Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fetal Anomalies and Eugenic Abortions

The photo above is one of Sarah Palin and husband Todd with their fifth child Trig, who was born with Down's syndrome. Sarah admitted that she was afraid when she was diagnosed with a baby that had Down's. I love her husband's response: instead of asking why us, we should ask why not us? Some statistics show that as high as 90% of Down's syndrome babies are aborted. In fact, experts in Australia state the following:
“Australia urgently needs a national screening policy for Down syndrome ... after international research showed it could halve the number of babies born with the incurable genetic condition. Access to the four tests that help detect if a foetus has Down syndrome varies widely ... leading to stark differences in birth and termination rates...
'“Euan Wallace, professor of obstetrics at Monash University, said: ‘In Australia in 2008 every single woman should be offered and have access to state-of-the-art screening tests irrespective of age.’... "

Several articles that I read this week all dealt with the topic of fetal anomalies, abortions of those babies, and one story of someone who was a fetal anomaly and is living a highly fulfilled life.

One very disturbing story was published on two days ago; it recounts how St. Joseph's Hospital in London, Ontario has been carrying out eugenic abortions for 20 years with the permission of their ethicist, Father Michael Prieur, and with the knowledge of the bishop Ronald Fabbro. The abortions are carried out by early induction of labour, once they have diagnosed the anomaly; they are carried out after 21 weeks gestation (just in case the diagnosis is incorrect and the baby could then be cared for in the neo-natal unit); and then the baby is left to die from natural causes. As Jill Stanek, the nurse who blew the whistle on babies who survive an abortion and are left to die in a US hospital, says: death is by suffocation, these babies are like fish out of water and their lungs are not capable of breathing yet.

But Father Prieur doesn't think this is the same as abortion; in his words ""Now it's not called abortion. We're not killing the baby. We're bringing the baby out and allowing the baby to die. That's a very important distinction." Yes, Father Prieur, technically not abortion, you are committing infanticide or euthanasia. He actually told LifeSiteNews that the team of professionals meet to discuss each case, that they pray before deciding, and then they decide for early induction. Their thinking is that this is more compassionate for the mother, so that she does not have to carry a child that won't live for any longer than necessary. The sooner the defective baby is made to die, the better it will be for her, she can move on with her life and put this experience behind her. They actually think that, by changing the names of what they are doing, they will bring comfort to those in this situation.

I wonder how many women ever put an experience like that behind them. Add to the terrible tragedy of having a child that cannot survive, the fact that you took part in the hastening of that death, I think the consequences of such a decision would haunt one for life.

I think that Father Prieur needs some truth-talking and real quick; not only is he the resident ethicist for that hospital, he is also a professor of Moral and Sacramental Theology at St. Peter's Seminary, a position he's held for over thirty-five years. Which means that he has and is influencing generations of priests in the Church. May there be a tremendous hue and cry over this and may the Bishop have the courage to address this as he should and remove said priest immediately from all his duties. There is a tremendous amount of damage to be repaired in that diocese. And I wonder how many other hospitals are doing the same thing. I know that 68 babies were aborted here at the IWK Children's Hospital in 2007; babies aborted at the IWK are those with fetal anomalies, all other abortions are performed at the VG Hospital.

How many doctors think that they are doing the compassionate thing here for the baby and mother? probably the majority, they cannot see any other way of dealing with such suffering.

About a year ago, I had heard of a home run by a woman, precisely to help women get through such a pregnancy. She does whatever they need to help them deal with the emotional strains of bearing a child that won't live; she provides strong support throughout the pregnancy, she is present at the birth, and she helps the parents to grieve after the baby dies. What a commitment she makes to these women who suffer in ways we can only imagine. I couldn't remember the name of this woman, but a google search turned up several other such groups doing similar work. I searched under the title of "perinatal hospice" and that brought up quite a few sites to look at. One that impressed me was run by a doctor, Scott Stringfield, a family practice physician in Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Stringfield runs a practice called Choices Medical Clinic and is located very close to the clinic of a doctor renowned for late term abortions.

Dr. Stringfield's website for Choices has as their mission statement "enabling women to avoid abortion by providing for their medical, social, spiritual and practical needs". The clinic runs commercials so that women will know that help is available for them and Dr. Stringfield even has a program for medical students so that they can choose to have an elective rotation with his clinic. I am impressed. This is what we need more of, we need places that will offer concrete help to women who find themselves so distressed by their pregnancy that they are considering killing their own child.

While the work of Dr. Stringfield's clinic focuses on all crisis pregnancies, I was very moved by his own written account of helping a couple with a child that had anencephaly, a condition in which part of the brain does not form properly and the child usually dies within hours of being born. Dr. Stringfield recounts how he was led to help this couple bond with their child during the pregnancy and how they were helped to be parents to little Brenden in the most loving way possible for all of them, even though he only lived 14 hours.

I have read other stories similar to this, and the message is the same. No one knows why such tragedies occur, but trying to end them prematurely and move on with life is not the way to handle suffering. These stories show that human beings need to be helped through their suffering, that their suffering can actually bring about bittersweet joy as they hold their child even if only for a brief time. Aborting that baby also aborts the necessary grief.

These cases put before us the mystery of suffering. But nothing is to be gained by trying to escape, in fact there really isn't an escape from such a suffering. Facing it head on, with the support of individuals who care as much as Dr. Stringfield and his staff, brings people through a process of growth that, I believe, will bear much fruit later on in life. Before such a great mystery as the death of a child with a life-threatening disability, we need to stop and be still and know that God is still God.

Years ago, I had a friend whose first child died hours after birth; he had a congenital heart defect and he struggled to survive but didn't make it past one day. Helen struggled with the grief for months afterwards, probably more than months. I recall her telling me, several years later (when she had two healthy baby boys), that all she could do at that time was cry out to God "yes". A submission of one's will to the Almighty. Who else can heal such a broken heart? who else can you go to?

