Archive for January, 2017

The Catholic Deformation: New York Governor Cuomo Requires Insurance Companies Provide Free Contraception and Abortion Coverage

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

 

Andrew Cuomo New York

Catholic Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Saturday January 21st 2017 that he was requiring health insurance companies to cover medically necessary abortions and most forms of contraception at no cost to women.

It appears the governor is anticipating the repeal of Obama-Care:

“These regulatory actions will help ensure that whatever happens at the federal level, women in our state will have cost-free access to reproductive health care and we hope these actions serve as a model for equality across the nation…”

Cuomo – Steeped in New York’s Catholic Culture

From the NY Times on Cuomo’s Catholic faith:

“He goes to Mass… He considers himself a practicing Roman Catholic…he supports same-sex marriage and abortion rights…Cuomo was raised in a Queens household where priests and the occasional bishop were guests at dinner. Education meant the neighborhood parochial school, then Archbishop Molloy High School followed by Fordham University.”

Cuomo was steeped in the Catholic culture of New York.  How did his educational formation at Catholic High School and College shape the governors moral and religious perspective and prepare him for a life of public service?

On one hand we see the Governor’s commitment to Catholic social teaching in working to advance the cause of justice reform for minorities.  Reflecting this month on the recent Martin Luther King Day Celebrations Governor Cuomo shared the following:

“This weekend, we celebrate the life of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Above all else, King’s crusade was about justice — racial, economic and social justice.”

Yet while he speaks of justice for the poor, the Governor departs from the clear teaching of the Church about the sanctity of life, and supports “abortion rights.”

I wonder what the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr would think of the abortion statistics for African American’s women in the New York City:

“According to a report [by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene’s Bureau of Vital Statistics] in 2013 black women accounted for 29,007 terminated pregnancies, representing almost 42 percent of all abortions in the city…With abortions surpassing live births by nearly 5,000, African American women in the city clearly terminated pregnancies more often than they carried babies to term.” (From Politifact)

In Catholic Governor Cuomo’s New York City, more African American children die in the wombs of their mothers, than are born.

How Did We Get Here?

There is no doubt that Governor Cuomo received an excellent education that prepared him for a life of public service. Yet there are clearly serious gaps in his moral and spiritual formation that have led him to view his support of abortion rights and same sex marriage as somehow consistent with being a faithful Catholic.

We have to ask honestly, how can a man formed in the Catholic culture of New York, be blind to the horror of the genocide against black children in the womb?

Governor Cuomo would likey respond that the answer to the high abortion rates among minorities – is more contraception. Many of his fellow Catholics would agree.

Yet, contraception is already widely available in New York City, and still the high abortion rates.

Something that Governor Cuomo did not learn in his Catholic formation (or perhaps learned but rejected) is the truth that promoting more sexual promiscuity, contraceptive use and abortion in poor communities will continue to feed the dynamics of dysfunction; fatherless households, drug and alcohol abuse, domestic violence and the problems facing schools.

Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion

In the month of January, the Shockwaves of Abortion Initiative focuses on the need for the church to promote awareness and healing in our churches.  The initiative provides information and healing resources for clergy/ministers, aids for preaching and how abortion not only hurts the unborn child, but all impacted by the child’s death; parents, grandparents, siblings, other family members and friends who may have served as accomplices in the abortion, and abortion providers.

Shockwaves also considers those like Andrew Cuomo, who by advancing abortion rights in their fields of medicine, business, politics and church ministry, are complicit in the death of unborn children.  They too are in need of God’s forgiveness and healing.

We have to ask the Questions

Have we failed as a Church to educate and form our people on the absolute primacy of the abortion issue in her social justice and moral teaching?

Has the scarcity of forceful and persuasive preaching and education in our parishes and some of our institutions of higher learning on abortion loss and the impact of abortion on individuals, families and society – contributed to the rise of Catholic politicians who are complicit in the death of millions of unborn children?

Have we heard enough over the years from our pastors about the necessity of reconciliation and the good news of healing after abortion?

Preaching the Truth with Love

Fr. Pat Scanlan P.P. has been serving in Parish ministry since his ordination in 1977 for the Diocese of Cloyne, Ireland and has been a member of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat team (for healing after abortion) in Cork since 2003.

Fr Pat shares an important message to those Catholic clergy and ministers of other faith communities who are reluctant to speak directly on the issue of abortion to their congregations:

   “Prior to my involvement in Rachel’s Vineyard I often felt a bit scared at the prospect of preaching about abortion. I was conscious that in any congregation there may be one or more who had experienced the procedure, and I was never sure how to effectively proclaim the truth while at the same time witnessing to compassion.”

