Cecile Richards: One thing you can’t hide is when you’re crippled inside

December 11th, 2014





 

      Steinam            Cecile Richards                                      

This post was co-authored by Kevin Burke, LSW, co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, and Janet Morana.

 

…You can hide your face behind a smile…

You can live a lie until you die

 But one thing you can’t hide – is when you’re crippled inside.

- John Lennon, Crippled Inside

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards disclosed in Elle in October that she  had an abortion:

I had an abortion. It was the right decision for me and my husband, and it wasn’t a difficult decision. Before becoming president of Planned Parenthood eight years ago, I hadn’t really talked about it beyond family and close friends. But I’m here to say, when politicians argue and shout about abortion, they’re talking about me—and millions of other women around the country.

It is not an accident that some of the founding members of pro abortion feminism and abortion rights movements such as Kate Michelman (N.O.W.), Gloria Steinem and others are women with abortions in their history.  Reacting to the success of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in presenting the truth of abortion’s devastation in women’s lives, Richard’s recent public testimony is part of an overall strategy by the pro abortion movement to normalize abortion.  Their strategy is to affirm this most commonly performed medical procedure as a benign rite of passage for many women.

There are powerful post-abortion forces that lead some women to embrace their “choice” and become proponents of abortion rights.

What is really going on here?  First we need to start with basic biology.

The Body Doesn’t Lie

When a woman becomes pregnant, everything in her body is gearing up to welcome, protect and nurture the unborn child.  The female body is not ambivalent or fiercely ideological about the abortion issue – when conception occurs the female body is never asking:

 Is this really a good time for me to welcome this child into the world?

This guys already squirming and I am going to be stuck with this baby.  I need to abort.

I want to finish college first.

I was date raped and traumatized…I can’t have this baby.

Once the child is conceived and if it continues to naturally develop a host of complex, mysterious and very natural transformations begin…all very much designed to accept, protect and nurture this little life – regardless of the circumstances.

If you can imagine the body speaking after the abortion procedure, it would cry out:

What have you done to me, why did you invade my body and force opens my cervix and destroyed this child I was nurturing and protecting…and abruptly shut down the process of breast growth (which increases vulnerability to breast cancer)?  Why did you allow this violent abusive act? 

Even though there may be conscious assent to the procedure, abortion is undeniably a shock to a woman’s reproductive system and body.  On a physical and emotional level, Abortion is experienced as an unnatural and violent act…truly a form of abuse.

But as human persons we aren’t just bodies detached from thoughts and feelings… our emotions, our spirit and our minds are interwoven into our being.

The Power of Denial

Now the mind is also a powerful part of the human person.  In order for us to keep functioning under great stress or danger, we can for a time shut down our feelings, detach from them and repress this dark material deep into the unconscious and with the release of adrenaline and endorphins keep going.

Psychological survival after participating in the death of an unborn baby requires us to rationalize that we made the right decision…for ourselves and the child.  Pro abortion affirmation campaigns, and friends and family often confirm this denial and the dismissal of any feelings of regret or pain with comments such as:

Now you can get on with your life- one day you can welcome a baby into this world when you are in a better place in your life…a time that is best for you and your family.

Some women and many men have the capacity to detach from, repress and deny this painful abortion violation and on the surface function quite well.  They often become worhaholics or develop other addictive behaviors and tend to have problems in their marriage and family relationships as they expend considerable emotional energy suppressing the natural complicated grief and loss that the body, mind and soul experience after abortion.

Agents of Death – Re Enacting Complicated Abortion Grief

Some further solidify this abortion denial by become pro abortion activists and even abortion center employees/volunteers.  Cecile Richards falls into this category.  Richards, Steinem, Michelman and many other activists can for many years normalize their trauma and deny the complicated grief of their losses by helping others have abortions.

They are in a very real sense re-enacting their abortion trauma in the lives of other women becoming active agents in perpetuating the cycles of trauma and death.   They also project their complicated grief, anger and pain onto those dangerous anti-choice advocates who hate women and want to control their bodies and lives.

But this denial and repression comes at a very high price over time.  It establishes a very powerful psychological division within the mother but also the father as well.

God shares his eternal nature with his created creatures.

God shares his image and likeness with us…it is interwoven into our humanity, and helps define our unique nature among the other mammals. We, his children, are destined for eternal life with our Eternal Father.

We share in the capacity to co-create with God in bringing new souls, new life into this world.   Just as the body is geared up to nurture and protect the child, so as the child develops in the womb our natural vocation as parents is to welcome this new life, this new soul into the world.

We know that many pregnancy situations are filled with anxiety, stress, and various pressures.  But as the baby develops in its mother’s womb, there is a deeper internal assent and acceptance of the pregnancy within the body, heart and soul of the mother well before the conscious decision to abort.

When we participate in the death of an unborn child we are aborting the birth of that unique person and soul into the world.  We violate something fundamental to our vocation as creatures of the Eternal Father, as co creators of life…we rupture our relationship with the Creator.  This is often an unconscious rupture though some are acutely aware at the time of the abortion of this violation.  It is very deep and desperately cries out for reconciliation and healing.

Crippled Inside

Without an integrated emotional and spiritual healing of an abortion loss you will never be a whole integrated person..as Catholic Evangelist Matthew Kelly is fond of saying- the best version of yourself.  You may be a decent, caring, loving person with many wonderful gifts and qualities…but you will remain in the recesses of your heart and soul – deeply wounded.

Worse, if your form of compensation and denial is to promote abortion rights, like Cecile Richards you are not only ignoring your own pain… you are inflicting untold damage on millions of unborn children and their families.

 -  Janet Morana and Kevin Burke, LSW

 

 

 

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Assault by emergency contraception

December 5th, 2014





Dr. Thomas A. Pfeiffer

Dr. Thomas A. Pfeiffer

It seems like just about every day there is another news story involving a pregnant woman and a violent man who doesn’t want to be a father. Earlier this week, the news was the 25-years-to life-sentence given to a 22-year-old man who suffocated, burned and then dumped the body of his 14-year-old girlfriend after she told him she was pregnant and refused to abort the child.

Today’s story is about a 44-year-old anesthesiologist in upstate New York who allegedly choked a woman who told him she was pregnant and forced her to swallow what news outlets are reporting variously as “an abortion pill” or Plan B.

The woman was treated and released from a hospital, but the fate of her unborn child is still not known. One of the reporters covering the story said she has repeatedly asked if the baby is alive, but the Ulster County Sheriff’s Office is not answering.

I pray the baby is alive. But if the baby has died, all those who insist emergency contraception is not abortifacient will finally have to face reality.

From a pro-life perspective – and from a purely scientific perspective, before politics got involved – contraception, both emergency and otherwise, is abortifacient by its nature. Pregnancy begins when the egg is fertilized, which is basic biology, but in 1965, in order to make the new birth control Pill more palatable to the public, the definition of when a woman was considered pregnant was changed. Since then, pregnancy is officially considered to begin at implantation. (Not all doctors agree with this new measurement).

This particular case in Ulster County could finally blow the lid off the deception surrounding emergency contraception. If an implanted embryo died post-implantation, there is no more arguing about Plan B’s abortifacient nature.

If the baby has died, it also opens up a whole new can of worms for Obamacare. The Hyde Amendment prohibits federal funds from being used to pay for abortion. But the Affordable Care Act provides federal subsidies for millions of people who are now buying insurance on the national exchange, and, thanks to the HHS mandate that insurance includes free contraception and emergency contraception for everyone (with some faith-based exceptions). If emergency contraception killed this baby, then federal funds are most definitely being used to fund abortion.

This baby’s death would certainly help pro-lifers get our point across about the true nature of emergency contraception and the illegal use of federal funds to pay for abortion. But I pray the baby is alive, because every life matters.

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Brave Mom Rejects Pressure to Abort Her Disabled Child, Finds Guardian Angels at “The Promise”

November 18th, 2014





Pregnant-woman[1]

by Janet Morana and Kevin Burke, LSW

Blessed are the poor in spirit … for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Here’s a real life situation that is tailor made for pro abortion apologists:

- Arielle is a single mother of two young children and facing an unplanned   pregnancy. In the early stages of her prenatal care the doctor told her “your baby has a serious medical condition and won’t survive.”  Arielle’s baby girl had a chromosomal defect known as Trisomy 18, along with severe cardiac defects. The chances of her child surviving a full term pregnancy, let alone being born alive were slim. And if the baby was born alive, she would likely die before her first birthday.

In the majority of cases like this the unborn baby will be aborted. The mother (and father if involved) will face the complicated grief and trauma that are common after such procedures.

Medical Pressures to Abort

Arielle was a patient at a Pittsburgh-based hospital pregnancy clinic. Many of the medical professionals advised her to abort.  When Arielle informed them that she was going to carry the child to term, she found that the clinic did not want to spend money on a life that was not expected to survive long after birth. Arielle was feeling more isolated and alone. Her hope was that clinic personnel would be more sensitive and attentive to her struggle as an expectant mother of a child with medical challenges.

Despite great pressure Arielle resisted. She drew upon a deepening of her faith and trust in God. She revealed a spiritual wisdom that far exceeded that of the highly educated medical professionals who were presenting abortion as the only reasonable solution to her problem pregnancy.

Arielle reflects on their temptations to abort:

“Do you know how the devil makes bad things look good?” 
Arielle discerned that if her daughter were to die, then the death of her baby should be natural, not based on her decision…but on God’s timing. Arielle made the brave choice to carry her baby girl to term. When she shared the news of her baby’s poor prognosis with her 9 year-old daughter and 8 year-old son, their response, like their mother’s revealed an advanced level of trust in God’s providence:

“We will love her as long as she’s with us,” the children told their mother.

Even with her strong faith and supportive children, Arielle was still alone with a very challenging diagnosis, and an uncertain future.

Thankfully the faithfulness of Arielle and her family was rewarded when a representative from Northside Christian Community Health Center told her about The Promise.

The Promise is a Pittsburgh based prolife program of Catholic Palliative Services committed to walking alongside families with a poor prognosis for their unborn and newly born infants. They help women like Ariel to face their journey with hope and optimism.

Arielle came to The Promise overwhelmed and not aware of her options and the best way to proceed. The Promise team of Lori Heil and doula, Brandy Rawls offered the support and guidance to help Arielle discern the best options for her care:

“Brandy knew questions that I didn’t even think of,” Arielle stated.