Also this week, someone sent me a link to a YouTube video of an amazing young man, who was born without limbs and yet he lives a wonderful life, swimming, skydiving even, he has two degrees, and he is now a motivational speaker addressing mostly groups of young people witnessing to his joy for life. His name is Nick Vujicic and his story is amazing. Born without arms or legs, he was welcomed into a home with loving parents; his father is a Christian pastor. Nick recalls how he considered suicide at age 8, how he struggled with accepting his disability, and how he has found that God has a plan for him even if he is so physically imperfect. Everyone who is considering aborting a child with a disability should be made aware of this man's testimony.

If we continue to abort children who have defects, those in our society who are handicapped are going to feel more and more isolated. I read somewhere this week, that abortion of the disabled is, in fact, discrimination against disabilities, just as one can discriminate against race or religion. In this case, the decision is made that a disability makes one less desirable in our society, therefore those already here are put into a class of persons considered to be nothing but a burden. And it doesn't take a genius to know where that thinking will lead us. Anti-abortionists deny that there is a slippery slope from abortion to euthanasia; then how can they explain the swell of public opinion in favour of both infanticide and euthanasia?

As Peggy Noonan says of John Paul II:

John Paul ".... is saying that once you go down the road where some unfortunate people can be put to death, you won't know where the journey will end. Once you decide some lives are not worth living or not important, then you have journeyed to a new place where you decide who gets to live and who dies. This is a place that leaves you coarsened, that leaves your conscience cruder, rougher, less open to love and its appeals. Once you get there, your next stop, or the one after that, is genocide, or the careless killings that mark our age - or the gas chambers. Don't go down that road, John Paul says. Get off that road; get off that bus. It leads to no good place. "

John Paul the Great, Remembering a Spiritual Father, by Peggy Noonan

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Conferring of Personhood and other issues
The photo above is of a baby that was probably about 18-20 weeks when aborted. She (yes, it is a girl) was aborted by a prostaglandin abortion; this method involves giving the mother a dosage of hormones which induce early labour. The strength of the contractions is such that the baby is bruised by them, which accounts for the blackened areas on the baby's body. This baby could have been born alive (the state of the head seems to indicate this) and would have died from exposure shortly after delivery.

“aborted foetuses are not people… you can't prove that they are. They are potential people, just like eggs, sperm, stem cells, and potentially other types of cell like bone marrow. There is no clearly defined moment when a person is made. It's up to society to define personhood. To me, a baby does not gain separate personhood and separate rights until it's actually born. Until then, it is a part of the mother.”

Okay, this is really the heart of the debate between pro choice and pro life people. I am glad that Alyssa got right down to this so quickly. I am reminded of Obama’s answer to Rick Warren of the Saddlebrook Church when he asked Obama at what point did he think life begins? Obama answered that “it is above my pay grade”. And Father Frank Pavone’s reply was “this man who is now the US president doesn’t know the difference between serving the public and killing the public”. That is a smart retort and sassy and probably doesn’t hold up under scrutiny as some will argue that the unborn are not the public. Be that as it may, I guffawed when I heard that remark the first time.

There is no doubt scientifically that the unborn are human beings right from the moment of conception. They have their own distinct DNA and that DNA is human, not another species. I do not need to labour this point; any medical student should be able to tell you this.

What is then argued is that the unborn may be human, but he/she is not a person. So the argument is moved into the philosophical realm of what is a person. I think the pro- abortion advocates do this precisely because there are no definite answers in philosophy. One is left to pick and choose what one wants to believe. And no one can say that one side is right, while the other is wrong.

But I would say, when did you become you? When you were born, just before, slightly after? When you had your first birthday, when you said your first word, when you had your first thought? Bringing the abortion argument around to the issue of personhood and when that begins, leaves us all wide open to the slippery slope of someone else deciding whether or not we qualify as persons who deserve to live.

But first let’s back-track to the human being question. I quote from Bernard Nathanson, a former abortion doctor and co-founder of the National Association for the Repeal of Abortion Laws (NARAL), because how can one argue with a doctor that has such an extensive experience of abortion in the medical world?:”… let me tell you that there is a huge book called The Cumulative Index Medicus, which lists every article published in every medical journal in the world. In the 1969 edition of the Index under the heading of “fetus, physiology and anatomy of,” there were five articles in the world’s literature. As recently as that, we knew almost nothing of the fetus; when abortion on demand was unleashed in the United States, fetology essentially did not exist. In 1979, there were twenty-eight hundred articles, and by 1994 there were close to five thousand. This technology (he is referring to ultrasound) has opened a new world to us.”

If the abortion laws were repealed at a time when medical science knew so little about the developing fetus, don’t you think we should actually be looking at those laws again? New knowledge necessitates review; refusal to do so indicates an entrenched position that one will not change for whatever reasons.

As endocrinologist Dr. George W. Corner said three decades before the legalization of abortion - it is the hidden nature of human development that makes us undervalue it so tragically.

My daughter Rebecca once said to me years ago, that the unborn’s greatest problem is the fact that it is not seen. Abortion is killing that is done inside someone’s body; you can’t get any more hidden than that. Abortion is performed clandestinely; it is not shown to the public except on places like YouTube and personal blogs that feature video clips of abortions. To my knowledge, abortion has not been shown on public media of any sort. If people could see the blood and carnage of abortion, they would recoil in horror. The problem is that abortion is an abstraction that we talk about (sometimes); the reality of it is not conveyed unless one actually takes the time to look. My husband once said to me that he thought abortion was like human road kill. Imagine a stretch of highway strewn with the body parts that are the aftermath of abortion; if this is how we disposed of aborted babies, we would have miles of highway lined with the tiny carcasses of human beings, ripped apart before they see the light of day. Perhaps then people might say “enough”.

Back to personhood: when were you not you? When the egg and sperm met, then began to grow, what were they at the beginning? They had every piece of genetic material necessary to grow and develop and then be born as the baby that was given your name. So what were they (the egg and sperm) before you were called you? It was always you, it was never anything but you, it wasn’t someone else, it certainly wasn’t another organism; it was you. Then people will object that the being wasn’t developed enough to be a person; the fact is, that we are on a road of development throughout our entire lives; why do people take the birth moment as a time when a qualitative change was made? Medical developments are pushing back the age of viability all the time; so you can’t really say, the baby is a person when it is not dependent upon its mother. That age is getting younger and younger all the time; so to put a specific limit on personhood would be wide open to being changed all the time.

