Archive for the ‘Abortion’ Category

Montana bill calls for delivery – not abortion – for babies at 24 weeks or later

Tuesday, February 28th, 2017

Montana is considering a new law that would require physicians to deliver babies who are at or past 24 weeks’ gestation and then make every effort to say their lives.

The pro-abortion crowd is, of course, up in arms about this, but I see this law as not only protecting babies, but giving mothers a choice.

Montana already outlaws abortion after 24 weeks unless the mother’s life is in danger, so this law would encourage doctors to think of their pregnant patients not as one person, but two. If the mother’s life is in jeopardy and ending the pregnancy would save her, then giving birth to a live baby would save both of their lives.

Montana also requires doctors to provide medical care and emergency treatment to infants born alive at any stage of gestation, even after abortion. The new law would merely substitute delivery for abortion for babies at 24 weeks or later.

What’s to oppose? It seems the law would only apply to those moms carrying “wanted” babies, whose own health became imperiled late in the pregnancy. These moms, if given the choice, would almost certainly choose life.

If the baby lives but the mom decides, for whatever reason, that she can’t parent this child, Montana also has a safe haven law that allows babies to be dropped off at certain locations where the baby will be cared for until they find an adoptive home or are placed in the foster system.

All of this, even if not perfect, is better than abortion, for both mother and child.

An abortion at 24 weeks is done by dilating a mother’s cervix until it is open enough to receive a clamp that will then bring the pieces of her child out one at a time – an arm, a leg, the ribcage, the tiny face. Sometimes the baby has been killed first with a shot of digoxin to the heart, but not always. This is done under general anesthesia for the mom, and it can result in serious injury to the cervix or uterus.

Third-trimester abortions are performed by inducing labor after killing the child. So even a mother who opts for abortion will have to go through some form of labor and delivery. What mother of a wanted child would choose a dead baby over a living child with a chance at a full and meaningful life?

Montana’s bill is already doomed because Gov. Steve Bullock has said he will veto it if it reaches his desk. But the fact that the pro-abortion faction is opposing it should be illustrative. They are not interested in choice. The perfect end to every pregnancy, to this crowd, is an abortion.

And a final word to those who say the effort and expense of saving these “micro-preemies” is not worth it, read some stories of women who gave birth at 24 weeks and then decide.

An abortion at 24 weeks is a barbaric and horrible ordeal for the baby, who is literally torn limb from limb. It is also an ordeal for the mother, who has to spend two to three days having her cervix slowly dilated as she continues to carry the baby she will never meet.

You can go to the abortiontestimony.com to read stories of women who have experienced abortion and how they were damaged physically and psychologically.  Their experience trumps the rhetoric of the pro-abortion lobbyists and politicians.

 

Posted in Abortion, Fetal pain, Late-term abortion, Maternal mortality, Perinatal hospice, Women's Health |
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No one is talking about Beyonce’s “fetus bump”

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017

Have you heard the news? Beyonce is pregnant with two fetuses!

It’s likely you have heard that the singer and her husband Jay Z are expecting twins. But in a mainstream media that can almost never bring itself to describe unborn children as anything more than fetuses, even the abortion-friendly New York Times and Huffington Post are reporting the “baby news” and describing Beyonce’s Instagrammed “baby bump.”

On Twitter, the announcement that big sister Blue Ivy was going to have company prompted a half-million Tweets in 45 minutes, and of the hundreds I read, no one was discussing Beyonce’s fetuses. (Except me: I sent out a Tweet noting that no one ever calls it a “fetus bump,”  to which someone with the handle @devilonmylap  responded that he supports abortion and wishes my parents did, too, so they could have aborted me. )

A blogger for Slate did ridiculously suggest that perhaps the couple would never have gotten pregnant again if they had known Donald Trump was going to win the presidency. But while I’m not a fan of Beyonce, I’m pretty sure her desire for more children was not dictated by who would occupy the Oval Office.

Beyonce lost her first baby to miscarriage, and it was a devastating loss.

