Saturday, February 26, 2005

Schindler Family on Hannity & Colmes February 25th

Terri Schiavo's brother and the Schindler family attorney were interviewed on the Fox News program, Hannity & Colmes, Friday, February 25th.

The videos of Terri interacting with her parents and her environment streamed in the background during the interview.

I suggest watching to see if they post a transcript.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Conscientious Objection for Terri Schiavo

I have been slow to catch up with blogging on behalf of Terri Schiavo, but I have written to Governor Bush on her behalf and feel strongly that we cannot abandon this woman and allow her to be killed. She is not in a vegetative state, and it boggles my mind that any legitimate court in this nation would allow her to die of dehydration and starvation.

The truth about Terri is all over the blogosphere. For a variety of articles about her true condition, try To learn what to do to help her, visit and follow the link on their front page.

I have wondered how the medical personnel who care for Terri now can possibly follow the order to remove her feeding tube. They have done it before. Are we all just good little Nazis at heart, following immoral orders for the sake of – what? Order? Taking action that ends innocent life is inherently disorderly.

If they remove her source of nourishment, I wonder if she will attempt to say, “I thirst.” Her caregivers have reported she tries to form words, like “Mommy” and “Help me.” But she doesn’t have to try to say it in order to feel it. She will hunger, and in her way of communicating, she will try to ask for help to squelch that gnawing feeling in her stomach. She will look to those who make her comfortable now to make her comfortable with food and water, and they won’t. She is in a hospice, so they must be accustomed to people dying. But surely they aren’t used to depriving their patients of basic care in order to cause their deaths. One goes to a hospice to die comfortably of one’s disease, not to be cruelly euthanized by caregivers who refuse to give care. They must know that Terri is not dying of anything – not yet. To die of her condition, she needs an agent of death, and that agent is going to be one of these who are otherwise sworn to do no harm.

Yesterday, Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life celebrated Daily Mass at EWTN. His homily included an appeal to those entrusted with Terri’s care. For his sermon, Fr. Pavone drew on that most impressive of documents, Evangelium Vitae,

“73. Abortion and euthanasia are thus crimes which no human law can claim to legitimize. There is no obligation in conscience to obey such laws; instead there is a grave and clear obligation to oppose them by conscientious objection. From the very beginnings of the Church, the apostolic preaching reminded Christians of their duty to obey legitimately constituted public authorities (cf. Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13-14), but at the same time it firmly warned that "we must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). In the Old Testament, precisely in regard to threats against life, we find a significant example of resistance to the unjust command of those in authority. After Pharaoh ordered the killing of all newborn males, the Hebrew midwives refused. "They did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live" (Ex 1:17). But the ultimate reason for their action should be noted: "the midwives feared God" (ibid. ). It is precisely from obedience to God—to whom alone is due that fear which is acknowledgment of his absolute sovereignty—that the strength and the courage to resist unjust human laws are born. It is the strength and the courage of those prepared even to be imprisoned or put to the sword, in the certainty that this is what makes for "the endurance and faith of the saints" (Rev 13:10).

In the case of an intrinsically unjust law, such as a law permitting abortion or euthanasia, it is therefore never licit to obey it, or to "take part in a propaganda campaign in favour of such a law, or vote for it".98 “

Boldly, and most admirably, Father Pavone calls on those responsible for Terri’s health care to disregard the immoral order to withhold nourishment. I pray they hear this call.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

There's a Disenfranchised Father in the "House"

I watched last night’s episode of Fox’s new series, House. In it, a young man whose kidneys are failing needs a transplant, and his wife turns out to be a match. However, she also learns she is pregnant, and thus ineligible for the surgery. She decides to have an abortion so she can save her husband with her kidney, but her husband, desperate to let his child live, tries to commit suicide to prevent it. He threatens to succeed at killing himself if they even try to abort his child. How odd. Do men actually think they have parental rights? Is it possible that we can assume a woman says “Yes” to reproduction when she says “Yes” to reproductive sex, and vice versa? I think so. And I think it is past time that we brought men back into the reproductive fold and allow them to be fathers again. (By the way, kudos to Fox on the way they handled this sensitive subject)

Years ago, I read “If Men Could Menstruate” by Gloria Steinem. At the time, I was pretty young and I thought she was clever. Okay, I was very young, and not at all bright. There is a lot to be said for getting older.

Gloria’s entire premise is that if menstruation was part of male biology, men would make it something sacred. They would boast of it, and design the world to accommodate them during their monthlies.

Suppose she’s right? Well, then, so what? This will get me in trouble, but if Gloria is right, then she is simply proving that men ARE much smarter than women. You see, men are not stupid enough to take what their bodies do biologically and degrade it like women do. We women try to deny our biological role, and say we don’t want to be enslaved by what our bodies do naturally (although strangely enough, many of these same women claim to be slaves to their biological sex drives and don't complain about that). Some women even equate pregnancy with a parasitic relationship, which makes me squirm. These women are saying that by design we are inferior because we are susceptible to invasion, and some people are listening to this as if it is truth.

If we go with Gloria’s premise that male menstruation would be something to be proud of, then it follows that men don’t struggle against their physiology. So I also take issue with Gloria’s statement that if men gave birth, abortion would be a sacrament. It makes no sense when you put it next to her first supposition about menstruation. Logically, if men would make that a beautiful thing in the world, then it follows that they would do the same with pregnancy, not abortion. Men would be smart enough to realize they are responsible for bringing the next generation safely into this world, and it isn’t likely they would subject themselves to medical interference to change that, just as, at least until very recent times, men were the last ones to subject themselves to the plastic surgeon’s knife. Historically, and as Gloria is trying to point out, men don’t seem to feel compelled to change to suit other people.

