Respecting Life Through Healing After Abortion

October is Respect Life Month. This covers a lot of ground, including respecting babies in the womb, the sick and elderly of our society, and supporting families facing crisis pregnancies or who have been affected by abortion.

“We need to heal before we can convert people’s hearts. So many people have been affected by abortion, so many people have been abused. So when we heal them they’re the ones that will be able to go out and really be a voice for people who have gone through abortions,” said Cheryl Riley, Director of the Respect Life Office at the Archdiocese of Newark.

Our words in everyday conversations can hurt or heal. This month, remember to reach out with healing love rather than hurtful condemnation—we never know the pain that people are carrying.

“I’ve been trying to change the way people speak about abortion … because you never know who you’re speaking to. I had to be pro-choice after my abortion, I had to be because that’s how I had to defend my decision. … There’s this spiritual wound that takes place when you take your own child,” explained Riley.

Twelve years after her abortion, Riley says she had given up on finding peace and healing. “I just thought after going to therapy and counselors and different faith-groups—I couldn’t believe I found healing in my own backyard, the Catholic Church. I woke up on a Sunday morning and went to church, which I hadn’t been because I didn’t think I deserved to be in a church. And there it was in the church bulletin and it just blew me away, I couldn’t believe it!” said Riley.

“And when I walked in the doors of that Rachel’s Vineyard retreat on that Friday night, I said, ‘this is it. If I can’t get help here I’ll just live with this pain forever.’ But that didn’t happen … the healing from my abortion came from that Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.”

If you or someone you know if suffering from the pain of an abortion, whether your child was lost forty years ago or just last week, there is hope and healing. Visit Rachel’s Vineyard or Project Rachel for more information. You can also reach out to your local parish or diocese for support.


During this Respect Life Month, join us in praying the Memorare for an end to abortion—a goal that will not only save lives, but also protect mothers, fathers, and family members from enduring the horrible pain of losing a child through abortion.

Remember to add your Memorares to our Memorare Meter and help us reach 200,000,000 prayed.