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Evansville, Indiana
January 17, 1997     The Message
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January 17, 1997

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m 1997 The Message -- for Catholics of Southwestern Indiana 3 ject Rachel i sling is available to mothers---and fathers S writer the Project offered coun- who have had ny people are :OUnseling pro- available to the babies. Rachel program in fEvansville is coor- Catholic Chari- director services has who are emotional after- remembers, brochure years before he referred to a priest, he of his child, teenager. fathers and follow- S!rahan, iSSue of notes, abor- rein- function, risk over angry and vio- toa clas- alterman " men and women suffer from this syn- drome. Feelings might also include anxiety, repression and denial, psychological numbing, re- experiencing the abortion, preoc- cupation with becoming pregnant again, anxiety over fertility and childbearing issues, interruption of the bonding process with pre- sent and/or future children, sur- vivor guilt, development of eating disorders, alcohol and/or sub- stance abuse, and anniversary syndrome. Many women re-live their abor- tion experience when they hear noises similar to those they heard in the abortion clinic, such as the sound of a vacuum which is simi- lar to the sound of the equipment during the abortion procedure. While the men don't have those memories, they often have vivid memories of the day of the abor- tion. "The man often remembers with clarity exactly what he was doing that day, how fast he was driving, where the clinic was, what exactly he did during the abortion. Even 15 or 16 years later, they remember exactly what they did." The counseling process involves four steps. First, the mothers and fathers must accept the reality of the loss. During this time, they are encouraged to name the child. They might reflect on how they think their child might look. As they acknowledge their grief, they need to explore their feelings of pain, guilt, anger and sadness. They are encouraged to write a letter to the child. Both the mothers and the fathers must then look at their current lives and decide how they can live effec- tively with rendders of the child, of the abortion, of the anniversary, and their continued feelings about loss. Finally, it is important for the mothers and fathers to let go of their loss and reinvest in their lives. Many times, a Mass will be said for the child or there may be a naming ceremony. Halterman said many parents write letters to their children, and then take them to the Project Rachel monument at St. Joseph Cemetery in Evansville. In her counseling work, Hal- terman said she deals with men and teenage boys whose wies or girlfriends are planning to have abortions. The men have no legal standing to stop the abortion pro- cedures. Many times, they will call her "in tears. They want to know what they can do, but they don't have any legal rights. 'You don't think of young men, even teenagers, crying, but they do." She also counsels men who come for counseling"often after a traumatic event has triggered the memory of an abortion. There may be divorce or death, and they feet God is punishing them." Halterman said they suffer from feelings of guilt that, "maybe I didn't do enough. They say, 'I wish I would have realized what I'd have to pay,' and 'I wish I would have gone back there and stopped it.' 'lhey are often troubled with dreams about the baby. They say, Fhe baby is calling me,' and they talk about the child walking towards them." She added, "It's a very similar reaction as thewomen, a reaction of%vhat have I done? . During counseling, the fathers eventually come to a stage where they believe that God has forgiv- en them. The hardest part, Hal- terman has found, is "not forgiv- ing themselves." -- following abortion The Project Rachel memorial is found at St. Joseph Ceme- tery, Evansville. "As men, they feel that they are terman says, "They think it's a protectors, but they have the guilt quick cure-all, but they have to of not being there as that protec- - deal with it during the rest of ton" their lives. : The men Halterman has coun- seled know the ages of their For additional information aborted children, and they think a about the Project Racheprogram, lot about "what would my son be contact your parish priest or doing? Would he be in sportsT' Catholic Charities at (812) 423- Of the abortion procedure, Hal- 5456. (CNs) __ As COnsiders d one eth- fore- *ral argu- York in courts con- their With the Rul-- suicide cases raise questions in court and society cases, the advocates to peo- press outside the .' might sui- those il. questioned a COnstitu. necessary raised was whether the court would be jus- for the disabled said such a slide the treatment of suffering which terminally ill people who ratio- tiffed in invalidating in one fell away from the narrowly defined is to 'kill the sufferer." nally choose it. swoop the laws of every state pro- hibiting assisted suicide. They questioned whether the 10 years or so since the subject arose in the United States have provided sufficient national experience upon which the court could base a constitutional finding. And they raised the assertions of some of the dozens of friend- of-the-court briefs filed in the cases that there is no realistic way of confining the use of assist- ed suicide to only those termi- nally ill people who choose it according to strict guidelines. Several of the justices focused on the contention of opponents of assisted suicide who argue that legalization would start a slide toward including people who are not necessarily terminally ill. "The difficulty I have is I'm not sure how I should value or weight those restrictions," said Justice David Souter, question- ing whether laws defining the eli- gible class of terminally ill peo- ple facing imminent death would see a "slippage  to include others. "What basis do I have for eval- . uating whether that's going to happen?" he asked William L. Williams, Washington state's senior assistant attorney gener- al, who presented the argument to keep the state's ban on assist- ed suicide. Outside the court, advocates group of dying patients would inevitably include people like themselves. "We're not dead yet! We want to live!" was the demonstrators' refrain. "This case is about the 'right'of the government to murder its dis- abled citizens," Michael Auberger of Denver, who uses a wheelchair, told the rally. "They're killing us now. Our people are dying oVDo not resus- citate' orders. We are the targets," said Lucy Gwin of Rochester, N.Y., founding editor of Mouth, a monthly advocacy magazine for those with disabilities. "It's incredibly important that we cluster together, support each other, love each other, cherish each othe1:,  Mary Jane Owen, executive director of the Nation- al Catholic Office for Persons With Disabilities, told the crowd. "Who is terminal? We all aret" she said. "We are all vulnerable. We are all fragile." At a press conference Jan. 7, doctors and attorneys raised what they said are unaddressed issues in the debate. Dr. Kathleen M. Foley, co-chief of the Pain and Palliative Care Service of New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, said the decisions under review "devalue the dying patient and in the name of compassion have developed a post-modern view of At the press conference host- ed by the National Right to Life Committee, speakers argued that public support for assisted suicide and the rulings from the U.$. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit and for the 9th Circuit are based on the unrealistic per- ception that a right to suicide is something that can be limited to A study released by the Amer- ican Medical Association two days before the court hearing concluded that when given all the facts about physician-assist- ed suicide and such alternatives as hospice care and natural death, Americans by a 54o-i margin would choose the alter- natives if terminally ill. People we care about... Following is a feature in the Message, designed to help draw together the People of God in southwestern Indiana. Readers are invited to submit information about people who may ben- efit by some extra prayers and attention. * Services were held Dec. 3 for Doyle Bone St., 88, who died Nov. 29. He re u superintendent at St. Joseph Cemetery, Evans- ville, after 18 years. He also served as socre- tary-treasurer of the Catholic Cemetery Board. Survivors include three daughters, Margaret Fischer and Pauline Kempf, beth of St. Philip, and Jo Ann Morris of Evansville; two sons, BONE Charles of St. Philip and Robert of Evansville, a sister, Mary Bone of El Paso, Texas; 29 grand- children; 38 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grand- children. Services were held at Sacred Heart Church, Evansville, with burial in St. Joseph Cemetery. Please send information for PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT to Mary Ann Hughes, The Message, P.O. Box 4t69, Evansville, IN 47724.