"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

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Doe v. Bolton


"Sandra Cano is the "Mary Doe" of the 1973 Supreme Court case Doe v. Bolton--the companion case to Roe v. Wade which legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy. What is not well-known is that Sandra never had, wanted or believed in abortion.

Sandra Cano is pro-life and has stated her opposition to abortion from the beginning. The paperwork she thought was related to a divorce she sought from an abusive husband and the liberation of her children from foster care turned into one of the most (in)famous cases in our nation's history. The American Civil Liberties Union attorney that Cano believed was helping to reunite her with her children and to obtain a divorce CLAIMED that her client applied for an abortion but was turned down. Cano says she was lied to and that the lawyers handling the case did not explain to her what was happening and why. Here's how it happened.

Don't Blame Doe"

By Bryan Lash

It was 1965. Sandra Race, the seventeen-year-old daughter of an Atlanta City sanitation worker, was growing up in a poor neighborhood when her life was about to be changed forever. She had already dropped out of school; poor grades, the taunts of classmates about her weight and the disfiguring smile from Bell's Palsy were too much for her to face each day. Her mother tried forcing her and once nearly broke a broomstick across her back in the process. Like most adolescents, Sandra dreamed of romantic encounters with some "knight in shining armor" who would provide her with affection and attention. Adolescent insecurity and vulnerability would soon blind her senses and dull her better judgment. In her fragile emotional state, Sandra was a willing pawn for anyone who showed her the slightest favor.

Around this time, Sandra met Joel Lee Bensing, a gas station attendant and occasional day laborer from Hugo, Oklahoma. Sandra was smitten by the smile of this 22-year-old man. Her emotions soared. Having known him for only 2 days yet reeling from Joel's attention and affection, Sandra readily accepted an invitation to Stone Mountain Park, a popular recreational area 25 miles away. Somewhere along the way, he convinced her that a trip to visit his family was in order. Thirteen hours later they pulled into Hugo, Oklahoma. When she called her panic-stricken parents, her father threatened to have Joel arrested for kidnapping. Upon their return to Atlanta, her father beat her with a belt. The couple was then driven to Alabama where Joel was forced to marry Sandra in a civil ceremony.

Desparation and Distress: A Deteriorating Domestic Life

A week after they were married, Sandra found out that her husband was serving probation for molesting two different 5-year-old children. Over the next several years Joel was charged again with molestation and kidnapping. He would appear only a few days out of the month and was in and out of jail their entire marriage. Sandra's other relationships were also tenuous. Sandra's father died, her mother remarried only weeks after his death, and Sandra's stepfather proved to be a very demanding and many times an abusive man. He resented the presence of another man's six children and was not inhibited in releasing his frustration with verbal tirades and physical assaults.
Joel never properly provided for either Sandra or their four children. Things were so tight that on many occasions Sandra's family could not house her. Sandra's younger sister Barbara recalls:
"There were times when Sandra and her children would have to sleep at the Salvation Army Center at night. In the morning she would have to leave there and sit all day outside until the Center reopened in the evening."
It was during this time that her mother's frustration was cause for her to take out a series of "lunacy warrants" on Sandra. She did her best to provide for her children but there were too many factors working against her. Sandra was taken to the state mental hospital at Milledgeville and her children placed in foster care. Undaunted, she was soon released. Sandra readily admits that at this time in her life she was emotionally unstable, but she loved her children and was trying to provide for them in very difficult times. She wasn't into drugs, alcohol or prostitution. She wasn't living a wild lifestyle. She was by her own admission just "poor, uneducated, naive and ignorant."

Seeking Legal Assistance

In March 1970, at her wits end, barely 22 years of age, married to a convicted child molester, her children in foster care and pregnant with her fourth child; Sandra Race Bensing went to Atlanta Legal aid for help. Poverty-stricken, this was her only avenue for legal assistance. She was seeking a divorce from Joel and legal help in getting her children returned to her from foster care. The friendly faces and willing ears were a welcome "oasis" to Sandra, who had seen little of either her entire adult life. Her new "friends" there soon introduced her to an attorney named Margie Pitts Hames who was eager to help with her "situation." Sandra saw Margie as the "life preserver thrown to a drowning man." The only problem was that Ms. Hames' unstated solution to Sandra's predicament was not what Sandra had in mind. Margie's plan was abortion first, and then divorce and freeing the children from foster care. Sandra was kept in the dark and told only that her case had something to do with "Women's Rights." When asked once about the subject of abortion she responded "she did not believe in it, for herself, but could not speak for anyone else."

So began the murky legal journey through which Ms. Hames dragged her virtually blindfolded client. Court documents presented by Hames show that Sandra applied for an abortion at Grady Memorial Hospital, the only place where the poor could obtain an abortion. Hames ignored the fact that Sandra had already stated her opposition to abortion; in fact, extensive searches done at both Sandra's request and that of Georgia State Senator Pam Glanton has turned up no evidence of such an application. Next Ms. Hames, in partnership with Sandra's mother, arranged an abortion for Sandra at Georgia Baptist Hospital; Sandra had no knowledge of this plan. When Sandra finally found out about it, she fled to Oklahoma alone. She had never traveled alone before. Sandra had avoided the abortion others had arranged for her. Hames filed a class action suit in U. S. District Court naming Sandra Race Bensing as Mary Doe: the only pregnant woman in the action. Allegedly, the pregnant Bensing was denied an abortion at Grady Memorial Hospital by the abortion review panel; her case was then taken, reviewed and approved by another review panel at Georgia Baptist Hospital. The case was presented to liberalize the Georgia abortion law so a woman could abort her baby at any point through the ninth month of pregnancy without the interference of a panel of doctors as the statute directed.

Client Misrepresentation: A pawn in the hands of a feminist ideologue
No evidence has ever been found to verify the claim Sandra was either seen or rejected by Grady Hospital. Hames named Sandra as the plaintiff, even though Sandra Bensing did not ever want or seek an abortion. She only wanted a divorce from a convicted child molester and help in getting her children back. Grady Hospital officials neither saw nor rejected her alleged abortion request. So Sandra was presented as a pregnant woman seeking an abortion, to which she was adamantly opposed, whose non-existent request for an abortion was therefore never heard or discussed by hospital officials. While she was on a turbulent emotional roller coaster, her emotional state was not cause for her to seek an abortion as alleged by Hames. Her actions demonstrate the opposite: when she found out an abortion had been scheduled for her at Georgia Baptist Hospital, she fled and only agreed to return if she did not have to have an abortion. Sandra was never asked to testify before any court official and convey her supposed ardent desire to have an abortion. Sandra was a pawn in the hands of a feminist ideologue. Her attorney, Margie Pitts Hames was after abortion on demand and believed she was doing something great for women's rights, all the while ignoring the rights and wishes of her client.

The Supreme Court Decision: Fashioning law without the facts
When her suit failed to achieve her goals in Georgia, Hames continued to press her agenda on to the U. S. Supreme Court. On December 13, 1971 at 11:12 AM, Doe v. Bolton went before the Supreme Court. Hames represented her side and Dorothy T. Beasley represented the State of Georgia. Mrs. Beasley was skeptical. There were just too little facts. The transcripts document her amazement:

"The Attorney General (Arthur K. Bolton-Georgia) has no idea what the abortion committee in this particular case did or how much it knew. And that again is one of the great problems with this case. We know of no facts, there are no facts, in this case, no established facts...there is no case or controversy. Not with these defendants...It is not a complete divulgence of the facts surrounding her (Sandra's) circumstances."

