"The issue of human life and its preservation and development is one that begins with conception and ends only when God calls a person back to himself in death. If we are consistent, then, we must be concerned about life from beginning to end. It is like a seamless garment; either it all holds together or eventually it all falls apart." Cardinal Joseph Bernardin, 1975

Monday, November 4, 2013

Elected Homecoming Queen: An Exceptional Story

by Collin Hansen,  Nov. 4, 2013  The Gospel Coalition

Molly Anne Dutton shouldn't be here today. Not according to the opinion polls. Even many pro-life Christians make an exception that would have snuffed out her life.

Her mother survived every woman's nightmare: sexual assault. But then her agony was compounded with a positive pregnancy test. As if the situation could get worse, her husband told her to get an abortion or sign the divorce papers.

With the help of Lifeline Children's Services in Birmingham, Alabama, Molly Anne's mother chose to carry her to term and give her up for adoption. Due to their service on Lifeline's board, Molly Anne's adoptive parents knew of her situation and decided to adopt her.

Two decades later, Molly Anne was elected homecoming queen this fall at Auburn University. Her "Light Up LIFE" campaign sought to educate women about their options when faced with unplanned pregnancy. The horticulture major told me her story, how she understands her adoption in light of the gospel, and why all children made in the image of God deserve a home. Thank you to Betsy Childs for helping me generate the questions.

How and when did your parents tell you the story about your biological mother?
molly-anne-duttonI discovered my story and the story of my birth mother by stumbling upon my adoption papers one afternoon in the attic. I was around 14 at the time. I have always been mesmerized by photos of our family throughout the years; little did I know that my adoption papers were tucked in between the papers of our family history.
Since then, my mom and I have discussed the circumstances surrounding my adoption. In saying that, a great question to then ask is how did I receive the news. I truly believe because I sat as a believer whose hope in Christ, I never saw the details of my birth as a shameful event. What the enemy has intended for harm, the Lord has and continues to use for so much good (Genesis 50:20)

Have you always been comfortable sharing your story?
I love this question. Yes, I have always felt comfortable sharing my story. I am honored to carry this story. Yes, it is unique because my life sounds out the voice that this world does not get to hear often. I know there is power between each space in my sentences and tucked beside each dotted "i" and crossed "t." There is no power in it because of my words, but it drenches with beauty due to this being the exact picture of our own adoption in Christ. Josh Caldwell, manager of involvement and partnerships at Lifeline Child Services, describes it so perfectly. My adoption might have started as a tragedy, but didn't our relationship with Jesus also start with a tragedy? That tragedy was dripping the bloodshed of the cross. Today, we stand as sons and daughters in his very kingdom.

Have you thought about what you would want to say to your biological mother? 
My mind, body, and soul are full of gratitude. I'm so unbelievably thankful to God for knitting me; thankful for my parents who so lovingly carried me out of Lifeline in their arms; and I'm speechless before a woman who was courageous to break through confusion and fear to give birth to me. In her womb she carried me, and by her heart she chose to give me a chance to walk and spread the good news of the gospel. Little did she know that her hope would become wrapped up in truth and power.

Your story greatly encourages so many of us, and we're proud of your fellow students for recognizing you with this honor. But not every adoption has a conventional happy ending. Many adoptive parents take on great challenges with children born with genetic defects and mental disabilities. Why do you think it's still worth parents taking this risk to adopt even if they don't know their children will grow up to be like you?
We all need love, and we all deserve a family that loves us, no matter our disabilities. In a lot of cultures, anyone with a genetic defect or mental disability is considered an outcast or unworthy. However, as these children's parents, men and women get a unique opportunity to pour truth onto the buffet of lies. Yes, the children are worthy. Yes, they are valued. Yes, they too are offered the love of Christ. Obviously, many challenges are presented with a a family walking down that road. However, God has a heart for all. He will bless son, daughter, father, mother alike.

Tell us about Lifeline Children's Services and what makes their work worth supporting.
Through this campaign, I know there are so many intangible victories that my eyes will never witness while on this earth. In saying that, we all get to witness Lifeline's fruits. God produces an abundant harvest through Lifeline. The fruit is in every birth mother who walks through the door, every child placed in foster care, and it is in every cry of a newborn child. Lifeline's heart is in the hope of the gospel. It has and will continue to serve as vessel of righteousness—serving to display the Lord's splendor. I am honored to support Lifeline, because Lifeline supported me through her availability, through her foundation of the Word, and through her counseling with my birth mother 22 years ago. For information about Lifeline Children Services, check out lifelinechild.org.

Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. He is the co-author of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.


http://thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/tgc/2013/11/04/elected-homecoming-queen-an-exceptional-story/

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wonder

Doctor handed live baby at 8 weeks gestation...
Consider Dr. Rockwell's testimony:
Statement by Paul E. Rockwell, M.D.:
"Eleven years ago while giving an anesthetic for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy (at 8 weeks gestation), I was handed what I believe was the smallest living human ever seen. The embryonic sac was intact and transparent. Within the sac was a tiny human male swimming extremely vigorously in the amniotic fluid, while attached to the wall by the umbilical cord. This tiny human was perfectly developed, with long, tapering fingers, feet and toes. It was almost transparent, as regards the skin, and the delicate arteries and veins were prominent to the ends of the fingers."
Dr. Rockwell continues, "The baby was extremely alive and swam about the sac approximately one time per second, with a natural swimmer's stroke. This tiny human did not look at all like the photos and drawings and models of 'embryos' which I had seen, nor did it look like a few embryos I have been able to observe since then, obviously because this one was alive! When the sac was opened, the tiny human immediately lost his life and took on the appearance of what is accepted as the appearance of an embryo at this stage of life (with blunt extremities etc.)."
The statement by Paul E. Rockwell, M.D., an anesthesiologist, was quoted by Dr. and Mrs. J.C. Willke in their Handbook on Abortion.  Dr. Rockwell did not testify before the U.S. Judiciary Subcommittee.

http://www.prolife.com/fetaldev.html

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Abortion Clinic Worker Quits, by Abby Johnson

Abortion Clinic Worker Quits: “No Two Week Notice,” “I’ll Never Set Foot in There Again”

by Abby Johnson | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 10/15/13 4:58 PM
                                   
We got this message from woman who is now part of our ministry: “I quit this morning. Effective immediately…no two week stuff. I’m done. Never to step foot in there again.”
 
You have helped us make this happen.  In fact, 84 workers have come through our ministry, thanks to all of you and your support!  Below are some of the updates from our ministry!

A Fresh Start
Recently on Facebook, I shared about a clinic worker who left her job after becoming a Christian. She was homeless for over a week. She found out about ATTWN and immediately contacted us. Her story was so courageous. She had a very intimate moment with Christ one evening and decided to give her life to Him. When she walked into work the next day, she knew that helping to facilitate the deaths of the unborn was NOT part of God’s plan. She walked out that day with nothing. She left behind her paycheck, picked up her children and tried to start a new life. But after the money she had ran out, she found herself jobless, penniless and homeless…with her two daughters.

With the help of ATTWN and your prayers, she is now in a safe apartment, her children are enrolled in school and she has an AWESOME, life affirming job!!

Just another story to remind us that God is ALWAYS faithful!
 
Healing Retreat
In September, a group of women came together for an ATTWN former abortion clinic worker healing retreat.  They were of different religions and different life backgrounds; some left the industry recently and some left several years ago.  What they all had in common, though, is they all took a huge leap in a journey towards healing from their time in the industry.

