We've been getting excited about the new, "Talk to a Friend Outreach." In preparation, I have been studying an article about research regarding the psychology of abortion-minded and abortion vulnerable women. It turns out that these mindsets are very much tied in to self image.
Shame about pregnancy is a strong motivator for abortion, regardless of whether a woman has religious beliefs. Although she is ashamed that her friends will judge her for what they see may be putting her career in jeopardy, almost no women have shame about having a child "out-of-wedlock anymore. Because women may be afraid of being judged by religious people, they may avoid talking to them, however.
First Way's success is due in part to our non-religious approach to women. We do not bring religion up. We do not mention it at all, unless she does. We give her "just the facts." Since Planned Parenthood does not give her the facts, the facts alone can be persuasive. For example, a procedure involving dismembering the baby limb by limb and sucking the parts into a tube is referred to by PP only as, "gently removing the contents of the uterus."
With organizations such as Feminists for Life, Atheists for Life and Buddhists for Life gaining more prominence, fewer people are seeing the pro-life position as a "religious thing." This helps us help the women we serve.
Women who have a self-identity as maternal and who see being a woman as connected with motherhood are more likely to be "abortion vulnerable" than "abortion minded." These women are the ones most likely to be propelled into abortion due to a sense of shame. So, these women should be handled with lots of compassion and TLC, while helping her feel good about herself as a woman and about her ability to make choices for the sake of herself and the child.
Many women do not identify with motherhood and they primarily see their pregnancy as a threat to their career success. In these cases, few things are more powerful than showing them examples of women who are successful (or even more successful) following delivery, and who are proud of the achievement of balancing both. Also, the stories of women who "never really thought of themselves as mothers" are bound to have a greater impact.
The new "Talk to a Friend Outreach" is meant to convey these positive, empowering and inspirational messages to women, to reach them in the way psychological research most strongly indicates will lead to success.
We appreciate your help and support. Please let us know if you or someone you know has an inspirational story to share, or if you would like to work as a peer counselor with us. Thanks!
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