If men gave birth, they would stand around the water coolers comparing the size of their pregnant bellies. There would be pools for due dates, bragging rights about the size of the baby and the amount of weight gained during pregnancy. Large families would be proof of male virility, and they would be encouraged. It doesn’t follow that abortion would even be in the minds of men because men would be powerful and ingenious enough to manipulate their environments to accommodate pregnancy and childbirth, and not try to manipulate their own bodies to accommodate someone else’s ideal. This isn’t all my supposition. Gloria makes this point herself when she says male menstruation would lead to “…gifts, religious ceremonies, family dinners, and stag parties [that] would mark the day [menstruation begins].” So men make their bodily functions something to be proud of. Well, why wouldn’t women want to do the same?

It is unwise to think we women have liberated ourselves by insisting that only we can decide whether a child will be born. We demand the right to terminate our pregnancies at will and call it reproductive freedom. In actuality, all we have done is limit our ability to produce children at will. We are making ourselves slaves to abortion, because now we can be told all too easily that we cannot be pregnant when it interferes with the desires of others: employers, husbands, boyfriends, parents, you name it. There is no mandate that a pregnancy be brought to term. Abort it and have a child when it suits the world, not when it suits you. This is not reproductive freedom by any means, and it isn’t even control over our own bodies.

We should not be surprised then, when the predominantly male scientific community ultimately creates an entirely artificial environment in which a fetus can grow to “term.” We women will be nothing more than egg farms for the male-dominated society that determines whether, when and how children will come into the world. Perhaps then we will get some idea of what men feel now, since we have relegated them to the role of sperm-donors: “you’ll be a father when I tell you that you will be a father.” Men have become slaves to the will of women when it comes to progeny. They will not remain slaves for long, and when we are cut out of the reproductive process, perhaps we will miss what we once had and should have cherished.

In Gloria’s essay, she makes it clear she thinks men feel superior about everything they do. If so, then we can assume that men feel they know their own minds better than women. As a result, they must not be as susceptible to pressure from other people as we women are. Most abortion testimony points to at least one other person in a woman’s life who wants her to abort the pregnancy. She complies with the wishes of others in this more often than not. A man, on the other hand, would be more likely to make his own decision about his pregnancy. And since he and other men would have had the wisdom to make this world a baby-friendly place in which to live, he wouldn’t even have to consider many of the same social pressures that women face, like whether he has enough money to have a baby or can find someone to care for it.

Gloria says if men menstruated, it would become “…an enviable, worthy, masculine event,” while at the same time saying it is what makes the world perceive women as weak. Her solution to change the way the world looks at women? Well, it isn’t to make female reproduction an enviable, worthy, feminine event. No, her solution is to abort female reproduction instead. Negate it – don’t make it special - and then women won’t be held down by it. Nonsense. Take a page from the group you say has been running the world all this time, Gloria, and you might learn something.

Maybe men don’t feel enslaved by their biology because they are smart enough to realize that it degrades them to feel that way. Gloria thinks men have been holding women down, but I think it’s more likely that we hold ourselves down because we can be so horrified by our own bodies that we demand medical intervention if necessary to make these bodies accommodate the world, at all costs, instead of demanding that the world itself be changed to better accommodate our biology.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Happily Boycotting Pro-Choice Oscar and Friends

From the Drudge Report :

Shock Oscar host Chris Rock recently declared that abortion in the United States is a "beautiful thing!"

"Abortion, it's beautiful, it's beautiful abortion is legal. I love going to an abortion rally to pick up women, cause you know they are f**king," Rock said during his club routine.

Veteran members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences have grown concerned over the choice of Chris Rock to represent the Academy before a worldwide audience, well-placed insiders claim.

"This is not who we are," said one top source from Los Angeles.


That's not who they are? That's arguable.


For what it's worth, I wrote to my local ABC affiliate:

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We regretfully decline to view this year's Academy Awards program on ABC with Chris Rock as the host, due to Mr. Rock's comment that abortion is "a beautiful thing."

At best, Mr. Rock trivializes a grave matter. It is less than entertaining, and we prefer not to hear any more from him in any forum.

Thank you for your time and consideration.


Julie Shockley
Mesa, AZ


I doubt my viewership will be missed. However, it is past time for these side-show entertainers to step off their soap boxes about social issues. Abortion is too serious to waste time listening to the remarks of people who use their heads only for photo-ops.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Abortion As a Form of Self-Abuse

Self-Injury and Abortion

“Night and day among the tombs and on the mountains he was always crying out, and bruising himself with stones.” Mark 5:5

It is difficult to write about self-injury. It is contagious behavior to those who are succeptible. That is how I learned to do it. If you have a tendency to self-injure, be extraordinarily careful of triggers you may find in this article and the accompanying links. In fact, if you self-injure and have any doubts about how this may make you feel, please skip this article. But before you go, do one thing: stop hurting yourself. It is also a choice, and one you can control.

