Archive for February, 2018

Hip Hop Star Nicki Manaj – Abortion and the Sexploitation of Women

Thursday, February 22nd, 2018

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj is one of the world’s top selling female rap and hip hop artists.

Minaj shared in a past issue of Rolling Stone Magazine that she had an abortion as a teenager:

Minaj’s first love was an older guy from Queens she dated while attending the prestigious Manhattan performing-arts high school LaGuardia when she discovered she was pregnant.

“It was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through.”

Minaj says the decision to have an abortion has “haunted me all my life…”

While the decision continues to haunt her, Minaj points to the circumstances of the pregnancy, and feeling ill prepared to parent a child:

It’d be contradictory if I said I wasn’t pro-choice. I wasn’t ready. I didn’t have anything to offer a child.”

Hip Hop Superstar: “In Charge of her Own Objectification”

Many years later we read in a 2015 profile in the NY Times that Minaj has developed into a formidable female artist with her music featuring provocative sexual imagery and lyrics:

“In another era, Minaj’s sexuality, expressed semi-parodically — pretending she’s a Barbie doll; glorifying women dressed as prostitutes and set in red-light-district windows — might have given feminists pause.

But in the 2010s, we have entered a different world in pop culture, one in which sexual repression is perceived as burdensome and perhaps even an inability to holistically integrate the body and self.

The author goes on to state that because Minaj is in control of her image, and is an astute businesswoman, her artistic expression does not promote the sexploitation of women:

… Minaj is in charge of her own objectification (describing her vagina with more words than I thought existed, and then amplifying its power by rhyming those words), as well as her own monetization (overt product placement in videos is a hallmark) has led most feminist voices to applaud her.

We know that the music and entertainment industry has their own agenda in advancing the pornification of all media, especially the music videos that are so influential with youth.

But there is another way to understand how this may fit into the experience of a woman who admits publicly that her abortion as a teenager continues to haunt her.

Family Background

Minaj was born Onika Maraj in Trinidad in 1982:

“She moved to the United States several years later (her parents spent two years in the States before she arrived, trying to get settled). Minaj has long emphasized her difficult upbringing — speaking openly about crack cocaine use in her home, in Jamaica, Queens, as well as domestic abuse and an episode when she says her father tried to burn down her house…When I asked if her father abused her, she said: ‘‘No. He was just abusive.’’ (NY Times – The Passion of Nicki Minaj)

With this history in mind, consider her abortion decision.

Minaj’s first love was with an older man from Queens. Perhaps this man for a time offered the love and affection that may have been missing in the relationship with her father. She loved this older man and they were sexually intimate. She shared her body, heart, and soul with him.

How did the father of their child respond to the pregnancy? Minaj does not tell us. We know that a father’s response to the pregnancy is often critical to the unborn child’s survival.

Abortion and Sexploitation

Many of her videos often display Nicki’s body in a highly sexualized context.

This can be understood as a vehicle for Minaj to call attention to the fact that the abortion decision was a physical and emotional rejection of her motherhood.

Minaj was surprised and anxious when she learned of the pregnancy.  At the same time her body was naturally gearing up to nurture and protect her unborn child. It was a shock to her body and reproductive system, as well as her heart and soul, when the abortion doctor forced open her cervix and expelled her unborn child.

Her explicit lyrics (“describing her vagina with more words than I thought existed…”) can be understood as calling attention to the experience of early sexual intimacy followed by pregnancy and the physical and emotional experience of the abortion procedure.

Many of the photographs and video of Minaj celebrate her voluptuous, full-figured female beauty. They also call attention to her capacity as a woman to share and nurture the gift of human life.

Amidst the sexually charged content, the pain from her abortion loss has found expression in her music. There is grief and loss for a child that Nicki never held in her arms, and nurtured at her breasts.

In 2014 at age 32, Minaj addressed the loss of a child and her concern for her younger brother Caiah. Caiah was age 16 at the time – the same age her child would be if not aborted.

From the track “All Things Go” from her album “The Pinkprint”:

“My child with Aaron, would’ve been 16 any minute / So in some ways I feel like Caiah is the both of them / It’s like he’s Cai’s little angel looking over him.”

Freedom…or Bondage?

Jesus said “the truth will set you free.”

Conversely, the lie will keep you in bondage.

Nicki Minaj says of her provocative and graphic music video “Anaconda” that is saturated with sexually charged content and images.

“With a video like ‘Anaconda,’ I’m a grown-ass f*#!*! woman!” she says. “I stand for girls wanting to be sexy and dance, but also having a strong sense of themselves. If you got a big ol’ butt? Shake it! Who cares?

This is the false emancipation of the sexual revolution and legalized abortion. A freedom that celebrates the sexploitation and desecration of women, their bodies – and the bodies of their unborn children – as female empowerment.

There is another way.

There is reconciliation, peace and healing for any woman or man who has suffered the loss of a child from abortion.

Kevin Burke, LSW, Co-Founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, and Janet Morana, Co-Founder of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign

 

 

Are African-American Children Safe in New York City?

Wednesday, February 14th, 2018

SONY DSC

Kevin Burke, LSW

When a natural disaster or act of terrorism strikes in one of our cities, government leaders are expected to mobilize quickly to protect citizens and get help to those wounded and suffering.

Media outlets cover the tragedy closely to communicate the experience of citizens and first responders on the ground and to hold government officials accountable in the crisis.

Religious leaders assemble the people for prayer for the dead and wounded and strength to persevere with the challenges that lie ahead.

There is such a disaster unfolding in one our largest cities.

Tragically, it is largely hidden from public view.

The African-American community of New York City is under assault

Each year in New York City, 6 out of every 10 African-American children die in the womb from abortion.

These unborn boys and girls never see the light of day; never have the chance to play with their friends, and experience the joys and challenges of growing up in the great city of New York.

How does New York Mayor Bill de Blasio respond to these shocking numbers?

According to the mayor, we don’t need to protect African-American children in the womb.

Instead, New York needs to expand access to abortion and establish “protective zones” around abortion businesses.

Who does the mayor see as the real threat to the citizens of New York? Pregnancy Resource Centers.

Pregnancy Resource Centers offer community-based care where women can find a non-violent alternative to abortion. A place where they can find the financial, social and spiritual support to give life to their unborn children.

The Numbers Tell a Different Story

Mayor de Blasio and his friends at Planned Parenthood tell New Yorkers they need to spend more of the cities resources to expand access to abortion and shut down alternatives to abortion in poor communities.

The day after Thanksgiving (2017), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its most recent Abortion Surveillance Report:

  •  One of every three babies is aborted in New York City.
  •  The abortion rate for African-Americans increased from 35.6 percent in 2013 to 36 percent in 2014.

Something is rotten in the Big Apple.

 

Wisdom from a Pioneer in Abortion Recovery for Men

Tuesday, February 13th, 2018

Warren Williams

  Since 1978 Warren Williams has been a student of fatherhood loss and the effects of abortion on men and society.  Warren is the author of a number of great resources for men wounded by abortion listed here with his full bio.

Warren had an article posted recently in the Men and Abortion Network. In this short but powerful piece Warren lays out some fundamental issues men deal with in the decision-making process with their partners to have an abortion, and in the aftermath.

His words are clear and direct, something men respect and hunger for. At the same time it is also a compelling declaration of the mercy and saving power of God.

Here is a brief excerpt with a link to the full article.

About six months ago three men and I began the journey through a Bible study I wrote featuring the Beatitudes, titled “Missing Arrows.” The purpose–to find fatherhood restoration for the children they had lost through abortion…

Read the full article here.

 

Why is the 2018 Gerber Baby Causing Some Parents Great Anguish and Grief?

Friday, February 9th, 2018

Gerber Baby 2018

If you checked out your social media feeds the last few days, you have no doubt come across the smiling face of Lucas Warren, the new 2018 Gerber Baby.

Lucas is the first child with Down syndrome to receive this honor.

For many parents this award sent a welcome and life-affirming message.

… “As a mama currently carrying a cutie with an extra chromosome this made my day!!! Thank you Gerber!! ”

Another mom shares:

“In a puddle of tears over here…my mama heart is so so thankful…when Bodie was born I believed a lie, that others would not value him as much as I do.  But, today is a new day. It is such a beautiful, good day,” (Washington Post)

Giving this award to a child with Down syndrome certainly sends a message of acceptance and love to families with a disabled child.

