Women give gripping testimonies on abortion - Catholic Courier

Women give gripping testimonies on abortion

FAIRPORT — Jennifer Burch struggled to compose herself as she began her first public account of having gone through three abortions.

"I have a lot of emotion," she acknowledged May 3 from the gazebo stand at Vincent Kennelley Park.

Burch appeared on behalf of "Silent No More," a national movement that decries abortion through the stories of people who have lived the experience. The morning demonstration saw several of the approximately 25 participants brandish such signs as "A Pregnant Woman Needs Support, Not Abortion," "I Regret My Abortion" and "I Regret Lost Fatherhood" while motorists and pedestrians passed through the village’s congested downtown where Main Street crosses the Erie Canal.

In her stirring testimony, Burch described experiencing her first abortion nearly three decades ago as a 19-year-old college student. Two more abortions followed during young adulthood.

"If a woman has an abortion once, it’s pretty easy to make that decision again," she remarked. "I thought it was a good thing, that life was going to continue on and I was going to reach my goals."

Instead, Burch eventually made a suicide attempt and had "terrible relationship issues" that included two divorces.

"I’m here to tell you that abortion has put irrevocable scars on this country," she said just before breaking into tears at the end of her talk.

Burch plays the French horn in the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra. She told the Catholic Courier that every now and then, a fellow orchestra member had joyfully announced the impending arrival of a baby — and Burch would always chip in for a gift, but avoid the baby shower so that no one would see her mood inevitably change for the worse. She’d also feel uncomfortable around little children and not wish to celebrate holidays, particularly Mother’s Day.

Yet it wasn’t until a few years ago that Burch fully realized the source of her unhappiness: internalized anguish over having not chosen life for her children. Now that she’s come to terms with those feelings, she wants others to know her journey by lending support to such groups as Silent No More. The nondenominational coalition aims to inform the public that there are post-abortion healing programs available, as well as support organizations for women who choose life for their children.

Also taking part in the Fairport event was Kathy Cosgrove, regional coordinator for Silent No More, who shared her own emotional story of having had an abortion.

"Only God could heal me from the depth of this horrific wound," she said. "I am finally free to be able to say I’m ‘silent no more.’"

May 3 marked Silent No More’s first gathering in the Rochester area. Also on hand that day was Janet Morana, the organization’s cofounder, who serves as associate director of Priests for Life, a New York City-based Catholic organization.

"Children are dying in abortion clinics this morning," Morana told participants, adding that Silent No More stands in prayer with the aborted babies as well as their mothers. She added that she’s trying to get the public to look beyond viewing whether abortion should or shouldn’t be legalized in this country.

"We need to make abortion unthinkable," Morana stated.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For details on Silent No More, call Kathy Cosgrove at 585-266-3337, or visit www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org or silentnomorerochester@frontiernet.net.

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