What exactly is self-injury? Self-harm takes many forms:

• Cutting skin
• Hitting oneself
• Hair pulling
• Head banging
• Scratching to draw blood
• Biting oneself
• Burning oneself
• Interfering with the healing of wounds
• Breaking bones
• Chewing the lips, tongue, or fingers
• Eye enucleation (removal)
• Amputation of limbs, breast, digits, genitals
• Facial skinning
• Ingesting sharp or toxic objects

(Bodily Harm, Conterio, et al, p. 17)

Is abortion a form of self-abuse? Conterio et al, suggest that compulsive exercise, extreme piercings and tattooing, and even obsessive plastic surgery can be examples of self-mutilating behavior used to relieve psychological tension (pp. 36-40). Why not abortion? It is certainly a destructive act taken against a woman’s body with her consent – freely given or given in submission to some perceived authority. I believe abortion is the mutilation of self, and more. For some, it is a continuation of sexual abuse, a history of which is prevalent among those who self-injure.

An unwanted pregnancy certainly causes psychological distress. Abortion will provide temporary relief from that stress using a kind of amputation – the removal of the natural, biological consequences of procreative sex. Abortion can also repeat the trauma of sexual and physical abuse by invading the most intimate part of a woman’s anatomy at a time when she feels most helpless. The goal of abortion is destruction. The result of sexual abuse is also destruction. Often a woman who “succumbs” to coercion to abort is repeating a pattern learned earlier in life, that her body is not her own to control, and she must give to others the right to inflict pain on her. Cutting, burning, and other expressions of self-injury can often be a way for her to feel in control again. “It is MY body, and I will be the one to hurt it,” certainly seems odd, and is an echo of the pro-choice battle cry, but for the woman who learned to equate love with pain and helplessness in childhood, it makes sense.

“Self-injury is a perplexing phenomenon with many names and abbreviations—deliberate self-harm (DSH), self-harm, self-mutilation, self-inflicted violence (SIV), self-cutting, parasuicide, and self-abuse to name some. Those who come across it—family members, friends, supporters—even many professionals—struggle to understand why people do it, and find the behaviour disturbing and puzzling.” (

Self-injury is more violent than suicide. Those who seek death seek an end to pain. Those who hurt themselves flirt with death, but need to live for the pain to continue. Why? Who would choose to live in physical pain?

“Having acquired no truly adaptive, internal abilities to soothe herself or control distress, the self-injurer comes to rely on action – thoughts, fantasies, or words – to gain relief from any uncomfortable feelings or thoughts. Ironically, her goal is to put an end to the pain and suffering she feels in her head, even if it means her body bears the brunt of an attack,” (Conterio, et al, p. 20 – the emphasis is mine).

Cutters love to bleed. There is often a fascination with the appearance of blood and the idea of losing this precious fluid. Read any number of stories at, and you will find sometimes poetic descriptions of how the blood wells from the wounds, what it stains, and the relief found therein. I can recall it clearly myself. As I described in my abortion testimony, I was fascinated by the blood and always disappointed that there wasn’t enough of it, even as I watched it drip with great satisfaction.

Women who self-abuse also find relief in physical pain as an expression of the emotional pain they cannot face, or try to repeat the pain of physical abuse in an attempt to come to terms with it emotionally. Without question, there is enough blood and physical pain in an abortion to satisfy the cutter’s needs. Yet, abortion clinics do no psychological testing or screening that would identify the woman who would submit to abortion to punish herself the way others use razor blades, broken glass, lit cigarettes, and any other tool that can be found.

Let’s take a casual look at the characteristics of self-abusers identified by Conterio, et al (pp. 138 – 141) and apply them to women who choose abortion.

Self-abusers have:

“Difficulties in various areas of impulse control, as manifested in problems with eating behaviors or substance abuse.”

In the experience of Dr. Theresa Burke, author of Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, women who suffer from post-abortion regrets are overwhelmed with feelings of grief, anger, rage, and betrayal. These repressed feelings are often channeled into eating disorders (Burke, p. 189). “In the Elliott Institute survey of women who had been involved in post-abortion counseling programs, 38.6 percent of the women reported having had an eating disorder (bulimia, anorexia, or binge eating) after their abortions,” (ibid). Conterio, et al report that 40.5% of bulimics and 35.0% of anorexics will also self-injure (p. 22).

Hunger is painful. Denying one’s self comfort in nutrition is self-abusive. Inducing vomiting or otherwise removing nutrition from one’s body is another way to experience pain and inflict punishment. A struggle with the visible, body image, is often the outward expression of internal conflict about one’s self image.

Substance and alcohol abuse have long been identified with stressful events, and we know that some people have more of a tendency in this direction than others. Apparently, self-abusers share this characteristic with post-abortive women. As Dr. Burke reports, "one [study] found that among women without a prior history of substance abuse, women who aborted their first pregnancy had a 4.5 times higher risk of subsequent substance abuse compared to women who carried their first pregnancy to term," (p. 168). While these women had no prior history of substance abuse, it became their tool of choice when faced with trauma, as it often does for the cutter who abuses for many of the same reasons.

“A history of childhood illness, or severe illness or disability in a family member.”

We might ascribe this characteristic to the feelings of helplessness experienced by children who suffer from illness. A child’s expectations of security are severely challenged when an illness or other physical trauma occurs and disrupts the normalcy of the child’s life. Further, illness and disability in family members often lead to the blurring of boundaries, as children in the family are expected to take on adult roles, often becoming caregivers themselves at a time when they most need to be cared for instead.

A child battling illness learns to submit herself to painful procedures, for her own good. She becomes used to trusting and following the directions of medical personnel because of the time spent with them, and because her illness leaves her no choice. She learns that other people often know what is best for her. Many women who are coerced by loved ones into having abortions believe what they are told: the abortion, and the pain, are for their own good.