In fact, the development that we undergo in the womb far exceeds any further development in our entire life: “As early as 1971, Dr. M. Winnick recognized that the steepest slope of growth was in the first seventeen to nineteen days after fertilization: with respect to weight, protein content of the embryo. After nineteen days, growth of the organism slows because it is now dependent not so much on cell division (hyperplasia) but growth of the individual cells themselves (hypertrophy). The final phase of human growth is concerned with hypertrophy alone, and this phase persists through adolescence into adulthood. From that point on there is less hypertrophy (and no hyperplasia of any significance unless one is unfortunate enough to be incubating a tumor), and growth, to all intents and purposes, ceases….Add to this biological tumult the element of organization – that these rapidly dividing cells know exactly where to position themselves: armies of cells directed by a set of genes and enzyme systems contained within the chromosomal context of the preimplantation embryo very much akin to the Hox genes …. It is not birth, marriage or death but gastrulation which is the most important time of your life.” Gastrulation is the splitting of the embryonic mass of cells into three well-defined layers of cells from which all structures, organs, appendages, and assorted other anatomical phenomena derive, it commences at perhaps thirteen or fourteen days after conception. Preparations for the event, however, have been in progress since that momentous switch at the four- to eight-cell phase when control of genetic events passes from maternal influences to the embryo’s exclusive control.)”
Bernard Nathanson, The Hand of God: chapter The Vector of Life

I would venture to say that the more we know about the development of the human being from fertilization onwards, the more we need to reassess how we regard that being. To ignore the findings of medical science is blind ignorance.

The problem with anointing a being with personhood is that the anointing is being done by another being. Who gave them that right? I have to remind you here that Jews were not considered persons in Nazi Germany and look at what that allowed the Germans to do to them; blacks were not considered persons and they were enslaved by others as a result. In fact, it was only in 1964 that the black population of the US got their voting rights. I remember exactly what I was doing in 1964, I was attending grade ten in a high school in Sudbury, Ontario. When I discovered this fact about black voting rights only a few months ago, I couldn’t believe it. They only got their rights in my lifetime? This brought home to me how recent some inhumanities have been. Up until the mid 60’s, American blacks were deemed unfit to be members of certain clubs and organizations; “who deemed the ‘deemers’ fit?” (Bernard Nathanson, The Hand of God)

The same is true for abortion; who is deeming the unborn non-persons? Why do they have that right? Are they some privileged class of people who have some knowledge that the rest of us don’t share? Did they receive this as some absolute truth from some source that we should all respect?

Unless all human beings are granted personhood from the moment of conception, not a single one of us is safe. Because if the granting of personhood is left up to society to confer, then it is open to change and who is going to determine which change is right and which change is not? There is only one position that guarantees safety for all people and that is conferring rights on all beings, born and unborn. The very nature of rights assumes that one got to live in order to have them; letting one group of persons decide that another group doesn’t get to be born, is denying the first and fundamental right, the right to life.

That raises the question of rights: the mother’s rights versus the child’s rights. Last evening, a radio station here interviewed Joyce Arthur, a well known spokesperson for abortion rights in Canada. She kept coming back to the same point: the child’s rights are superseded by the woman’s rights. Assuring the woman of her rights necessitates that the unborn does not have them. And two beings residing in the same body cannot have the same rights. On the surface, this argument sounds pretty logical and hard to debate.
But what rights are being compared: when putting one person’s rights against another person’s rights, surely the same rights should be compared. Pregnancy does not endanger the woman’s life (at least not in the majority of cases), abortion however does. The mother’s right to life is not being threatened by the child’s right to life. Joyce Arthur is putting the mother’s rights to all sorts of things against the child’s right to life. I say that those are not equal. You have to compare equal rights, not pit the right to personal autonomy against someone else’s right to be born. They simply don’t equate. Not if you think life is important.

If a woman carries through with an unwanted pregnancy, she may face some changes in her life and she may have to make some choices that were not her first plan. But she does not lose her life in this. The baby does. Huge difference: one lives, the other dies. So either life is a value for you or it is not. You can’t say that you are choosing the woman’s life over the baby’s life, because that is simply not the case. You are choosing the woman’s right to be free of the pregnancy over the baby’s right to be born.

At least Naomi Wolf admits that abortion takes a human life and she challenges pro choice women to admit this and not to deny it. But she says that the real pro choice woman recognizes that abortion is killing a human being, and she decides that she can do this. This is indeed scary. This takes us to the realm of Peter Singer, the ethicist at Princeton University who now advocates infanticide. As he says, why limit the killing to within the womb? If parents decide that the child (or perhaps themselves) is better off dead after birth, then they should have a certain time frame in which they are allowed to do that. This is the logical consequence of this thinking. The argument goes like this:
It is wrong to kill an innocent human being.
Abortion (infanticide) kills a human being.
Abortion (infanticide) is there wrong.

Most pro life people use this argument to put the logic of their case. They depend on the other side accepting premise #2. Peter Singer doesn’t care about premise #2, he states that he wants to throw out premise #1.

How did we ever get to this point? This was precisely the thinking that the Nuremberg trials found criminal and they hanged Nazi doctors who had acted upon this thought process. As Wesley Smith (another ethicist) states, our society has given Peter Singer a tenured philosophy position at one of the most prestigious universities in the West. As he concludes, this is insanity. What more can be said?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Human or Not?

The above photo is of Olivia Talbot who was shot to death in November 2005. Her baby, Lane Jr., was 27 weeks in utero and he died also. In Canadian law, Lane has no rights as a human being, he is simply not recognized to be a human being. How can any sane person look at this photo and say that is true?
Yet, Bill C-484, a private member's bill proposed by Ken Epp - it is called the Unborn Victims of Crime Bill, would have succeeded in making it possible to charge the person who killed the mother with the second death of her unborn child. This bill has been stopped in Parliament, and all efforts to enact such legislation have been "aborted", to borrow that nasty word. Only in Canada, the home of the "nice". Our politicians are so afraid of the pro-abortion lobby, that they will not even vote as their consciences, and in this case, their eyes, should inform them.
Alyssa has emailed me back. She was very surprised that I bothered to respond to her. I hope that she finds that heartening, that she realises not all pro life people are highly emotional and ready to just shout at those who disagree with them. But that some of us are willing to engage in rational discussion about these things. There are many people who can discuss abortion and such issues, without resorting to emotional arguments, ad hominem arguments, methods of discussion that leave both sides looking like children having tantrums.