None of them started out in the industry wanting anything to do with abortions.  They started out as receptionists or working as a translator, so they felt more at ease justifying their jobs.  However, it didn’t take long for Planned Parenthood and the abortion clinics to pull them back into the operation rooms to assist in abortions.  ”Sandra” began her work in the abortion industry as a translator, but eventually, she was “there holding the instruments as the baby came out, alive.”  Sandra continued, “The largest I saw done illegally was 28 weeks.  They were supposed to go up to 25 weeks… the doctor would fudge the numbers on her chart.”  The recollection of those particular abortions brought on tears.

“Ellen” recalled her time working at Planned Parenthood.  Like many others, she felt uncomfortable with her job there, but it paid the bills and offered the benefits she needed.  She was hired on as a patient educator and was reprimanded for quietly giving patients information on adoption services and resource centers in the counseling rooms, because she was not pushing the sale of abortion onto women who weren’t sure what they were going to do. ”It took a huge physical toll,” Ellen said. “I would always come home from work and cry.”

Opening up about the activities that they partook in at the abortion clinics were very difficult on the retreat attendees.  Flashbacks, nightmares, and visions of aborted babies and baby parts are common among former clinic workers. “Christa” worked at Planned Parenthood in the back rooms where clean-up after abortion procedures took place.  ”I’m guilty of counting body parts and freezing the, only for them later to be burned,” she said.

“Rebecca” worked as a receptionist in an abortion clinic for years.  She had been reassured she would have nothing to do with abortion when she began working there.  She recalled the especially difficult cases of women who would call to schedule abortions into their third trimesters.  She started to cry when she admitted “I didn’t do abortions, but I was the accomplice.  I scheduled them.  I took the money.”

This was the first real step to healing that most of the women on the retreat had taken.  One of the biggest obstacles a converted clinic worker has is the feeling of isolation and believing that there is no one else like them.  These retreats that ATTWN hosts throughout the year work to break down that obstacle and allow former clinic workers to open up to each other; to open up to others who have been in their exact situations and know what they are feeling.

Without your financial contributions, we wouldn’t have been able to put on this healing retreat.  Thank you to our supporters who donated and sponsored a former clinic worker to go on this retreat.  Your prayers and your generosity make it possible for us to put people on a path to healing.

And Then There Were None - ATTWN - http://www.attwn.org/

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Respect Life Month

You may have seen crosses on church lawns or people standing in a group praying.  October is designated as Respect Life Month by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. Respect Life Month recognizes life in all its glory and in all its forms, providing opportunities to embrace the whole cycle of life with which humanity has been blessed, from conception to natural death.
Visitation Catholic Church Elmhurst, IL
 
PRAYER FOR A CULTURE OF LIFE
Lord God, We thank you for our salvation in Jesus Christ. We thank you for the call he gives us -– not a call to sit in a corner cowering in fear over our enemies, mystified about how to overcome the Culture of Death, despondent because of our sins or worried about the perceived strength of our opponents. Rather, it is a call to stand victorious in the light of the Resurrection and to proclaim to the Culture of Death: “You have been conquered! You have no place here, no power to defeat the forces of truth and goodness!”

Yes, Lord, we stand in that light and we are filled with joy –- not a superficial joy that rises and falls with the ebb and flow of circumstances beyond our control, but with the profound joy that only you can give and that nobody can take away. In the strength of that joy, may we your people continue to proclaim your truth and share your grace not only within the walls of our Churches, but in the halls of government, in the voting booth, in the media, and in every inch of the public square.
Lord, in our work for you, may we find you in our efforts to change the world, may we ourselves be changed. In our struggle to build a Culture of Life, may we find life eternal. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.
(From bulletin of Queen of Angels Catholic Church, Chicago)


National Down Syndrome Awareness Month

October is National Down Syndrome Awareness Month. Down Syndrome occurs when an individual has a full or partial extra copy of chromosome 21.
  
http://www.ndss.org/


 90% of those who test positive for the extra chromosome in prenatal testing are aborted.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

What About Abortion in Cases of Rape and Incest? Women and Sexual Assault

by Amy Sobie
April 5, 2010 LifeNews.com
Note: Amy Sobie is the editor of The Post-Abortion Review, a quarterly publication of the Elliot Institute. The organization is a widely respected leader in research and analysis of medical, mental health and other complications resulting from abortions.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Many people, including those whose mission is to help women and girls who are victims of sexual assault and abuse, believe abortion is the best solution if a pregnancy occurs.

Yet our research shows that most women who become pregnant through sexual assault don’t want abortion, and say abortion only compounds their trauma.

“How can you deny an abortion to a twelve-year-old girl who is the victim of incest?”

Typically, people on both sides of the abortion debate accept the premise that most women who become pregnant through sexual assault want abortions. From this “fact,” it naturally follows that the reason women want abortions in these cases is because it will help them to put the assault behind them, recover more quickly, and avoid the additional trauma of giving birth to a “rapist’s child.”

But in fact, the welfare of a mother and her child are never at odds, even in sexual assault cases. As the stories of many women confirm, both the mother and the child are helped by preserving life, not by perpetuating violence.

Sadly, however, the testimonies of women who have actually been pregnant through sexual assault are routinely left out of this public debate. Many people, including sexual assault victims who have never been pregnant, may be forming opinions based on their own prejudices and fears rather than the real life experiences of those people who have been in this difficult situation and reality.

For example, it is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnant would naturally want abortions. But in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done prior to this book, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent did not have abortions. This figure is remarkably similar to the 73 percent birth rate found in our sample of 164 pregnant rape victims. This one finding alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims.1 Several reasons were given for not aborting. Many women who become pregnant through sexual assault do not believe in abortion, believing it would be a further act of violence perpetrated against their bodies and their children. Further, many believe that their children’s lives may have some intrinsic meaning or purpose which they do not yet understand. This child was brought into their lives by a horrible, repulsive act. But perhaps God, or fate, will use the child for some greater purpose. Good can come from evil.

The woman may also sense, at least at a subconscious level, that if she can get through the pregnancy she will have conquered the rape. By giving birth, she can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem. Giving birth, especially when conception was not desired, is a totally selfless act, a generous act, a display of courage, strength, and honor. It is proof that she is better than the rapist. While he was selfish, she can be generous. While he destroyed, she can nurture.

Adding to the Trauma

Many people assume that abortion will at least help a rape victim put the assault behind her and get on with her life. But evidence shows that abortion is not some magical surgery which turns back the clock to make a woman “un-pregnant.”

Instead, it is a real life event which is always very stressful and often traumatic. Once we accept that abortion is itself an event with deep ramifications for a woman’s life, then we must look carefully at the special circumstances of the pregnant sexual assault victim. Evidence indicates that abortion doesn’t help and only causes further injury to an already bruised psyche?

But before we even get to this issue, we must ask: do most women who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault want to abort?

In our survey of women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, many women who underwent abortions indicated that they felt pressured or were strongly directed by family members or health care workers to have abortions. The abortion came about not because of the woman’s desire to abort but as a response to the suggestions or demands of others. In many cases, resources such as health workers, counselors and others who are normally there to help women after sexual assault pushed for abortion.

Family pressure, withholding of support and resources that the woman needed to continue the pregnancy, manipulative an inadequate counseling and other problems all played a role into pushing women into abortions, even though abortion was often not what the woman really wanted.

Further, in almost every case involving incest, it was the girl’s parents or the perpetrator who made the decision and arrangements for the abortion, not the girl herself. None of these women reported having any input into the decision. Each was simply expected to comply with the choice of others. In several cases, the abortion was carried out over the objections of the girl, who clearly told others that wanted to continue the pregnancy. In a few cases, victim was not even clearly aware that she was pregnant or that the abortion was being carried out.

