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Heavenly Hope: The Unborn Lost to Abortion as Intercessors for their Parents

Tuesday, July 14th, 2015


Gaudalupe Unborn Intercessors

By Malindia Lentz

My friend “Anna” was pregnant.   She was filled with joy and asked me to be the Godmother to her unborn child.   Deeply honored, I said yes.

Anna had been pregnant once before, a pregnancy that was very difficult. She became violently ill and spent time in the hospital on several occasions.   Her baby was born premature…and died in her arms the next day. Anna was devastated.  She visited her baby’s grave frequently over the next few years. Tears would well up in her eyes every time she spoke about it.

The second pregnancy started out well, but Anna’s health started to decline shortly after she asked me to be the godmother.  She had bouts of violent, almost constant morning sickness—something she was all too familiar with.  Fear began to creep up – Anna felt this pregnancy was going to end the same way as the first. The morning sickness wouldn’t let up and her fear and anxiety rose each day at the same time her body was getting weaker.  Emotionally, there was no way she could handle having another baby die in her arms.  Anna began to feel that the only way to stop her violent sickness and to stop the baby from suffering was to end the pregnancy—-to have an abortion.

At the time (mid 1990’s) I was a bit ambivalent about it. I felt abortion was wrong and I couldn’t see myself having one—but I also saw the tremendous fear in my friend’s eyes and I didn’t want to see her go through the pain of having a baby die in her arms again.  At the time we both probably felt it was just “tissue” as many people at that time thought.

I had been away from the church for 20+ years, so I wasn’t much help to her from a faith perspective. I basically thought, “she needs to do what she feels is best.”  I didn’t try to talk her out of it.  I felt it was something only she could decide.

Anna had the abortion on a Friday.  She took the day off work and was back to work on Monday. She didn’t tell the father about it (I don’t quite remember – he may not have known she was pregnant).  Anna didn’t talk about it after that.

A year or so after the abortion she began to suffer from depression and started having thoughts of suicide.  A doctor gave her medication and that seemed to take the edge off. I don’t know if she ever connected that with the abortion experience. At the time I didn’t make the connection. Life just kind of went on for both of us.  Sadly we have lost contact over the years.

Coming Home

The company I worked for closed the local manufacturing plant. The last few months of that year I spent traveling between Connecticut, Michigan and Indiana to prepare for the closure and transfer of tasks to other sites.   I accumulated thousands of frequent flyer miles.

The following year I was reading a book called “Heaven on Earth” by Danny Seo. This book speaks of small things you can do to change the world. One of them was to donate frequent flyer miles to help provide transportation for children with medical needs. I called the number and donated the miles I had—36,000. A little while later I broke down in tears thinking I may have just saved the life of a child—-and all it took was one phone call.

That was a turning point in my life, the beginning of my journey back to my Catholic faith.

I didn’t see Anna very much during this time, but there were a couple of incidents that occurred that in hindsight were undeniably “God-incidents”, timed specifically to protect Anna or comfort her in a time of danger. Those incidents showed me that someone was watching over her, and guiding me to be there at the moment she needed someone.

My next job was with the Diocese of Bridgeport, CT in the Family Life/Respect Life Office.  While there, I became involved in the Rachel’s Vineyard Ministry. Part of that ministry was to attend a retreat. Even though I am not post-abortive, I grieved the loss of my god-child lost to abortion, and felt guilty that I hadn’t done anything to save her life. It was very healing to me to go through that process.

The retreat center for the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats was in a building next to the Catholic Center. With the help of some volunteers, I was able to paint and decorate the rooms of the retreat center, which had been very plain. I wanted to do something to help the women and men on the retreat feel welcomed and loved.  Each room is named for a Saint and they are decorated appropriately (roses in Mary’s room, wood in St. Joseph’s room, etc.). That experience helped me gain a better knowledge of the Saints and also showed me how the Saints work in our lives. There were several instances where someone donated a decorative item or image of a Saint (after the rooms were painted) that matched the decor perfectly!

The Unborn Children as Intercessors

A priest friend of mine at that time said that he believes that the children lost to abortion   become intercessors for their parent’s salvation.  It makes perfect sense to me when you think of the “Communion of Saints” and Saint John Paul II words of consolation in Evangelium Vitae:

The Father of mercies is ready to give you his forgiveness and his peace in the Sacrament of Reconciliation. To the same Father and his mercy you can with sure hope entrust your child.

The children of today are the modern version of the “Holy Innocents”.  My God-child has been praying for me and her parents.

As I enter another transition period in my life I continue to try and discern God’s will.  I was on a silent retreat last year and felt a calling in my heart to “help the children.”  I have come to believe that this means I am to help the children lost to abortion intercede/help their parents come to know the love of Christ.

A couple of months ago I was in a church in southern Michigan that had an image of Divine Mercy in the adoration chapel. It was different than any other I had seen – Jesus looked like he had been crying.  I felt the Lord was calling me to serve him in helping to “stop the tears”, and to reach out with his love and mercy and help stop the tears of those who have been hurt by abortion (and in turn help stop the tears of Jesus).  I wasn’t clear how this would unfold, but I have faith that God will show me in His time.