A blog on Philly.com notes this excerpt from a 2013 HBO documentary on the singer.

“About two years ago, I was pregnant for the first time. And I heard the heartbeat, which was the most beautiful music I ever heard in my life,” Knowles said in her HBO documentary, Life Is But a Dream, at the time. “I flew back to New York to get my check up — and no heartbeat. Literally the week before I went to the doctor, everything was fine, but there was no heartbeat.”

The star went on to write her song “Heartbeat” about the miscarriage, which she called “the saddest song I’ve ever written in my life.”

As a mother of twins myself, I wish Beyonce a happy and healthy pregnancy and a safe and uncomplicated birth. And as a pro-life advocate, I urge everyone who is delighting in Beyonce’s news to consider for a moment what an unwanted child in the womb of a stranger has in common with Beyonce’s twins, and with all of us: We are all human beings, and we all have a right to life.

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Remembering Mother Angelica

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

In 1994, just a year after taking the reins of Priests for Life, Father Frank Pavone was invited to speak at several events in Birmingham. While he was there, arrangements were made for him to be on EWTN’s live show with Mother Angelica.

Father Frank always wore the “Precious Feet” pin that model the feet of a baby at 10 weeks’ gestation, and I had suggested to him, some time before this appearance on EWTN, that we should glue pink and blue ribbons to the pin. So Father Frank and Mother were in the midst of a conversation on the show, when Mother interrupted him and asked about the pin. “You need new ribbons,” she asserted, “they’re faded.” Her trademark laugh followed, and then she was back on point with their previous conversation.

The next day, the two of them had a private meeting in Mother’s office. With her characteristic bluntness, she said, “The network needs a pro-life show. Would you do it?” Of course Father Frank said yes! Then Mother picked up the phone and said to whoever was on the line, “We’re going to have a show with Father Frank. Make it happen.”

That’s how it was with Mother Angelica. If she wanted you on the air, you were on the air. If she felt a comment needed making, she made it. She was totally led by the Holy Spirit.

Our first season of “Defending Life” aired in 1995 and in the 21 years since, we have featured scores of pro-life ministries on the show and raised awareness of the pro-life cause in ways that just wouldn’t have been possible if Mother Angelica had not opened that door.

I remember another time, it was still in the 90s, when Father Frank and I were at EWTN taping “Defending Life.” He was on the live show again, and as I was waiting I walked into a reception area and found Mother Angelica there. She told me about land she had just purchased in Hanceville, about an hour away from EWTN in Irondale. The property was a former soybean farm, and it was just acres and acres of nothing. But she envisioned a monastery, with a church big enough for an eight-foot monstrance.

Her vision was fulfilled in 1999 when the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament opened in Hanceville, with an eight-foot monstrance in the chapel.

The monastery was beautiful, and I understood Mother Angelica’s desire to get her cloistered sisters away from the hustle and bustle of EWTN, but the truth is I also miss seeing them, and her, when I go there four times a year to tape our shows. It was inspirational to see them at Mass and to hear their singing, and in and around the set, there was always a chance to catch a glimpse of her. They were spiritual, special years.

I was very fortunate to have a chance to visit her at the monastery in 2000. I was at EWTN and one of our guests on “Defending Life” and I received permission to visit one of the sisters and while we were there, Mother Superior let us know that Mother Angelica would like to come out to greet us. Through the iron grate that separated the sisters from the rest of the world, she shook my hand and it was a truly mystical, spiritual moment. In her presence, I felt the very near presence of God.

“May the angels lead you into paradise; may the martyrs receive you at your arrival and lead you to the holy city Jerusalem. May choirs of angels receive you and with Lazarus, once a poor man, may you have eternal rest.”