A child thrust into responsibility too early learns that her own desires and needs must be deferred to the desires and needs of other people. While there is nothing intrinsically wrong with self-sacrifice, a child lacks the skills to weigh the consequences of sacrifice for others against the wrong that may be done to herself when the needs of others conflict with her own. She may not express her own basic needs because she has no expectation that anyone will be there to fulfill them, because her caregivers were absent due to illness or disability. Thus, when she is faced with an unexpected and undesirable pregnancy, she is apt to listen more to the needs of others who are important to her than she will to her own desires. Consequently, she may have an abortion in order to satisfy someone else knowing all the while that she would not choose it for herself.

A national random poll conducted by the L.A. Times seems to support the idea that women often abort against their better judgment: 74 percent of those who admitted to a past abortion personally believed it was morally wrong (Burke, p. xx). And the Elliott Institute found that eight of ten women in their survey would have opted to give birth had support for that decision been made available (Burke, p. 225).

“Low capacity to form and sustain stable relationships”

Simply stated, a stable relationship is more likely to result in birth than abortion because it offers the pregnant woman the support she will need throughout what is an undeniably vulnerable period in her life. Women often use the instability of the relationship with their partner to justify an abortion, as did this woman who says she is not sorry:

“Who knew what love was? I thought, like I'd been told, it was rational, logical, based on total kinship with the lover ... that he never made you unhappy, that you believed everything he believed ... unrealistic "stuff" told to me by my dear mother who had been driven to sadness by her passion for my father. Anyway, I couldn't see myself married to my lover, and single parenthood was not even considered.”

“Fear of change”

Listen to Awakening's fear of the unknown:

“Sometimes I entertain the possibility of keeping it. The entire process should be joyful, not so full of sadness and heaviness like it has been. Would that change, had my decision been different? I don't know. Perhaps I still have time to decide otherwise. But I suspect that if I decided to continue the pregnancy, I would be even more distracted and scared. In termination, the end result is certain. In continuation, there is no end result. It just keeps going, the changes, the surprises, the fear and uncertainty.”

“An inability or unwillingness to take adequate care of themselves.”

Pro-lifers generally discount the Alan Guttmacher Institute because they are an arm of Planned Parenthood. Consequently, there is a conflict of interest in the statistics they report. They have a deep financial interest in securing access to legal abortion. However, their own statistics are sometimes their downfall.

In their Overview of Abortion in America,, they list the most common reasons given by women seeking abortions. 21% reported they needed an abortion for financial reasons. Another 21% said they were not ready for parenthood. 11% felt they were too young and/or immature. In total, 53% of the women surveyed obtained an abortion because they felt inadequate to take care of a child, which is, after all, simply an extension of perceived inability to take care of one’s self.

Or as one young woman reports in her own words about the threats in her life, both real and perceived:

“I couldn't have this baby. Michael couldn't keep a job for more that a month, I wasn’t even old enough to work, his parents both suffered from manic depression, and did not take medication, and Michael hit me so I was afraid of that as well. My mom told me that if I wanted to have the baby that I would have to go live with Michael and his family, that I could not stay there. I told her I was pretty sure that this is what I wanted to do. I was still just a baby myself and I couldn't go through it at school.”

“Self-injurers tend to have low self-esteem, coupled with a powerful need for love and acceptance from others.”

Conterio, et al, continue, “They go to extremes to exact demonstrations of love and caring from others, including taking on too much responsibility for what happens in relationships (excessive self-blame) or adopting a “caretaking” role even when it is unhealthy or dangerous for them to do so,” (p. 139).

Listen to young Awakening, and pay particular attention to her use of pronouns (I have added italics for emphasis):

Nonetheless, I believe that there is a potential life inside of me. It is not a mere collection of cells. There is no satisfactory justification that can be made for the termination of this potential. I can only say that, weighing the welfare of us [here she refers to her baby’s father and herself], and us and an unplanned baby which I have no means to care for, I must also take into account the future children which we want to have, and the welfare of the family as a whole.”

Alone, she takes responsibility for family planning. But we don’t need an analytical view of her language – she makes it plain as day:

“As far as I saw it, I was the one who was solely responsible for this accidental pregnancy. And I was going to bear the consequences to the very end, and carry this secret with me to my grave.”

In many other parts of her on-line journal, the same young lady romanticizes her relationship as one she cannot live without. Was the abortion she obtained in accordance with his desires an expression of how much she needed his love and acceptance?

“And of course, my gratitude to my boyfriend is inexpressible. He alone knows how much his strength and presence by my side means to me in these times. I thank you, my love.”

Another view, when the love and support a woman desires from the father of her child is withdrawn, or there is no expectation of same:

“They [her pregnant friends] were opting to carry to term because their boyfriends were promising marriage and support. I was highly skeptical of this and sure enough their boyfriends vanished. My boyfriend vanished too.”

“Childhood histories replete with trauma or significant parenting deficits, which led to difficulties internalizing positive nurturing.”

There are women who abort because they fear motherhood, or do not view themselves as nurturing people. The reasons for this often stem from a lack of nurturing during their own childhoods. As Dr. Burke explains, “…our ability to parent is also shaped by all our other experiences as a child, an adolescent, and an adult. If all goes well, a woman will develop a competent and nurturing ‘mother-self’ that integrates both her childhood and adult experiences,” (p. 76).

As we can see, when a woman does not develop the “mother-self,” she is sometimes aborting the entire idea of motherhood along with her children:

“I did not want a child. I had never wanted children.”

Louise has had six abortions, and still does not want children of her own.

