As originally posted on LifeNews on April 15, 2014:
Understandably, a lot of people have questions about abortion survivors. How we survive, why we survive, what the impact is for us (emotionally, mentally, physically and spiritually), why the realities of survivors is not well-known or spoken about, even by survivors, themselves.
Today I want answer these common questions for you, based on my experiences both personally as a survivor and professionally, working with survivors through The Abortion Survivors Network:
1) How does someone survive an abortion? Does the abortionist just leave a step or two out to save the baby’s life?
Although I would hope that maybe somewhere, somehow, this might be the case, that an abortionist actually works to save a child, my experiences do not reflect this. I have not heard from any survivor that the abortionist or those involved in the abortion had any other intent but to end their life.
From other survivors to medical professionals, and even the words of my own biological family, surviving is nothing short of a miracle.
2) Why does a child survive an abortion? Do the medical professionals intervene right away to provide medical care? What happens to children after they survive?
Again, every life and circumstance of a survivor is different. Some survivors are late-term abortion survivors, like me, whose survival is not determined until when they are delivered, while others survive abortions in the first trimester, and their continued life is known for months after the attempted abortion.
Sadly, we learn of and read the stories far too often of those who survive abortions in our world today, and are then left to die (like Christ Hospital in Oak Lawn Hospital as Jill Stanek witnessed, the Voice of John film that was inspired by little John, who was left to die) or even have their lives taken from them (like the Gosnell case).
Although, in my case, the demand was initially made for me to be left to die, the professionalism and heart of nursing staff led to medical care being provided to me. Most of the survivors that I encounter have no information about why they were saved, who was responsible for it, the timeframe under which it happened or even where at the hospital or clinic all of these circumstances occurred.
While I am not surprised that the liberal media and abortion industry has, in the past, decried the lack of information survivors have about these circumstances, I want to first of all remind everyone that the very presence of survivors and the circumstances surrounding our survival have long been kept a secret from us, our families, and the greater world.
Answers are definitely hard to find in a world that seeks to hide the truth of abortion and our lives, and I want to encourage other survivors to not be discouraged by the lack of details like this that they currently have. Despite all of my years of searching for my medical records and various answers about my survival, God has continued to unfold the truth in His way and in His time, and I trust He will do likewise in other’s lives.
3) What are the long-term consequences of surviving an abortion?
Although I spent years of my life first thinking I must be alone as a survivor, then still later years not knowing of any other survivors besides myself who have suffered no long-term physical consequences as a result of their survival, I now know otherwise by both counts.
Since its inception in 2012, the Abortion Survivors Network (ASN) has had contact with 177 survivors, either directly, or through their family or friend who is reaching out for them. Although not all survivors report their physical health condition to ASN, we do request that information for educational purposes. Of those survivors who report this information, the vast majority have not suffered long-term health complications as a result of their survival. Once again, however, every circumstance is different, and there are a number of survivors who have suffered significant and even debilitating health conditions after surviving an abortion.
Knowing that we are most likely to hear from only those survivors who have the health and abilities to contact us, I recognize that even this information we have is limited and may not be representative of survivors as a whole.
Although long-term physical consequences, as reported, do not appear to be as common among survivors as one might think, the emotional, mental and spiritual consequences are much more common and commonalities exist across age, gender, race, type of abortion survived, religious background, and whether the survivor was parented by their birthparent(s) who attempted the abortion, extended biological family, or adoptive parents. By and large survivors experience, per their self-report:
-Gratitude for being alive but struggles with wondering why they survived, ie, searching for meaning in their lives
-Wanting to make a difference by sharing their story, but struggling with the fear of sharing this great secret outside of their family
-Feeling relieved and encouraged to find that other survivors exist and are sharing their stories but feeling unsure if, when, and how they may share outside of the survivors that they encounter through ASN
-Struggling with issues of self-esteem and self-worth, feeling ‘different’ than everyone else (although the majority who contact ASN report being at a place in their life now where they have overcome this)
-Despite struggling with feelings of anger and resentment at those responsible for the abortion, most survivors report currently feeling love towards their birth family, and forgiving them for what they’ve done, even when that love and basic acceptance has not been reciprocated by their birth family
-Most survivors, as you would imagine, have a strong faith, which has anchored and transformed them, and has provided the foundation for them finding meaning, worth, healing and offering love and forgiveness
I share all of this to answer many of the common questions that I know exist about survivors, but also because I hope that you use this information to educate others. Far too often, I have heard the complaint that not enough survivors speak out and share their stories, and I’ve experienced pro-lifers not understanding the circumstances and experiences that lead survivors to not share or get involved in the fight for life in the manner that I have.
In fact, I once had a pro-life radio personality call survivors ‘flakes’ for not sharing their stories. Please, before you judge a survivor for not speaking up or out, remember this article and the inherent struggles that we face. It’s not often that a survivor won’t share of their survival openly, but more likely, that they can’t, due to physical, emotional, mental, spiritual, or even social struggles. Some days, it is still hard for even me.
If you are a survivor or know a survivor and would like to be in contact with the Abortion Survivors Network, please visit: www.theabortionsurvivors.com.