a baby would provoke a mental breakdown and even suicidal behavior. Christine's husband was eager and ready to begin a family, yet the thought of having a baby simply terrified her. Because of her fears of inadequacy, she had another abortion and divorced her husband shortly thereafter.

Christine's third pregnancy also ended in a second-trimester abortion. Though she felt tremendous grief and guilt, this pattern continued three more times for a total of six abortions. Each time she had an intense desire to be a mother, but each time she could see no other recourse but abortion, reenacting the first trauma of helplessness to overcome her perceived inadequacy and incompetence.

Riddled with guilt and low self-esteem, Christine had herself surgically sterilized to avoid having to "kill any more babies." Having broken free of reenactment via repeat abortions, her self-destructive impulses were channeled into several subsequent suicide attempts. Her maternal identity shattered, she desperately sought mothering from other women through various attempts at a lesbian lifestyle.

What a different life Christine could have had if her psychiatrist had reinforced her self-esteem and her confidence in her capacity to be a mother. Instead, by encouraging abortion, her therapist imprinted a deadly message deep into her psyche: She was unstable and inadequate to be a mother.

As a therapist, I worked with Christine specifically to bring the meaning of her repeated abortions into her awareness. Soon she began to realize that she had dealt with the original abortion over and over in the same negative way. It caused not only the loss of six children, but also denied Christine an opportunity to give life, love her children, grow as a woman, and experience the joys of motherhood.

Once she became aware of the original conflict, Christine stated that her "whole life finally seemed to make sense." She could finally understand why she had become trapped in such a self-destructive pattern. Although an awareness of these patterns was essential for her healing, it also gave rise to tremendous grief and anger at having lost so many years and so many children. This process, though difficult and bitter, was an important ingredient in helping Christine stop degrading herself. Her episodes of depression subsided, she obtained her first job in 20 years, and she began to ask more for herself in relationships. Instead of viewing herself as an evil person, she saw that her actions had their source in the tremendously painful conflict of an abortion foisted upon her by people she trusted.

Christine's story illustrates one of the many overlooked consequences of abortion. It is the unspoken but accepted message to a woman that she is inadequate. Instead of being offered support, encouragement, and trust in her ability to care for a child, a woman is persuaded to accept a violent solution that invades her physical and psychological integrity. The result, at the very least, is a lack of self-confidence and a diminished sense of self-worth. When traumatized women lose all confidence in their ability to protect and care for others, they are prone to becoming entangled in a pattern of multiple abortions.

Zoe shared her experience between her first and last abortions:

The one thing that stands out most about that day in 1973 is, oddly enough, not my personal experience - though, don't get me wrong, that had an enormous impact. Yet, I was about to meet the future "me." At the age of 18, I was still very fragile, very frightened . . . and veryvulnerable and impressionable. Not at all hardened in many ways. The point is, there was still an element of my person that was reachable, teachable, that yearned, that was sensitive and compassionate.

I went into the clinic, went through the paperwork, and sat to await my turn at whatever unknown fate was ahead. Then a young woman came in who did not appear to be much older than me - early 20s at best. She sat near me and had faded blue jeans and shoulder-length brown hair parted in the middle. She was alone yet didn't appear uncomfortable at all. I thought she was really "cool" to be handling this sort of thing with such composure. She smiled at me.

When I asked her if she was having an abortion, she shrugged and stated that it was no big deal - it was her third. I was shocked. She was so young. I was sitting there in anguish at the prospect of having one abortion, and here she was having her third. I could not understand, as horrified as I was, how anyone would go through with this three times? It was like, does she have a learning disability or what?

I found myself blinking and gasping in disbelief. I thought she had to be the dumbest woman I had ever met. She was so hardened to it all - so nonchalant - tough as nails. She was no more concerned about this abortion than having a tooth filled. I promised myself I would never be such a person . . . so hard, so cold, so out of touch. I couldn't understand how this could happen to someone.

I remembered this woman again in 1988 at the time of my fourth abortion. I understood that day what kind of woman would have four abortions. I understood what experience could make a person as tough as nails - so hard, so cold, so out of touch. All those abortions had robbed me of an element of my humanity that is difficult to express in words. Maybe the men who landed in Normandy on D-day understand it. Maybe the members of violent gangs who have seen death and violence again and again....

The taking of a life of another human being has a life-changing impact on a person. I can't give it a name, but I can tell you that it's hard - if not impossible - to recapture it once it is lost.