“Rigid, all-or-nothing thinking.”

Shades of gray are disturbing and disorderly to the rigid thinker who seeks to control her environment by strictly defining everything in it. It is easier to feel that the world is a controllable place when we can fit everything into either Box A or Box B. However, as Conterio, et al, state, “…it tends to wreak havoc on [a self-abuser’s] emotional stability when something unpredictable or stressful happens in her well-ordered universe.”

Very few events will alter a woman’s life like an unplanned pregnancy. Suddenly, everything she knows will be redefined by the arrival of another person, someone for whom she will be responsible, a variable that cannot be controlled. A woman with an all-or-nothing attitude is less able to accept the conflicts inherent in child-bearing. Yes, there will be sadness and sacrifice. But at the same time, there will be joy and the love of a child to be gained. She is unable to come to the center of the paradox as she desperately tries to make the pregnancy fit into Box A or Box B. Abortion is an all-or-nothing solution to unwanted pregnancy that gives her the illusion of control over an environment that has suddenly become unpredictable.

Listen carefully to Harriet’s reasons for having her abortion, for which she has no regrets:

“In my view - and having been an unwanted child myself this perhaps impressed itself more heavily upon me -- a child needs to be wanted. And a child needs a father. That in itself, to me, was sufficient reason to terminate. However, I thought I should consider all the options. After all, it felt kind of nice being pregnant! Although it wouldn't stay that way, I knew.

And the reality was, I was in no position to care for or support a child, either financially or emotionally. I had spent years trying to establish a career - and I had just reached the point where I felt I could begin getting somewhere with it. I had no support network. No partner, no family (I'm a migrant), no money. And I did not want a child - I had never wanted a child.”

Harriet has a clearly defined and rigid view of what the nuclear family should be, and it does not include unplanned children. She has no room in her life for surprises that would make her change her career aspirations or her strict definitions of an adequate family life.

Why is it important to identify abortion as a form of self-abuse? Because in doing so, we will identify those women who will be at risk for severe post-abortion trauma. Not every woman seeks an abortion as a way to punish or hurt herself. It is clear, however, that there are enough similarities to make it medically reasonable to insist that we determine whether it is so on a case-by-case basis as part of pre-abortion counseling. The counseling provided in abortion clinics today is most likely to involve a long conversation which does not end until the woman has agreed to the abortion. This is not counseling. This is brow-beating under the guise of therapy.

A woman who is ambivalent about child-bearing needs a safe place in which to explore her feelings. Perhaps she doesn’t want to terminate the pregnancy, but she also doesn’t want to have the child. She cannot fulfill both of these desires, and a reasonable person will see that. If however, the woman lacks a personal history that helps her see what is reasonable, it is prudent and in her best interests for a professional to assist her. If she is choosing to abort because of perceived problems instead of real ones, as soon as she comes to the understanding that her problems at the time were not insurmountable after all (as in a subsequent pregnancy she doesn’t terminate), isn’t it likely she will find sorrow and regret for her abortion decision that will overwhelm her in later years?

Further, if abortion providers want to masquerade as health-care workers, then they shirk their responsibilities when they fail to screen for psychological risk factors that will identify the abortion as an extension of self-hatred and self-punishment, or as relived trauma and abuse. That they fail to do this is obvious from records-based studies of psychiatric admission rates that compared women who had abortions to women who carried their children to term. Cougle and Reardon found “…that psychiatric admission rates subsequent to the target pregnancy event were significantly higher for women who had had an abortion compared with women who had delivered during every time period examined. The greatest difference in admission rates occurred in the first 90 days. This was a counterintuitive result, because one would expect women who experience postpartum depression to be at greatest risk of admission within the first 90 days of delivery, whereas women who have an abortion would seem most likely to experience their highest levels of relief soon after the abortion.”

Works Cited

Burke, Theresa and David C. Reardon. Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion. Springfield, Illinois: Acorn Books, 2002.

Conterio, Karen, Wendy Lader, and Jennifer Kingson Bloom. Bodily Harm. New York: Hyperion, 1998.

Friday, February 11, 2005

Was It Something I Said?

“Part of personal responsibility is to be able to move beyond the guilt, because feeling guilty is also a form of self-pity. That may be an armchair psychologist point of view, but I stand by it. If I end up regretting this decision, which I probably won't, then I will deal with it and do what I need to do, personally, to move beyond it. But I won't actively seek out other women and say, look at me -- I was once like you. If you don't want to be like me one day, then you should stop what you're doing!

“Awakening,” is what she calls herself. She is a graduate student who recently found herself pregnant by the love of her life, a man so important to her she watches him as he sleeps and wonders if there are words to describe what he means to her. Yet, he apparently doesn’t mean enough to her for her to want to guarantee that his qualities live on in perpetuity. She has aborted his child.

Awakening’s pre-abortion writing was picked up by After Abortion, and as a result, she was inundated with e-mails from some in the pro-life blog community. I was one of those. I don’t recall exactly what I wrote, except to encourage her to read post-abortion testimony of women who had regrets, and foolishly, I pointed out the breast cancer risk as if the threat of cancer “some day” would be enough to change her behavior today. As a smoker, I should know better than that. I admit I was reaching.

I could not and did not promise her immediate regret for her decision. As she points out, that would be presumptuous of me: “That's a bit condescending, in my opinion: to believe that what applies to you will apply to others without exception.”

