Three of us stood at a bulletproof window separating us from an armed, uniformed receptionist. She slid a sign-in sheet and black pen through a small opening and asked us to sign it and exchange our driver's licenses for a visitor's badge. All the while I thought back to what I heard in orientation: In the case of lock-down, visitors will be escorted out; however, under certain circumstances, they may be required to stay until the situation is resolved. What was I getting myself into? Maybe my husband was right, and I should have declined the invitation to co-lead one of the post-abortion healing retreats Rachel's Hope takes into the local women's jail.
Substance abuse is common among many women trying to deal with the emotional turmoil from abortion. It's a perfect, but temporary, way to forget or minimize what we have done; however, the negative feelings continue to surface which leads to more and more self-medicating. Dependence increases to the point of desperation and total loss of control. These women were all involved with drugs and alcohol at some level, and when hearing their accounts, one phrase entered my mind: "There but for the grace of God, go I." As I said earlier, I am a recovering alcoholic. Abusing alcohol was the method I used to forget my two abortions. I drove drunk all the time, but luckily never got caught. I could have very easily caused an accident resulting in injury or death to another and ended up attending this jail retreat instead of co-leading.
Note: I am not claiming incarcerated women who have had an abortion(s) are there because they aborted their child(ren). They are incarcerated due to their actions. However, the psychological effects their "choice" have on them could very easily exacerbate other contributing factors.