On a couple of occasions the justices wanted to know if Mary Doe (Sandra Race Bensing) really existed, to which Hames replies in the affirmative. What she never points out is that while there was a real woman who was pregnant named in the original suit, Mary Doe never wanted or sought an abortion. Hames presented an affidavit from her mystery woman, Mary Doe, which contained the signature of Sandra Race Bensing. The document states that she is pregnant with her fourth child and that she cannot possibly care for the child properly, she is not emotionally capable of bringing the baby into the world, and that she wants an abortion. Sandra does not recall reading or signing this paper. The signature is similar to her own but the contents of it are in direct conflict with Sandra's beliefs and actions. Her only explanation is either the signature is a forgery or that she signed the document in a legal setting with Hames at which time she signed a number of documents relating to her divorce and the regaining of her children. Sandra trusted her attorney to be representing her best interests; however, the motive in this case was ideology over facts.

The judicial system of the United States was established to insure the rights and freedoms of citizens who are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law. The outcome of this U. S. Supreme Court decision was determined without a complete inspection of the facts. Clearly, Mary Doe was not Sandra Race Bensing. She was just who Margie Pitts Hames portrayed her to be. Statements Hames made before the Justices of the Supreme Court were lies and her motives were clear deception.

The high court's justices were not insistent in their questions. Members of that court who sided with Hames trampled the U. S. Constitution under foot. Abortion was legalized by a handful of men who were not in command of all the facts. This is precisely why the framers of the Constitution formed the legislative branch of government. Justices of the Supreme Court are supposed to rule on the constitutionality of the laws of the land, not author them.

In his dissenting opinion Justice Byron R. White said
"Nothing in the language or history of the Constitution supported the court's judgment, and the court had simply fashioned and announced a new constitutional right for pregnant mothers and, with scarcely any reason or authority for its action, had invested the right with sufficient substance to override most existing state abortion statutes, whereas the issue of abortion should actually have been left with the people and the political process they have devised to govern their own affairs."

Don't blame Doe.

U. S. Supreme Court, Mary Doe v. Arthur K. Bolton (Number 70-40)
Fulton Daily Report Volume 100, Number 28. Thursday, February 9, 1989
Video- ""The High Court's Low Blow to Doe" Copyright 1997 Sentinel Productions
P.O. Box 1509 Lawrenceville, GA 30046-1509

October is Respect Life Month

Back in 1972, the year before the United States Supreme Court ruled on Roe V. Wade to legalize abortion in the U.S., Pope John Paul II set aside the first Sunday of October as "Respect Life Sunday", also called "Sanctity of Life Sunday."

The Catholic Church has dedicated the month of October, starting with the first Sunday, to extra time and resources in advancing the culture of life.

On Fetal Pain

From a post on LifeNews.com

From Texas State Senator Kelly Hancock's speech on the Senate floor

“These hospital associations and medical physicians that say there’s no such thing as fetal pain would call Mia (Garza McCord,  Chief of Staff for State Senator Hancock) and ask her to come to the hospital…[John Mark’s] vitals were dangerously high.  They would ask her to simply come to the hospital because the machines weren’t working.  What that baby needed was to lay on that mother’s stomach and feel the love and the touch of a mother.
“When John mark felt that love and felt that touch, skin upon skin, his vitals began to improve.  For weeks and months, that hospital who doesn’t believe in fetal pain did believe the evidence was there and I got to see it personally.  When a mother touches a child the vital signs improve more than an incubator, better than a bunch of machines.”
John Mark McCord weighed 1 lbs, 4.8 ounces when he was born at 26 weeks.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Experts: Abortion Not Medically Necessary to Save the Life of a Mother

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.”
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.

Memorial for the Aborted Children of Americanism

Yesterday was commemorated the children who have been aborted in this country.  This is how it began.

A Funeral for “No One”

From the book Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory – an account of a funeral given to thousands of aborted babies rescued from a dumpster outside an abortion clinic. It was written by Monica Miller.

This chapter has been edited due to length.

Chapter Eighteen

 The Funeral for “No One”

“To forget murder victims is to kill them twice.”
(Elie Weisel)
. . .
Those involved with the retrievals decided that the best course of action was to obtain as many bodies of the aborted babies as possible and then, after a large number were in our possession, begin the arrangements for their burials. It would have been difficult, very time consuming and expensive to bury bodies every two or three weeks as they were accumulated. Besides, we firmly believed that the babies deserved a real funeral with a real graveside ceremony. We did not want to repeatedly put bodies into the ground when services for them would have been difficult to arrange every time. We were also resolved not to allow the babies to be buried in haste and secrecy as had happened with the bodies from the Michigan Avenue Medical Center.

This time, the burials of the victims of abortion would be well-planned, well-attended, and very well- advertised.
Edmund and I had told John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe about the aborted baby find and that we were in possession of thousands of bodies. In 1986 and 1987, when he worked for Human Life International, John retrieved four hundred and fifty bodies of aborted babies from Washington D.C. abortion centers. John was opposed to mass burials. He believed that each unborn child should be granted an individual burial because the brief period of their lives was not the criteria by which their personhood was measured. Each unborn child was a unique member of the human race, and John wanted to recognize the unique personhood of each of these fetal children and not just have them buried anonymously together. Moreover, John, a former anti-war activist, believed that what we did with the unborn (living and dead) foreshadowed what we would do with the rest of the world in terms of peace. If we buried the babies in mass graves what kind of world violence were we preparing for? What kind of world violence were we willing to accept?

I wanted very much to do what John urged and give each child an individual burial so that each child’s personal existence and humanity could be honored. If I had had only a dozen bodies, or fifty, or a hundred or maybe even three hundred, perhaps it could have been done. We would have found three hundred individual pro-lifers all over the country who would have organized three hundred funerals.

But we had literally thousands of bodies. Edmund and I had retrieved over two thousand of them. Tim Murphy and the other Chicago activists had approximately three thousand. By the time our retrieval efforts came to an end, over 5000 bodies were in need of burial. To communicate with over 5000 pro-lifers and ship the bodies to them was a massive undertaking. It probably meant that we would do no other pro-life work except arrange for the burials of the aborted unborn for months to come. I did not want to be in the funeral business forever.

Edmund and I were set upon one thing, which was a sort of compromise with what John had hoped for. We knew the particular cities where the babies had been aborted and we thought it only right that the babies be buried in the cities where they may have been brought into life and where they certainly had been killed.

We contacted pro-lifers in Raleigh, Fargo, Fort Wayne, Fairfield, and Wilmington. We tried to arrange to have the bodies transported by car to the various cities and states, since we believed that transport through the mail or United Parcel Service was not in keeping with the dignity of the bodies. That is how they had been shipped to the loading dock by the abortion clinic workers. The only bodies shipped parcel post were those killed in Raleigh. In July, 1988, Edmund drove his super Beetle six hundred miles to Philadelphia and gave Joe Foreman, who was living there at the time, two hundred bodies of aborted babies. These bodies were of unborn babies killed at the New Jersey Women’s Health Organization and the Delaware Women’s Health Organization. The bodies were then given to pro-lifers from those states. Not wanting to spend Citizens for Life’s money, Edmund had pawned his guitar to finance his Philadelphia excursion.

The unborn killed in Raleigh by Dr. Marx were buried at a cemetery in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. The funeral was organized by John Cavanaugh-O’Keefe’s sister, Lucy O’Keefe.

I made arrangements with Charlene Crommit of the Diocese of Fargo’s Respect Life Office to have the Fargo babies transported back there. One hundred and forty unborn babies killed in Fargo, North Dakota were placed in one small infant’s coffin and sent by jet to that city. The transport by jet had been paid for by the Fargo diocese and the small white coffin was met by a representative of the bishop of the Fargo diocese, John Sullivan. The transport by jet had been arranged by Brent Funeral Home in Milwaukee just as the body of any human being is transported for burial. (In hindsight, all of the bodies of aborted babies should have been delivered this way.) In Fargo, Bishop James Sullivan personally led the burial service for the fetal children.

Several years ago, Joe Scheidler and I sat at a table in a Burger King on Clark Street in Chicago. Several other pro-lifers sat with us or at tables nearby. We had been testifying at hearings called by Cook County Board president George Dunne, who sought to end the practice of abortion at Cook County Hospital. There was a break in the proceedings, so our large gang of pro-lifers all traipsed to the Burger King for lunch.