Fr Pat shares that God’s people need to hear the truth about abortion, and also the good news of healing for those who have participated in any way in the death of unborn children:

   “The truth without compassion is a lethal weapon particularly for wounded souls. Compassion without the truth is a cruel deception. I know from my experience of Rachel’s Vineyard that the Gospel is truly Good News…how the Good Shepherd is waiting to embrace, heal and forgive them. I share in a gentle compassionate way that abortion wounds the lives of not only the unborn child, but of mothers and fathers, grandparents and all involved in the child’s death. I know that if there are women and men present who have had abortion they will identify, and realize that the church wants to help them.”

We each must look at our respective vocations in the Church, and humbly see where we have failed, where we must repent, and with God’s grace, to renew our efforts to end abortion and heal all those hurt by abortion loss.

We hope and pray that more Bishops and clergy, and pastors of all denominations will have the courage along with our Catholic institutions to boldly educate, and properly form our future politicians and national leaders, directly addressing the horror of the death of unborn children in the womb.  But also, to help them understand how abortion deeply wounds individuals, relationships and families, and the good news of reconciliation and healing in Christ.

[Please visit the Shockwaves website to learn more about abortion loss and resources for healing, preaching and awareness.]

 

 

Through a Mirror Dimly: Pro-Choice Men and Abortion Grief

Wednesday, January 18th, 2017

 

Hugo's Dream

For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. (Corinthians 13:12)

The Huffington Post has a story by Hugo Schwyzer on a Father’s experience of abortion loss.

The title of this piece – The Child Who Wasn’t: Pro-Choice Men and Abortion Grief – is the first indication of the challenges the author faces in trying to understand his abortion loss within the context of pro-abortion ideology.

Despite this deference to “choice” one would expect to find in a HuffPo piece, from the very beginning, we learn that Hugo desperately wanted to parent the baby.

He shares this exchange with his then 16 year old girlfriend, April:

“No one will believe we can do it,” I told April, “but I know we can… It would be hard but we’d make it work. People our age had been having babies for millennia.”

Hugo was a sensitive, caring and decent young man who was ready to accept the responsibility as parent. While still young and immature like most teenagers, he was already acting like a father and exploring practical ways to take care of their baby.

Sadly, as the story reveals, he learned from his abortion experience that he now must pay homage to the sacred tenets of “choice.” Whatever the women decides is the wise decision…is the “only decision”:

“One of the small and repeated unkindnesses of my life has been forcing the women I love to be practical in the face of my optimistic fantasies. April was a wise 16 (she is a wise 48 now, a tenured professor of psychology), and though she let herself daydream for a moment, she knew before I did that there was only one possible decision. “

Hugo learns that he must ridicule and dismiss his natural instinct to protect, provide and parent  this child.  Hugo now sees his “optimistic fantasies” to father their child as just the ramblings of a naïve school boy – rather than the desperate pleas of a father for his child’s life.

Reinforcing Complicated Grief

Abortion is not a normal experience of grief – it is a complicated grief. It is often a closely guarded secret

With a natural experience of death you are at least given the opportunity to acknowledge that there has been a loss, express your painful feelings, and find support moving through that experience.  There are religious rituals, social supports, expressions of concern and compassion that all help in the grieving process.

Any attempt to acknowledge the unique humanity of the unborn child, and any feelings of regret and loss after abortion, are often met with dismissal and hostility by those who are pro-abortion.

Society, and often friends and family can collude to further complicate post abortion grief by dismissing and even shaming those that share any painful feelings or regret after abortion.

This is necessary as this truth threatens the constructs of individual denial, and strikes at the foundational lies of the abortion movement.

Hugo shares of the response of a friend and April the mother of their baby on what would have been the due date of their child:

“I was not prepared for February 7, 1986. The week that our baby would have been due, I felt a hot, grinding heaviness in my chest. I saw children on the street and I cried.  I told a friend, and she looked at me strangely. “There never was a baby to cry for,” she said, “you’re romanticizing a clump of cells.”

I called April to talk about it, and she got angry: “I’m not upset, and I was the one who was pregnant! It’s ridiculous for you to be sad.”

Note how the friend coldly dismisses his grief.  The mother of the child, April is not ready to deal with the reality of her loss as a mother. Hugo’s grief is threatening the weak and tottering scaffolding of her denial, and feeling threatened, she also ridicules and shames Hugo for openly expressing his grief.