Recently a friend gave me a handmade bar of soap that has the scent of baby powder. I found out a couple of days later that my god-child’s paternal grandfather died the day I was given the bar of soap. I had tears of joy, thinking my god-child was now in the arms of her grandfather. Perhaps that bar of soap was her way of letting me know things were good!

I haven’t seen or talked to Anna in a long time (I moved to a different state), and I have been unable to contact her.   But I pray each day that she is ok and will find healing in her relationship with the Lord and her child.

In the meantime, I believe my calling to “help the children” and “stop the tears” begins with telling this story. I pray that all those affected by abortion will find healing through the love of Christ, Mary, His mother, and all the Angels and Saints.



What Our Lady Can Do with a little Bag of Beads: The Miraculous Closing of Corpus Christi’s Last Abortion Business

Thursday, July 9th, 2015


Our Lady Gaudalupe Rosary

By Patricia Pulliam

For many years the pro-life community of Corpus Christi Texas and surrounding areas prayed in front of the last remaining abortion business left in the town.  There were countless novenas and Masses offered along with visitations of a relic from the tilma of Our Lady of Guadalupe.  Women and men spent many hours in silent prayer standing on the sidewalk at the busy intersection of Morgan Avenue and the Crosstown Freeway.

The clientele at this particular facility was predominantly Hispanic.  I think I can safely say at least 75% of the young women and men who went through those doors were Spanish speaking clients. The doctor was Hispanic as well as many of the workers inside.

We noticed that many cars and trucks that drove into the single driveway had rosaries hanging from their rearview mirrors. The rosary is revered in the Spanish community even if you are not a practicing catholic or if you belong to a different denomination.

I have a dear friend who shared my devotion to the rosary.  I felt called to somehow take Our Lady into that abortion facility.   My friend was an avid rosary maker.   She made them with real crystal beads and medals and beautiful crucifixes. Every rosary was totally unique.  We had all the materials and final products blessed by our parish priest.

Our idea was that we would put together little gift bags with pretty ribbons of either blue or pink containing one handmade rosary and a little prayer card explaining how to pray the rosary.

We legally could not approach the cars as they pulled in but if the windows were down (in South Texas if you didn’t have air conditioning your windows were down) we could speak to the passengers.  We asked them if they would like a free gift and show them a sample of the rosaries.

The first day we tried this we did not know what to expect. We had about 30 bags ready to give away.

My friend took one side of the driveway and I took the other. When the clients began to arrive we were amazed that they actually stopped. We smiled and asked if they would like one and many of the cars took more than one for family members.

What would happen next we could never have imagined. We could see them park and then get out of the car and take the little bag into the clinic. At that point we knew Our Lady was “inside”.  The guy would sometimes come back out alone but he never had the little bag with him.

That day one of the couples came back out and got in their vehicle and pulled up to where we were standing and held up the rosary and yelled, “This rosary saved this baby!” Everyone around cheered and cried and rushed the car to hug the young couple who were in tears.

The manager of the facility walked out of the front doors and stared at us as if wondering what just happened.

We had done nothing illegal.

In the following weeks we gave away at least 30 rosary bags a week.

One afternoon one of the workers came out to where we stood and asked if she could have a rosary and one for her Mom. She cast her eyes down and said thank you and turned and walked back in.

Another afternoon when the abortionist arrived with his pretty young wife he stopped the car and she rolled down her window and asked if she could have a rosary. Needless to say there were many tears shed by the two of us that day.

I believe that Hispanics by nature are a very religious people. They are targeted in many low income neighborhoods with abortion businesses. Their large extended families are very powerful with their approval or disapproval of an unplanned pregnancy. We saw many mothers and even whole families drive up and drop off the young mother-to-be.

We did not offer them tracts of abortion statistics and pictures of the developing fetus.

We simply tried to give to them the love of the Mother of us all.

Who knows how many hearts were touched? I know ours were.

The facility closed last year. There are no more abortion businesses in the Corpus Christi area.


Pat Pulliam and her husband Tim currently live in Winter Park Colorado.  Pat serves as President of the Board of Directors at The Pregnancy Resource Connection of  Granby Co. and facilitates the abortion recovery study Forgiven and Set Free in conjunction with the Rachel’s Vineyard retreats in the Denver area. Pat serves as Regional Coordinator for the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.  Pat is the director of pro-life activities for the five small Catholic mission parishes in Grand County and gives her testimony and presentations of abortion recovery methods to the many various churches of other denominations in the area.








A Revolutionary Re-Thinking of Addiction by Author Johann Hari Touches on the Heart of Abortion Loss and Recovery

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015



Johann Hari

Journalist Johann Hari:

It is now one hundred years since drugs were first banned… I set off three and a half years ago on a 30,000-mile journey for my new book, Chasing The Scream: The First And Last Days of the War on Drugs, to figure out what is really driving the drug war… what I learned on the road is that almost everything we have been told about addiction is wrong…

Chasing the Scream is a compelling and highly readable book.  It offers a unique historical perspective with fascinating accounts from those he encountered in his travel and research.   The  author skillfully weaves his story to develop a revolutionary theme – our understanding about drugs and addiction is fundamentally flawed.

