"Her work is a living witness to the unconditional love and mercy that lies at the heart of the Culture of Life. We are pleased to honor her with the Notre Dame Evangelium Vitae Medal," he said.
In 1984, Thorn founded Project Rachel as a response to the psychological and emotional traumas which often follow abortion. Overseen by the United States bishops conference, it is now an active ministry in at least 165 dioceses throughout the U.S. It also functions in 25 other countries.
According to the Rachel Project website, the loss of a child by abortion can produce such effects as insomnia, depression, low self-esteem, and substance abuse. These effects occur in some women immediately, but more commonly they occur over the following 5-12 years after a terminated pregnancy.
Post-abortion syndrome is very common, the website states, but the negative effects of abortion are broadly ignored among the public. "Consequently, many women think that their grief reactions are somehow abnormal and believe that there is nowhere to turn for help," the website says.
The project offers those struggling from post-abortion trauma with a network of informational, medical, and spiritual resources. Under the program, beneficiaries will have access to mental health professionals, spiritual directors, educational material, and intercessory groups. The goal of the project is to provide these women with forgiveness, healing, and hope.
"Vicki Thorn's work has been a source of healing for women and men whose lives have been touched by abortion," said Father John Jenkins, the president of Notre Dame.