 

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Missing from the family portrait: “The Leftovers” and abortion

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

HealingtheShockwavesLogo       On an otherwise normal day in October, 2 percent of the world’s population disappears in an instant. That’s the premise of the HBO show “The Leftovers,” which began its second season this week. Throughout the show’s depressing first season, I couldn’t help but comparing the “departure,” as the event is known, to abortion. Abortion has caused the departure of more than 17 percent of Americans, so that’s not the similarity. The show doesn’t spend much time trying to figure out where these lost 2 percenters have gone. Instead, the focus is on how those left behind are carrying on without them. That’s where I see abortion’s ghost. One first season episode slaps viewers right in the face with its abortion plot device. Laurie, a well-to-do psychiatrist with a healthy family – dad is the police chief, a teenage son and daughter seem well-adjusted – has become so damaged by the departure that she joins a strange cult known as the Guilty Remnant, whose mission is to remind everyone of what they have lost. Three-quarters of way through the season, by the time we are sure her family remained intact, we discover that on that fateful day, Laurie was at her ob-gyn’s office making a decision about whether or not to abort her late-in-life unplanned pregnancy. And then the departure happened, and the baby on the ultrasound screen is gone. Laurie suffered from post-abortion guilt without even having an abortion. But her guilt stems, in my opinion, from being willing to lose this child, while all around her are heartbroken parents who would do anything to have their departed children returned. One main character, Nora, lost her whole family – husband and two kids – and is only brought back from the brink when she finds a baby in the season one finale. But Sunday night’s season opener, which brought us all the way back to Cro Magnon man to demonstrate the fierce bond between mother and child, also brought a new title sequence, one that all but bowled me over. It illustrates exactly what we’ve been saying since January through the Silent No More Awareness Campaign’s Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion initiative: Abortion impacts a wide circle of victims. The sequence shows a montage of family portraits, but in each one, the “departed” is seen as a ghostly spectre. Life goes on, but that missing family member is always missed, and mourned. The same is true of abortion. The child who is lost is never forgotten by those who know about the abortion. But even those who don’t know about the abortion sense the loss of that child. We know that because so many people who have learned they had siblings, grandchildren or other close relatives killed by abortion have told us that they always felt a loss they couldn’t quite define.   Abortion has caused much more of an upheaval in our society than the departure. But you will never see a show on HBO about it. Learn more about this wider circle of victims at www.abortionshockwaves.com.

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Who Funded the Study?

Thursday, July 30th, 2015

The six authors of a recently published research paper titled “Decision Rightness and Emotional Responses to Abortion in the United States: A Longitudinal Study” asserted that “the authors have declared that no competing interest exists.”

That is a blatant lie.

All six of them are on the faculty of or otherwise associated with the pro-abortion University of California San Francisco, its pro-abortion Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, and the organization ANSIRH – Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health. None of them has ever published a study that painted abortion in an unfavorable light. At least one of the authors has been a paid consultant to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America.

The “Decision Rightness”study was funded by the Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, which has also granted money to NARAL, the ACLU and seemingly every group they could find with the word “choice” in its name: Medical students, law student, physicians, nurses, etc.

Another grant was received by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, which is dedicated to reducing population. From the foundation website: The Population and Reproductive Health program seeks to promote women’s reproductive health and rights and to stabilize population growth.

The third grant that funded “Decision Rightness” was from an anonymous donor, and after reading the study, I conjured an image of Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards writing a personal check. But perhaps she’s being more careful with her $590,000 annual salary these days, now that Planned Parenthood’s baby-parts-for-sale scheme has been exposed.

But back to the study.

This latest exercise in proving that abortion is fabulous followed 667 women for three years after their abortions, checking in by phone twice every year, and sending them each a $50 gift card after each conversation. The conclusion: “Women experienced decreasing emotional intensity over time, and the overwhelming majority of women felt that termination was the right decision for them over three years. Emotional support may be beneficial for women having abortions who report intended pregnancies or difficulty deciding.”

What they’re saying, basically, is that if you’re fine with your abortion decision beforehand, you will be fine after. But at the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and at Rachel’s Vineyard, we beg to differ. Between the two ministries we have been in contact with, ministered to and marched beside more than 3,000 women who not only regret their abortions but do so publicly after going through post-abortion recovery programs.