I admit I have a habit of doing that. Because I have only my experiences in this life to go by, I tend to predict that other people who share similar experiences will have similar emotions as a result. Should we be expected to learn from the history of other people? But I could not help but notice that she didn’t seem to mind the effort to instruct her when the “teacher” was someone telling her what she wanted to hear to justify her decision: “Planned Parenthood's Report on post-abortion psychological effects. Very helpful.” (But please don’t read this without reading about the studies that show conflicting results here.)

Yes, the next time I am up in the air about an important decision, I think I will go to the source that has the most to gain financially by that decision in order to get advice. There I will certainly find an honest attempt to give me the truth, because they don’t really want my money. They want me to be happy. People who send me advice when they have nothing to gain from it personally cannot possibly have my best interests at heart.

Oh, that’s right. There is a religious agenda. “There is too strong of a religion of guilt in this country.” I keep forgetting that, probably because I don’t have one. Yes, I am a religious person, but I don’t expect it from anyone else and did not ask her to consider it. I don’t believe abortion is unnatural and unsafe because the Catholic Church tells me to think that way, or even because the Bible says so. I believe abortion is unnatural and unsafe because of that darned personal experience again. Rats. I keep finding myself falling back on this weak position.

“I got angry. I'm still angry. There are strangers out there who are trying to project their feelings of guilt and shame upon me -- people who don't even know my past or present circumstances other than what I've revealed. What do they know? That I'm pregnant, that it was unplanned, that my partner and I have decided it to be for the best that we postpone parenthood for another while yet.”

She’s right. I don’t know her, which I explained in my email, and I apologized to her for the imposition. It’s just that I was once pregnant, and it was unplanned. The father was 17, and I was 16, and we just weren’t ready to be parents yet. But why would that make me think we had anything in common?

“Why would anyone want to do that to themselves? Why would anyone want to view themselves as so powerless over their own fates?”

Good question. Why would I want to view myself as powerless over my own fate? Hmm. I don’t. I am completely responsible for where I am today. I was hoping she would make a different choice with the power she has over her life because, oops, there I go again, thinking that she and I might share some of the same feelings. So while I am condescending to her level already, I may as well suggest that some day she will learn, as I did, that there is nothing that can make us feel more helpless than living every day with the consequences of our irrevocable choices.

”Make peace with your own demons, but do not hoist them unto others. They are yours and yours alone to suffer and -- most importantly -- to conquer.”

Well, at least she knows there will be demons to conquer, but she does not understand that we know they are not our demons being foisted upon her, but her own personal demons, of her making, and of her own choosing. Not yet, anyway. Now she has some personal experience of her own, we shall sadly see.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Feeling a bit feisty

I feel argumentative, yet I am weary of the same tired pro-choice rhetoric. How do you argue with people who are stuck in the Dark Ages of science and medicine? At times like this, I get back to reality by reading more testimony of people like myself who have been there, done that, and found for themselves that there is no sense in choosing abortion.

Is abortion really a freely-made reproductive choice, liberating women from male domination and slavery to someone else’s ideology? Ask these women how free they felt when they “chose” abortion:

The next morning my boyfriend arrived with a hangover and spoke harshly telling me to stop crying or he would leave. I so didn’t want to do what I was about to do. The room quickly filled up with Italian women who were there to have the same procedure. They took us out of the room one by one. They wheeled me downstairs and placed me just beside a very large metal door. I was hysterically crying, but no one spoke English and I couldn’t make them understand why I was so upset. I was taken into the operating room as another woman was wheeled out. I kept thinking...this is an assembly line. I had been given a sedative earlier in the morning and couldn’t seem to express myself to the nurses or the doctors.

Because I didn't want him to hate the child or leave me, I agreed. So we went to the clinic in Wichita , KS. I wanted to run. I wanted to scream that I wanted my baby. I wanted to tell my boyfriend just where he could get off. But I was also scared.

I didn't know where I could go if he got rid of me. And I didn't know what would happen to me and my baby because I felt I had no other place to go. And quite simply, I still loved my boyfriend. So I let them remove my baby from the only safe haven he had.

on jan 29 2005 was the worse day of my life. i finally got the abortion everyone wanted. my mom, grandma an the father thought that it was best for me to do. not caring what will happen to me afterwards. i was so happy to find out i was pregnant cuz thats all i ever wanted was a child i can call my own. i know i'm only 20yrs old. im still young but i really believe i could have this baby. the father never wanted kids an made me feel bad. he went under depression the whole two months i was pregnant cuz he feared children. my mom at first was fine wit it till she told my grandma. my grandma got into my mother's head an force her to change her mind an make me get the abortion. my grandma did it cuz she was embarssed an worried about what people would of thought if i had this child an i wasnt married or even livin wit the guy. everyday i would hear my grandma's mouth. everyday i would hear "so did u make the appointment yet". the father wasnt mean to me but made me feel guilty an sorry for him. finally he gave me the money an i told my mom. so we made the appointment an all i did was cry cuz at this point i didnt even know if i still wanted it. i was goin out my mind. all i wanted was my life back an for people not to b mad at me anymore. so i broke down an got the abortion.

How liberating to be broken down until we comply with someone else's wishes! We've come a long way, baby. We are still being dominated and oppressed, but now we are trying to convince ourselves that it is our choice. Anyone else thinking Stockholm Syndrome?


Is the fetus a person? Those who say s/he is not must worry about falling off the edge of the earth because the world is flat. I thought about writing an article to justify the humanity of the unborn child, but why? If you think the unborn child is inhuman, PROVE IT to me. Show me his inhuman DNA. Show me how the unborn child differs from the born child in any way except size and development, factors which also vary greatly among post-born people in all of life’s stages.

