The Main Thing

Staying on CourseI have a very challenging job. I attend an average of 12 meetings each week; recruit and train volunteers; raise funds; develop marketing strategies; write curriculum; respond to texts and emails each day; prepare for and give speeches; oversee curriculum translation in multiple languages; and deal with administrative minutia: opening mail, making bank deposits, filling out government forms, writing reports and newsletters. I could go on.  I love my job, and I am very grateful for the thousands hours donated by dedicated volunteers, but you get the point.

Above all else, my job at AbAnon is to keep the “main thing the main thing”— launching new AbAnon Chapters and equipping our Facilitators with the tools they need to be effective. Occasionally all that I have to do causes me to lose sight of that purpose, then an email from a hurting individual gets me back in focus. Here are a couple of emails I received lately:

“Good morning. I had seen this page recommend to someone on Facebook that was in the same situation as myself with dealing with a lot of pain, embarrassment, hate towards myself, and not knowing where to turn after my abortion. I am interested in more information.”
******  (Yuma, Arizona)

“Hello, I came across your website and I was wondering if you have any groups in [my] area?  …  I’m a 42 year old woman who got pregnant at 17 and had an abortion.  I never participated in counseling after my abortion and it was hidden/swept under the rug by my family.  Some of my family didn’t know about it until I was in my 30’s.
My step-mom was highly persuasive and adamant I have the abortion for many reasons, although my boyfriend, Dad and I were not comfortable with the choice.  I still think about it often.  I struggled the most after having my three children.  The guilt was overwhelming at times.
I grew up in the church and I have a deep love for Jesus, which caused me to struggle with my action, even more.  I’ve felt ashamed, confused and lost many, many times. I would love to connect with a group in this area.  If you have any information, I would greatly appreciate it.
****** (Seattle, WA)

This world is full of hurting people and AbAnon is here to offer healing, forgiveness, and freedom.  Thank you for joining us in this work,
Perry Underwood – Director

Abanon for Men

When I was in Europe recently, I met with quite a few people working within organizations involved in addiction recovery, family counseling and post-abortion healing. As I explained how AbAnon Women’s Curriculum, The Power of Your Story, could be a powerful tool in helping these professionals serve their communities, I was quite surprised at how often they asked, “How soon will you have material for post-abortive men?”

I am pleased to announce the publication of the first of two AbAnon books written for men. Unlike other material written on the topic of past abortions, this book deals with a variety of subjects that men struggle with, abortion being one of them. A second book for men, similar to the AbAnon Women’s Curriculum, will soon follow.

The_Big_GameThis first book for men is titled, The Big Game: Things Men Should Talk About But Rarely Do.  It is written FOR MEN ONLY.  Copies can be obtained on Amazon.com or by clicking on this link: The Big Game.  The Big Game presents post-abortion and several other men’s issues in a unique and entertaining way. A benefit to any man who reads it, it is a must read for any man who has been involved in an abortion.

I encourage you (men) to order a copy for yourselves or, if you’re a woman, order copies for the important men in your life. All profits from the sales of The Big Game go directly to the operational budget of AbAnon.

Volunteers are Stepping Up

VolunteersApproximately thirty people have been performing various volunteer services with AbAnon during our first two years, donating hundreds of hours! These volunteers include our Board of Directors, curriculum writers and translators, Group Facilitators, Facilitator Trainers and many more. As AbAnon continues to grow it is apparent that more volunteers are needed and that the volunteer activity needs more oversight and structure. On June 24th ten people attended the very first AbAnon Volunteer Orientation where Kathy Olsen was introduced as our Volunteer Coordinator.

Kathy presented a list of volunteer positions:

  • Prayer Team Leader
  • Monthly Newsletter Writer
  • Event Coordinator
  • Survey Coordinator
  • Social Media Coordinator/Editor
  • Post Office and Banking
  • Translation Coordinator
  • New Chapter Coordinator
  • Video Production
  • Liaison to Church Community
  • Liaison to the Medical Community
  • Liaison to the Mental Health Community
  • Liaison to Women Prison Ministries
  • Liaison to Pregnancy Resource Centers
  • Liaison to Women’s Shelters/Assistance Programs

Thank you to all who have stepped up to serve. There are plenty of opportunities as many of these positions remain open!  Please join us to pray that we find the right people to volunteer in these ways.
Perry Underwood, Director

AbAnon in Europe

Ukraine-Training-web

 

My recent trip to Ukraine greatly surpassed all hopes and expectations. I had the most gracious hosts, Ruslan and Sharyn Borodin, YWAM Missionaries based in Ternopil. They requested that I visit Ukraine with the purpose of establishing AbAnon Chapters there. Before I arrived they called dozens of people who they thought might be interested in learning about AbAnon. They also set up an introductory meeting and a half-day of training for anyone interested in starting an AbAnon Chapter or group. Before I left on this trip I told the Borodins that if we had three or four women attend our training I would be elated.

