Abuse, Violence, and Abortion: What can we do?

64 percent feel pressured- Online for LifeWhile abortion advocates spin the tale of “women’s rights” and “reproductive justice,” they have to knowingly ignore the truth to advance their agenda. More often than not, abortion decisions are not made freely or willingly; they are made out of fear and desperation. Despite years of slogans and rallies, legal abortion has not freed women. Abortion has opened the door for the exploitation and abuse of women.

According to a 2004 study by Rue et al., 64% of women who had abortions reported that they had felt pressured or coerced by others. In support of this data, you can find dozens of stories in the document “Forced Abortion in America” that detail how abortion has been used to manipulate and further harm women. For these women, life for their children was never an option. Abortion was even used to mask the abuse and violence. Here are just a few stories of women who have been exploited by legal abortion:

  •  In Arizona, a 13-year-old girl was sexually abused by her 23-year-old foster brother. He took her for an abortion, but Planned Parenthood did not report the abuse until he brought her back for a 2nd abortion after abusing her for another 6 months.
  • In Baltimore, the father of three teenaged girls repeatedly raped the girls over the course of 9 years and covered up the rapes with at least 10 abortions.
  • In Greensboro, Tanika Fox was shot in the head by her boyfriend. He admitted to killing her because she refused to have an abortion and he didn’t want to pay child support.

What can we do?

“Being pro-life” is more than saving the child. It is also about protecting and loving the mother. As activists and educators, we need to be well prepared to handle a variety of situations that we may face on our college campuses.

Unfortunately, safety is often overlooked by college students. We think that we are invincible! However, situations of abuse and harm are all too common. As college pro-life activists, we must be mindful of a variety of resources that can help women. Knowledge of such resources may come in handy for our peers who may be struggling not only with an unexpected pregnancy but also with an abusive relationship. In addition to your pregnancy help resources, your group should consider adding local resources to help women in abusive situations.

Here are two tools that may help a friend get out of an abusive relationship or protect them from harmful situations:

  • ASPIRE News: Dr. Phil’s wife released a brilliant new IOS & Android app for people in an abusive relationship. Aspire News looks like a basic news app. However, when you go to the “Help” section of the app, it leads you to domestic violence resources. This app also has a “Go Button” which alerts local authorities and emergency contacts if you’re in a compromising situation. The informational website has an “emergency exit” at the bottom. if you click it or press ESC on your keyboard, it will immediately close the page, but open a blank google tab and the weather channel in another.
  • Kitestring: Kitestring is a safecall service that may be helpful if you are going on a trip, out to a club, or to a place where you may not feel entirely comfortable (whether that be due to the setting or the people). This app checks up to make sure that you are safe after your event. If you do not return or respond to the check in, the app will alert your emergency contacts. You can even set up a “duress message” for emergency situations. (This may also be a great tool for parents!)

These two tools and other similar resources could save lives.  Sharing these tools may help a friend in need– or even you– escape a dangerous situation.  Please share these tools with your student group, post them as resources on your group Facebook or website, and advertise them on campus.

You Are Strong


This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.


This article refers to the following sources:

Reaching out to Post-Abortive Peers

Love is Greater- Online for LifeOn a college campus, it is an unfortunate reality that many of your peers have experiences with abortion. Research shows  that 44% of all abortions are performed on college aged women (ages 19 to 24); this is nearly 500,000 college-aged women each year. With so many of our peers recovering from abortion, we need to be ready to face difficult conversations about abortion and to help our friends find healing and hope.

You may not know what to say. You may feel scared to discuss this. However, here are some suggestions for your interactions with a friend who has experienced abortion.

(Remember: The aftermath of abortion is not limited to the mother. There are family members and friends who are deeply affected by this decision and who may also be grieving. Whether or not they participated in the decision-making process, these men and women may also need healing and support. )

 Ask Permission

Before asking questions or offering advice, ask permission. Abortion is a very emotional and personal experience, and some peers may not be ready to talk about their experiences. You should always ask before assuming that they are ready to talk or that they even want suggestions for support. You may start with something simple like “Do you want to talk about it?” Asking permission shows that you respect that person’s space and privacy, but it allows for the opportunity to open this conversation. If your friend is not ready to talk about it, assure them that you will always be there for them to listen, to support, and to help them find resources (if desired). If they don’t want to talk with you, you may also suggest that they talk to someone else (e.g. a family member, friend, priest/pastor, counselor, etc.).


Be patient, and listen. Let your friend share their story. Let them talk for as long or as short as they need. You may be eager to jump in with resources. Wait. Your friend is sharing a very personal experience. They are trusting you with their pain, their memories, their healing, etc. Listen to them. There will be time to suggest resources and support, but you need to build trust and learn their needs before getting to this point.

