On Jan. 25, students from both Students for Life and Medical Students for Life hosted a demonstration in which speakers from the local chapter of the Abortion Recovery International Network and the national Silent No More Awareness Campaign told of of their post-abortion traumas, both physical and mental. The women gathered at the flagpoles at noon and held signs with the words ‘I Regret My Abortion’ in bright yellow letters and a man held a sign that read, ‘I Regret Lost Fatherhood.’
Prior to the speeches, Joe Dinglasan, the president of Medical Students for Life, and members from other organizations erected a speaking area and set up a table with pamphlets. They handed out brochures and other information regarding post-abortion trauma.
Francis Barraza, the president of the Irvine Student Conservative Union, came in support of the pro-life demonstration.
‘I’m here to support this cause and to be here if anyone wants to talk about [abortion],’ Barraza said.
Students for Life President Vanessa Gonzales had specific goals for the demonstration.
‘I really hope that the student body will come out and see what effect abortions have on women because there’s so much politics involved on both sides,’ Gonzales said. ‘I think that quite often women [are] forgotten after the abortion and it’s really great to see people decide for themselves what abortion really means.’
The first speaker, Stacy Massey, explained that one in three people have been influenced by an abortion, either by encouraging or disapproving an abortion or by physically having an abortion.
Another speaker, Karen Reynoso, explained why she got her abortion.
‘I was [a] very scared, desperate, selfish, self-centered and foolish young adult,’ Reynoso said.
Reynoso explained the role the government played in her abortions.
‘With the state fully financing my abortion, I knew I could have one every time I needed one without paying for it, without paying the price for it,’ Reynoso said. ‘I was wrong.’
Reynoso explained that she had a second abortion and that ‘I was ignoring God’s truth in my conscience.’ As a result, Reynoso no longer believes it was her right to abort her baby.
‘I was disgusted how once I got pregnant I would cry out, ‘My rights, my body, my choice’ to justify my hardened heart [and] terminate my babies,’ Reynoso said.
The presence of two UC alumnae, Flo Martin from Berkeley and Quynh-thi Vidal from Irvine, were a constant reminder that unintended pregnancies can happen to college graduates, too.
Vidal explained that before her abortion, ‘I was a confident person, ready to take on the world. I knew what I wanted, and that was to have a family and the American dream that everybody seeks. After the abortion I felt so depressed. I worried about everything, even the smallest details of life. I no longer looked forward to the future and no longer looked forward to going out with friends.’
However, she found help with the support and encouragement of her husband who was present for support.
‘Fortunately, with the encouragement and support of my wonderful husband, Steven, I got help,’ Vidal said. ‘I went through a post-abortion recovery class through my church. With their help I found forgiveness through God.’
Yet not all statements on Wednesday were in support of the rally. A passerby shouted to Massey during a closing speech, ‘Do some research!’
Massey replied that she had done research, and that’s why she was there, sharing her knowledge with the public.
Dinglasan expressed what he hoped was accomplished that day.
‘What we really hope for, is for everyone to realize the whole issues about abortion doesn’t just affect the babies that are lost but, just as importantly, the women who suffer emotionally so much from having to go through an abortion.’