Abortion – Rachel’s Vineyard 

Healing the trauma of abortion one weekend at a time

Rachel’s Vineyard is a healing ministry for those who are suffering from the trauma of abortion. The organisation offers a retreat programme that runs over the course of a weekend and allows participants the opportunity to come to terms with the grief and regret that they have experienced following an abortion experience. 

Grant Award – Rachel’s Vineyard received a Day for Life grant in 2023. 

The organisation’s retreats are open to people of all faiths and none. Each has a Christian basis and there is a hand-picked priest present across the whole weekend to provide the sacraments and to be a face of Jesus in the exercises throughout the weekend. They also attend to be a positive male role model for participants because many that come to a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend have had negative experiences with a male figure in their life. The safety and emotional wellbeing of participants is paramount which is why retreat facilitators are trained to a very high standard. There is also always a licensed and highly experienced psychotherapist present to ensure the mental and emotional wellbeing of participants. 

Rachel Mackenzie is the National Director of Rachel’s Vineyard UK:  

“When working with post-abortive women and men I often say, ‘if you don’t heal from what hurt you, you will bleed on people who never cut you.’ In a society that often doesn’t even acknowledge that post-abortive trauma exists, a place of safety, compassion and healing is so essential. 

“This what Rachel’s Vineyard is about: offering people experiencing post-abortive trauma the opportunity to shed their shame and find hope after grief.” 

Rachel’s Vineyard provided a place of compassion. It’s where the hurting are seen, acknowledged, and healed.


How has the funding helped the organisation? 

“Without funding from Day for Life, we simply would not be able to do the work that we do to the standard that we do it,” says Rachel. “Each place on the retreat costs over £1,000. Thanks to the Day for Life Fund, we are able to subsidise this cost so that attendees pay £275 or less to attend depending on their financial situation. Aftercare is also extremely important, and the Day for Life fund finances counselling and psychotherapy for those who require further mental health support.” 

Following the retreats, some of the participants have been keen to explore the Christian faith at a deeper level. This has led to running an annual Rachel’s Vineyard Alpha and regular Lectio Divina groups. “These opportunities are really important,” says Rachel. “It demonstrates to participants that there is a life after abortion – that there is hope.” 

Rachel speaks from a position of profound understanding having had two abortions:  

“I had heard about Rachel’s Vineyard a few times as a young woman but always dismissed the idea of attending a retreat. But over a number of years, I felt a nudge to attend and reluctantly signed up. Like so many others, I did not want to go. But by Sunday, I just didn’t want to leave. 

“What I experienced that weekend was utterly profound. Through Rachel’s Vineyard’s retreat and support I was able to recognise that I had been carrying so much guilt, denial and shame not just about my abortions but also around traumatic experiences that took place beforehand. 

“Whether you have gone through an abortion procedure yourself, have been affected by a family member’s abortion, or have worked in the abortion industry, I want you to know that you are worthy, you are loved, and healing is possible.” 

You can listen to an 8-minute interview with Rachel here:

Catholic News
Catholic News
Helping women recover and heal after an abortion

Image: ‘Memorial of the Unborn’ by Martin Hudacek.