Over burgers, fries and sodas Joe narrated how he witnessed the birth of his second daughter, Annie. As he told the story, Joe’s face sparkled with joy. “After seeing this little life come out of the womb–my own little daughter–I never felt such happiness. I felt like I was levitating. It was then that I realized that to attack an innocent child inside its mother’s womb was the closest thing to killing God.”

Perhaps Joe’s insight was founded in coming to know how abortion attacks what is sacred in man–a sacredness that comes from God. Furthermore, to attack the developing child in his mother’s womb is an attack on the order of God’s creation. Abortion not only kills a human being; it also undoes the bonds of human communion. It is in human unity and the intrinsic inter-relatedness of persons that man knows and experiences God’s own love. God centered the order of creation in the unity of human persons: man and woman, husband and wife, mother and child. Abortion unravels human bonds–indeed wrenches those bonds apart and thus is an attempt to unravel creation.

Just beyond a closed door in my apartment lay the dismembered bodies of unborn children. I began to know their isolation and to understand that the aborted child’s isolation is caused by the triumph of another individual in isolation–the lonely monadic self who must secure its own identity and power by suppressing or annihilating all who threaten to be in relation to it. Here lay these silent bodies in the hands of a stranger in a strange place, who had taken them from a loading dock. They were apart from their mothers. Apart and distant from their fathers. Apart from the towns where they had been conceived. In them I knew the denial of man’s most intrinsic bonds. Roe v. Wade was based on the premise, indeed on the philosophy, that the woman stands alone. Abortion isolates a woman from all other human beings in the world. Under Roe no one–not parents, boyfriend or husband–has any claim upon the woman and her baby. The power needed to accomplish such a radical, ultimate separation between the woman and her child is achieved by the woman’s isolating herself from all others in the world who, inherently, do stand in relation to her. The promoters of legal abortion do tout it as “a private decision between a woman and her physician.” And there is truth in this point of view. The isolated woman necessarily makes a compact with a nameless stranger. Most often, even in legal abortion the woman may not even know the physician’s name and may never have seen him before. Most likely the woman will never see him again. There is no real relation between the abortion-bound woman and the person who will kill her baby. The abortionist is a kind of high priest who presides over a ritual of alienation.
. . .
In June, 1988, Joe Scheidler sat down at a table with Joseph Cardinal Bernardin in a room at the archdiocesan chancery office located on Superior Street in the posh north end of the Chicago Loop. Joe, with other pro-life leaders who attended the meeting, wanted to discuss frustrations the pro-life community had with the diocese and Bernardin’s own lack of hard-core involvement in the anti-abortion struggle. For years Catholics in the archdiocese active in the pro-life cause had felt that they were very much on their own. Few priests provided encouragement; some indeed, were hostile to pro-life initiatives and the archdiocese provided very little institutional Church backing for pro-life activist work. Joe and the other pro-life leaders who attended the meeting hoped to initiate a change. At the meeting, Joe suggested ways Bernardin himself could become more involved. Joe told him there were aborted babies that needed to be buried and asked the cardinal if he would officiate at the burial himself. The cardinal agreed.
On a sunny and warm July 30, 1988, I drove with two friends from Milwaukee to Queen of Heaven cemetery in Hillside, Illinois, a western suburb of Chicago. We parked the car and walked to the small chapel located in the mausoleum. A hearse was parked in the circular drive outside of the chapel; inside it were two large, beige-colored and exceptionally ornate adult caskets. They contained the bodies of the two thousand aborted babies to be buried that day. We entered the chapel, and I took a seat in a pew near the front reserved for those who had helped take the bodies out of the trash. I saw Joe Scheidler, Tim Murphy, Jerry McCarthy, Brian Pabich and Peter Krump. In another ten minutes the chapel was filled to overflowing, and the funeral Mass soon began. Bernardin was the primary celebrant and the homilist. After the Mass the mourners returned to their cars and followed the hearse through the winding streets of the cemetery until it came to a plot at the extreme west end. The caskets were unloaded from the hearse and placed on transport tables with castors. I and the others who were involved with the retrieval acted as pall bearers to the grave site.
Bernardin was standing near the open ground, and Fr. Coughlin stood near him. Soon six hundred people gathered around to join in the burial ceremony. There were also several TV cameras and photographers and journalists present. Bernardin blessed the ground, blessed the caskets and offered prayers for the dead. In a matter of moments the ceremony was over.

Indeed, everything was perfect. The Mass and burial were marked with the greatest dignity and solemnity. The caskets seemed suitable for royalty. And most important, the burial was public. That day the victims of abortion were not buried in haste and in secret.

Indeed, Bernardin took some flack for officiating at the burial. Colleen Connell of the American Civil Liberties Union who had criticized our on-the-street press conference a year earlier, now criticized the cardinal in a Chicago Tribune story:
He allowed himself to be used in a shameless publicity stunt. It’s one thing for the cardinal to say the Catholic Church is opposed to abortion.
But it’s quite another for him to participate in an action which demeans the personal privacy and integrity of women who may or may not be church members.

Perhaps Connell would have been satisfied if the fetal remains had been left in the trash. She also failed to consider that some women, indeed perhaps quite a few, would be comforted to know that their unborn baby was given a humane burial. Connell also questioned whether laws had been broken by those of us who “provided the fetuses.”

Bernardin told the reporter that he did not ask where the babies had come from and did not know what the legal ramifications might be but stated that “they would pale into insignificance when compared to the taking of innocent human life. I knew what I was doing, and what I was doing was a corporal work of mercy done in a very beautiful religious ceremony.”
[Miller then discusses another burial ceremony]

Prayers were said, hymns sung and then finally the six coffins were placed in the ground. We did not want to leave the actual burial for the cemetery grounds crew. We wanted to bury the babies ourselves to make it a more personal act. A young man lowered himself down into the massive grave. Greg Gesch and another young man passed the coffins down to him. Soon all of the coffins lay at the bottom of this deep, red-earthen hole.
The young man was pulled out. I took one long last look at the coffins below me. We then took turns shoveling the red clay into the grave until it was filled.

Local media coverage was extensive. A huge photo of the burial dominated the front page of the August 6th Tallahassee Democrat. We were stunned and delighted to see it. The photo was exceptionally poignant. It showed the young man in the grave with his arms outstretched to receive a coffin. It was beautiful. The Jacksonville Journal published a well-balanced article with photos–except the headline read “Pro-lifers bury caskets in protest” and stated that we “said [the caskets] contained the remains of aborted fetuses.” The article gave the impression that perhaps we were burying empty coffins!

The next morning one-hundred and thirty-one pro-lifers, including me, blocked the door to the North Florida Women’s Health and Counseling Services. Susan Brindle, Joan’s sister, was arrested as she held her two year old daughter Peggy. Tom Herlihy, Father Robert Pearson, Joe Wall and Ed Martin were also arrested. With sixty other women, I spent two nights in the Leon County jail. In the meantime Edmund and his family, with a small contingent of friends, buried nine of the aborted babies in ground set aside as a cemetery on land the Miller family owned near their home in Lloyd.
When we returned home from our Florida trip, final preparations were made for the burial of aborted babies in Milwaukee. The day of the burial, Saturday, September 10th, was very warm and sunny. The burial was well-advertised. Citizens for Life had sent out a large mailing; and there were two ads in the Catholic Herald, the archdiocesan newspaper, as well as a small ad in the Milwaukee Journal.

The Christian radio station, WVCY, had made several announcements about the burial in the preceding weeks. I expected this funeral to be well-attended.

Edmund and I awoke very early. We placed seven aborted babies in one of the wooden white coffins that he had made. We took these seven out of the whirl-pacs and actually assembled the small broken limbs. They were bodies of aborted babies killed at the Metropolitan Medical Services. Metropolitan occupied a small, two- story modern, non-descript building near the corner of Wisconsin Avenue and 27th St. Its east wall butted up against the west wall of a Marquette University co-ed dormitory. It always bothered me that Marquette as an institution, and the students themselves, seemed oblivious to the killing of the unborn that occurred right next door to them. Years earlier the Christian Radio station, WVCY, had first broadcast from that building. Vic Eliason, the founder of WVCY, was always saddened when he thought of what was going on in the building now. after Metropolitan moved into the building a karate studio rented the second floor but it had long since moved out. Abortions were done in the basement.

Metropolitan was one of the few places that could strictly be called an abortion clinic. Nothing else was done there.
When it first opened, just after the Roe v. Wade decision, three doctors took turns doing the abortions: Neville Sender (born in England), George Woodward and Nathan Hilrich. Without explanation, Hilrich quit doing abortions in 1987. Of the three-man team, Sender was certainly the most committed to the abortion practice, with Woodward a close second. In the late 1980′s both Sender and Woodward were in their mid to late sixties. Sender had boasted in the Milwaukee Journal that he had performed illegal abortions before Roe v. Wade He also shocked pro-lifers when, in reference to abortion, he told the Journal: “Of course we know it’s killing but the state permits killing in certain circumstances.”
. . .
Metropolitan was located in a shabby section of the near-downtown area. It was in an integrated neighborhood with commercial businesses, lots of apartment buildings, and old homes in obvious need of paint and repair. Carol Robbins was one of the most faithful sidewalk counselors at Metropolitan. She could be seen standing in front of the building nearly every day that the abortion center was open. On a warm summer day in 1991, a good-looking young man walked past the clinic. He stopped for a moment to look at Carol’s picket sign which displayed photos of aborted babies in the first trimester. Carol went over to him and gave him some pro-life literature which also showed aborted babies.

The young man looked at the pictures.

“What do you think about that?,” Carol asked him.

“Hum, the man said, “It makes me hungry.”

Three weeks later, on Monday, July 22, 1991, the young man was arrested. When Carol saw the television news clips about his arrest, she gasped. The man was Jeffrey Dahmer who, over a period of thirteen years, had killed seventeen men. He cut up the bodies of his victims, dissolved the flesh, stored the skulls, kept body parts in his refrigerator, and engaged in cannibalism. Dahmer lived in a run down apartment building on 25th Street north of Kilbourn, only two blocks away from Metropolitan.
On the day following Dahmer’s arrest, the Milwaukee Sentinal frontpage headline blasted in larger than usual bold black letters: “Human Body Parts Found in Apartment.”

I was stunned by the headline. It could have been written about me. I thought how ironic it was that I, too, once had in my apartment body parts from human beings who had been killed. The difference, of course, was that I hoped to confer dignity upon those bodies, while Dahmer denigrated the remains of those human beings whom he drugged, used first for his pleasure and then annihilated. The media and then the world was totally appalled by what Dahmer had done and readily exposed his storage of body parts as an atrocity–a further denigration of his victims. If the media had known about the body parts in my apartment, I would have been treated as a pro-lifer with a ghoulish obsession or weird fetish that only a pro-life fanatic like myself could have. To the media the actual victims of the aborted unborn would have been of little or of no consequence at all, since they are not considered persons and it is legal to kill them.

Edmund and I placed the small casket in the back seat of my car and drove the short distance from our apartments to Metropolitan, which was open for business that Saturday morning. We placed the infant’s coffin on the sidewalk a few feet from the door of the abortion clinic. We were not doing this to be vindictive. Edmund and I felt it was important that Sender, Woodward and the abortion clinic workers be confronted by the remains of the human beings they had helped to kill. The victims of Metropolitan had been shipped to a lab where they were literally treated like trash. But when we placed the bodies of those human beings on the doorstep of the abortion center where they had been killed, the abortionists and their workers could not so easily dismiss them. They thought they had shipped them out of the clinic and out of their thoughts–as if these unborn children had never existed.

Edmund stood next to the coffin while I stood on the sidewalk nearby. I held in my arms a duct-taped, tattered box. It was one of the boxes from the Vital Med loading dock that Metropolitan had shipped the fetal remains in.
The initials “MMS” were in the upper left corner of the box with the return address of the abortion clinic.

A police squad pulled into the parking lot; a policeman came out and stood on the sidewalk. A few minutes later, a dark-haired woman, in her early forties and wearing nurses whites, stepped out of the abortion clinic. It was Susan Corrone, the manager of Metropolitan. To pro-lifers she displayed a hard, no-nonsense, humorless personality. I saw her take the few steps over to the little coffin. She bent over slightly and peered for a second at the tiny broken bodies. She shook her head while pursing her lips.
“Nope, those aren’t ours,” she said.

“Oh, yes they are, Susan,” I said as I walked over to her carrying the Metropolitan box.

I stopped several feet from her and pointed to the box.

“Maybe you don’t recognize the babies, but you might recognize the box they were shipped in.”

A puzzled and apprehensive look came over her. She walked over to me and looked at the box closely and saw the return address.

“Well, I think I’ll take that. That’s our property,” she said.

Susan grabbed the box, and she and I tussled over it for a brief second.

“Officer, this woman has clinic property. Tell her to return it,” Susan yelled, now very obviously upset.

She succeeded in wrenching the box from my grasp. The officer came over quickly but seemed confused about what to do. I expected he would immediately set out to take charge and wield his authority.

I explained: “Officer, she says I’m in possession of clinic property; but this was a box that the abortion clinic threw in the trash that contained aborted babies. I took the box and the babies out of the trash.” I then turned to Susan, who had taken a few steps toward the side door of the clinic, looking as if she hoped to whisk herself and the box inside.

I shouted: “Susan it won’t do you any good to take that box. I have more where that one came from.”

To my utter surprise, the officer ordered Susan to give the box back to me. I was not used to police officers siding with pro-lifers.

“I think this is her box now,” he said.

Susan came over and begrudgingly put the box back into my hands.
Several days prior to the aborted babies’ funeral, I had called, Thomas Wiseman, the owner of Brett Funeral Home and asked if he would help us with this burial. Motivated by his Catholic convictions, Wiseman arranged to have six, white child-sized coffins donated by the Milwaukee Casket Company; he also provided the use of three black hearses. On Friday, the day before the burial, Edmund and I and two friends had gone to the funeral home to place the bodies of the twelve hundred aborted babies in the coffins. I felt ill at ease in the small back room where we were escorted to carry out this burdensome task. I felt I had intruded upon a place that was meant to be forever hidden and secret. The back rooms were strange and foreign and pathetically drab. I had been to many funeral homes to attend the wakes of friends and relatives. One sees the elegant furniture, draperies and lush carpeting of the funeral parlors. I fully realized how immersed in death my life had become as I was taken past those outer rooms and into into the stark, gray place where the dead were prepared for burial. I was jarred by the sight of the corpse of a fully-grown man who lay on a gurney against one of the walls of the room. Except for his head he was covered by a clean white sheet. A plastic curtain was drawn, but only partially concealed him.

With care we took the tiny bodies of the aborted unborn out of their cardboard cradles, stained with blood and formalin, and laid them in the the five white coffins–the only other cradles they would ever know.