Don’t Assume

You may think that you know everything about your friend, and in truth, you know very little. Hold back from making assumptions about the influences in their decisions, the people involved, and the aftermath. Ask questions when needed to help you better understand, but don’t expect answers. Your friend may not be ready to discuss some issues. Be gentle with your questions, and think before you ask.

Be compassionate

When talking to your peer, remember compassion. Sometimes people feel frustration when faced with a friend who has had an abortion. They cannot understand why the friend would have chosen an abortion or even ended up in that situation.  While these feelings may occur, remember that love is always the best response. It is easy to stand on one’s principles when you’re not the one faced with the life-altering consequences of pregnancy. It is easy to say, “I would never have an abortion,” until faced with a pregnancy that creates a crisis situation in your life.  Always be prepared to show the compassion and avoid being judgmental. The last thing that this person needs is judgment or anger. They need love.


Many men and women struggle to forgive themselves, and they may also reject the forgiveness of others. They may have chosen an abortion knowing it was wrong, and because of this, they believe that they are unforgivable.Or they may blame themselves for situations that they couldn’t control or overcome.As a friend, you may be that needed voice of forgiveness. Help them in their healing, and remind them that there is hope after abortion. You may also recommend healing programs, such as Rachel’s Vineyard, or even professional counseling. Through these programs, a person can come to forgive themselves and to heal. 

improve your outreach

Serving post-abortive men and women can be a challenging task. To better prepare yourself for this ministry, you can find specialized trainings. Training is vital in order to provide help and encouragement to those individuals without causing more pain. We encourage you to continue to learn better ways to engage in this ministry, and we hope that you will take take to educate yourselves on after abortion grief.

  • Learn more about reaching out to peers who have experienced abortion. Check out our Post-Abortive Outreach page.
  • Learn more about After Abortion Grief and the specific symptoms which are unique to this trauma.

After Abortion Support & Counseling

Are you hurting from abortion? Or do you have a friend who may need additional support? Please check out these organizations that offer after abortion support and counseling. 


You are not Alone- Pregnant on Campus


This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. If you have questions or concerns, please contact Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org.

Cosmo & the A Words

Cosmo March 2014 coverFashion, sex advice, dating tips, and celebrity gossip, Cosmopolitan’s glossy pages dictate what’s hot and what’s not to an audience searching for advice, pleasure, and distraction. As one of the most popular women’s magazines, Cosmopolitan reaches millions of women with each publication and internet post.

In reviewing a variety of Cosmo articles, it is true that the magazine will occasionally provide a quick post on pregnancy-related tips and comments. However, Cosmo’s audience may look no farther than the cover girl’s edited curves for avid promotion of fabricated beauty. (If you’re waiting for stretch marks and hips, don’t hold your breath!)

Looking beyond the superficial, we discovered a few interesting pieces that reveal Cosmo’s relationship with the A words (i.e. abortion and adoption). While we won’t be ripping these magazines from your hands, we do ask that you take a moment to consider the message that Cosmo sends our lady friends, particularly the moms and birth moms among us.  Then, we will discuss how you can combat pregnancy stigma in the media.

What is Cosmo telling women about abortion and adoptionLet’s find out!

“How Our Abortion Changed Our Relationship”

Cosmo- Abortion- 2In a January 2014 article entitled “How Our Abortion Changed Our Relationship,” Liz Welch shares the stories of 4 couples who chose abortion. She highlights statements from Cecile Richards, President Planned Parenthood and #1 cheerleader for abortion “rights.” Richards comments on a generational shift which has resulted in men becoming more involved in the abortion process. “These men care deeply about the women getting an abortion,” Richards states.

Here’s a quick recap of the couples’ stories:

  • Cindy, 23, shared the story of her 2nd abortion. At the time, she felt that the pregnancy interrupted her plans and that it would present a financial burden.  “I had all sorts of plans, and becoming a mother that young was not one of them.
  • Kristina, 24, talked about the confusion, anger, and emotional turmoil that surrounded her pregnancy and her abortion. I had this idea that once I ended the pregnancy, I’d be fine. But I’m not the same person I was, and I never will be. I felt conflicted…and then angry at myself for feeling that way… I would not do it again.”
  • Brittany, 23, shared the strains in her relationship. “Brandon wanted to come, but I told him not to. Instead, he sent a check for $500… I was so pissed. I thought, I have to get this thing done, and he gets to sleep in? … Later, when I told Brandon I had been 10 weeks along, he Googled what that looked like and the image shocked him. I did not want to see it… I got mad at him a lot that summer. He was going out while I was in bed, watching movies, healing — not physically but emotionally.
  • Emily, 32, said, “It was the humane thing… and it devastated us.” Emily and her husband, Dave, talked openly about the abortion of their preborn son, Aaron Jack. “I thought since I do this for a living that I was going to be fine. But then two days later my milk came in, and I completely lost it.”

