Archive for the ‘Rachel’s Vineyard’ Category

Dioceses of Spokane and Yakima Host Rachel’s Vineyard Training in Washington State

Wednesday, December 7th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: December 6, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Dr. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard, the largest ministry devoted to healing after abortion, just returned from Washington State, where she led a training for clergy. Three dioceses were represented – Spokane and Yakima in Washington and a diocese in Nigeria.

A total of 66 people attended the training in Wenatchee, WA, including 24 clergymen, four deacons’ wives and Sister Mary Rosanna Emenusiobi from Nigeria. She works full time in Nigeria’s largest pro-life, pro-family educational group, Family-Light of the Nation Foundation.

This training was the brainchild of Teresa Drollman, who helped organize 40 Days for Life and has been working to start a new Rachel’s Vineyard retreat site in Wenatchee. Chancellor Monsignor Robert Siller and Father Osmar Aguirre helped plan the conference along with the Rachel’s Vineyard team.

Yakima Bishop Joseph Tyson was also instrumental in making the training happen. Bishop Tyson has initiated a program called Prepares, a nurturing response of the Catholic community to provide families the supportive services needed to help ensure healthy childhood development from pregnancy to age five. For more information click here: http://www.preparesforlife.org/.

“Father Peter Steele, ordained in May, told me this training was invaluable, and ten clergy want to be on the new teams in Washington state,” Dr. Burke said. “This was a valuable trip to help a new team that seeks to offer English and Spanish retreats. There is a very large population of immigrant workers in agriculture who live in Wenatchee and Planned Parenthood is very active in advertising abortion to them. It’s our goal to start a vibrant Latino ministry as well as the new English-speaking retreats.”

Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreats for healing after abortion are presently being offered at 375 sites across the United States and in over 70 countries, and the ministry continues to expand its outreach. Some Rachel’s Vineyard retreats are hosted by church-based ministries, counseling outreach programs, diocesan Respect Life offices, and crisis pregnancy centers. It is offered in both Catholic and interdenominational settings. Some 33 Catholic dioceses in the United States officially host Rachel’s Vineyard sites.

“People who come to Rachel’s Vineyard will meet people who care about them and the child or children lost to abortion,” said Father Frank Pavone, Pastoral Director of Rachel’s Vineyard. “The retreats are led by those who know the way of healing, and are ready to welcome all into a journey that leads to mercy and peace.”

The ministry’s hotline number, for those in need of healing, is 877 HOPE 4 ME (877-467-3463).

Rachel’s Vineyard, which enjoys the strong personal support of Pope Francis, is a ministry of Priests for Life. For more information on the ministry, go to www.rachelsvineyard.org.

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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December Shockwaves Focuses on Healing Available to Everyone Impacted by Abortion

Tuesday, December 6th, 2016

SPACERHealing the Shockwaves of Abortion, an initiative to raise awareness of the various groups of people impacted by the loss of a child to abortion, in December calls on all priests, pastors and clergy members to preach about the healing power of the Lord in this season of Advent.

“December, and the Advent season, lead us to cry out, “Come, Lord Jesus!” Aware as we are of the many wounds abortion brings, we are more deeply aware of our need for the Savior who comes with healing in his wings,” said Father Frank Pavone, national director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, which launched Shockwaves nearly two years ago.

Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life and co-founder of Silent No More, noted that for mothers and fathers who have lost a child to abortion, December can bring about a melancholy tied to the awareness that someone is missing from the family celebration of Jesus’s birth.

“I often wonder what my baby’s First Christmas ornaments on the tree would look like, and what she would be doing now,” she said. “It is in these moments when I am most grateful that Jesus came to save a sinner like me.”

Janet Morana, executive director of Priests for Life and co-founder of Silent No More, said that for Catholics, Pope Francis’s recent announcement that all priests throughout the world will continue to be authorized to bring people to full reconciliation after the sin of abortion dovetails nicely with the December Shockwaves theme, Come Lord Jesus!

“The international conversation sparked by the pope’s announcement raises awareness that abortion is a sin that impacts the Church as well as society,” she said. “Forgiveness is available to all who seek it, no matter how they may have been complicit in abortion.

Kevin Burke, co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard and a Shockwaves architect, said “The Advent and Christmas seasons can be a time of abundant grace and new opportunities for spiritual growth, healing and joy, even for those harmed by the loss of a child to abortion. In fact, this loss can lead us to a deeper faith.”

Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion is an international educational and pastoral effort, launched in January 2015 by the Silent No More Awareness Campaign with the aim of raising awareness about and ministering to a wide variety of groups of people who are impacted when a child is killed by abortion. These groups include mothers, father, grandparents, siblings, survivors, friends, pro-life advocates and those who perform or advocate abortion.

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Fr. Pavone grateful for Pope Francis’s statement on abortion forgiveness

Monday, November 21st, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: November 21, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, and also Pastoral Director of the worldwide ministries of Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More, issued the following statement this morning:

“The announcement of Pope Francis that he is extending indefinitely the faculties of priests worldwide to absolve those who repent of the sin of abortion is something we at Priests for Life both expected and gratefully welcome.

“We are privileged to facilitate the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry about which Pope Francis has personally expressed to me his enthusiastic support and gratitude. Likewise, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (a joint project of Priests for Life and Anglicans for Life) is one of our projects which, through the power of testimony, invites people to take hold of God’s mercy after abortion.

“We who oppose abortion do not oppose those who have abortions. Rather, we embrace them with mercy and forgiveness. We have ministered to people who have had as many as 25 abortions, and we see that it impacts the entire family: parents, grandparents, siblings, and beyond.

“We will continue to provide training for clergy and laity alike regarding the wounds abortion brings and how to lead people to healing.

“Those who are looking for opportunities for healing and reconciliation after abortion can go to our special website www.AbortionForgiveness.com.”

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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Silent No More Founders Blast Results of Biased Study on Abortion Certainty

Friday, October 14th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 13, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Georgette Forney and Janet Morana, co-founders of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, today took issue with a study published in the journal Contraception that shows most women are sure of their decisions to have an abortion.

Mrs. Morana, executive director of Priests for Life, pointed out that four of the study’s five authors are affiliated with the pro-abortion University of California, San Francisco, and its Advancing New Standards in Reproductive Health (ANSIRH) center.

“Has ANSIRH ever produced a study that showed abortion in a negative light,” Mrs. Morana asked. “I have never seen one. Also, the study selected 500 predominantly white women over 25, which is not a representative sample of women having abortions in the U.S.

“I know from my work in pro-life since 1989, with Silent No More and Rachel’s Vineyard, that coercion and uncertainty are prevalent among women who have abortions. This study does a disservice to women and to the unborn.”

Georgette Forney, president of Anglicans for Life, also noted the authors’ studies “always affirm their theories,” but said this study is virtually worthless, because even those women who were sure of their decisions report feeling regret afterward.

“When we talk about the pain and remorse that we feel after our abortions, we are told there is no such thing as after-abortion regret, and chances are ANSIRH has a biased study about that, too,” she said. “Those of us who have had abortions know the truth. Even if it seemed like an easy decision to make – because of what we saw as a lack of options – it was the worst decision, and it was irrevocable. This study is invalid and meaningless.”

To read what real women feel about their abortions, go to www.abortiontestimonies.com

The Campaign began November 11, 2002. As of January 2016, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign has held 1,582 Gatherings in 17 countries & 48 states with 5,978 women and men sharing their abortion testimonies. Testimonies have also been shared at 117 high schools and universities in the last 5 years, 14 in 2015. There are 2,405 testimonies posted on the Campaign website, with 395 that are shared via video! Currently there are 17,049 people registered with the Campaign representing 77 countries.

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign is a joint project of Anglicans for Life and Priests for Life. For more information, please visit our website: www.SilentNoMoreAwareness.org

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Rachel’s Vineyard to Host Latino Leadership Conference

Thursday, July 28th, 2016

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 28, 2016

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

Rachel’s Vineyard will host its first Latino Leadership Conference Aug. 1-3 in Cusco, Peru.

Dr. Theresa Burke, founder of Rachel’s Vineyard — a ministry of Priests for Life, and the largest ministry in the world for healing after abortion — will lead the conference with Eugenia Hadley, Rachel’s Vineyard Director of International Training in Spanish, and spiritual advisor Father Victor Salomon, a member of retreat teams in Washington, D.C., and Caracas, Venezuela.

Attendees are expected from nearly every country in South America.

