Wednesday, November 30, 2011

How Prolife?

By Linda

Several years ago, leading up to the 2008 federal election, I had a brief email correspondence going on with a woman who is running for office. She claimed to be ProLife but then said there are times when it's OK to abort. I thought she meant because of rape or incest but she said no (and just for the record I do NOT think it is OK to abort because of rape or incest.) She said it would be permissible to abort babies who suffer from severe handicaps that will likely result in their death. Hmmm...last time I checked abortion results in death.
So I wanted to educate her gently but I wanted to speak the Truth. I emailed a couple friends who prayed for me. Well, their prayers enabled me to find a passage in Randy Alcorn's excellent book, "ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments," that basically states that aborting a handicapped child is not done for his good but to for the perception of our own. We aren't preventing cruelty to the child, we are trying to prevent difficulty for ourselves.
I emailed this fact to the politician and invited her to have coffee with me. Well, you know what happened, don't you? That's right - nothing. No response. No defense. I guess she doesn't want my vote that badly. At the same time - I KNOW I touched a nerve with her and she isn't going to forget our exchange. I pray that someday (hopefully soon) she'll say "I am TRULY 100% ProLife."

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

abortion robs grandparents

This entry was sent to us from a blog reader - and outlines some of the painful ripples that abortion brings...


It was around midnight several years ago that I sat hunched over my computer keyboard, the light from the monitor illuminating the dark room. A message popped up from my daughter P. She asked how I was, I responded that I was well and asked how she was doing. She told me she was worried about her brother G, but angry with him too, saying he had been nasty to her lately. I sighed. I knew it was true. Then she said she needed to tell me something. Inwardly I froze. No mother wants to hear these words from her child, especially over an internet connection in a dark room late at night.

My daughter is a terrible typist so waiting for the next message, which I was sure was going to contain bad news, was endless. Finally I read: "I want to tell you something about M (my son's wife) but you have to promise never to talk to anyone about it or M and G will never speak to me again if they find out that you know - they don't even know that I know. Also I am afraid to tell you because you might treat them differently when you hear this." I promise P I will keep her secret, having no idea what she is about to divulge.

P had hinted previously that she knew something about M but I had decided to wait for P to tell me in her own time. M has always been a bit secretive but I chalked that up to the fact that I was her mother-in-law and we didn't have the sort of relationship where she confided anything to me. The next message from P tells me something disappointing about M but then another message pops up. It reads: "but there's more." I decide that since we've gone this far I might as well plunge in all the way.

I type: "she had an abortion?"

There's no hesitation in the response. The single word "yes" pops up on my computer screen.

And all of a sudden everthing starts to fall into place. The outburst by my son towards a family member who innocently asked if he and his wife were planning to start a family soon, the estrangement from certain family members, the abrupt move half way across the country and the ongoing prickly attitude towards me, his father and his sister. I feel an icy hand close over my heart. I ask my daughter how she came to learn this information but I know I don't need to check her sources - she couldn't lie if her life depended on it. My daughter feels better now that she has unburdened herself but now I must carry this Cross - the knowledge that my first grandchild is dead. I want to split in half and cry forever.

Instead I begin to blame my daughter-in-law for what has happened and as time goes by I nurse this grudge until I can no longer look at her photo or speak to her on the phone. It's easy to get out of speaking to her on the phone as she has a very soft voice and I have trouble listening to her due to my hearing problems. Since she and I were not close to begin with this new pattern emerges of only speaking to my son when he calls.

As the weeks go by I try to piece together the fragments of information that P has given me and I determine that M became pregnant about nine months before her and G's wedding. This hurts me even more as it feels like she has chosen her expensive white dress and a big party over her unborn child. My anger and resentment continue to fester. I might have found relief if I could have confronted M and G but I had promised P I would not. By now my husband also knows what has happened. He is so ashamed he literally forbids me to talk to anyone about it. We are also terrified that our already strained relationship with M & G will break for good if we confront them even though we would tell them we forgive them.

Being a Christian I keep telling myself I don't hate my daughter-in-law, I hate what she did. I tell myself that God loves her and made her in His image. I tell myself that she didn't choose to abort but that she felt she had no option but to abort. Except that I cannot accept that, no matter how hard I try. My husband and I would have taken that baby in if my son and his wife couldn't care for him. We would have kept him forever or given him back when his parents wanted him. We would have given them money, support, anything to help. But they never asked us.