Many of them speak of an initial feeling of relief that gives way over time – sometimes a decade or more – to much darker emotions and accompanying masking behaviors like alcohol and drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, eating disorders and other problems. Sometimes the child they aborted will be the only one they ever conceive.

Post-abortion healing programs like Rachel’s Vineyard and dozens of others would not exist if women were not experiencing emotional turmoil after abortion.

We don’t expect honesty from pro-abortion researchers, and we are not surprised when the pro-abortion mainstream media runs headlines like this one in Time magazine: Hardly Any Women Regret Having an Abortion, a New Study Finds.

But the danger in this skewed research and slanted reporting is that it gives abortion-vulnerable women, especially young women, another reason to make the wrong choice.

We don’t need a study to confirm what we see every day: Women do regret abortion.

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Who stood up for pregnant Chinese teacher? Not Planned Parenthood!

Friday, May 22nd, 2015

 

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Those who champion a woman’s “right to choose” should be up in arms about a school teacher in China who had been warned she would lose her job if she didn’t abort her child. Qin Yi is five months pregnant with her second child.

Surely the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which works closely with the Chinese Family Planning Association, would have tried to intervene in – or least comment on – this gross injustice. But there was no indication from the IPPF website that the life of Qin’s baby was even worth noting.

Perhaps the White House, where the resident-in-chief is a staunch supporter of “choice,” got his diplomats in China working to save this couple and their wanted child. But again, we can’t know if this family’s plight was even on President Obama’s radar. Even worse, the United States government might have abetted this macabre scenario.

Last year, Congressman Chris Smith (R-NJ)accused the Obama administration of breaking U.S. laws and aiding China’s forced abortion policies.

According to Smith, who cited the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, Obama has given $227 million to a United Nations agency that facilitates the one-child policy, and visas to Chinese officials with ties to brutal acts of forced abortions.

The U.S. prohibits federal funds from flowing to organizations involved in China’s forced abortion and sterilization policies, or allowing foreigners directly involved in its enforcement into the U.S. But Smith says only a handful of abusers have been denied visas.

The Associated Press reported this week that Qin was granted permission to have a child with her husband, Meng Shaoping, in her hometown, even though each of them has a daughter from their previous marriages. But she subsequently was ordered to have an abortion by the end of the month because the province where she is teaching has different rules.

LifeSite News reported Thursday that the couple will now be allowed to have their baby. Thank God! But the circumstances that led to this near-tragedy have not changed.

In late 2013, China eased up on its one-child only policy that, in 34 years not only eliminated siblings in the world’s most populous country but also left the region’s boy-to-girl ratio so lopsided that many Chinese men will never be able to marry. According to a recent report, China was home to 33 million more men than women in 2014.

When the policy change was announced in Beijing, IPPF gushed that it was “an important step towards realising reproductive health and rights for all its citizens” – although not for the hundreds of millions of citizens who had already been deprived of their right to life.

As both Congressman Smith and Reggie Littlejohn, president of Women’s Rights Without Frontiers, have pointed out, the easing of the one-child restriction in some areas of China does not mean forced abortion has been relegated to the past.

“The core of the problem is not whether the government is allowing one child or two children,” Ms. Littlejohn told World Net Daily in February. “The government is still telling how many children people can have and is enforcing that limit with coerced abortions. And it’s not clear to me that there are fewer abortions. Women and babies still are dying.”

Women and babies are still dying in China while the United States looks the other way. But I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised: Women and babies are still dying right here at home.

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The debate on anesthesia for babies before late-term abortion

Tuesday, April 21st, 2015

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The Los Angeles Times yesterday reported on the “junk science” – as described by abortion advocates — behind new abortion restrictions enacted or under consideration in a number of states, including a bill in Montana that calls for babies beyond 20 weeks to be anesthetized prior to an abortion. Last month, the Washington Post wrote a story focusing specifically on the Montana bill, which has now been passed by the state legislature and is heading to the pro-choice governor for action.

Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, sent out a statement  urging Gov. Steve Bullock to sign this humane bill and make it law. Until abortion is unthinkable and illegal, I hope every state passes a fetal anesthesia bill.