Now, after Susanne Corrone returned the box to me, I got back into my car and drove to The Brett Funeral Home. A reporter from the Milwaukee Journal and a photographer from United Press International were going to meet me there at 9:30. When I arrived, Patrick Jasperse, the Journal reporter, was waiting for me in the parking lot. The back seat of my Celica was loaded to the brim with empty cardboard boxes from Vital Med; each one bore the return address of the abortion clinic from whence it had come. I wanted the media to see the boxes, if not the actual babies themselves, as proof that indeed we were in possession of aborted babies and that indeed aborted babies were being buried that day. I wanted the victims of abortion to be as real as possible for the press. I showed Jasperse the boxes.
When we entered the funeral home, the five coffins were set out in one of the parlors. Jasperse observed the coffins briefly, made a few notes, shook my hand and said he would see me later at the burial. Soon a very young, short, dark-haired man came into the home toting a camera. The UPI photographer seemed far more interested in the bodies of the children. He took several photos of the coffins laid out in the parlor. I offered to open the lid of one of the coffins because I wanted the press to see the bodies. He said, “yes” that he would like to see them. When I opened the lid of one coffin, filled with hundreds of dark-red, blood-colored whirl pacs, he nearly gasped. This young photo journalist was astonished.

I picked up one of the whirl-pacs and showed him the small feet of an unborn child that were plainly visible through the plastic. He took some photos of the open coffin and then left.

The wake service for the children began at eleven A.M. It was held at Trinity Lutheran Church, which is a Milwaukee landmark–a beautiful, old-style, German- gothic structure. Four tall stained glass windows adorn the sanctuary space. When I entered the church I was struck by the brilliance of the windows, their colors stunning against the church’s dark carved wood. High above the sanctuary was another stained glass window that showed Jesus holding and blessing little children. By eleven o’clock the church was filled with about five hundred mourners. Edmund had brought one of the coffins into the church. With the other fetal remains from Metropolitan, he had placed the largest of the aborted babies we had retrieved from Vital Med–a very well-developed unborn baby killed in the sixth month of gestation. His hands and feet, not yet covered with baby fat, looked like those of an adult but in miniature. Like the very large baby we had retrived from the Michigan Avenue Medical Center, there was nothing to identify who this child was or where he had come from. Edmund placed the open coffin on the bottom step of the sanctuary. Several mourners slowly filed past it. From high in the choir loft in the rear of the church, a beautiful soprano voice rang out a Catholic hymn written for the Lenten season: “O come and mourn with me a while. See Mary calls us to her side. O come and let us mourn with her. Jesus, Our Love, is crucified!” The song continued and the five white children’s coffins slowly were brought into the church and carried up the center aisle. The solemn procession was a step into a new sorrow made manifest in these kinds of burials–a sorrow–until now–the world had not known.

 How odd to think that in the five coffins were the bodies of almost three times as many people as sat in the pews. Greg Gesch read Psalm 94:

… Your people, O Lord, they trample down,
your inheritance they afflict.
Widow and stranger they slay, the
fatherless they murder, And they say, “The Lord sees not;
the God of Jacob perceives not.”
Understand you senseless ones
among the people;
and you fools, when will you be wise?
Shall he who shaped the ear not hear?
or he who formed the eye not see?

Pastor Ferdinand Bahr from Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church delivered the sermon based upon Luke 18: 15-17, “Suffer the little children to come to me.” When the service was completed, the coffins were taken in procession out of the church. Edmund carried the small wooden one, and I followed behind. When we left the church, we were bathed in sunlight. The coffins were placed in the waiting hearses.

One hundred cars lined up for a two-mile stretch behind the three hearses. With motorcycle police escorts, the procession slowly wound its way through the streets of Milwaukee. At several intersections, oncoming traffic had to be halted to allow the procession to pass. How ironic, I thought, that now the world had to wait for the babies. A world that was not bothered about them while they lived now had to wait for them to pass in their deaths.

Spectators watched bewildered by the scene. One man standing on a street corner was heard to exclaim, “Man!
Whoever this guy was, he had to be rich!” Another onlooker asked one of the police escorts, “Who died?” The policeman shook his head and answered, “No one.”

Hundreds of additional mourners had gathered at the gravesite. The service began with gospel hymns sung by a black choir from Gospel Lighthouse Church. Father Gene Jakubek, S.J., a priest well known in Milwaukee for his help to the poor, read the gospel and delivered the graveside eulogy. He read from Matthew 25: “I assure you, whatsoever you did to the least of my brothers you did unto me.” Fr. Jakubek told those gathered to continue their fight to end the “holocaust of abortion.”

A woman who stood behind me introduced herself. She said she had had an abortion several years ago. “I’m offering this memorial service for my own baby.”

Msgr. Fabian Bruskewitz, the pastor of my parish, St. Bernard’s, stepped forward and blessed the coffins and the graves with holy water. Years later Bruskewitz would become the bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska.

When the ceremony was over, Edmund and a few other men lowered the coffins into the twelve-by-six foot mass grave. It seemed appropriate that these babies share the same final resting place. Many of them died on the same day, in the same place and at the hands of the same abortionist. The injustice of abortion had woven their lives together. And a mass grave for aborted children stands as a symbol to society.

Local media coverage of the burial was extensive and, for the most part, surprisingly, favorable. The story done by the NBC affiliate was even poignant. The two-minute piece appeared more like a mini-movie than a news story. It was completely void of derisive comments. The reporter acted more like a narrator of the event. The Channel 4 coverage began with the five white children’s coffins being carried into the church. Pastor Bahr was taped giving his sermon and the camera then focused on the faces of some of those in the pews. Two women were weeping. The next shot showed the coffins being placed in the hearses while the church bells chimed their low, solemn tone. A few people who attended the wake service were asked why they had come, and the story concluded by showing the burial service at the cemetery with a voice-over saying “the organizers say they are doing this to promote the sanctity of human life.”

Strangely absent from the story were the expected interviews with Planned Parenthood officials, the ACLU, or abortion clinic workers who would have said that what we were doing was a shameful media circus or that we were violating the rights of women. In all of my pro-life experience, this short piece was the most sympathetic coverage of an abortion-related event I had ever seen.

After the burial, Roseanne St. Aubin from the CBS affiliate station interviewed me at the cemetery. All of the reporters who covered the burial referred to the aborted babies as “fetuses.” They were never called “unborn babies” or “unborn children.” The secular press believes the impersonal word “fetus” is somehow neutral. Roseanne St. Aubin once even referred to the fetal remains as “tissue” when she stated “the organizers [of the burial] would not give details on how the tissues were acquired.” The Channel 6 reporter also stated:

“Migliorino said names of the women who had the abortions were on the bags containing the fetuses but those names were buried along with the fetuses buried today and the group kept no records…
It’s not clear whether members of the group could be or would be prosecuted for the way the fetuses were acquired. Migliorino was not afraid of the possibility.”

I was shown saying: “We performed an act of charity for these children. The wrongness occurred when they threw them in the trash.”

Roseanne St. Aubin’s remark about the possibility of prosecution was prescient. Six months later, on March 23, 1989, I was sent a summons informing me that I was being sued by the National Organization for Women in the NOW v. Scheidler R.I.C.O case. Not only our rescues, but now even our retrieval of aborted babies and their funerals amounted to acts of extortion since these acts allegedly were designed to close down abortion clinics. The fifty-page amended complaint described our retrieval of the bodies as “a ghoulish plot to steal laboratory specimens.” NOW accused us of making threats to reveal the names of the women whose aborted babies we had “stolen.” But we never intended to make their names known, nor did we ever threaten to do so.

It was at this time that the complaint was amended to add Randall Terry to the lawsuit as well as Tim Murphy, Andy Scholberg and Conrad Wojnar. Under a weird theory that Vital Med was in league with us, NOW even named the Northbrook lab as a defendant. Joan Andrews and John Ryan originally were defendants but NOW voluntarily dropped both Joan and John from the lawsuit. The rogue defendant Vital Med was also voluntarily removed. Owned by Dr. Samuel Shih, Vital Med closed soon after the lawsuit was initiated against the clinic. I resented that Vital Med was named as a defendant. Except for the mysterious Vital Med employee, the lab was in league with the abortion clinics, not with us. At one of the depositions I told Vital Med’s attorney, “Your client was throwing the bodies of human beings in the trash. It doesn’t deserve to be a defendant in this case.”
A month after the Milwaukee burial Edmund, Dan Zeidler and I went to the cemetery to take care of some paper work about the gravesite and the placement of the tombstone. We stopped by the babies’ grave to say some prayers. The infant section of Holy Cross is a very special place. The tombstone inscriptions express the great love parents have for their children. One does not find on adult markers the same heart-felt expressions of love, affection and sorrow. The dates on the stones reveal that some of the babies died on the day they were born. Some of the inscriptions read: “Our angel, with us for a moment–with God for eternity,” “Jesus adopted our son–Mommy and Daddy love baby,” “Our treasure lies here,” and “Tread softly–a dream lies buried here.” The stones, like silent sentinels, have frozen into them the sorrow of parental loss.