Relationship Fallout

As is often the case, the toxic effects of the abortion seep deep into the relationship, like radio-active fallout. An abortion is an intimate experience of death and loss at the heart of a couple’s emotional, physical and spiritual union. Couples often stay together as they try to recapture they love, joy and pleasure that brought them together and in their union conceived a child.

Sadly, the symptoms of their complicated grief and inability to acknowledge and grieve this most intimate loss together (while it may initially keep them together as an unconscious memorial of the aborted child) naturally leads to relationship dysfunction:

“The abortion knocked precisely no sense into either of us. April and I stayed together another year ― a year marked by chronic cheating, fights, and slow disillusionment. She had a second abortion, not mine.”

Angry exchanges, infidelity and as Hugo puts it, “slow disillusionment” soon follow. April, predictably acts out her repressed and forbidden post abortion pain and grief in a sexual affair, and suffers another abortion loss.

The relationship, like their unborn child, is over time also aborted.

On The Precipice of Recovery

It is in the final segment of Hugo’s story, that we see him come up to the precipice of abortion recovery.

Once again, he must bow down to pro abortion ideology:

“I can long for the child that was conceived but never born and still be so grateful that April made the decision that she did. The right thing, the best thing, often leaves a mark that fades but never vanishes.”

Yet, in the very next line he shares:

“For more than 30 years, I’ve dreamt about this child who might have come in early 1986.”

We see Hugo wrestle in his story with the truth of his daughter’s loss and his pro abortion ideology.  Sadly, he has learned from the time of his first abortion, when his grief was rejected, to downplay and dismiss the deeper meaning of his losses:

“This is selective sentiment― I never dream about the children who might have been born from other, later abortions for which I was responsible. Sometimes I dream it would have been a son, sometimes a daughter.”

It is not selective sentiment.

His subsequent abortions reveal another dynamic of post-abortion complications that pro-abortion supporters fail to understand – the relationship between complicated grief and repeat abortion procedures.   (Remember that April also had at least one repeat abortion we know of during the one year dating period after her first procedure with Hugo.)

When a woman or man has that first abortion, and is unable to find a deeper emotional and spiritual healing of that loss, they are more likely to find themselves involved in future abortion procedures.

The most recent statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute reveal that 47% of abortions are repeat procedures.

Dr Theresa Burke explored the dynamics of repeat abortions in her book Forbidden Grief. Theresa shares 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.

Yet the symptoms of complicated grief and emotional trauma after abortion feed dysfunctional behaviors and relationships that make repeat abortions more likely. Like April’s mother, these losses, if not properly grieved and reconciled, may lead to multiple experiences of abortion over time.

Hugo’s Dream…Through a Mirror Dimly

Despite his public pro abortion stance, Hugo Schwyzer’s closing segment reveals that on a deeper level, beyond the rationalizations of the intellect, his heart and soul are calling him to a deeper reconciliation and healing of his abortion losses:

“A few years ago, I had a dream that I was hiking in the hills near my family’s ranch in the Bay Area. I was alone; it was a warm spring day, golden poppies and lupine carpeted the hillsides. I came to a summit, and my late father and a young woman in her late 20s were sitting on two rocks, talking quietly. They looked up as I approached, and I knew at once that the young woman was she who was never born.  They smiled as I got closer, but their smiles suggested I was interrupting. I wanted to sit and listen, but my father shook his head.

“Huggle,” he said, calling me by my childhood nickname. “You need to go back. We’ll come along in a bit.”

Without the benefit of an abortion recovery program, Hugo will not be able to fully understand and receive the truth of this very important dream. Sadly, he remains constrained by his pro-abortion ideology.

Drawing upon my experience in Rachel’s Vineyard with women and men around the world who have made the emotional and spiritual journey to healing, I believe there is a deeper meaning to Hugo’s dream:

– His father’s comments were an admonition and also a warning.

“You need to go back.” There is spiritual and emotional healing work still left for you to do. Reconcile with God, reconcile with my granddaughter and the other children that you aborted.

– Hugo senses in his dream an exclusive spiritual intimacy of his father and his aborted daughter (each seated on a rock) – that he intrudes upon and does not yet enjoy.  He does not yet possess this intimacy which is a fruit of a deeper reconciliation with God and healing of his abortion losses.

– The dream may also serve as an intimate and loving warning:

We will come along soon “Huggles”…prepare…get ready.

– The father’s use of Hugo’s childhood nickname Huggles may reflect his hidden desire to return to a state of spiritual simplicity and innocence. Hugo hungers to have this loss healed, his soul cleansed of the toxic effects of participating in abortions, and longs to return to a child-like peace with his heavenly Father.