Advocates for Life

One of the most important resources The Promise provides is advocacy for the mother and child. Parents face an uphill battle in a medical climate that can be hostile to those that choose life-affirming alternatives when facing a fetal disability. Arielle was being denied appointments with neonatologists and other specialists. She needed a knowledgeable advocate for herself and her unborn baby. Here’s where a resource like The Promise is so important.

Promise representatives attended Arielle’s clinic appointments and secured the care typical for a pregnant woman. “Lori and Brandy helped to put things into perspective that were too touchy for others to handle,” Arielle shared.

When she chose not to terminate her pregnancy, clinic personnel were encouraging Arielle to place the baby in a hospital setting after her birth. Knowing that she had a team of people focusing on a live birth and possible discharge to home alleviated many of the unknowns for Arielle. Through The Promise, Arielle’s baby would have the opportunity to be at home with family, with medical care provided by Catholic Hospice.

A Brief Life…an Eternal Destiny

Alonna Angel quietly entered this world on Thursday, September 18, 2014 at 3:27 PM weighing four pounds, two ounces and measuring 17 ½ inches long. Approximately twenty minutes later, she took her final breath on this earth while lovingly cradled in the arms of her mother.

Everything happens for a reason. How often we have heard that phrase as a condolence statement in reaction to a difficult time in our lives. Although it’s meant to be supportive, most often it can also evoke great sadness and heartache. But for those who maintain a strong and faithful relationship with God…like Arielle and her family…everything happens for His reason.

Although the emotional healing will take time, a memorial service is being planned to recognize Alonna Angel’s short life on this earth and the great love that her mother and siblings hold for her. Arielle’s hope is that her experience with this pregnancy will get her to a place where she can help others going through the similar situations. The Promise will follow Arielle and her two surviving children for 13 months in a specialized bereavement program.

Every life is a miracle, whether long or short, it is worthy and matters. Arielle demonstrated incredible faith and strength to give her daughter the gift of life.

Support services provided through The Promise are made possible by community contributions and foundation grant support. If you would like more information on the program or to contribute, call 1.866.933.6221.

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Jane Fonda: Abortion apologist and abortion survivor

November 11th, 2014





85th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals

I’m just catching up to the news that Jane Fonda and her brother, Peter Fonda, are abortion survivors. Their mother, who was sexually abused by a piano tuner as a child and physically abused by her two husbands, George Brokaw and Henry Fonda, had nine abortions before Jane was born and finally took her own life.

In one of her books and at an event last month, Ms. Fonda said that when she learned of the sexual abuse that began when her mother was just a child, she was able to forgive her for the suicide that left her without a mother at the age of 12.

Ms. Fonda is less forthcoming on what she thinks about the nine abortions, except to say they played a role in Francis Fonda’s ultimate act of desperation.
Perhaps her near-silence on her mother’s abortions can be explained by Jane Fonda’s vocal support of abortion over the last several decades. If she’s advocating free and open access to the very thing that contributed to her mother’s suicide, that’s a clear indication she’s in denial.

Pro-aborts love to say there is no link from abortion to suicide, and though they raked researcher Priscilla Coleman over the coals when she uncovered a substantial link, the fact cannot be hidden forever.

In a 2010 study, researchers from the National Center for Biotechnology Information – which works hand in hand with the National Institutes of Health – found that abortion was associated with an increased likelihood of several mental disorders, including anxiety, substance abuse, suicidal ideation and attempted suicide.

But beyond the abortion-suicide link, Francis Fonda’s multiple abortions very likely fueled the problems Jane Fonda experienced and has often discussed: Low self-esteem, poor body image, eating disorders and other problems.

Dr. Philip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist who is an expert on survivor syndrome following abortion, has written that surviving children – including those who know only intuitively that they have lost siblings to abortion –can develop a “wanted” mentality that makes them see themselves as objects and not people. They become possessions, and as such are expected to meet the expectations of those around them. These children are trying to be the perfect child in order to prove their worth to their parents.

Jane’s pro-abortion activism also might be a direct result of her mother’s nine abortions and subsequent suicide. Abortion researchers have long proposed that the high rate of repeat abortions is a result of post-traumatic re-enactment, an unconscious coping mechanism that prompts people to repeat an experience, even if it was terrible, as a way of justifying it, or normalizing it.

Maybe one way Jane tried to make sense of her mother’s tortured past was to try to normalize it by advocating abortion as a good thing, as a right to which every woman is entitled.

Jane Fonda’s recent musings, including a blog she maintains on her website, indicate that as she ages, she is growing more introspective. She has apologized for her controversial meeting with North Vietnamese soldiers during the Vietnam War and even advocates for abstinence in her book “Being a Teen.” Perhaps we can look forward to a day when she will change her pro-abortion views and honestly discuss what it felt like to learn that she was not one of two children, but one of 11.

When she’s ready to take that step, I hope she will seek healing and finally find the peace that has eluded her.

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Glen Campbell and Brittany Maynard Face Their Mortality Very Differently

November 6th, 2014





1413489817_brittany-maynard-video-article[1]This blog was originally published in the National Catholic Register on Oct. 28, just a few days before Brittany Maynard committed suicide in Oregon.

Two stories battled for my attention recently, and both of them broke my heart.

The first was about Brittany Maynard, a 29-year-old woman with brain cancer who moved from California to Oregon to gain access to legal suicide-inducing drugs. She is planning to die in bed, surrounded by her family, on Nov. 1 (the solemnity of All Saints), two days after her husband’s birthday.

The second story was about the singer Glen Campbell, who decided to go public with his struggle against Alzheimer’s disease. With his children on stage with him for a final, 151-stop musical tour, and the cameras rolling for a ground-breaking documentary, Campbell said: “I ain’t done yet. Tell ’em that.”

Maynard is fighting, through a foundation set up in her name, to expand the right to die beyond the five states that now allow it.

Campbell is allowing himself to be seen in all his vulnerability to show those suffering with Alzheimer’s — some 44 million people worldwide — and all those who will be diagnosed in the future, that, as St. John Paul said, “Life is always a good.”

Our reactions to these stories show that, as usual, we Americans seem to have a split personality. We applaud Campbell for his courage in refusing to go quietly into that good night, and yet many of us also support Maynard’s desire to “die with dignity.”

I do not.

I have watched people close to me die, and, with the rest of the world, I watched St. John Paul suffer with the debilitating and ultimately fatal effects of Parkinson’s disease. It was heartbreaking, and while I prayed for a miracle for all of them, I also prayed that each would have a peaceful death.

But we are not the architects of our own lives, no matter what we think and no matter how many misguided politicians and activist judges we can convince that we are. What Maynard is doing is wrong, and my fervent prayer is that she changes her mind.

With palliative care, we can hope for a death without pain for ourselves and our loved ones, and there is nothing wrong with that. We can refuse extraordinary, unnatural treatments. But to choose suicide — and to further legalize it in this country — is a catastrophic mistake.

Take a look at what assisted suicide and euthanasia are doing to Belgium and Denmark.

In a piece for Front Page magazine last month, Stephen Brown wrote:

“Holland was the first European country to betray its Judeo-Christian heritage regarding the sanctity of life when it legalized euthanasia in 2001. Holland also has the dubious distinction of leading the way in killing babies, as the Dutch euthanasia policy was expanded in 2006 to babies born with severe birth defects.

It therefore should not surprise that Holland is another country where euthanasia appears out of control. In 2011, 3,695 people were reported medically killed, including 13 psychiatric patients, while 4,188 were euthanized in 2102, accounting for three percent of all Holland’s deaths that year.”

Brown wrote that, in 2012, Holland also began sending mobile death teams to the homes of people who want to die but whose doctors refuse to help them. And Belgium, if possible, is worse.

According to Brown:

“Originally, Belgium’s euthanasia law, passed in 2002, was meant for gravely ill adults suffering unbearable physical pain. Now, as mentioned, it includes those experiencing ‘unbearable psychological suffering.’ So relatively healthy people suffering mental stress or disorders are now being killed, among them a 44-year-old person who had undergone a failed sex change operation. So it is no wonder the number of euthanasia victims in Belgium has grown from 24 people in 2002 to 1,807 in 2013, an average of five per day and a 27 percent increase from 2012.”

Brown also reported that Belgium’s King Philippe signed a law last March allowing euthanasia for children of any age and dementia sufferers upon request. Last month, Belgium — a country without the death penalty — made headlines again when it granted a convicted murderer the right to die under the country’s euthanasia laws. Another 15 inmates have made the same request.

Could this happen in the United States? Could we have mobile death squads and legalized murder of babies born with birth defects? In a country that has aborted 55 million children in the last generation, and where “choice” is well on its way to becoming the new religion, it absolutely could. We are already headed that way.

Since Oregon’s Death with Dignity Act was passed 14 years ago, 1,100 people have asked for the lethal prescription, and two-thirds of them have ended their lives with it. Please pray with me that Maynard does not join that group and changes her mind about her date with death.

Life is always a good, even if it is cut tragically short by a disease we cannot control.

Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/JMorana/glen-campbell-and-brittany-maynard-face-their-mortality-very-differently#ixzz3IKRDcfuL

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Ellen Burstyn: I don’t recommend abortion to anybody

October 24th, 2014





Actress Ellen Burstyn still regrets the abortion she had in 1950.

Actress Ellen Burstyn still regrets the abortion she had in 1950.

The actress Ellen Burstyn has had more than her share of hard times. She had a mother who didn’t love her. She was already divorced twice when her third husband became an abusive stalker. But asked during a 2007 interview with a Toronto radio station what the low point of her life was, this is what she said, according to a Lifesite News transcription:

After a pause during which the interviewer prompted her about single motherhood, struggles with her son and more, Burstyn said, “You know, I guess, I hate to talk about this on the air, but having an abortion.”

Burstyn continued, “You know that was really an extremely painful experience.”

“Did you feel you didn’t have a choice?” asked the interviewer. “At the time I was just young and dumb, I didn’t really want to have a baby then,” she replied.

“It was the wrong thing to do and I really didn’t understand that till later,” said the actress.

“That was very very painful, that was probably the worst.”