Ironically, it was among children who were loved, wanted and given names that the aborted babies found a final home. Their grave, larger than the others, and not yet covered with sod, was easy to find. Thirteen silk roses, left by Edmund after the burial, covered the top of the grave. Many of the other children’s graves had small toys placed on them by parents. I was glad to see one left for the aborted babies, a stuffed toy rabbit wrapped in plastic to protect it from the rain. Through the plastic we saw a folded piece of paper fastened to the paw of the bunny with a rubber band. Overcome by curiosity, we carefully unwrapped the toy to investigate.

As Edmund stooped over the grave, Dan and I hovered over him. Edmund unwrapped the note and unfolded it. As I read the note, I began to weep. The note was written in a swirly, feminine hand. It was the cry of a mother to the baby she had aborted:

“Please forgive me and maybe someday I can forgive myself… I’ll always wonder what you would have been, what you would have become. I can’t stop hating myself right now, regretting the hardest decision I’ve ever made in my life, wishing I could do it differently now. But I can’t. I will always remember this. It was a tough lesson to have to learn…I pray to God and to you to forgive me so I can go on with my life and I swear to both you and the Lord that I will never ever do it again. Please forgive me so I can let go and go on!”

Edmund refolded the note, bound it back onto the rabbit’s paw and placed the toy back inside its plastic shroud.
The Milwaukee Journal had printed that the “fetuses” were aborted in 1988 at the Summit Women’s Health Organization and Metropolitan Medical Services. The woman’s note seemed to indicate she believed her child was buried in this grave. Her note expressed her sense of having abandoned the baby. She knew this deep within herself. By burying the baby we had returned him to his mother. The burial gave the aborted unborn a human place in the world. In the woman’s letter to her baby, the awful tearing of human bonds caused by abortion knew a more perfect healing.
The woman’s cry was not uttered in vain. On the reverse side of the note someone had written a reply.

“God’s love is the heart of a child. He hopes where we can only despair. Go in peace–you are forgiven. And you must believe this…”

Beyond abortion stands a mother at the edge of her child’s grave. On a lonely day, one woman had come to this site, and her act of love banished the lie of abortion. In her sorrow the order of the world, rooted in human bonds, was affirmed. From out of all the nameless, faceless children buried there, the woman claimed back to herself the one who was her own.

Note: This story was provided by Priests for Life


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pro-Lifers Show Massive Support for Raped Teen Who Rejected Abortion and Kept Baby

Pro-Lifers Show Massive Support for Raped Teen Who Rejected Abortion and Kept Baby
by Kelsey Monica  Fort Wayne, IN  LifeNews.com  7/11/13 6:29  PM                              
 Fort Wayne, IN (LiveActionNews) — After a long day at work as a medic, I just wanted to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep. Of course, before I could call it a night, I had to jump on Facebook and see everyone’s updates.
I saw a post with a news story out of Elwood, Indiana about a 13-year-old who was pregnant by rape and due to give birth in a few weeks. I read the story and wondered how this took place only 70 miles away from my home but didn’t make local news in Fort Wayne or national news. I decided to shut down my computer and get some much appreciated sleep.
Ashley and Aiden
Ashley and Aiden.

At 10:30 the same night, I received a call from Rebecca Kiessling, founder of Save the 1 (I’m also a member), asking if I had seen the story. I was really in no mood to discuss, but I continued the conversation. We hung up the phone, and I laid my head back down. I lay there, staring in the dark, and for some reason I got up, turned on my light, and started to do research on who this girl was. Since the girl was a minor, her name wasn’t posted with the article. In 20 minutes, I had her name and was on her Facebook profile, staring at this beautiful girl and an ultrasound picture. Little did I know, this was God working to get me moving on helping this family!

The next day, while volunteering at Allen County Right to Life in Fort Wayne, I called the phone number for this girl’s father and left a message. In the meantime, I started getting information on programs for her in her area.

Four days later, after another long day fulfilling my medic duties on an ambulance, I was in bed when my phone rang at 11:00 pm. I answered it, and it was Kristi, the young girl’s mother. We must have talked for an hour. She explained that Ashley was raped by her brother’s friend, who was 17 at the time, and how, even after charges had been filed, he hasn’t spent one night in jail for these charges. She also explained that the town of Elwood wasn’t providing any help, and Ashley had left school and never gone back because of the way she was being treated for turning in her rapist. In fact, to this day, Ashley’s school has not given her the items out of her locker! This is a perfect example of placing pressure on the victim, while the rapist gets to go on with little to no judgment.

Planned Parenthood decided to place further judgment on the victim by posting on their Facebook page a link to the original news article and this ridiculous comment: “As this article notes, heartbreaking stories like this are all too common in Indiana, which ranks second in the number of teen sexual assaults. Comprehensive sex ed can make a difference in preventing sexual assaults.” I still to this day don’t understand why they even said anything. If they are wanting to help this girl with “her choice,” then they need to become part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Kristi, Ashley, and I decided to meet a few days later to talk about how Save the 1 could help. On June 18, I met the young girl from Elwood and felt an unexplainable bond. Ashley is an amazing young woman who understands that this child didn’t deserve to die simply because his father is a rapist! She reminds me of my own birth mother’s story. My birth mother Sandy was 17 when she was violently raped and as a result became pregnant with me. I wish 40 years ago when Sandy was pregnant with me that there had been an organization like Save the 1 to stand beside her through the toughest of times! My birth mother had no support from her community. She was hidden from the outside world, gave birth to me, and never even looked at me. She placed me up for adoption, which became the greatest gift I have ever received. My mom and dad raised me to stand up for what I believe, to love unconditionally, and to always treat people how I would like them to treat me. These values have made me who I am today!

Ashley and Aiden2
After meeting Ashley, I knew that this girl needed my help more then I could have imagined. So I started posting about her and her journey on my Facebook page. It was an overwhelming response. Allen County Right to Life started posting updates also, and we had people wanting to donate to Ashley. We decided to accept donations at our local office and allow people to drop off items for her. Within a few days, you could barely walk into Allen County Right to Life Executive Director Cathie Humbarger’s office. To date, I have taken two truckloads of donations to Ashley and baby Aiden, all of it donated by angels among us.
Ashley is seeing how the pro-life community has embraced her and her precious son, Aiden. I have been told that people can’t wait to see my next post on Ashley and Aiden and how they feel that they are a part of her journey! One pro-life supporter said that Ashley is just the “girl next door” and that God has big plans for them both. I am just blessed to be able to walk with Ashley on this journey and see firsthand the miracles happening right in front of me.

I wish that my birth mother could see how God is using me to help a girl who is in the same place she was 40 years ago. Sandy passed away on March 6 of this year, and what a blessing it was for me to be there for her. She was with me when I took my first breath, and I was with her, holding her hand, when she took her last. I am sure she is looking down today with a smile on her face.

Save the 1 has started a college fund for Ashley and Aiden. Ashley wants to become a veterinarian, and we are determined to do whatever possible to help her make this happen.

If you would like to donate, please contact Monica Kelsey at www.facebook.com/mkprolife, or visit her website at http://www.monicakelsey.com/.
LifeNews Note: writes for Live Action News.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

My teenage daughter is a pro-life activist but doesn’t know I have had an abortion: One woman’s journey to confessing her abortion to her children.