And don’t give me garbage about whether this or that part of the brain is developed enough in the fetus to meet some "degree" of personhood. That’s just crap – an inelegant word, but descriptive. Many people live with less than perfect brain function (just look at the numbers walking the streets carrying signs that say the unborn child is not human). Considering one kind of human life less valuable than another was supposed to have gone the way of slavery.

And recent research shows our frontal lobes aren’t fully developed until age 25, offering an explanation for high-risk adolescent behavior. Still, we are not free to kill teenagers, no matter how they may tempt us.

Or ask these survivors of abortion if they feel adequately human:

One day when I was in third grade, my mom and dad asked me to sit down for a talk. They began by saying that since I was very little, my parents always found me sleeping curled tightly in the fetal position, buried in the covers and always to one side of the bed. I had a recurring nightmare of being trapped in a room with a window blocked by a knife, and they said they often found me talking to my "other self." My mom said she though these were signs telling her to confess something she had done and hoped I would forgive her.

She told me how, at 39, with her 5 children grown, (the youngest was 19 years old and two were in college), she had found herself pregnant. She had been pressured especially by a particular friend to abort because she was too old and it would be "ridiculous" at her age, to have a baby. This was 1952, and her friend told her a self abortion method. She delayed her abortion attempt until the end of June, her eldest son Elliott's, birthday. She was about 3 months pregnant.

She started to cry and told me never to believe them when they tell you it is not a baby, but just a blob of tissue. Tracing a tiny outline in the palm of her hand, she said "he was this big and a fully formed baby." She could hardly continue. "He was a perfect little baby boy." She cried to heaven on that cold bathroom floor and asked God to forgive her and promised Him if she were ever to become pregnant again, she would NEVER abort a baby. She flushed her little son down the toilet and said she lay on the cold floor crying until she was numb.

No one knew, except her and her so called "friend." Later, she still felt pregnant. The doctor said that I was probably a tumor or an ulcer. And the first part of September, I kicked her! The doctor was amazed that I had been a hiding twin and survived the abortion attempt. She told no one of her pregnancy except my dad, and later, my youngest brother, 19 year old Fred, who I kicked.

My mom had an abortion at age seventeen. A couple of weeks later, when her physician examined her, he told her she was still pregnant.

I was born, and today my mom and I tell the world of our story and our love for life. We want to call people away from the darkness of abortion and into the light of God's truth. We have also prayed and demonstrated in front of abortion facilities, and have spoken across the country at churches, crisis pregnancy centers, and universities.


'Nuff said.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

The God Blog Conference 2005

"GodBlogCon2005 is a conference for Christian bloggers that has self-organized at in a matter of one-week. The conference is rapidly growing and will be held in beautiful Mesa, AZ in the Fall of 2005.

This will be a great opportunity for Christian pro-lifers to learn, network and strategize about how the blogosphere can be used to communicate a Christian pro-life message that will engage the non-Christian culture, heal the broken hearted, catalyze change and motivate action. It is also an opportunity for pro-life organizations and ministries to discover how bloggers and blogging technology can benefit their web presence."

This is great - right in my neighborhood. We will attend.

Where Have All the Children Gone?

(with apologies to Pete Seger for the title)

I found something that outraged me more than photos of aborted children. They, at least, have a pro-life purpose.

In brief, the questioner accuses us of facillitating abortion with the idea that aborted children go to heaven, and denies that they see the face of God. The first part of the poster’s question dealt with Limbo. If you want to know all about Limbo, then visit the reference Judie Brown provided at I am not going to debate its existence. I have never been to the after life, so I don’t think I can speak with any authority. I did note, though, that the questioner neglected to say that Limbo is considered a temporary state, and a happy one at that. Why would he omit that information?

Because he wanted to make this point:

“Some misinformed people are teaching that each abortion sends a child to heaven. Nothing could be further from the truth. This false claim may comfort women that have had an abortion but it actually gives license to this abomination.”

Giving license to abortion by saying the children are in heaven? This is his reasoning:

“ If someone says aborted babies are in heaven ask them two questions

1) If abortion sends a child to heaven shouldn’t we abort all children since it is a one way ticket to heaven?

2) Don’t you think Satan would do all in his power to ban abortion if it sent one soul to heaven?”

This is the kind of useless bunk that is designed only to elicit despair. Yes, despair – and despair is Satan’s joy. Those who despair of forgiveness and heaven are like death-row inmates. We have nothing to lose or gain, so nothing we do matters any more. There is no Godly or life-oriented purpose in leading people to despair, especially we sinners in most need of His mercy.

Of course, I composed a response to the questioner which Judie was kind enough to post:

But why browse? Here was my response:

Dear Judie,

A poster recently asked:

"If someone says aborted babies are in heaven ask them two questions 1)If abortion sends a child to heaven shouldn’t we abort all children since it is a one way ticket to heaven? 2) Don’t you think Satan would do all in his power to ban abortion if it sent one soul to heaven?"

May I answer? Since I had an abortion when I was sixteen, and have always regretted that decision, I felt intolerable pain at the questioner’s decent logic and the reminder of Limbo. I do not want heaven for myself if I have kept another soul from reaching it, particularly my own child's.

And that is where I saw the first flaw in the argument. It assumes that our actions dictate the disposition of other souls. As far as I understand it, our choices affect our own destinations, but it is presumptuous to think we can do anything to directly send anyone either to heaven or hell.