“The Latino Leadership Conference will be a wonderful opportunity for members of our Spanish retreat teams to expand their education as we bring everyone together for three days of learning, fellowship and prayer in South America,” Dr. Burke said. “This is also a great way for those who are looking to learn more about Rachel’s Vineyard and post-abortion healing to network with volunteers and leaders from around the world.”

Since the first Rachel’s Vineyard weekend retreat was held in 1995, the ministry of post-abortion healing has grown from a single retreat site to more than 375 sites in 49 states and more than 70 countries. Retreats are offered in 37 languages, and the retreat manual has been translated into 22 languages. In 2002, Rachel’s Vineyard became part of the Priests for Life family of ministries.

This year, Rachel’s Vineyard’s global expansion continued with its first-ever retreat in South Africa. The Latino Leadership Conference reflects the ministry’s continued growth throughout the Spanish-speaking world.

Pope Francis first became aware of the work of Rachel’s Vineyard when he was the archbishop of Buenos Aires. When he met with Pope Francis in 2013, Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard, was told by the pontiff that “Rachel’s Vineyard is very good; it is an excellent work! Go forward with that!”

To arrange interviews before or after the Latino Leadership Conference, in English or Spanish, call Leslie Palma at 347-286-7277 or email her at media@priestsforlife.org

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Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More Play Key Role in the Year of Mercy

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Phones started ringing at Rachel’s Vineyard headquarters in Pennsylvania as soon as Pope Francis announced that as part of the Year of Mercy, every priest throughout the world would have the faculties to reconcile to the Church those who have had an abortion. Some had buried their guilt for decades.

As the Year of Mercy begins Dec. 8, Rachel’s Vineyard will play an important role in helping women who committed abortions in the past to find forgiveness and healing. So will the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, co-founded by Janet Morana and Georgette Forney. This Campaign enables those who have found healing to give public witness to the mercy of God by sharing their stories.

Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More even have the pope’s seal of approval: In greeting Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard, in Rome, the Holy Father said: “Rachel’s Vineyard is very good. It is an excellent work! Go forward with that!”

And in meeting Janet Morana, the Pope similarly praised the work of Silent No More around the world.

Reporters, editors, talk show hosts and news producers looking for story angles for the Year of Mercy, and Pope Francis’s offer of forgiveness for those who have lost children to abortion, can localize their stories by interviewing a Rachel’s Vineyard or Silent No More team leader in their coverage areas.

To discuss interview possibilities, please contact Leslie Palma, director of communications for Priests for Life, at 347-286-7277 or email her at leslie@priestsforlife.org

As Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio in Buenos Aires, Pope Francis first became acquainted with Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry active in 49 U.S. states and more than 70 countries, including Argentina. It has touched the lives of more than 250,000 people; even prisoners in a maximum-security prison in Florida are benefitting from Rachel’s Vineyard’s unique approach.

“Pope Francis stresses forgiveness and inclusion, and these are both hallmarks of Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More,” said Father Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and pastoral director of Rachel’s Vineyard. “It is very encouraging to know how enthusiastic he is about our work.”

His representative in the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, also expressed strong support of our work when he joined the gathering of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in front of the Supreme Court in January 2015. The papal nuncio addressed the gathering of men, women, and families who had been healed through Rachel’s Vineyard and were now sharing their testimony publicly. He said,

“I am glad to be here in the name of Pope Francis, representing him and the mercy of God to each one of you who are taking part in this March for Life. I want to share with you the joy that God has put into our hearts, because we love Him and we want to share with you the mercy He’s given to each one of us, especially those who ask for mercy. Pope Francis said that we should ask for mercy.”

Rachel’s Vineyard founder Theresa Karminski Burke, Ph. D., discovered how deep the need for healing after abortion is while leading a support group for women with eating disorders as part of her training for degrees in psychology and counseling. An impromptu discussion of abortion led several women to display signs of emotional trauma, but when Dr. Burke brought this up to her professor, she was advised not to talk to women about abortion. So, in 1986, she founded the Center for Post Abortion Healing, one of the first therapeutic support groups for post-abortive women.

Six years later she published Rachel’s Vineyard: A Psychological and Spiritual Journey for Post Abortion Healing, a unique support group model for counselors. In 1995, Dr. Burke expanded the curriculum into a format for weekend retreats. Soon individuals seeking healing began to travel from other states to experience the healing process.