On January 24, 2013, my daughter Zoe addressed the crowd at the March for Life Youth Rally in DC. Bryan Kemper of Stand True Pro-Life Outreach had been mentoring her for several months and she was already set on the path of a pro-life activist. She aimed to encourage young people to stand up and join her in the fight against abortion. When she said, “because what if my mother had had an abortion?,” Bryan looked at me with a look that said, “You need to tell her NOW.”

Ten months later, decompressing after an event in Lapeer, Michigan, I found myself having what had come to be a very familiar conversation. Bryan would ask me to speak at an event, I would say yes, and he would ask me to consider telling my children about my abortion. There was a point where I began to feel more bold, thinking that I was on the verge of finding the perfect moment, but that point had passed. My husband and I had already decided that we weren’t ready for that discussion.

“Would you consider speaking at the March for Life alongside Alveda King?” Bryan asked. “Of course; I’d love to,” was my typical response. “Are you gonna tell your kids before January?”

Nope. I was able to declare that without a doubt I absolutely would not have the courage to tell my babies that I’d aborted my first child, and I especially would not find that courage within the next two months. What are you, crazy? Just, no.

“I can’t ask you to speak again until you’ve told your kids. It’s Silent No More’s policy.”

I get it. I know exactly why that policy is in place. And I will take a hiatus from speaking publicly. Period. And without question.
Or not.

My children have always been willing to participate in pro-life activism with me. Children see the issue in the clearest and simplest terms. Abortion is killing a child. Killing a child is wrong. For years I have stood on the sidewalk pleading to mothers and fathers to reconsider their choice. Once, when he was about four, Jackson yelled, “DON’T GO TO ABORTION!” In 2012, Zoe made headlines in the pro-life news for standing up to some pro-abortion protestors at the DNC. They are staunchly and steadfastly PRO-LIFE. I could not be more proud.

But I was ashamed.

They didn’t know that their own mother had once been on the other side of the sidewalk. And how could I tell them? What would they think of me? What woman can tell her children that abortion is murder and murder is wrong but not in my case, because I was pro-choice then and I was young and I didn’t know what to do… So I chose to end the life of your oldest brother out of mere convenience.

I knew that I had support. I had some pretty amazing people praying for me. Bryan would send a text message, “Here I am with Kevin Burke (founder of Rachel’s Vineyard) and we are praying that you find the words to tell your children.” “Father Pavone and I are praying for you to have the talk with your kids.” “Georgette (co-founder of Silent No More) and I are praying about what we discussed before.” After a while I would roll my eyes, and then smile in thanks that I had these warriors praying for me.

Finally, I asked my Priest if he thought I should at least have the talk with Zoe, my oldest. He said, “I would be 100% surprised if she had no idea. She has to know.” I told him, “Uh, she’s almost 13 and I just told her about Santa. She cried herself to sleep and didn’t talk to me for two days.” But he encouraged me to pray about it and consider telling her about my past. When I woke up the next morning, I was certain that before I went to sleep that night, I would have unloaded this horrible secret to my daughter.

On Wednesday, January 8, nearly a year after Zoe spoke at the Stand True event, we arrived at the Cathedral to drop my younger three at Faith Formation and I told Zoe that we needed to talk. She almost began to cry as she panicked and asked, “Are we going to talk about puberty? Because I do NOT want to talk about PUBERTY!” I couldn’t help but laugh as I told her to hush and sit down.

Tissue in hand, I recounted the memory of my abortion to my firstborn. I was bawling. Zoe was stone-faced. Assuming that we would hug and cry together for the entire 90 minutes that her siblings were in class, I was kind of surprised to find myself spent after about ten minutes. “Do you have any questions?” “No.” “Are you OK?” “Yes.” “Do you forgive me?” “Yes. I’d like to speak with Father Rossi.” And with that, we called Father Rossi. He suggested that we might find comfort in spending time with Our Lord, and we headed into Adoration. Side by side, on our knees, I thanked Jesus profoundly and repeatedly for this young woman, and for her understanding and her compassion and for His grace and His mercy and His love. As I settled in to the pew, I watched in awe as Zoe stared at Our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament and continued to pray. She prayed and prayed and prayed. Months later, after only a question or two had been asked about my experience, Zoe came to me and said, “Adoration is what helped me when you told me about your abortion.” As we left Adoration that evening, we agreed that her siblings (Lily, 11, Bella, 9 and Jackson, 7) were not ready for the news.

As I so often do, I rushed home to share my experience on Facebook. I attached a link to my testimony, which had been published a year and a half earlier. Sitting in front of my laptop, I had no idea that Jackson was behind me until he asked, “Is that a picture of you? Why are you holding a sign that says, ‘I REGRET MY ABORTION’? Did you have an abortion?”
I panicked. In that moment, I silently prayed, “Lord, please guide me. I will no longer hide this from my children. Help.” And I said, “Yes. I did have an abortion.” And I held my breath.

Jackson continued, “Wait. Did you have to get a SHOT?” What? “Yes, Buddy, I did.” Returning to his homework, he said, “How do you spell ‘Guido’?”  I was a little bit stunned. “G. U. I. D. O.” He dropped his pencil and said, “I’m finished with my homework!” And he ran upstairs to take a shower.

I laughed to myself and thanked God that was over. I was only mildly surprised to find out later that of course it WAS NOT OVER. As Lily and Bella hovered around me waiting to be tucked in for the night, Jackson declared, “Did you know Mama had an abortion?!” Lily looked at me when she addressed him and said, “No she didn’t. She only got her tubes tied. Wait. Did you have an abortion?” And this is when the severity of the situation set in for Jackson. Immediately crying, he ran upstairs to his room. I pulled up the website with my testimony and told Lily and Bella to read it together, and come upstairs to ask me any questions they might have.

As I approached Jackson’s bedroom door, I heard Zoe comforting him. Out of their sight, I listened as she said, “Don’t be upset, Buddy. Everyone makes mistakes but we can learn from them. Mama has been to Confession and she is sorry for what she did but she’s making it right through the work she does now.” I was absolutely stunned. Again I thanked Jesus for this amazing young woman, and I walked into Jackson’s room. He didn’t hesitate to throw his arms around my neck. Lily and Bella joined us and I asked if they had any questions. We talked about David James and asked him to pray for us and for all women considering abortion. We cried. We laughed. We prayed. We hugged.

I let out a huge sigh and asked if everyone was OK. My lovely children beamed at me and Jackson said, “Mama, if you have any more secrets, can you please keep them to yourself? I don’t like it when you cry.” I promised him that I don’t have ANY MORE secrets. I was free. Silent no more.

Brice Griffin
- See more at: http://www.standtrue.com/abortionconfession/#sthash.cvmlodUG.dpuf

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Choosing Life Even When Life Is Short

God bless these parents and those photographers who minister through Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep.


We are here to love and to be loved for whatever time God gives us; and other people teach us to love regardless of their condition.  This little boy  was loved during his short life and brought forth love from others.

Save the 1: Hard Cases Unite to Make a Difference! by Rebecca...