I struggled for many years with enormous grief and depression because I slaughtered - literally, considering the method of their demise - all of my children, for I have no children today. For many years, I could not even stand to be around children. Even today, you won't see me running to cuddle an infant. I can tolerate 3-year-olds, but infants are still a big problem. So even today, I am still dealing with the aftermath.

Repeat Abortions as a Result of Coercion

I have heard hundreds of women share stories of how their decisions to have abortions were very much shaped by pressure from people and circumstances. This kind of abortion trauma can keep women imprisoned in destructive patterns of repeat pregnancies, abortion and even abuse. Lexie shares her story:

The first time I got pregnant, I was 19. I was living with a much older man, whom I believed was very much in love with me. Like many couples, we had financial problems, and according to him I was just crazy to even think of having a baby. He said: "Hey, you know you not having it, right? I don't even need to say anything else. I want you to schedule an appointment ASAP." After that he walked out of the door. He was totally determined that I would have an abortion.

He gave me no option to even think about it. I was absolutely on my own if I wanted to have the baby, and I had absolutely nothing, not even family around me to help me to think about what I was doing. All I could think of was, "I can't be a single mother; I am not even married. What am I going to do? Where am I going to live? How am I going to work? I can't leave the baby alone. I have nobody here to help me." Every time I would try to discuss possibilities of having the baby he would just leave me talking by myself, sitting looking at the walls. All I knew was he wanted it done, and done as soon as possible. I was almost 3 months, and every day, every single day, I remember how stressful it was for me to be pregnant. I got really sick every day and was throwing up every time of the day and I felt so depressed and alone on those days . . . Iike never before.

I started to play this game in the back of my mind. I would pretend that I was just sick, nothing was really happening to me at all. "What baby??? There is no baby. I am just sick and it will all be gone soon."

So the abortion schedule was set. All I cared about was to get it over with. My name was called, the nurse opened my legs, and she told me I was going to sleep in seconds, I didn~t even see the doctor's face. I woke up bleeding, some infection medicine was given, the thing was done. I left that place in such emptiness. The whole thing was removed from me, including my soul.

I couldn't forget that suction machine. I was thinking, "Where is my baby now? What are they going to be doing with his body? Where is my baby going to be put? Was it a boy or a girl?" I constantly dreamed about that suction machine - what did they do with my baby? Where is he now? How bad have I hurt him? What kind of person would he be if he had the chance to live?

All that was on my mind after the abortion. Every day got worse. I became self-destructive. I would look in the mirror right into my eyes, I saw a selfish ho, a selfish stupid ho, that's all I could think about myself for so long. I couldn't care for myself at all. Anything that would hurt me - I would go for it, and sex became one of those things. I spent two years trying to tell myself everything was under control: "Come on, it's only a blob of blood—right?"

I got pregnant again, by the same man. This time he totally abandoned me. He wouldn't want the blame for telling me to kill the baby again because we had past terrible discussions blaming each other about the first baby. He totally ignored me again; for almost three months, every time I would think about keeping this baby, he would say something like, "You already know you are on your own! I didn't ask you to get pregnant! You did it to yourself. I didn't ask you for no baby! Plus you going to be a single mother? Is that what you want?"

I remember looking at baby clothes at the store and looking all those pregnant women with their respective husbands, and other kids. All I could feel was, "I am such a ho! Here I am a second time pregnant, 21, all alone, and I have no freaking money, not even to buy popcorn." I tried to think of leaving him and trying to make a living on my own. I asked for help at the school I was going to, all I heard was, "It is very hard, honey, you have no idea what you putting yourself into." Nothing was done or said to help me; all I had was a selfish man, 20 years older than me, telling me I was on my own. He said, "I don't even wanna see your kid; I didn't ask for no babies. You got that, ----?"

The second abortion was performed. I remember waking up in a room, and when I looked straight ahead an abortion was being performed on some girl, right in front of the room I was in, and the curtain was open. I heard the noise of the suction machine, and I saw gloves with blood, and suddenly the nurse saw me staring at that thing and she shut the curtain quickly. Was like a lot of blood I had just seen there. The other woman waking up crying right by my side, crying "Where is my baby at, where is my baby" . . . and I looked at her and I started to cry myself. I could not talk for days.

