Catholic bishops to expand post-abortion counseling

BALTIMORE Wed Nov 16, 2011 2:27pm EST

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BALTIMORE (Reuters) - U.S. Catholic bishops plan to expand efforts to provide professional and spiritual counseling to women who have had abortions and to their families.

Officials announced the plan on Tuesday at a meeting of 300 bishops gathered for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, saying they would extend Project Rachel, which provides counseling to those affected by abortion.

The move came a day after the bishops said religious freedom had been whittled away by same-sex marriage, abortion and healthcare legislation, and vowed to ramp up efforts to protect it.

Officials at the annual meeting said two new pilot projects based in Boston and Washington would train priests in building more Project Rachel ministries around the country.

Project Rachel supporters say women who have had abortions are at greater risk of psychological problems. But a study in 2008 by the American Psychological Association "found no evidence that a single abortion harms a woman's mental health."

Project Rachel "isn't about making abortion illegal," said Deirdre McQuade, a spokeswoman for the conference. "We'll never get to the point where we can turn this around if we are an abortion-wounded nation."

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lesliepalma wrote:
This story cites the 2008 study by the American Phsychological Society that has been the subject of some controversy since it was published. A much more recent study by Bowling Green University researcher Priscilla Coleman, published Sept. 1 in the British Journal of Psychiatry, shows that women who have abortions face dramatically higher odds of suffering mental health problems, turn to substance abuse in higher numbers and resort to suicide more often than women who have not had abortions.

“Overall,” Dr. Coleman wrote in her conclusion, “the results revealed that women who had undergone an abortion experienced an 81% increased risk of mental health problems, and nearly 10% of the incidence of mental health problems was shown to be directly
attributable to abortion. The strongest effects were observed when women who had had an abortion were compared with women who had carried to term and when the outcomes measured related to substance use and suicidal behavior.”

At Priests for Life, we know from our work with Rachel’s Vineyard and the Silent No More Awareness Campaign that women and men often suffer deep regret and remorse following an abortion and are unable to just “snap out of it.”

Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries (RVM) features a weekend healing retreat for post abortion healing. The program is found in 33 countries and its manual has been translated into 14 languages. In addition RVM, drawing from its extensive experience of 15 years in international post-abortion ministry, offers the latest in training and resources to those ministering to anyone wounded by abortion. At the heart of the mission of RVM is being at the service to those churches, faith communities and ministries called to bring the healing of Christ to those wounded by abortion.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and Pastoral Director of Rachel’s Vineyard, said this week that he is grateful for the strong affirmation on the part of the bishops, that nobody who has committed abortion should be afraid to approach God and the Church for reconciliation and healing.

Visit www.rachelsvineyard.org for information and to find a retreat.

Nov 17, 2011 2:37pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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