Ms. Burstyn, now 81, is talking about abortion again. In an interview on WNYC’s “Death, Sex, Money” podcast series, Ms. Burstyn and host Anna Sale had the following exchange:

Sale: Speaking of a young woman with wanderlust, in the early months of leaving home, you discovered you were pregnant. It was 1950.
Burstyn: “That was before I left home. I was still in Detroit. When I left home, I was 18. I think that was just before then. Yeah at that time, there were no legal abortions. And you could only get an illegal abortion. And that’s not a pretty sight. There’s nothing but shame connected to that. And although I don’t recommend abortion to anybody, I don’t think it’s a good thing to do, at the same time if women are pregnant and don’t want to have a baby, under any circumstances to take care of a baby, they will get an abortion one way or another. And if it’s illegal, they will get an illegal abortion. As I did. And it’s a scarring experience …
Sale: Did you go alone?
Burstyn: … I had no one. I had no one to go with me. That’s not a good way to go. It’s not a good experience. It’s harmful. And I would always, if I had the opportunity, counsel somebody — a girl –to not have an abortion. To have the child and give it up for adoption. But, it has to be legal.”
Sale: Is that because of what you personally experienced, having gotten an abortion, that you advise against it?
Burstyn: Yes. Yeah, I think it’s a very traumatic experience, not necessarily at the time, but later. It doesn’t go away
.

The host then asks if the abortion played a role in her inability to get pregnant later, and Ms. Burstyn replies: “The illegal abortion just botched me up so I could never get pregnant again.”

It’s disappointing, of course, that Ms. Burstyn still thinks abortion should be legal, but her logic is flawed.

Making abortion legal did not make it safe. Women still die. Women are still injured. Women still lose their fertility. We have to stop pretending that making abortion legal made it safe and sanitary. That is just not the case.

As I wrote about in my book, Recall Abortion, a pregnancy termination is like no other medical procedure. There is no pre-admission testing, no meeting beforehand with the doctor, no follow-up care.

On the day of an abortion procedure, women arrive at free-standing abortion clinics – many of them uninspected and completely unregulated – pay their cash (usually) up front, and see the “doctor” for the first time when they are already on the exam table.

My book and the Silent No More website are full of stories of women who received sub-standard care at abortion clinics. Tamah Warren of Tennessee recalls how, when the pain of the procedure (being performed without anesthesia) became too great, one of the women attending the doctor gave her a washcloth to bite down on. Can you imagine that happening at any other medical facility?

Kim in Mississippi remembers changing her mind and telling the doctor she wanted to get off the table. “After that, I was forcefully held down by two people and given another sedative.”

Can you imagine the lawsuit if this happened in a dentist’s office, or at any legitimate medical facility?
Don’t tell me that making abortion illegal will bring back the back-alley abortionists. The abortion industry never left the back alley, they just took their shingles off the back door and put it on the front door.

Ms. Burstyn says abortion has to remain legal because women are always going to have abortions, no matter the risk. I argue in my book that abortion has to be taken off the market because it is a failed product that harms women and kills their children. Which approach makes more sense to you: Keeping a dangerous procedure legal, or looking for life-saving options?

We don’t know how many women died from illegal abortion before Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton because the people who were fighting for legalization lied. We don’t know how many women have died from legal abortion since 1973 because reliable statistics are impossible to find. The deck is stacked against life.

But we do know that times have changed. Even though abortion in 1950 was no less wrong than it is today, we have to acknowledge that is it NOT 1950 anymore. An unplanned pregnancy is not the catastrophe it was in the past. Texas gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, for all her pro-abortion filibustering, was a single teenage mother. Cathy Lanier had a baby at 14 and now she’s the chief of police of Washington, D.C.

There are three times as many pregnancy resource centers as there are abortion clinics, and growing numbers of maternity homes, so there are real options for women now. Choices that no one has to die for.

And then there is the loving choice of adoption, which is so often dismissed. After discussing her abortion and how it robbed her of her fertility, Ms. Burstyn talks about the son she adopted.

“I do have the feeling my son is my son, period… When you mother a child, that relationship is formed.”

We need to stop accepting the premise that finding adoptive parents for a child is somehow worse than abortion. That’s a ludicrous argument. Hundreds of thousands of couples undertake unhealthy, immoral and frankly, strange, procedures to become parents while more than a million babies a year are literally thrown away in this country alone. One woman’s unplanned pregnancy can be another woman’s treasured child and that is the truth.

Even though I disagree with Ms. Burstyn about keeping abortion legal, I’m glad she was honest about her own experience. As long as we are, for better or worse, a celebrity-obsessed culture, let’s make sure to tune in when someone in the spotlight has the courage to tell the truth about abortion. And pay attention, again, to what Ms. Burstyn said about abortion with the clarity of hindsight:

“I think it’s a very traumatic experience, not necessarily at the time, but later. It doesn’t go away.”

If you agree with me that it’s time to recall abortion, please go to RecallAbortion.com and sign the petition.

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Selling abortion door-to-door

October 7th, 2014





Planned Parenthood thinks it has come up with a great fund-raising scheme: Have women go door-to-door to talk about their great abortion experiences. But women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign tell a different story -- the true story -- about abortion.

Planned Parenthood thinks it has come up with a great fund-raising scheme: Have women go door-to-door to talk about their great abortion experiences. But women from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign tell a different story — the true story — about abortion.

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, as the saying goes, maybe the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign should be pleased by Planned Parenthood’s new fund-raising campaign.

A story on the Bloomberg news site explains how the tactics developed in the fight for recognition of gay marriage in California are being employed to change people’s minds about abortion. Young women are being sent out to knock on doors and tell people that they have had an abortion. By seeing the person behind the statistic, the thinking goes, California pro-lifers will give up their antiquated views and jump on the Planned Parenthood bandwagon, checkbooks at the ready.

A few things about that:

This idea is being credited to political strategist David Fleischer, who saw results when he had gay canvassers talk to voters about gay marriage following the Prop 8 vote. But the idea of speaking personally about abortions is not new, and is not his. The Silent No More Awareness Campaign was founded in 2002 to do just that, and thousands of women have held signs at public events and outside abortion clinics and inside churches since then. They tell their unique stories, many of which are included in my book, “Recall Abortion,” but the similarities shouldn’t be missed. Abortion is unlike any other encounter with a medical professional. It is cold and impersonal and brutal. It hurts, and the emotional pain lasts long after the physical agony has subsided. It is a choice they will regret forever.

According to the brain trust behind this door-to-door idea, pro-aborts are too impatient to wait for
“generational evolution” to make abortion widely accepted. But anyone with eyes can see that today’s youth is evolving towards life. The March for Life in Washington every January, attended by hundreds of thousands of people, is overwhelmingly dominated by those 21 and under. Youth realize they were the lucky ones; one-third of their generation has been lost to abortion. They have grown up with the internet and ultrasound and selfies. They see a baby in the womb, not the “products of conception.” They know, instinctively and organically, that killing an unborn child is wrong.

Pro-choice people have always stuck to the story that they are not pro-abortion, but that is changing. Many are coming out and saying things like, so what if a child is killed in abortion, and abortion is always good, or even a blessing. An abortion worker got her 15 minutes of fame by filming her abortion and declaring it “cool.” A young woman tried to crowd-fund her procedure, claiming she couldn’t pay for the procedure herself because it would cut into her cigarette money.

Does Planned Parenthood really think people are going to change their minds on abortion just because young women are willing to knock on their doors and talk about how inconvenient their unborn child was for their plans? Are they imagining there is no one left in California who considers personal responsibility an admirable character trait?

Planned Parenthood gets taxpayer funding to the tune of $1.5 million a day – A DAY! – and has most of Hollywood’s deep pockets already playing their tune. Is it really necessary to endanger women by sending them out to strangers’ homes?

It seems that Planned Parenthood cares more about money than it does about women’s health and safety. But we knew that already.

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Is It Possible to Have No Side-Effects or Regret After Abortion?

September 18th, 2014





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By Janet Morana
and Kevin Burke, LSW

During a recent radio interview on the subject of post abortion trauma a listener asked if it was possible to have an abortion and not experience any negative side-effects or regrets about the decision. Julia Fawkes Stuart conveniently penned a piece that can help us address this important question.

Stuart, while being a great admirer of Sen. Wendy Davis of Texas, has a bone to pick with Davis’ public admission of a previous abortion due to fetal disability:

Wendy Davis’ pregnancy termination stories fall solidly on the side of the “good” abortion: she wanted a baby, she was excited for a baby, and then … medical disaster struck. Completely outside her control and maternal desires, Davis’ pregnancies were compromised, and she was the smart, responsible woman who made the hard, painful choice as much for her fetus (more!) as for herself.

Stuart contends that such abortion stories serve to highlight the acceptable hard cases…and stigmatize the majority of abortions that women have simply because they do not want the baby:

Most women end a pregnancy not because it is medically necessary or because their fetus is unwell — that’s only about seven percent of terminations, according to Guttmacher [PDF] — and not because they’ve been raped or are victims of incest (that’s only about one percent of abortions) — but because they don’t want to have a baby.

Julia goes on to makes some public confessions of her own about two past abortions:

…I’ve had two abortions. Unlike Wendy Davis, mine had nothing to do with medical necessity, nor were they harrowing decisions. I just don’t want kids. Not when I had those abortions, and not now. Not ever.

Stuart has no regret for her abortion decisions:

They were not difficult decisions. I’m not ashamed about them and I suffer no guilt or second thoughts… one of the few decisions I’ve made in my life that I was 100 percent certain about…

Let’s return to the question posed at the beginning of this post. Can a woman or man have an abortion and emerge free of regret, or emotional and physical complications?

Julia Stuart would seem to support the conclusion that yes, this is possible. But let’s take a closer look.

Maternal Contraception

To be fair, without a more extensive and objective review of Stuarts life, we must speculate here based on previous post-abortion themes. But Stuart offers a clue on why abortion has been experienced thus far as such a positive and freeing decision for her:

I just don’t want kids. Not when I had those abortions, and not now. Not ever.
Why no kids? What led her to proclaim this with such force and finality…not ever! It’s as if Stuart has placed a 100% emotional contraceptive barrier between her life and her motherhood.

The Body Don’t Lie

Is this rooted in some negative childhood/family experience? Did that initial abortion further entrench the negative emotions and life experiences already present that led her to fear and reject her motherhood? Perhaps it is based on some perverted environmentalism that requires protecting the planet by ending the life of children in your womb.

Regardless, when she was pregnant for the 5 and six week periods prior to her abortions…Julia Fawkes Stuart was in fact a mother…and remains the mother of two children. Stuart’s ideology and strongly held pro choice values deny this reality.

Stuart writes that any restriction on abortion “is ultimately about undermining her autonomy over her body.” We can play games with language to rationalize reality. But the  female body is not bound by personal pro-abortion ideology and during her pregnancies Stuart underwent complex changes to protect and nurture the growing son or daughter in her womb. [Abruptly ending this process is an unnatural and traumatic shock to a woman’s body with potentially negative impact on her future health and well-being.]