At this point I had lost my own self a long time ago. All I could feel was hate for allowing this to happen to me. Eventually, of course, the rest of any relationship with my boyfriend went down the drain. He started to drink, do drugs; I started to yell, to hate everything about everything on him and everything that would involve his presence as well. We could not talk with each other for months, otherwise things would fly on the sky and the house would be broken in pieces. Having police at our doors was usual. Bloody noses, kicks, black eyes became our best friends. I had tried to get out of it all so many times, but I had no job, and when I would find one, I would lose it before three months had passed. I just couldn't care about anything. Everything that would bring me pain I would take it.

The third abortion was by some other man. I could not figure out who the father was. I had sex with three guys in a week. Two days, two different guys. Again, I was pregnant for three months and living with the same previous man. This time, at least I was positive this baby was not his—and that somewhat made me feel good. I would make him think it was his and I would hide it from him until he found out I was pregnant. I knew he would tell me to get rid of it. All I could do was have my baby for those three months. I thought, "At least you have three months to live, baby. You know you're going to die . . . just enjoy your three months, ok?

I would talk to the baby and buy baby clothes. The first place I would go in a store was the baby section. I was going insane. But for at least three months I had my baby. No one could take that away from me.

Eventually he found out and I went for my third abortion . . . just like a pro. After all, look at my background: three abortions. It's like, wow, isn't it impressive?

All I know is that since my third abortion, all I can feel and think of is nothing. They took away something special. I had conceived life. But again they had taken the only thing I had that was good and pure in my life.

I have killed my own babies. Do you know what I am saying? What's there left for a person to feel? Tell me.

Lexie's life spiraled out of control after the first abortion. The three months she savored with her baby was a short lived experience of "motherhood" until her pregnancy was discovered and destroyed. Clearly, her mental stability deteriorated quickly as the unrecognized trauma repeated itself - drilling the wound deeper into her psyche - and left her feeling helpless to exert any control over her life. Without intervention and healing, Lexie would have continued this very self-destructive pattern of traumatic reenactments.

Repeat Abortions as a Form of Masochism

In many ways, women really do experience their pregnancies and their unborn children as part of themselves. Often, if a woman has masochistic tendencies, abortion may be experienced as a form of self-punishment. When the woman destroys her pregnancy and developing child, she is in some way destroying an extension of herself. The loss and grief she experiences are things she feels she deserves as a punishment for "being bad." Conversely, by depriving herself of the potential pride, joy and sense of accomplishment that come with the birth of a child, she is punishing herself by forbidding the enjoyments of motherhood that she does not deserve. Such masochistic tendencies can be an important factor in many repeat abortions.

Maureen, who had three abortions, said:

I hate myself. I have nothing to be proud of. I have given up everything that means anything to me: school, my children. There is nothing left. I don't deserve anything.

Wendy had five abortions. She was vaguely aware of the fact that she used repeat abortions as a way of reenacting the shame she felt after her first abortion and to inflict punishment upon herself for "bad behavior."

I figured I had done something wicked with my first abortion. I felt like an evil person. After that I figured I didn't deserve to be a mother. I never did have children because I thought I was bad . . . not worthy to be a mother.

Melissa's self-punishing behavior was acted out not only through repeat abortions but also through self-injury and risk-taking.

I've had seven abortions. Each time I felt numb and dissociated . . . Iike a mental case zombie. Afterwards, I'd feel defeated and frustrated with myself. I have enormous self-disgust and hatred. I punish myself by cutting or banging my hands against a concrete wall until they are swollen and bruised purple. I like to hurt myself. There is a strange pleasure in it. Also, I take a lot of risks where I usually get hurt . . . kind of accident-prone, I guess.

When people like Melissa are afraid to express disturbing feelings outwardly, they may vent these emotions through self-destructive acts. Among the post-abortive women I have seen who engage in self-injury, one commonality is that they have never received permission to grieve the loss of their child. Many self-mutilators brand their anger and pain indelibly into their skin, creating tattoos of scar tissue that mimic their confusion and vexation. Multiple abortions are just another way to act out their pain.

How Many Is Too Many?

As mentioned earlier, nearly half of all women entering abortion clinics have had one or more previous abortions. Studies have shown that women who abort are highly likely to become pregnant again within one or two years. For example, one study of metropolitan teens who had abortions found that 27 percent were pregnant again within 12 months, and 75 percent were pregnant again within 24 months.3 More recently, in experimental trials with RU-486 abortions, 25 percent of women who had these chemical abortions were found to have become pregnant again within one year.4

When these rapid repeat pregnancies are the result of reenactment of trauma, it is quite likely that the subsequent pregnancy will end in another abortion. When these replacement pregnancies are a reflection of undoing (see chapter six), however, it is more likely that these later pregnancies will be carried to term - if the woman is able to resist the pressure to abort which may arise from others.