What would be the reason NOT to?

Science has pro-lifers convinced beyond a doubt that children in the womb do feel pain at 20 weeks. Pro-aborts and the media that marches in lockstep with them say the science is “disputed” and there’s always a mention of a 2005 study reported in JAMA that found “evidence regarding the capacity for fetal pain is limited but indicates that fetal perception of pain is unlikely before the third trimester.” Please note the wording. Limited evidence “indicates” that pain is “unlikely.”

In other words, they’re not sure. Also worth mentioning, two of the five researchers didn’t bother to tell the journal’s editors that they were personally involved in abortions and abortion advocacy.

Those who have no passionate views on abortion could reasonably come to the conclusion that babies in the womb halfway through pregnancy MIGHT feel pain.  Shouldn’t we then err on the side of caution and provide an in utero injection of painkiller to minimize the brutality of death by late-term abortion?

The reason pro-aborts oppose fetal anesthesia prior to abortion is because any measure that gets people thinking about the humanity of the child in the womb is bad for the bottom line for abortion profiteers.

Let’s take a look at what abortionists and former abortionists have said about late-term abortion.

In the medical textbook “Abortion Practice,” abortionist Warren Hern wrote:

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 5 cm 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…”

This next description is from Priests for Life medical advisor Dr. Anthony Levatino, taken from his testimony before Congress in 2013.

“Look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At the end are located jaws about 2 ½ inches long and about ¾ of an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go. A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can.

“At twenty-four weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard–really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.

The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a large plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You will know you have it right when you crush d own on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face will come out and stare back at you.”

For my book “Recall Abortion,” I interviewed Dr. John Bruchalski, who performed abortions in his medical residency but never again. One thing he told me about late-term abortion I will never forget.

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

After more than 20 years in the pro-life movement, I know there are pro-abortion people who could read Dr. Bruchalski’s words and not even flinch. But just imagine the reaction we might get if we talked about preborn puppies being torn limb from limb, watching their paws and snouts and tails being yanked out by the vicious-looking Sopher clamp. The outrage would be palpable.

But because we are talking about abortion, there is actually a debate. Shame on us.

(To read more on why we should take the practice of abortion off the medical shelves in America please read “Recall Abortion.”)

 

 

 

 

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Contraception kills

Friday, March 13th, 2015

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Christianity Today surprised me, and many of its readers, I would guess, with an opinion piece carried below the ironic headline, “Contraception Saves Lives.”  Even more surprising, author Rachel Marie Stone lauds Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, making excuses for her eugenic beliefs and saying Planned Parenthood did not provide abortion in Sanger’s lifetime.  My colleague Bryan Kemper wrote about the Sanger apologetics in his blog, so I will concentrate on the dubious claim that contraception saves lives.

First, let’s refute her assertion, now so familiar, that hormonal contraceptives are not abortifacients. That’s nonsense. One of the ways the birth control pill works is by preventing implantation of the embryo in the uterus. That’s abortion to those of us who know that life begins at conception, which, by the way, is a scientific fact.

Now let’s take a look at some the other ways that contraception ends lives.

Ms. Stone’s article mentions the long-acting contraception called Depo-Provera, which is a-once-every-three-months injection. But here are some of the things she didn’t say about Depo-Provera.

In addition to a long list of nasty side effects – blood clots, breast cancer, ectopic pregnancy, depression, excessive weight gain, facial paralysis, hirsutism, cervical cancer, nipple bleeding, and a lack of return to fertility – Depo-Provera increases a woman’s risk of contracting HIV by 40 percent. This is particularly troubling for women in sub-Saharan Africa, where  25,000 million people – 70 percent of the world total – are living with HIV/AIDS.

The Pill is not much better for women, as I outlined in a chapter of my book, “Recall Abortion.” The Pill  poses numerous health risks, including blood clots, increased risks of cardiovas­cular disease,cervical and liver cancer,elevated blood pressure,decreased desire, sexual dysfunction and stroke.

