sad woman girl

Mother, tortured over daughter’s abortion, turns to Dear Abby

A mother, upset about her daughter’s abortion, turned to Dear Abby for help. Dear Abby doesn’t seem to get it.

The woman, calling herself “Tortured in the South,” considers herself pro-life despite the fact that she thinks abortion is acceptable in cases of rape and incest. She supported her 22-year-old daughter’s decision to abort her baby, and since then, she has been depressed.

Abby, I have taken this really hard. I have cried every day since she had the abortion, and I’m torturing myself thinking this is my fault because I went against everything I believe in when I supported her in her decision. Why am I beating myself up about this? Is it because she’s my daughter, because I am pro-life or both? How can I stop blaming myself for her decision?

First of all, it is as much Tortured’s fault as it is her daughter’s. Her daughter turned to her for help. Instead of actually supporting her daughter, by reassuring her and letting her know she would be there for her financially and to help care for the baby, she “supported” her daughter’s decision to kill her child.

sadSecond, she is beating herself up because she is pro-life and knows that the phrase “termination of a pregnancy” is code of “murder of a baby.” But that knowledge alone isn’t the reason for the woman’s torment. Coupled with that knowledge is the understanding that this baby was her grandchild, and she allowed pain and death to come to that grandchild. She denied her grandchild life, denied her daughter the joy and love of being a mother to that child, and denied herself the joy and love of being a grandmother to that child. It is a tragedy, and so she grieves.

However, Tortured did what society tells us to do, and it’s what Dear Abby says is the right thing to do, despite the woman’s regret and pain. Society tells us we must support other people in their decisions, even when we know those decisions not only are wrong, but will bring that person pain and suffering. Dear Abby writes:

The decision about whether or not to terminate the pregnancy wasn’t yours to make; it was your daughter’s. Being pro-life, you have your own convictions, but you acted as a loving parent should — you supported your child. If you feel you could benefit from counseling to help you through this, ask your doctor for a referral.

Way to help, Abby. This cold response is a perfect example of how our world responds to abortion. As a society, we have shut ourselves off from the emotion of abortion because it is so painful. We have closed ourselves off to the truth because we don’t want to see it. Would we support our children’s decision to beat their own children, to kill themselves with drugs, to kill a family member? No.

Abortion is supposed to be easy, according to the pro-abortion side. It is supposed to be liberating. It is supposed to bring a sigh of relief to those who experience it. Instead, it leaves people tortured for the rest of their lives.

Dear Abby did nothing to help Tortured. All she did was brush off the woman’s emotions and send her back into the world. The same thing that abortion providers do to their patients. After all, it’s just a procedure, right?

  • http://twitter.com/WhollyAmericana Holly of Hollywood

    Thank you Nancy for Addressing this “Dear Abby” letter. I also read this letter, and was taken aback. Thanks for writing what you wrote! I’ll share it with the editor of my local newspaper!

  • Jenika

    What a heart-breaking story! The “Dear Abby” response goes to show that as Christians we are “not to be conformed to the things of this world”. This world can be very cruel and uncaring to the needs of the suffering. To the ‘world’ abortion is a way of life.

    A pain inside of your soul it is a pain that God needs to heal. So much of the time women are told that abortion is nothing, it’s “just a little pill”. They are told that the fetus inside of them is not a baby, but “a cluster of tissue”. Many women grieve the choice to have an abortion, but it is with a worldly sorrow over the pain and discomfort rather than the loss of a life. Women who have an abortion often struggle with depression even if they are not a christian or pro-life. This just goes to show that God never intended for us to experience the pain of abortion, because He never intended abortion!

  • http://twitter.com/MarauderTheSN Marauder

    I quit reading Dear Abby over stuff like this.