The problem of repeat abortions is very disturbing to abortion clinic counselors, who spend most of their time counseling women on how to avoid becoming pregnant again. While they embrace a woman's right to choose, many abortion counselors are deeply and rightly disturbed by the pattern of repeat abortions they are seeing. But they are uncertain what, if anything, they can do about it.

At a National Abortion Federation (NAF) meeting, for example, one counselor described a woman who had three second-trimester abortions in a period of less than 18 months. Significantly, each time she would come in for the abortion at 21 weeks, reenacting the late date of her first abortion. Another counselor complained of a patient who had seven abortions because she would deliberately become pregnant every time she "fell in love." Again, the counselor did not recognize how this woman was reenacting her first abortion. An abortion counselor from Connecticut was the closest to understanding this problem when she described a woman who came to their clinic for her 14th abortion, saying, "There was a feeling among some of the counselors that we should not continue to see this patient .... A feeling that we were in fact reinforcing this behavior."5

That is exactly what they are doing - reinforcing self-destructive behaviors. Unfortunately, since abortion providers are committed to performing abortions on request, they have abdicated their responsibility to understand the reasons why women may choose abortion and to intervene when these reasons are distorted, dysfunctional, or even part of a self-destructive cycle.

There is something quite troubling about "medical care" which responds to the patient without any questioning of the deeper things that may be going on within her. In modern medical practice, patients expect a health care professional to treat the whole person. For example, rather than simply continuing to perform repeated angioplasties on an obese patient suffering from heart disease, a doctor would recommend lifestyle changes to lessen the need for invasive medical procedures. But among abortion providers, a mindless submission to the mantra of "choice" has eviscerated any sense of obligation to ensure that abortion will actually help women rather than hurt them.

One of the counselors at the NAF discussion explained her ability to accept 14 abortions with the comment that perhaps the woman was making the decision "not to contracept. Isn't that valid?" Such an ideological commitment to "choice" without reflection or review of what is behind a choice and what will be its result is a form of blindness. Such counselors, both inside and outside our nation's abortion clinics, have simply blinded themselves to how abortion can be a self-destructive act. Until these counselors confront and overcome their own blindness, they will be unable to truly help women break free from this vicious, self-destructive cycle.


Endnotes

1 M. Tornbom et.al., "Repeat Abortion: A Comparative Study," Journal of Psychosomatic Obstetrics and Gynecology, 17:208-214 (1996); M. Bracken et.al.,"First and Repeat Abortions: A Study of Decision Making and Delay," Journal of Biosocial Science, 7:473-491 (1975). [Back]

2 M. Shepard and M. Bracken, "Contracephve Practice and Repeat Abortion: An Epiderniological Investigation," Journal of Biosocial Science, 11:289-302 (1979); Kuzma and Kissinger, "Patterns of Alcohol and Cigarette Use in Pregnancy," Neurobehavoral Tocicology and Tertology, 3:211-221 (1981). [Back]

3 M.A. Koenig and M Zelnik, "Repeat Pregnancies Among Metropolitan Area Teenages, 1971-1979," Family Planning Perspectives 14(6):341 (Nov.-Dec. 1982). See also M. Jacoby et. al., "Rapid Repeat Pregnancy and Experiences of Interpersonal Violence Among Low-lncome Adolescents," Am. Journal Preu Med. 16(4):318-321, 1999. [Back]

4 M.D. Creinin, "Conception rates after abortion with methotrexate and misoprostol," Int'l. Journal Gynaecol. Obstet. 65:183-188 (1999). [Back]

5 Diane M. Gianelli, "Abortion Providers Share Inner Conflicts," American Medical News, 3 (July 12, 1993). [Back]


Theresa Burke, Ph.D., is a psychotherapist and founder of Rachel's Vineyard, a post-abortion training and healing ministry that annually serves thousands of women and couples throughout North America and overseas.

David C. Reardon, Ph.D., is one of the nations's leading researchers and authors on post-abortion issues and the founding director of the Elliot Institute.


Book: Forbidden Grief
by Theresa Burke, Ph.D. with David C. Reardon, Ph.D.
Acorn Books, Springfield, Illinois

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