Along with a standing-room only crowd at New York's University Club, I was introduced to Michaelene Fredenburg and her new project Abortion Changes You.
Michaelene is an attractive, articulate, modern (very 'in') looking woman who seemed to fit right into the Manhattan setting of our meeting. Actually she is a San Diego-based mother of two who pursues ballet and snorkeling in her spare time, and is now poised to single-handedly change the abortion debate.
Michaelene poignantly shared the story of her abortion years back, and of the subsequent struggle. "My child would probably have graduated from college this past May," she observed. She then reminded us of the harrowing statistic: today, 1 in 3 women in the U.S. will have had an abortion by the age of 45 (the rate being even higher in states like New York and California). For more background, I encourage you to take a moment and read Kathryn Lopez's June 11 interview with Michaelene in National Review Online.
Michaelene is president of Life Perspectives, a San Diego-based group which has recently launched the abortionchangesyou.com project. She explained how this website will serve as a resource and safe haven for anyone suffering from the after-effects of abortion.
How is her approach different? As she explained to Kathryn Lopez, her project is designed specifically for people
[W]ho 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.
A necessary place for two important reasons, as she noted in her presentation: people suffering the after-effects of abortion often feel they can't share their pain with their liberal friends because abortion is supposed to be 'OK'. Many can't bring themselves to talk with conservatives because -- as in the case of 'Zack', who inspired Michaelene to launch this project -- conservatives strike them as too "scary."
So Michaelene has now created a space where people can go and share their pain anonymously. She has accomplished this through her book Changed, and through her website abortionchangesyou.com (to which Changed serves as a companion volume). The website -- to be advertised on 1,000 New York subway trains on October 13 -- offers browsers directions on how to connect with anonymous peer-support groups online or with abortion-healing ministries and counselors offline.
I believe Michaelene has also created a vehicle through which, little by little, it will become OK to say publicly that abortion is painful. And if she can pull that off, she will have created a debate-changer.
Rev. Thomas V. Berg, L.C. is Executive Director of the Westchester Institute for Ethics and the Human Person.