As the years go by I step up my commitment to ProLife. I want to spare other people the pain I have experienced. I want the babies to live. I volunteer at a pregnancy centre and join prayerful endeavours like Life Chain. Every time we hear a sermon against abortion I want to stand up and cheer - except that the sermons always encourage us to reach out in love and mercy to the post-abortive mothers and all I want to do is shake the living daylights out of my daughter-in-law. I want her to hurt as much as I do. I want her to tell me she is sorry. It's probably a good thing she lives half way across the country from me.

Finally I reach a point where I can no longer sustain this level of personal misery. And it's then that Abby Johnson comes into my life.

Abby Johnson once worked for Planned Parenthood. It was after she assisted at an abortion that she finally came to the realization of what she had long suspected. Abortion was killing babies. She left Planned Parenthood and wrote a book about her transformation from "prochoice" to ProLife. I bought her book and read it in one day. It resonated with me on every single level even though I had never had an abortion myself. More than anything I wanted to participate in 40 Days for Life, the prayerful vigil that had done so much to convert her.

Within two weeks a lady at my church announced we were going to participate in 40 Days for Life. My heart jumped and I was one of the first ones to sign up! My husband, while supporting the cause, was very concerned that I would be assaulted in front of the clinic while holding my 40 Days sign. I asked him "what if some lady had been standing in front of the clinic the day that M and G went to her abortion appointment - what if her sign or her smile or her words caused M to reconsider the abortion and carry the baby to term?" He didn't stop worrying but he didn't ask me to stop going either.

The 40 Days for Life campaign took place while the weather was damp and cold. Some days it rained, some days the wind blew through my coat. But slowly as the earth moved towards Spring my heart began to thaw a little along with the ground. I spent many hours on the front lines praying for the mothers and their unborn babies. Sometimes I thought of my grandchild. I know he is in Heaven and prays for his mom. He's forgiven her. I know I must too.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Day 40 - Ronda's story

Our story

by ronda

I am currently 31 weeks pregnant and counting. My husband and I were thrilled to find out in April that we were expecting an addition to our family of 3. We have one beautiful healthy son who is almost 2 years old. Could there be anything better than a playmate for him?

As in my first pregnancy, I had really awful morning sickness but suddenly around week 9, my symptoms nearly all but vanished. I began cramping most of the day and even through the night. I went to my doctor to do some tests as something just didn't "feel right." She told me that based on my HCG levels, the baby must have died a week or two prior and my body had not gotten rid of our precious child yet. I was devastated and felt nauseaus and my world was spinning out of control. I asked my husband to take our son out of the doctor's office so that I could ask more questions. I didn't want to upset our son because I couldn't stop crying. 3 hours later, after an emergency ultrasound, we found a kicking and moving baby inside my womb.

At week 12, I went to a different doctor as the cramping continued but the first doctor would not look into why this was happening. She was unable to find a heartbeat with the fetal doppler, even though we had heard the heart beat just one week prior. She began to panick after 20 minutes of searching and ordered an emergency ultrasound for the next afternoon. She too cautioned me that the baby may have died. I could not sleep that night and layed awake praying and begging God to let my baby live. Once again, God blessed us with a strong heart beat and a "healthy" baby. After spending a great deal of money to seek out a naturopathic doctor, I found that my progesterone was really low. The doctor listened to me at my next appointment and put me on progesterone. She referred me to an OB/GYN. The cramping stopped almost completely only 2 weeks later.

At week 18, I went for my routine ultrasound. I was so excited, as I believed that everything would finally be ok and I would now have a normal pregnancy. But something wasn't right....the ultrasound tech was taking too long. Then she called in the doctor to review the ultrasound and to help her measure. No one would say anything to me and I couldn't tell what they were looking at on the screen. I asked her in a very small voice, "Is everything ok?" She responded, "I can't diagnose anything, this is stat and you should call your doctor's office for the results." She left the room quickly. This was not what I had expected. I waited and the next day I decided that I should call my OB/GYN. I was at work. The doctor told me that my baby was not well. Our baby had an arachnoid cyst in the brain and it was quite large. She was uncertain what this meant for our baby and needed to refer me to a specialist immediately so that we had enough time to "terminate the fetus." I  hated that language....our precious baby was not a fetus...our baby was loved by myself and my husband and by our son.

