SaveOne Helps Those Suffering in Silence

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Tuesday marks the 35th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision known as Roe vs. Wade.

Some have estimated that 50 million babies have been aborted in America since the high court handed down the decision in 1973.

That is why one ministry is not only trying to prevent abortions, but it is also bringing comfort and healing to those who have already had one.

For 44-year-old Max Baker, the pain after an abortion is not just a woman's issue.

'Shame was Always There'

"The shame and the guilt, I guess is the way that I dealt with it," Baker told CBN News. "Don't talk about it. We don't talk about it. We don't bring it up, but the shame was always there."

Baker and his wife Judy have been married for 16 years. But before they tied the knot, Judy found out she was pregnant. Deciding that they did not want to be parents just yet, the couple agreed to end the pregnancy. When they came to the decision to have the abortion is one Judy says she will never forget.

"When I laid down on that table, I knew it was wrong," she explained. "I knew that I was making the wrong decision. I felt horrendous pain after the procedure. It was very painful. Then they put you in a room in a recliner and you sit there by yourself and you contemplate what you've just done for the next hour and a half until they allow you to go home," she continued.

When Judy wanted to talk about about the abortion, her husband just wanted to put the whole thing behind them.

"I didn't want to talk about it," Baker said. Sort of like out of sight, out of mind and if we don't talk about it, I would not have to deal with it."

Post-Abortion Syndrome

Abortion is often trumpeted as a quick, guilt-free solution to a tough situation. However, after more than 35 years of abortion-on-demand, there is evidence to support that for millions of people abortion is a lingering, painful experience. It even has a name: post-abortion syndrome.

The symptoms include depression, grief, sexual dysfunction, drug and alcohol abuse, and even attempted suicide.

Sheila Harper is founder of SaveOne, a post-abortion counseling ministry. SaveOne is just one of many pregnancy centers across the nation offering post-abortion counseling.

"A lot of times the pro-abortion side will say, 'Oh, it's the religious people heaping all this guilt on these men and women who have experienced abortion,' but that's not true," Harper said. "The guilt just comes naturally."

Firsthand Experience

Harper has seen the aftermath of abortion firsthand, counseling the men and women who come to the SaveOne center for help.

She understands the guilt they are feeling, because of her own abortion experience back in 1985.

"I lived seven years just in total regret and shame and just in a deep pit of depression," she said. "I never felt like I could go back to God. Because in my mind, there's no way God would accept me back after taking the life of my first child."

Harper says her depression was so dark that she borrowed a room mate's gun in order to take her own life.

"I got the pistol that she kept in her night stand drawer," she recalled. "I took it out of her drawer and went and sat on the edge of the couch. I leaned over and turned the gun around and put that gun right between my eyes. I was crying and trying to just come to the fact, everything seemed so surreal," she continued. "I just tried to accept the fact that this was about to be over. All of the pain, the rejection, the shame, the guilt -- was about to be over."

Harper thanks God that she was not able to go through with the suicide. After attending a Bible study at a local church, she turned to God for healing and forgiveness.

SaveOne Birthed Out of Pain

She says the concept for SaveOne was birthed out of her own post-abortion pain.

"Our center is for anyone who has experienced abortion," she said. "And it's for both the religious and the non-believer."

SaveOne partners with pastors, churches and other pregnancy centers to help those suffering the regret and shame of abortion. The ministry offers a free 12-week course to help its clients to deal with issues like forgiveness and peace.

Natalie Glafka is SaveOne's national outreach director. Before her present position, she had been one of the center's clients, taking the course. Glafka says had three abortions, the first one when she was only 16 years old.

"When I look back when I was 16, I was taught that abortion was the answer to my problem," she said. "If you are pregnant and you don't want the child, then you abort the child."

Glafka says she had no idea her heavy drinking and drug use were connected to her abortions.

"I was an emotional wreck," she said. "But I was also the type that I never thought about my abortions. I wasn't one that thought about the date. I wasn't one that often had nightmares. I was strong and I was independent and successful," she continued. "I had my own house. No one could tell me that anything I had done in my past was not good for me."

After years of denial, Glafka cried out for help. She agreed to attend the SaveOne's classes.

For Donna Taylor the guilt of having an abortion was even greater. Taylor was a Christian and she had been taught that abortion was the taking of a life.

Finding Release and Freedom

"It played out mostly because I was sitting in churches where we had huge sanctity of life Sundays," she said. "They had huge services where women would stand up and confess their abortions and talk about their healing. I would sit there holding onto it so tight. I was hurting," she explained. I would go home and grieve over what I had done, but without the ability to find any place of release. I just was held captive to it."

However, Taylor credits SaveOne for helping her to be one that was saved.

"I know the power of Jesus Christ to say, 'you know what, that is under the blood' -- I died for that you are free, and I know that," she beamed.

Meanwhile, the Bakers, who are now born-again Christians, say while their abortion experience nearly destroyed their marriage -- God's forgiveness is greater. Forgiveness that allows them to forgive themselves and one another.

"We got married three months after the abortion," Judy Baker said. "And we fought from that point forward. Our relationship had festered into one big boil. The Lord has just healed all of that."

Many states are now considering laws to ban abortion on-demand. Counselors say even if the law does change, they will be there to offer hope and healing to those suffering in silence.

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Charlene Israel

Charlene Israel

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