At First Glance: Being seen as a post-abortive woman

My life forever changed in that room full of middle-aged women, dabbing their swollen eyes with crumpled tissues. I never wanted to be there, to be one of them, to bare my soul to strangers. But still I sat there, completely out of place. I constantly reminded myself why I was there. I was a young activist, determined to forever eradicate injustice. In an effort to better understand the effects of the rising abortion industry, I attended a retreat for post-abortive women.

It was divine mercy weekend when I attended the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, having never experienced an abortion or the loss of a child. A rather peculiar way for a nineteen-year-old to pass the weekend. I blame my English professor. The abortion issue wasn’t really a consideration for me until she gave us our final assignment; write a research argument on any controversial topic. Abortion seemed the logical choice. After all, it is arguably the most significant debate of our time. No matter your position, you are driven by what you believe to be fundamental rights. After I proposed my topic, she shook her head decidedly. “You can write about anything, except abortion. You cannot make a logical argument on the issue. The matter is purely religious. And who would you cite? Dot heaven?” Her last remark evoked snickers from the class. After a fair warning that every other student who had dared to attempt such a paper received an F, I wrote it. Providing evidence from medical journals and personal narratives, I argued that abortion jeopardizes the emotional and mental stability of the mother. And amazingly enough, I received an A.

I was completely familiar with the arguments surrounding the humanity of the unborn child, but until writing the paper, I never considered the damage abortion has on the mother. I sought out local leaders in the pro-life movement, hoping to help aid the cause. During one of my meetings with a passionate pro-life leader, I was asked to volunteer at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, as it is designed to help the men and women who have experienced the loss of a child through abortion or miscarriage find peace and healing. I agreed. Hesitantly. .

My uncertainty doubled when I discovered that before officially volunteering I was required to first experience this retreat as though I were any other attendee. And this scared me, quite a bit, actually. In fact, I was dreading it. I have been so blessed with an intact, loving family, so what on earth was I going to say for my twenty uninterrupted minutes?

I was right in assuming that the other personal stories would be filled with heartache; hearing them broke my heart. The three women who attended the retreat had all dealt with so much grief in their lives, even their earliest memories were tainted. I waited until everyone else had gone, still uncertain of what to say. I don’t know how or where it came from, but I heard myself relaying my silent struggles and insecurities. I didn’t speak for as long as they did, but I found it surprisingly emotional. In the end, it didn’t matter how different our stories were. Instead, we found the commonalities. Everyone reached out to one another, with merciful arms of acceptance.

This wasn’t the only time I stepped into the shoes of a post-abortive mother. It was January when a friend and I walked briskly to the Hillcrest abortion clinic, talking of trivial matters.  Our cold fingers, stuffed in coat pockets, fingered our wooden rosaries. Nearing the cracking sidewalk before the building, we met the gaze of an elderly woman standing in the clinic’s driveway. Certainly she was a sidewalk counselor, there in a last-ditch effort to save a baby. But she was shaking her head at me. “This isn’t a good place for women. You don’t want to be here.”

I was dazed at the realization that she mistook me for a woman seeking abortion. I heard my friend hurriedly explain that we were only here to pray. We proceeded with our peaceful prayers for the women who enter the clinic, as well as for the clinic workers, that they might realize the value and beauty of human life at every stage. But like a scratched record my mind continued to replay the moment. Again I saw the worried look plastered across her well-meaning face. And again my self-esteem was destroyed by the instantaneous mark upon my cherished reputation. My cheeks burned from the moment of shame.

I understand how it must have appeared. Me, a twenty year old with her head bent, accompanied by a young man. I reflected on her position, remembering when that was me praying on the split sidewalk, watching the women cut across the dead grass to enter the matchbox facility. I was seven when my family first took me there to pray, not fully understanding what was happening. I had wondered at cruelty of these women. My young mind struggled in vain to understand. While a young woman hurried into the stone structure, my tearing eyes followed her, for I knew she would leave empty, despite entering the structure with the living and thriving baby tucked safely away within her. I longed to call out to her, but my heart and feet stood frozen, too aware of the reality of the trying situation.

I am now well-educated on the abortion debate, thanks to five intense weeks of study in Washington, D.C. Determined to more fully understand the science and arguments involved in abortion, I spent my summer studying at the National Right to Life Academy. Yet even this did not soften my heart. Not completely. I needed first to sit beside a post-abortive mother as she mourned. As she read the letter composed to her dead child. As she named him. My heart needed to break along with hers. To become one of them. To fully realize that “if you judge people, you have no time to love them.”