"Medical Rape"

Second, although many people believe that abortion will help a woman resolve the trauma of rape more quickly, or at least keep her from being reminded of the rape throughout her pregnancy, many of the women in our survey who had abortions reported that abortion only added to and accentuated the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault.

This is easy to understand when one considers that many women have described their abortions as being similar to a rape (and even used the term "medical rape), it is easy to see that abortion is likely to add a second trauma to the earlier trauma of sexual assault. Abortion involves an often painful intrusion into a woman’s sexual organs by a masked stranger who is invading her body. Once she is on the operating table, she loses control over her body. Even if she protests and asks the abortionist to stop, chances are she will be either ignored or told that it’s too late to stop the abortion.

For many women this experiential association between abortion and sexual assault is very strong. It is especially strong for women who have a prior history of sexual assault, whether or not the aborted child was conceived during an act of assault. This is just one reason why women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater distress during and after an abortion than are other women.

Research also shows that women who abort and women who are raped often describe similar feelings of depression, guilt, lowered self-esteem, violation and resentment of men. Rather than easing the psychological burdens experienced by those who have been raped, abortion added to them. Jackie wrote: I soon discovered that the aftermath of my abortion continued a long time after the memory of my rape had faded. I felt empty and horrible. Nobody told me about the pain I would feel deep within causing nightmares and deep depressions. They had all told me that after the abortion I could continue my life as if nothing had happened.2

Those encouraging, pushing or insisting on abortion often do so because they are uncomfortable dealing with sexual assault victims, or perhaps because they harbor some prejudice against victims whom they feel “let it happen.” Wiping out the pregnancy is a way of hiding the problem. It is a “quick and easy” way to avoid dealing with the woman’s true emotional, social and financial needs. As Kathleen wrote: I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child “conceived in rape,” feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used by pro-abortionists to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.

Trapping the Incest Victim

The case against abortion for incest pregnancies is even stronger. Studies show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to abortion. Instead of viewing the pregnancy as unwanted, the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity. She is also likely to see in her pregnancy the hope of bearing a child with whom she can establish a truly loving relationship, one far different than the exploitive relationship in which she has been trapped.

But while the girl may see her pregnancy as a possible way of release from her situation, it poses a threat to her abuser. It is also poses a threat to the pathological secrecy which may envelop other members of the family who are afraid to acknowledge the abuse. Because of this dual threat, the victim may be coerced or forced into an unwanted abortion by both the abuser and other family members.

For example, Edith, a 12-year-old victim of incest impregnated by her stepfather, writes twenty-five years after the abortion of her child: Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss . . . The abortion which was to “be in my best interest” just has not been. As far as I can tell, it only ‘saved their reputations,’ ‘solved their problems,’ and ‘allowed their lives to go merrily on.’ . . . My daughter, how I miss her so. I miss her regardless of the reason for her conception."

Abortion businesses who routinely ignore this evidence and neglect to interview minors presented for abortion for signs of coercion or incest are actually contributing to the victimization of young girls. Not only are they robbing the victim of her child, they are concealing a crime, abetting a perpetrator, and handing the victim back to her abuser so that the exploitation can continue.

For example, the parents of three teenaged Baltimore girls pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree rape and child sexual abuse. The father had repeatedly raped the three girls over a period of at least nine years, and the rapes were covered up by at least ten abortions. At least five of the abortions were performed by the same abortionist at the same clinic.3

Sadly, there is strong evidence that failing to ask questions about the pregnancy and to report cases of sexual abuse are widespread at abortion clinics. Undercover investigations by pro-life groups have found numerous cases in which clinics agreed to cover up cases of statutory rape or ongoing abuse of minor girls by older men and simply perform an abortion instead.

In 2002 a judge found a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Arizona negligent for failing to report a case in which a 13-year-old girl was impregnated and taken for an abortion by her 23-year-old foster brother. The abortion business did not notify authorities until the girl returned six months later for a second abortion. A lawsuit alleged that the girl was subjected to repeated abuse and a second abortion because Planned Parenthood failed to notify authorities when she had her first abortion. The girl’s foster brother was later imprisoned for abusing her.4

Finally, we must recognize that children conceived through sexual assault also deserve to have their voices heard. Rebecca Wasser-Kiessling, who was conceived in a rape, is rightfully proud of her mother’s courage and generosity and wisely reminds us of a fundamental truth that transcends biological paternity: “I believe that God rewarded my birth mother for the suffering she endured, and that I am a gift to her. The serial rapist is not my creator; God is.”

Similarly, Julie Makimaa, who works diligently against the perception that abortion is acceptable or even necessary in cases of sexual assault, proclaims, “It doesn’t matter how I began. What matters is who I will become.” That’s a slogan we can all live with.

Citations
1. Mahkorn, "Pregnancy and Sexual Assault," The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69.
2. David C. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More (Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press, 1987), 206.
3. Jean Marbella, "Satisfactory explanations of sex crime proved elusive," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 31, 1990; M. Dion Thompson, "GBMC, doctor suspected nothing amiss," Baltimore Sun, Oct. 31. 1990; "Family Horror Comes to Light in Story of Girls Raped by Father," Baltimore Sun, November 4, 1990; Raymond L. Sanchez, "Mother Sentenced in Rape Case," Baltimore Sun, Dec. 6, 1990.
4. "Planned Parenthood Found Negligent in Reporting Molested Teen’s Abortion," Pro-Life Infonet, attributed to Associated Press; Dec. 26, 2002.

Culture of Life

ADDRESS OF JOHN PAUL FRANCIS TO THE PARTICIPANTS IN ORGANIZED BY THE INTERNATIONAL FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF CATHOLIC DOCTORS
Clementine Hall Friday , September 20, 2013

