WASHINGTON — A leader in the pro-life movement says the conversation around abortion in America is changing, and urges supporters not to forget about post-abortive fathers who often suffer in silence.
"When people talk about how I'm pro-life and radical this and radical that, I let them know that I'm probably more pro-choice than they think I am. And that confuses people because they don't understand it," said Victoria Robinson, director of external relations for Save the Storks in a sit-down interview with The Christian Post at the Trump International Hotel before a black-tie banquet Thursday.
Nearly two-thirds of women feel pressured into an abortion, she recounted, stressing the need to lower that number through education, making sure women know all of their choices. And people are realizing that what they have done in the past hasn't worked.
"Attacking the other [pro-choice] side isn't a good way to handle anything. Nobody ever gets anything done screaming at each other. Because nobody is listening to each other," Robinson said.
The shift in conversation is personal for Robinson. Approximately 30 years ago, after her husband abandoned her and her two children, she got involved with another man and became pregnant and had an abortion. The abortion clinic staff told her that her pregnancy was at such an early stage it was just a clump of cells, that she would get over it, and that it was the best option for her given the circumstances.
"Immediately afterward, I knew it was something I would regret for the rest of my life. And it was," Robinson told CP.
A decade later she found help through a local pregnancy resource center and their post-abortive counseling ministry. It was there that she found hope that there is life and forgiveness after abortion. Today she urges those like her to share their stories, and believes it's essential for those voices to be elevated to frame the discourse.
"Stories sell. Facts tell people things, and people love to hear facts. Some people love all those numbers an stats. But to the majority of people, a story will sell them and move them to action," she explained.
The mission of her organization, Save the Storks, is about love, compassion, and action, "not about screaming in people's faces."
"You'll never see us walking around with dead babies on picket signs or calling people murderers if they're walking into an abortion clinic. We always lead with love compassion and action."
Far too often missing amid the swirl of strong feelings about abortion is how men are devastated by it. Nine out of 10 times couples split after an abortion, Robinson says. In her own journey after her abortion she grew to despise not only her ex-boyfriend but all men who left the women in their lives in similar situations.
"I felt it was his fault that I had to deal with all these ramifications from our choice. He's going on with his life, he seems so happy, we had a lot of the same circle of friends. I never ran into him but I heard about his life," she said.
"And it infuriated me. Here I was trying to get through my own healing, carrying all this hatred and unforgiveness toward this guy, as well as all other post-abortive men. I hated them all," she continued, recalling that she thought they seemed to move on with no sense of remorse.
But she knew when she wrote her book, “They Lied to Us,” a compilation of stories from women who had abortions, that her ex-boyfriend would probably hear about it. Even though she changed his name in her story to protect his identity she felt like she should call him. When he answered the phone and heard her voice he started weeping profusely, so much so that she could not understand what he was saying.
"I'm so sorry, I've waited for this call for over a decade, to beg for your forgiveness," he then told her though sobs, "to tell you how sorry I am for what I made you do, that I should have protected you and our child. It has haunted me all these years, and I've been in therapy for eight years trying to deal with it."
At that moment Robinson was able to release him from the hatred she had for him, and her soul was unburdened. But that phone call also shifted her perspective about post-abortive fathers.
"And it made me determined to be on a mission to make sure that not only should women have all the information about abortion but men as well. And to let them know that we are not going to forget you. We know there are 60 million plus of [them] in this country who are also hurting in silence and no one is talking about them."
"I don't know if I'll ever see Roe v. Wade overturned in my lifetime," she said, when asked what she makes of the political landscape and recent Supreme Court shift to what many are now calling a 5-4 conservative majority.
"But what I think has got to be overturned are the hearts and minds of people. That's what's got to change. And then if won't matter if Roe v. Wade is there."
Headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colorado, Save the Storks is a nonprofit ministry that partners with local pregnancy resource centers to inform an expecting mother of all of her options so that she can make the best choice for herself and give life to her baby.
The organization has built over 40 mobile medical units to help mothers make the choice to give life to more than 4,000 children, their website states.
At the banquet for the Save the Storks charity ball, Vice President Mike Pence and second lady Karen Pence showed up as surprise guests. The nonprofit group garnered national attention after comedian John Oliver highlighted the organization in a hostile skit on his show "Last Week Tonight" where he mocked pregnancy centers. The organization believes that what the enemy meant for evil God used for good.