Writing a research argument paper on the negative effects abortion has on women opened my eyes to the horrors of abortion, particularly on the mothers themselves. I knew the facts, but until I heard each of these beautiful women’s stories, I did not fully realize the intense brokenness and pain abortion imprints on their lives. Women don’t simply wake up one morning and decide to abort their growing baby. So many people and decisions influenced that choice. It is of the utmost importance that we treat the women and men wounded by abortion with unadulterated compassion. We must strive to help them find the healing and forgiveness that in our humanity, we all desire.

 

Incredible Photos of Babies Miscarried at 7 and 8 Weeks

After the tragic loss of two children through miscarriage, Mindy Raelynne Danison wants others to realize the humanity of unborn babies.

She recently posted a Facebook photo album for both her children, Annabelle and Riley, where she shows beautiful pictures of them. The grieving mother said she wants people to find the pictures and recognize the value of the unborn child, Live Action News reported

Annabelle was 8 weeks and 5 days old when she was miscarried. The photos show her little fingers and toes, nose and eyes. In one picture, she is placed in her mother’s wedding ring, which completely surrounds little Anabelle.

 

Anabelle’s brother Riley was 7.5 weeks old. With his pictures, Mindy explained what happened when she gave birth to her son: “He went to heaven November 6th but was born November 23. We are blessed to have got to meet our little one. Life is incredibly beautiful! We went to walmart, then at 1pm on the way to mom’s house i started having contractions. They got more intense. When i got to mom’s i got into the tub and had my beautiful amazing little Riley at 3:35pm. Home water birth is what I’d always dreamed of having and i finally got to. Seeing Riley has brought me peace and comfort. I love him and God will care for him for me until i can be with him again. baby Riley is estimated to being 7.5 weeks, Riley was born at 10 weeks.”

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After Aborting Twins, She “Fights Depression and Anger to This Day”

 

“Today is a day I hate myself,” a post-abortive mother revealed when telling her abortion story. Last month, The Atlantic published the online article written by an anonymous mother. The story reveals her intense regret after aborting twins.

The mother begins by describing her difficulties with her prior pregnancies. During the second pregnancy the father urged her to abort, however she refused. In the last trimester the diabetic mother became pre-eclampsic. After her baby boy was born, she began hemorrhaging. She writes that her heart stopped beating for several minutes.

After two frightening pregnancies, the author’s concerned family were against her having other children. However, over a year later she was pregnant again. Her Obgyn warned her that she might not survive if she tried to carry the baby to full term. Despite her concern, the mother told the doctor that she did not want an abortion.

The author described the moment that changed her mind regarding the proposed abortion: “Well I went home that night scared but determined—until my almost 3-year-old-daughter and 1-and-1/2-year-old son climbed into my lap for bedtime stories and my daughter said she loved me and I needed to stay. Where that came from I don’t know, as I had told no one at that time about my doctor visit. I silently cried and hugged my babies and told them momma was going nowhere.”

So she scheduled the appointment and had a medical abortion…

Planned Parenthood Celebrates Black History Month While Killing Black Babies in Abortions

Despite its history of targeting the black community for abortion, Planned Parenthood has declared that it is celebrating Black History Month by recognizing “past, present, and future” leaders.

According to Planned Parenthood’s website, the abortion business is committed to “honor these Dream Keepers of the past, present, and future, who continue to stand strong in their commitment to better health care and economic outcomes for the black community.” Yet this attempt to honor the black community remains unconvincing in light of Planned Parenthood’s consistent behavior toward black women and their unborn children.

Planned Parenthood foundress Margret Sanger is well-known for her disdain for African Americans. She referred to them as “weeds” and plotted to eradicate them in her writing.

Sanger wrote of her plan to wipe out the whole population in her book Women, Morality, and Birth Control, “We don’t want the word to go out that we want to exterminate the Negro population…” Such blatant discrimination is the principle Planned Parenthood was founded on.

This targeting continues even today, as Planned Parenthood uses black women to increase its profits.

As LifeNews previously reported, one study found that 79 percent of Planned Parenthood abortion clinics are placed in low-income minority neighborhoods. The reason for this? Research shows that black women are nearly three-times as likely to have an abortion as Caucasian women. In fact, in New York City, more black babies were aborted in 2013 than were born, according to the city department of health. Planned Parenthood is purposefully making abortion accessible to African Americans, simply because this increase in abortion helps its business…

Because Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman and Abortion Is Pro-Nobody

Since the legalization of Roe v. Wade, abortion advocates have used the term “woman’s reproductive rights” to promote abortion. Such terminology makes the harsh and ugly realities of abortion sound like a necessary service to women. But since the Center for Medical Progress released undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s exploitation of both women and their babies, more people are associating pro-life with pro-woman.
Surprisingly, the staunchly pro-abortion magazine Cosmopolitan recently reported on the March for Life in article “The March for Life’s New Message: “Pro-Life Is Pro-Woman.” The author Robin Marty describes this year’s theme “Pro-Life is Pro-Woman.”
She explains how abortion harms the mother, “… the question of whether safe, legal abortion access helps or hurts women is one that has divided the nation for years, and which the anti-abortion movement grows more eager to address as it continues to oppose abortion not just because it ends a pregnancy, but as a procedure that is dangerous physically and emotionally to those who undergo it.”
Furthermore, Marty quotes several pro-life women, including the president of the March for Life Jeanne Mancini. Mancini tells Marty: “We know that a message many people hear in our country is that in order to be ‘pro-woman,’ you have to be pro-choice. I would offer that nothing could be further from the truth. I see that as rhetoric and I see that as false. Life is empowering for women. A woman’s capacity to have children is an incredible thing, not something to be ashamed of.”