To make a long story short, nineteen women attended the training and combined with the informational meeting the prior evening, a total of twenty-six Ukrainian women attended the two AbAnon sessions. An AbAnon Ukrainian Leadership Team is in place and the work required for AbAnon to get up and running is well under way. AbAnon is desperately needed in this nation where an estimated 75% of women have had an abortion; the average number of abortions per woman is six.

From the Ukraine, I traveled to England and attended a conference near London where I had the opportunity to share AbAnon with missionaries from sixteen European nations. As a result of these connections AbAnon now has a solid foothold in Europe and I’m excited to see what lies ahead.

Thank you all for your prayers and the financial support to make this happen.

Perry Underwood – Director

You NEVER Know

book-glassesSomething happened recently that points out how everything we do can change a life. Our material has been, or is being translated into several languages. A few months ago a friend introduced me to an acquaintance who he thought might be willing to translate for us. His description of this potential translator was glowing to say the least. He described her as a very committed Christian who is a pillar in her church. When I met this woman she was indeed kind, gracious and reminded me a bit of Mother Teresa. She agreed to do the translation.

Recently I received an email from the translator thanking me profusely for allowing her to translate AbAnon’s women’s material. But also within her email were other statements that made me wonder if this dear saint might have been involved in an abortion herself. I’ve learned that no matter who they are, an abortion could be hidden in anyone’s past. I responded to thank her for her work, and asked if she had been involved in an abortion. She replied right away and told me that when she was younger she had two abortions. She also asked that I call her so she could tell me her story.

There is much more to her story than I can tell in this short newsletter, but the bottom line is that this precious saint thought she had dealt with her abortion many years ago. However, through the process of translating our AbAnon material she found that the pain and guilt were still very raw, and she still needed healing. I encouraged her to attend an AbAnon Group, and referred her to one that was just about to start which she has joined.

This is why we do what we do!  Your support and prayers are appreciated.

NEWS AND UPDATES

In April AbAnon Director, Perry Underwood will be traveling to Europe to begin the process of launching AbAnon Chapters there. If you would like to partner with us in the cost of this trip we invite you to do so by going to our website AbAnon.org.

Rejoicing when someone has been freed from the emotional trauma of abortion is a great reason to celebrate.  AbAnon will be hosting our Spring Celebration on April 30th.  Please mark your calendar and plan on joining us.  Invitations will be sent out later this year.

Exciting Things for 2016

January calendar page

I  love the beginning of a new year. It is a time to reflect on the blessings of the previous year and to assess where improvements can be made.  As Executive Director, I often feel pulled in many directions, but I prayerfully endeavor to use my time and the AbAnon resources in the most efficient manner.

Under the direction and encouragement of our Board of Directors, the bulk of my time and AbAnon resources will be focused on four tasks in 2016:

  • Preparing the AbAnon material for Men
  • Establishing as many AbAnon Chapters as possible
  • Translating the AbAnon Women’s material into as many languages as possible
  • Adding staff to our team

Each of these tasks has its own plan and strategy, but one observation about them all is that none can be accomplished without the assistance of those who believe in what we are doing— people like you.

I plan to address each of these tasks in the coming months and will provide you with very simple ways you can help— doing things that could greatly impact the lives of hundreds or even thousands of people. For example, we are looking for someone to help us translate our women’s material into Spanish. If you or someone you know is fluent in Spanish, I would love to meet with you or this person to determine their level of interest and ability.  The more people we can find to help with this task the easier it will be for all involved.

More ideas to follow in the coming months.
Perry Underwood – Director

 NEWS AND UPDATES

January 16th will be our next Facilitator Training and it will be held in Spokane, WA.  If you have interest in attending this training send an email to joinus@abanon.org  for details.  Training is free for those attending thanks to the generosity of our financial partners.

Rejoicing when someone has been freed from the emotional trauma of abortion is a great reason to celebrate.  AbAnon will be hosting our Spring Celebration on April 30th.  Please mark your calendar and plan on joining us.  Invitations will be sent out later this year.

A Special Thank-You

thank-you-1

Thanksgiving is now behind us and we are just entering the Christmas & Holiday Season. I love this season for a variety of reasons: spending time with family, the food that seems to show up only at this time of year, time to reflect on the my many blessings, more time to write, and time to plan and layout priorities and goals for the coming year.

Two of the things I’m especially thankful for are the AbAnon Board of Directors and a group of seven men that I call the “AbAnon Insiders”.

The AbAnon Board is comprised of two men and seven women (one of whom has just stepped away from our Board to devote more time to family matters). This Board has donated literally hundreds of hours to get this organization up and running. — Thank you Board Members.

The “AbAnon Insiders” are a group of seven men that have no formal decision making authority, but they freely offer AbAnon their expertise and counsel. These very busy men are committed to meet individually with me each month to encourage me and to challenge me with whatever organizational or personal matters they believe need to be put on the table. — Thank you Insiders.

Even though the Board members and Insiders are normal, hard-working, middle-class Americans, most have given sacrificially to support AbAnon because they believe in what we are doing. — We are truly blessed by such dedicated people.

Perry Underwood – Director

News & Updates

AbAnon Groups are winding down for the year and will getting back into full swing after the Christmas and Holiday Season have passed. If you or someone you know have been involved in an abortion and never participated in a program to help process the event, we promise that attending an AbAnon Group will be “liberating” and life changing in ways you never thought possible.

Contact us to get on our lists for upcoming Groups at: joinus@abanon.org.

January 16th will be our next Facilitator Training and it will be held in Spokane, WA. If you have interest in attending this training send an email to joinus@abanon.org for details. Are training is offered free to those attending thanks to the generosity of our financial partners.

Contact

Correspondence or checks can be mailed to:
Abortion Anonymous
PO Box 11664
Spokane Valley, WA 99211

Or email correspondence to: joinus@abanon.org

All Around the World?

Developing Opportunities…

It is still early in the process, but opportunities are developing for AbAnon to launch in several nations. In anticipation of these developments, our materials are being translated into Russian and Spanish. We also have possibilities of translations into Chinese, German and Hindi (India). Additionally, we are looking for translators for any language spoken in a country where abortion is readily available— especially European nations. Contact us if you, or someone you know would be willing to help.

final-smallI am very excited to introduce our new logo. This is the collaborative effort of a handful of people, but special thanks go to our graphic designer, Kim Gardell. Look closely at the broken heart. I can’t imagine another logo and tag-line that would so profoundly capture the mission of AbAnon.

 

Mother Teresa said, “If you can’t feed 100 people, start by feeding one.” Like many organizations, we face so many awesome opportunities with limited resources. I know I say it often, but I can’t say “thank you” enough to those who partner with us financially. We rejoice in the $10/month gifts as much (well, almost as much) as the $200/month gifts. Please consider partnering with us. “How-to” information is below.

Perry Underwood – Executive Director

 

News & Updates

Another vision sharing event to be held next May is in the planning stages. We are looking for a few businesses or organizations to sponsor the event. Please contact us if you’re interested:
joinus@abanon.org.

A total of nine participants attended our second Facilitator Training on September 12th. In the future, two of them will be conducting the Facilitator training. A special thanks to Professional Leadership Coach, Rob Fischer, for conducting our first two trainings.

 

Contact

Correspondence or checks can be mailed to:
Abortion Anonymous
PO Box 11664
Spokane Valley, WA 99211

Or email correspondence to: joinus@abanon.org

To donate online: abanon.org/donate

PASS- He Never Thought to Ask

CounselingSlide2A few months ago I was sitting in the office of a Pastor of a fairly large church in the Spokane, WA area. He told me that over the years he has counseled hundreds of people, helping them deal with every sort of destructive behavior imaginable: drugs, alcohol, pornography, anger, depression, gambling, promiscuity, infidelity, and the list goes on and on. He went on to say that it had NEVER occurred to him to ask if the individual had been involved in an abortion. After reading some of the AbAnon material, he started asking the abortion question to every counseling participant. He said that he was “blown away” by how often people said that they indeed were involved in an abortion at some point in their lives. It totally changed the way he approached counseling.

Most people involved in an abortion experience what is known as Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) to some degree. You don’t need to be a professional counselor or a pastor to benefit from knowing about PASS. You could be a business owner with an employee, or an individual with a friend or family member who you want to help with an unexplainable behavioral issue. I don’t have the space to go into much detail in this newsletter but here is a link to a short piece about PASS taken directly from the AbAnon curriculum that I think you will find quite interesting: PASS Info. Please check it out…I think you’ll be glad you did.

What Exactly Is Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)

POST ABORTIVE STRESS SYNDROME

Joan Appleton was the head nurse at Commonwealth [Abortion]
Clinic. Joan was a very active member in the National Organization
for Women (NOW). As a registered nurse, she felt she had a wonderful
opportunity to practice and voice her beliefs in pro-choice.

She was convinced that pro-choice was truly the best thing for women
and began to work more and more with organizations like Planned
Parenthood, NARAL and NAF. As a nurse she was issuing birth control
pills to women after abortions and comments, “This is where I
learned the real business, the real work of the abortion industry.”
Joan explains that abortion clinic workers handed out low-dose
birth control pills with a high failure rate. They also neglected to tell
women that taking a birth control pill while on antibiotics interferes
with the action of the pill, making it useless. In this way, when their
birth control failed, they were able to get more women to come in
for abortions.

Joan explains, “I often saw women who were injured emotionally
by abortion. However, my supervisor told me, ‘If she’s having a
problem after her abortion, it’s because she was having a problem
before her abortion.’”

But it kept bothering Joan while she was head nurse at the clinic.
“Why was it such an emotional trauma for a woman and such a difficult
decision, if it was a natural thing to do? If it was right, why was
it so difficult? I had to ask myself that all the time. I counseled these
women so well, they were so sure of their decision. So why were they
coming back now, months and years later, psychological wrecks?”

Joan continues to explain that in the pro-choice movement and abortion
industry, “We deny that there is any post-abortion syndrome. Yet
it is real, and they do come back, and I couldn’t deny their presence,
and their numbers were increasing, and I kept asking, Why?”

Joan soon realized that she wasn’t helping women at all. Joan writes:
If I was right, why are they suffering? What have we done?
We created a monster, and now we don’t know what to do
with it. We created a monster so that we could now be pawns
to the abortion industry, those of us women who really, really
still believe in women’s rights. Those of us who still believe
in care and are pro-woman, who still believe that we
are worth something, we are intelligent, we aren’t doormats,
we aren’t something to be used, and we used ourselves. We
abused ourselves.

We refer to these very real psychological effects as Post Abortion
Stress Syndrome (or PASS). Proponents of abortion often deny the
existence of PASS. This brings additional pressure to bear on women
who are feeling the negative effects of abortion, but are told that
their feelings are not real or necessary.

However, Susanne Babbel, PhD, MFT, a psychologist specializing in
trauma and depression has the following to say: “No matter your
philosophical, religious, or political views on abortion, the fact of the
matter is, the actual experience can affect women not only on a personal
level but can potentially have psychological repercussions.”

Dr. Babbel goes on to explain:
Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) is the name that has
been given to the psychological aftereffects of abortion,
based on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). It is
important to note that this is not a term that has been
accepted by the American Psychiatric Association or the
American Psychological Association. Nevertheless, any event
that causes trauma can indeed result in PTSD, and abortion
is no exception.

PASS
How widespread is Post Abortion Stress Syndrome and the trauma
on women (and men) brought on by abortion?
Nearly everyone agrees that feelings of loss and depression follow at
some point after an abortion. Post Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS)
describes more severe and extensive trauma that may include:

  • Self-harm, strong suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts
  • Increase in dangerous and/or unhealthy activities
    (alcohol/drug abuse, anorexia/bulimia, compulsive
    over-eating, cutting, casual and indifferent sex and
    other inappropriate risk-taking behaviors)
  • Depression that is stronger than just ‘a little sadness or
    the blues’
  • Inability to function normally in her job or in school
  • Inability to take care of or relate to her existing children
    or function normally in her other relationships (i.e. with
    a spouse, partner, other family members or friends)
  • Inability to performInability to function normally in her job or in school normal self-care activities£A desire to immediately get pregnant and ‘replace’ the
    baby that was aborted.

In addition to the above, PASS sometimes does not appear until months or even many years after an abortion and may continue for months and even years. Other short- and long-term PASS symptoms may include:

  • Emotions, and dealing with emotional issues
  • Anxiety and panic disorder
  • Difficulty sleeping and sleeping problems
  • Disturbing dreams and/or nightmares
  • Problems with phobias, or increase in severity of
    existing phobias
  • Repeated unplanned pregnancies with additional
    abortions
  • Repeated unplanned pregnancies carried to term
  • “Atonement marriage,” where the woman marries the
    partner from the abortion, to help justify the abortion
  • Distress at the sight of or socializing with other
    pregnant women, other people’s babies and children
  • Co-dependence and inability to make decisions easily
  • Problems with severe and disproportionate anger
  • Distress and problems with later pregnancy
  • Added emotional issues and problems when dealing
    with future infertility or other physical complications
    resulting from the abortion
  • Unhealthy obsession with excelling at work or school
    to justify the abortion
  • Obsessive Pro-life or Pro-choice activism
  • A lesbian lifestyle

 

The above article was taken from The Power of Your Story, the women’s curriculum of Abortion Anonymous, Inc.