The Meadow of Rachel’s Vineyard

Rachel’s Vineyard is a comprehensive emotional and spiritual healing program for abortion loss developed by Theresa Burke, Ph.D.   Women, men, grandparents, and anyone who desires healing and reconciliation from an abortion loss are welcome.  It is a time for sharing the truth of one’s heart and soul in a safe and non-judgmental setting.

Despite the concerns and misunderstanding Hugo expressed in the article about programs for abortion loss, there is no political or social commentary or agenda as part of any reputable recovery program.  If Hugo ever attends a weekend program, he will find compassionate, caring individuals, many who have experienced abortion loss and understand his fears, concerns and suffering.

The weekend activities and exercises of Rachel’s Vineyard facilitate a healthy expression of grief and other painful emotions, reconciliation with the Creator of life, and developing a spiritual relationship with one’s aborted children.

While people of other faiths and beliefs are welcome, the retreat is in a Christian context. This spiritual component is essential to reconcile and heal this complicated loss. The weekend features bible based meditations and therapeutic exercises that help participants move through painful feelings and years of denial, isolation and secrecy.   Each step in the program prepares them for an intimate and healing encounter with their aborted children.

An Open Invitation

Hugo: “I had a dream that I was hiking in the hills near my family’s ranch in the Bay Area. I was alone; it was a warm spring day, golden poppies and lupine carpeted the hillsides.”

I was struck by this scene because it is very similar to one of the more moving and spiritually powerful exercises on the Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend, entitled Meeting Our Children with Christ.

As participants travel in this meditation through a dark forest, they come upon rolling hills of flowers with a supernatural, heavenly beauty. They then discover a great meadow where they meet their children who appear gathered in joy with the Risen Lord Jesus.

I hope and pray that one day Hugo, and all men and women wounded by abortion, will make the journey to this healing meadow.

___________

– To learn more about men and abortion loss and find resources for healing please visit:

The Silent No More Awareness Campaign

The Men and Abortion Network

For Abortion Recovery Resources by Zip Code

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meryl Streep and Hollywood: Champions of the Disabled? Or Cowardly Hypocrites?

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

 

meryl-streep

Meryl Streep gave what many considered a brave and courageous speech at the Golden Globes Sunday evening January 8th 2016 after receiving her Lifetime Achievement Award.

Streep began with this curious observation as she addressed the Hollywood crowd:

“You and all of us in this room, really, belong to the most vilified segments in American society right now.”

Streep went on to attack president-elect Trump for allegedly mocking a disabled reporter:

“It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back… Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose. “

Meryl Streep’s advocacy for the respect and protection of those with disabilities is certainly admirable.

However, are Streep and her Hollywood colleagues willing to step out of their left-wing bubble and look at the rights of a large group of extremely vulnerable disabled individuals?

Fetal Disability

If you are an unborn child diagnosed with Down Syndrome or another fetal disability, your chances of surviving pregnancy in the U.S. and other Western nations are increasingly slim:

Recent statistics showed that between 2002 and 2010 there were 17,983 abortions of disabled babies in Britain. The overwhelming majority of these were for conditions compatible with life outside the womb…This 17,983 included abortions for serious disabilities like anencephaly but also babies with Down’s syndrome, cleft palate and club foot. (Lifesite News)

It’s no secret that Streep and Hollywood are pro-abortion.

If she really wanted to address the violence against the disabled, and not just score some cheap political points with her fellow Hollywood glitterati, Streep could have asked her audience to consider just how those later term abortions “terminate” a disabled child.

Here’s former abortion doctor Anthony Levatino describing how you end a disabled baby’s life at 20-22 weeks gestation:

In a D&E procedure you must use a grasping clamp… It’s roughly 13 inches long…When this gets a hold of something it does not let go…grabbing at parts of the baby, and then getting a hold and pulling, and you really pull…You tear out spine, intestines, heart and lungs… you crush down on the clamp and some white material runs out of the cervix, because that was the baby’s brains. And then you pull out skull pieces…

In light of this horrific description of the procedure that dismembers our disabled and also healthy unborn brothers and sisters in the womb, let’s revisit Streep’s comments:

“…Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.”

Real Courage, Bravery…and Diversity

Streep shared about the importance of reaching out to those who are different from us:

“An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like.”

Ok Meryl. I have some ideas for you and your Hollywood friends.

How about a TV series or movie that shares a compelling story of the challenges and triumphs of a Christian couple who defied the pressure of medical professionals who counseled them to abort their disabled child – and instead gave that child life?