A House Built Upon a Foundation of Sand

It is quite possible, based again on extensive experience from the hundreds of testimonies of those that have experienced abortion loss, that the symptoms of complicated grief from her abortions may be hidden deeply behind a tendency toward drug or alcohol abuse, depression/anxiety or other symptoms such as relational instability and dysfunction.

Women and men have shared in their testimonies that long periods of their lives were (seemingly) symptom free with no conscious awareness of any negative after-effects from their abortion procedures…in fact they felt only relief. Some would have identified as “pro-choice” on the abortion question. At some point an event in their life, a loss of a loved one, a medical crisis, or some other moment of spiritual clarity and grace shook them to the core. They found that beneath the detached self assurance…was a gaping wound from their participation in the death of their child/children. This pain led them to reach out for reconciliation and healing.

Getting to the Soul of the Matter

Let’s assume that that Stuart has no conscious awareness of any regret and no apparent post-abortion symptoms…and continues to feel relief that she is not shackled to two teenagers.

There is another aspect to the human person that has been neglected thus far in our discussion…the spiritual perspective. Here we do not need to speculate, and can speak with great clarity. Stuart is not only cut off from her mother’s heart and the natural love for the child that lived briefly in her womb, she is also suffering a potentially fatal disconnect from her soul.

God, as all the great religious traditions acknowledge, is Eternal Spirit and the source of all life. The Christian faith above all religions manifests the great dignity of the human person that lies in God sharing His Eternal nature in the incarnation of Christ in the blessed womb of his mother Mary and in the soul of every human person.

This is a great mystery.  Yet those who have attended abortion healing programs like Rachel’s Vineyard can attest to the overwhelming experience of clarity when participants encounter in a very personal way the consoling truth that the child they lost to abortion…is not lost, but living in the Lord. God shares his eternal nature even with the smallest of human beings in the womb. This is a source of great hope and consolation for it offers the opportunity for a spiritual relationship with their unborn child and when their lives end the hope of embracing their beloved child in eternity.

Abortion is An Unnatural Event – Consequences are Natural

Let’s conclude by addressing once again the question… is it possible to experience an abortion and have no symptoms, no negative side-effects, and no regrets?

The answer: For a human person with a heart and soul…participating in the death of one’s unborn child, at any stage of development from conception to natural death attacks the natural, emotional and spiritual foundation of our identity as women/men, parents and co creators with the Eternal God. To remain seemingly symptom/regret free after abortion necessitates an internal division in the emotions, body/mind and spirit. Such a division over time requires a great repression of the very natural feelings of grief and loss and conflicted emotions that follow the procedure (regardless of one’s position on abortion.) This internal disconnection normally leads to symptoms such as drug/alcohol abuse, depression/anxiety, relationship and sexual dysfunction/instability etc.

Without reconciliation and recovery from this loss, as with Julia Fawkes Stuart it can also lead to a self-chosen sterilization of not only one’s motherhood/fatherhood, but of the soul itself.

Stuart closes her article with a Pro Abortion Declaration of Independence from those that would challenge a women’s right to abortion:

Needing a reason why a woman had an abortion is ultimately about undermining her autonomy, and taking their power away. And I won’t be a part of that. I’m not ashamed of my abortions or the reasons I had them.

Stuart may remain hunkered down in her pro choice bunker. But maybe…maybe this was the first step in her reaching out and telling her story. Perhaps she will read this blog, and at first respond with either mocking dismissal or perhaps great anger. But in time it may plant the seeds in her that will take fruit at a time in the future, when she is stripped of her self-assured declarations of personal autonomy and ideology.  We can hope and pray that she might one day turn to her Creator and humbly admit that she violated something fundamental to her humanity and womanhood – that she is deeply wounded – and the blessed awareness that she is need of reconciliation and healing.

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Killing them softly

September 13th, 2014





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U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gave quite a speech the other night. Speaking at the anniversary fund-raiser for the International Women’s Health Coalition, she lamented that Roe v. Wade was too much too soon. Americans needed a more incremental approach to child-killing to be convinced that it is a constitutional right, vital to women’s health, and, lately, even sacred.

“You give it to them softly,” Ginsburg said. “And you build them up to what you want.”

This quote comes from a piece Jill Filipovic wrote for Cosmopolitan Magazine. It’s very interesting reading. Here’s another quote within Ms. Filipovic’s story.

“The decision in Roe, too, ‘was as much about a doctor’s right to practice medicine’ as it was about a woman’s right to abortion, she pointed out. ‘The image was the doctor giving advice to the little woman, not the woman standing alone.’ ”

Pro-abortion physicians – like the late Dr. Bernard Nathanson, who later became a pro-life Catholic convert — were critical to the success of Roe v. Wade, a fact that was forgotten after all the bra-burning feminism that followed. Some of these doctors were sincerely troubled by having treated women who had been butchered in illegal abortions.

But let’s think about that image Justice Ginsburg mentioned, of “the doctor giving advice to the little woman.” Does that sound like the abortion industry to you?

Here’s how a woman from Ohio named Phyllis described her abortion on the Silent No More Awareness Campaign website, and in my book, Recall Abortion.

“I never saw the abortion doctor until just before the procedure. I was reluctant to let him go in with the instruments. He said, jokingly, ‘just spread your legs like a cheerleader.’ I did not laugh.”

And Kim, from Mississippi:

“After taking a sedative and being strapped to the exam table, I said, ‘I can’t do this. Let me up.’ After that I was forcefully held down by two people and given another sedative… I put my legs together and heard the doctor tell his assistant to do something about that. They held my legs apart and I begged and called for my boyfriend.”

Abortionists are not kindly country doctors. Many of them are substance abusers. They tend to lose their licenses on a regular basis, continuing to kill children and harm women anyway. Sometimes they’re not even doctors and in some places, like in California, they don’t even have to be doctors.

Abortion is not health care because pregnancy is not a disease. Abortion is an unnatural, violent and traumatic experience that wounds women physically and emotionally. It turns women into the architects of their own children’s deaths.

In Recall Abortion, I quote women who have been so badly hurt in abortions that they never were able to have children. Women whose real doctors later found parts of their babies left behind in the womb. And I speak to mothers whose daughters died having “safe and legal” abortions. I hope you read it, and share their stories.

This is what Roe v. Wade, and its silent partner, “Doe v. Bolton,” brought to us in 1973. An agenda-driven ruling masquerading as health care, spawning a cash-fueled industry so vile and unregulated that Americans would be shocked if they knew. One of the reasons they don’t know is that the media, for the most part, will not tell them.

I’m not sure that giving it to us softly, as Justice Ginsburg envisioned, would have made any difference. Murder is murder. There is nothing soft about killing babies.

I challenge Justice Ginsburg to read Recall Abortion and to go to Silent No More to read the stories of the women whose health has been damaged permanently by abortion. I would love to send her a copy, and to hear what she has to say

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Sen. Wendy Davis: Is Complicated Grief after Abortion Driving her Pro Choice Activism?

September 9th, 2014





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By Janet Morana
and Kevin Burke, LSW

For more than 11 hours in June 2013 Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis (D-Ft. Worth) laced up her infamous pink sneakers and stood on the Senate floor, without food or bathroom breaks, to filibuster an abortion bill that has shut down more than a dozen abortion centers so far in the state of Texas.

Now we learn in her recently published book that she experienced a traumatic abortion loss in 1997. The media will spin this story in predictable directions. They will present Sen. Davis as one who personally understands the difficult health care decisions women face and as future Democratic governor she will be a courageous advocate for the women of Texas.

But there is a deeper and more complex story behind the headlines. The filibuster of Sen. David and the public confession about her own abortion are less about political activism, abortion rights and opportunism. They reveal much more about the complicated grief that follows an abortion procedure…and how that repressed emotional and spiritual pain may be driving her pro-abortion activities.

From the New York Times:
[Davis]…learned in the fall of 1996 that she was pregnant for a fourth time. In her second trimester, she and her husband at the time, Jeff Davis, learned that their unborn daughter whom they named Tate had a rare brain abnormality. Doctors told the couple that if the baby survived delivery, “she would probably be deaf, blind and in a permanent vegetative state.” In the spring of 1997, Ms. Davis terminated the pregnancy, describing it as “the most humane and compassionate thing we could do to spare Tate” any pain and suffering.

We can imagine the fear, anxiety and grief that followed the diagnosis. Many good people, in the darkness and confusion of such times, will be tempted to see abortion as both a sensible and compassionate decision. The medical community aggressively counsels that abortion is the only medical solution for such a diagnosis. (It should be noted that physicians often present the worst case scenario and fear of lawsuits can be deadly for the unborn.)

Legalized abortion has tempted medical professionals to assume a God-like authority over matters of life and death for their unborn patients. This places anxiety-filled, grieving parents facing a challenging pre-natal diagnosis in the impossible position of having to participate in the death of their own child:

Sen. Davis shares:
In our doctor’s office, with tears flowing down both our faces, Jeff and I looked at our baby daughter’s beating heart on the sonogram screen for the last time,” Ms. Davis wrote. “And we watched as our doctor quieted it. It was over. She was gone. Our much-loved baby was gone.”

Predictably, depression followed the abortion.
From Lifenews:
Davis writes quote, “an indescribable blackness followed. It was a deep, dark despair and grief. A heavy wave that crushed me. It made me wonder if I would ever surface…and when I finally did come through it, I emerged a different person. Changed. Forever changed.”

The Truth Will Set You Free

Sen. Davis and her husband, with the counsel of medical professions, felt that ending the life of their unborn daughter was, as she stated, the most humane and compassionate thing we could do to spare Tate any pain and suffering.

Surely the suffering of their daughter was part of the motivation of these parents to abort…any parent can sympathize with their dilemma. But is it possible that if they were to be totally honest, they were also fighting with their own fears? Were they struggling to accept and embrace the challenges and pain of giving birth to a child with disabilities?

Wendy Davis and her husband very likely have not attended an abortion healing program. If they did, they would have to face the reality that while the medical dilemma put them under serious pressure to see abortion as the only option…they participated in the death of their unborn child. It is impossible to witness the direct and deliberate ending of a child’s life and not experience emotional and relational consequences.

Abortion is an unnatural and traumatic shock to the body, heart and soul of a pregnant woman. Medical professionals and counselors should have used that time to prepare the couple for the child’s birth, what to expect, and how to love and care for their precious child for however long the baby lives. Here is a good resource for such life-affirming choices.

The Filibuster of 2013: A Labor of Complicated Grief?