Johann Hari shares:

“Human beings have an innate need to bond. Healthy, happy people bond with other humans. But if you can’t do that because you’re so traumatized by your childhood that you can’t trust people, you may well bond with a drug instead.

What I learned is that the opposite of addiction is not sobriety…The opposite of addiction is human connection [my emphasis.] And I think that has massive implications for the war on drugs. Our laws are built around the belief that drug addicts need to be punished to stop them. But if pain and trauma and isolation cause addiction, then inflicting more pain and trauma and isolation is not going to solve that addiction. It’s actually going to deepen it.”

Angie: A Love Song to Heroin?

Given the fantasy lifestyle of fame and the grind of touring and recording, life at the top for a rock star can be isolating.   Celebrities can surround themselves with fellow wounded travelers and addicts.   In his 2010 autobiography Life, Keith Richards  wrote of how he composed the Rolling Stone’s masterpiece, Angie while recoverying from his heroin addiction:

 “While I was in the [Vevey drug] clinic (in March-April 1972), Anita was down the road having our daughter, Angela. Once I came out of the usual trauma, I had a guitar with me and I wrote ‘Angie’ in an afternoon, sitting in bed, because I could finally move my fingers and put them in the right place again, and I didn’t feel like I had to s–t the bed or climb the walls or feel manic anymore.”

Richards has shared elsewhere that the song reflects the end of his relationship with heroin and can be seen as a lament at the loss of his deep-seated connection with the drug.   Perhaps the poignant and beautiful melody is also a cry for more human and healthy connections in his life.  Brings to mind Johann Hari’s comment that “the opposite of addiction is human connection.”  Richard’s comments reveal that in the advanced stages of addiction ( though clearly dysfunctional) one can have an obsessive, even passionate love affair  with an addictive substance

Abortion and Disconnection

My professional social work career has focused in the last 20 years on helping women and men to find spiritual and emotional recovery after an abortion loss.  This experience left them suffering a variety of painful symptoms.  One of the common symptoms used to cope with the complicated grief and the confusing feelings and memories of the abortion event, is the abuse of alcohol and drugs (and/or other addictive or compulsive behaviors.)

Johann Hari’s perspective on addiction touches on a foundational aspect of recovery for people with complicated mourning and emotional trauma after an abortion experience.  While women and men have different ways of processing emotion and grief, the heart of healing is restoring the connection with the child that was rejected while in the womb.  This pathway to healing often requires a treatment process such as the program developed by Dr Theresa Burke, Rachel’s Vineyard.

Rachel’s Vineyard is a unique and very effective healing process that enables the participants to safely access their complex and often toxic feelings about their role in the abortion and feeling powerless and exploited by the experience.  Women and men journey through this painful material as they bond with other retreat participants and the leadership team.  They find a safe, spiritually positive healing environment, loving support, and people who intimately understand their loss and stories.   For the first time they are able to work through the pain, as they travel to what is at the heart of their healing journey – re discovering and re-claiming their connection as a mother or father to their unborn child.

Hari’s addiction perspective on the role of human connection touches on this core issue in abortion of disconnection found in the rupture in the physical and emotional connection with the unborn child in the womb, as well as the isolation and secrecy of the abortion event.  This can help us better understand why many women and men would seek solace in drugs and alcohol, or addiction to pornography, work, and other high risk / self-destructive behaviors after an abortion procedure.

Does it not make perfect sense (drawing again from Johann Hari’s addiction insights) that until you find a process to re-connect in love with that aborted child (or children) you will struggle to move away from your relationship with those addictive behaviors and substances and other destructive Shockwaves that can flow from an abortion event?  Regardless of your moral, spiritual and political perspective on abortion, unless you understand and accept this foundation healing element (which is naturally challenging for abortion supporters and apologists) you will be limited in helping people fully recover from a painful abortion experience.

In his book Hari points out the failure of the war on drugs and the philosophy of punishment and isolation in addiction treatment, especially of prisoners:

Ironically, the war on drugs actually increases all those larger drivers of addiction. For example, I went to a prison in Arizona — ‘Tent City’ — where inmates are detained in tiny stone isolation cages (‘The Hole’) for weeks and weeks on end to punish them for drug use. It is as close to a human recreation of the cages that guaranteed deadly addiction in rats as I can imagine. And when those prisoners get out, they will be unemployable because of their criminal record — guaranteeing they with be cut off even more. I watched this playing out in the human stories I met across the world…There is an alternative. You can build a system that is designed to help drug addicts to reconnect with the world — and so leave behind their addictions.

Johann Hari’s book offers examples of policies and programs that get better results.  This is an important contribution to the addictions field and certainly helps us better understand the relationship of complicated mourning and isolation after abortion loss - and substance abuse.  This doesn’t mean the author offers all the answers and solves every complicated problem associate with addiction.  But it is well worth reading with an open heart and mind.  This is a national and international issue that is vital to our national security and the health and the welfare of our communities, families and to so many wounded people struggling to recover from the challenges of addiction and violence.

Perhaps, putting aside the constrictive and suffocating polarization between liberals and conservatives on this issue, we can begin to seriously re-think the massive expense and destruction that have been the deadly fruit of the “war on drugs.”

It may be even more challenging for our nation to re-think our legalization of abortion in 1973 and look honestly at the real life consequences for many of our fellow citizens.





Great Abortion Healing Resources from Fr Frank Pavone for Clergy, Ministers and their Congregations

Monday, May 11th, 2015



We recently celebrated another Mother’s Day.  Before you know it, June will roll in and we will be reminded in countless commercials that we need to go out and get Dad a golf shirt or the latest and greatest tool for his workshop.  Given the importance of mothers and fathers especially in our busy and ever changing society, we really need a whole month to focus on moms and dads.

The Shockwaves of Abortion Initiative presents important opportunity to focus on an issue that impact millions of women and men – abortion loss.   This is a very appropriate time for our religious leaders to invite, with compassion and love, those mothers and fathers in their congregation who have participated in the death of their unborn children to discover the gift of repentance and healing in Christ.

To assist in this effort, the Shockwaves of Abortion website has some very helpful tools developed by Fr. Frank Pavone to assist your clergy and ministers to share a message of hope and healing…not just for one day but for the whole month:

  • Please visit Shockwaves for special prayers, bulletin inserts, and preaching aids based on the bible readings for the months of May and June.
  • Email or share this information on social media. Better yet, next time you talk with your pastor make him aware of this great resource for God’s people and follow that up with a message with links to these resources.



Is Mother’s Day a Bad Time to Talk About Abortion?

Thursday, May 7th, 2015


Pregnant Mom

In this beautiful month of May as we celebrate our mothers, why introduce the painful and contentious topic of abortion?  Mother’s Day is actually the perfect time to look at this issue, but with a fresh perspective – through the lens of the physiology of motherhood.

The pro abortion movement has been successfully programming our society for many years to see abortion as a private personal decision.  A woman, who bears the physical responsibility of carrying a child, must have exclusive control over her body and decisions about pregnancy and parenting.

My body – My Choice – Right? 

It is an indisputable physiological truth that when a woman conceives a child, her body begins a process of change that will enable her to welcome and nurture this new life.  The disruption of menstruation, the increase in pregnancy hormones, morning sickness and other signs are the body’s way of shouting out…congratulations…you are a mom!    The female body is not ambivalent and certainly is not pro choice about a conceived pregnancy.  A woman’s body is naturally pro-life.

It is certainly true that many pregnancy situations are marked by anxiety, stress, pressure and even coercion to abort.  Yet regardless, the body will carry on with its job to protect and nurture the developing child.  The only exception would be if the unborn child for whatever reason does not thrive.  But even in these cases, a mother will experience the painful, but natural process of miscarriage.

However humans are not simply bodily creatures, but persons with minds and souls.   If there is anxiety and fear about the pregnancy, there can be a struggle to emotionally accept and bond with the child.  Parents of unborn children can turn to the medical procedures developed to disrupt this natural process.  Since 1973 in the U.S. there have been over 55 million legal abortions.

Abortionists use a variety of medical techniques to sever the connection of the unborn child to the body of its mother.  The cervix does not want to open to the abortionist so the physician must forcibly pass through the protective operculum (mucus plug) and enter the womb to suction out or dismember the developing fetus; the cervix and womb naturally fight to hold on to and protect the child.  In chemical abortions, the woman’s body is flooded with hormones leading to a traumatic rejection of the developing child.

How can you participate in an aggressive disruption of a very natural and complex biological process and not expect some physical and emotional complications?  The post abortion reality is very different from the propaganda we are fed by the media, health care and mental health professionals and “reproductive rights” organizations.   This is anything but a natural and benign event.

In the same way a woman or man facing an unplanned pregnancy can ignore the biological reality and reject their motherhood/fatherhood, women and men can remain in denial for many years about their abortion loss and minimize the pain this has caused in their lives.   There are those that will claim that their abortion was a positive and empowering experience.  For some women and men, on the surface, there may truly be a sense of relief and empowerment about their abortion.  Many years in post abortion ministry teach us that even in cases where only positive outcomes are presented, there are often deeper feelings and memories that have not been allowed to surface.

A Dwelling Place of Hope and Healing

As we celebrate Mother’s and in June Father’s Day, most of those that have participated in abortion decisions and procedures know the truth; abortion is anything but a simple matter of personal choice.  The Shockwaves of abortion have far reaching effects beyond the mother impacting fathers, siblings, grandparents and other relatives and friends who have been part of the abortion decision and procedure.

For moms with living children, as they are honored with those precious home-made cards and a breakfast in bed they are reminded that a child (or children) is missing from their celebration.  They can feel (with varying levels of awareness) guilt, grief and shame because they participated in the death of another little one who will not share in the joy of that day.  These feelings may be disconnected from the actual abortion event.  But symptoms such as depression, anxiety and insomnia can surface, triggered by the special focus around this holiday on motherhood.  For those who struggle with infertility (which can be directly related to a previous abortion procedure) this day can be especially painful.  Mothers can be tormented by the tragic choice to abort their only opportunity to love, nurture and parent a child.

But even in these tragic cases, death and despair do not have the last word.  In a healing program like Rachel’s Vineyard, parents can reconcile this loss and develop a spiritual relationship with their child as they go through the grieving and recovery process of the weekend.  The children lost to abortion can now be welcomed into their family and be remembered with love on Mothers/Fathers Day.  While there may still be a sense of natural grief, there is no longer despair.  Parents now have the living hope, rooted in the death and resurrection of Christ, of one day being united in Heaven with their precious child/children.

Susan Swander is a Rachel’s Vineyard team member in Oregon.  She shares this very beautiful reflection as a mother and reveals the fruit that awaits any mother or father that has the courage to repent and heal of their abortion loss:

-Yes, Mother’s Day can be a hard day.  But it can also be a day for women with abortion loss to celebrate being mothers.  So many women who have had abortions never thought of themselves as mothers, if they didn’t have any living children, until after a healing program like Rachel’s Vineyard.  And even someone like me who does have a living son, after doing my Rachel’s Vineyard retreats, Mother’s Day became a day for me to honor and celebrate my three aborted children & one miscarried.  So, now I have five children that I rejoice in.-

Jesus shares with us the source of this joyful hope:

 Do not let your hearts be troubled. You have faith in God; have faith also in me.  In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If there were not, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you?  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back again and take you to myself, so that where I am you also may be.  –John, 14

A blessed Mothers Day to all mothers and eternal peace and joy to those now with the Lord.

-Kevin Burke, MSS

A Special thanks to Susan Swander for her contribution and editing assistance.

Is Abortion Simply a Woman’s “Private Personal Decision?” Daniel Shares About His Father’s Abortion and Family Healing

Friday, April 17th, 2015


Daniel Rosa

In January 2015 at the annual March for Life a massive crowd of people carrying their pro life banners and signs processed past the Supreme Court in Washington, D.C.   Pro abortion apologists would see no reason for the thousands of women and men to march in protest and prayer insisting that abortion is a “private, personal decision between a woman and her health care provider.” 

Forty-two years after the Roe V Wade decision legalized abortion in the U.S. a young man named Daniel Rosa stands at the steps of the Supreme Court and shared how abortion has impacted his life and family.  Daniel’s testimony reveals that abortion can never be a private personal decision.  Daniel share’s about his father’s abortion and the loss of his brother David.  The brief story reveals the truth of how the Abortion Shockwaves touch not only the mother, but father and siblings of an aborted child…it is truly a family wound.

This testimony is also a poignant account of the great blessing when a father in humility acknowledges that at a time of darkness and weakness he made decisions that hurt his marriage, family and took the life of Daniel’s sibling.  But also see in this testimony, a son who continues to have the deepest love and respect for his father.  Daniel’s father models for his son that yes, a man can fall into darkness and make tragically bad decisions.  But his Father’s story also serves as a warning to his son to value the precious gift of human sexuality and human life.  If you fall, being a real man means having the courage and humility to honestly face your failings.  With God’s grace and with the help of others you can find healing and peace for yourself and your family.

There are many untold stories flowing from the Shockwaves of abortion that end much differently… in dysfunction, death and disintegration of marriage and family relationships.  Consider how many fathers engage in affairs and facilitate and at times coerce their partner’s abortions to cover up their secrets and lies.  Without healing they will continue to act out their sin and emotional pain in their lives and relationships placing their eternal souls at risk.    The stakes could not be higher for our families and our nation.

The first step is addressing one’s own abortion loss(es) in attending an abortion recovery program.  This opens the door to a support network of clergy/ministers, counselors and fellow Christians who understand the post abortion journey of recovery.  This network is essential as you begin the healing process for yourself and your family.

Here is a video and written presentation of Daniel Rosa’s testimony.  Please share this with friends, family and colleagues so others can understand the wider impact of the Shockwaves of Abortion on our families and society, and the hope of healing and restoration for those wounded by abortion loss.




Fetal Disability Abortions: The Compassionate Choice?

Monday, March 30th, 2015


Cast Out Garden

Couples Who Abort Due to Genetic Abnormality

[An Excerpt from Sharing the Heart of Christ]

Every year in the United States, approximately 133,000 pregnant mothers will undergo routine pre-natal tests and receive what is called “poor pre-natal diagnosis,” or PPD.  This means that their infant is afflicted with a chromosomal abnormality or a serious defect in a vital organ.  The most difficult and complicated grief that we witness on Rachel’s Vineyard Weekends involve couples that aborted a child for this reason.

With the increase in genetic testing and fertility treatments more couples are facing these difficult decisions.   Parents are often pressured by doctors, therapists, friends and family to “terminate” the pregnancy.  They are given the grim prospect of a child born prematurely who will die shortly after birth or suffer severe deformities and a brief life filled with suffering and pain.  Couples are vulnerable when confronted with many levels of anxiety, uncertainty and fear that are natural when trying to process such an event.

Sadly, health care professionals, friends and family often feed their worst fears.  Often with the best of intentions, they fail to offer life affirming alternatives that respect the dignity of unborn life, and in the long run are in the best interest of the mother and father, and especially their relationship.  Most couples only receive non-directive counseling, which means they are told only the various challenges and likely prognosis of the condition without offering other life-affirming resources.  This can be overwhelming and lead the parents in the aftershock of this news to see abortion as the best solution.