A few days later, I was having another ultrasound. This one was an indepth ultrasound and our first meeting with a perinatologist, neonatologist, residents, etc. Our baby had a significant issue with the brain. We were told that the baby may be still born, or die shortly after birth. We were told that day, that our baby would be mildly to severely mentally challenged. We were told that things were really uncertain. We were offered an abortion. We had up until week 22 started to "terminate the fetus." I told the doctors that we were having a baby, not a fetus. His language changed after that moment. We went home that afternoon and my husband and I were "numb" inside. The shock of everything was too much and neither one wanted to talk about our options. It weighed heavy on my heart. Not as much for my husband, but for me it was agonizing. I hardly slept, I cried constantly and prayed for a miracle incessantly. I asked myself the tough questions, "Could I carry a baby to term and then bury him?" "Could I handle being a parent to a moderately mentally and physically challenged child?" "Who would take care of our child, when my husband and I died?" I was exhausted with worry. I felt as though all my dreams, hopes and prayers were vanishing ever so quickly. I was angry with God.

Two weeks later, we went for our next indepth ultrasound. We found out we were having a boy! How wonderful for our son to be having a brother. But, "Would he be a brother, if he never walked or talked or was able to feed himself?" The cyst was growing significantly and the prognosis was looking more grim for our son. We had to make a decision soon because we were running out of time. The following week we had an MRI. Parts of the baby's brain had not developed which added to the complications of the cyst and the swelling of the brain. I was at week 21. 7 days left to make an important decision that would change my life and my families forever.

We met with our pastor, who did not advise us on what to do. But he spoke to my heart....I felt convicted. I was just so scard! The unknown was tearing me apart. I would pace the house through the night, asking..."Could I kill my own baby and live with it?" No one could make this decision but me. I wished I never had to consider what I must consider. My husband, who knows my sensitive heart, told me that the grief would destroy me. I thought that it would haunt me forever, but I was so tired and things just seemed to be getting worse. Satan was doing his best work on me. I asked my friends and family to pray.

I couldn't take it any longer and I called the perinatologist. It was a Tuesday, I was at week 21 and 6 days. I needed to come in and talk to him about ending the pregnancy. I called my husband who was giving me the silent treatment because I was considering the unthinkable. I told him he could come or not but I needed to know what life would be like if I kept this baby. He decided to join me and an hour later we were meeting with two genetic counsellors. Time was of the essence. They explained the cyst, the missing parts of the brain and what the possible outcomes could be. I listened intently. Never had I ever listened so closely before. I discovered that day that I needed to make a decision, "That DAY!" We could not proceed with an abortion after week 21 and 7 days. Next, came in the perinatologist who described to me in detail how the abortion would happen. I can not tell you how repulsed I was after this conversation. I wanted to vomit, I wanted to scream, I wanted to run out from the room.

Instead, I thanked him, left and called the pregnancy care centre. I talked on the phone to a lovely women who told me it was ok that "I needed to know." I talked and cried and she listened. My mind was made up. I was keeping our son. No matter what I could not imagine my life without him in it. Even though he was still inside my body, he kicked and moved and would be a part of our lives forever.

I had made my decision...I loved this little boy. God loved this little boy. He came to us for a reason. It was not my place to act as God. No matter what the outcome for our son, he deserved to live a life just as any one else. Who was I to take this precious little boy's life? A sigh of relief came over me unlike anything I had ever experienced. God had granted me HIS peace. When the next day passed, I rejoiced for there was no turning back. Satan could not tempt me anymore. The decision was final and I was elated.