Viral Photos Show Bride and Groom Surprising Grandma in the Hospital

Recently, a charming story celebrating life and family has gone viral.
It was Brian and Lauren Kurtulik’s wedding day. Rather than being absorbed by the festivities of the day, the couple began their married life together by bringing joy to Brian’s grandmother, who was stuck in the hospital, according to an article in Country Living.
It was on their wedding day when Peg McCormack slipped and hurt her ankle. The 91-year old grandmother was heartbroken when she was told that she couldn’t attend the wedding. She was already dressed for the occasion, with “her fancy shoes and corsage,” the photographer Rachel Nolan of Hello Gorgeous Photography explained. After being told that the couple might drop in the next day, she eagerly awaited their visit, the article states.
The couple decided to stop by the hospital before continuing on to the wedding venue. As the bride told The Huffington Post: “She was so excited to watch us get married. She was literally living for this wedding. So we brought the wedding to her.”

She Got an Abortion Just Because She Already Had a College-Aged Son, Saying “I Believe in Abortion”

Given her situation, Karen Hartman was surprised and worried upon discovering she was pregnant. She was 42 and her husband was already 56. With one son just entering his freshman year in college and the other in first grade, the couple was intending to enjoy their sudden free time. Yet, at the unexpected news of another life entering the household, Karen considered having an abortion.
Despite being an abortion advocate, Karen said she struggled with the decision. Both she and her husband had well established careers, and plenty of parenting experience. She admits that they were in a position to care for a newborn baby.
“We could do this – if we wanted to,” she explained in an article posted Friday in The Washington Post. For them the decision rested in determining if they wanted to welcome a baby into their happy family, or not.
As is often the case, Karen’s decision was greatly influenced by her husband. He did not want another child, mainly because of his age, according to the article. He was also ready to retire, and was worried that a baby might require him to continue working.
Yet Karen said she still remained “uncertain.”After all, there were several factors that caused her to consider choosing life. Her connection with her siblings contributed to these thoughts, “I come from a family of four kids, and I adore my younger siblings.” These fond memories from her own childhood affirmed the beauty of life. She went on to say that she was “excited by the chance of having a daughter.” Yet despite these thoughts, she continued to consider abortion…

The Year of Mercy

Seeing abortion through the eyes of a post-abortive mother…

This past weekend I was privileged to volunteer at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat. It brought back memories of the last time I was at the convent, only then I was a retreatant. It was divine mercy weekend when I attended the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, having never experienced an abortion or the loss of a child. It all began with a controversial research argument paper I had just written for an English class at my community college. In it I argue that abortion jeopardizes the emotional and mental stability of the mother. Someone challenged me to meet first-hand the women who have experienced abortion, insisting that knowing them and their stories would tremendously enrich my understanding of abortion. I agreed to volunteer at a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat, as it is designed to help the men and women who have experienced the loss of a child through abortion or miscarriage find peace and healing. But what at first I hadn’t realized was that I would experience this retreat just as though I were any other attendee. And this scared me, quite a bit, actually.

I was especially nervous about going in front of all these women – with all their troubles – and giving my life’s story. In fact, I was dreading it. I have been so blessed with an intact, loving family, so what on earth was I going to say for my 20 uninterrupted minutes? I was right in assuming that the other personal stories would be filled with heartache; hearing them broke my heart. The three women who attended the retreat had all dealt with so much grief in their lives, even their earliest memories were tainted. I waited until everyone else had gone, still uncertain of what to say. I didn’t speak for as long as they did, but I found it surprisingly emotional. When I was finished, I was amazed at how lovingly these women comforted me. In the end, it didn’t matter how different our stories were. Instead, we found the commonalities. Everyone reached out to one another, with merciful arms of acceptance. For me, it was the single most impactful exercise of the weekend. It allowed me to say things I had never told anyone else, hurts that were so buried in my soul I didn’t even recognize them until I began speaking. And then I was able to move past these hurts. I went to this retreat with the intent of helping others, but I found healing for a wound I hadn’t realized I harbored. Although the other women will undoubtedly continue to battle doubt and sorrow before finding complete healing, I pray that they are now assured of Christ and the Church’s boundless mercy and forgiveness.