Yet the award also reminds of us of a shocking paradox.

With routine prenatal testing in the United States and other western nations, the majority of children with a pre natal Down syndrome diagnosis never see the light of day:

“According to the latest statistics, 67-90% of preborn babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted in the United States…”

Many parents will see in that cute little 2018 Gerber Baby a painful connection to the memories and feelings associated with a past abortion of a child with Down syndrome.

These couples face great pressure and anxiety at the time of the diagnosis.  Parents are usually persuaded that termination of the pregnancy is the more compassionate course of action.

A study in 2016 confirmed the pressure couples face to abort their child with Down syndrome – even for those that decide to continue with the pregnancy:

After refusing the initial suggestion of abortion, 65% of women were offered abortion again during the pregnancy…

  They continued to be offered abortions right up to 36 weeks, with 50% of them being offered abortion later than 20 weeks.

– 62% described the language of their medical team as being negative; clearly indicating that Down syndrome was a bad outcome…Only 4% described the language of their medical team as positive.

What is the experience of a parent who decides abortion is the best solution to a poor prenatal diagnosis?

Chloe’s Story

Chloe Ashton tells the story of the pregnancy of her son Tommy diagnosed with Down syndrome.

Chloe was initially open to parenting her son, but wanted feedback from family and friends. Sadly their words did not encourage and affirm her capacity to offer love and care to a child with a disability:

“I spoke to my closest friends and family, looking for advice, and was taken aback by the overwhelming opinion that terminating the pregnancy should be my only consideration if our baby had Down syndrome.”

Shaken by the chorus of support for termination, she scheduled the amnio test to confirm the suspected diagnosis:

The amnio itself was a heart-wrenching experience; there was my baby on a screen as if he was right in front of me — and as the needle entered my amniotic sac, he reached out and grabbed it, and they had to wait to withdraw it as he had a firm hold of it in his little hand.

The testing confirmed her son had had Down syndrome and she made the decision with her partner to have the abortion.

Chloe shares that her young daughter was already attached to her little brother:

“[My young daughter] had become extremely attached to her little brother — who she’d named Tommy — kissing my belly daily. She was so excited to have a sibling on the way…I sobbed and told her that we had found out that Tommy was sick…and we weren’t sure if he would still be in my tummy when she got back.

As her face registered what I was saying, she got up and ran to her room, returning with a stuffed animal that she placed on my stomach, and she continued to run back and forth, piling my tummy with animals.”

The Emotional Aftermath

How did the procedure impact Chloe?

“I wish they had better prepared me for the emotional aftermath. My relationship ended within six months….

It was months before I stopped feeling the phantom kicks.

A couple of months later, I passed an acquaintance on the street. She was pushing a baby carriage, and as I peered in, I immediately noticed the signs of Down syndrome. She told me, “She has Down syndrome, but she’s a wonderful baby”…

Chloe may have considered a different course of action if she was affirmed and supported by her partner, family and friends in parenting a child with Down syndrome.

A number of people played a part in this child’s death. Some of them will be intimately impacted by this loss, such as Chloe’s daughter who mourned her lost sibling.

This dispels the myth that abortion is a private and personal decision between a woman and her health care provider.

As Chloe’s story reveals, abortion is more accurately a life changing event – a series of unfolding Shockwaves and after-shocks that continue to impact individuals, couples, families and friends years after the procedure.

A Path to Recovery and Peace

Chloe shares at the close of her story a common symptom for those that participate in the death of their unborn children – a struggle to forgive one self.

“As I sit here today, almost three years later, I pray for those who may be going through this, and I try to forgive myself.

 I’m not sure if I ever will.”  (Read Chloe’s full story here.)

The struggle with guilt and self forgiveness is common after abortion.

This is especially true with later term procedures when parents initially receive the news of their pregnancy with great joy.  Mothers and fathers begin the physical and emotional process of bonding with their unborn child that they can clearly see on the ultrasound screen and mothers can feel kicking in their wombs.

There are many other ways that this grief, guilt and pain can be expressed after the abortion procedure:

Conflict and dysfunction in intimate relationships; drug and alcohol abuse to numb and escape the pain; nightmares; traumatic triggers to the procedure and lost child (e.g., Chloe sharing “It was months before I stopped feeling the phantom kicks.)

