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Women in crisis pregnancies need support, not abortion

A series of stories recently published in Ms. Magazine tells the cases of various young women and girls who had undergone abortion, and the circumstances surrounding their decisions. The report sought to assert that abortion is “critical” for young women to live a normal life.

However, in publishing the article, Ms. Magazine has actually highlighted that what these women and many others like them experiencing unplanned or crisis pregnancies need is support and assistance, be that financially or emotionally. 

Mimi shared her feelings and the grief she experienced after having an abortion, saying  “I really wish I had the support I needed to get through what was a very dark time.” 

Mimi decided upon getting an abortion because she and her partner ‘were not ready’ to raise a child. Mimi states that she “had no idea that the grief would be so huge”, and that no one “offered much support” for her during this very difficult time. 

Mimi would have benefited greatly from assistance and mental health support during her pregnancy. There are many pro-life organisations that are centred around helping pregnant women in need that assist and support women in the same situation Mimi was in, such organisations include Let Them Live, a pro-life support service dedicated to pregnant women in need of financial and emotional support or guidance.

Let Them Live was established in 2019 when founders Nathan and Emily financially assisted a woman who was homeless and considering abortion, as she believed it may have been the only option. Needless to say, the woman kept her baby after receiving the help she needed. Since then, Nathan and Emily have made it their mission to help these mothers choose life for their babies.

Similarly here in Ireland, non profit organisation Gianna Care is dedicated to providing free and confidential support for women facing an unplanned pregnancy, women who are considering abortion or for grieving, post-abortive women. The organisation offers support services such as ultrasounds, counselling, doctor referrals, and essential materials and supplies for babies. Gianna Care offers support for women both during and after pregnancy, free of charge. This is an ideal support system for pregnant women who may feel overwhelmed and need assistance provided for both themselves and their baby.

Another common reason as to why women may feel that they have no other option than to have an abortion is if their baby is diagnosed with a potentially life limiting birth defect. Austin Dennard shared the story of finding out about her unborn baby’s diagnosis of anencephaly. Anencephaly is a condition that occurs when the brain and the skull of the infant don’t develop fully in the uterus. Austin states that “immediately” she knew she needed to have an abortion, but perhaps no-one explained to her that this was not her only option. Austin also showed concern about the inevitable psychological effects such a pregnancy would have on a mother, saying “my mental and emotional health was more and more at risk”. 

There are support services, such as Perinatal Hospice, available to women going through tough pregnancies where their baby is given a diagnosis that indicates they will live a short life either before or after birth. Perinatal Hospice is a site founded in 2006 by Amy Kuebelbeck that offers a wide range of resources and information on perinatal care for mothers of babies with life-limiting conditions. It’s obvious that Austin would have benefited hugely from these services - but she makes no mention of them. One would hope that the availability of this support was made known to her. Sadly, however, this is not immediately obvious from reading her story.

The Perinatal Hospice site is similar to Every Life Counts, a wonderful support network here in Ireland created for parents of children diagnosed with a terminal condition. Every Life Counts works to provide a beneficial resource for bereaving parents in such cases by offering a space for them to share their stories and feelings with others who have undergone similar experiences. The campaign provides many services to those in need of support, including group counselling sessions. 

It is worth noting that the articles in Ms. Magazine seemingly promote abortion as a quick fix, and it is almost phrased as if abortion is less harmful than birthing and keeping the baby. However, we can see in Ireland this is not the case. In 2021, the Abortion Rights Campaign released a study titled ‘Too Many Barriers’ after conducting research by gathering the stories of various women’s experience with abortion after the 2018 referendum. The abortion stories included in this study share the harrowing experiences these women endured during their abortions. 

One woman shared: 

“The only thing that is positive is that we can access it, but the support and information, along with no proper pain relief, the entire thing was traumatising”. 

Another participant in the study stated that she was “shocked at how horrific the actual experience of the termination was”, and that the “excruciating pain” she endured lasted for several hours without being given the correct pain relief.

As abortion becomes more common, these experiences for women will become more common too. That’s a heartbreaking reality that anyone who really cares for mothers and babies must work to change. 


Photo credit: VGstockstudio / Shutterstock

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