She cuts right to the quick this time. She states that she is on the extreme side with regards to granting personhood to the unborn; in her opinion, it is up to society to define when someone becomes a person. Okay, I have a challenge before me. This is the route that people like Peter Singer have taken, the ethics professor at Princeton who actually believes that infanticide should be allowed. If a mother can kill the child in her womb, then why not the child shortly after birth, if it seems better than letting that child live?

This is where this logic takes you. If killing is alright in the womb, and that it is up to society to decide that, then what is to stop that same society from stating that other killing is alright? This is precisely where many countries have already gone since making abortion legal. In Holland, some elderly carry with them cards stating they are not to be euthanised if they have to be taken to hospital. It has been seen to be preferable to eliminate people when they become a burden, rather than expend human effort and resources on their care.

It is easy for Christian believers to be shocked by this argument and it is shocking. Our appropriate response should be disbelief and actually repulsion at this line of reasoning. However, it is becoming far too common for us to dismiss it and not deal with it rationally. Too much is at stake, if we only respond emotionally. This is the logical conclusion of the relativist morality that has taken over the minds of the majority of the population.

How did we get here? quite simply, by abandoning our first love. By putting God into a corner of our lives, rather than putting Him at the center. He cannot guide and direct us from the corner only; He has to be front and center of our lives in order for us to really live in His ways.
Western society thinks that it can retain the Judaeo-Christian morality while throwing out the two religions that brought that morality to them. Legislating the elimination of all signs of our Judaeo-Christian heritage (prayer in public places, signs with God in them, Happy Holidays replacing Merry Christmas are a few examples) is the evident manifestation that our society doesn't want religion to have any say over it any longer.

However, when you throw out what gave you your heritage to begin with, you literally throw out the baby with the bathwater. You cannot have one without the other. And there is no society on earth that has defended human rights and democracy, the value of life and death, any more that those that are Judaeo-Christian. Life is simply not respected in societies that are not Judaeo-Christian. Hindu, Muslim, Shinto, Buddhist, they do not regard life as sacred and you can see the atrocities in those cultures because of that very thinking.

Why does the western world think that it can expunge the God of the Bible from its life and yet retain the Christian values of tolerance for all men, social justice for the poor, sanctity of life?
Remove the foundation of the building and it collapses. There can be no other result.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Objections

The photo is my daughter Rebecca, taken last Tuesday morning, just after she gave birth to her second son, Jasper. A new brother to Rhett, and to Emeline and Clara, and second son for daddy Nathan. Rebecca loves being a mommy.

This morning, I received an email from a young woman who very politely objected to our vigil outside the hospital this fall. I have just spent the last two hours writing a logical response to her objections. I am convinced that most pro-choice women have never heard a consistent pro-life argument; their statements are always highly emotional and betray a lack of real knowledge of the facts. So I thought I would post my response to her here.

From Alyssa:

"Recently I walked past some of your volunteers outside of the Victoria Grace Hospital. While I respect your right to express your views, and commend your peaceful, quiet protest, I was still deeply upset by your efforts. Why do you want to undo the work that many people have fought for for decades? Abortion is not pleasant for anyone - least of all those with unwanted pregnancies who decide to seek them. However, I truly believe that having safe, affordable abortions in hospitals is much better than forcing desperate women to seek back-alley abortions that are likely to severely injure or kill them. I also believe that abortions are less evil than bringing more unwanted children into the world. If you really want to make a difference, please focus your efforts on improving the Canadian adoption process or providing better foster care. Stop making a difficult time for people even more devastating and shift to making sad lives better. The bottom line is that abortion is a personal choice. No-one is forced to get one. However, you would force people who are not prepared to care for a child properly or to have a safe and healthy pregnancies to have their children, and then either sacrifice their lives to attempt to provide these kids with some kind of life, abandon them, or put them up for adoption. Only those who are truly not ready to have a child in their life will get an abortion. For example, I am 19 and a full-time student. I treasure my education, and it would ruin my life to have to give it up for a baby. I would wind up hating the child, and that is no way to raise a family. I also know nothing about caring for a child, have no job that would support a baby, or really any sane reason to have a child at all. And dumping a child into foster care is essentially playing roulette with someone's life. Please, stop threatening my right to choose, and the rights of other women across Canada. Once again, I respect your peaceful, prayerful protest, but I pray that you will not succeed."

And in return, my response:

Dear Alyssa,
First I have to thank you for your polite communication with me. Many people who disagree are not so polite and I appreciate the respect you have shown to me.

I welcome the opportunity to discuss this issue with you, as it is one that is very close to my heart. I hope that you will read impartially what I have to say and consider it, because I do believe that the majority of people who are pro-choice are not well informed. I welcome opportunities to give them information they may not have, because I think when people see truth, they are attracted to it.

“Why do you want to undo the work that many people have fought for for decades?”

You are young, nineteen you said. The decades you refer to began in the late 60’s, so you are talking about 4 decades. Consider that not having abortion legal was a lot longer than that and we, on the pro life side of this question, could rightly ask the same question “why do you want to undo the values that we have held for generations?”
The answer is quite simply that we believe that abortion is a moral wrong and that is why we want to undo it.

“Abortion is not pleasant for anyone - least of all those with unwanted pregnancies who decide to seek them.”

You are right, abortion is not pleasant, however have you researched what happens to women who have abortions and the aftermath? Abortion is sought as a quick solution to a problem; however, studies are showing that it brings a host of problems that unfortunately, our society is not willing to disclose – more on this later. Most women think that abortion will solve the pregnancy problem and they can move on with their lives; however that is just not the case for a huge number of women.

“I truly believe that having safe, affordable abortions in hospitals is much better than forcing desperate women to seek back-alley abortions that are likely to severely injure or kill them.”

