Faith & Family
Website offers anonymous abortion help
September 29th, 2015
By Valerie Schmalz
AbortionChangesYou.com is a website for men and women who aren’t ready to reach out for help but are struggling with an abortion. “For me, once I left the clinic, I had a really hard time coping with that decision,” said Michaelene Fredenburg, founder of San Diego-based Abortion Changes You, saying when she had an abortion at 18 she felt she would be able to erase the experience and move on with her life. “I did not know anyone else who had difficulty after an abortion.”
Abortion Changes You is a worldwide outreach that invites men, women and families touched by abortion to begin healing. The website was launched in 2008 and the Spanish language version, www.AbortionChangesYou.es, was launched two years ago. The organization also provides training for therapists, counselors, priests, deacons, youth ministers and respect life coordinators in organizations including Heartbeat International, the dioceses of San Diego, Arlington (Virginia), Phoenix and others.
Abortion Changes You was chosen as a phrase that resonates based on Fredenburg’s experience listening to “thousands of stories from men, women, family members and friends impacted by abortion,” she said during the 25 years she has been sharing her story. “They would often say abortion had changed them and that had surprised them.”
On the website, anyone can anonymously write about their experience and get a response from a real person while remaining anonymous. “It’s meant to be a safe place. It is a place to start. It is anonymous but you are interacting with different healing activities,” said Fredenburg. Information about local resources are also available for those who are ready for that step, Fredenburg said.
A generally accepted statistic is that one in three women has had an abortion. The ripple effect goes outward, Fredenburg said. “I’ve found wherever I’m talking and whatever venue I’m in a majority of those who are there have in some way been impacted by abortion,” said Fredenburg, adding that parents, grandparents, siblings are affected by an abortion decision. “Many are grieving family members yet have not been given permission to grieve.”
The organization is resolutely nonpolitical, said Fredenburg: “We wanted to be open to women and men of faith or no faith, to meet them where they are at.”
From October 1, 2015 issue of Catholic San Francisco.