Recap of July 20, 2022 Abortion Healing Provider Webinar
The July 20, 2022 Support After Abortion Webinar for Abortion Healing Providers featured guests Angela Burrin of The Word Among Us and Elias & Audrianna Falero of Falero Studios on the topic of self-guided abortion healing.
Angela Burrin is Director of the Pregnancy Hope and Healing and Prison Ministries Outreach of The Word Among Us. Angela is the author of the Support After Abortion Keys to Hope and Healing resources, which are offered in both faith-based and not-faith/clinical versions for men and women. Before working at The Word Among Us, Angela spent 20 years in the education field as a teacher and principal.
Elias & Audrianna Falero of Falero Studios – Elias, who goes by E.J., is the Creative Director of Falero Studios, and his wife Audrianna is the Producer. Falero Studios is the videography and production group for Support After Abortion’s newest video series. Audrianna is also a lactation consultant and care coach who thrives in helping women to understand their bodies. Together they are parents of four children, who range from one to nine years old.
The Story Behind Keys to Hope and Healing
“The story begins in the women’s prison in Jessup, Maryland where I volunteer on Sundays,” started Angela.
One Sunday Angela was told that two female inmates were really suffering from their abortion experiences.
“My heart really went out to them,” Angela said, “because there was nothing that I could offer them. They were alone in their grief, and their shame, and their guilt.”
On the drive home Angela decided she needed to put together a resource to help women find healing after abortion. That was the start of what later became the Support After Abortion Keys to Hope and Healing faith version for women.
“I thought it would just stop there,” Angela said.
She distributed the booklet in the women’s prison, and also in the men’s prison through the chaplains. Then someone from Project Rachel in the Catholic Archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia reached out to ask if Angela could adapt it for non-prison populations – removing all the references to cells, sentences, chaplains, etc. After that was printed, Vicki Thorn from Project Rachel asked if Angela could create a men’s version. Then Spanish versions were requested. These were all faith-based.
Support After Abortion’s founder, Janine Marrone, read an article in the Word Among Us magazine about Luncheons4Life bringing together men and women interested in pro-life ministries. She met with Jeff Smith, President of Word Among Us. They began speaking about Angela’s healing after abortion booklet.
“Janine spoke about the need for resources for those who are not ready for faith-based messaging,” Angela remembered, “because our faith-based versions are very scripturally-based. God is mentioned on every page.”
“At that time, I said I don’t think it can be done,” Angela said, “Then Janine commissioned some amazing research. She found out that something like nine out of ten people don’t know where to go for healing. And something like 85% don’t want a faith-based approach. That just struck my heart. It struck all of us. With that, during Covid, I worked with my friend, Karin [Barbito, Support After Abortion Special Projects Manager] to create a not-faith based version, which we called Keys to Hope and Healing. We then created a Men’s not-faith based version [with the help of the Support After Abortion Men’s Task Force] and Spanish not-faith versions for men and women.”
“The latest thing, which I find so incredibly exciting, is that it’s now videos!” Angela exclaimed, “I would never have thought a little inspiration in a prison [would become what] it is now.”
“We’re so inspired by your journey. It’s that first step that you took that allowed us to continue on. Thank you for being open,” Lisa Rowe, CEO of Support After Abortion said, “that the way you saw the resource serving people initially could be modified, could be adapted, could be connected, which invites more people into the [healing] journey, and we’re so grateful that you could see that.”
Lisa invited Karin to share a bit about their dream to create a multi-faceted approach to the abortion healing journey.
Karin spoke about the success of the Unraveled Roots program, which consists of a book, facilitator’s guide, training videos for facilitators, and client-facing videos.
“The client-facing videos are really important,” Karin said, “because they speak directly to the client about things they may be experiencing as they’re going through the book.”
Karin explained that the videographer who collaborated with Support After Abortion to produce the Unraveled Roots videos now focuses only on short videos, so a new videographer needed to be found. Support After Abortion explored a few different agencies and ultimately selected Falero Studios, which is located in Greenville, South Carolina.