Wendy Davis was denied the opportunity to go through the natural birthing process with her daughter. The Davis’ were not able to hold and love their daughter for however long she lived and learn to see the great benefits that this challenging but also blessed time could have been for their family. Failure to acknowledge falling to this temptation to assume God’s providence over life and death will make it difficult for this couple to fully grieve and heal this loss. Guilt, pain, anger will remain…often hidden deep beneath the rationalizations that this was the right and compassionate choice.

Some of the founding members of pro-abortion feminism movement were women with traumatic abortion in their history. Like Davis, without a deeper emotional and spiritual healing of this loss, they need to continually justify their choice by becoming active in pro-abortion politics, advocacy and even volunteering at abortion centers. The Texas bill that presented reasonable restrictions on abortion, and those who fight to end abortion, present a direct psychological threat to the defenses Davis has established deep in her psyche against her abortion trauma.

The pro-abortion activity and public confession of her abortion also serve as a powerful outlet for the complicated grief, guilt and anger that needs to be continually repressed…but struggles to find expression. Anti-abortion activists and public political activity that highlights our nation’s contentious struggle with this issue, become a convenient target for anger and rage at one’s spouse, self, God and other involved in the abortion decision.

Perhaps we can revisit the abortion filibuster of June 2013 and see in this very public action on behalf of abortion rights as being closely connected to her incomplete abortion healing. At great personal sacrifice she labors for hours on end, without food and water…to fight what she sees as draconian abortion restrictions. I would suggest that what was driving this display may be closely related to the abortion disrupting her body’s ability to go through the natural labor process…which she displaces onto a dramatic, lengthy and painful filibuster process.

An important part of any abortion recovery program, is telling your abortion story.

Sen. Davis now has offered a public confession in her book about her traumatic abortion loss. Here too we see an attempt by Davis to continue to process her loss and find understanding and support. This is common among those who suffer abortion loss and helps end the secrecy and isolation that normally follows the procedure. Davis in her political role receives the affirmation and support of other women, pro- abortion activists and media, and when confronted with opposition, may see herself as a courageous heroine for other women’s rights, willing to stand tall and take the heat.

The Challenging but Rewarding Journey to Heal, and the Deadly Cost of Denial

But the human heart and soul defy our desperate rationalizations. They seek a healthy and honest grieving of this loss. They call us to accept that in fear, anxiety and a failure to trust in God’s providence, we can take actions that are reserved for the Creator of life. This requires the deepest humility and much grace. We can all abort God’s will in our lives at times of fear and darkness.

The journey of healing is not one of judgment and condemnation. It is more the blessed gift of being able to confess our weakness confronted with an overwhelming moral and medical dilemma. But it is only with the gift of honesty and humility that healthy grieving and deeper healing are possible. This can take time as these wounds are very sensitive, especially immediately after the loss.

The failure of Sen. Davis and her husband to fully reconcile and grieve this loss has led her to become a very public proponent of abortion. Sadly, the unresolved complicated grief, guilt and pain of her own abortion experience has not only taken her disabled daughter’s life in the womb, but could lead to the death of many more unborn children if her political power increases and she gains access to higher office.

Let’s pray she will read this article and find in it a compassionate and loving invitation to a deeper healing of her abortion loss in an abortion recovery program.

To read about couples who received poor pre-natal diagnoses and chose life for their babies, read “Recall Abortion.”

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Shame on you, PBS

August 29th, 2014





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The taxpayer-supported network that’s home to “Sesame Street” and noted for highlighting the fine arts will sink to a new low on Monday when it shows “After Tiller,” a love letter to late-term abortion.

The propaganda film highlights the grisly business of third-trimester abortion and the four abortionists who openly commit it in the United States, a rogue’s gallery if ever there was one.

Just weeks after the film opened to rave reviews at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013, one of its “stars,” George Tiller protégé LeRoy Cahart, killed baby Madison Leigh during her 33rd week of gestation. Days later, her mother, Jennifer Morbelli, also died. Carhart was in another state, perhaps on his way to kill other babies, when Jennifer was dying. This is the same abortionist who was caught on an undercover video comparing a baby he has killed in the womb to “meat in a crockpot.”

The film also profiles Susan Robinson, who admitted during one interview that killing a child at 37 weeks, instead of the 34 weeks she had expected, “was quite a moment.” She suggests that parents of the fully formed babies she kills take pictures and footprints, and create a memory box for the child they decided was not worthy of a live birth.

In 2008, Operation Rescue filed a police report about Shelley Sella, another of the four, after an employee at Tiller’s Wichita clinic said she had seen Sella stab to death a baby born alive at 35 weeks. Nothing ever came of that, which should surprise no one.

And finally, meet Warren Hern. His abortion how-to textbook described the procedure used to kill a late-term baby using the D&E (dilation and evacuation) method: “The procedure changes significantly at 21 weeks because the fetal tissues become much more cohesive and difficult to dismember. This problem is accentuated by the fact that the fetal pelvis may be as much as 5cm in width. The calvaria [head] is no longer the principal problem; it can be collapsed. Other structures, such as the pelvis, present more difficulty….A long curved Mayo scissors may be necessary to decapitate and dismember the fetus.”

These are the “stars” PBS is choosing to highlight as a holiday honoring working people in America draws to a close.

Viewers will hear the terrible circumstances – and they are often terrible, tragic and unbearably sad – that brought these parents to consider such a brutal and barbaric end to their child’s life. But there are many truths that viewers will not hear and see, including what Dr. John Bruchalski told me about later-term abortion for my book, “Recall Abortion.”

“When you kill another human life up close and personal,” he said, “it’s viciously brutal. The baby fights back a little bit. When they get real big, they don’t want to be killed.”

It is no doubt true that many of these mothers and fathers were convinced to abort by doctors who were afraid of malpractice or “wrongful life” lawsuits. We know that a doctor told Jennifer Morbelli her much-wanted daughter would have a seizure disorder. Women with Down syndrome babies in their womb are routinely pushed toward abortion. On my Radio Maria show this coming Tuesday, high school teacher Chad Judice will talk about the day he and his wife were told their second child would be born with spina bifida, and then given literature indicating that 80 percent of such babies are aborted. His son Eli, the subject of two books and now a happy kindergartener in Louisiana, owes his life to his parent’s conviction that every life is precious.

Many babies with fetal anomalies will never make it to kindergarten and will die shortly after birth. It’s these circumstances that are highlighted in “After Tiller.” I haven’t seen the film yet but I am certain there is no mention of perinatal hospice, a humane and loving alternative that parents can make for their critically ill babies. I also wrote about this option in “Recall Abortion,” and you can learn much more about it there. Committing to perinatal hospice requires mothers to continue to nurture in their womb babies they know will die. This can’t be easy, but there is solace, and love, and dignity, in giving birth to these children and holding them in the close embrace of their families for however much time they have. Mothers and fathers can create memory boxes with mementos of their living child. That’s real choice.

Whether you decide to watch “After Tiller” or not, let PBS know how you feel about the kind of programming they are spending your tax dollars to highlight. Click here to leave a comment for the PBS ombudsman. And tell them you expect to see the Gosnell movie on their station lineup once that film is released.

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Left behind

July 29th, 2014





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The testimony of a faith-filled, passionate pro-life teenager who learned her mother was post-abortive was published yesterday on the web site of Stand True, which is Priests for Life’s youth outreach. The whole piece is worthy of a read, but there’s one part I want to delve into a bit deeper.

The girl was almost 13, the oldest of her siblings, when her mother told her that, years earlier and in a previous relationship, she had aborted her first child, a son.

“Big brother,” Zoe wrote. “For years I had been saying, ‘I wish I had an older brother or sister!’ Now I knew that I had one.”

The truth is that Zoe probably always knew – perhaps buried deeply in her subconscious — that she was not her mother’s first child.

Dr Philip Ney, a Canadian psychiatrist, discovered in the late 1970s that siblings of aborted children often have this awareness and, as consequence, suffer from Post Abortion Survivor Syndrome (PASS). In a 2011 opinion piece published by LifeNews, Dr. Ney wrote:

“The most prominent symptom of PASS is existential guilt, ‘I feel I don’t deserve to be alive.’
“Other symptoms include pervasive anxiety, fear of the future, sense of impending doom, self injury, obsessive thinking, poor self identity, low self esteem, self destructive behavior, fear of becoming psychotic and dissociation.
“PASS helps explain low rates of child bearing and raising. PASS people are afraid of having children. PASS helps explain economic recession. PASS people are pessimistic about the future. PASS helps explain the younger generation’s fascination with the occult. It helps us understand mad bombers who are extremely angry at adults and politicians who have allowed the massive slaughter of their siblings. It helps explain suicide bombers who have no joy in living but want a ‘noble’ meaning to their death. It helps explain the large number of depressed people who have unresolved grief of an aborted sibling. It may help explain the growing interest in euthanasia. PASS people are poorly bonded to their parents.”

None of this is true about Zoe, and I’ll discuss why a bit later. But first I’d like to repeat a story Dr. Ney told me, and that I recounted in my book, “Recall Abortion.”

A woman came to Dr. Ney for counseling because her 6-year-old daughter was having nightmares, wetting the bed and suffering from separation anxiety. In his interview with the mother, Dr. Ney asked her about pregnancy losses, and she confided – out of earshot of her child – that she had undergone two abortions prior to giving birth to this child.

Then, working alone with the child, Dr. Ney asked her to draw a picture of her family. Although she was an only child, her family portrait consisted of her mother, her father, herself and two siblings – a brother and a sister.

Dr. Ney said that for children like this little girl, growing up in a home where she felt there should have been other children created a whole range of deep internal conflicts that likely were the root of her problems.

This is clearly not Zoe’s experience. After learning of her mother’s abortion, she wrote: “I will never forget that experience, but I am kind of glad it happened. I have taken the pro-life movement even more seriously than before. I want to be able to say I avenged my big brother David by abolishing abortion, and I am confident that I am part of the generation that will do that.”

I haven’t had a chance to confer with Dr. Ney about this, but it seems to me that the difference between Zoe and the 6-year-old, and how each of them copes with the internal awareness of someone missing, is the way abortion was treated in their respective homes.

Although Zoe’s mom kept the truth about her own abortion from her children until she thought they were mature enough to handle it, abortion, and efforts to end it, are front and center in their lives.

And even above that pro-life commitment, and as strong, or stronger, than their familial bond, is Zoe’s family’s faith. Her mother suggested she speak to a priest after learning of the abortion, and he suggested visiting Jesus in the Tabernacle. Zoe prayed for understanding, as her mother before her had prayed for forgiveness. Both were freely given by a God who loves us no matter what we do. He always knows we can do better and if we’re listening, he tells us how. Zoe’s mother became a member of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and she speaks publicly of her abortion regret. Her testimony is valuable to the pro-life movement, but its price is above rubies for her daughters.