Writing a research argument paper on the negative effects abortion has on women opened my eyes to the horrors of abortion, particularly on the mothers themselves. But the privilege of meeting these women truly opened my heart. I knew the facts; I understood the extreme psychological side effects the procedure has on so many women, but until I heard each of these beautiful women’s stories, I did not fully realize the intense brokenness and pain abortion imprints on their lives. I discovered that the victims of abortion are not only the unborn; the mothers are also victims, as they were continuously deceived and pressured into aborting their sons and daughters. Yes, it was one of the most difficult experiences of my life, but also one of the most rewarding. Women don’t simply wake up one morning and decide to abort their growing baby. So many people and decisions influenced that choice. It is undoubtedly vital to fight to end the legalization of abortion, yet it is also of the utmost importance that we treat the women and men wounded by abortion with the same compassion Christ gives to us. We also must strive to help them find healing and forgiveness in the arms of our merciful Savior.

For more information on Rachel’s Vineyard, visit

http://www.rachelsvineyard.org/

Happy Halloween & All Saints Day

The other day my family and I did a little pumpkin carving. This was the result…
Because you can never be too pro-life 😉
Have a wonderful Halloween, and don’t forget the beauty and power of the intersession of the saints!
“At the Lord’s table we do not commemorate martyrs in the same way that we do others who rest in peace so as to pray for them, but rather that they may pray for us that we may follow in their footsteps” -St. Augustine of Hippo

Planned Parenthood, Misinterpreted or Unethical?

The release of undercover videos exposing Planned Parenthood’s sale of unborn baby organs has sparked a great deal of debate. After the Center for Medical Progress posted numerous such videos on YouTube, politicians have questioned whether or not the government should continue to support such a business with the annual half a billion federal dollars. The company’s president, Cecile Richards, recently testified before Congress in response to the obvious questions these videos raise. Planned Parenthood and other abortion advocates insist that the revealing films are highly edited and misrepresent their company. So is Planned Parenthood guilty of any unethical or unlawful actions?

First and foremost, let’s examine the authenticity of the videos in question. For if they are wholly inaccurate we can relax our investigation on Planned Parenthood. When the videos threw suspicion on the business, Cecile Richards insisted that they were “deceptively edited.” Research has been done to verify the validity of the videos. A forensic analysis was conducted by Coalfire Systems, Inc. which revealed that “the recorded media files contained on the flash drive indicates that the video recordings are authentic and show no evidence of manipulation.” It certainly is true that the videos have been edited, but the purpose of this was to leave out unnecessary sections, such as ordering meals and restroom breaks. The full versions of each interview are available for view on YouTube. Yet few people are willing to dedicate so much time to watch the unedited version. One such video was over five hours and forty-five minutes in length. So presenting an edited version doesn’t automatically negate its authenticity.

Now we turn to examine if and how Planned Parenthood has been breaking the law. The organization receives between $55 to $60 per body part they sell. This adds up to approximately $500 dollars per baby. According to the Medical director at Los Angeles Planned Parenthood Mary Gatter, “We didn’t have to do anything. There was compensation for this.” The videos show several abortionists haggling for more money. And in a recent open letter Cecile Richards has stated that her company will no longer receive funds for baby parts. This is rather an unusual tactic for an innocent party.

Yet in addition to their selling of infants’ organs, Planned Parenthood has been caught changing their abortion procedure in order to procure more intact body parts. The videos captured officials explaining how and why they alter the procedure. Federal HHS regulations clearly mandate that “the timing and method of abortion should not be influenced by the potential uses of fetal tissue for transplantation or medical research.” Abortionist and director of Planned Parenthood Deborah Nucatola explains that the procedure can be tweaked to procure more intact body parts, “there are little things, changes they can make in their technique to increase your success.” One video depicts a baby boy who survived the abortion. The Born Alive Protection Act safeguards the rights of any child born with a beating heart. Still this little boy was left to die and then harvested for his organs. They have also been recorded conceding to performing partial-birth abortions. This is an illegal abortion where the abortionist delivers the entire baby except for the head, which remains in the womb. He or she then snips the baby’s neck. Such actions are doubtlessly unlawful.

I encourage you to view the videos for yourself. It is truly heartbreaking to hear a former worker describe how she cut through a live baby’s skull to procure the brain, or to watch the workers pick apart the baby’s lifeless body. Most Americans know Planned Parenthood as a positive place that provides health services. Yet this business certainly isn’t the sole provider of women’s health services, across the nation there are countless pregnancy centers dedicated to helping women. Planned Parenthood is unique in that they provide a third of all abortions in the United States. The abortions they are performing and their use of the babies are both unlawful and unethical.