Secondly, I went to Confession a few months after the abortion. I had read of Limbo, since this was 1979, when the idea was still in the Catechism. I asked my Confessor, a good Franciscan priest, where my child was. I told him I could not understand how God could punish the innocent for something I did. He never had the opportunity to choose for himself. My dear Father Clare told me, and I will never forget this because I would die without the knowledge, that God is better than I am. He cannot be more cruel than I can be, and if I think Limbo is cruel, then I either don’t understand Limbo or I am short-changing God.

My child is in God’s hands, whatever his state, and faith requires me to trust God’s judgment – HIS judgment. I have hope because I know that God does not punish the innocent – people do. I pray my child will see the Lord. I try to make reparations on his behalf and my own.

For the second question: abortion condemns at least two people, the parents. And there are other accomplices: the abortionist, the nurse, the receptionist, the family members who participate, lawmakers who sanction it, on and on. Satan gains so many more souls than he loses if these children are accepted into God’s arms in heaven.

When I first read this post, I nearly fell back into a despair I had forgotten a long time ago. The questioner quotes St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest minds the world has known, and perverts his wisdom for his own purposes. I was almost fooled.

In the movement that professes to do God’s greatest work, saving the lives of the weakest and most innocent among us, where do these despair-makers come from? Has the Master of Despair himself infiltrated even that movement that seeks to do God’s work? Well, this world is his playground, so why not (John 8:44)? He has dared to assail the Catholic Church from within, even knowing the gates of hell cannot prevail against it. Wreaking havoc among those who try to be the most faithful is one of his favorite pastimes.

The otherwise merciful pro-life leader cannot remember mercy when she resents the women from Silent No More, asking if we want applause. This questioner, who professes to be a Catholic Christian, says the promise of heaven for aborted children, which is actually God’s mercy, is a license for abortion. It is a perversion of truth, another of Satan’s favorite tricks. He is the king of liars, and there is no more convincing lie than a perverted version of the truth.

We try to teach, because we believe and it is truth, that the child in the womb is a sentient being. He has a soul equal to our own. The body is not eternal in this version of the world. The soul, however, lives in and for eternity whether in heaven, or hell, or Limbo, or Purgatory – and consequently does not age as we understand it. Eternity is the absence of change, and time is the essence of change. When the child’s soul is called by God, no matter what the cause of his death, to suggest he is incapable of answering, or of yearning for God while in the womb, is to deny his humanity, indeed denies that the child has a soul equal to our own. It is hardly a pro-life philosophy.

Post-abortive women of faith are comforted by knowing – not thinking, but knowing – that God loves their children and is taking care of them.

As it is written in Psalm 27:10: “For my father and mother have forsaken me, but the Lord will take me up.”

In Matthew 18:10, the Lord says, “See that you do not despise one of these little ones; for I tell you that in heaven their angels always behold the face of my Father who is in heaven.”

Matthew 19:13-14 goes on, “Then the children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on the people; but Jesus said, ‘Let the children come to me and do not hinder them; for to such belongs the kingdom of heaven.’”

Luke 13:30: “And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

A Must-Read, especially for the ambivalent

Today’s recommended reading is “The Ambivabortion Rant,” the first of three parts written by a blogger who was kind enough to invite me to read her work. I am impressed by her grasp of the complexities of abortion, before and after.

“The simplest central tenet of feminism – that being female is a full human plenitude, not a shameful lack – had saved my soul. Abortion, I believed, was a woman’s business. My body, my choice. Case closed.

Then I had one.”

She is a self-described pro-choice woman who has come to understand that the life lost in her womb was a separate, real, individual human being, even while she struggles with the practicality of the choice she made not to have a child at that time in her life.

Her post-abortion dreams inspired this heart-wrenching poem for her lost son:

“My ghost son keeps pace with me,
long-legged as I am.
He’s twelve, or would be,
the age he was when he left me
in the third dream, in the subway,
lifting his cool boy’s hand from my shoulder
and crossing the stream.”

Still, our AmbivaBlogger is torn by the rationale that led her to abortion – the quality of life for the woman who must bear the child or destroy it:

“The truth about abortion is that sometimes an embryo’s right to life conflicts with a woman’s right to live. And yet to cancel one or the other cannot be the answer.

And that means that just as the Right can’t wish away the real woman – so newly and precariously the owner of her own life, with consequences that will ripple out to the ends of the earth – the Left can’t wish away the real embryo and fetus.”

“Sometimes two opposing truths have to be held in mind at once.”

The paradox of life – the truth is always inside the paradox, and it is our own limitations that keep us from finding the center. I would add one caveat – the lives of mother and child do not have to exist in opposition of each other. The answer is not in destroying either life, but in creating the circumstances that will support both lives. A woman is not merely a vessel for reproduction. But neither is her reproductive role a thing to be feared or rejected. It is part of who we are as women, to nourish and protect. When did we start telling women that they had to become like men in order to achieve equality? This is a biological impossibility – hence our feelings of inadequacy and failure, which sometimes feed our desire to abort the fullness of our womanhood and our children.

Her thoughtful essay has invited calm and cool commentary, the kind of dialogue that inspires solutions instead of ill will and hatred, as so many do. I will wait for the other two parts before commenting further. Her insight is developing, and her writing is skillful. I know I don't have to ask you to be kind in your comments, because my readers are compassionate. She is post-abortive and deserves our attention and respect for her feelings. She has given us another opportunity and forum in which to discuss it, and for that I am grateful.

Read the whole story at: