This week is a very big week for the pro-life community: it’s life week! Georgetown’s right to life club kicked it off today with a demonstration in the front of campus on Copley lawn. From 7 am to 4 pm there were 3300 pink and blue flags fluttering in the spring wind. It’s a number. It’s a fact. There were no graphic images, no loud protests, just flags and a white board reading:
These 3300 flags represent the number of children lost to abortion in the US daily.
(cited from the Washington Post and the Guttmacher Institute)
There was, of course, some push back against the demonstration today. Many felt that the flags were disrespectful and shaming women. Some were brought to tears. Why would a mere statistic trigger such emotional responses?
Because abortion affects the mental health of women, but there isn’t much talk about it.
Abortions are seen as an option that will help a woman move on with her life, and move pass a crisis to better opportunities. But for many, it is something they carry with them – a secret they want to keep hidden. That means that all the emotions that a woman can feel after an abortion are bottled up inside and swept under the rug because it’s a sensitive topic.
Researchers found that after an abortion some women suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – when stress “overwhelms a person’s normal defense mechanism resulting in intense fear, feelings of helplessness or [being] trapped, [and] loss of control.” The lowest rate found for this disorder is 1.5 % which is approximately 600,000 cases (Abortion Risks: 2011, 3). Planned Parenthood warns on their website that patients might, “feel anger, regret, guilt, or sadness for a little while” and even refers a “non-judgmental” hotline to those who need therapy after their abortions (“Health Topics” 7).
The demonstration today was powerful, without graphic gimmicks, in its simple presentation of an undeniable fact. It not only raises awareness to how often abortions occur in our own country, but also to the hurt people feel regarding the issue. That is a red flag. If a peaceful demonstration triggers such emotional responses then it should be – and needs to be – talked about. The emotion is valid. The pain is valid. The trigger is valid. The discussion should be just as valid.
If you, or someone you love, is having emotional issues – be it abortion related or from any trigger – talking it out is not a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of strength. That’s why dialogue is so important – it’s not only a path to better understanding, but also a source of support. Georgetown University has a highly trained staff that provides counseling services. To learn more about CAPS follow this link:
Gabriella Muñoz, COL’18
Coming up for life week!
Tuesday: Planned Parenthood Exhibit
Wednesday: Juno Screening
Thursday: “Why I’m Pro-Life” Student Panel
Friday: Bake Sale & Photo Campaign
Saturday: Diaper Drive