    • Mary Lee

      Me too. What did Jesus say? Either be hot, or cold, because if you’re lukewarm, I will spit you out of my mouth…..(Um, I’m not great with the Scriptures). This isn’t a “procedure,” it’s a contract killing. The woman is depressed, but oh well, it’s her daughter’s choice? This isn’t tonsil removal, or breast augmentation, it’s the killing of her grandchild. Why do abortion advocates trivialize the real and horrible pain that this “procedure” causes? Do you know any other elective medical “procedure” that causes this much suffering? Perhaps mastectomies….But that is an entirely different matter, though abortion advocates would have you believe otherwise. Mastectomies are decided upon by the woman, and it is her body INDEED, and only her body, that is affected. My mother underwent a double mastectomy and felt great depression afterwards, for years and years, until her death. But mastectomies are to excise a cancer that will otherwise kill the woman (and sooner rather than later). Abortion is the interruption of a healthy and normal biological function, and it involves not only the mother, but her child. How can they be so cavalier about it? How?

  • Basset_Hound

    I read the comment. Went something along the lines of…”it wasn’t your decision…suck it up and deal with it. Get counseling”. It left me cold. Sometimes Dear Abby can make sense, but not this time.

  • http://twitter.com/MarauderTheSN Marauder

    Longer comment now that I have the time: Parents should always support their children, but they should support them in becoming loving, moral, kind and healthy individuals. If your child wants to do something that you know is a harmful behavior, you have the responsibility to tell them how you feel about it, even if they’re adults and you can’t make their decisions for them.

    I hope I’m wrong, but I have a feeling that the odds are that any counselor this woman sees will go the Dear Abby route and invalidate her feelings in a failed attempt to try to help her. I quit seeing a therapist I’d seen for years because when I told her that I was feeling isolated being pro-life at a very pro-choice school, she started lecturing to me about how abortion helps women. At that moment, she wasn’t putting me first as a client, she was putting her own ideology first and to hell with what I felt. When I told another therapist, who I only saw once, that I wasn’t really into “1970s-style second-wave feminism Gloria Steinem stuff” (this was relevant in helping explain why I was feeling isolated), she started telling me I should be grateful to Gloria Steinem. (For WHAT, reducing feminism to being all about abortion?!) Basically, it felt like the world was telling me, “Yes, you ARE alone. Even the people who are supposed to help you aren’t on your side.” They didn’t have to agree with me about abortion. They just had to see me as a human being with feelings and help me with those feelings.

    I was in a different therapy group once, which was helpful, and we talked about using the phrase “I understand why you feel that way.” Even if you think someone’s feelings are irrational, over-the-top, or unjustified, you’re not really listening to them if your response is to deny the reality of their feelings. They feel what they feel, and that’s where you have to start.

  • CherrY

    I’m with Abby. I can’t believe this is a “news” story to begin with. I think that’s a little more heartless than anything Abby could have said. Abby was simply telling the truth. The decision WASN’T the mother’s, it was the daughter’s. If the mother is having these issues, what about the daughter? Is the mother seriously going to whine about her own problems when she MAY be ignoring her own daughter’s possible trauma, if her daughter views abortion similarly?

    • cecody

      You really totally missed the point. Abby is ignorant. The question isnt whether the mom did right or wrong. The problem is the pain she feels because she made a mistake in supporting the killing of her daughters baby, of her grandchild. You must really have a cold heart not to see how painful that is.

  • molly

    I think this really underscores how much abortion hurts everyone and has far reaching consequences. I had a very dear friend who suffered real pain by a girl friends abortion in high school. Tortured was the word I would use to describe how he felt too. God help us all.

  • dedalus

    i don’t understand the American Jews. After all the inhuman barbarism that was unleashed against them, they largely have no great problem with the inhuman barbarism visited upon the unborn.

    • Deege

      As an American Jewish person, I would like to point out that you “largely” do not know what you are talking about.

      • Ciaran G. O’Donnell

        I’m sorry but your remark is a little vague. I know a lot of Jewish people disagree with abortion, is that what you meant. I understand you are upset, can you clarify what you said.

    • Jessica

      How is this possible that you have 3 upvotes vs 2 downvotes for such a ridiculous comment?

  • http://www.facebook.com/CiaranGODonnell Ciaran G. O’Donnell

    Perhaps Dear Abby needs to read John 3:16 a little carefully, especially when it talks about people preferring the darkness to the light. Here is one of her other posts on the subject.

    http://newssun.suntimes.com/lifestyles/abby/18159206-423/boyfriend-feels-betrayed-to-learn-of-past-abortion.html

  • cecody

    If I could write a message to this mom; I would say that many women are deceived into thinking aborting a child is ok. They are then overcome with remorse, guilt & grief as they realize they have made a huge mistake. I want to tell you that you can receive forgiveness from our God who loves you. Go to Him and pour out your heart, confess your sin, and ask for His forgiveness. He loves you and will forgive you & give you peace.

