Margaret Cuthill may physically be over 60 and sadly about to retire, but she has the passion and energy for pro-life activism, of a young woman. Very possibly, because she found out, first hand, as a young women that abortion destroys lives – both the child and the mother. Glasgow born Margaret has lived in the West of Scotland all her life. Margaret first learned about SPUC Scotland in 1988 at a meeting in Dumbarton where two women were sharing their experience of abortion and the emotional/psychological damage that had severely impacted their lives.
Margaret recollects “it was a watershed day for me as I could relate to all they spoke about – the fear and panic experienced in a crisis pregnancy and the emotional pain having had two abortions. My second abortion in November 1983 was believed to be a ‘successful procedure’ but as I did not have a period after the abortion I contacted BPAS and had the post-operative medical examination they offered. I saw two doctors, one did not believe I had had the abortion and said something was in my womb and the other said I was approx. 20 weeks pregnant. To confirm, I was sent for a scan where I saw a baby at 20weeks 4 days gestation and the reality of life, seeing my baby in the womb, broke my denial of what the abortionist’s still promote today that ‘life in the womb is just cells or a blob of jelly’.
In this pregnancy, unbeknown to me and the medics, I was carrying twins. One twin had been aborted and the other survived. The reality that I had caused the death of two children was immense and I was shocked to my very core. I was offered a further abortion which I refused as I had now seen the truth of life in the womb. I was privileged and blessed to give birth to a daughter Pamela 20 weeks later”
Aspects of the healing process from the impact of abortion, for Margaret and many others, involves some analysis of what led them to see the door of the abortion clinic as offering a solution. Amongst other things, this opened up for Margaret the reality of the hidden agendas by those who promote and provide abortion in the UK. They exploit those who are vulnerable and in crisis, they deny the humanity of both the mother and her child.
Abortion is a life and death situation and when those who are persuaded by whatever means to believe that the death of their children is an answer to problems in life; it must be challenged on all fronts. Having lived the pain you cannot remain silent. From that SPUC meeting in 1988 at Dumbarton a nucleus of post- abortive women met together on a regular basis and British Victims of Abortion (BVA), now Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline (ARCH) was founded.
Margaret has been working full-time, since 1991 in the education on the damage of abortion and the recovery of those suffering after their abortion experience. She is the Project Coordinator of ARCH. This she says, apart from being a mum to Pamela and now a grandmother to Lucy, has been the most satisfying and rewarding aspect of her life so far.
Margaret feels “I have so much to be thankful for and the rewards of this are countless. In 24 years I have met so many wonderful people, have seen their lives change for the better and know that each telephone conversation, each counselling session has made a huge difference in that person’s life in giving them the means to understand their part in the death of their children and that forgiving themselves is possible. Hearing their pain, circumstances and situations has also given me invaluable insight into my own life and that of who I call the walking wounded”
Post-abortion trauma is a type of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and not only impacts the mother. The father, grandparents, wider society and even those who perform and promote abortion are damaged too. ARCH covers each area of this, helping all who make contact for healing, research material or media interviews. We must counteract the false statements that abortion is good for women, families and our society.
Margaret says she “is happy to be a thorn in the flesh of the abortion industry. At the same time as being a source of support and healing to the many hurt by abortion. Human beings are created to be relational, a parent is not wired to destroy their young nor is society, and it will change who we are, how we live and how we act. To stand for the value and preciousness of life should be part of living but as it is not, those of us who are fully aware can make a difference when we share this truth from a heart of love. Some may see it as a battle of words but understanding who has the abortion, why they thought it was the answer will be the keys to change hearts and minds. It also puts in place the reconciliation of the mother to the child she has lost in a hostile world”
Margaret will retire at Christmas, though her commitment to pro-life and healing will continue. ARCH, too, will continue, and has many valuable befrienders who assist on the helpline and other individuals committed to its success. ARCH as an organisation has so much to offer the Pro-life World, who better to tell the truth of the terrible price of the death of her child and her part in its destruction than the mother. Knowledge is Power and education on the reality of Post-abortion Trauma must continue to be spoken about in the public domain by every Pro-lifer.
ARCH established a UK wide Helpline in 1998 which is available between 9 – 5pm Mon to Friday and every evening of the year between 7 – 10pm. Training in this area is available and a course is arranged for January 2016.
The wider damage of abortion within families to the fathers, grandparents, siblings and friends is also becoming more evident and ARCH’s counselling support and understanding is growing in this area of need. Hope for the future (when hope is lost) is what ARCH gives to the walking wounded of abortion. Margaret hopes we will continue to tell the full story because it is not only the mothers who suffer the impact of the loss of the child who has died but all of us in the human family.
Margaret will be greatly missed when she retires, but the spirit of her work will live on.
Abortion Recovery Care and Helpline: 0845 603 8501 www.archtrust.org.uk