I do not know what the prognosis will be for our son. His due date is December 30. We still pray for him daily and fast and ask God for a miracle. The cyst has gotten worse; however, I know that I made the right decision. I would never have forgiven myself if I had rejected my child. How could I, a solid Christian follower, ever have explained to my older son what I did to his brother. God has given us this beautiful boy and I will cherish him for as long as I live.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Day 39 - this is the kensington clinic

This... is the Kensington Clinic. 
& as these 40 days count themselves to their end, this is the view that has been imprinted on my mind, in my heart, in my prayers. 
We stood on the street corner... (it's getting colder here in Calgary), and i was glad i ran back to get my scarf before coming.  It was quieter than it usually is for a Wednesday afternoon.  There was less bustle, less coming and going...
My friend Alissa had created a new sign - (it's a link to a website that is educational - but graphic, so go there knowing that it is not something that a prolifer necessarily needs to see.)   She also brought a picture she painted in university - of a tiny baby in utero... and i had my trusty, blue, faded message... "you are loved..." 
Together, this trio of offerings garnered many curious looks as we stood in the cold praying and talking across from the abortion clinic. 
A truck slowed as it passed us, and i could see a woman in the front seat - her lips moving as she read our signs.  They circled around and pulled up to the curb next to us... Nervously, i approached their window. i was prepared for whatever might come, because i believe so deeply in what we're doing, and i know that even the harsh conversations often bring about the seeds of doubt that flower into a change of heart... 
"What's this all about?" They asked mildly.
"We're here praying for an end to abortion." i responded.
"Well..." The man said slowly, "That would be a good thing..."
"Can we come pray too?" The woman asked. 
i was startled by their response and invited them to come.  One of my friends, needing to leave anyway, left the sidewalk so that we wouldn't break the 'no more than 4 people on the sidewalk' rule, and we got the chance to talk some more before we had to leave to get home to little ones, dinner, violin lessons...
They had both seen the devastation of abortion in friends and family; the affects both physical and psychological.  They both agreed fervently that the killing needs to come to an end, and that prayer is a powerful tool to bring that about. 
As Alissa & i drove away, we left them on the sidewalk... heads bowed in prayer... and i laughed to God that i had expected anger when that truck pulled over, but instead was witnessing two unexpected blessings.  They had stopped what they were doing, where they were going - and pulled over on a busy street to climb out in the cold, and cry out to a compassionate God for the sake of the unborn. 

i made this little movie to celebrate all that has been accomplished worldwide in the past 40 days of prayer, fasting and community outreach. i hope we can use this teeny clip - to inspire others to join us on our knees as we plead with God to change our nation.  Feel free to share it, to bring it to your church group or prolife friends.
Prayer changes everything...

Friday, November 4, 2011

Day 38 - on unmasking choice

i'm posting a letter i sent to the Canadian Center for Bio ethical Reform.  This is such a tender, difficult subject - and i don't enter into it lightly - or think that anyone should even agree with me, but - my desire in creating this blog was that by having conversations about these very difficult things, we could maybe together, find a way to bring about change... This is a tiny contribution from me. 


