Former Senate candidate meets with women who had abortions to better understand issue, effects

| August 20, 2018 | 0 Comments

Ann Marie Cosgrove talks Aug. 6 with Bob Anderson, who launched a U.S. Senate bid before losing in the Republican primary Aug. 14. Cosgrove, founder of Silent No More Minnesota, joined three other women to tell Anderson their stories of having an abortion. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Casey Andrus of Chisago City had second thoughts during her first abortion procedure at the age of 18.

“I just remember sitting there and was looking out the window [and] was so numb,” said Andrus, 27. “After the first day, I was already having so many second thoughts, but I was just like ‘I’m already too far along.’”

She went to a Planned Parenthood center at 21 weeks pregnant, but had to be referred to another facility for the abortion. She went in for a two-day procedure, with the second day falling on Christmas Eve.

She said she felt the pressure of her then-boyfriend who accompanied her for the abortion. After having the abortion, she became depressed an addicted to Heroin.

“I wouldn’t leave the house,” Andrus said. “I lost my job.”

Andrus, who attends Zion Evangelical Lutheran in Chisago City, shared her story among a group of post-abortive women gathered for a panel discussion Aug. 6 with former U.S. Senate candidate Bob Anderson, a dental technician, at Boom Island Park in Minneapolis. Anderson listened to their stories in order to better understand why women seek abortion and how it affects them.

“It’s powerful because I think the awareness that the emotional suffering that these women have suffered could be such a powerful testimony to help women make a decision for better, for life in the future, if they see how much it caused depression and just shame and guilt,” said Anderson, a Republican candidate from Hastings who attends the Cathedral of St. Paul in St. Paul. Anderson lost his bid for the Republican nomination Aug. 14.

Ann Marie Cosgrove, the president of Silent No More Minnesota, organized the event after originally planning to meet one-on-one with Anderson regarding abortion’s affect on women. Silent No More Minnesota, a nonprofit in Minneapolis, provides awareness of the impact of abortion on women and men through the sharing of their own stories.

Cosgrove shared her own story of having an abortion. So did Kaylyn Knopp, a parishioner of Sacred Heart in Robbinsdale, who will take over as president of Silent No More Minnesota in the next year. Knopp currently serves as program manager for the Conquerors post-abortive support program with New Life Family Services, a Richfield-based nonprofit serving women in crisis pregnancies.

Anderson said he hopes to encourage other politicians to learn about women who have had abortions and how it has affected them, in addition to building awareness of the resources available to women to choose life. He said that the meeting affirmed the importance of people reaching out and helping abortion-vulnerable woman choose life.

Minneapolis-based nonprofit Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life executive director Scott Fishbach said post-abortive women speaking with political candidates seems like an “untapped” resource. MCCL works to influence legislators and candidates on abortion and other dignity of life issues through lobbying, education and citizen engagement.

“The women who have gone through the abortion experience and work with candidates really are incredibly important because they can speak to the issue from a standpoint that lawyers and lobbyists and other politicians can’t,” Fischbach said.

The urgency continues as the number of abortions in the U.S. since Roe v. Wade has surpassed 55 million, according to Washington D.C.-based nonprofit National Right to Life. Cosgrove said that one in three women have had abortions by age 45.

“The stories need to be told out there,” said Prokop, a St. Paul resident who attends Rockpoint Evangelical Free church in Lake Elmo. “You never hear it on the talk shows … . No one ever did a panel, ‘This is what happened to me.’ Things don’t change unless they hear.”

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