ANNE LASTMAN is the founder of Victims of Abortion, which for almost five years has been providing trauma counselling and information services for those suffering the after-effects of having had an abortion. She is currently circulating Australia's Catholic priests with the latest edition of her organisation's bi-monthly newsletter, Broken Branches
Mrs Lastman told AD2000 that, "unless we start getting some very real and overt clerical help, I cannot see how the abortion issue will ever be overcome"; nor would "those who suffer as a result of their abortion decision know about God's mercy and forgiveness and healing."
Many of those suffering from abortion after-effects have told her they did not know Victims of Abortion existed and had been "too ashamed to go to a priest."
In the current issue of Broken Branches, Mrs Lastman writes: "Whilst it is understood that priests and pastors for the most part remain silent about the abortion issue, out of a perceived compassion for those who have already aborted, the reality is that this type of compassion only leads to much more suffering. Families touched by the abortion experience continue to suffer but do so in silence and alone."
The clergy, she says, have a vital role to play in helping such women accept God's forgiveness, re-establish a relationship with Him and open up the possibility of a new life.
Those wanting more information about Victims of Abortion, or wishing to assist its work, can contact Mrs Lastman at the National Office, PO Box 6094, Vermont South, Vic 3133, tel (03) 9663 9032, fax (03) 9887 7669, mobile 0408 175 033, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org