Archive for September, 2013

Priests For Life Newsletter Article on Fatherhood Forever

Monday, September 30th, 2013


Check out the latest Priests For Life Newsletter with a feature on the Fatherhood Forever Section of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC) website for men who have suffered abortion loss.  Read the inspirational story of the man who lost a child to abortion, nearly lost his life, and later developed the Fatherhood Forever site .

[In the picture above PFL Executive Director, Janet Morana, was chosen to greet the Pope after the Mass on the Day of Life (June 16). She updated him about the work of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and Rachel’s Vineyard.  Pope Francis spoke to her about his awareness of and appreciation for this work, including in Argentina.]




Comedian Louis CK: The Eternal Rewards of Unplugging from Technology and Facing the Existential Void

Monday, September 23rd, 2013


Emmy winning Comedian Louis CK had a great bit on Conan recently where he talked about kids glued to their smart phones and how we use technology/entertainment to run away from the darker things we struggle to face (like grief.)

Louis CK shared a personal experience about taking a break from technology and taking the risk to enter his personal “existential void.”

Check it out (language can be a bit spicy at times.)

As Louis Ck points out, it’s so easy to remain obsessively connected, numb and distracted from the scary deep-dark-waters that lie beneath the surface of our hyper busy lives, continually attached to our devices.

To be fair, this is an inevitable part of trying to manage personal and professional responsibilities in a 24/7 society.  But this continual connection to ever present technology does have the capacity to change our sense of reality and our relationship to others, and a connection to our deeper selves. There can be a high price to pay for all that distraction, especially when there is some important stuff to sort out and grieve and deeper longings that we are being called to cultivate.

These longings, if we can give them some attention, alert us that unwittingly, even innocently, we have made idols out of our devices and busyness.   In addition is it possible that the related immersion in entertainment, media, pornography and drugs have become addictions that keep us distracted and numb, safely walled off from the painful and scary void Louis Ck spoke of in his Conan presentation?

That great emptiness Louis CK spoke of is actually the existential void that can lead us to either despair or contemplation of the deeper meaning of our lives.   When we allow ourselves to be still, to put away the smart phone for a few hours…are we afraid of the silence?

I believe there is a great longing in people, perhaps unconscious and unspoken, but a longing to quiet all the hyper-activity and at least for a time let go of the gadget obsession.  I think people hunger to give a voice to the deeper longing of the soul for reconciliation of past losses, to stop running from the pain and allow a healthy expression of the feelings and memories.

One very important caveat that Louis CK did not mention:

If you are going inward, and you encounter some complicated and painful areas of loss, such as abortion or abuse, please don’t try to go it alone.  Once you recognize the truth that something like abortion has left a deep wound on your heart and soul, (and this is a great grace!) make sure you fight the temptation to recover from this loss by yourself, and reach out for the help you need.  This is especially true for you men out there who may struggle to reach out for help.

As Louis CK points out, our bodies and souls will reward us if we can safely do that grief work because along with the necessary pain and copious tears will come good chemicals, feelings, new insight and understanding.

Best of all, when we safely open up deep parts of our hearts and souls that have been long ignored, numb and lifeless…this freshly tilled soil provides an excellent place for God to sow new seeds of faith, hope and love.

We can come to know in a deeper and intimate way the God who created us and embrace him as our Heavenly Father.

BTW: It was great in that segment with Louis CK and Conan seeing Conan trying to imitate Bruce Springsteen’s primordial wailing at the end of Jungleland.  Here’s a powerful beautiful live rendition of Jungleland from Bruce.

The dual wailing of both Clarence Clemons on saxophone and Springsteen’s howling at the close of Jungleland, reveals the depths of human longing and the desperate cry of a suffering soul.  I have to agree with Louis CK that this song is deeply moving.






Chemical Weapons Attack U.S. Family! What Happens to Couples When Their Home Becomes an Abortion Clinic?

Wednesday, September 18th, 2013


Lifesitenews ran a deeply disturbing article from a self described pro choice woman who experienced an RU 486 abortion.  She was shocked by her treatment by Planned Parenthood and the excruciating pain of the procedure.