With each story, the author allowed for the couples to share openly and honestly, without adding any comments or critique. It certainly took great courage for these couples to discuss these heartbreaking moments with a national audience. Unfortunately, what we read is a great lack of support from the men to seek out other resources and even to be strong for these women when they were going through such turmoil.

Yes, we agree that men should become more involved in women’s pregnancies and in the discussion about options. Yes, we agree that we should hear more of these personal stories about abortion. However, Cosmo has failed their female audience.

Cosmo gave the “okay” for men to hand over a check and wipe their hands of this situation. Sure, the men added a comment or two about their experience, but what good does this serve the women involved and the female audience? Shouldn’t men be offering more than conversation– like compassion and support?

In addition to trivializing the significance of this decision (i.e. that abortion kills a child), this article fails to provide a proactive solution to the problem. Instead of encouraging their audience to seek out resources and a full range of options and support, the article ends abruptly with a suggestion to call Exhale, an organization that supports abortion. The article fails to provide information for resources that could assist other women in similar situations so as to help them make a fully informed decision.

These stories, while difficult, noted common reasons for why women make the desperate and devastating decision to abort their child. Unfortunately, each reason could have been addressed with the right resources. Rather than wait for women to make such a emotionally devastating (and life ending) decision, it would have been appropriate to provide a proactive answer to their female audience by including information for seeking out resources.

Hope is not lost


Cosmo- Adoption- 2After reading several other Cosmo articles promoting abortion, one would think that all hope is lost for this media empire.  (See here, here, and here.) Nevertheless, a recent article featured the other rarely seen A word– adoption. 

In Liz Welch’s March 20th article, “I Placed My Daughter for Adoption, But I Didn’t Give Her Up,” Jessa Speight shares the confusion, anger, sadness, and eventual peace that she found in adoption. At the end of the article, Jessa emphasizes the empowering choices of the birth moms to whom she now ministers.  “These women leave feeling less alone and more empowered. They realize their lives are not over and that their choice, however painful, was always made out of love for that child.”

With this article, we are grateful that the author took the opportunity to highlight a birthmom and her experience with adoption. This effort acknowledges the hundreds of women who pursue adoption as a loving choice to better benefit their child.

Cosmo: Here’s Your challenge

Let’s be honest. We don’t expect a magazine like Cosmo to ditch the pro-abortion posts and join the chorus of “Abolish abortion!” In a perfect world, it would be wonderful if they opened their eyes to the emotional and physical harms of abortion. For now, our expectations are simpler. We hope that in future posts the magazine will promote a greater support for pregnant women by promoting resources and support. We hope that they will move away from such articles as “How to Handle Your Best Friend Getting Pregnant” (which emphasizes the selfish “betrayal” of friendship caused by pregnancy) and instead promote more life affirming articles like “I Placed My Daughter for Adoption, But I Didn’t Give Her Up.

What Can I Do?

The media has a powerful influence over our society, and it can certainly effect a woman’s morale, decisions, and perceptions of motherhood and pregnancy options. We encourage you to speak out against the stigma against pregnancy and to promote life affirming support and resources. Offer your stories. Share resources. Empower women to make an informed choice for parenting or adoption. Here’s what you can do:

  • Get on social media. On Facebook and Twitter, post pregnancy help information, such as the phone number and services of a local pregnancy resource center. Post life affirming messages, articles, and images. Like and follow groups that offer support, assistance, and encouragement for moms. If you are more tech savvy, create a YouTube channel to offer viewers a peek into the mom life or to promote education about pregnancy, parenting, and available resources.
  • Join social media campaigns. Remember the campaign #WhatWomenNeed? Cecile Richards and her pro-abortion cronies tried to promote abortion, and pro-lifers responded with pregnancy support, resources, and true compassion. Stay alert for social media campaigns like this, and join in the action!
  • Write a blog. If you are a mom, put your fingers to the keyboard! Share your stories, tips, and encouragement. You can also fight against stigma by writing blog posts that counter other blogs to point out misconceptions and assumptions.
  • Get active in a pro-life groupIf you are a college student, join your pro-life group, and encourage them to take part in the Pregnant on Campus Initiative. With more people committed to the same goals, you can make great changes happen!




This post was contributed by Beth O’Malley, Pregnant on Campus Coordinator. For comments and questions, please email Beth at bomalley@studentsforlife.org