In his 2011 piece, Dr. Ney wrote that one of the most important factors in determining whether or not a woman will have an abortion is whether her mother had one. The forgiveness that Zoe’s mother asked for and received, and the way she has raised her children since, has broken the chain for her family.

Let’s pray that all families wounded by abortion will find a way to break that chain.

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Study from Finland links IUD to breast cancer

July 9th, 2014





IUD[1]As the outrage continues over the Supreme Court’s decision to put Americans’ religious liberty ahead of their right to free contraception, a new study from Finland shows that a type of IUD has been linked to an increase incidence of breast cancer.

CNN is reporting that, according to a study published in the journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) or progesterone-releasing IUD, may be associated with a higher than expected incidence of breast cancer.

What caught my eye, though, is that levonorgestrel, a hormone that regulates ovulation, is also the used in the Plan B contraceptive, better known as the morning after pill. Millions of American women are now going to receive the IUD and Plan B free, thanks to Obamacare, and most of them will have no idea they could be increasing their risk of breast cancer.

CNN doesn’t delve into that possibility, but here’s what the Polycarp Institute, a Catholic research think tank, has to say about Plan B and breast cancer:
Does Plan B cause breast cancer?
Ironically, this question has never been asked. Theoretically, this is certainly possible especially in women who use Plan B often as a method of “birth control.” How could this be? Plan B is composed of the hormone named levonorgestrel, which is a potent progestin which is also found in some of today’s birth control pills. Birth control pills have been declared a Class 1 carcinogen (ie, the most dangerous type) by the World Health Association in June, 2005. In addition, the most recent meta-analysis published in the Mayo Clinic Proceedings (October, 2006) noted that taking the birth control pill before pregnancy results in a 44% increased risk of developing breast cancer prior to age 50. Finally, levonorgestrel’s progestin “cousin” (ie, Depo Provera) has been noted to increase breast cancer by 190% in women who take 12 shots prior to age 25 (JAMA, 1995: 799-804). These data theoretically implicate Plan B if taken often enough. In addition, when a woman takes Plan B she ingests 1.5 mg of levonorgestrel within a twelve hour period of time which is nearly equivalent to the amount of progestin contained in an entire month’s worth of some of today’s low dose birth control pills (ie, 1.925 mg).

Not to get off topic, but it’s also worth mentioning that while the mainstream media is dutifully regurgitating the “fact” that Plan B is not abortifacient, the scientists at Polycarp feel differently:

Is Plan B a contraceptive or an abortifacient?
The truth is, no one knows for sure but it probably does work by causing early abortion at least part of the time. The 2010 Physician’s Desk Reference notes that Plan B “may inhibit implantation by altering the endometrium.” In addition, Croxatto et al noted that Plan B only fully stops ovulation 12% of the time when given within two days of ovulation (Contraception, 2004: 442-450). This would point to an abortifacient method of action since ovulation and consequent fertilization would likely be occurring much of the time, yet visible pregnancy is usually absent. Finally, Mikolajczyk and Stanford showed via a sophisticated mathematical model, that if Plan B really were to be 75% effective, it likely would be working as an abortifacient at least some of the time (Fertility and Sterility, 2007: 565-570). In the future, researchers might be able to “prove” if and how often Plan B is an abortifacient by employing the use of a very early pregnancy tests which turn positive within the first 7 days of pregnancy (eg, EPF: Early Pregnancy Factor).

As CNN notes, most women use the progesterone-releasing IUD to treat heavy periods. That’s also the reason millions of women start taking birth control pills as teenagers. Dr. Anne Nolte, a pro-life, pro-woman obstetrician and gynecologist, points out that this is bad medicine. Instead of trying to get to the source of the problem and fix it, hormonal contraceptives like the Pill and some IUDs just shut down the system and restart it artificially. This gives doctors an easy way out and sometimes, it gives women breast cancer.

For a longer look at the Pill and its symbiotic relationship with abortion, please read my book, “Recall Abortion.”

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Grammy Winner Toni Braxton: Abortion and the God of Vengeance

May 20th, 2014





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From The Blaze:
Grammy-winning singer Toni Braxton has revealed the intense guilt she felt after having a secret abortion more than 10 years ago.

Without healing of abortion loss, the intense guilt, shame and grief many women feel can lead to a twisting of their image of God. Braxton reveals how women can take their guilt, grief and fear of punishment for their sin and project those powerful feelings on to God twisting his image from one of a loving, merciful Father/Creator into an angry, revenge-extracting tyrant:

Braxton, who married Lewis in 2001 and divorced him in 2013, admits in her new memoir, “Unbreak My Heart,” that she felt immense guilt after the abortion, especially considering her strict, Christian upbringing. Braxton went on to have children with Lewis, though the termination had a profound impact on her perspective. She later had two sons — Diezel, 11, who is autistic, and 12-year-old Denim. The singer found herself wondering whether Diezel’s autism was God’s retribution for her decision to end the earlier pregnancy and whether her parents’ messy divorce and her lupus diagnosis in 2010 were additional punishments. “Is God punishing me for that abortion?,” she writes in the book, noting that she found herself thinking that it was “God’s payback to give my son autism.”

God did not strike her son with autism as some sort of divine payback for her abortion. However her Lupus diagnosis may be related to the ongoing emotional and spiritual stress, the guilt shame and complicated grief of her abortion stressing her immune system as she struggled to parent her autistic son amidst the chaos of her internal emotional state.

Those who have taken the painful but rewarding journey of repentance and healing discover that while they may have wondered far from God’s will in their lives, He is the exact opposite from the angry punishing tyrant they feared. Rather they discover that God’s mercy and forgiveness are central to the Heart of Christ who is as St Paul shares, the refulgence of his glory,
the very imprint of his being. The moral teachings of the Christian faith against abortion are rooted not in a desire to restrict freedom or punish but out of love of our Heavenly Father for his precious daughters. The Lord is grieved by the death of his unborn children but also the damage to the hearts and souls of his daughters who experience this loss.

Braxton’s experience can inspire those on the front lines working to end abortion and encourage mothers and fathers to choose life. But it also touches on the great need for education and healing resources for those who suffer after abortion.

To read more about the impact abortion has on women’s lives, please read my book, “Recall Abortion.”

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Pro-abort logic: Save babies by killing babies

May 15th, 2014





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To suggest that abortion is the cure for infant mortality is so bizarre that I had to read NOW President Terry O’Neill’s piece in the Huffington Post twice to make sure that’s what she actually wrote.

Here’s just a nugget of the nonsense:

We have a premature birth crisis in this country that can be directly linked to our failure to provide adequate contraception and abortion care.

Speaking like the most determined of population controllers, Ms. O’Neill posits that preventing contraception, and murdering in the womb those children who managed to get conceived anyway, is the best cure for premature birth.

I don’t know about you, but I grow weary of the discussion about “adequate contraception.” Even before Obamacare, were there places in America that were somehow bereft of over-the-counter and prescription contraceptives? Maybe in Alaska at its most remote but I’m not even sure about that. Let’s just assume that, for better or worse, everyone has access to contraception.

Ms. O’Neill then touches on the high teenage birth rates in rural America, and definitely this is a problem. But easy access to contraception is as much a contributing factor as is teenage boredom. Somewhere between the sexual revolution and now, we threw up our collective hands and said there’s no sense trying to teach teens abstinence. Instead, we taught them about birth control and everything from television and movies to Planned Parenthood’s Exclaim Campaign convinced teens that having sex was healthy and fun and the best way to make it through those awkward high school years.

But let’s move on to “abortion care,” which Ms. O’Neill says is vital in solving the infant mortality crisis. I suppose she’s thinking that if we kill babies in the womb, we don’t have to technically label them infants. If we call them fetuses, or use the term most popular in abortion clinics, the “products of conception,” we can cook the books on infant mortality.

Or, we could address the infant mortality crisis by taking a look, as the U.S. Congress did recently, at how we can improve a child’s first 1,000 days of life – from conception to the second birthday. As my colleague Marie Smith posted on her website for the Parliamentary Network for Critical Issues (part of Gospel of Life ministries), a hearing in March before the House Global Health Subcommittee brought together experts on malnutrition who testified that providing adequate nutrition for a child’s first 1,000 days affects virtually every day that follows, and it looms large where both infant and maternal mortality are concerned.

In his opening statement, N.J. Rep. Chris Smith (full disclosure: he is Marie Smith’s husband) explained the critical need to focus on nutrition during this time period: “Children who do not receive adequate nutrition in utero are more likely to experience lifelong cognitive and physical deficiencies, such as stunting. UNICEF estimates that one in four children worldwide is stunted due to lack of adequate nutrition. Children who are chronically undernourished within the first two years of their lives also often have impaired immune systems that are incapable of protecting them against life-threatening ailments, such as pneumonia and malaria.

“Adults who were stunted as children face increased risk of developing chronic diseases, such as diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease. Mothers who were malnourished as girls are 40 percent are more likely to die during childbirth, experience debilitating complications like obstetric fistula, and deliver children who perish before reaching age five.”

Wouldn’t it be a kinder, more humane, more woman-friendly solution to try to improve infant mortality through better nutrition rather than more abortion?

Ms. O’Neill also points out the increase in maternal mortality in the U.S. and, again, wags that finger of blame in the direction of the pro-life movement. While it’s true that more women are dying in childbirth now than 20 years ago, the causes are varied and do not include lack of access to abortion.

According to Reuters: “World Health Organization (WHO) experts said the increase in the U.S. mortality rate may be a statistical blip. Or it might be due to increased risks from obesity, diabetes and older women giving birth.
Marleen Temmerman, the director of reproductive health and research at WHO, said more analysis was needed.
“It’s difficult to say how many deaths are really related to increasing age, but what we know is older age in pregnant women is contributing more to the risk for diabetes and more hypertension related problems,” she told a news conference.
WHO death-rates expert Colin Mathers said improved data collection could also affect the figures.”

The United States should certainly be doing better than it is in terms of infant and maternal mortality. But to suggest that abortion will improve either of these statistics is delusional. Abortion doesn’t solve problems. It creates them.