Bernard Nathanson is a doctor who led the abortion rights movement in the US in the 60’s and early 70’s. He worked with several abortion activists, Betty Friedan is one who comes to mind, to promote legal abortion to the American population as the best solution to unplanned pregnancies. He has since changed his mind on this and has actually written that they lied about the number of illegal abortions that resulted in deaths and injuries. They rounded up the figure to impress the public and they were believed.
"It was always 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year." I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the "morality" of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws (against abortion) eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible." Aborting America by Bernard Nathanson
The actual numbers were closer to 250 per year of deaths from illegal abortions, a huge difference from the number they gave to the public, which swallowed it without question. It is important that the truth be told here; promoting legal abortion because it will spare women from death and injury from illegal abortions is the same thing as saying that bank robbery should be legal because those who commit robberies won’t get hurt in the process. One does not legalize something that is wrong, because someone might get hurt.

“I also believe that abortions are less evil than bringing more unwanted children into the world.”

This statement is often made and Hillary Clinton herself used it a number of years ago when promoting abortion. However the statistics actually show that the number of abused children has increased.”Statistics reveal a sharp rise in child abuse in countries that legalize abortion. In 1973, when abortion was legalized, child abuse cases in the United States were estimated at 167,000. By 1982, the number had risen to 929,000. In the first ten years after the legalization of abortion in America, child abuse increased over 500 percent.” Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Questions, by Randy Alcorn

If we allow women and their doctors to kill children inside the womb, how do you tell a woman not to batter her child outside the womb? Violence is not a solution to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy; violence breeds more violence. The statistics confirm this.

“If you really want to make a difference, please focus your efforts on improving the Canadian adoption process or providing better foster care.”

Unfortunately, the government interferes with this ability. Planned Parenthood, which is the first resource most girls seek out when facing an unexpected pregnancy, does not counsel for adoption. In fact, only 1% of girls in this situation are even told about the possibility of adoption. Abortion is always offered first at Planned Parenthood, as the solution that will take care of the problem very quickly and easily.
If you got to know some pro-life people, you would find that many of them are actually adopted children, and they are pro-life precisely because they are grateful to their birth mothers for letting them live. I cannot comment on foster care, as I am not knowledgeable in that area.

“Stop making a difficult time for people even more devastating and shift to making sad lives better.”

Perhaps you would like to read some stories from women who have had abortions in order to see what they say about this. There are so many stories emerging from women who are willing to go public (and a big problem is that women will not talk about their abortions, which implies that the memory is buried and most likely hurting them) who say that they thought abortion would solve their problems, but they have found out that it actually made their lives worse. Case after case records numerous psychological problems, from sleep and eating disorders, to anxiety attacks, to drug and alcohol abuse, to relationship problems with men, to the inability to mother subsequent children well, to depression and suicidal tendencies.
One study indicates that women who abort are five times more likely to abuse drugs. – Elliot Institute –
I have not heard of support groups for people who have had their tonsils removed or their appendices removed; but there are many support and recovery groups for women who have had abortions. If this is only a clump of cells and not a human being, why the need for support groups? A few of them are Women Exploited by Abortion (WEBA), Victims of Choice, Healing Encouragement for Abortion Related Trauma (HEART), Healing Visions Network, Counseling for Abortion-Related Experiences (CARE), Women of Ramah, Project Rachel, Open Arms, Abortion Trauma Services, American Victims of Abortion, Silent No More (US) and Silent No More Canada.

“Women who have had abortions are nine times more likely to attempt suicide than women in the general population.” Aborted Women, by David Reardon of the Elliot Institute

Post abortion syndrome is a diagnosable psychological affliction. Feelings of guilt, depression, grief, anxiety, sadness, shame, helplessness and hopelessness, lowered self-esteem, distrust, hostility, sleep disorders, recurring nightmares, anniversary reactions, sexual dysfunction, insecurity, self-condemnation, the list goes on.
I personally know one young woman who became anorexic the very day after her abortion and spent the next ten years battling severe anorexia, coming close to death on more than one occasion. I said to her that she needed to talk about her abortion with her psychiatrist and she replied that he wouldn’t deal with it. That would involve guilt and psychiatrists don’t handle guilt, they just want you to “move on with your life”.

Unfortunately, many studies of post-abortive women stop short and don’t get the results that society needs to know. Many women are relieved immediately after an abortion; the difficulties set in a year, sometimes two years later, often five to ten years later. Some women repress their abortions and are caught off guard, years later, when their children have children and the memory of the abortion comes back to haunt them.

Most women are not even warned about the possible psychological effects. In fact, most agencies that promote abortion tell women that they will be just fine, they will get over it in a few days, that the more prepared they are for the abortion, the less trauma they will feel afterwards. However, they do not provide any care for these women a few months, or a year or two years after the abortion. They do not even know what happens to these women over time.

“For most women, abortion is not just an assault on their womb, it is an assault on their psyche.” Aborted Women, by David Reardon

Many post abortive women will testify that it is easier to scrape a baby from their uterus than it is to scrape that baby from their minds.
As well, numerous studies have been done that show abortion can have devastating effects upon women’s physical health. Abortion can result in infertility; the aborted baby may be the only child that woman ever has. Abortion is a known factor in subsequent pre-mature births and pre-mature births greatly increase the risk factor of cerebral palsy. The increased risk is quite staggering actually. I refer you to an article in the National Post by Barbara Kay:

Nor is the risk of breast cancer mentioned to women considering abortion. Pregnancy causes breast tissue to grow and mature into cancer-resistant, milk-producing cells. Abortion halts the process, and leaves women who choose abortion over childbirth with a greater number of cancer-vulnerable cells and a greater lifetime risk of breast cancer. Since 1957, over 50 studies link abortion to an increased risk of breast cancer. In the 1960’s, before abortion was readily available, a Canadian woman’s lifetime risk of breast cancer was 1 in 20. Now the National Cancer Institute of Canada says it’s 1 in 9.
The increase in breast cancer exactly parallels the increase in induced abortion. The Canadian Cancer Society refuses to even list abortion as a possible risk for breast cancer in their data or on their website; I believe this is because they are afraid of the reaction from women and they are also afraid of the law suits that are being prepared against doctors and the Cancer Society for not informing women of this risk.