In one study, 80% of parents who received ‘non directive’ counseling chose to abort while 80% of parents who were provided with the option of perinatal palliative care chose to carry their child to term. [1] (Autumn 2008 Issue of Perspectives, the newsletter of the DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.)

Tragically, more than 90 percent of these pregnancies end in abortion.  When abortion is the preferred course of “treatment” not only is the baby’s life ended, but the lives of these parents are changed forever.  Like our first parents in the Garden of Eden, assuming this power over life and death has far reaching consequences beyond the decision to abort.   The fallout from this loss places a tremendous strain on a couple as they struggle to come to terms with the shock and pain of their experience.

Research confirms that women suffer years after the procedure:

Women 2-7 years after were expected to show a significantly lower degree of traumatic experience and grief than women 14 days after termination…Contrary to hypothesis, however, the results showed no significant inter-group differences. [2](More information and research on post abortion trauma for couples who abort due to fetal disability.)

Complicated Grief

These parents suffer from a particularly complex form of grief and guilt years after the experience.  They hunger desperately for healing and peace, but struggle to come to terms with their responsibility in the death of their child and the need for repentance, reconciliation and healing.  They feel strongly that their situation is “different” from others who abort.

Couples cling desperately to the idea that they did what was best for their child, saving them from a life, however brief, of suffering and pain.  In other scenarios they must choose among healthier embryos or multiple fetuses so that the healthiest survive.  Given the medical advice and pressure from a spouse or others, they feel they did not have a real choice.  As with any abortion decision where this is any ambivalence or pressure, they are at high risk for symptoms of post abortion trauma such as anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance etc.

The husband may see the abortion as protecting his wife from the pain of giving birth to a child who would have died, or would die shortly after birth or would have been born with a physical and mental handicap that sadly is seen as a burden to his wife and family.  In their efforts to establish control and take action, men are tempted to see abortion as the best solution.

After the abortion there can be considerable anger at God, whom couples often blame for putting them in this situation.   One couple expresses this struggle:

If we were given a normal child, we would not be suffering like this.  We are different from others who have aborted because we wanted this child.  God put us in this impossible situation, forcing us to make these painful decisions.  We are left without our child, and with powerful feelings of confusion, resentment anger and grief. 

Without a healing process for this complicated grief, this pain will surely impact marital intimacy, communication and trust and the relationship of parents with their living children.

Empty Arms and Wounded Hearts

It is only when these mothers and fathers come to a clearer and honest understanding of their abortion loss that they can begin to repent, grieve and heal.  An important part of this process is facing their role in that decision to abort, and the understandable fear and weakness that tempted them to embrace this solution.  When the rationalization and seemingly wise counsel of doctors and others fades away after the abortion, a mother and father are faced with empty arms and a wounded heart.  They must face the painful realization that this decision also aborted their opportunity to hold this child and offer that child love and affection for however long the baby lived.  In the case of Down’s Syndrome and other conditions, they were given a child with special challenges to love and care for, and in their rejection of that child, something in them has also died both individually and as a couple.

The healing process can never be forced.  We must be patient, especially in the early stages of healing as the wound is very raw. There can initially be great defensiveness.  It’s important to acknowledge their pain and loss, the confusing nature of the decisions and challenges that their fertility treatment/testing and medical care presented to them.  However, at some point in the process, when they are ready and with God’s grace and much prayer, they must face the truth that their abortion decision led them to make a choice that violated their parental hearts, created to love any children they conceived regardless of the challenges.  They will need to face that the abortion was a crisis of faith, one that we all face in different times in our life where we fail to trust God, and we make decisions that violate His will for us.  We must always speak to them in love, as fellow sinners who have aborted God’s will in our lives.

Lord, Please Help Me Not to Be So Perfect

Susan attended a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat after aborting a child diagnosed with a condition that would lead to her daughter’s death shortly after birth.   She expressed a desire to leave the retreat Saturday morning.  Susan shared:

I don’t fit in with these other women and men who freely chose abortion for “selfish” reasons.  I had no choice.  The choice I made was in the best interests of my child.

One of the priests serving on our retreat team spoke with her after breakfast on Saturday encouraging her to stay though the afternoon and then if she still felt the same way, she could leave.  Because of her trust in this priest, and the help of the Holy Spirit she decided to stay.

A major breakthrough occurred for Susan following the Living Scripture Exercise of the Woman Healed of a Hemorrhage offered on Saturday afternoon.  In this exercise, the participants have an opportunity to touch a cloth representing the cloak of Christ.   Susan approached the cloak that flowed from the base of a monstrance holding the Blessed Sacrament, and prayed, “Lord, please help me not to be so perfect, to want everything in my life to be perfect, even my child.”  She broke down in tears and continued on the weekend receiving an incredible amount of healing and peace.

At the memorial service Susan read a letter to her child apologizing for not having the courage to go through with the child’s birth and imminent death:

Our Dearest Marie,

How are you, sweetie?  How are you doing in Heaven?  Mommy and daddy really miss you.  Your brother, Vincent, asks about you all the time….Your sister, Veronica, would have loved to have a little sister like you because you and she would have been best friends…You are our little angel, our most beautiful child.

But we are both so sorry that we denied you that chance to be with our family.  You would have loved to be with us, to hear our voices, to have us touch you, hold you, and kiss you.  Even though it may only have been a short time:  months, days, or maybe just hours, deep Down I know that it would have been worth it.  We would have learned so much from you:  how to love, how to serve, how to be humble, and how to trust in our God completely! 

Dearest Marie…  Your daddy and I both need your prayers.  I know that you are in good hands, as Jesus has shown me that Mother Mary is taking care of you.  We will not worry about you, but you are forever in our hearts.  We love you so much, with all our hearts and all our souls.  We promise that we will pray to you always, tell you about all that is going on in our family.   We thank God that He has blessed us with you, that He has given us a chance to come to this retreat so that both your daddy and I would feel closer to you.  We look forward to the day that we will meet in Heaven, in the eternal home of God our Father, where we can finally hold you close and give you hugs and kisses.

Thank you for forgiving us.  You are forever our child and we are so blessed to be your parents.

Love always,

Mommy and daddy

It may take longer to make this transition but in Rachel’s Vineyard, individuals will experience some release of their pain and anguish.  They may still struggle to fully embrace repentance and healing.   The couple may remain attached to the idea that “we did what was in the best interests of our child” and may still wrestle with feelings of anger and resentment.  Offer ongoing support if appropriate and share any after care services that might assist them.  Offer prayers and encouragement and share with them that the grace of their healing experience has planted seeds that in time will bear a greater fruit.

For those offering the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats, it is important when couples register for the weekend sharing this type of loss, that you go over the entire weekend, making them fully aware of the process.  With that understanding, we can entrust them to the God of mercy and pray for the Holy Spirit to open their hearts to his forgiveness and healing, according to His perfect will and time.

Perinatal Hospice

Those ministering to engaged or married couples are in an excellent position to offer alternatives to abortion when a couple receives the painful news there is a problem with their pregnancy.  The type of counseling couples receive is critical to the decision to abort or give birth to a disabled child.

Fortunately there is a growing movement to provide Perinatal Hospice that supports couples who journey through the difficult birth, death and funeral of their child.  [Be sure to visit Perinatal Hospice and the excellent FAQ section of their website.] With encouragement and education they help provide the vital healing experience of embracing their child with love for as long as the baby lives. Though deeply painful, it gives parents and families the opportunity to celebrate the child’s life and to grieve this loss in a healthy way.   The couple and their family experience the natural process of grief.  With the support team of doctors, nurses, chaplains and social workers they can find healing and meaning in their suffering and loss.  Abortion robs parents of this opportunity.  While we can struggle to understand the meaning of suffering and death, especially of an infant, God’s grace and blessing abounds when life is embraced, loved and released with dignity, instead of abortion.

For those with a Downs syndrome diagnosis we must provide opportunities for parents to learn of the blessings as well as the real challenges that these children will present, to counter the negative picture presented by proponents of abortion.  It may be beneficial to have some contacts of parents who have a Downs Syndrome child who would be willing to speak to those faced with a Down Syndrome diagnosis.  Once parents get over the initial shock and fear of the unknown, their lives are filled with peace and as one mother told us, “I live with pure joy every day.  I’m learning about unconditional love from my son.”


Prenatal Partners for Life  If you have come to this site because you or someone you know has received an adverse or negative prenatal diagnosis, you have come to the right place. We are parents who have gone through similar circumstances and we want to offer support. We are here to help you. You are not alone!

National Association for Down Syndrome

National Down Syndrome Congress

The DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research

The Long Loneliness: Understanding Dorothy Day’s Mission in Light of her Abortion Loss

Monday, March 30th, 2015


Dorothy Day

Dorothy Day (1897-1980), Servant of God, co-founded the Catholic Worker newspaper and established houses of hospitality and farming communes where she lived with and served the poor and destitute.  Prior to this time, Dorothy Day sadly experienced a pregnancy that ended with an abortion, which she lamented.

In a letter to a woman written on February 6, 1973, she wrote:

 “Twice I tried to take my own life, and the dear Lord pulled me through that darkness — I was rescued from that darkness. My sickness was physical too, since I had had an abortion with bad after-effects, and in a way my sickness of mind was a penance I had to endure…”  Read More:

Emotional Quicksand: The Hidden Pain of Men After Abortion

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015


Emotional Quicksand

Michael Addis, Ph.D., writing in  Atlantic magazine reveals a life threatening problem for men. You are probably thinking; prostate cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes?

Dr. Addis writes of a different kind of disease that can strike men. This sickness lies deep in the recesses of the male psyche that features a self inflicted shame-based silence. This silence leaves men isolated and vulnerable to choosing death rather than revealing their secret areas of pain to a family member, colleague or friend.

Cut out the BS!

Dr Addis was working in an inpatient psychiatric unit when he interviewed Patrick, a handsome successful looking man with no previous mental health history. He was surprised to read in his chart that Patrick’s son recently discovered his father sitting on a couch in his family room with a loaded gun to his head. Initially the interview skated along on a superficial level revealing little of what led Patrick to such an obvious act of despair.

Fortunately Dr Addis offered some effective tough love rather than just go through the motions of the interview…“Can we be straight with each other and cut out the BS?” Patrick revealed a series of business failures that led to an increasing disparity between his wealthy lifestyle and the reality of his financial situation which over time made it impossible to pay the mortgage for his big fancy house.

