Archive for January, 2019

“For What I have Done…And What I Have Failed to Do” – I was an Accomplice in the Death of an Unborn Child. Maybe You Were Too.

Friday, January 25th, 2019

By Kevin Burke, LSW

 I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do… (The Confiteor)

Each year in January after the March for Life in Washington D.C., I am blessed to accompany those women and men of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign as they share their testimonies.

I am deeply moved and inspired as they tell their unique and intimate stories of pain, grief and shame from participating in the death of their unborn children. Their public witness also reveals the power of God’s mercy and healing.

But this year was different.

For the first time I felt called to share my own personal experience of abortion and carried a sign that revealed something I have never shared publicly; “I Regret Being an Accomplice to Abortion.”

Rachel’s Secret

I was a young man in my early 20’s when a relative I will call Rachel approached me with her secret struggle. Rachel was unmarried and pregnant from a brief relationship that had recently ended.

Rachel trusted me. I was a few years older, was beginning to revert back to my Catholic faith, and was just starting a graduate counseling program.

I had the beginnings of a religious awakening in my college years but within a liberal, social justice framework.  This was the time of death squads in Central America, the assassination of Archbishop Oscar Romero, and the complicity of our government in the suffering of the poor and oppressed in that region.  I volunteered in prisons and soup kitchens in the Philadelphia area.  I met many fine committed Christians.

But there was one glaring omission from the social justice zeal to advocate and serve the poor and oppressed – the innocent unborn child in the womb. My theological formation at this time left me ignorant about abortion, the reality of the procedure, and the impact on those that participated in their death.  That is not to in any way excuse my actions.  I share it to provide my mindset at the time and the context for my response to Rachel.

After listening to Rachel share her secret, I told her, “I will support you whatever you decide. If you are open to parenting or adoption, I can connect you with counselors who can help you.” 

What I failed to do was to encourage her to maintain the pregnancy. I did not to tell her that she would be a great mother – that in reality she already was a mother!

I could have scheduled an appointment with a pregnancy counselor and accompanied her to the meeting to offer my support.  I could have emphasized to Rachel that “this child is an unexpected blessing” and “our family will love and welcome this child, and be there to support you.”

But I had absorbed a particular social justice religious perspective that is often silent and/or neutral about abortion, as well as the values of the counseling profession. This reinforced the diabolical propaganda of respecting a women’s inviolable right of “reproductive choice.”

In this context, abortion is a very private and personal decision, and I should not interfere in any way with her decision making process.  To be honest, I also feared that she might resent me later if she felt burdened with a child.

Rachel had the abortion, and I was an accomplice in that child’s death.

Years later, when I learned about how abortion hurts women and men, I came to understand and see how that procedure impacted her life. It breaks my heart.  I have shared with her my apologies and information on abortion recovery programs.  I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for my own reconciliation and healing.

I will now be Silent No More about being an accomplice to abortion. I hope that others will reflect on their own role in the abortion decisions of friends and relatives.  I pray they will come to a place of understanding and consider attending an abortion recovery program to reconcile with God, grieve those lost children, and pray for their parents.

Grace comes from facing the truth, and over time it often leads us to commit more deeply to advocating for the lives of the unborn and reaching out in love to those who have been hurt by abortion.

“I confess to almighty God, and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have sinned through my own fault, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do; and I ask blessed Mary, ever virgin, all the angels and saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God.”

Planned Parenthood Claims they are Partners in Fighting for the Legacy of Dr Martin Luther King. Is this True?

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2019

By Kevin Burke, LSW

On January 21st, the national holiday memorializing the late civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Planned Parenthood claimed that King’s “life & legacy” are “undeniably intertwined” with abortion rights activism:

“We honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s life & legacy as the fight for racial justice, economic equity, & reproductive freedom are undeniably intertwined… we are proud to stand w/ our partners who are on the frontlines of this fight. #MLKDay

Alveda King, niece of Dr Martin Luther King, said this message dishonored the legacy of her uncle:

“To dishonor a prophet by raising a political banner which supports killing innocent babies on MLK’s birthday is so inhuman.”

When we consider the number of African American unborn children that die in the womb, we can see the comments of Planned Parenthood in a more sinister context.

