The second victims of abortions women - were the focus Saturday when members of the Salt Lake Christian Action Council addressed women's civil right to information on the effects of abortion during a press conference at the State Capitol.

The event was one of many to be held in June throughout the nation by participants of the Women At Risk project. The project is sponsored by pro-life groups throughout America who believe that women are being kept in the dark regarding the true nature of abortion."Since 1973, there have been over 20 million legal abortions in America. The main focus has centered around the unborn child," said LeeAnn Cheeley, president of the Salt Lake Christian Action Council. "There are no accurate records or statistics concerning the emotional and physical effects of abortion on women.

"Yet thousands of women are now coming forward to express the tremendous pain and devastation legalized abortion has produced in their lives."

Cheeley said that in a day when women have made so many strides for social justice and equality, "it is an outrage that they should be kept in the dark about the true nature of abortion.

"Women can get data about any other major surgical procedure, but not abortion," she stressed. "This is a blatant violation of the civil rights of all women."

Testimonials from women who have personally experienced the effects of abortion were distributed at the press conference. Each wrote of the pain and devastation legalized abortion has produced in her life.

"In 1974 I had a saline abortion. Since that time I have felt guilt, shame and a sense of loss at being the cause of my child's death," one local woman wrote. "For a while I turned to drugs and alcohol to help me forget the pain and shame that I felt."

The woman wrote that her information about the abortion process came from a girl at school, not a physician. "The only thing I was told is that the fetal tissue would be removed," she said. "I feel women have been dealt a low blow in these days of so-called strides in women's rights."

Another emotional account was by actress Patricia Neal, who said she and actor Gary Cooper wept after deciding to abort a child they conceived out of wedlock - and she continued to weep about the decision for another three decades.

"For over 30 years, alone, in the night, I cried," she writes in her autobiography. "If I had only one thing to do over in my life, I would have that baby."

The Utah Women At Risk delegation will present Gov. Norm Bangerter with a statement June 21 that addresses abortion-related complications for women. They will also request specific action.

Cheeley said this marks the first time a project of this nature has occurred in America, "and it will have national significance in the battle against abortion."