 I apologize for the delay, because today ... this is a morning too complicated for audiences ... I apologize. 1. The first point that I would like to share with you is this: we are witnessing today in a paradoxical situation , dealing with the medical profession. On the one hand we see - and thank God - the progress of medicine, thanks to the work of scientists who, with passion and with no savings, are dedicated to finding new cures. On the other hand, however, we find also the danger that the doctor might lose its identity as a servant of life. The cultural disorientation has also affected what looked like an unassailable area: your, medicine! Although by their nature at the service of life, the health professions are sometimes induced to disregard life itself. Instead, as we remember the Encyclical Caritas in Veritate , "openness to life is at the center of true development." There is no true development without this openness to life. "If you lose the personal and social sensitivity towards the acceptance of a new life, then other forms of acceptance that are valuable for society also wither away. The acceptance of life strengthens moral fiber and makes people capable of mutual help "(n. 28). The paradoxical situation is seen in the fact that while you give the person new rights, sometimes even alleged rights, does not always protect the life as a primary value and basic right of every man. The final objective of doctor is always the defense and promotion of life. 2. The second point: in this context, be heard, the Church appeals to the conscience, the conscience of all health care professionals and volunteers, in a particular way you Gynecologists, called to collaborate in the creation of new human lives. Yours is a unique vocation and mission, which requires study, conscience and humanity. At one time, the women who helped in childbirth called "comadre" is like a mother to the other, with the real mother. You too are "comadri" and "compadri", too. A widespread mentality of profits, the "culture of waste", which now enslaves the hearts and minds of many, has a very high cost: it requires to eliminate human beings, especially if they are physically or socially weaker. Our response to this mentality is a "yes" and decided without hesitation to life. "The first right of the human person is his life. He has other goods and some of them are more precious, but is the fundamental good condition for all others "(Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , Declaration on Procured Abortion , November 18, 1974, 11). Things have a price and are sold, but people have a dignity, worth more than things and do not have money. Many times, we find ourselves in situations where we see what it costs less is life. For this attention to human life in its totality has become in recent years a real priority of the Magisterium of the Church, particularly to the most defenseless, that is, the disabled, the sick, the unborn child, the child, the elderly, which is the most defenseless life. In the human fragile each of us is invited to recognize the face of the Lord, who in his human flesh has experienced the indifference and loneliness that often condemn the poorest, both in countries in the developing world, both in affluent societies . Every child is not born, but unjustly condemned to be aborted, has the face of Jesus Christ, the Lord's face, that before he was born, and then newborn has experienced rejection in the world. And every senior, and - I talked about the child: let's go to the elderly, another point! And every elderly, sick, or even if at the end of his days, carries the face of Christ. You can not discard, as we proposed the "culture of waste"! You can not discard! 3. The third aspect is a mandate: be witnesses and speakers of this "culture of life" . Your being Catholic entails greater responsibility: first of all to yourself, for the effort to be consistent with the Christian vocation, and then to contemporary culture, to help recognize the transcendent dimension in human life, the imprint of the creative work of God, from the very first moment of her conception. This is a commitment to the new evangelization that often requires going against the current, paying in person. The Lord counts on you to spread the "Gospel of life." In this perspective the gynecology hospital departments are privileged places of witness and evangelization, because wherever the Church is "the vehicle of the presence of God" living at the same time becomes an "instrument of the true humanization of man and the world" (Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith , Doctrinal Note on Some Aspects of Evangelization , 9). Growing awareness that the focus of medical care is the human person in a position of weakness, the health facility becomes' the place where the care relationship is not job - your job is not caring relationship - but mission , where the charity of the Good Samaritan is the first chair and the face of the sufferer, the Face of Christ "(Benedict XVI, Address at the University Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Rome , May 3, 2012). Dear Friends doctors, who are called to take care of human life in its initial phase, remind everyone, with facts and words, this is always, in all its phases and at any age, sacred and is always quality. And not for a discussion of faith - no, no - but with reason, for a discourse of science! There is no human life more sacred than another, as there is a human life qualitatively more significant than another. The credibility of a health care system is measured not only for efficiency, but also for the attention and love towards people, whose life is always sacred and inviolable. Do not ever neglect to pray to the Lord and the Virgin Mary for having the strength to do your job well and bear witness with courage - courage! Today it takes courage - courage witness with the "Gospel of life"! Thanks a lot. -
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 © Copyright - Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Monday, August 5, 2013

Safe Haven Laws

Every state has a law which enables a parent to relinquish a baby at a 'safe haven' such as hospitals, emergency care facilities, police stations and staffed fire stations with no questions asked. The parent(s) can fill out a medical history form for future use by the child. Illinois' window in which parents can bring a baby to a 'safe haven' is 30 days.

http://www.saveabandonedbabies.org/resources/illinois-safe-haven-law/

http://www.nationalsafehavenalliance.org/

Are you pregnant? Have questions about how Baby Safe Haven laws can help you?
call: TOLL FREE CRISIS HOTLINE 1-888-510-BABY

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Ex-Planned Parenthood Staffer: Stop Killing Babies, Hurting Women in Abortion

Ex-Planned Parenthood Staffer: Stop Killing Babies, Hurting Women in Abortion

by Caterine Adair | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 5/28/13 7:09 PM

Dear Clinic Escort,

Today I saw you, with your bright orange vest emblazoned with ESCORT on the front and back. You refused to make eye contact with me. I saw your gritty determination as you grabbed arms with that young woman and whispered in her ear, “Ignore them,” you said, “Don’t look at them, they are here to intimidate you, to scare you. I’ll keep you safe, don’t worry.” You walked quickly, head up, steel in your eyes, never letting up your grip on her arm. Her head was down, following your lead, mutely keeping up with your fast trot to the abortionist.
You ushered her in through the doors and soon emerged, alone, smiling at us triumphantly, a glimmer of malice in your eye, a smirk of arrogance and joy at having bested us – another woman you saved from the anti-choice fanatics. You rejoin the other escorts, laughing and joking, until the next car pulls up, and your face resumes the mask of the militant soldier, ready to do battle for women’s reproductive rights.

As I watched you I wondered, have you ever been inside the clinic? Have you ever been in the waiting room, filled with the silence of trepidation and fear? Have you listened to the stifled tears?

Have you ever been in the counseling room? This place, where instead of asking questions and listening, the worker masks the truth, or outright lies about the third life in the room, the life growing inside the woman’s womb? Have you seen her sad and scared eyes? Have you asked her why she is there? Do you know if she is being pressured or forced into this abortion, if she is safe at home…all the questions she won’t be asked inside the clinic? Does she know about all of the help available to her if she keeps the baby? Does she know how many couples would love to adopt her baby?

My dear Clinic Escort, have you been there for the ultrasound, where you can see the fully formed baby kicking its arms and legs? Have you heard the worker tell her it is just a bunch of cells? A blob? A product of conception? Have you been with her, holding her hand as she screams in pain, ignored by a doctor who doesn’t even know her name? Have you heard the suction machine, watch as the blood, tissue, and body parts flow from her body into a cold jar? Have you heard the sound of the currette scraping her uterus? Have you seen the body parts – an arm, a leg, a piece of a rib cage, poured into a baggie as though it were scraps of meat?

Have you sat with her in the recovery room as she stares off into space, desperate to get away from this place so she never has to think of it again? Have you been with her through the depression and the anxiety that plague her after the abortion? The breakup of her relationship? Have you helped her through her drug addiction, her binge drinking? Have you been there when she is unable to bond with her children? When her marriage falls apart? Will you be there when she attempts suicide? Will you be at her funeral when she succeeds?

Dear Clinic Escort, look into my eyes. They have seen things you could never imagine. Things that have made me scream in the middle of the night. Things that are never discussed in the intellectualized, feminist world of abortion rights. Because while you see a job well done when you usher her through those doors, her nightmare is just beginning.

LifeNews Note: Catherine Adair is a former staffer for Planned Parenthood, who is now pro-life. She says, “I used to be prochoice and worked for Planned Parenthood. Now I speak about the horror of working in an abortion clinic,and my personal experience with abortion. I hope to be able to bring more people to the truth.”



Thursday, May 9, 2013

Existence

“There are no words to excuse the killing of innocents.”  Barak Obama to the United Nations 2012-10

A  strange quote to come from a person who fully supports unlimited abortion.  One could argue that he was speaking of the loss of civilian life in the civil was in Syria.  But those words ought to be able to stand alone.  One could argue that the unborn do not qualify as people and therefore do not belong in the category of ‘innocents”.  When one is conceived, one begins to exist.  At that point no one else has the right to determine whether one is entitled to exist, unless one empowers another with that right (i.e. living, DNR, etc.).  One’s existence begins at conception and at death, physically ends, but continues on with God.  He, as the source of our existence, is the only One entitled to the power of life or death.

Pro-Life Without God, by Kelsey Hazzard

Pro-Life Without God  
May 1, 2013 at 8:30 am 

As the president of Secular Pro-Life, I have been asked to present the non-religious case against abortion.  But actually, you’ve probably heard it already.  Many people who hear the secular arguments against abortion simply fail to recognize them as secular, because they expect pro-life apologetics to have a religious source.  Expectations powerfully color the way we see reality.  Discard these expectations, however, and you will soon find that most arguments against abortion do not require the existence of a god.
Call Me An Extremist

We start from a premise that is shared by many religions and by secular humanism: the lives of human individuals are exceedingly valuable.  A religious person might express this concept as the “sanctity” of life, while a secular person might refer to the possession of fundamental human rights.  The core value judgment is the same.