What I found most disturbing about this piece is the fact that with RU 486, the home is now the place where the abortion occurs.  Even more insidious, when you read this couples experience note where the climax of this horrific tragedy takes place:

Her husband got her out of the tub, and into the bed…

It was then, with her husband lying next to her, that Kay says, “I went through the worst experience of my life.”

“After two hours of this,” Kay says, “I felt a rush of blood and a large lemon-sized clot came out. I assume that was the pregnancy. I was horrified. Why hadn’t anyone told me that it would be like this?”

Her husband cleaned the blood off her, cleaned up the towels, changed the sheets, dressed her because she was too weak from the pain.

The same bed where this tiny “lemon sized” unborn baby was likely conceived (with great pleasure and joy as the mutual gift of their marital union), is the place where the child is painfully and forcefully expelled from its mother’s womb.   Copious amounts of blood cover her and stain the sheets of their marital bed.

The father of the child lies next to his wife during this nightmare.  He carefully attends to her and removes the bloody sheets…and we can assume disposes of their very small baby after the deed is done.  The sheets serve as a type of burial shroud for his tiny son or daughter.

What must he have been thinking and feeling as his wife went through this traumatic labor?  Might he have felt a sense of shame and guilt that their “choice” led to so much physical and emotional anguish for his wife?  Did he feel helpless and powerless as he witnessed what Planned Parenthood said would be a simple process morph into an unforgettable and traumatic nightmare?

It doesn’t really matter what this couples political and moral opinions are about abortion.  There are things more powerful than ideology and politics.  The intellect can rationalize about lost pregnancies and women’s rights.  But the painful truth of the heart and soul will not be denied.

Based on my professional experience, let me offer just one likely scenario for this couple post RU 486:

They have both clearly experienced a traumatic event.  The bedroom and bathroom will continue to be triggers of their painful memories and emotions from that experience.  Ongoing physical complications are possible as the article revealed.  Nightmares, insomnia, anxiety and depression are likely.  Sexual relations will be challenging if not impossible.  Even after the physical challenges end, they will need to dissociate from their feelings and go through the motions of sexual intimacy.

But there will be powerful flash-backs and feelings being triggered in what should be a place of safety, peace, intimacy and joy…their home.   Regardless of ideology, the marital bed will remain a place of death, and an unspoken sense of loss will permeate the bedroom and relationship.  The image and memory of that tiny “pregnancy” will rest there between them as they struggle to sleep.   Each bath or shower will trigger flashbacks of her excruciatingly painful self-inflicted labor of death.

The unresolved feelings and memories will lead them to drink more, work more…whatever it takes to get away from the pain.  The distance will grow between them.

Over time this couple will be unable to meet one another’s needs for emotional and physical intimacy.  They will begin to look outside the marriage for support from someone who is not connected to the trauma.  Marital infidelity will begin a process of marital dissolution.

See, RU 486 is a very powerful chemical.  It didn’t just end the life of their unborn child.  The drug traumatized this couple, made their home a place of death, and in time will kill their marriage.

They may never be able to associate any of this to their chemical abortion…pro choice ideology forbids such honesty.  But the physical, emotional and relational symptoms will be screaming out for them to acknowledge this loss, to face the truth of their actions…to repent and heal.

The insidious nature of chemical abortion reveals that all the participants in this tragedy are victims.  The baby is foremost an innocent victim of his parent’s actions.  The mother and father are victims of our nation’s legally sanctioned “choice” and the consequences of their home becoming an abortion clinic.

Isn’t it tragically ironic that President Obama recently spent so much political capital, time and effort to threaten Syria for their alleged use of chemical weapons on innocent men, women and children?

Yet here in the United States, our President thinks it’s perfectly acceptable to legalize chemical warfare attacks on our families.  These deadly chemicals traumatize parents, desecrate the marital bed and family home, and kill innocent little children.

Isn’t it ironic…or it is criminal?

Isn’t it time to Recall Abortion?




A Father Attacks Mother of His Aborted Child: “Do You Realize How Badly You Hurt Me?”