    • Jessica

      This only works if you believe if you are religious though. Dear Abby can’t write something that applies to Christians, Muslims and the other religious groups but not to those who don’t follow a religion.

  • Anonymous

    Even if she hadn’t supported the decision, she may have been very sad and depressed or even angry at the death of her grandchild. I’ve been there. A son’s child was aborted, regardless of his feelings. I cried for days over that as well. Abby was definitely cold and uncaring and knows nothing of the pain brought on entire families by this horrific evil we have allowed in our country.

    • http://twitter.com/MarauderTheSN Marauder

      I’m sorry for your loss.

  • anonymous

    My only problem with this article is that I feel like Nancy is too harsh on this mother. I do think that Dear Abby was wrong in letting the mother think it was okay, but at the same time, give that mom a break! She is obviously broken up about it! My sister unfortunately had an abortion about 7 years ago after being raped, and my mom supported her decision in the way Dear Abby described, but I know not a day goes by where neither of them think about it. This is a very sensitive issue. I first saw the title and wanted to share this with my mom, but this makes her look like an animal to be honest and I would never say anything this harsh to her. There is a difference between being honest and being completely cold-hearted. I mean even my sister knows what she has done wrong, she has gone to Confession, but people in the pro-life community still emotionally abuse her and condemn her for a mistake she made 7 years ago. We need to be Christ to these women and tell them the truth in love and not just in a “you are a murderer even though you already know it, I’m still going to call you it” sort of way. These women need healing, not a lecture.

    • Concerned

      People in the pro-life community offer support for women who have had an abortion. We do not scorn these women who feel helpless, unloved, and alone. They are misinformed and need guidance. We all regret the sin in our lives. I’m not affiliated with any organization.

      • Anonymous

        I’m a very much so pro-life advocate, and i didn’t know about her abortion until a couple years after the fact. My first response was giving her a hug. She KNOWS what she did was wrong now, but she at the time was a victim of rape and of a stalker, me condemning her would do her no good since she lives in regret every day. She has had many people who are pro-life she opened up to that have shut her out as a friend once she told them of her past. So I’m part of this group, so I know there are people who are not loving, and those are the ones I’m calling out to show love to these women.

  • JG

    It’s right that we are outraged by sinful thought and sinful actions, but honestly, I don’t think anyone should expect that “Dear Abby” would give the mother authentically good advice on this.

    Most people are, in fact, deceived about this issue. If we’re going to be venomous, lets focus on the people who are knowingly acting wickedly in this matter (of which there are plenty…namely, abortionists and abortion providers). I do not think we should aim our arrows at particular mothers or daughters, or even column writers, unless they have a particular argument (not a mere “stance” or lack there of) we’re carefully addressing.

  • Kate

    I think we ought to all write back to Abby on the matter; it will have an influence. This is the letter that I sent her today:

    Dear Abby,

    I think that your recent advice to “Tortured in the South”
    does not take into account what it means to be pro-life or the full circumstance of the mother’s situation. First, being pro-life is not just a position that exists in ideology. The mother knew that her daughter did not have a blob of tissue removed, but scientifically another unique human, who would be considered by society as her grandchild if abortion were not an option.

    Secondly, you are supposing that in such a case, the mother was not responsible in causing the daughter to do something that the daughter might have felt forced into doing. Because the daughter still lived at
    home (and this was the sole reason provided for the abortion), the mother could
    have played the key role in the attempt to work the situation out. She could
    have helped her daughter bring the baby to full-term and raise the child or
    adopt the child to another loving family.

    The mother’s regret should not have been dismissed in light
    of these circumstances. In turning to you, you denied the mother the opportunity
    to accept her responsibility in the abortion, honestly confront her guilt,
    properly grieve the loss, and ask forgiveness if the daughter felt forced, in
    order to find true healing.

