Giving Sorrow Words

by Melinda Tankard Reist

ISBN 1 875989 67 6


Published April 2000


Amid the noise of the ongoing debate over abortion, voices struggle to be heard: the voices of women harmed by abortion. Women traumatised by abortion, who have suffered lasting emotional shock, who were not prepared for the intense suffering they have experienced, have not been allowed to speak.

Giving Sorrow Words includes the complete personal accounts of 18 women and draws on the experiences of more than 200 others. All thought they would be able to get on with their lives after an abortion, but their lives were never the same. There is no period of mourning for a woman suffering grief after an abortion. There are no grief terms, no body for her to cuddle and dress, no ceremony, no grave on which to lay flowers, in short, nothing to acknowledge that the baby ever existed. The book also lifts the lid on the coercion women experience from partners, families and society in general. The inadequacy of current pre-abortion counselling practices and the lack of informed consent are also revealed.

Giving Sorrow Words brings suffering aborted women out of the shadows. It gives a glimpse of the face of grief after abortion.


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