We also make a factual assertion that human individuals begin their lives inside the womb, when sperm meets egg.  I began my life as a single-celled zygote; so did you.  The scientific consensus on this point is overwhelming.  Frankly, denying that life begins at conception is on par with denying the theory of natural selection; the evidence is that strong.  And what’s more, the leaders of the abortion rights movement know it.  While some rank-and-file abortion advocates will insist that the unborn aren’t alive, or are mere “blobs of tissue,” you will not hear such ignorance from the heads of abortion advocacy groups.  Nor will you hear it from abortion doctors.  Intellectually honest people on both sides agree that abortion kills a living human individual.

The question raised by abortion is whether the living unborn human being is part of the human community, deserving of rights like older humans; or whether living unborn human beings should be treated differently, as objects rather than as persons.

Abortion supporters have suggested various justifications for the latter approach.  None are convincing.  In every case, a consistent application of the justification would allow the killing of some human beings outside the womb.

Consciousness
The most common justification for abortion is that unborn children are unconscious, at least in the early stages of pregnancy when most abortions are done.  Of course, you are unconscious every night when you go to sleep.  People who use this argument do not actually believe that the right to life depends on consciousness.  Probe more carefully, and they will clarify that they feel the right to life depends on an inherent capacity for consciousness.  But don’t unborn children have that capacity?  Consider a woman in a coma, who is expected to come out of the coma in a few months.  Is the unborn child’s situation appreciably different?  In both cases, consciousness is not present in the moment—there is only a potential for consciousness.  If that is a good enough justification for killing a child in the womb, and we’re going to be consistent, then the comatose woman is also a non-person who can be killed “on demand and without apology.”  That can’t be right.

Bodily autonomy
Another common abortion argument is the appeal to bodily autonomy; we’ve all heard the saying “my body, my choice.”  This is sometimes articulated as a belief that in order to have rights, you must not be dependent upon another body for survival.  But as with the consciousness argument, a consistent application of this rule would threaten rights of some born persons.

Other times, the bodily autonomy argument is expressed in terms of consent; you cannot use another person’s body without their permission, and if a woman does not want to be pregnant, the fetus does not have that permission.  If the only way to stop the fetus’ use of its mother’s body is to kill it, so be it.

That argument misses an important point: except in rape situations, the mother had a role in causing the unborn baby’s dependence in the first place.  In that light, it seems unfair to revoke consent—especially when doing so will kill someone!

When pro-lifers make this point, we are usually accused of being anti-sex and using pregnancy as a “punishment.”  That’s untrue.  It’s like saying that if you oppose drunk driving, you’re anti-beer!  Have your fun—just don’t put the lives of others at risk.

Women’s Health
Next, we have the argument that abortion is necessary to promote women’s health.  If abortion is not available on request, they say, women would rather risk harm themselves than allow their child to live.  In support of this theory, they point to the “bad old days of back-alley abortion,” when tens of thousands of women died annually.  This argument is powerful because it appeals to the same value that the pro-life movement does: a desire to save human lives.  The problem is that the women’s health argument has no basis in fact.

In the late 1960s, Dr. Bernard Nathanson co-founded the National Association for Repeal of Abortion Law, which now goes by the name NARAL Pro-Choice America.  Nathanson was an abortionist.  An atheist, he became pro-life when improved ultrasound technology convinced him of the humanity of the unborn child.  (He converted to Catholicism in his old age, and died in 2011.)  During his years as a pro-life atheist, he shared his insights into the early abortion movement—in particular, the messaging it used to shape the abortion debate.  One key tactic was to conjure abortion statistics out of thin air.  In Aborting America, Nathanson wrote:
It was always “5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year.” I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the “morality” of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?
So what are the actual numbers?  According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 39 women died from illegal abortions in 1972, the year before Roe v. Wade.  Maternal deaths from abortion haven’t been in the thousands since the 1930s, before the advent of antibiotics!  For perspective, the CDC reports that 12 women died in legal abortions in 2009; that number is almost certainly low, because many states (notably California) do not report to the CDC.

Gender equality
Finally, abortion advocates resort to an argument of brute force.  Yes, unborn children are human beings.  Yes, abortion kills them.  But abortion is necessary for gender equality: the lives of the unborn are “worth sacrificing,” and we must “be prepared to kill” for the cause.
The fact that this horrific view is being entertained at all actually encourages me.  I believe that these are the dying gasps of a pro-abortion movement that simply has no good arguments left.

As a woman, I do not want my worth to be based on my power to destroy the life of a defenseless child.  And I’m convinced that as long as abortion is accepted, society will never address the true causes of gender inequality.

Conclusion
This article has reviewed just a few of the secular arguments against abortion.  In contrast, purely religious arguments are fairly limited in number; you can argue that abortion violates a divine commandment, or displeases God in some way, or interferes with an act of divine creation.  In my experience, even devoutly religious pro-lifers view these purely religious arguments as secondary.  The secular case for life is the dominant case for life!

Let us again turn to Dr. Nathanson.  His testimony makes it clear that abortion was very deliberately framed as a “religious issue” from the beginning, in order to silence important pro-life voices:So why does this violate our expectations?  Where does the expectation come from, that a belief in God is necessary to oppose abortion?
We fed the media such lies as “we all know that opposition to abortion comes from the hierarchy and not from most Catholics” and “Polls prove time and again that most Catholics want abortion law reform.” And the media drum-fired all this into the American people, persuading them that anyone opposing permissive abortion must be under the influence of the Catholic hierarchy and that Catholics in favor of abortion are enlightened and forward-looking. An inference of this tactic was that there were no non-Catholic groups opposing abortion. The fact that other Christian as well as non-Christian religions were (and still are) monolithically opposed to abortion was constantly suppressed, along with pro-life atheists’ opinions.
It worked then, but it won’t work for much longer.  Pro-abortion leaders are worried that the Millennial generation is rejecting abortion.  Polling confirms their fears.  And nearly a quarter of Millennials have no religion.
In short, the most pro-life and least religious generation is poised to take over the country.  The “religious issue” framework will be completely untenable in such a climate.

Secular Pro-Life is leading the way into a new era of pro-life advocacy.  If you like what we’re doing, please join us and support the cause of life.

Kelsey Hazzard is the founder and president of Secular Pro-Life.  She received her J.D. from the University of Virginia School of Law.

Monday, March 25, 2013

A Thought from Nearing Home by Billy Graham

"I can only hope in my senior state that I am building bridges for those following behind me as I encourage them on the roads they travel...Are we paving the way for those who follow in our footsteps?  Perhaps we should even ask ourselves, 'Are our footsteps worth following?'  The answer is yes if we are following the footsteps of the Lord Jesus Christ and our bridges are built on the solid rock of His foundations."

Billy Graham, Nearing Home, pp. 130-131, 2011

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Response to a letter from Senator Durbin

March 8, 2013
 
Dear Ms. Gisburne:
 
Thank you for contacting me about abortion (post - Effects of Abortion on Society, February 13, 2013). I appreciate hearing from you.
 