    Lastly, not every doctor is equipped to help women who need
    healing from abortion. I would recommend, for both the daughter and mother, the
    National Helpline for Abortion Recovery: 866-482-5433 or the healing program
    that Rachel’s Vineyard provides: Hotline: 877 HOPE 4 ME (877-467-3463).

  • BEV

    First of all the MOTHER, and yes she is the babys mother, killed her BABY, the GRANDMOTHER, feels guilty, because she knows now, that she will not experience, the hugs, kisses, and joy of watching her grandchild run around the house. As far as women who don’t want babies, KEEP YOUR DAMN LEGS CLOSED, OR GET ON BIRTHCONTROL. IT IS NOT THAT BABY’S FAULT ITS MOTHER COULD DO NEITHER. THE BABY DIED BECAUSE OF THAT!!!! AND THE FACT THAT IT WAS EASIER TO DISCARD THE BABY, THAN DO THE RESPONSIBLE THING AND RAISE THAT BABY. PREVENTION,!!!!!

  • Anna Rossi

    To be honest, that wasn’t even that bad of a response. Remember, whoever is writing these has to make sure that they don’t insult anybody, so it’s not like they can pick a side. They’re supposed to be neutral, and not let personal beliefs get in the way of them responding to the letters. Please, try to see things from the other person’s point of view. If you don’t, you end up looking radical and ignorant, and are giving ammo to the other side of the argument to use against you.

    • http://twitter.com/MarauderTheSN Marauder

      There was a guy who wrote into Dear Abby saying he had a hard time meeting attractive women, and gave a list of specifications. Dear Abby told him that if that was all he cared about, he should try the Playboy Mansion. She doesn’t have to make sure she doesn’t pick sides or offend anyone. She’s the most popular advice columnist in the country.

      I don’t think saying that an advice columnist gave inadequate advice counts as being “radical and ignorant,” and if someone else did, they would probably be so biased against pro-lifers that anything we said or did would be wrong to them.

    • Deege

      I don’t think it’s so bad either. The woman’s specific questions are “why am I beating myself up about this?” and “how can I stop blaming myself for her decision?” Abby says, “it wasn’t your decision” (a pretty merciful answer if you ask me, and the plain truth unless her daughter is a minor) and if you think counseling can help you stop blaming yourself go get some. The alternative is spending a lifetime blaming herself. The abortion is over and can’t be undone.

      There is an enormous amount of projection going on in these posts about grieving grandchildren (we don’t know if the mother has any, wants any, or anything else) and using birth control (we don’t know if the daughter was using it or not). Based on the actual information, i don’t have any problem with Abby’s response. Could she have said “you screwed up, you should have tried to talk her out of it, kicked her out, gave her an ultimatum, raised the child” or any other of a hundred things? Yes. Would any of those things help this woman heal now? No. As far as advice on what to do next, which is what the writer asked for, I think Abby did fine.

  • ProLife

    I’m pro-life. The only time abortion should be considered is if the pregnancy is a danger to both mother and child and would result in both of their deaths.

  • Jessica

    Can someone tell me what they would have written instead? I see nothing wrong with this- the choice belonged to the daughter and there was no guarantee that opposing the daughter would have changed anything except make the whole ordeal even more stressful. In addition, whether you (or Abby) agrees with abortion or not, the fact is that it had already happened. Telling the mother that she had done the wrong thing at this stage would only make her feel wore and would not solve anything.

    • Basset_Hound

      She could have said “I understand that you would feel a sense of loss. This was your grandchild”. But instead, it came across as “How bizarre that you should be upset about this. You’re blowing this out of proportion. You need to get some perspective and get a handle on your own emotions. Maybe you should ask your doctor to refer you to a therapist”.

      • Jessica

        Really? I thought that she was supportive of the way that the woman acted- more like “It was your choice to make since your daughter is a grown woman but nonetheless you supported her in her choice as you were unlikely to change her mind and it was a difficult decision to make”. I would say that the author of this piece is far more harsh as she lays the blame for the “murder of a baby” equally at the feet of the mother and the daughter

        • Basset_Hound

          I will agree that I thought the author was a tad too harsh on the mother.