In 2016 Planned Parenthood facilities ended the life of 321, 384 unborn boys and girls – 881 babies a day. A disproportionate number of these procedures are performed on African American women.

Each year in New York City, 6 out of every 10 African-American children die in the womb from abortion. Many of these children are destroyed in Planned Parenthood abortion facilities.

In other large cities across our nation, families of color are targeted by the abortion industry. Social Worker and Civil Rights Leader Erma Clardy Craven shares

Several years ago, when 17,000 aborted babies were found in a dumpster outside a pathology laboratory in Los, Angeles, California, some 12-15,000 were observed to be black.”

Planned Parenthood associating their work with the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement for African Americans, is like Hitler and the Nazi party honoring a prominent Jewish leader that fought anti-Semitism and the persecution of Jews.

It reflects the arrogance and moral blindness of an organization that has the audacity to claim they are fighting for the legacy of Martin Luther King.

As thousands of unborn black boys and girls are vacuumed from the safety of their mother’s womb, starved to death in chemical abortions, poisoned and dismembered in tortuous later term abortions…their tiny dead bodies disposed as “medical waste” in Planned Parenthood facilities across the U.S.

Shame on you Planned Parenthood.

Shame on us for tolerating this genocide against the African American Community.

[Let us truly honor the legacy of Dr Martin Luther King, and fight to end this slaughter of the innocents.]

After You March for Life – Join Us at the Steps of the Supreme Court and Hear Women and Men Reveal the Truth of their Abortion Experience, and the Mercy and Healing Power of God

Monday, January 14th, 2019

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Those who support abortion rights have been successful in forming the public to understand the issue as a “private personal matter” between a woman and her health care provider.

A woman deliberating about her options has an inviolable right of privacy.   The sensitive and caring response to her unplanned pregnancy is to offer support – but not to interfere in any way. We are told to respect the wisdom of women to make the right choice.

But like much of the propaganda and misinformation from those that promote abortion, it does not reflect the reality of most abortion decisions.

Many abortions feature another person who served as a direct accomplice in the child’s death; the father, a friend, family member or professional who did not encourage the mother to give life to her baby; promoted the abortion decision as the best option; helped pay for the procedure or drove the mother to the abortion center.

In other scenarios a father, grandparent, other family or friend may have been traumatized by their inability to prevent the child’s death.

Abortion is rarely a private personal decision.

Given the impact of abortion on individuals, relationships and family life, it is better understood as a complicated experience of physical and emotional loss that intimately wounds the individual. But over time the symptoms after abortion can also impact a mother/father’s relationships, marriage and family life.

On January 18th 2019 the Silent No More Awareness Campaign will once again gather at the steps of the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. at the  March for Life and also later in the month at the West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco on January 26.

The Participants will hold their powerful signs witnessing to 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 and deeply moved as you witness the incarnation of the mercy and healing power of God.

I have been in pro-life advocacy and abortion recovery ministry for over 20 years. Being part of the Silent No More gathering in D.C. each year is 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!

 

A Christian Pastor Says the Topic of Abortion Should Never Be Addressed at Worship Services – Is She Right?

Monday, January 7th, 2019

I was recently at a Holiday party where the topic of religion and abortion came up.  A local Christian minister overheard the discussion and abruptly interjected:

“Abortion is a private and sensitive issue. Whatever your position on abortion, Sunday services are not the place to talk about the subject. We can’t let contentious and divisive politics to enter our worship space.”

There have been 60 million abortions since 1973.

If we take the advice of this minister and keep silent on the subject, what does the silence of the church communicate to those who may be suffering from a past abortion?

Years of experience in abortion recovery ministry with those hurting after abortion reveals that this silence sends the following very clear messages to the congregation:

– This church is not able to help you reconcile and come to peace with this very painful part of your past.

– This congregation cannot acknowledge how your participation in the death of an unborn child (as mother/father/grandparent/other family or friend) may be an obstacle to a closer relationship with God.

– This faith community wants to reinforce the self-destructive denial and repression of any painful and troubling feelings and memories about your abortion losses.

The Price of Silence and Denial

Leslie suffered for many years with periods of depression, anxiety and nightmares connected to her two abortions at age 16 and 19. She medicated her pain with alcohol, and later when she married, she was involved in a number of shameful and secret extramarital affairs.