While abortion is an issue that has tended to divide Americans, I believe we can acknowledge women’s rights and still work together to reduce the number of abortions. I believe abortion should be safe and legal, consistent with Roe v. Wade. A decision this personal is best left to a woman, her family, her doctor, and her conscience. Late-term abortions, including so-called partial birth abortions, should be strictly limited to cases where the life of the mother is in danger or she faces a medically certified risk of grievous physical injury.
 
At the same time, we can do more to diminish the frequency of abortion. We must make family planning services and age-appropriate sex education more available. This will help couples avoid the unplanned pregnancies that often lead to abortion. I support the federal family planning program, which provides more than five million women with a wide range of services designed to improve maternal and infant health, lower the incidence of unintended pregnancy, and prevent abortions. This program has a proven record of success. I oppose gag rules that would prevent women from receiving full information about their pregnancy options.
 
In addition, we must go beyond contraception. We need to support pregnant women when they find themselves in a difficult situation by working to ensure that they have access to health care, before and after the baby is born. Providing programs that teach parenting skills, nutrition assistance, income support, and caring adoption alternatives is critical to family planning.

We should also address the underlying conditions that can affect a couple’s response to an unplanned pregnancy. Minimum wage increases, affordable health care, expanded child care options, and improved educational assistance can make it easier for a couple to welcome a child into the family.
I also favor tax breaks to help families afford adoptions, and I have cosponsored legislation, subsequently enacted into law, that extended and increased the tax credit for adoption expenses.
 
Thank you again for sharing your views with me. Please feel free to stay in touch.
Sincerely,
 
Richard J. Durbin
United States Senator
RJD/ab
 
Senator Durbin:
 
Abortion is wrong. Nothing can be said to ever make it right.
 
Abortion is wrong. Your position, as you continually state in your letters, is pap and sounds more ludicrous every time I read it. It shows a lack of a sense of right and wrong. It is as if you were taken to the dome of the Capitol and shown the power you could have if you subjugated your principles to the Democratic platform, no matter how it conflicted with morality.
 
Abortion is wrong. “While abortion is an issue that has tended to divide Americans, I believe we can acknowledge women’s rights and still work together to reduce the number of abortions.” Women’s rights is a misnomer. I am a woman. I have been one for 62 years. My rights end where they harm someone else. Abortion kills, therefore abortion cannot be a “right”. Nothing is being done, especially by the Democratic party to reduce the number of abortions. In fact, the position of the party today is to push for more abortions through increased access, funding, and decreased regulations, both on the federal and state levels.
 
Abortion is wrong. “I believe abortion should be safe and legal, consistent with Roe v. Wade.” Neither rulings of the Supreme Court, legislation of Congress, nor a position in the Democratic platform will ever make it right. Abortion laws were founded on lies and is continues to be protected not for the good of women but for the bottom line of the industry. The rights of a human being to life ought not be subject to the decisions of another, even the woman who is carrying that life in her womb.
 
Abortion is wrong. “A decision this personal is best left to a woman, her family, her doctor, and her conscience.” By regurgitating the lies of the abortion industry, as taken on by the Democratic party, you are harming women by letting them believe that abortion is “an acceptable method of birth control”. By regurgitating the lies of the abortion industry, as taken on by the Democratic party, you have helped condemn millions of human beings to brutal deaths. By regurgitating the lies of the abortion industry, as taken on by the Democratic party, you are ultimately violating the my rights since the standards of personhood in abortion ‘rights’ could be applied to anyone with just an alteration of parameters. Do not think that this has not already happened.
 
Abortion is wrong. “At the same time, we can do more to diminish the frequency of abortion.” ... “I oppose gag rules that would prevent women from receiving full information about their pregnancy options.” What world are you living in? Planned Parenthood continuously lobbies against any law which would force them to give any information which could dissuade a woman from going through with an abortion. Ultrasounds, information on fetal development, alternative options, etc. all could cause a woman to not abort, which in turn means loss of revenue for the abortion clinic. The new health mandate requires companies to pay for contraception and ‘abortion’ pills, against the conscience of the owner. I learned back in the 1960’s that the ‘pill’ could cause an abortion, by preventing the embryo from implanting. Where have you been?
 
Abortion is wrong. “We need to support pregnant women when they find themselves in a difficult situation by working to ensure that they have access to health care, before and after the baby is born.” In spite of the efforts, of mainly churches, to advertise services, women turn to Planned Parenthood when they are faced with a ‘difficult situation’. Why? Planned Parenthood’s visibility, guaranteed now by its connection to the White House. Even the federal family planning program is invisible. I tried a search for clinics in Chicago with no results. The only way to ensure that money for health care is truly used for health care is to separate all abortion services from health care. Planned Parenthood does not encourage alternatives to abortion, just look at the numbers. Women have stated that Planned Parenthood has told them that they are NOT a social service. No amount of social services can make abortion right. No amount of social services can aid someone who is already dead.
 
Abortion is wrong. “We should also address the underlying conditions that can affect a couple’s response to an unplanned pregnancy.” I agree.
 
Abortion is wrong. Nothing can be said to ever make it right.  You ought to be doing everything you are able to do to eliminate abortion.  In accepting abortion as a rightful law of the country, you are NOT doing everything you could in your position of power.  "It was once said that the moral test of Government is how that Government treats those who are in the dawn of life, the children; those who are in the twilight of life, the elderly; and those who are in the shadows of life, the sick, the needy and the handicapped," Hubert H. Humphrey
 
Abortion is wrong.  You are a scandal to the Catholic Church.  'Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.' Matthew 25:40.  In the end, those millions of humans whom you allowed to be brutally destroyed will stand as witnesses.
 
Mary Ann Gisburne
 
"We are not some casual or meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." Pope Benedict XVI, April 24, 2003
 
 

Sunday, March 3, 2013

After-birth abortion - a.k.a. infanticide

"...all the individuals who are not in the condition of attributing any value to their own existence are not persons. Merely being human is not in itself a reason for ascribing someone a right to life."   from After-birth abortion: why should the baby live?

Abortion, euthanasia, and now after-birth abortion a.k.a. infanticide.  And so it continues, the journey to have only perfect people in the world.  Who is next?  Where does it end?  Why does this one article matter?  An article leads to discussion.  The discussion leads to people thinking the argument is reasonable.  Thinking that it is reasonable leads to acceptance.  Think not?  Look at the road to the acceptance of abortion and, in many places, euthanasia.  What will become the qualification that determines anyone of us is a non-person and ought not continue to live?

Infanticide is currently legal in the Netherlands, and practiced in many countries like China, India and North Korea.

"We are not some casual or meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary." Pope Benedict XVI 

http://jme.bmj.com/content/early/2012/03/01/medethics-2011-100411.full

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Experts: Abortion Not Medically Necessary to Save the Life of a Mother | LifeNews.com

Experts: Abortion Not Medically Necessary to Save the Life of a Mother | LifeNews.com

by Committee for Excellence in Maternal Healthcare and The Life House | Dublin, Ireland | LifeNews.com | 9/11/12 6:12 PM

Leading medical experts speaking at a major International Symposium on Excellence in Maternal Healthcare held in Dublin have concluded that “direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a mother.”
Professor Eamon O’Dwyer, speaking for the Committee of the Symposium, said that the outcome of the conference “provided clarity and confirmation to doctors and legislators.”

Participants in the symposium.

Experts in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, mental health, and molecular epidemiology presented new research, and shared clinical experiences on issues surrounding maternal healthcare to the packed Symposium attended by more than 140 Irish medical professionals.

Particular attention was paid to the management of high-risk pregnancies, cancer in pregnancy, foetal anomalies, mental health and maternal mortality.
The Symposium’s conclusions were issued in the Dublin Declaration on Maternal Healthcare which states:
-“As experienced practitioners and researchers in Obstetrics and Gynaecology, we affirm that direct abortion is not medically necessary to save the life of a woman.

