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The Catholic Church is strongly opposed to abortion, the deliberate destruction of innocent human life, because she recognizes “the sacred value of human life from its very beginning until its end,” and affirms “the right of every human being to have this primary good respected to the highest degree.”

That is why we supported the passage of a bill in the Florida legislature prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks gestation. The bill now awaits Gov. Ron DeSantis’ signature.

But our concern is not only for the child who loses his or her life, but for everyone involved in abortion, because evil does “more harm to those who practice [it] than to those who suffer from the injury.” We’re concerned about our society, families, relationships, and individuals who suffer from the trauma of abortion.

To the women who, in speaking out in opposition to the 15-week bill have shared their experiences of abortion, I want you to know that we are here for you. “The Church is aware of the many factors which may have influenced your decision, and she does not doubt that in many cases it was a painful and even shattering decision.” We are sorry for your loss, and we mourn with you.

Pregnancy loss is a difficult process exacerbated by a society that celebrates “the right to choose” as a source of empowerment, often resulting in disenfranchised grief that is further complicated when the bereaved was complicit in the decision to terminate the pregnancy.

The American Psychological Association’s Task Force on Mental Health and Abortion concluded in its 2008 report that “it is clear that some women do experience sadness, grief, and feelings of loss following termination of a pregnancy, and some experience clinically significant disorders, including depression and anxiety.”

The conclusion that abortion hurts women has been our experience in dealing with the more than 900 individuals to whom we’ve ministered through our post-abortion healing program called Project Rachel, the Church’s integrated approach to hope and healing after abortion. Men and women who have experienced abortion seek out Project Rachel, often stating that they have endured years of suffering in silence from their abortion before reaching out for help. Through referrals to mental health professionals, priests, and compassionate peer mentors, we’ve witnessed miraculous transformations that can only be described as going from that of a wilted flower to full bloom.

Project Rachel operates out of the Archdiocese of Miami Office of Respect Life, a ministry of the Catholic Church engaged in prayer, education, advocacy, and pastoral care, including pregnancy support services. One of our goals is not merely to end abortion in South Florida, but to render it unthinkable by creating a culture of life and love. Our hope is that one day, no one will be pressured or made to feel that abortion is their only or best option. Until then, we will continue extending the mercy of Jesus Christ to all those wounded by abortion.

If you or anyone you know is hurting after abortion, please know that hope and healing is possible: Contact Project Rachel at 1-888-456-4673. 

Rebecca Brady wrote this in response to an op-ed entitled “Florida’s anti-abortion law is a slap in the face to survivors like me,” which was published in the March 14, 2022 edition of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.

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