Karin’s excitement and pride in this project were apparent as she spoke enthusiastically and with huge smiles. “These guys are so professional,” Karin raved, “They made it so easy for me to keep up with what they were doing. They were so well organized. I can’t wait to show you just the little clips of one of the videos. Audrianna was our narrator, so she had the biggest role. Then we hired six actresses to do the testimonies for each chapter. It was a big production and a big deal. It’s done, and it’s on our website. I’m so excited! It was a big project, and I’m very proud of it.”
“I hope you all will go to our learning platform and check out what’s in there,” Karin encouraged the attendees, “Our website is really becoming developed with a lot of content. And it’s only going to continue to grow.”
The People Behind the Camera
“How did this project and scripts start to stir in your heart?” Lisa asked E.J., “And what was something really big that came out of that?”
“Well, obviously it’s a sensitive topic,” E.J. said, “so when I saw it I thought, ‘Okay, this is something I’ve never filmed before.’ It turns out that I actually have personal experience on two aspects. It was very close and personal to my heart and my wife’s heart. So, it was an honor to be a part of this. I really wanted to be able to film this because I knew that I would take care of it. I feel that I did it to the best of my ability, and I’m really proud of the outcome and what we’ve been able to produce and deliver to all the potential viewers.”
Lisa asked Audrianna what it was like for her when she read and absorbed the scripts.
“At first I was taken aback [by the idea of the project],” Audrianna said, “I thought, ‘Whoa, this is a big deal.’ Like E.J. said, it’s a sensitive topic. I was really in shock. I thought I would have a part as one of the testimonies, but E.J. told me they wanted me as the narrator. It was a big moment of can I really do this. This is an amazing opportunity, of what I’ve personally been through, and to be able to help others. It’s been amazing.”
“Thank you for saying yes,” Lisa said and asked E.J. to share more about his personal experience.
“I recently found out, maybe a couple of years ago, that my mother had an abortion with my father,” E.J. said, “I would have had a sibling four years older than me, but now I’m the oldest of five. It was a very emotional meeting when she told me and my brothers. So, when I saw this topic, I definitely wanted to be a part of it. Now my mother has gone through her own healing.”
“Before I found out about my mother, a few years into our marriage, I learned my wife had an abortion experience,” E.J. said, “I’ll let her take it from here.”
“I do have my own personal experience,” Audrianna share, “When I was in my teenage years, I made the decision to have an abortion. I didn’t find that healing we’re talking about. You don’t really know what’s available for you. You just experience it all alone.”
“I remember thinking to myself, ‘This is something I’m going to take to my grave,’” Audrianna continued, “Like, I’m not telling anybody about this. Then when I got married, I was still dealing with emotions, and the root issue was from my abortion.”
Audrianna said, “We discussed it together, and I felt I really needed to get some healing. found a local group and was able to experience healing, and that really helped. I don’t think I’d be here today if I hadn’t experienced that healing to be able to talk about it and share with others.”
“Like he said, we found out about his mother a couple years ago, and I recommended to her the healing that I went through,” Audrianna said, “She said she’d been to healing and thought she was healed. Then she took the local course and said there was nothing else like it. She felt like she was able to love her grandchildren more. She realized she hadn’t experienced true healing before. It’s definitely important to really experience true healing.”
Lisa thanked E.J. and Audrianna for sharing their stories and commented that “there’s so much purpose in our pain, and you guys are seeing that purpose illuminated right before you. Thank you so much for saying yes.”
Karin interjected, “This was Divine Providence: finding this studio that could film our videos and then finding out the connection they had to the content – was just not something we could have done on our own.”
Karin reflected on E.J.’s mother saying she was all good and had healed, “We hear that so often. Healing from abortion is different from any other kind of recovery or healing we can do because it’s so personal and there’s so much shame behind it. Thanks for sharing that so eloquently.”
In comparing filming Keys to Hope and Healing to the experience she had locally, Audrianna said, “It was different because I wasn’t going through it as someone who needed healing at the time, but I feel like I was able to provide that emotion for how it feels before, during, and after an abortion because I had already experienced those things.”
“Of course, being local is amazing. You can actually go and meet someone in person, which I think is very important. The books are great, and I love the books. But, sometimes it’s hard to motivate yourself to self-care and read what you need to read,” Audrianna said, “So, the videos are a wonderful idea, especially with Covid happening, and people not wanting to be together. They don’t have to. They can watch these videos and experience healing in their very own homes, which is amazing.”