For an in-depth look at the way abortion exploits and harms women, read my book, Recall Abortion

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Celebrity Suicide: The Sexual Abuse/Abortion Connection

May 12th, 2014





Charlotte Dawson

Charlotte Dawson

By Janet Morana and Kevin Burke

Australian Celebrity Charlotte Dawson’s Suicide: The Sexual Abuse/Abortion Connection
New and important revelations from the May 11th edition of The Mail Online on the relationship of Charlotte Dawson’s suicide to abortion and sexual abuse:

Friends of Charlotte Dawson have revealed how the tragic TV star was caught up in a web of fear and depression in the months leading up to her death – and was still struggling to get over an abortion from years earlier.

Close friend Alex Perry shared that her abortion was the turning point in her life. Dawson and friends of her family spoke of her loving childhood, but also of sexual molestation as a child, and how this contributed to a lack of self worth.

When we first learned of Charlotte’s tragic death in February, the Main Stream Media tried to blame her death on cyber-bullying. But this interview broadcast Sunday evening May 11 on the Seven Network Australia further clarifies that the central cause of her desperation and despair was her abortion loss suffered in 2000.

The sexual molestation Charlotte experienced as a child not only was a contributor to her emotional suffering, it also likely had an important connection to her vulnerability to her coerced abortion. When a woman has experienced the intimate violation of sexual abuse, the abortion procedure can be experienced on a physiological and psychological level as a traumatic event that re enacts elements of that earlier abuse. After the abortion procedure this can cause an explosive, confusing and destabilizing flood of painful memories and feelings. [You can learn much more about the relationship of sexual abuse and abortion in this excerpt from Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion. ]

Charlotte was a famous and beautiful model, television star and celebrity. But there are many other such tragic accounts of women with abuse in their histories who are counseled that abortion is the only sensible and compassionate choice. Like Charlotte Dawson, this can lead over time to a sudden and shocking act like suicide. However for many other women, it is a slower process of self-destructive, self-shaming behaviors that can wreak havoc in their lives and relationships.

Pro-abortion apologists tell us we need to make abortion safe and easily accessible, especially for women with abuse in their history who often face unplanned pregnancies. The tragedy is that, like Charlotte Dawson, these are the women with the highest vulnerability to tragic reactions to the procedure.

Kevin Burke is the co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard and coordinator of the Fatherhood Forever initiative of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

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Decades of abortion regret, and still pro-choice

April 30th, 2014





Viv Albertine

Viv Albertine

I had never heard of the singer Viv Albertine until earlier this week, when I read on Hollywood.com that her abortion in 1978, when she was pregnant with The Clash guitarist Mick Jones, has haunted her for decades. My heart went out to her. In her new book, “Clothes, Clothes, Clothes, Music, Music, Music, Boys, Boys, Boys,” Ms. Albertine wrote about her 11 subsequent attempts at in vitro fertilization, her two miscarriages, giving birth, finally, in 1999, and her lingering abortion regret.

“I didn’t regret the abortion for 20 years. But eventually I did and I still regret it now. I wish I’d kept the baby, whatever the cost. It’s hard to live with.”

But her next quote tempered my sympathy. The right to choose, she said, “cannot and must not be ever taken away from us.”

After 36 years of abortion regret, she still thinks women must have the right to choose? To choose what, exactly? A lifetime of regret? Infertility? Difficulty carrying a pregnancy to term? In my book, “Recall Abortion,” I delve deeply into all the health problems that can be the direct result of an abortion – including, too often, death. Abortion is not health care. It certainly didn’t make Ms. Albertine healthy, emotionally or physically.

Why is it vital to keep this terrible choice available to women?

If we really want to be pro-woman, we would help friends facing an unexpected pregnancy in meaningful ways. We could ask how we can help, what they need. We could direct them to pregnancycenters.org to find a pregnancy resource center equipped to help with everything from financial resources to a place to live, to job training. We would discuss making an adoption plan with them. We would go to the first ultrasound appointment, and be thrilled to see the flashing light that is the baby’s heartbeat.

It’s been more than 10 years since I co-founded the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, and in that time I have met hundreds of women with the courage to say they regret their abortions and then work to bring about an end to abortion. They want to warn women that this particular choice comes with consequences that can’t be fully understood until it’s too late.

Ms. Albertine knows that herself. Why would she want other women to suffer the way she has?

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“Life is Always a Good”

April 15th, 2014





Jen and Kevin Sheridan with their son, Owen, and daughter, Aubrey.

Jen and Kevin Sheridan with their son, Owen, and daughter, Aubrey.

There are few happy endings when doctors pronounce a child in the womb to be “incompatible with life.” But miracles – and good medicine – do happen.

In the Huffington Post, Nicole Stewart wrote of her abortion at 22 weeks after a doctor made that pronouncement. Her post doesn’t detail the problems the doctor diagnosed, but a story from the Dallas News in January gives a few more clues. The baby boy’s brain was “abnormal.” Fluid was building up in his brain and lungs. He would lose the ability to swallow.

Ms. Stewart and her husband made the decision to take the life of their wanted and loved child, and they feel it was the right decision. She speaks publicly about it, and receives kudos for being one of the few women brave enough to talk out loud about her abortion. Of course, the women of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign have been doing that since 2003, but that’s another subject.

But a few weeks before the Dallas News was congratulating Ms. Stewart for her courage in talking about her abortion, a couple in Johnstown, Pa., was reaping the rewards of their courage – and their faith. Jen and Kevin Sheridan, a devout Catholic couple who already were the parents of a baby girl, learned that something was seriously wrong with the baby boy in Mrs. Sheridan’s womb. She was about 14 weeks pregnant when doctors told the couple that a neural tube defect called an encephalocele was causing a portion of the baby’s brain to grow outside of his skull. Abortion was never an option for the Sheridans.

By the time baby Owen was born at Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center on Dec. 6, 2013, the growth was nearly seven pounds, and almost as long as his body. The couple knew that Owen might die shortly after his birth, but that boy had other plans. A team of specialists at Boston Children’s Hospital was able to remove the encephalocele and close his skull. Today Owen is four months old and a treasured member of his family. Exactly what his future will hold is unknown, but that is true for every living creature on God’s Earth.

It is not up to us to decide who is compatible or incompatible with life. It is not our right, in any circumstance, to take a life.

It takes courage and faith to travel the road the Sheridans did. And it takes a doctor willing to accompany a couple whose baby’s survival is in jeopardy. As I wrote in my book, “Recall Abortion,” those doctors can be found. Dr. Byron Calhoun is one. He is a pioneer of the perinatal hospice movement. Parents who know their children might not live long after birth are prepared for that eventuality. They have family with them for the birth, and often a clergy member, and a photographer. They have a chance to hold their child, to surround him with love, to let him die with dignity. Contrast that with a shot of digoxin to the heart and a brutal dismemberment. That’s what a late-term abortion is, and we can’t pretend that choosing that kind of death for a child in the womb could ever be a loving choice.

Ms. Stewart’s experience also reminds me of a situation I encountered almost 30 years ago. A woman who had given birth to twins on Staten Island asked for help from the Mothers of Twins Club, of which I was a member. One of this woman’s twin daughters was born healthy but the other had severe complications. She needed a breathing machine and a feeding tube to live, but the family’s insurance company wanted to drop them from the policy, citing the futility of continued care for this sickly newborn.

I alerted the media, rallied the troops, and joined this girl’s parents in the fight for her life. As it turns out, this is another happy ending for a child whose life was considered not worth saving. She is in her late 20s now. She had a rough start, with lots of medical intervention, but she survived and is now a young woman, a college graduate with a bright future.

Nicole Stewart and her husband made the choice they thought was right. But they were wrong. As Blessed St. John Paul II, who will be canonized this month, often said, “Life is always a good.”

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Another botched abortion, another young woman killed by “choice”

April 2nd, 2014





LakishaWilson2[1]Lakisha Wilson would be alive today if we cared about women’s health. Because if we did, if we really cared about women’s health, we would have banned abortion long ago, as soon as it became obvious that abortion was equally deadly in the front office and the back alley.

Yesterday we watched the CEO of General Motors get a public dressing-down because her company failed to recall cars to perform a very inexpensive fix until thirteen people had died. The broken-hearted families of some of these GM victims have been interviewed on television and we feel for them. We understand their grief. We know that losing a loved one from a completely preventable cause feels woefully unfair.

We may never see the family of Lakisha Wilson on TV. We will not be shown what her family is going through, knowing that they lost this beautiful 22-year-old woman because of a harmful and deadly procedure that should have been recalled decades ago. Certainly no CEO will face a congressional grilling. Did you see Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards facing angry politicians after one of her clinics let Tonya Reaves bleed to death in Chicago? No.

When abortion is the cause of death, there is a whole new set of rules. It’s not mentioned in the media. Death certificates are tailored to make it seem that it wasn’t the abortion that killed these women. The pro-aborts on Twitter barely make a sound. But the fact remains that Lakisha Wilson would be alive today if she hadn’t gone to Preterm clinic in Cleveland to end the life of her baby. And her child would still be kicking in her womb.

The cloak of silence around abortion is so heavy that we would not even know of Lakisha’s death had it not been for the pro-life protesters and sidewalk counselors who watched her taken away by ambulance, and we would not have heard the total nonchalance with which a clinic worker summoned an ambulance to attend a to a young woman who was not breathing if not for the tireless efforts of our friends at Operation Rescue. They are leading a press conference today to make sure people do learn of Lakisha and what killed her.

There is never a reason compelling enough to kill an unborn child, but somehow we as a society have learned to avert our eyes. We cannot let this willful blindness obscure the truth about abortion. It is a harmful product that kills women and their children, and it needs to be recalled before one more mother exercises her freedom of choice and dies in the process.

Please go to RecallAbortion.com and sign the petition to demand that abortion is taken off the market.
And if you are not convinced then read my book, Recall Abortion where there is compelling evidence as to why this product called abortion should be recalled!

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NBC News Reports on False Prenatal Tests and Abortion: The Bigger Picture of the Widespread Damage to Families

December 15th, 2014





Serpent Temptation Eve

By Janet Morana, Kevin Burke, LSW

Now the snake was the most cunning of all the wild animals that the LORD God had made. He asked the woman, “Did God really say, ‘You shall not eat from any of the trees in the garden? …God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods, who know good and evil… So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.(Genesis:3, 1-6)

NBC News reports something pro life advocates have known for many years: “Prenatal Tests Have High Failure Rate, Triggering Abortions.”  The non-invasive prenatal tests (NIPTs) that have been on the market since 2011 advertise 99 percent accuracy, but the Boston Globe reports that of those results that show a genetic abnormality in the child, 50 percent are wrong and the child is completely healthy:

…these NIPTs are not perfect, according to Dr. Brian Skotko, a geneticist and co-director of the Down Syndrome Program at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston…In medicine we have no one number that reports accuracy…The 99 percent women are hearing refers to the sensitivity of the test…A test could be 99 percent sensitive and still have a 40 percent positive predictive value.”

