Magazine article The Human Life Review

Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain

Magazine article The Human Life Review

Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain

Article excerpt

REDEEMING GRIEF: ABORTION AND ITS PAIN Anne R. Lastman (Gracewing Publishing, 272 pp., 2013, $20.25 paperback)

Every now and again someone comes along and says something that diagnoses our problem so clearly and yet so deeply that it needs to be read, re-read, savored, talked about, and used as a catalyst for dedicated action. Such is Anne R. Lastman's book Redeeming Grief: Abortion and Its Pain. If you have ever wondered what is wrong with our world, you must read Redeeming Grief. If you've suffered or watched others suffer through the effort to make sense of a world that ignores, denies, and rejects the most basic and obvious natural gifts, condemning anything more morally demanding than nostalgic adherence to habits, customs, and norms as unfit for the modem world (and certainly for the public square), read Redeeming Grief

Lastman's book, issued by the Australian Catholic publishing house of Gracewing, is based on the author's two decades of experience providing post-abortion counseling. However, the grief it walks through and seeks to heal is unfortunately international in scope. Although Redeeming Grief is steeped in a Catholic context of prayer and healing-it even has its mystical moments-Lastman points out that, "One does not have to be Catholic or even a Christian to understand the power of healing and the love of God." Her message is mercy in both the most personally practical and culturally transformative ways.

Lastman explains her own connection to the topic in this way:

It is through my experience of grief following my own two abortions that I have come to the belief that it is only through the mercy of God, and my own profound rediscovered love for him, which has brought me through the darker times. It is this knowledge and understanding that allows me to be able to help and show other women how to let their grief, following their abortions, become a redeeming grief. Not a destructive grief leading to self-annihilation but a grief surrounded with haloes. Grief always means love lost, or someone or something special no longer with us. Grief always means profound loss. We do not grieve for something or someone which is or who is not of value in our own lives.

In the case of abortion, of course, what we grieve is the death of a child. And this death leaves deep wounds. Abortion is a deeply intimate type of violence, occurring within the very womb of a mother (who we pretend isn't really a mother, insisting that her abortion is a declaration of independence or empowerment rather than a violation of herself). Abortion affects liveschanging not just the woman who aborts her child, not just the father (whatever his involvement), not just family and friends, but even our law, which once acted in part as a moral teacher and now merely adapts to endorse and accommodate actions-"choices"-that are poisonous to individual lives and to the healthy living out of our lives together in society.

Lastman writes:

Since the sexual revolution of the sixties, the advent of public acceptance of and demand for abortion, and the disintegration of family life, children have been deprived of the most basic of human rights. Their right to be children, to be happy, to be protected, to be educated and to be valued has been eroded and all in the name of the so-called equality of the sexes. The living children of a society that demands and applauds abortion are wounded children and as wounded children can only become wounded adolescents and wounded adults. …

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