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Road Rage

Those familiar with my writing and speaking know that I often focus on men and abortion loss with a special emphasis on those fathers who are powerless to stop their partner/wife/girlfriend from aborting their unborn child.  This unleashes powerful emotions in men…and without healing this can lead to some really bad outcomes.

Check out the following excerpts from this woman’s abortion story:

Every day for two weeks prior to the abortion, Jace would plead with me.

“We can get married and I will get another job; we can be a family and make this work” he would say to me over and over again.

I was angry and I wanted someone to blame. I refused to speak with him about it, and he eventually gave up. My mind was made up and there was nothing he could do or say to change that.

January 2014 will mark 5 years since my abortion. I recently came into contact with the Father of my aborted child, whom I had not seen or barely spoken to in years.

I agreed to see him…and he attacked me.

            He pinned me to the seat of his truck and told me that he had to get even with me for the abortion. I cried and screamed and fought him. He said that hurting me was the only way we could make things ‘right’ between us.

“Do you realize how badly you hurt me?” he kept yelling. When I begged him to stop, he said “you know what is funny about that Annie, I begged YOU to stop, I begged YOU not to have an abortion, but you did it anyway, you let someone rip our child from your body”.

 After a half hour struggle, I was finally able to escape from him and run for help. The police were called and he is now facing assault charges.

This father will have to face the legal consequences for his actions and there is never an excuse for violence against women.   But his powerful feelings and actions powerfully proclaim that men like Jace desperately need to know about healing programs for recovery from abortion loss…especially traumatic abortion loss.

  The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines a traumatic event as    follows:

1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. 2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

Jace was clearly traumatized by his partner’s abortion and wrongly took out his helplessness, powerlessness and rage on the mother of the child.

I recently shared in my blog about a prison inmate who linked his life of crime and other immorality to his participation in 2 abortions.  Police, prison administrators and chaplains, mental health professional and all of us need to understand that whatever their role in an abortion, men are profoundly affected and need to hear about resources for recovery after abortion. 

Fortunately for this mother, her story did not end in death and despair.  She writes:

In March 2011, 2 years after my abortion, I had reached another breaking point. One day I just had a complete melt down. That’s when I decided to seek spiritual help. I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.   My family did not agree with my decision to attend this retreat, but I knew that I had to do it if I wanted to heal. I thank God every day for the women at Rachel’s Vineyard. That weekend truly changed my life. I was able to make peace with God about my abortion, and I didn’t have to do it alone.

Let’s pray the father of her child also learns about healing resources and reaches out for the help he desperately needs.  Jace needs the support of others who understand his loss, and a healing process where he can safely express his painful emotions and encounter the power of God.  Jace will find that the end of his story is not Calvary, but an empty tomb, and a spiritual relationship with his precious child.

This is the only path away from violence, despair and death…to peace, recovery and new life.  Let’s pray for all fathers of children lost to abortion, that they discover this path of healing.

-        And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!”  

(Revelation 21)

To Learn more about  Men and Abortion Loss:



Life After Aerosmith’s StevenTyler: Julia Holcomb Shares Her Abortion Story With High School Students

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

La Crosse Tribune

Steven TylerÕs ex-fiancŽe, Julia Holcomb, gave a moving testimony relating her abortion experience with the American Idol judge and rock star.  Holcomb spoke on the steps of the United States Supreme Court building as part of the Silent No More Awareness

Julia Holcomb spoke at Luther High School in Onalaska, Wisconsin, Tuesday as part of the school’s annual Life Week.  She told students about her life with
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, her abortion, and abortion’s aftermath.

Read Article

You can read Julia’s amazing story in this Lifesite News article The Light of the World: The Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb Story .

I love this picture of Julia below because it reveals that while her story is important to share for what it reveals about the culture of death…her life speaks much more eloquently about the mercy and power of Christ.  Jesus saved Julia’s life  leading her to embrace the vocations of wife, mother and to nurture her gift as a very talented artist  painting powerful and moving religious icons.



A Father Discovers Freedom From His Abortion Pain… In A Prison Chapel

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

The following is an article written by “TJ” an inmate at a Florida Correctional Institution.   The institution is a level 6 maximum security prison… a high percentage of the inmates will call this home for the rest of their lives. 

