The Anguish of Abortifacients
By Janet Morana and Theresa Burke, Ph.D.
We’ve learned a good deal about the emotional and spiritual pain of abortion.
However, a different anguish, is sweeping along untouched shores with growing
recognition. The widespread practice of contraception presents another surfacing
tide of unspoken and completely unrecognized grief.
These methods are called "abortifacients" because they do more than just
prevent pregnancy. The Pill, the IUD, and other hormonal contraceptives such as
the morning after pill, Depro-Provera and Norplant can cause an abortion of
Ovulation is not always suppressed by oral contraceptives. In these cases,
the egg is fertilized, conception takes place, and a new human being begins to
develop. These contraceptives interfere with the pregnancy by changing the
lining of the uterus so that a newly conceived child cannot implant in the womb.
This hostile environment causes the fertilized egg to die.
Janet Morana, Associate Director of Priests for Life and co-founder of the
Silent No More Awareness Campaign, shares her personal story:
"Three months before my wedding date I started taking birth control pills. I
continued taking the pill for two years until it seemed like it was time to
start a family.
After having a daughter and set of twins, information was released showing
there was a risk for clots and strokes from the pill. Since there was a history
of strokes in my family, I was afraid to go back on it. I didn't know about
Natural Family Planning. Since my marriage was built on only on a physical
relationship, you can just imagine the amount of arguing and fighting that
began. Eventually, I had a tubal ligation as my marriage continued its downward
Researchers have found that marriages in which contraceptives were used are
twice as likely to end in divorce than marriages in which there was no
After her sterilization, Janet and her husband continued to close themselves
off from each other, and from God. But Janet continued to search for her dignity
and rediscovered it in her Catholic Faith. Janet shares:
"As I began to study the teachings of the Church I learned about God's
beautiful plan for marriage, including what NFP was all about.
My grief finally hit me at the Wonder of Life exhibit where I came to a
complete realization of what taking the birth control pills really meant:
aborting new life. I came to grips with the fact that I had not only shut
myself off to life, but had also destroyed an unknown number of children.
I came out of that exhibit and began to sob uncontrollably. I was overwhelmed
with sudden feelings of grief and remorse. I was able to come to grips with
these feelings of grief and loss recently at a Rachel's Vineyard Retreat.
It was a first step in having my feelings validated, and I began to deal with my
loss in a new light."
The Church has always asserted the inseparability of the life giving and
unitive dimension of the marital act. Therefore, She can also serve at the
forefront in ministry to the countless hearts wounded by contraceptives. Our
church continues to be a prophetic guide in a new movement to re-claim inner
voices that have been silenced, paralyzed and obscured by the demands of a
The Priests for Life website invites those who have experienced the grief of
contraception to share your testimony. Contact
To find out more information about attending a Rachel's Vineyard Retreats for
healing after abortion, visit