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The gentleness and care with which you respond can make all the difference.

Then, be prepared by reading about Post-Abortion Stress Syndrome (PASS) and how to help women get started on the road to healing.

Locate a PASS group in your area, or help start one.

Read current research on abortion and its medical effects.

At the pivotal moment when the woman acknowledges her abortion, "a voice of empathy & compassion with a simple ‘Oh, I’m so sorry. Can I be of any help?’ may help open a long-locked door just a bit".

Listen; don’t try to "solve" all her problems.

Make a "safe place for her to begin her journey of healing…you may be the very first person she has ever spoken to about [her abortion]. You can assure her that it is normal to find it very hard to talk about this…Introducing that idea may act as a kind of permission slip for some women to open up a little bit more. She may find it hard to believe that a pro-life person could love the broken person in front of him or her and still hate the tragedy that made her that way…Most of her defensiveness is only a mask that hides deep pain."

If you find yourself confronted in a public setting by an uninvited, "angry young woman", gather yourself and your wits and say ‘thank you’ for her honesty. Yes, thank you! Tell her that you are sorry that she has been down that road but that you are grateful that she was willing to tell you what she truly feels about her experiences…A word of caution: never allow yourself to be drawn into an argument. You will not win this one! Calmly tell your angry ‘opponent’ that you are deeply sorry that she felt that her only option was to have an abortion. Focus only on the woman at such a moment…Is it OK to gently ask questions? Yes. Ask her how long ago it all happened. And be sure you listen carefully to the answers. Let your discussion become a person-to-person moment. Help her to understand that you see her as a human being, not an abstraction… Then remind her that there are many women with similar experiences…"

[Nat. Rt to Life News, Dec02, "Finding Just the Right Words" by Olivia Gans, American Victims of Abortion]