Review: Forbidden Grief by Theresa Burke Ph.D.
Review by W.J. Rayment

There have been over 45 million abortions in the United States since Roe v Wade made it easily accesible. Abortion has touched the life, in some way, of a vast majority of Americans. We are at least the parent, sibling, friend, husband or child of someone who has had an abortion.

Far from a political screed, "Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion", by Theresa Burke (with the help of David C. Reardon), is an informative and practical work. Where a political book might rehash the arguments over abortion, Dr. Burke, instead, focuses on the trauma that occurs to many women after an abortion, and seeks to help women who experiencing pain and grief. Continued Below...


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Filled with case studies and clear analysis, "Forbidden Grief" shows how abortion on demand can have psychological consequences for the woman who makes the "choice". Beyond the feelings of guilt and the sense of loss there are also societal pressures. Women often feel compelled to cover up the fact of having had an abortion for fear of disappointing friends and loved ones. At the same time, there is pressure to deny resulting traumatic stress of the abortion by the agents of feminism and the politically correct culture that supports it. Confronted with the need to hide their abortion and its consequences, many women feel compelled to deal with their sorrow and loss in self-destructive ways.

Dr. Burke first recognized this was the case early in her career, when she found that out of 8 women in a group discusing eating problems, six had had abortions. When the topic of abortion came up, there were very strong reactions from the entire group.

Many other problems, including drug abuse, alcoholism, sexual promiscuity and suicidal behavior have been tied to the stress of having had an abortion. "Forbidden Grief" delves into several interesting case studies and posits cogent explanations for various behaviors. Some stories are easily recognized - many we have seen acted out by people in our own lives. Other stories have even made a huge splash in the media. For example, the Lorena Bobbit episode has roots in an abortion experience. It seems John Bobbit insisted that Lorena have an abortion early in their marriage. The resulting effect on their relationship may have culminated in the notorious evening when she relieved him of his manhood with a kitchen knife.

The book is also about women coping with the abortion experience. Dr. Burke goes into the details of post-abortion trauma, describing symptoms and explaining behavior in the light of her case studies and research. The final chapter deals directly with healing techniques. It is a helpful, hopeful guide to help redeem ravaged lives.

It is interesting that in the abortion debate the feminists frame its effects on women in a positive way. Abortion is seen as liberating. Yet the reality is that its psychological effects have harmed many. After reading this book I was amazed at how an industry has grown up in America that succeeds in convincing many women (against their most basic of instincts) to abort their own children.

This book is a fascinating read for anyone wishing to understand how abortion has affected the lives of individuals as well as the effect it has had upon our society. "Forbidden Grief" will make you think in new ways about the abortion issue, no matter your political stripe. More, it is a guide to healing for millions of women and men who have had to deal with the tragedy of abortion.


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