TJ shares how abortion impacted his life and of his participation in a Rachel’s Vineyard (RV) after abortion program specially adapted for use in prison by the local RV site leader Donna Gardner and Tom Lawlor, Director of Prison Ministry for the Diocese of Palm BeachTJ is half way through his facilitator training and will be part of the Rachel’s Vineyard Team in the prison. 

Over 50 men have participated in this prison outreach bringing reconciliation and peace to those in darkness and a number of Rachel’s Vineyard leaders have emerged from the prison population.  Here’s TJ’s story:   –Kevin Burke, LSW

 Healing a Father’s Heart


 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  (Luke, 4:18)

Rachel’s Vineyard is a ten-week seminar offered here at the Correctional Institution on Wednesday mornings in the Chapel.  The service it provides for those who attend is immeasurable.  However, few really know what it is about.  In order to understand what this program offers, one must first become aware of the scourge of abortion.

I’m writing this article…to share with you a real-life experience that kept me in the deepest and darkest misery for twenty-seven years.  My hope is, if you were involved in a similar situation, that you may find help.

Twenty-seven years ago, as a teenager, I was involved in two abortions because I lived as an irresponsible, arrogant, prideful, selfish, self-centered human being.  Those abortions lead me down a road of drugs, alcohol, irresponsible sex, crime and so many other destructive things.

How could abortion lead to all that? Because it produces guilt, whether the person realizes it or not, which turns to bad decisions, self-hatred, anger towards others, violence and all kinds of other messed up emotions.  While these are taking place the person is in denial, refusing to recognize there is a problem.  Or, if he or she does admit to a problem, they don’t know that it is rooted in an abortion that may have taken place years ago.  At the time of my abortion experiences I knew none of this.

I was told that an abortion is simply getting rid of a glob of cells or tissue, that it was not killing a baby.

Let’s look at some facts.  Day one: the sperm fertilizes the egg in the fallopian tube; forty-six chromosomes combine which predetermines all of the person’s characteristics.  By day eighteen there is a heartbeat.  At eight weeks all the body systems are present.  The baby is rapidly growing.  The genital organs are clearly differentiated in sixteen weeks and the baby grasps with hands, kicks, and turns.  This is not a blob of tissue, but clearly a little human being.

Abortion has been a divisive topic long before the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made it legal.  Two of the biggest arguing points are a mother’s “right to choose” and the baby’s “right to life.”  Rarely does the father even get a say in the argument even though twenty-three of those chromosomes are his and the rest of his life is affected by the decision.

Every day 4,300 babies are killed by abortion.  It is said that one in every three adults has been involved in an abortion.  If you’re one of them, and if you’re like I was, maybe you hate yourself or your spouse or girlfriend or even your parents.  Perhaps you’re mad at the doctor or God or experiencing every messed up emotion that could entangle a person’s life.  I was.

Humans are not designed to carry burdens alone, and we don’t have to.  There is hope, and there is help to heal from the brutality of abortion.  That’s what Rachel’s Vineyard does.  It is led by Donna Gardner and Tom Lawlor, two of the most awesome people I’ve ever met.  They have love and a great passion for what they do and for the men and women inside and outside who have experienced the devastating tragedy of abortion.  They can help mend the affects of years of wrong choices and destructive behavior.

Even if you don’t fully understand some of what I’ve said and how an abortion years ago could be responsible for so much destructive behavior – come and check it out and learn.  Take a step forward and give yourself a new beginning.  Sign up now by sending a request to the chapel.  It will be a life changing experience for the good.


Donna Gardner M.S. is the Coordinator of the Healing Ministries Rachel’s Vineyard/Lifeforce  for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach 100 West 20th Street Riviera Beach, Florida 33404






Jason Baier – Pioneer In Outreach to Men After Abortion

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Fatherhood Forever

Jason Baier is featured in one of the chapters of my book on men and abortion entitled Redeeming a Father’s Heart. Jason’s story is a harrowing account of his experience of learning the exciting news that his longtime partner was pregnant… Read more…