Some Pills are worse than others. In 2006, Bayer Pharmaceuticals burst onto the market with Yaz and Yasmin, drugs that were touted as reliable birth control and miraculous cures for acne and pre-menstrual syndrome.

But Yas and Yasmin are not miracle drugs. As of 2014, Bayer had paid out $1.7 billion – BILLION – to settle 8,250 cases brought against it and there are still thousands of cases pending. Women are suffering from gall bladder disease, pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis and other diseases. In Canada, the deaths of 23 women have been linked to Yaz and Yasmin.

How many deaths does it take before we stop calling a drug safe? I think one death is too many, and here’s why.

After I finished giving a talk in Naples, Florida, a woman approached me to tell me a story about her friend’s daughter, who was prescribed Yaz for a serious acne condition by the campus physician. After taking Yaz for just three months, the girl collapsed one day in her dorm and was rushed to the hospital. She fell into a coma that lasted five years and ended with her death.

So please, Christianity Today, don’t tell me contraception saves lives. That is simply not true.

(For more in-depth information about the perils of the Pill, please go to www.recallabortion.com and order a copy of my book.)

 

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America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

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Last week, a reporter from the Daily Signal asked me to comment on a story she was writing about the use of graphic abortion images, and if they help or hurt the pro-life cause.

You can read the story here.

Some critics of the use of these images say we are traumatizing women who have had abortions, that these images act as triggers that make them relive the abortion and the powerful negative emotions that followed. If that’s true, wouldn’t seeing babies in strollers or walking down a supermarket aisle stocked with baby products also be triggers? There is no practical way for a woman who has had an abortion to stay away from all the many things that will remind her of that irrevocable decision. That is one of the ways abortion harms women.

I agree that it’s unsettling to see pictures of tiny arms and legs floating in a sea of blood. But that’s the point; we should be unsettled. This is what happens in an abortion, and abortion happens thousands of times a day in this country. Every single day.

Pro-aborts don’t want anyone to see what abortion really is, which is one of the reasons they react so strongly to graphic images. But another reason is that they know, like we do, that graphic images change minds and save lives. I know this first-hand.

I have been outside abortion clinics with people holding these signs showing the victims of abortion and I have experienced the power these images have in saving lives. One time, while holding one of the signs outside a clinic in Charlotte, N.C., I was able to stop a couple headed inside to end the life of their unborn child. It was the picture of the aborted baby that got them to stop and talk to me. I was then able to bring them to a pro-life doctor in that town and he was able to help them make a life-saving choice.

Graphic images tell the truth. Though the images we are seeing almost daily of the atrocities committed by ISIS are brutal, they help us understand what this group is and the lengths they will go to achieve their goals. They underscore the need to take action to stop this slaughter. Likewise, though the images of aborted babies are disturbing and hard to look at, they help people understand what the “right to choose” really means and how important it is to stop it.

The baby I mentioned is just one of countless children who have been saved because of the use of the pictures of aborted babies.

Remember, America will not reject abortion until America sees abortion.

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25 years and counting …

Monday, January 19th, 2015
Here I am at the March for Life in 2005 with Father Frank Pavone and Alveda King.

Here I am at the March for Life in 2005 with Father Frank Pavone and Alveda King.

On a cold day in January 1990, long before the sun was up, I showed up at my parish church, St. Charles on Staten Island, to board a bus headed for Washington, D.C. Our group was led by our young associate pastor, Father Frank Pavone, whose passion for the unborn gave us the energy to make it through that long, grueling day.

When we arrived and saw tens of thousands of people on the National Mall, I was awe-struck. I had no idea so many people were involved in trying to bring an end to abortion. It was an eye-opening experience for me, and as I boarded the bus for home, I knew my life was never going to be the same. I have not missed the March for Life since then.

Four years later, Father Pavone had become national director of Priests for Life and I traveled with him and others as volunteers with the organization. It was the first time many of us met some of the nation’s most prominent pro-life leaders, and we had the sense that we were kids peeking in at the grownups. But that changed quickly.