Dear CCBR,

At the conference this past weekend, i was saddened by the palpable tension in the room that surrounded 2 issues.  One was whether or not prolifers should support any gestational laws, and the other (as you must know), was over the use of graphic images. 
This past while, i have been working through my own views on this topic, and i wanted to share them with you. 
When i was 19, i found myself pregnant and unwed.  i had always been strongly prolife - and i knew - even in those first moments watching that pregnancy test turn, that there was another person growing inside me, and that her life was precious.  My husband & i married (he was only 18) & despite the cries we could hear of, "foolish", we soon became parents to the most delicious little girl.  We moved to a small town where we could afford to live, and only a few short months later, we found out that another tiny life had come... at 11 weeks, we went and heard that racing heartbeat, and were told that our baby looked perfect, but then unexpectedly at 16 weeks, our son died. 
It was 1997 - and i had already had one daughter, but i remember asking the doctor who i was seeing if my child would be "whole" when he was born. 
As i remembered that moment today, it made me think... Why did i wonder if my child would be whole?  Was i that brainwashed by a culture that called this little one a "cluster of cells", or "parasitic tissue, not unlike cancer"... Had i not felt his tiny feet in my womb, and seen his sweet form on that ultrasound screen?
"Yes," the doctor assured me... "He'll be whole."  i asked him if i could touch him, hold him... love that wee frame of that tiny son who i wanted so badly to mother. 
The doctor told me he would be fragile, but that yes... we could hold him. 
The next day - i gave birth to our son.  He fit in my hand - every finger - every toe - in delicate perfection.   We took only 2 blurry pictures - the nurses rushed me... obviously uncomfortable with my agony... and they took my little one away (something i have always regretted). 
4 children and 10 years later, i found myself in another dimmed ultrasound room - hearing what i already knew in my mama heart to be true.  Another longed for life, gone.  This little one barely measured 10 weeks (8 gestational weeks).  i did things differently this time and waited for baby to come on it's own.  After 2 agonizing weeks, i wondered if i'd even be able to find my baby when my miscarriage finally began, but God was merciful - and i did get the chance to hold that wee one - smaller than the tip of my baby finger, and in those moments, i marvelled at God's creation.  i could see - even at this delicate stage - tiny threadlike arms, and legs - two eyes... my *baby*...
Anyway - i know this is long, but i wanted you to understand why - i was so very tender in considering the topic of graphic images...
At the conference this weekend, i went to Jojo Ruba's session on Saturday morning.  He showed a movie that cut to my very heart... Tiny babies aborted at the very same stage of pregnancy that i had miscarried mine.  It was earth shattering... horrible, sickening, heart breaking... 
Oh, but i can hardly bear to type this; it's the reality. 
i think that part of the reason i have been so very strong in my prolife convictions in my life - is because God so very gently showed me my very own set of graphic images when he let me see, hold and say good bye to two of my very own little ones. 
So, maybe He'll never ask me to hold graphic images on the streets downtown like you do - or maybe He will - but regardless, i want you to know that i stand behind you in the work that you are doing.  Jojo's sensitivity - and obvious compassion helped me to be able to see beyond my own ache - to the horror that those mama's must face when they realize one day - (because they'll all realize one day) what they've done. 

Oh, the unkindness of keeping 'choice' masked.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Day 37 - from conception to natural death

by dana

In the past decade I have become more aware of what it means to be pro-life, and ultimately it is a deep love for every soul that God has created from the moment of their conception until a natural death.  There are so many who are unable to speak for themselves, whether the tiniest unborn babies, the grandparent trapped in a body that cannot move, or those close to death who struggle through their final journey on earth.  As a health care worker I have always strived to respect the dignity of each patient I have, yet it was really in the caring of my own mother in her journey to death that I came to a deeper understanding of God's love for us.  We are all created in his image, and he loves us because of who we are.  It is not conditional upon what we do, if we are good enough, or whether we fulfill our potential.  Our hearts were created to know and love Him, and we cannot rest until this deepest longing of our hearts is found IN him.

Here is an excerpt from my blog as I watched my mother recently journey to her 'natural death.'  Let us continue to pray for each soul our Lord has created, and that our love for Him will inspire others to respect the gift of Life.

At the Foot of the Cross

In the quiet of the night my Mom sleeps soundly, drifting deeper and deeper into a place I have never been. It is amazing how much the human body can endure. Just when we think it is near the end, she shows a glimmer of her presence and we realize her time has not yet come. How much longer?? She has not eaten for many days. A few days ago she could sip water, then yesterday chew ice chips, then today barely open her mouth to receive a wet swab. I think of our Lord on the cross and his thirst. Our basic and most vital need. As Mom's body weakens our hearts grow heavier. We are tempted to hang on, but the selfless thing to do is to release her from this world so she is free to move on to the next.
This painful, wrenching, sacred process leaves one contemplating the similarities between new life and death. Like a woman in transition, Mom knows the moment she has been preparing for is upon her, yet the pain and suffering is greatest just before the unspeakable joy to come. Oh Mother Mary how you must have suffered! You are my rock of perseverance amidst unspeakable heartache. Please come soon and lead my Mama home to your son.
I cannot look back. No photos, no memories, no reminiscing. I cannot look forward. No eulogy, no funeral, no future. In order to survive I can only live in the present, attending to the smallest need in hopes of making our dear patient as comfortable as possible. It is like time is suspended and only the present exists. Not for a moment have I even thought about the merits of euthanasia. If anything, I am more convinced than ever that if every human being was given the dignity and comfort they deserve in their most vulnerable state, it can make the journey manageable.
For now, we keep vigil. Dearest Mother, may the Lord bless you and keep you; may he make his face to shine upon you. May he lift up his countenance upon you and bring you peace.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Day 36 - What will we allow to define our age?