“The bottom line is that abortion is a personal choice.”

I have to disagree very vehemently here. Abortion is affecting everyone, not just the woman who is pregnant. First the baby dies, the mother is affected, the father is deprived of his right to fatherhood, society is deprived of a human person. Legal abortion has been a huge factor in the dehumanization of our present society. You are not old enough to know this, because you have not known anything but a culture with legalized abortion. Children used to be welcomed into this world; abortion has had the effect of making our society child-unfriendly and family-unfriendly.
Because we have said that a woman has the right to say whether her child can live or die, we are now facing the inevitable consequences of that decision: infanticide and euthanasia. Once human life can be eliminated by a person’s choice, there is no safeguard on any human life. One group (i.e. women) have the right to decide that another group (i.e.unborn children) do not have a right to live. If this is allowed, there is no stopping any other group from repeating this logic in another situation. And this is happening now, all over the world. Abortion has paved the way for this frightening world view.So the abortion choice is not a personal choice; it is, in fact, a choice that has far-reaching effects upon all of us.
I quote from Everett Koop, former surgeon general of the United States:
“Times of monstrous inhumanity do not come about all at once; they are slipped into gradually. Often those who use certain emotional phrases or high-sounding moral tones about ‘freedom of the individual’; and appeal to ‘rights’ do not even know what they are starting. They see only some isolated condition they want to accomplish, but have not considered soberly the overall direction in which things are moving. At some later point they want to go backwards. But then it is too late. Mankind’s selfishness and greed can be counted on to widen every breach, exploiting each to the fullest for selfish purposes.”Whatever Happened to the Human Race, by Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer

“No-one is forced to get one.”

This too is not accurate. Most women who get abortions feel that they had no choice. They suffer from lack of support from (1) their boyfriend (2) their family (3) their friends. Many women feel pressured into abortion and, if they are given support to continue their pregnancy, they feel relieved and grateful. Psychological pressure is certainly forceful. The fact is, that abortion relieves the people around the woman from the burden of helping her. It is often the easiest solution for them; where are they when she suffers from post-abortion syndrome?

"However, you would force people who are not prepared to care for a child properly or to have a safe and healthy pregnancies to have their children, and then either sacrifice their lives to attempt to provide these kids with some kind of life, abandon them, or put them up for adoption."

We are encouraging women to look at the options very seriously and not to take the first option that our society wants to offer. Most pro-life advocates are in favour of showing the woman all the alternatives, in the belief, that the well-informed woman will make a better choice. We do believe the better choice is not to abort, for a multitude of reasons. And many women who have continued with their pregnancies can witness to the fact that they were tremendously grateful that they made that decision.
We have been made to believe that childbirth is not natural; it is the most natural thing in the world for women to have babies; in fact, not having them, is actually harmful to their health, if you pay attention to the fact that the best defense against breast cancer is to have a child and breastfeed him/her. Women are putting off having children to ages when they are running into complications, they are facing greater chances of children with disabilities, they are running the risk of infertility due to aging and use of contraceptives. We believe that women need to know these facts; and I also do not believe they are being told those facts by the people who counsel for abortion.

"Only those who are truly not ready to have a child in their life will get an abortion."

I think this falls under the above response; at risk of getting you very angry, I will say that if someone is not ready to have a child, then they should not be sexually active. Abortion is used as a follow up to the contraceptive mentality, that we should be able to engage in sexual activity without any consequences. And that any consequences that arise, such as a pregnancy, should be solved easily by abortion.

“For example, I am 19 and a full-time student. I treasure my education, and it would ruin my life to have to give it up for a baby.”

I would challenge you then to live in a way that will not expose you to that risk, if you are not willing to have a baby. Abortions occur, most of the time, in relationships that are not solidly based. For the most part, they are used by unmarried women, who have relationships that are not stable and the man is not supportive of a pregnancy.
There are many many women who have had children at inopportune times and have managed to live fulfilled useful lives. Having a baby does not ruin your life; it may change some of your choices; but if you see a baby as ruining your life, that is because you do not see that a baby can actually bring great joy to your life. But again, one should be in a good solid relationship before being sexually active, so that if a pregnancy should occur, both the mother and father would be ready to accept the baby.

“I would wind up hating the child, and that is no way to raise a family. I also know nothing about caring for a child, have no job that would support a baby, or really any sane reason to have a child at all.”

I just want to say here, that the people who gave us the most resistance to our prayer campaign, and in fact they always do at any pro-life event, are the young men. They are the ones who shout obscenities from cars, and give us the finger. One young man yelled at a pregnant woman (standing with her husband actually) “you should have had an abortion”. This tells me that the ones who really want abortion are the men who do not want to take responsibility. They love the feminist movement, because they get off scott free. They can have sex with anyone they want, and the woman has to take care of any problems. That is why they shout at us, they do not want “their” freedom curtailed. What you think is your freedom is actually theirs. They are still manipulating you by refusing all responsibility for sex.

"And dumping a child into foster care is essentially playing roulette with someone's life."

If a woman should continue a pregnancy and give up her baby, it would not be into foster care. Hopefully, she would not be that selfish, but would instead give up the baby for adoption. There are thousands of couples who cannot have children, who would give a wonderful home to a baby and the waiting lists are long. In fact, it is almost impossible to get an infant now because they are all aborted. So every child is a “wanted child”, perhaps not by its mother, but by someone who will love him/her and give them a good home.

"Please, stop threatening my right to choose, and the rights of other women across Canada."

I will conclude by saying that the onus is on you to prove that this is not a human being. If you can prove to me beyond any doubt that this is not a human being that is being killed by an abortion, then I and all the other pro-life people will simply disappear. We have other things that we could be doing. But, until you can prove that, we are not going away. And we will continue to threaten your “right to choose” because we do not believe that you have the right to do wrong.

“Once again, I respect your peaceful, prayerful protest, but I pray that you will not succeed.”