But all symptoms after abortion can be understood as a type of memorial to the unborn child – a dysfunctional and painful connection to a parent’s rejected and broken baby.

There is another way.

An abortion recovery program provides a healing process and support from others who understand your loss.  They can help you find the emotional and spiritual peace you hunger for.

Parents like Chloe, wounded by abortion, can discover in that recovery process that not all is lost. They can embrace the gift of God’s mercy and forgiveness as they reconnect in love with their child, who is alive in the Lord.

 [For those facing a poor prenatal diagnosis, there is support and resources to make a life-affirming decision about your disabled child in the womb.]   

 

 

 

Tennis Pro Jimmy Connors – The Outsider in His Own Abortion Story

Wednesday, February 7th, 2018

Jimmy Connors Chris Evert

Jimmy Connors is one of the greatest tennis professionals in the history of the sport. During the 1970’s he set records for his host of titles and championships.

With the release of Tennis pro Jimmy Connors autobiography The Outsider” in 2014 we learn of an unplanned pregnancy and abortion with women’s tennis champion Chris Evert when they were young sweethearts engaged to be married.

Connors shares about the pregnancy and their decision to go through with an abortion:

“An issue had arisen as a result of youthful passion, and a decision had to be made as a couple,” he writes in The Outsider.  “Chrissie called to say she was coming out to LA to take care of the ‘issue’. I was perfectly happy to let nature take its course and accept responsibility for what was to come.”

The next exchange between the couple likely sealed the fate of their unborn child:

“Chrissie, however, had already made up her mind that the timing was bad and too much was riding on her future,” he writes. “She asked me to handle the details.”

He told Evert:

“Well, thanks for letting me know. Since I don’t have any say in the matter, I guess I am just here to help.”

And so it was.  The Outsider “handled the details” and arranged for the abortion of his unborn child.

When Evert approached Connors with her mind seemingly made up, he made a serious and deadly mistake many fathers make during this challenging and emotional time for a young couple – he failed to fight for the life of his child.

This sent a clear signal to the mother who may have heard in his response:

 “I am open to you having the baby, but I’m not going to fight too hard to protect the child and I may or may not be around to help…so if you’re minds made up anyway, I’ll respect whatever you decide.” 

There is no guarantee that Evert would have changed her mind if Connors was more determined to fight for the child’s life.  But it was the best hope their baby had for survival.

Once the father communicates ambivalence and does not strongly express the natural desire to protect his offspring, the mother may understandably fear making the sacrifices of single parenting unsure if the father will continue to love and support them both.

Women also understandably fear the resentment and anger a man may express later when facing the responsibilities and stress of an unplanned child.

“It was a horrible feeling, but I knew it was over,” Connors writes. “Getting married wasn’t going to be good for either of us.”

Rather than the joy of youthful love and passion and anticipation of married life together, the couple now shared a dark secret…a participation in the death of their unborn son or daughter.

Both tennis pros went on to stellar careers.  On the surface it may appear that they “made the right decision.”  But like many couples after abortion, the fruit of this tragic choice is evident as their lives unfold.

Connors, now 64, struggled with a gambling addiction and the infidelities that “came close to ruining his marriage” to former Playboy model Patti McGuire.

Men, who later regret, reconcile and heal of a previous abortion decision report that along with addictions and infidelity, anger was a way they repressed and expressed their painful emotions such as guilt and complicated grief around that abortion event and their role in the child’s death.

Connors on and off-court anger issues and fireworks are likely part of his personality and competitive spirit. But they also may have helped him express some of the shame, guilt and grief about the loss of his son or daughter to abortion.

Evert experienced a common post abortion symptom for some women and men – instability in intimate relationships. Chrissie, now 58 has been married three times. All three marriages ended in divorce.

Abortion is a life changing event that strikes at the deepest part of the human person.   The abortion account of Jimmy Connors and Chris Evert reflects, on a much grander stage, what has been the experience of millions of young couples.

They valiantly press on with their lives, perhaps like Connors and Evert achieving great success as they struggle to bury that abortion event deep in their past.

But the symptoms in their lives after abortion call them to reconcile and heal of this loss, buried deep in their hearts and souls.