Maybe create a Netflix show telling us how a couples abortion of a disabled child impacted their lives and the amazing emotional and spiritual healing they found in an abortion recovery program?

I am still waiting Meryl Streep for a creative, compelling television or movie script out of Hollywood, or a politically charged acceptance speech at an awards presentation that honestly looks at what abortion does to the unborn child, and the pain and anguish that many women and men experience after the procedure. [1]

Now that would be brave and courageous!

 

[1] From Lifesite News: Rather than leading to psychological well-being, termination of pregnancy for fetal disability is an emotionally traumatic major life event which leads to severe posttraumatic stress response and intense grief reactions that are still detectable some years later. Kersting A et al. Trauma and grief 2-7 years aftertermination of pregnancy because of fetal anomalies–a pilot study. JPsychosom Obstet Gynaecol 2005;26(1):9-14 (March)

New Study Claims Abortion Has No Adverse Effects on Mental Health – Dr. Priscilla Coleman Takes a Closer Look

Monday, January 9th, 2017

 

blind-leading-blind

Mainstream Media rushed to proclaim the results of a recent study in the journal JAMA Psychiatry that suggests women have no adverse reactions to the abortion procedure.  A headline in the Atlantic proclaimed: A New Study Says Abortion Doesn’t Harm Mental Health

Dr. Priscilla Coleman is a professor of human development and family studies at Bowling Green State University. Dr Coleman has conducted dozens of studies on the psychological impact of abortion.

Dr. Coleman offers her expert analysis of the JAMA study in this radio interview with Cullen Herout.

After you listen to Dr Coleman’s analysis of this study, you will see that there is only one reasonable conclusion to draw from this study:

The Journal of the American Medical Association has compromised sound and responsible scientific research in the interest of promoting pro abortion ideology and politics.   This is professional malpractice.

The Impact of the Shockwaves of Abortion Revealed at the Steps of the Supreme Court

Tuesday, January 3rd, 2017

 

shockwaves-supreme-court

By Kevin Burke, LSW

At the close of last year’s 2016 March for Life the women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign gathered at the steps of the Supreme Court to share their testimonies of abortion loss and recovery. I have been blessed to participate in many Marches and Silent No More events over the years.

Yet as we prepare to come together again this month in Washington D.C. and San Francisco, there was something special about last year’s gathering that continues to resonate within me.

That afternoon and evening, as the snow began to blanket our nation’s capital, I saw the Shockwaves of Abortion Initiative of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign in a new and dynamic light.

Abortion Shockwaves

The Shockwaves of Abortion shines a bright light on the wider impact of abortion on our families, communities and nation.  We know that the mother and the father of the child are at the “epicenter” of the abortion event.

But the destructive shockwaves reverberate across our nation impacting all of us.

Grandparents, family and friends can play an integral role in the abortion decision and procedure.  They, along with the siblings of aborted children, are often intimately touched by that unborn child’s death.  Like the mothers and fathers (and abortion providers,) they too can suffer from grief, shame and regret and may benefit from an emotional and spiritual healing of this loss.

Abortion Scatters…Healing Gathers

Last year at the Supreme Court former abortion doctor Anthony Levatino offered a moving witness of his conversion from an agent of death to a defender of the unborn.  Mothers, fathers, grandparents, and siblings of aborted children shared their testimonies and stood side by side with Dr Levatino as they prayed for, and supported one another.

The unique signs they carried and their testimonies created a dynamic visual presentation and a living, breathing narrative of this wider reality of how the Shockwaves of Abortion have impacted our society.  It was also a beautiful witness to the power of God to bring faith, hope and life – out of sin, suffering and death.

Fr Frank Pavone, Spiritual Director of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign shares:

 “Abortion scatters- healing gathers. Abortion brings destruction and division; healing brings unity and the peace of Christ to wounded hearts and souls, and their broken relationships.”

On January 21st 2017 the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will once again gather prior to the West Coast March for Life in San Francisco and on January 27th at the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. at the close of the March for Life.  The Participants will hold their powerful signs sharing with the world the truth about their abortion loss and regret, and through their testimonies, the destructive power of the Shockwaves of Abortion.  Most importantly, you will be blessed to witness the mercy and healing power of God.

I have been in pro life advocacy and ministry for abortion loss for over 20 years.  Being part of the Shockwaves gathering in D.C. last year was one of the most powerful spiritual and emotional experiences in my many years of pro life outreach.

I encourage you to join us at this year’s Silent No More Campaign events.  We look forward to seeing you!

 

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