I thank you once again for your respectful manner to me and I sincerely say that I do appreciate that. I hope that you will think about what I have written because I think that very often, pro- life reasoning has not been heard by the pro-choice side. The media certainly never writes anything except that which has a pro-choice bias. It seems that approving of abortion is the “litmus” test of whether or not you are an emancipated woman. Pro-lifer people are shouted down and not given a chance to speak, which is why we are resorting to peaceful, prayerful witness at the hospital. We will be back next fall again, with more people and more prayers.

I highly recommend a book called Real Choices, Listening to Women; Looking for Alternatives to Abortion by Frederica Mathewes-Green. It is written by a woman who traveled the US, meeting with women who had abortions. It is written from a very different perspective. One reviewer wrote of this book: “her greatest talent as a writer has been the ability to approach volatile issues with the rationale of a true humanitarian. Amidst the clamor of rhetoric on both sides of the abortion controversy, Real Choices is an honest, compassionate portrait of the women who are the true players in the debate”, Teri Reisser

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Students at the University of Calgary are once again hosting their GAP display. Genocide Awareness Project - a display of large graphic signs depicting the bodies of aborted babies, and pictures of the holocaust making the comparison that today's abortion numbers render this the genocide of our times.

The pro life students were told by the administration of the university to turn their signs inward, so that they can't be seen by passing students (what's the point of a display then?) in order to prevent any violent behaviour. They have done this five other times and there has been no violence, unless you count heated discussions as violent. The students have set up their signs, facing outward, and the university has issued a statement that they will have the police investigate the event to see if the students have broken any laws.

Obviously, people are upset by pictures of the dismembered bodies of aborted babies. I would hope that we are upset by this. However, we should be upset that the babies have been killed, not by the pictures themselves. This is a case of "don't shoot the messenger".

What gets me terribly upset about this is the reaction of the pro-choice students as in the photo above. The coat hanger and "never again" - fact: most illegal abortions are done by doctors in their offices and clinics and they are done with surgical instruments, not coat hangers. The pro-choice side always takes one instance and presumes that this is what would happen if abortion were made illegal once again.

"In 1960, Planned Parenthood stated that '90% of all illegal abortions are presently done by physicians.' The vast majority of abortions were not done in back alleys, but in the back offices of licensed physicians." - Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Arguments by Randy Alcorn

Arguing for legal abortion on the grounds that women will get hurt otherwise is the same thing as saying make bank robbery legal so that the bank robber doesn't get hurt while breaking the law.

As for the number of women who died from illegal abortions, those numbers were grossly inflated and I quote from Bernard Nathanson, the abortion doctor who helped to make abortion legal in the US. Nathanson confesses that he and his associates invented the nice round shocking numbers for the number of deaths from illegal abortions.

"It was always 5,000 to 10,000 deaths a year." I confess that I knew the figures were totally false, and I suppose the others did too if they stopped to think of it. But in the "morality" of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics? The overriding concern was to get the laws (against abortion) eliminated, and anything within reason that had to be done was permissible." Aborting America by Bernard Nathanson

Let's have the truth here. If the pictures of aborted babies are truthful, then let them be shown. Abortion is the most common medical procedure performed in Canada and the US. Why is it the one procedure that cannot be shown anywhere? could it be because it is truly so horrible, that one has to threaten people with arrest rather than have to look at it? William Wilberforce helped to change the laws on slavery by forcing the reality of slavery on the British people. I believe that we have to do to the same in our time: we have to show people the reality of abortion, because they simply do not "get it".

Thursday, November 20, 2008

I have taken to reading alternative news sources and, at times, I have to admit they fill me with dismay. One source I read daily is
Here you find news of events that affect the traditional family, orthodox Christians, those who seek to live a "culture of life".
There have been many recent articles about Obama of course, and today's is disheartening as the names of those he has chosen to serve with him during his presidency are being made public. He is picking members of the Democratic party who are particularly pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, pro-everything that will destroy the Judaeo-Christian structure of American society. Why have people fallen for this rhetoric of "change"? Can they not see that this type of change makes people incredibly unhappy?

I recall our rally on May 9 outside Province House to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Morgentaler's striking down the law that limited abortions in this country. The result is that Canada is the only nation in the world that has absolutely no restrictions on abortions throughout all nine months of pregnancy. One pro-choice woman, upon seeing the pro life group on the steps with pro life signs, was heard to say "they want to take us back to the 1950's". She, however, could not have been more than 35 years old, if that. She wasn't even alive in the 50's. How could she be so sure they were worse times than now?

I was born in 1949 so I lived my first decade of life in the 50's. And I can say with complete conviction, that they were definitely a happier time for most people. So what if women stayed at home? the ones I knew on my street were a talkative, social group who worked out their parenting problems right in the front yards with the neighbours while the children were playing nearby. The neighbourhood was a mixed one; the town was Sudbury, Ontario, a mining town run by Inco. Half of the men on the street worked for the mine and worked shifts. All of the women were stay-at-home moms, no one was well off. Some had cars, but not all. My father was a doctor, one of the neighbours was a doctor as well; they were young so at the start of their careers and not well off. They had several small children and stay-at-home wives, so they were not living the lifestyle that we have come to associate with doctors.

The beauty of that street was that a doctor lived next to a miner, who lived next to the butcher, next to the man who owned the bakery. Across the street was another miner, then his parents retired now, a hospital lab technician, a real mix of socio-economic diversity. Everyone got along; in winter, a few of the dads built a rink in the empty lot and maintained it, and all the kids got to skate on it. No need for hockey moms, as the hockey was right there. And no fancy skates or hockey equipment, just kids with hockey sticks and pucks. No one got seriously hurt either. In summer, there were enough kids on the street (57 under the age of 18 - I counted once) to play baseball with two full teams. And not just the boys, the girls who were any good were allowed to play too.

Why would that woman think that this year of 2008 with kids in day care, half of all families broken by divorce, the vast majority of women in the work force (and not necessarily feeling fulfilled either) is better than the 1950's? I wouldn't have wanted to change my childhood for any amount of creature comforts, for any number of home video games or electronic equipment. This is the stuff that kids' lives should be made of, the stuff that guarantees memories that are full of nostalgia, the stuff that kids deserve to have. And the stuff that their parents should have as well.

