March 6, 2020

Pastoral Ministries / Brie Anne Varick

Pro-Life is Pro-Woman

“Pro-Life is Pro-Woman” is one of my favorite phrases that has been displayed on signs at the annual March for Life in Washington. This phrase sums up what I have always known, and I believe more and more people are having the courage to say out loud: “Women deserve better than abortion!”

There’s a misconception perpetrated by Planned Parenthood that post-abortive women do not regret their abortions.

Following is the testimony of one courageous woman, Christine Harrington, a member of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Indianapolis and a core team member of Project Rachel Ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis:

One week after having an abortion, women in a 2008­–10 study by the Guttmacher Institute “felt more regret, sadness and anger about the pregnancy than about the abortion, and felt more relief and happiness about the abortion than about the pregnancy.”

Had I been interviewed, I would have also denied that the abortions had a negative impact on me. Why? Because I’m not unusual as a post-abortive woman. I could not face what I had done. It would take me decades to have the strength to confront the sorrow, grief, regret and self‑loathing that haunted me for years.

When I brought my baby home in 1992, I was afraid of myself. Two years prior, I had two abortions. I couldn’t go through another abortion, so I gave birth to my son. Now, holding him in my arms, I was scared to death I would harm him. I was a monster for killing his siblings. My self-loathing was constant. As a result, I became disconnected emotionally from my son. I thought I was protecting him from me. That’s what abortion does to women.

I was denied the chance to grieve for my aborted babies. My feelings of sorrow were repressed and buried. It is no surprise I was suffering from undiagnosed depression. Over the years, I sought out therapists to “fix” me. Nothing worked. I was never asked if I had an abortion.

When I couldn’t live with the pain any longer, I reached out to a family priest. I displayed his business card on my desk for more than 18 years before I finally accepted the courage God gave me to fall to my knees and beg for forgiveness. This holy priest gave me the grace of absolving my sins, and the gift of a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat brochure. Rachel’s Vineyard is a retreat for post-abortive women and men to help begin their healing journey. Rachel’s Vineyard, through the love of Jesus, changed my life.

Since that retreat in 2008, I now help the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat team in my area. It changes lives.

Rachel’s Vineyard retreats are part of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis’ Project Rachel Ministry, a confidential ministry that helps those suffering after abortion experience mercy, forgiveness and peace.

Supported by the sacraments, the goal of the retreat is to help provide insight, comfort and healing. The weekend combines Scripture meditations, spiritual exercises and discussions in a guided process that leads to the heart of God’s love and compassion.

The next retreat is scheduled for March 13-15 in the greater Bloomington area. The cost is $175, although scholarships are available and no one will be turned away due to financial difficulties.

To speak with someone about Rachel’s Vineyard retreats or to register for the upcoming retreat, contact the Project Rachel Team’s confidential line at 317-452-0054, or e-mail

For general information about Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, go to Inquiries, registration and participation are strictly confidential.

If you or someone you know is suffering from the tragedy of abortion, please reach out for the healing help of the Project Rachel Ministry.

(Brie Anne Varick is archdiocesan coordinator of the Office of Human Life and Dignity.)

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