-We uphold that there is a fundamental difference between abortion, and necessary medical treatments that are carried out to save the life of the mother, even if such treatment results in the loss of life of her unborn child.

-We confirm that the prohibition of abortion does not affect, in any way, the availability of optimal care to pregnant women.”
Professor Eamon O’Dwyer said that the Symposium was timely given that the issue of abortion was one of current public debate, and that attempts were being made to confuse legitimate medical treatment with abortion.
“Irish Obstetricians and Gynaecologists have previously pointed out that treatment for conditions such as ectopic pregnancy are not considered abortion by doctors, yet misinformation in regard to this abounds in public debate. The Symposium clarifies that direct abortion is never medically necessary to save the life of a woman, and that’s good news for mothers and their babies,” said Professor O’Dwyer.

Dr Eoghan de Faoite of the organising Committee for the Symposium said that the research presented at the Symposium provided clear evidence that best practice medical care for pregnant women does not involve abortion.
“It was fascinating to learn about new therapies involving the safe delivery of chemotherapy during pregnancy and the exciting field of in-utero fetal surgery” he said. “When discussing matters of pregnancy and medicine it is vital that the voices of the real experts, those that actually care for pregnant women, be heard. This Symposium puts an end to the false argument that Ireland needs abortion to treat women, and it was encouraging to hear the international speakers commend Ireland’s high standards of maternal healthcare and low rates of maternal mortality.”

The Medical Advisor to the Life Institute, Dr Seán Ó Domhnaill welcomed the outcome of the Symposium. “The Dublin Declaration stating that abortion is not medically necessary was a statement of fact agreed by medical experts and reflected best medical practice in maternal healthcare”, he said. “This is a globally significant outcome, which shows abortion has no place in treating women and their unborn children.”
 
Rebecca Roughneen of Youth Defence said that the outcome of the Symposium affirmed the pro-life position which had long held that abortion was not medically necessary to preserve women’s lives. “Ground-breaking research and new clinical practices were presented at this hugely important Symposium, and the good news for mothers and babies is that experts agree that abortion is not necessary to save the life of a mother,” she said.

LifeNews Note: This originally appeared in WorldWatch, a publication of Human Life International.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Cardinal Dolan's Letter in support of the Blunt Amendment

Dear Brother Bishops,

Since we last wrote to you concerning the critical efforts we are undertaking together to protect religious freedom in our beloved country, many of you have requested that we write once more to update you on the situation and to again request the assistance of all the faithful in this important work. We are happy to do so now.

First, we wish to express our heartfelt appreciation to you, and to all our sisters and brothers in Christ, for the remarkable witness of our unity in faith and strength of conviction during this past month. We have made our voices heard, and we will not cease from doing so until religious freedom is restored.

As we know, on January 20, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a decision to issue final regulations that would force practically all employers, including many religious institutions, to pay for abortion inducing drugs, sterilizations, and contraception. The regulations would provide no protections for our great institutions—such as Catholic charities, hospitals, and universities—or for the individual faithful in the marketplace. The regulations struck at the heart of our fundamental right to religious liberty, which affects our ability to serve those outside our faith community.

Since January 20, the reaction was immediate and sustained. We came together, joined by people of every creed and political persuasion, to make one thing resoundingly clear: we stand united against any attempt to deny or weaken the right to religious liberty upon which our country was founded.

On Friday, February 10, the Administration issued the final rules. By their very terms, the rules were reaffirmed “without change.” The mandate to provide the illicit services remains. The exceedingly narrow exemption for churches remains. Despite the outcry, all the threats to religious liberty posed by the initial rules remain.

Religious freedom is a fundamental right of all. This right does not depend on any government’s decision to grant it: it is God-given, and just societies recognize and respect its free exercise. The free exercise of religion extends well beyond the freedom of worship. It also forbids government from forcing people or groups to violate their most deeply held religious convictions, and from interfering in the internal affairs of religious organizations.

Recent actions by the Administration have attempted to reduce this free exercise to a “privilege” arbitrarily granted by the government as a mere exemption from an all-encompassing, extreme form of secularism. The exemption is too narrowly defined, because it does not exempt most non-profit religious employers, the religiously affiliated insurer, the self-insured employer, the for-profit religious employer, or other private businesses owned and operated by people who rightly object to paying for abortion inducing drugs, sterilization, and contraception. And because it is instituted only by executive whim, even this unduly narrow exemption can be taken away easily.

In the United States, religious liberty does not depend on the benevolence of who is regulating us. It is our “first freedom” and respect for it must be broad and inclusive—not narrow and exclusive. Catholics and other people of faith and good will are not second class citizens. And it is not for the government to decide which of our ministries is “religious enough” to warrant religious freedom protection.

This is not just about contraception, abortion-causing drugs, and sterilization—although all should recognize the injustices involved in making them part of a universal mandated health care program. It is not about Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. It is about people of faith. This is first and foremost a matter of religious liberty for all. If the government can, for example, tell Catholics that they cannot be in the insurance business today without violating their religious convictions, where does it end? This violates the constitutional limits on our government, and the basic rights upon which our country was founded.

Much remains to be done. We cannot rest when faced with so grave a threat to the religious liberty for which our parents and grandparents fought. In this moment in history we must work diligently to preserve religious liberty and to remove all threats to the practice of our faith in the public square. This is our heritage as Americans. President Obama should rescind the mandate, or at the very least, provide full and effective measures to protect religious liberty and conscience.

Above all, dear brothers, we rely on the help of the Lord in this important struggle. We all need to act now by contacting our legislators in support of the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act, which can be done through our action alert on www.usccb.org/conscience.

We invite you to share the contents of this letter with the faithful of your diocese in whatever form, or by whatever means, you consider most suitable. Let us continue to pray for a quick and complete resolution to this and all threats to religious liberty and the exercise of our faith in our great country.

Timothy Cardinal Dolan
Archbishop of New York
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

Most Reverend William E. Lori
Bishop of Bridgeport
Chairman, Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty

Friday, February 22, 2013

New Study of PVS Patients Casts Increasing Doubt on Terri Schiavo’s Death

New Study of PVS Patients Casts Increasing Doubt on Terri Schiavo’s Death


by Steven Ertelt | WASHINGTON, DC | LIFENEWS.COM | 2/19/10 9:00 AM
 
New Study of PVS Patients Casts Increasing Doubt on Terri Schiavo’s Death
by Bobby Schindler
February 19, 2010

LifeNews.com Note: Bobby Schindler is the brother of Terri Schiavo and he and his family now work for the Terri Schindler Schiavo Foundation to help disabled and incapacitated patients like her.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Recall Abortion Petition

Please share.

From the web site:

Our “Recall Abortion” effort, represented by Janet’s book, involves a petition to the government to do what it was founded to do: protect the rights of the citizens. We invite you to read and sign the petition below.

There are many things that governments can do to “recall abortion,” and the particulars of that are worked out from year to year. In order for public officials to take any steps in that direction, however, the will of the people needs to be clear, and that’s what a petition like this accomplishes.
We will make sure that public officials on the local, state and federal levels know of the conviction of all those who sign this petition: abortion must be recalled!

Thank you!

http://www.recallabortion.com/petition.aspx

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Effects of Abortion on Society


Abortion kills the unborn child, grievously wounds the mother, causes harm to those others involved, and damages society as a whole.