Like in the story of the Garden of Eden and the Serpent, the increase in often unreliable pre-natal screening opens the door to two diabolic outcomes:

-                  Many healthy unborn children are being aborted.

-                  What happens to couples who experience the anxiety and trauma of pre natal screening and abort their unborn children…regardless of whether they have a disability or are perfectly healthy?   What impact does this experience have on them personally, in their marriage relationship and bonding with any future children?

Complicated Grief

[The following is an excerpt from the book Sharing the Heart of Christ.]

Every year in the United States, approximately 133,000 pregnant mothers will undergo routine pre-natal tests and receive what is called “poor pre-natal diagnosis,” or PPD.  This means that their infant is afflicted with a chromosomal abnormality or a serious defect in a vital organ.  The most difficult and complicated grief that we witness on Rachel’s Vineyard Weekends for healing after abortion, involve couples that aborted a child because testing revealed a genetic disablity.

With the increase in genetic testing and fertility treatments more couples are facing these difficult decisions.   Parents are often pressured by doctors, therapists, friends and family to “terminate” the pregnancy.  They are given the grim prospect of a child born prematurely who will die shortly after birth or suffer severe deformities and a brief life filled with suffering and pain.  Couples are vulnerable when confronted with many levels of anxiety, uncertainty and fear that are natural when trying to process such an event.

Sadly, health care professionals, friends and family often feed their worst fears.  Often with the best of intentions, they fail to offer life affirming alternatives that respect the dignity of unborn life, and in the long run are in the best interest of the mother and father, and especially their relationship.  Most couples only receive non-directive counseling, which means they are told only the various challenges and likely prognosis of the condition without offering other life-affirming resources.  This can be overwhelming and lead the parents in the aftershock of this news to see abortion as the best solution.

In one study, 80% of parents who received ‘non directive’ counseling chose to abort while 80% of parents who were provided with the option of perinatal palliative care chose to carry their child to term. [1] (Autumn 2008 Issue of Perspectives, the newsletter of the DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.)

Tragically, more than 90 percent of these pregnancies end in abortion.  When abortion is the preferred course of “treatment” not only is the baby’s life ended, but the lives of these parents are changed forever.  Like our first parents in the Garden of Eden, assuming this power over life and death has far reaching consequences beyond the decision to abort.   The fallout from this loss places a tremendous strain on a couple as they struggle to come to terms with the shock and pain of their experience.

Research confirms that women suffer years after the procedure:

Women 2-7 years after were expected to show a significantly lower degree of traumatic experience and grief than women 14 days after termination…Contrary to hypothesis, however, the results showed no significant inter-group differences. [2](More information and research on post abortion trauma for couples who abort due to fetal disability.)

Complicated Grief

These parents suffer from a particularly complex form of grief and guilt years after the experience.  They hunger desperately for healing and peace, but struggle to come to terms with their responsibility in the death of their child and the need for repentance, reconciliation and healing.  They feel strongly that their situation is “different” from others who abort.

Couples cling desperately to the idea that they did what was best for their child, saving them from a life, however brief, of suffering and pain.  In other scenarios they must choose among healthier embryos or multiple fetuses so that the healthiest survive.  Given the medical advice and pressure from a spouse or others, they feel they did not have a real choice.  As with any abortion decision where this is any ambivalence or pressure, they are at high risk for symptoms of post abortion trauma such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance etc.

The husband may see the abortion as protecting his wife from the pain of giving birth to a child who would have died, or would die shortly after birth or would have been born with a physical and mental handicap that sadly is seen as a burden to his wife and family.  In their efforts to establish control and take action, men are tempted to see abortion as the best solution.

After the abortion there can be considerable anger at God, whom couples often blame for putting them in this situation.   One couple expresses this struggle:

If we were given a normal child, we would not be suffering like this.  We are different from others who have aborted because we wanted this child.  God put us in this impossible situation, forcing us to make these painful decisions.  We are left without our child, and with powerful feelings of confusion, resentment anger and grief. 

Without a healing process for this complicated grief, this pain will surely impact marital intimacy, communication and trust and the relationship of parents with their living children.

Empty Arms and Wounded Hearts

It is only when these mothers and fathers come to a clearer and honest understanding of their abortion loss that they can begin to repent, grieve and heal.  An important part of this process is facing their role in that decision to abort, and the understandable fear and weakness that tempted them to embrace this solution.  When the rationalization and seemingly wise counsel of doctors and others fades away after the abortion, a mother and father are faced with empty arms and a wounded heart.  They must face the painful realization that this decision also aborted their opportunity to hold this child and offer that child love and affection for however long the baby lived.  In the case of Down’s Syndrome and other conditions, they were given a child with special challenges to love and care for, and in their rejection of that child, something in them has also died both individually and as a couple.

The healing process can never be forced.  We must be patient, especially in the early stages of healing as the wound is very raw. There can initially be great defensiveness.  It’s important to acknowledge their pain and loss, the confusing nature of the decisions and challenges that their fertility treatment/testing and medical care presented to them.  However, at some point in the process, when they are ready and with God’s grace and much prayer, they must face the truth that their abortion decision led them to make a choice that violated their parental hearts, created to love any children they conceived regardless of the challenges.  They will need to face that the abortion was a crisis of faith, one that we all face in different times in our life where we fail to trust God, and we make decisions that violate His will for us.  We must always speak to them in love, as fellow sinners who have aborted God’s will in our lives.

Lord, Please Help Me Not to Be So Perfect

Susan attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat after aborting a child diagnosed with a condition that would lead to her daughter’s death shortly after birth.   She expressed a desire to leave the retreat Saturday morning.  Susan shared:

I don’t fit in with these other women and men who freely chose abortion for “selfish” reasons.  I had no choice.  The choice I made was in the best interests of my child.

One of the priests serving on our retreat team spoke with her after breakfast on Saturday encouraging her to stay though the afternoon and then if she still felt the same way, she could leave.  Because of her trust in this priest, and the help of the Holy Spirit she decided to stay.

A major breakthrough occurred for Susan following the Living Scripture Exercise of the Woman Healed of a Hemorrhage offered on Saturday afternoon.  In this exercise, the participants have an opportunity to touch a cloth representing the cloak of Christ.   Susan approached the cloak that flowed from the base of a monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament, and prayed, “Lord, please help me not to be so perfect, to want everything in my life to be perfect, even my child.”  She broke down in tears and continued on the weekend receiving an incredible amount of healing and peace.

At the memorial service Susan read a letter to her child apologizing for not having the courage to go through with the child’s birth and imminent death:

Our Dearest Marie,

How are you, sweetie?  How are you doing in Heaven?  Mommy and daddy really miss you.  Your brother, Vincent, asks about you all the time….Your sister, Veronica, would have loved to have a little sister like you because you and she would have been best friends…You are our little angel, our most beautiful child.

But we are both so sorry that we denied you that chance to be with our family.  You would have loved to be with us, to hear our voices, to have us touch you, hold you, and kiss you.  Even though it may only have been a short time:  months, days, or maybe just hours, deep Down I know that it would have been worth it.  We would have learned so much from you:  how to love, how to serve, how to be humble, and how to trust in our God completely! 

Dearest Marie…  Your daddy and I both need your prayers.  I know that you are in good hands, as Jesus has shown me that Mother Mary is taking care of you.  We will not worry about you, but you are forever in our hearts.  We love you so much, with all our hearts and all our souls.  We promise that we will pray to you always, tell you about all that is going on in our family.   We thank God that He has blessed us with you, that He has given us a chance to come to this retreat so that both your daddy and I would feel closer to you.  We look forward to the day that we will meet in Heaven, in the eternal home of God our Father, where we can finally hold you close and give you hugs and kisses.

Thank you for forgiving us.  You are forever our child and we are so blessed to be your parents.

Love always,

Mommy and daddy

It may take longer to make this transition but in Rachel’s Vineyard, individuals will experience some release of their pain and anguish.  They may still struggle to fully embrace repentance and healing.   The couple may remain attached to the idea that “we did what was in the best interests of our child” and may still wrestle with feelings of anger and resentment.  Offer ongoing support if appropriate and share any after care services that might assist them.  Offer prayers and encouragement and share with them that the grace of their healing experience has planted seeds that in time will bear a greater fruit.

For those offering the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, it is important when couples register for the weekend sharing this type of loss, that you go over the entire weekend, making them fully aware of the process.  With that understanding, we can entrust them to the God of mercy and pray for the Holy Spirit to open their hearts to his forgiveness and healing, according to His perfect will and time.

Perinatal Hospice

Those ministering to engaged or married couples are in an excellent position to offer alternatives to abortion when a couple receives the painful news there is a problem with their pregnancy.  The type of counseling couples receive is critical to the decision to abort or give birth to a disabled child.

Fortunately there is a growing movement to provide Perinatal Hospice that supports couples who journey through the difficult birth, death and funeral of their child.  [Be sure to visit Perinatal Hospice and the excellent FAQ section of their website.] With encouragement and education they help provide the vital healing experience of embracing their child with love for as long as the baby lives. Though deeply painful, it gives parents and families the opportunity to celebrate the child’s life and to grieve this loss in a healthy way.   The couple and their family experience the natural process of grief.  With the support team of doctors, nurses, chaplains and social workers they can find healing and meaning in their suffering and loss.  Abortion robs parents of this opportunity.  While we can struggle to understand the meaning of suffering and death, especially of an infant, God’s grace and blessing abounds when life is embraced, loved and released with dignity, instead of abortion.

For those with a Downs syndrome diagnosis we must provide opportunities for parents to learn of the blessings as well as the real challenges that these children will present, to counter the negative picture presented by proponents of abortion.  It may be beneficial to have some contacts of parents who have a Downs Syndrome child who would be willing to speak to those faced with a Down Syndrome diagnosis.  Once parents get over the initial shock and fear of the unknown, their lives are filled with peace and as one mother told us, “I live with pure joy every day.  I’m learning about unconditional love from my son.”

Resources:

Here’s a Great article on a life affirming story of a mother with a disabled unborn child that chose life.

Prenatal Partners for Life  If you have come to this site because you or someone you know has received an adverse or negative prenatal diagnosis, you have come to the right place. We are parents who have gone through similar circumstances and we want to offer support. We are here to help you. You are not alone!

www.perinatalhospice.org

National Association for Down Syndrome

National Down Syndrome Congress

The DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research

 

 

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