This post is a repeat from my personal blog.  & i realized from the comments (you can read them HERE) that maybe "passion" is not the right word... but i'm stuck with the idea that on this issue, we need to gently encourage each other to do more.  Our silence is unkind.  It's unkind to the tiny ones who have lost their lives.  It's unkind to the women who would have choosen better if they knew they actually had a choice, and the fathers who might have found the courage.  It's unkind to the brothers and sisters who lost siblings, and the grandparents who should have stepped up.  It serves only to keep us in a miserable sort of self satisfied comfort, and it's time for that comfort to go.

it's kinda horrifying. 
Painted in oil on canvas with rich, vivid colours... capturing the accepted inhumanity of the day...
The eighteenth century slave ships would throw over the dead and dying mid-voyage so they could collect the insurance for loss of "cargo".  If those shackled ones made it to shore alive, and then died - the cost would have been just. too. much.

"Prolife isn't my passion."

It needs to be... this is where the battle is for us - in this country - in this decade of this century.  Our humanity cries out for justice - and science backs up that cry...
Life - a person from the moment of conception with it's own unique DNA - someone worthy of protection. 
& there have been times in my life where i have done less - or more - for life.  There's no guilt, or condemnation - there's just the challenge, "right now... this season... today... what could you do?"  (Men, don't leave this to women.  We need you too.  Take courage, speak with gentleness and love.) 
i imagine there were many who murmured to the abolitionists, "The freedom of those slaves... it's not my passion..." or during the Holocaust, "i'm not even part Jewish..."  It's easy for us now to look back, and cry to the ones who should have spoken up against injustice, "it's so clear!"
When my grandchildren look at what our culture currently deems acceptable - and it's as revolting to them as the thought of throwing sold, half starved, abused, sick and dying human beings overboard mid-voyage is to me.... i want to tell them this loss of life broke my very heart too.

(*for those wondering, this is a jmw turner print _the slave ship_)


by Stephanie

Pro- Life isn't just about abortion. It's family planning, teen STDs, divorce, fatherlessness, poverty, IVF, custody battles over embryos that are biologically the result of more than two DNA lines, immunization cultivated in a stew of materials resulting from abortion (to try to phrase it delicately). Abortion is the defining issue of our age, and we have lost, but that doesn't mean the tide can't turn and justice can reign one day for our culture just as it did for the black slaves, or the Jews at Auschwitz. I love this quote by Elizabeth Rundle Charles:

If I profess with the loudest voice and the clearest exposition, every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christianity. Where the battle rages, the loyalty of the soldier is proved; and to be steady on all the battlefield besides is mere flight and disgrace to him if he flinches at that one point."

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Day 35 - give me a soft heart

Another flashback from our spring vigil today...
My mom mentioned to me, after she attended her local vigil for the first time this fall, "If only people knew how easy it is - to go online, sign up - and then spend an hour on a sidewalk talking to your Father..."
& yes... it's not that hard to do a small thing - maybe only a one hour vigil -  to be a part of this 40 days of prayer - but it is soul stretching and heart wrenching to do so.
i'm working on a project - a little youtube clip i'm hoping to finish by the end of this year's vigil, something maybe you can bring to your church and invite them to be a part of this community of prayer?
We need each other so badly. 


There are so many hurting people in this world.

i could probably just end this post with that stand alone thought, but i want to tell you one more thing.
This morning as we prayed, my daughter prayed for something i'm sure she's heard me pray for countless times: softness.
"Father, help me to be soft..."
The thought stayed with me as i carried on my day.
Early on this frigid afternoon as my friend and i prayed outside that clinic, another young mama stood on the sidewalk beside us. She had a tiny sign made out of construction paper - and on it was handwritten in purple marker, "Babies are precious gifts".
She held her rosary while her little sign flapped in the breeze.
i noticed - that she cried when the door opened and closed. Silent and tearful - kept on the other side of the street, longing - she told us - to run across the street, and hold those people in her arms. She felt so deeply - so badly -
so softly...
She laughed apologetically to us when we introduced ourselves, "i'm sorry, i didn't know i would be so deeply affected being here today. It's my first time coming here to pray..." & she wore her anguish like a thing of beauty. 
Oh God... There are so many hurting people in this world. Help me to be soft