Later Leslie was given prescription drugs prescribed by her family doctor to treat depression, anxiety and insomnia. None of the therapist or medical professionals she went to for help asked if there were any abortions in her history.

But what really hurt and angered Leslie was the failure of her spiritual leaders to recognize this hidden pain:

“If I had heard a compassionate and hope-filled message from my minister…if I heard after my first abortion that there were healing programs available for people like me…I may have been able to prevent the death of my second child and get the help  I needed much earlier in my life.  I may have been able to save my husband and my children from living for years with the symptoms of this wound that was festering in my heart and soul…”

Compassion and Truth

To be fair, our church leaders struggle with the same thing many of us do in our families, workplaces and churches.

How do we address this sensitive topic in a way that does not hurt or alienate those that have participated in the death of the unborn?

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 in Cork since 2003.

Fr Pat shares:

“Prior to my involvement in Rachel’s Vineyard… I was never sure how to effectively proclaim the truth while at the same time witnessing to compassion. 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… I share in a gentle compassionate way that abortion wounds the lives of mothers and fathers. I know that if there are women and men present who have had abortion they will realize that the church wants to help them.”

Please share this article with the pastor or a minister at your church.  Let us know if we can be of any assistance with information and resources for your faith community.

10 Ways to Promote Your Abortion Recovery Ministry

Wednesday, January 2nd, 2019

By Susan Swander and Kevin Burke, LSW

Keep in mind that people often need to hear messages about abortion loss and recovery a number of times before they are ready to take that next step, and reach out for help. It can be years before that seed you planted bears fruit.

Here’s 10 ways to promote your abortion recovery ministry:

1. Meet with your Pastor/Minister
Contact the pastor or another minister active in your church. This kind of personal connection is important. You or someone on your team can share about a past abortion, faith related struggles after the procedure, and how abortion recovery was such a blessing.

Most pastors are not sure how to address the issue of abortion. Some fear hurting or alienating those that had abortions. Your personal sharing will be a valuable education about the issues women and men struggle with after the procedure. It can also open the door to a ministry partnership as you assist the pastor in reaching out to those in the congregation hurting after abortion.

2. Notices in Church Bulletins
Susan shares: “In the fall of 2003, I saw a small box ad in the local Church bulletin. It said something about healing for women and men who had abortions – and it referred to a Rachel’s Vineyard weekend in our area. It gave a website and phone number. The website really spoke to me and I registered for one of their weekend programs.”

3. Testimony During Church Services
Susan: “I had such a powerful experience of emotional and spiritual healing from the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend I attended. After careful discernment, I felt called to share my story. I have shared my testimony of pain and hope at a number of churches throughout Oregon. I have been moved by how many fellow church-goers also suffer after abortion, or know someone who does.”

4. Create an uncluttered, engaging, easy to navigate website so people can learn about your ministry. Donors are often interested in helping out with such a project and a tech savvy person from your church community could assist with set up.

5. Connect with the local Christian radio stations in your area – and some national shows as well. Let us know if we can be of assistance.  Let the program director know that you have women and men who can share about abortion loss and recovery.  This is especially helpful around the time of the March for Life, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and for Catholic Christians in the month of October (Respect Life Month) when media are more open to our message.

6. Social Media   Cultivate a current team member, volunteer, or alum from your abortion recovery ministry to help develop a social media presence on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Once you get the hang of it this is an effective way to create brief messages and images to promote recovery resources and share about your ministry.

7. Tear-off flyers on church bulletin boards, pamphlets and drop cards that provide info on your website, social media and contact number.

8. Contact your local churches, seminaries, and catholic/Christian educational institutions. Let them know you are available to share with their students and ministers-in-training about abortion loss, the ways this can impact women and men, and the road to recovery. This is a great way to help them better understand and reach out to their future congregations.

9. Connect with the campus ministry and pro-life groups at secular colleges in your area and offer to come share your testimony with the students, how to best reach out to abortion minded students based on your experience, and resources for recovery for those that had abortions.

10. Prayer, Support, and Networking     Come together regularly as a team and pray for God’s Spirit to give you wisdom, discernment and patience. Consider becoming part of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and find women and men in your area who are called to speak out about abortion loss and recovery. This is a great way to find support and network with others in your area and nationally that share a heart for this outreach.