Thursday, June 5, 2014
How would like to be labeled  “a hard case?”  What if your class of people were systematically targeted for extinction within legislation?  What if political candidates felt quite comfortable with stating their position that you and your kind aren’t worth protecting and better off dead?  What if your child was regularly stigmatized by our society?  That’s exactly what it’s like for those of us who were conceived in rape, mothers from rape, and those given a poor in utero diagnosis.  But being branded as a “hard case” becomes easier when we all begin to unite behind our unique kinship.  And that’s what Save The 1 has been doing – drawing together perhaps the most stigmatized and marginalized members of today’s society.   
May 2014 was a very big month for Save The 1.  On Saturday, May 3rd, Mary Rathke and I both spoke at the 1st Annual International Pro-Life Leaders Conference in Rome, Italy – sponsored by Lifesitenews -- sharing our stories of having been conceived in rape.  Mary was a double-exception because her birthmother was raped after having been diagnosed as schizophrenic.   Pro-Life leaders from around the world received our message well – vowing to fight abortion without exception and without compromise.
 The next day, Mary and I were introduced on stage at the Marcio Per La Vita – the Italian March For Life, which had an estimated 60,000 by the time we reached St. Peter’s Square, where the Pope came out and addressed us.  The theme of this year’s march was “Pro Vita Senza Compromesso,” which means “pro-life without compromise.”  During the march, thousands were chanting this theme!
 One woman – a nurse – came up to us and showed us a photo of a baby who was conceived in rape.  She explained that the pro-life activists at the hospital have been familiar with my story since it’s been translated into Italian, among many other languages.  So any time they have a patient who is pregnant by rape, they share my story on my website with the pregnant rape victim.  This nurse credited my story has having saved the baby in the photo.  What a wonderful example for every person with a difficult history to see how stepping out and sharing your story can make a difference across the ocean, for someone else who doesn’t even speak your language!
Upon returning from Rome, Mary Rathke spoke at Branch County Right to Life’s benefit dinner where she met a grandmother who shared that her grandchild was conceived in rape.  This grandmother was heartened to know that there are others who are paving the way for her grandchild to be loved and accepted in our society.  Several legislators and even judges shared with Mary how her story helps them to be able to articulate a defense of all human life.
On May 10th, I spoke at a Mother’s Day brunch at Gateway Assembly in Imlay City, MI.  After the brunch, a 16 year old girl named Sarah came up to me to share her own difficult story.  She was conceived when her birthmother was sexually trafficked by her own parents.  Not only was she conceived during unconsensual prostitution, but her birthmother had become a drug addict.  Sarah is now writing out her story and is our newest member of Save The 1!  The next day at the church, another family approached me whose young adoptive daughter was also conceived in rape.  They too were thankful for a support system for their daughter and their family.
 A week later, on Saturday, May 17th, Save The 1 had its 3rd Pro-Life Speaker Training Conference, at the legislative offices of Right to Life of Michigan in Lansing, MI.  We had five adoptees who were all conceived in rape present – me, Mary Rathke, Travon Clifton, Sarah (these four are all from Michigan), and Darlene Pawlik from New Hampshire.  We also had one mother who had become pregnant from rape – Karyn Liechty, one post-abortive mother from rape whose abortion was forced upon her - Sheryl Williams, as well as Brad and Jesi Smith whose daughter Faith has Trisome 18.   In the morning, everyone had a chance to practice responding to impromptu questions often asked by reporters and during Q & A on college campuses, and in the afternoon, each member gave an 8-minute prepared speech.  We were blessed to have some family and friends there in support, as well as three of our friends from Right to Life of Michigan who helped with our critique – President Barb Listing, Ed Rivet and Genevieve Marnon.  As an additional treat, filmmaker Jim Hanon (End of the Spear) and his team were present  filming and we look forward to seeing the pieces he is putting together for Right to Life of Michigan in conjunction with Save The 1 members!
 After a wonderful day of camaraderie, we had our first official Board Meeting, having just filed our 501c3 application!  Thank you to the Thomas More Society for generously sponsoring our filing and to Sally Wagenmaker for your wisdom and representation.  I’m proud to announce our stellar Board – Darlene Pawlik, Mary Rathke, Jim Sable (conceived in rape adoptee from IL,) Nick D’Angelo (conceived in rape from NY,) Brad Smith, Dyanne Gonzales from NM, and me – thank you all for your confidence in electing me as President of Save The 1.  I’m eager to see what God is going to achieve through us all!
 Our next Save The 1 speaker training conference is Saturday, September 20th in Akron, OH at the offices of Right to Life of North East Ohio, and our 5th Save The 1 speaker training  will be held at the offices of Georgia Right to Life in Atlanta on Friday, October 10th.  In 2015, we hope to have more conferences around the country, including in the Los Angeles area.

If you fall into one of the categories of “the hard cases” – those whom Jesus would call “the least of these,” we would love to connect with you!  You are not alone.  Connect with us on our Save The 1 Facebook page, and e-mail me.  We have a Save The 1 activism e-mail group, and there is also an e-mail support group for those who are struggling and/or who want to help others to know their incredible dignity and worth.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Moving Sculpture Shows the Pain Women Face After Abortion

by Dan Zeidler | Washington, DC | LifeNews.com | 4/3/12 10:58 AM  
As an art student, Martin Hudáček of Slovakia was moved to create a sculpture to draw attention to the devastation abortion can bring to the woman, and that through the Love and Mercy of God, reconciliation and healing are possible.
The sculpture shows a woman in great sorrow grieving her abortion. The second figure in the work is the aborted child, presented as a young child, who in a very touching, healing way, comes to the mother, to offer forgiveness.

Martin, who named the work “Memorial for Unborn Children,” said the sculpture also “expresses hope which is given to believers by the One who died on the cross for us, and showed how much He cares about all of us.”

Praised by many as an extremely effective representation of post-abortion trauma, the work sensitively communicates this reality, and draws out many emotions and interpretations.

Dr. Martha Shuping, M.D., a psychiatrist with more than 20 years experience in helping women with abortion recovery, says, “I believe this beautiful image will resonate in the hearts of many women who have had abortions. It illustrates powerfully their experience.”

“This presents a very beautiful image of a core component of post abortion healing,” comments Kevin Burke, LSW, of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, “- that the very child that was lost to abortion with God’s grace is now instrumental in calling the wounded mother and father to repentance and healing in Christ.”

Julie Thomas of Atlanta, who has personally experienced abortion and is now active with the Operation Outcry post-abortion program, commented, “I love that the little girl is not a baby – we often talk about that during our Bible study and for some reason a lot of us believe that when we get to Heaven that our children will be a toddler as the child is here. I also like the child being ‘transparent’ almost angel-like in appearance. The mother appears to be in anguish which is so very real. I love that the child is reaching out to touch the mother’s head. I can imagine the mother sensing the touch and believe that she will stand up, taller than before. I believe that this image is very strong and touching, possibly leading to the first step of healing for the mother who has aborted her children.”

A Latin American post-abortive woman, Michelle, who was helped in the healing process by the Proyecto Esperanza (Project Hope) program says the sculpture “is simple…marvelous. I got emotional and I stopped to take the time to look at it…I felt many things…the woman with all her pain being concentrated in her face held in her hands. Shame is also conveyed…And the daughter who blesses her, reaching up to touch her, to me indicates the height of forgiveness, the height of that child’s forgiveness, through the love of God. The transparency of the child means she comes from a pure place. It talks to me of the forgiveness we feel after we have worked through the grief… Precious…really precious.”

“I find this a heart-rending sculpture,” says experienced post-abortion retreat leader, Fr. William Kurz, S.J. of Marquette University in Milwaukee. “It’s a message of forgiveness and healing needed by the grieving post-abortive mother even some years after her abortion … It speaks directly and beautifully both to the intense and profound grief of the mother, and to the dignity of the aborted baby.”

Several people interviewed for this article stressed that promoting this powerful image should also be accompanied by referral possibilities for anyone who senses they need help and reconciliation. For that reason, it is recommended that contact information be included for programs such as Project Rachel (www.hopeafterabortion.org) and Rachel’s Vineyard (www.rachelsvineyard.org)

Marek Hudáček, brother of Martin, says both he and his brother were extremely surprised by the positive reactions from all over the world to the sculpture, “We did not expect it… The main intention of my brother to do the sculpture was not to be famous, but to speak about the important value of human life and the necessity to protect it from conception.”

For more information, and to download a mini-poster with this image, go to: www.4life4family.org/sculpture

LifeNews Note: Sculptor: Martin Hudáček; born 1984; home: Banska Bystrica, Slovakia