Without a budget, office or advertising, Rachel’s Vineyard became a grass-roots national outreach. By word of mouth only, the retreats began to spread across the country, from 18 retreats in 1999 to 35 a year later. In 2003, Rachel’s Vineyard became a ministry of Priests for Life. Since then, Rachel’s Vineyard has grown to more than 750 retreats annually, with many new sites in development. The retreat manual is available in 22 languages.

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Fr. Pavone Welcomes Church’s “eagerness to reconcile those who have had abortions”

Tuesday, September 1st, 2015

PriestsForLife

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: September 1, 2015

Contact: Leslie Palma
347-286-7277

NEW YORK — Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life and also Pastoral Director of the world’s largest ministry for healing after abortion, Rachel’s Vineyard, and also of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign, the largest mobilization of those who have had abortions, issued the following statement this morning:

“All of us at Priests for Life, Rachel’s Vineyard, and Silent No More welcome the letter our Holy Father issued today, indicating his compassionate concern for those who have had abortions, and making it easier for them to obtain the absolution of a priest. This step does not mean that forgiveness wasn’t available before. However, it simplifies the process outlined in Church law whereby, in certain circumstances, the priest needs to get authorization before giving absolution. In the Jubilee Year, priests will not need to delay that absolution, provided there is repentance.

“We welcome this concrete expression of the Church’s eagerness to reconcile those who have had abortions. We who oppose abortion do not oppose those who have had abortions; rather, we welcome them with mercy and compassion. A very large part of our work at Priests for Life is to extend the urgent invitation to healing. We oversee the work of Rachel’s Vineyard (www.RachelsVineyard.org), a retreat program which constitutes the world’s largest ministry of healing after abortion and which enjoys the personal and enthusiastic support of Pope Francis.

“Moreover, through our Silent No More Awareness Campaign, through which mothers, fathers, and entire families witness to the pain of being involved in abortion and the joy of God’s healing, we echo that invitation to healing through the testimonies of those who have found it. They share these testimonies in churches, at rallies, and in the media (see www.SilentNoMore.com).

“I have spoken with Pope Francis on five occasions specifically about our work of healing those who have had abortions, and healing even abortionists who have killed tens of thousands of children. We at Priests for Life will continue to train and encourage our brother priests to be the heralds of mercy and compassion in the face of abortion. Truth and compassion are not in tension; they are both aspects of the same God. To treat someone with compassion includes sharing with them honestly the truth they need to hear, and to be fully truthful includes revealing the reality of compassion and mercy,” stated Fr. Pavone.

The relevant portion of the Pope’s letter today is as follows:

“One of the serious problems of our time is clearly the changed relationship with respect to life. A widespread and insensitive mentality has led to the loss of the proper personal and social sensitivity to welcome new life. The tragedy of abortion is experienced by some with a superficial awareness, as if not realizing the extreme harm that such an act entails. Many others, on the other hand, although experiencing this moment as a defeat, believe that they have no other option. I think in particular of all the women who have resorted to abortion. I am well aware of the pressure that has led them to this decision. I know that it is an existential and moral ordeal. I have met so many women who bear in their heart the scar of this agonizing and painful decision. What has happened is profoundly unjust; yet only understanding the truth of it can enable one not to lose hope. The forgiveness of God cannot be denied to one who has repented, especially when that person approaches the Sacrament of Confession with a sincere heart in order to obtain reconciliation with the Father. For this reason too, I have decided, notwithstanding anything to the contrary, to concede to all priests for the Jubilee Year the discretion to absolve of the sin of abortion those who have procured it and who, with contrite heart, seek forgiveness for it. May priests fulfill this great task by expressing words of genuine welcome combined with a reflection that explains the gravity of the sin committed, besides indicating a path of authentic conversion by which to obtain the true and generous forgiveness of the Father who renews all with his presence.”

The full letter is at http://press.vatican.va/content/salastampa/en/bollettino/pubblico/2015/09/01/0637/01386.html#ing

Priests for Life is the nation’s largest Catholic pro-life organization dedicated to ending abortion and euthanasia. For more information, visit www.priestsforlife.org.

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This Planned Parenthood Scandal Gives Grave Robbing a New Meaning

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

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StemExpress and Planned Parenthood, both recently featured in Center for Medical Progress videos, are taking grave robbing to a new level according to Richard Esposito, the publisher, of the Placerville Mountain Democrat. He writes that “grave-robbing has become acceptable in the name of science and those engaged in the business can make a good buck.”

So for some, the work of baby body part harvesters is akin to grave robbing, a practice that involves bodies being dug up after burial in order to harvest their body parts for research.

In the case of aborted babies though, most of the bodies don’t even get buried before someone is lining up to claim their body parts. In many cases the dignity of a human person’s life has been so devalued by acts such as abortion that the defenseless preborn babies are not even recognized as humans but as commodities, to be chopped up and sold to the highest bidder.

As a post abortive mother, I still shudder to wonder what happened to my aborted and miscarried babies; little people. When I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for healing after my two abortions, and miscarriage I named and memorialized the babies. This forgiveness and healing process, available to everyone, helps to restore dignity to those lost and harmed by abortions.

Thank God for Priests for Life, and all pro-life warriors who respect human life and work to restore the dignity that has been taken away from millions of aborted babies and their parents. Because Baby, Mother and Daddy suffer in the process.

Many aborted babies never receive names, proper burials or graves. But Priests for Life is working to change this indignity.

At a naming ceremony in June 2013 despite the medical examiner’s refusal to release the babies for proper burial, The baby victims of Dr. Gosnell, the doctor convicted on three counts of first degree murder for ‘snipping’ the spinal cords of babies he delivered alive, were given names, and memorialized.

Fr. Frank has also presided at a number of funerals for aborted babies. Also, on September 12 of each year there is a National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children where memorials are conducted at sites all over America in tribute to the humanity of the aborted children.

All too often society would look away from the truth that babies being aborted by the millions. Yet we must not forget that these babies are human beings created by God; little human persons deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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African American Victim of Rape and Molestation Says Abortion is Another Form of Enslavement for the Black Community

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

This blog below by my colleague, Kevin Burke, LSW, reminds me of the need to refocus the exception clause in the abortion debate.

As the controversy over the “rape and incest” exceptions continues to rage on, we must keep in mind that just as rape and incest are devastating traumatic events in a girl’s/woman’s life, abortion, too, is a devastating traumatic event that only compounds the rape or incest trauma.

In an effort to comfort rape and incest victims, many err by offering abortion as a way to eliminate some of the pain victims experience. Yet, abortion doesn’t heal anyone; it brings pain, suffering and death to babies and many of their mothers. Abortion also doesn’t solve problems. Rather, abortion creates new problems for women, men, families and society.

- Alveda King

150209 blog imageOnawu Pickett is an ordained Christian minister. She feels a special calling by God to reach out to African Americans who are being ravaged by the Shockwaves of Abortion through public speaking and personal ministry.

In the following interview, Onawu tells her own story and shared some very important insights on how to better reach the millions of black families wounded by abortion loss:

Kevin: Onawu can you share with us some of your family background?

Onawu: My mother and father were migrant farm workers. She married my father when she was only 16, still very much a child herself. They met in a work camp in the season of chopping cotton in the central valley of California. Mama only went to school up to the sixth grade which led to a very limited education.

I was molested at age four by a neighbor’s son who is in prison to this day for armed robbery and rape. The boy that molested me was older…not sure how much older. His mother was my baby sitter and his parents were my parent’s good friends. I never shared this with my parents. The lie told by the molester was that I would be in trouble if I did would stick with me for the rest of my life.

My father was very abusive to my mother. He was very good looking and a drifter as well as a con artist. He was also educated and up on world events. His grandmother was a slave.

My grandmother struggled with mental health issues. My grandfather was a very humble man who very seldom lost his temper. He was murdered in 1963 by one of his seven daughter’s husband in a very small farming community of Fairmead, CA.

Kevin: What impact did those early experiences of violence, molestation have on you?

Onawu: As I reflect back on my life it started out in a pretty violent and twisted environment. With the challenges I faced in my family, I struggled with a sense of shame, not really understanding this…but also a fear of being rejected. Always looking for acceptance; yet always wanting to run away.

I use to fantasize about being adopted. I wanted a different family. My father was affectionate to me and my two sisters and brothers…but I couldn’t grasp why my mother did not say she loved us and did not show affection to us. I did not want to be punished so I will do what was asked of me, whether it was right or wrong.

The impact caused me to be a companion to intimidation, depression, a lack of self esteem and being the victim of others that had issues to want to control others. Oh yes, rejection and bitterness kept me in bondage. All I wanted was love and security. Because of my mother’s lack of education and her youth; and my father unwilling to be a Godly man (he was atheist) I felt a deep sense of insecurity.