“What we know to be true,” said Lisa, “is that so many programs are similar in the way they present content. A lot of times it’s very faith-based, a lot of scripture, and you have to meet in person. Keys to Hope and Healing swung to the other side of that spectrum, really trying to meet the needs of women and men who want a non-faith based approach, so we really wanted to pay attention to that when we produced [the client-facing videos for] Keys to Hope and Healing with The Word Among Us and Angela.”
“We also wanted to be very cognizant that we need to pivot in this world,” Lisa said, as she spoke about how Support After Abortion offered virtual groups in 2021 that had participants from across the country and from other countries.
“Not everyone is fortunate to have a group right in their community,” Lisa said, “but sometimes they’re not willing to go to that group right there in their community.” Virtual groups can be a way to meet their needs and desire for anonymity or remote access.
*NEW* Keys to Hope and Healing Online Healing Resources
Karin walked attendees through accessing Support After Abortion’s new online resources for Keys to Hope and Healing.
The Provider Training Center offers training and many resources for abortion healing providers. After creating a user ID and password and logging in, you can access all the Training Center content.
When you click on Keys to Hope and Healing Begin Course, you can view or download the Facilitator’s Guide. It coordinates with both the men’s and women’s not-faith/clinical Keys to Hope and Healing programs.
Karin walked attendees through the course content for each key (chapter), which is found immediately after the Facilitator’s Guide in the training center.
She then played clips from the newly released client-facing videos. Karin played a clip showing Audrianna narrating and a clip of a client testimony. She pointed out the text boxes within the videos that “pull out words that we really want to emphasize.” Providers can use these videos with their clients individually or within their Keys to Hope and Healing support groups.
Through the Support After Abortion Client Healing Center, clients can access the Keys to Hope and Healing women’s not-faith English booklet and watch the client-facing videos, providing a multi-faceted, self-guided, beginning-level abortion healing program.
Karin encouraged providers to watch all the new videos. She said, “the testimonies are just so relevant. That testimony [that I played] is something we hear quite often. It’s real.”
“Abortion healing is not a one-size-fits-all,” Karin said, “and our consumer research shows that. So, we’re trying to provide for clients what they’re asking for. Keys to Hope and Healing is great for that person who maybe isn’t ready to start healing, says that she’s fine – or he’s fine.
Lisa said, “We also have pregnancy centers that use Keys to Hope and Healing for a woman who is deciding whether or not to have an abortion.
“It could be for an abortion-minded client,” Karin explained, “so she can find out on her own, self-guided, going through the booklet, what it might be like for her if she does have an abortion.”
“[This not-faith version] is great for people who don’t want to start with God,” Karin said, “It’s an entry point. We know healing lasts a lifetime. It’s not a one-and-done. This is just the beginning.”
“I could see someone doing it by themselves and journaling it,” Karin said. When Karin shared that Support After Abortion is considering creating a fillable journal to accompany the booklets, there were audible gasps of excitement.
“We know that when you put thoughts down on paper, it makes it real,
Karin said, “When we keep it in our head, it’s not as impactful as when we can see it in print on paper.”
Considering the many client situations for which Keys to Hope and Healing would be beneficial, Karin chuckled and said, “I would give one to everyone I came across! It’s really simple, it’s relevant, it meets the masses. It can be used one-on-one, in a group, virtually, in person, however you want to use it.”
Lisa echoed Karin, “This is not the only healing tool. Support After Abortion isn’t endorsing just one way of healing. We’re saying there’s a variety of healing. What Keys to Hope and Healing offers is that entry-level conversation with someone. There’s been a void in our industry of a tool like this, and that’s what Keys to Hope and Healing is. There’s a purpose behind its very thin nature, the eighth grade reading level – it’s entry level.”
“There may be some who say “You can’t heal with this book,’ Lisa said, “that’s not what it’s ever been meant to be. It’s meant to start a conversation because sometimes we can’t start at 8, we have to start at .5 for some people, if we’re looking at a spectrum. We’ve seen a huge void in [the abortion healing movement] for that beginning level connection.
