Jay Nies, editor for the Catholic Missiourian discuss how self-reflection, or examen of conscience, can increase our capacity for compassion. An increase of compassion, not only within ourselves, but also within our communities can lead more men and women suffering from the pain, shame and regret after abortion to seek hope and healing.

Jay begins by stating, “there are alot of people carrying the burden and self-imposed stigma of abortion.” Through consumer based market research, conducted by Support After Abortion, the research shows that over 22 million men and women, in the United States, are adversely impacted after abortion. Of the 22 million men and women impacted by abortion, 90 percent do not know where to go for help. The impact of abortion includes, but is not limited to, feelings of anger, shame, regret and depression. If emotions, such as these, are not healed they can cause a man or woman to engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as codependency, addiction, etc. Liz and Jay both agree it is crucial for the community to come together and provide compassion and unconditional love so that instead of anger and shame after abortion, women and men impacted by abortion experience hope, healing, forgiveness and restoration.

Although it is crucial for communities to come together to deliver compassion, the journey to inspire this change must start with the individual. Jay’s journey to exemplify and practice more compassion started with self-reflection. As a Catholic, he applies “examen of conscious” to reflect and grow spiritually. Examen of conscious is a daily devotional exercise involving reflection on and moral evaluation of one’s thoughts and conduct. During this devotional exercise, Jay asked himself, “Have I been a part of driving men and women to an abortion decision?” He realized that there were times when instead of compassion, he cast the first stone of judgment and instead of offering resources to abortion-minded men and women he delivered messages of condemnation. In an effort to inspire more compassion on the hearts of those within our communities, and to help those hurting from abortion, compassion must increase. Jay states, “The empathy and love we give to our friends and family, needs to extend to those we do not know as well.”Jay’s desire for more compassion continued when he recently joined over 200 people to watch the live play Viable in Jefferson City, MO, as part of the Midwest March for Life. He recalls, instantly being drawn into the story of Viable through the relatable and real presence of the actors. He states, “after the audience is drawn in by the powerful acting, they move into discovery or revelation as they (the audience) can see that abortion is a larger experience that impacts more than just the unborn child.” The audience comes to understand that there is more than one loss the day of an abortion. Jay states, “the repercussions of a decision can go from one generation to the next.

This generational impact can be seen during the play, as “Judy” the main character, struggles to maintain a healthy relationship with her husband and child. The shame of her abortion and her fear of judgment leads “Judy” to unknowingly cause pain to her family. Abortion has been legal for 48 years in the Unites States, causing five generations of women and men to be impacted by abortion. In order to build stronger communities we have to have more compassion for those hurting within our own. Compassion can be the catalyst that drives men and women to seek healing after abortion. Compassion can also extend further and help parents, siblings, friends and children begin their healing journey as well.

Stronger families build strong communities.

If you or someone you know has experienced abortion, you’re not alone. Support After Abortion meets you where you are, with compassion and without judgement. We care for men and women who experience loss, regret, anger, depression and suicidal thoughts from abortion. If you’re ready to start your healing journey, we are here to help you confidentiality and anonymously. Call or text Support After Abortion at 1-844-289-HOPE, or visit our website for a complete list of virtual groups at https://www.supportafterabortion.com/virtual-support-groups.com.