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WASHINGTON - Pro-life leaders gathered at the National Press Club just a few days before the Jan. 22 March for Life to announce that a special emphasis this year will be on the many and usually unpublicized ways abortion hurts.
They pointed out abortion has certainly created 56 million victims - the unborn babies killed. But the reverberations from it go way beyond that.
Georgette Forney aborted a child when she was 16 years old and is still grieving 39 years later. She helped found the group Silent No More so she and others can communicate the long-term pain and trauma abortion can inflict.
'Not Like Pulling a Tooth'
"It doesn't happen in this little room and you walk away and it's all gone. It's not like you get a tooth pulled and you get up and you go back to work and it's no big deal," Forney insisted.
"It is a trauma," she continued. "It's life-changing, and not only for the woman herself, but for people around her."
Like the daughter she eventually had, who as an 8-year-old was horrified when she first heard how her older sister had been killed.
"This 8-year-old on my lap knew it wasn't okay, knew it didn't matter if it was legal or illegal, but that it had permanently impacted her life," Forney said.
That little girl couldn't let go of her unborn sister, who would have been named Elizabeth.
"And so she began to have kind of a pretend relationship with Elizabeth that carried on for many years because she had always wanted a big sister," Forney explained.
Forney is hoping an increasing number of older women and those wounded by abortion will guide younger women away from the gruesome procedure.
"How can we protect the next generation? These are our daughters, our granddaughters. We don't want them to repeat the pain," Forney asserted. "Why can't we stop the madness and really help women?"
As for men, Silent No More's Kevin Burke found out recently from a counselor at a maximum security prison how many would-be fathers spin out of control after abortions.
"Ninety percent of the inmates had experienced abortion, and in an informal poll he did many of these men shared that it was part of their descent into crime," Burke said.
He explained men's post-abortive rage and anger can lead to all sorts of trouble.
"Destructive relationships, abusive behaviors, impulsive, risk-taking behaviors," Burke listed. "Some of the men took that risk-taking and impulsive behavior and they went into the military. And they volunteered for front-line service."
'I Mourn the Loss of My Grandchildren'
Janet Morana knows from painful personal experience how much would-be grandparents can be devastated.
"My daughter had two abortions without even telling me. And she knew I was pro-life. She knew she could come to me," this Silent No More co-founder said. "But somehow she felt 'I don't want to disappoint Mom,' and she went off and did that. And so I mourn the loss of my grandchildren."
Father Frank Pavone, the leader of Priests for Life, said the circles of harm go beyond the woman and the family.
"You have the friends who might have helped her to get an abortion or the abortionists themselves and their staff, even the pro-life advocates who try to save that life and fail," Father Pavone explained. "That hurts. And they need to mourn and grieve that child."
At the end of this year's March for Life, as marchers gather in front of the U.S. Supreme Court, Silent No More, Priests for Life and their allies will launch a year-long project called "Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion."
Every month these organizations will pray for and reach out to a different group of people hurt by abortion.
For instance, in February they'll focus on how abortion has especially wounded black families, who have seemed particularly targeted by abortion organizations like Planned Parenthood over the decades.
Throughout the year, each month will highlight a different emphasis. In addtion to February's focus,
•March will emphasize grandparents
•April the siblings
•May the mothers
•June the fathers
•July the survivors and friends
•August the abortion providers
•September families in general
•October Hispanic families in particular.
•November on healing the pro-lifers who actively work to save unborn babies. They see occasional victories but also many painful, wounding defeats.
Finally, the emphasis in December will be on seeking healing through Jesus Christ.
'Kids Are Underbrush'
Marjorie Dannenfelser is president of the Susan B. Anthony List, a pro-life organization promoting pro-life candidates and legislation.
This long-time abortion foe explained how pro-choice advocates believe abortion has saved society from what the Nazis labeled "useless eaters," millions of unproductive young people that would have drained resources.
"Think about the roots of abortion where (Planned Parenthood founder) Margaret Sanger said the way to approach problems with the economy, problems with distribution of resources, is to eliminate the number of people who actually need those resources," Dannenfelser said.
"The thinking behind that, of course, is that kids are underbrush, and that there are certain parts of society that should be cleared out so that the rest of us can actually eat well and live with some distance between you and me," she explained.
"That's not a good way to make a decision. That puts people last, and people should be considered first," she told CBN News.
Father Pavone agreed.
"The continuation of legal abortion is seen by some as an ultimate long-term benefit for society," he explained. "But in reality, it's the opposite."
"Because with a declining population you have not only economic issues, because our greatest economic asset is people, you have national security issues," he continued. "The fabric of society itself is weakened when we allow the killing of the youngest children."
"Think of all the children that were aborted: over 50 million," Morana said, looking across the decades since the practice was legalized nationwide. "And that's just from surgical abortion. They would have been working and paying into society."
"Maybe government would not be shutting down and social security would not be going bankrupt because they would be productive citizens," she said.
'Made for a Purpose'
"The real question is 'can we afford not to have this child given what that child was meant to do and be?'" Dannenfelser asked.
She believes each aborted child could have contributed something important to the world.
"Because we know that each of them was made for a purpose," Dannenfelser said. "Many of those purposes were purposes that were never filled by somebody else."