Future Program Development
Karin shared, “Right now, we’re in the process of writing the script for the Facilitator Training, which E.J. and Audrianna and Falero Studios will be videotaping for us. It’s going to be different. Audrianna has agreed to be the narrator again. Once the scripts are done, we’ll videotape them, then we’ll have a complete package: the booklets, the Facilitator Guide, the client-facing videos, the facilitator training videos, quizzes after each video. And hopefully in 2023, BrightCourse will pick them up for any agencies that subscribe to what they have. And they’ll be available to thousands of pregnancy centers around the country. E.J. said they’re hoping to complete the Facilitator training videos by the end of the year.
Keys to Hope and Healing Resources
Keys to Hope and Healing resources currently include:
– Men’s Faith and Not-Faith/clinical, each in English and Spanish
– Women’s Faith and Not-Faith/clinical, each in English and Spanish
- All are available for free download individually or as a bundle of all eight.
- Printed booklets are also available for purchase individually or as a bundle or in bulk.
Facilitator’s Guide – English – accompanies men’s and women’s not-faith / clinical versions. A Spanish version is in the works.
Client Facing Videos
Q & A
Q. For Angela: Is the Prison Ministry version with the prison ministry language still available?
A. Angela: No, it isn’t. The language of the whole booklet is the same, whether it was the original prison version or what it is now. All I really did was take out any references to cells, sentences, and chaplains. But, I would be very happy to connect with anyone who would like to use this in a prison setting. You can email me at email@example.com
Q. For Angela: Have you ever used it in a prison? Is it still happening? What does it look like?
A. Angela: I have not personally used it. But, I have sent so many copies of both versions to chaplains, and I’ve seen them on the table when I go to Sunday services at the prison. It’s up to the chaplains whether or not they’d like to hold a support group. But, I think most likely, it’s individual men and women who pick it up and work through it themselves.
Q. Lisa: That was the intention behind the thin, magazine feel booklet [that people would see it as an easy read and pick it up.]
A. How do you suggest we get the word out in the community that there is after abortion healing available?
Q. Karin: We have to start the conversation about abortion healing. We have to go to our churches, and our community social service agencies, and whomever. We have coined the phrase Be an Ambassador for Abortion Healing, which is your opportunity, in your community, to let people know where they can go for help. Align yourself with a local pregnancy center that’s perhaps offering abortion healing. We have to start talking about it.
A. Lisa: That means making meetings with your pastors, your social service organizations, your local therapists, your gynecologist, anyone that could be entering in and having those conversations.
Q. Do you suggest conducting multiple teaching courses on the materials from the faith-based and non-faith based? Do you suggest on the intake form to ask this question? (That is, should we offer a variety – faith and non-faith, and how do you ask when you’re starting the conversation with a client?)
A. Karin – We ask clients, Do you prefer something that’s Bible-forward or religious in nature, or would you prefer to start with something that’s more clinical and secular in nature? We let them decide. This is about what they want, not what we may want. We promote everything. We know that people gravitate toward whatever it is that they gravitate toward, and it’s their decision to make. And now that we have options on both sides, we can provide that for them. So, we don’t shy away from questions like that.
Q. When giving this wonderful booklet out to women in pregnancy centers, do they say I don’t really want to abort, but I must. Then I will use your information to heal.?
A. Lisa – We get asked this a lot, basically By leading with a Support After Abortion message with someone who hasn’t made that abortion decision, does that push them toward choosing an abortion. And I would say, absolutely not. From my experience, it simply offers them an opportunity to heal sooner, if they do choose that course of action, so they don’t have to feel alone in that decision.
A. Karin – We have abortion-minded clients call the After Abortion Line frequently, really feeling like having an abortion is the only option they have. I can relate to that because that’s how I felt when I had an abortion when I was eighteen. The only thing I considered was abortion. I wasn’t pro-life or pro-choice, I was pro-me. We hear it all the time – people coming to us conflicted about making the decision, but feeling like they have to. Some people don’t really want to talk about what it might be like afterwards. So, giving them a booklet might be good. I’m very honest and non-judgmental when I tell them what they can expect after abortion. Oftentimes they’ll go through with the abortion, and then come back to us and say Everything you said was right. And now we have an opportunity to connect them to healing. Now we have that open door to be able to say You’ve come back to the right place. We can help you. And then we guide them on that journey of healing.
A. Karin – When a woman who is pregnant comes in who is unsure of whether or not she wants to continue that pregnancy, I am looking at her – the woman who is facing the unplanned pregnancy. That’s who my concern is for – that woman and what her life is going to be like if she decides to abort. I can only share my experience with her, and tell her what we’ve learned from the thousands of people that we’ve worked with. And if she decides to abort, my goal is to make sure that she feels comfortable enough and trusts us enough to be able to come back to us for healing. It’s her decision to make. We don’t, at Support After Abortion, focus on the baby when we’re interacting with that woman who’s in a crisis situation. Now, are we an agency that believes in God and is pro-life, absolutely, but our focus is on the woman when we’re dealing with that abortion-minded client. My focus is on her and how this decision is going to impact her life, and to plant that seed so she’ll come back to us if she’s struggling afterwards.
A. Lisa – Often times it’s nice to pull this away from the abortion conversation. I see this a lot [in my clinical practice] with my clients who have suicidal ideation. If they’re struggling with depression in a session with me, and we contract for safety, and we know that this is a real issue for them and that being in isolation could be a real struggle for them, I give them a series of support systems they can lean on should they feel they are in a really tough situation. So, by giving Keys to Hope and Healing as a resource for a woman and man who might be considering abortion, it’s not saying Go have an abortion, here’s your healing tool, it’s saying Here’s a resource should you make this decision. You are not alone. We will be here with you on this journey.
Q. We use Unraveled Roots first, then Keys to Hope and Healing, and then we move them to a further healing program. Is that your recommendation for use?
A. Lisa – We’ve done it that way. We’ve done it flip-flopped – Keys to Hope and Healing followed by Unraveled Roots. It’s simply the opportunity to follow along with that client, offering them the support services that they need.
What we like about Unraveled Roots as a way to enter in is that it kind of addresses all the things – all the stuff from the past, all the possible reasons that client might be sitting in front of you. And then Keys to Hope and Healing can get more focused on the abortion experiences. Then further [resources] can follow because we know that healing is a journey. So, either way. We’ve had success with both. I would just say it’s based on your client – where they want to start.
Some of our clients want to start with Unraveled Roots because they say they’re unhappy in their relationship, or their relationship didn’t work out as they hoped. For others, they say their abortion experience is right in front of them, [so Keys to Hope and Healing would be appropriate first]. We need to listen to our clients and their needs.
Q. I’ve had men shy away from healing material written by women. I would love to see resources written by men for men. Were there men involved in this project?
A. Karin – For the men’s versions, we developed a Men’s Task Force, which is led by Nathan Misirian. Greg Mayo, who’s here today, is on the task force. So, I’m going to defer to him to explain what that process was like, where you sourced the testimonies, and why the change in language was so important.
Greg Mayo is a member of the Support After Abortion Men’s Task Force, author of Almost Daddy, and creator of a 12-Step abortion healing program for men.
A. Greg: The Men’s Task Force was a brilliant idea. What it did was take a bunch of guys that are involved in the after abortion healing movement and put their ideas together on how to reach more men and how to help more men.
When Keys to Hope and Healing [not-faith/clinical version] for men came up, what we really wanted to focus on [was the language]- especially me, someone who has an abortion story in my past. When I started recovery, all I found were materials written by women. I say all the time that I’ve been married for 24 years, and the one thing I’ve learned is I don’t know how women think, and they don’t know how I talk.
So we sat down, and we went over this material. We paid really strong attention to the verbiage and to the way things are phrased. If you walk up to a guy, for example, and you say Bob, share with me how you feel right now, Bob’s going to turn away, or he’s going to laugh, or he’s going to punch you in the arm or whatever. So, we wanted to pay attention to that. We wanted to pay attention to how men process their emotions, which oftentimes is not talking directly about their emotions. I think it was super important that it was a collaborative effort because all six of us [on the Men’s Task Force] have different experiences and come from different backgrounds. I think by going over it a few times, we were able to make it more effective for a male reader.
Q. What part of this is now available on BrightCourse?
A. Karin – Keys to Hope and Healing is not yet available on BrightCourse. We need to create the Facilitator Training Videos and quizzes in order to have it meet their requirements. However, it is available on our website free of charge. Everything that we’ve completed so far is on our website as of right now.
Q. I have used this book in groups, and if all participants are okay with a faith discussion, I have added my personal testimony about forgiveness and about a next steps study. There’s no need to fear that it’s non-faith based.