Kevin: When we spoke earlier by phone, you shared that you were a victim of rape.

Onawu: Yes I was raped in 1972 when I was a senior in high school. I never did report the incident to the police or my parents. I knew the identity of my rapist. He was someone that I used to date. He raped me six months after we broke-up. I did not report the incident because I was afraid no one would believe me. My father wanted me to have an abortion, but I was too far along. He had a social worker come to talk to me about adoption. My mother convinced me to keep the baby and she would help me to raise him while I went to school. I graduated from high school in June of 1973. I am glad I did not abort. My son is a wonderful man who is serving in the army. He has done two tours in Iraq.

Kevin: Your first abortion occurred when you were a college student, correct?

Onawu: My first abortion in 1974, I was 20 years old and shortly after the Roe vs. Wade decision…and yes I was attending junior college at the time. When I learned I was pregnant the young man did not want the responsibility and he was already seeing someone else as well. I was referred to Planned Parenthood by a friend. I got involved again a year later with another man who was in the military was the same scenario, resulting in another abortion. I was caught up in the confusing moral climate of the time, you know, love the one you’re with. Searching for security and love in ALL the wrong places.

Like many others of my generation. It is amazing how easy it was for me to accept the pro abortion Planned Parenthood counseling back then. I was convinced that I was not carrying a human being. I was able to believe that abortion was the answer because I needed a quick fix and a cover up for a repeated act of not being a nice girl.

I met someone and married him after my second abortion. It was a stormy relationship with infidelity on his part. We had two children. He abandoned us and got involved with another woman and we divorced after seven years together.

I met a wonderful man a couple of years later. We have been together 28 years with two children together. I thank God that I had a change of heart and HE erased my shame.

Kevin: It was many years later that you decided that you needed to reach out for help from your abortion pain. What led you to take that step?

Onawu: I need to share with you some symptoms I was experiencing after my 2nd abortion. It was sometime after that I would go over overpasses or bodies of water that I actually felt that I would throw an infant over the railings into the water or over into a canyon. If I was holding a child in my lap I would hold the baby tighter. Sometime I would fight tears.

I had this fear for years up until I went to a PACE bible study program at the local Pregnancy Resource Center. I was in my fifties when the Lord brought it to my attention that constant fear and anxiety was connected to my abortions.

I faced what I had done and repented. God willingly forgave me and helped me to forgive myself. After I went through the process I wanted to share my story and tell others, especially women about God’s forgiveness and love. I gave my testimony at a local prayer group called Aglow International. It was confirmed by God that this is one major thing HE wanted me to do tell others you can be set free of your past with a major emphasis on my fellow Afro Americans.

I began to research and through this research I contacted Priest for Life. I was directed to Rachel’s Vineyard for further healing and education. I contacted the nearest retreat which would be held in Santa Rosa, CA. I was blessed to been able to attend the retreat. I did receive further healing. They were so loving, patient and more than willing to be at your side thru every step.

Kevin: Can you share about your Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Experience?

Onawu: It was an intense three days. The men in attendance were surprisingly open to the sessions as they began to take responsibility for there part in forcing in some instances there partners’ decision to have the abortion. Tears began to flow, stony hearts were turned to flesh. In some instances the men had no say so in the woman’s decision and mourned the loss of his child. Some of the men came without a partner.

It was obviously difficult going thru the process but we all made it thru. . .individuals, couples and some grandparents were there as well. I heard testimonies how thru the retreat lives were being changed, knowing that they were on the road to healing.

Kevin: Onawu, we know that minority women face higher rates of sexual abuse, violence and rape. Do you see these things as making African American women more vulnerable to unplanned pregnancy and also seeing abortion as the best option?

Onawu: Yes. When the slaves were taken from our homeland, many women who were pregnant with child would throw themselves overboard and drown so as not to bring their children into slavery. Some women would drown themselves and their live children. I know that abortion is a form of bondage as well.

I believe that we have been conditioned to believe giving up life will make it all better for mother and child. For the child it would not have to face a cruel world and not wanted by its parents or society. Being a single mother would keep us down, and from pursuing an education and no one would want you or your kid. In other words a child out of wed lock will keep us from the pursuit of happiness…so the lie says. The woman could not carry a baby for nine months and give it up to adoption; this would be an added burden psychologically. Another mind set is why bring a child in the world and suffer the same tragedies as the mother.

