Michaelene Fredenburg is president of Life Perspectives, a San-Diego-based group which has recently launched abortionchangesyou.com, a resource and safe haven for anyone suffering from the aftereffects of abortion. Fredenburg recently took questions from National Review Online editor Kathryn Lopez about the efforts and her book, Changed.
Michaelene Fredenburg: Although there were many events leading up to the creation of the Abortion Changes You outreach, there was one specific person who inspired it.
About five years ago I went to a body piercing salon to get my ear pierced. The body piercer — I call him Zach in the book Changed — sensed how nervous I was and attempted some small talk.
When he learned that I lecture in college classes about abortion, he told me his story. He told me about how much he loved his girlfriend, their unexpected pregnancy, and his desire to support her no matter what. She made the decision to abort, and they both had difficulty afterwards. He talked about his pain and the guilt when they broke up two years later. He kept repeating, “abortion forever changes you — it’s changed my girlfriend, it changed me, and I’ve seen it change other women I know.”
When he was done telling me his story I thanked him for being willing to talk about something so personal, but he stopped me and said, “No, thank you. I enjoyed talking with you. It’s hard to talk about abortion. I can’t talk to people who are liberal because abortion is supposed to be okay. And the people on the Right are scary. But I can talk to you.”
I was deeply impacted by his sense of isolation and his desire to have his experience validated. I began to think about a way to create a safe and inviting place for Zach and all the other men and women who are having difficulty after either their own abortion or the abortion of someone close to them.
Lopez: What is your most important goal?
Fredenburg: The most important goals is to communicate to men, women, grandparents, family members, and friends who have experienced abortion that they are not alone, that their pain is real, their loss is real and that healing is possible.
Lopez: Promotional material refers to Changed and abortionchangesyou.com as “a place that is set apart from politics, from labels, from debate.” Is that even possible?
Fredenburg: The book Changed and AbortionChangesYou.com were created specifically for people who have already made the difficult decision to abort. The outreach meets each person as he or she is and gives them the space to express and work through their emotions. Not only is it possible to create such a place, it is necessary for the person who is hurting or confused after an abortion.