A. Lisa – Angela, you had a very strong conviction that God had to be on every page, then you were a convert, so to speak, in saying let’s not do it that way, the research shows otherwise. What has helped to shape that for you? How did you come to terms with that?
A. Angela – After my initial, No, it can’t be done, I think it was the statistics [that changed my mind]. I think every woman and every man deserves to have a tool to facilitate their healing. And we realized that there was a whole group of people that we just weren’t reaching. So, that was my inner conviction, my conversion. In the clinical/not-faith version, I had a quote from Mother Teresa, but I realized that even that could turn someone off. We need to meet people where they are. I can’t remember who said this, You go through their door first, so that they will come through your door. We want to open every door to allow every woman, every man to receive some beginning level of healing and know they’re not alone.
A. Lisa – When we first launched Support After Abortion in 2020, in the midst of the Covid pandemic, we were able to collect a lot of demographics. Our first [virtual] conference was attended by over 8,000 people. The majority of the attendees – the demographic we attracted as an abortion healing organization – was 60-year old white women. That’s incredible shocking to me because the Audrianna’s of the world – the many young men and women we see – were part of the statistic [of 9 out of 10 people] not knowing where to go for help, but also not being served in a way that met them right where they were in this place and space in their life. So many of the men and women have been hurt by other things. Their abortion experiences are the symptom of something way deeper that has clouded everything. So, Angela, when you speak about entering their door and then finding their way through our door, it’s such a gift to me that you would be open to that. Otherwise, there’s no conversation happening. We’re not serving a bulk of our population. And with abortion shifting and growing to more medication abortions, people are in a more isolated state than we’ve ever been. So, it’s really important that the mindset you carry, Angela, and the conversion you had, that we all embody and share that with the world.
Q. Catholics with abortions are more often married mothers. (Lisa commented, “I haven’t seen that statistic to know that.”) We need to offer resources that meet a busy parent in their lives.
A. Lisa – Angela, talk to me about what it might be like for a Catholic versus a Protestant versus a non-believer from your perspective.
Angela – In the Keys to Hope and Healing booklets, we’re asking the woman, whatever her denomination may be, to really acknowledge where she is at. And then we’re encouraging her to talk about where she is at. I think, if she can, from a non-[religious] place begin to share openly, I think she would gain comfort and consolation. And, if she feels the need, she can then go and talk with a priest for the sacraments, or a protestant may want to talk to their pastor to receive a blessing. Keys to Hope and Healing opens it up, provides a base of healing to go further forward. As we’ve said, it’s a stepping stone. Someone may come back to you and say I’ve done the [non-faith/clinical] Keys to Hope and Healing, but I’d like something more God-based, and you can give the other booklet.
A. Post-Webinar Commentary –
According to Guttmacher Institute’s 2014 abortion demographics1:
Of women experiencing abortion:
- 60% are 20-29 years old
- 14% are married
- 59% have 1+ prior births
- 24% self-identified as Catholic, 30% as protestant
According to American Magazine2, using Guttmacher’s 2002 data, one out of every 16 women procuring an abortion is married and Catholic. The author states, “This data suggests that the face of a Catholic woman choosing abortion is … a stretched-thin married mother with children at home.
A. Post-Webinar Commentary
Karin – Keys to Hope and Healing is perfect for any busy person. It’s an easy read. It’s self-guided. The new videos are available to help them as they go through each key (chapter). They can do it by themselves on their own time.
Connecting with Support After Abortion Resources
- Watch this webinar
- Register for next Abortion Healing Provider Webinar in August!
- Check out the Provider Training Center
- Visit the Client Healing Center
- Register for our in-person OR livestreamed full day workshop How to Diversify Your Abortion Healing Program
We especially want to know about openings you have in virtual abortion healing groups and necessary details, so that we can refer clients to your groups.
After Abortion Line
If you, or someone you know, is struggling with an abortion experience, we’re here for you. We’d like to support you in a private, confidential way. You can reach to us via our no-cost After Abortion Line. A member of our Support Team, who has training and experience, will meet you with compassion and love anonymity and walk you through this journey. We don’t want you to do it alone.
Call or text: After Abortion Line 844.289.HOPE (4673)
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