Kevin: What are some of the obstacles you see in getting a message of awareness and healing to our African American Christian churches? How can we open doors to healing our families and communities?

Onawu: Some of the obstacles are trying to convey awareness to our church leaders to convince them that some of our women and men are tragic victims of abortion. Some of our leaders don’t understand the mental anguish of the consequences of abortions for mothers and fathers. Lack of knowledge is damaging, the truth shall make us free.

Some of our politicians and Christian ministers and leaders need healing as well…of their own participation in abortion and by encouraging others to abort. I believe lack of education and perhaps the ability to face their own past lead them to put up defensive walls. Maybe our church leaders would consider part of the confession of St. Augustine, “For thou has made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee.” Let us love what God love and hate what God hates.

I believe more of us need to share our testimonies not only in our churches but in government halls. Unfortunately we do a lot of sweeping hurtful issues under the rug and throw accountability out the window. Healing comes with love, compassion and forgiveness at least in my case God’s love swept away my shame.

God also helped me to forgive myself. I would love to see some celebrities hearts be touched to share their testimony I pray someone brave in the entertainment industry would stand up and come along side those who have testified about the hurt of abortion in their life. I am talking about those who our young folk took to.

We must be examples of hope and life for generations to come. My prayer is that we no longer be enslaved to poverty and violence; especially in the womb; not only for African Americans but for human beings as a whole.

Kevin: Please touch on what we discussed about abortion being a trap, exploiting women. Touch on the importance of healing in the black family.

Onawu: We need to regain our dignity. The fact of the matter is we have lost self respect. We have been conditioned to believe that we have no future unless we remain dependent of the county and state. We have patterned ourselves by allowing The Margret Sangers of the world to cheat us of our dignity and the right to life and family.

The Proclamation of Emancipation was signed into affect January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln…but we are still in bondage to think we will never be any better. We must know that the abortion industry was designed to eradicate black people as a race. Without our children we have no future. We are erasing our scientist, doctors, teachers, leaders and so forth. Healing brings on the continuing of love, hope and success in our communities to share with other races as well.

We need very much to return to respecting the wisdom of our elders and embrace them with respect; for they were our guides that kept us on track with prayer and experience. We can have laws changed but without a change of heart the laws will be hard to enforce. Some one must lay their lives down as Dr. King did for human rights, whether they are still in the matrix or born into this world. A quote from the bible says it best: “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9) NKJ bible.

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As Terrible as it May Sound – Understanding the Widespread Indifference to Black Abortion Rates

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

By: Kevin Burke, LSW and Dr. Alveda King

In The Chicago Tribune (April 25, 2011) Dennis Byrne used a billboard controversy in Chicago as an urgent plea to move beyond the polarizing abortion rhetoric and take a closer look at abortion in the African American community.

The billboard features a picture of President Barack Obama and proclaims:

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“Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.” It’s part of a national campaign that states that “Black children are an endangered species.”

It’s hard to argue with the facts.

The Shockwaves of Abortion have especially devastated the African American family. According to the Census Bureau, the rate of abortions in 2006 among black women was 50 per 1,000, compared with 14 for white women and 22 for “other” women. In New York City, 6 out of every 10 unborn African Americans are aborted! Since 1973, 13 million African American pregnancies have been ended by abortion.

What is the public response to the alarming abortion rate, especially in places like NYC? The response is often indifference… and silence.

However, a response to Byrne’s Chicago Tribune article in the comments section is illuminative, because beneath this silence lie unspoken assumptions:

“Let them exercise their right to abortions. As terrible as it may sound, imagine the crime rates and social services that would be required in addition to all we already provide, if abortions didn’t happen in the black community.”

For many Americans, (particularly among non blacks) abortion is seen as an unpleasant but necessary solution to managing the birth rate in communities where the family is already on life support and city and state budgets for social services are pushed to the breaking point.

Missing the Post-Abortion Connection

The tragic mistake here is the failure to see the high price that minority communities pay for their high abortion rate. There is a dynamic and toxic synergy at work in the after-effects of the abortion procedure interacting with and intensifying the ongoing social problems that plague these communities. How does the experience of abortion make black women, their living children and relationships more vulnerable to ongoing dysfunction, exploitation, poverty and abuse?

In Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, Dr Theresa Burke reveals that for many women, while abortion may initially appear to solve the problem of an unplanned pregnancy, the unfolding consequences of the procedure can be devastating. This is especially true for women who have a previous history of sexual, emotional/physical abuse. Dr Burke found that in her work with thousands of post abortive women, this population with previous abuse/trauma had a higher rate of depression, anxiety, relationship instability, and parenting problems after their abortion.

If we look at the rate of sexual abuse among Africa Americans, we find a group of women that is especially vulnerable to post abortion complications:

* 1 in 4 women, 3.3 million African American women have been sexually abused.
(No Secrets No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse, Robin D. Stone)

How does previous abuse intensify post abortion symptoms and complicate post abortion recovery?

Dr Burke shares in Forbidden Grief that the invasive and painful experience of the abortion procedure serves to re enact the physical and emotional violation of previous sexual abuse. After the abortion the women experiences a powerful resurgence of the repressed shame, anxiety, and grief of that previous exploitation. The common coping mechanism for this unleashed traumatic emotion…addictive substances, impulsive acting out in relationships, episodes of rage and grief.

We think that abortion will protect an African American woman from the challenges of single parenthood, or the burden of additional mouths to feed. But this is a suicidal trap for the black community.

Abortion creates emotional, spiritual and physical wounds and vulnerabilities that only exacerbate pre existing abuse and other trauma and makes women more vulnerable to ongoing exploitation, dysfunction and abuse and in their relationships.

We know that this instability and dysfunction in relationships leads to breakdown in family life, leaving children vulnerable to predatory relatives, partners and friends. The cycle continues…more abuse, more trauma, more abortions, more death.

Multiple Abortions

When a woman has her first abortion, and is unable to find emotional and spiritual healing of that loss, she is more likely to find herself on the abortionist table again. The most recent statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute reveal that 47% of abortions are repeat procedures. Many see this as callous irresponsibility on the part of minority women (though repeat abortion statistics are consistent among other nationalities.)

But there is a tragic psychological drama unfolding in the lives of these post abortive women. Dr Burke explored the dynamics of repeat abortions in her international clinical experience. She discovered that abortion in these cases becomes part of an unconscious process to gain mastery over the experience and feelings associated with the initial abortion trauma…to feel a sense of control, and over time, detached indifference.

But this traumatic mastery comes at a high price as emotional and relational dysfunction flourish in these women’s lives. (This reveals the importance of emotional and spiritual healing of this loss, for women and men in programs like Rachel’s Vineyard. Obviously we want to prevent abortions if at all possible. However, if there is an abortion, healing resources are essential after that initial procedure to prevent multiple abortions and deepening dysfunction.)

The Cycle of Death

This cycle of death and destruction in the African American community will never end as long as abortion is seen as an acceptable way to respond to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. It is indeed challenging to face the scope and complexity of the problems facing our poor minority communities. It is tempting to see abortion as a cost effective and even compassionate short term solution to these problems:

“As terrible as it may sound, imagine the crime rates and social services that would be required in addition to all we already provide, if abortions didn’t happen in the black community.”

As terrible as it may sound?…it’s even worse than it sounds.

Abortion, far from being a cost effective solution is in effect accelerating the devastating implosion of poor minority communities.

Dr Alveda King, Niece of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and other influential African American leaders, are pointing to the film Maafa21 produced by Life Dynamics as proving factual evidence that this implosion in poor black communities is rooted in a well planned and orchestrated strategy of genocide by the eugenics movement. Blacks, the poor and other minorities are at the top of the list for elimination, or at the very least reduction of their populations by abortion. If you think this is crazy conspiracy thinking, please take the time to view this powerful film and remember that 6 out of 10 unborn black children die by abortion in New York City alone.

Justice for All

In her book KING RULES, Dr. Alveda King shares her own testimony not only of abortion, but of healing and God’s forgiveness. She also often quotes her uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when she addresses the issue of abortion:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Targeting vulnerable minority communities with birth control and abortion services has decimated the black community. But genocide in any form is an injustice to our society as a whole and threatens the fundamental and inalienable rights and liberties endowed to all of us by our Creator.

A just and compassionate society must find solutions that value the lives of African American unborn children and the health and welfare of their parents and communities. Abortion is not the answer.

Dr. Alveda King is the daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, and serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Kevin Burke, LSW is the co founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, also serves as a Pastoral Associate with Priests for Life and is the author of Redeeming A Father’s Heart.

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