At my first-ever March for Life Convention, where dozens of pro-life groups set up booths to help explain their work, I felt like I was in Disney World.  Until then it had been on the bus, do the march, get back on the bus. Now I was able to attend all the activities surrounding the March and take in all the great work people were doing on behalf of the unborn. I was humbled, and so grateful to be part of it all.

At that Convention, I was able to meet the great Nellie Grey, who started the March in 1974, one year after Roe v. Wade. I couldn’t believe I was in the same room with her and was feeling a bit star-struck, but when I heard her say she needed a priest to say the opening prayer at the Convention, my Brooklyn chutzpah took over. I told her I was with Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life and he would be happy to do it. Minutes later, he did just that.

That year, 1994, was a year of contrasts for the March. Cardinal John J. O’Connor provided a rousing and passionate keynote address at the Convention, but it was Bill Clinton’s Washington, and I remember being watched over by police snipers stationed on the rooftops along Constitution Avenue.

At another March during the abortion-friendly Clinton years, NOW President Patricia Ireland showed up, coat hanger poster in hand, to push her anti-life agenda. Father Pavone was wearing a press pass given to him by the Catholic Press Association, and he was carrying a small tape recorder, so with his Roman collar, hidden behind layers of clothes, he approached Ms. Ireland and asked for an interview. As they were speaking, some pro-life leaders, including Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, were trying to drown out her words. I ran over to them to say the man with the tape recorder was on our side, was in fact a priest, and they quieted down. As expected, Ms. Ireland spouted the usual pro-abortion rhetoric about abortion being vital for women’s rights.

The weather plays a role in any March for Life, and in 1994, the weather was something to remember. Father Pavone and I arrived on the last flight in to Reagan National before snow and ice conditions grounded the rest of the flights. As we stepped out of a cab outside the guesthouse where we were to stay, I found myself sprawled on the ice. The taxi driver left the car to try to help me, and his cab slid down the hill and across the road on its own.

Almost every year has been brutally cold, including last year when the temperature was in the single digits when we woke up to snow-covered rooftops and learned that hundreds of buses had to cancel their trips. But one glorious year, it was so balmy that I remember taking my coat off and carrying it down Constitution Avenue.

The March for Life entered a deeper dimension for me in 2003, when we had the women of the brand-new Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which I co-founded, talk about their abortion regret in front of the U.S. Supreme Court building for the first time. Pro-lifers weren’t sure what to think when the first of 60 women started to speak. Some members of a youth group thought we were pro-abortion counter-protesters and started to yell at us. But Bryan Kemper, the founder of Stand True – and now our youth outreach director at Priests for Life – told the agitated youth that the women were on our side.

These testimonies have become an integral part of the March experience, and now many groups schedule their buses to leave later so people can hear the unvarnished truth about abortion from the only people truly qualified to speak – those who have been through it. People thank these courageous women and men for their witness.

One year, two marchers carried bunches of red roses, and gave one to every woman carrying an “I Regret My Abortion” sign. Another year, a woman who had not registered with the Campaign showed up in a wedding gown and asked to speak. We asked about the dress, and she said her abortion had wounded her profoundly, both physically and emotionally, and she never expected to marry. When she came back the next year after completing an abortion-recovery program, she was not in a wedding dress but she was sporting a diamond engagement ring. Giving her testimony with Silent No More had helped in her healing.

I look forward to the March every year because it is tangible proof that this counter-cultural civil rights movement in which I am privileged to play a role continues to grow. But every year, I hope and pray it’s the last time I have to make the trek to the nation’s capital in protest of the worst U.S. Supreme Court decision in my lifetime. Abortion will end when God says it’s time, and until then, it is my job to show up and bear witness to the truth: Abortion kills an unborn child, damages mothers and sends shockwaves of misery throughout our society.

Posted in Abortion, About Janet, Feminists, March for Life, Priests for Life, Pro-life, Roe v. Wade, Silent No More Awareness | 1 Comment »
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