How sad that she would think that this world of broken relationships, of rising crime amongst adolescents, of drug abuse, of sexual promiscuity, of divorce and abortion, is preferable to the world of the 1950's. It is obvious that she was born after those happy years, in the miserable years brought on by the 1960's era of free love, love that brought misery to those who bought into it.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

November 18, 2008

We just completed 40 Days for Life here in Halifax, a vigil of prayer and fasting held outside the abortion facility, which is the Victoria General Hospital in our city. This is the site of 1700 abortions annually, done in a ward on the 5th floor and cloaked in such secrecy that one nurse worked in the hospital for 5 years and never knew where the abortion clinic was.

It is tucked in between urology and gynaecology, there is no name on the door to the ward, but there is a little office on the right and this is where the nurse/manager works. The women are led to this ward, anyone who has come with them is not allowed to stay but must wait elsewhere and the girls are then taken to another room where the abortion is done. At least this is what I have managed to learn from someone who had an abortion performed there four years ago.

Unlike places in the US and in some provinces in Canada, where private abortion clinics have a presence on a public street, abortions done in hospitals are much more hidden from the public. Many people who passed our vigil had no idea that abortions were done in that hospital and many were shocked to learn the number of abortions that are done.

One young woman who passed our vigil tutted under her breath at the sign that said "Pray for an end to abortion" and then she said out loud "shame on you, shame on you". This is a common reaction to pro life demonstrators, the objection is that we are making women feel bad. Well, yes, we do want women to feel bad. We would rather they feel bad about having an abortion and not have it, than go ahead and kill their child. One young girl said "not nice", I nearly lost it then, but managed to remain still. I wanted to shout "not nice? I'll show you 'not nice'", thinking of the river of blood that covers that ward in the hospital.

It is often the same, pro choice people think of the individual woman suffering because she doesn't want to be pregnant. And they mistakenly believe that abortion should be legal in order that she doesn't have to resort to a risky illegal abortion. They do not think of the hundreds of thousands of babies that are aborted for the sake of the few hundred women who might have illegal abortions. Do we make bank robbery legal to save bank robbers from getting injured while committing their crime? But it is reasoned that legal abortion saves women from dying from illegal abortions; no mention of the thousands of lives that legal abortion takes, that would not be taken if there was some measure to halt the tide.
"Times of monstrous inhumanity do not come about all at once; they are slipped into gradually. Often those who use certain emotional phrases or high-sounding moral tones about 'freedom of the individual' and appeal to 'right' do not even know what they are starting. They see only some isolated conidtion they want to accomplish, but have not considered soberly the overall direction in which things are moving. At some later point they want to go backwards. But then it is too late. Mankind's selfishness and greed can be counted on to widen every breach, exploiting each to the fullest for selfish purposes." Whatever Happened to the Human Race? by C. Everett Koop, M.D. and Francis A. Schaeffer, Crossway Books

Monday, November 17, 2008

November 17, 2008

Blogging, I guess we do it because we feel a need to communicate with others about what is going on in our life. My life used to be centered around my favourite hobby, sewing, I turned my hobby into a career - sewing for others, then production sewing for sale, and finally running a retail business online selling fabric and patterns to others who shared my love for sewing.

But life moves on, and we change. Parts of our personalities subside and others take over. About two years ago, I heard a talk by Stephanie Gray of the Center for Bioethical Reform. Stephanie is a gifted apologist for the pro life movement and she gives her life, traveling and speaking to whoever will listen about why the unborn have a right to life.

Something was kindled in me by Stephanie's talk; I had always been pro life in conviction, but not active in witnessing to that conviction, other than showing up for the annual Life Chain in the fall here in Halifax. But the spark had been lit and an interest in this grew within me. About six months later, I had an opportunity to attend the National Pro Life Conference in Moncton, in the fall of 2007. Wow, it blew me away. Never had I heard such well-spoken advocates for life in such a concentrated venue.

I could barely sleep that weekend, my mind was buzzing with everything that I had heard. Everything from the link between abortion and breast cancer, to the talk by a Baptist minister from Boston about being cross-bearers for the child-bearing, to the true life witness of Denise Mountenay who heads up Silent No More Canada. I picked up books at the vendors' mall downstairs and my fate was sealed.

For the past year, I have been devouring books on pro life, on the culture wars; one book leads to another and the list keeps growing - there are not enough hours in the day to read.
I began with Anti-Abortionist at Large by Raymond Dennehy, a philosophy professor in California who debated pro choice people for decades. I was inspired by his courage to speak loudly in that state where the promiscuous lifestyle that necessitates abortion had its very earliest hold on the western world. I look at his photo on the cover with fondness and plan on re-reading the book just because I have such an admiration for the man, who chose to use his gifts of intelligence and speech to speak for the humanity of the unborn.

I have found reading to be an incredible source of knowledge; I can access brilliant minds who can put into words what is only vague in my own mind; I can silently applaud them as they say so succinctly things that ring true in my heart and mind. I strongly encourage people to read; the written word forms and changes your thoughts in ways that are lasting and true, whereas the television and visual media seek to impress your emotions and often wreak havoc with them.

Books that have had lasting impressions on me are:
Real Choices by Frederica Mathewes-Green
Ending Abortion by Father Frank Pavone
The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian
Pro Life Answers to Pro Choice Questions by Randy Alcorn
The Hand of God by Bernard Nathanson

That last book was so moving, it is the story of the abortionist who helped to bring about legalized abortion in the US. And it is the story of his change of heart; it is told with great humility as this is a man who realises what evil he has spawned with his own hand. You can feel his pain as he writes; I cannot even imagine going so public with the story of your own repentance.

I am currently reading Whatever Happened to the Human Race by Everett Koop and Francis Schaeffer. Koop was the surgeon general under Ronald Reagan, and Francis Schaeffer is a professor of philosophy I believe. Well written, the book is becoming underlined with my green highlighter marker.

Why do I continue to read so much in this area? I feel the need to get my own thoughts clear; I want to be able to speak to people in a way that is well thought out, to be able to put ideas clearly so that they can see through the false arguments of the pro choice position. This is a position that is based on lies, on the assumption that one has "rights" over another, it is a position that can only bring personal disaster to individuals and far-reaching destruction to our nations.