The violence of abortion extends out to our culture, diminishing the value of life for all.  The violence of abortion makes the violence of abuse acceptable.  The violence of abortion makes rape acceptable.  The violence of abortion makes the violence of shootings acceptable.  The violence of abortion makes the harming or the casting away of any individual life acceptable.

The particular violence of one against another may not be accepted by society; but abortion, allowing one individual to decide if another life ought to continue, is accepted by society.  With individuals accepting that the continuation of the life of an unborn person can be decided by another, it is just a mental step for someone to justify the harming or taking of any person’s life for any reason.  All human life must be respected for any one life to have respect.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gun violence and Abortion-a letter to the President and my representatives

The only way I see to end gun violence is for our country to once again gain a respect for life.  However, it is entrenched in our country for individuals to decide on the worth of another's life.  In our culture, a person's life is not universally respected. 

I believe that abortion is the greatest contributor to the decline in the respect for all human life. I do not remember the scale of violence in our society back in the 50's and 60's before death by abortion was legalized. What is the difference between death through abortion and death through gun violence?  In my view, there is none.  In each case, someone has decided that another life should not continue living.

The only way to regain a respect for life in this country is to respect all life, from conception to natural death.  No one has the right to decide to end life for another.

Anyone who supports abortion (including those in government), performs abortions, or has an abortion is no better than those who decide with their guns that others have no right to live.  Women die from abortions and many are physically and psychologically harmed for life, just as others die and are harmed for life from gun violence.  And, the violence just spreads outwards affecting eventually all of society.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Letter to the President on his inaugural speech

Mr. President,

"'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' Today we continue a never ending journey to bridge the meaning of those words with the realities of our time. For history tells us that while these truths may be self-evident, they’ve never been self-executing. That while freedom is a gift from God, it must be secured by his people here on earth."

The first right mentioned is the right to life. The government and this administration is denying the right to life to millions through the sanction of abortion. By a rough calculation I estimate that 20-25% of a projected population under 40 (without abortion) has died due to abortion. This is using the 2010 census figures for a total of the population under 40, adding in the 55,000,000 aborted and taking a percentage of those 55,000,000 from that total.

"Together we resolve that a great nation must care for the vulnerable and protect its people from life’s worst hazards and misfortune." This administration has continued to pledge its support to destroy the most vulnerable, the unborn, instead of supporting those organizations which would nurture both the unborn and their parents through whatever problems they may be facing. They are out there. See my blog http://tochooselife.blogspot.com/ assembled from a week of book and internet searches.

"Thank you, God Bless you, and may He forever bless these United States of America." Why should God bless a country which blatantly ignores one of His basic commandments, "Thou Shall NOT Kill"?

A politician, who says that he is Christian, must act on his beliefs in the policies he proposes, and the fruit of his beliefs is seen in the policies he proposes. The fruit of your policies is abortion anytime, anywhere, for whatever reason. I see nothing Christian, or remotely ethical, in that.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Our Bodies, Our Consciences, By Kathryn Jean Lopez


We are not alone. We can’t afford to pretend we are.
 

 

On the morning of the 40th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s infamous Roe v. Wade ruling, I felt a chill. And it wasn’t brought on by the appropriate bitterly cold weather that particular January morning. After Mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, some 500 or so New Yorkers walked through the streets of midtown Manhattan, in front of God, man, and Grand Central Station, praying the Rosary. Our prayers were for life and love and mercy. Our prayers were not in judgment of others but that we may do better, that women and men may see better options than abortion, that the hurt may be healed, that God may forgive us for letting anyone think she is alone and has no choice but the death of her child.
 
The chill was brought on by the knowledge that some of the commuters streaming into Grand Central knew the pain of abortion all too well. By the certainty that someone, on her morning commute, was thinking that was her only option. By the sharing in a community’s pain and guilt and sorrow.

We tend to live our lives masked in a veil of the imperial self. We pretend that we live alone. But as alone as we might sometimes feel, we make decisions that affect others. We need one another.
We do realize this, on some level. We’re decades into a welfare state premised on the idea that the government is our safety net. But the government cannot be a brother. The government cannot be a mother and a father. Where love thrives is in a flourishing civil society. That is where we flourish. Where our dreams are. Where we get the support that allows us to believe they can be fulfilled.

Our problems today run so deep. Now is the time to take a few steps back. Not to turn back the clock. But to reflect. To talk about some of the most contentious issues now that we are past the frenzy of a presidential election campaign.

Our problems won’t all be solved through legislative action. And legislative action, while it may sometimes be crucial, can’t be maximized without a fuller context. Congress may vote to defund Planned Parenthood, but we can’t assume that the political message that vote sends will cause the culture to change — that people will suddenly remember the poisonous eugenics upon which that organization was founded, that we will celebrate and protect human dignity, live chastely, and see adoption as a brilliant and generous option. A congressional vote is not a magic wand. There are so many steps that need to precede and follow it.

In a new book, Fill These Hearts, author Christopher West works on helping us with the backstory of our lives, a starting point for changing the terms of our debates and untangling our confusions. “Consider,” he writes, “the idea that our bodies tell a story that reveals, as we learn how to read it, the very meaning of existence and the path to the ultimate satisfaction of our deepest desire.”

“To call God ‘Father’ with a sincere heart is to recognize him as the ultimate origin of every good gift and to rest in his benevolent providence, trusting unflinchingly — despite life’s many sorrows and sufferings — that God does indeed have a perfect plan for our satisfaction. To call God ‘Father’ is to believe wholeheartedly that, in due time, he will provide precisely that for which we ache.” West quotes Psalm 145: “You give them their food at the proper time. You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing.”

West makes the point that our bodies and our souls are not separate things, and that our very physical design speaks to our creation and destination. “In the biblical understanding, there exists a profound unity between that which is physical and that which is spiritual. This means that our bodies are not mere shells in which our true ‘spiritual selves’ live. We are a profound unity of body and soul, matter and spirit. In a very real way, we are our bodies.”
West writes as a Christian, but perceiving a person as an integrated whole does not depend on being a Christian, or a believer of any sort. Nor does understanding that men and women are different and complementary, and that that is a good thing. However, we can no longer take for granted that everyone understands that, let alone accepts, embraces, even celebrates it. Not when our federal health-care policy treats a woman’s fertility as a disease, a condition that she is expected to medicate away in order to achieve freedom and equality. Not when we are sending women into combat.

The world-famous former mayor of New York Ed Koch, who died just last week, was good friends with John Cardinal O’Connor. In 1989 they collaborated on a book, His Eminence and Hizzoner, in which Mayor Koch wrote: “The future of our nation depends on our ability to inculcate a strong sense of morality in our young people. That moral sense should be based on philosophical, ethical and religious teachings, which are the underpinnings of conscience. The way to oppose abortion is by challenging the conscience of those who advocate it. If the battle cannot be won at the level of conscience, it cannot be won.”

But what is conscience? What is right and wrong, and who are we and why are we? If we do not agree that there are answers to these questions — even if we don’t agree on what those answers are — we will never have a constructive debate about abortion, whether in terms of policy or of culture. That is the foundational work we need to return to. No election campaign is ever going to be better without it. Our culture is never going to be renewed without it. No lives are going to be truly redeemed without it. We won’t start making sense again without it. The dark bitter cold of winter will be warmed by the renewal that comes with embracing life, living life lovingly, supporting life, letting someone know she is not alone.

— Kathryn Jean Lopez is editor-at-large of National Review Online. This column is available exclusively through Andrews McMeel Universal’s Newspaper Enterprise Association. She is a director of Catholic Voices USA.