Patrick’s depression increased as he kept his family and friends under the illusion that he and his business were just fine…all the time his economic and emotional prospects were in free-fall.

Dr Addis reveals:

He couldn’t face working, but he also couldn’t face telling people how bad things had gotten. Instead, he got up each morning, dressed as if he was going to work, forced a smile for his family, and either drove around the city or sat at a local coffee shop all day reading the newspaper. Eventually the depression became so overwhelming that he saw no other way out.  (The, Invisible Men, page 3)

A Sniveling Little Boy

Why didn’t he share his financial difficulties and pain with friends or family?

I should have been able to handle it…I fell apart and turned into a sniveling little boy… ‘Oh Mommy, please help me?’ I couldn’t let people see me like that. (Invisible Men pg 4)

A Newsweek feature on male depression had this to add:

…even when they realize they have a problem, men often view asking for help as an admission of weakness – a betrayal of their male identities…. Newsweek-Feb 26 2007 Issue: Men and Depression

Clearly many men have a lot of their self esteem and identity wrapped around their professional/business life.  Men learn from the schoolyard to the boardroom that revealing vulnerability and an inability to handle emotional or physical pain is a big mistake that will lead to ridicule and shame.

Being strong and working hard to provide for one’s family is an important and honorable part of male identity. However sometimes men need to share the burden of raising their families with spouses,  and other painful life issues with other men from church or counseling groups, and supportive family and friends.  The solitary male super-hero is an entertaining and sometimes inspiring image in and adventure movie .  But in the real world it can be an intense and lonely struggle for men negotiating the personal and business challenges of modern life.

Men and Abortion-Emotional Quicksand

But financial challenges are not the only emotional quicksand that can entrap men. I have found in my experience as a clinical social worker that a man’s experience of abortion can also leave him emotionally reeling without the support and information he needs to negotiate this life changing experience.

Given the current abortion statistics (55 million since 1973) millions of men have been involved in some way in an abortion decision and procedure. Regardless of one’s moral and political position on abortion, the reality is that many men experience their participation in abortion as a confusing and highly stressful experience. For those men who have ambivalence and especially those that do not support the abortion and are powerless to stop it, the aftermath can be especially devastating.

Jason Baier writes in Redeeming a Father’s Heart of his experience after being powerless to stop his partner’s abortion:

I…would often break down and cry from depression…I was angry all the time…stricken with panic attacks…No one seemed to understand or know how to deal with my loss. ( Redeeming a Father’s Heart , Pg 33)

Jason, like Patrick isolated and despairing, decided to take a bottle of prescribed sleeping pills and “never wake up.” Fortunately he experienced a moment of spiritual grace that held back his hand and released a deep seismic explosion of fatherly grief from the loss of his child.   Strengthened by this outpouring of grief, he read Dr. Catherine Coyle’s Men and Abortion: A Path to Healing  and was now on the road to real healing and recovery.

Breaking the Deadly Silence

Dr Addis broke through the deadly superficiality and the isolating silence that nearly killed his patient Patrick. Men who have suffered the loss of a child by participating in an abortion need to a safe place of trust and acceptance but also one of truth where they can freely share their experience of abortion and find healing.

As Patrick learned, men need the support and connection with others in sharing their struggles and pain. Men suffering after abortion and other areas of grief and loss learn that in sharing their weakness and getting help when suffering, they become stronger and better men and fathers.  This is male strength rooted in humility and community. Men learn the life saving message that we don’t have to handle it all on our own.


In closing,  a reflection on the Apostle Peter by Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI that can be a special source of inspiration and consolation for men suffering after abortion loss:

The school of faith is not a triumphal march but a journey marked daily by suffering and love, trials and faithfulness. Peter, who promised absolute fidelity, knew the bitterness and humiliation of denial:  the arrogant man learns the costly lesson of humility. Peter, too, must learn that he is weak and in need of forgiveness.

Once his attitude changes and he understands the truth…he weeps in…liberating repentance….he is finally ready for his mission.


The Pro Life Front Lines: The Joy and Grief of an Ultra Sound Tech

Tuesday, March 24th, 2015


Mike Stack

Mike Stack, who served for many years as an ultra sound technician and Regional Coordinator with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign went home to the Lord on August 14 2014.

Here is Mike’s important reflection for our November focus in the Shockwaves Initiative.  Mike shares of the joy and deep grief as an ultra sound tech with a pregnancy resource center.  He reveals the need for awareness and support for those on the front lines of the abortion battle and the blessing of emotional and spiritual healing of the complicated grief that can be part of the experience:

A little piece of my heart

By Mike Stack

A little piece of my heart is wounded each time we are unable to help a woman turn from her plan to abort the tiny human life within her womb. As an Ultrasound Technician for the past 35 years, I have had the honor of witnessing the work of the Lord, in the womb. “I knit you together in your Mother’s womb…” Psalm 139:13.

I have seen and documented the development of tiny humans as they progress through different stages of their lives. “You were made in My image” Genesis 1:27 “You are fearfully and wonderfully made” Psalms 139:14. “Even the very hairs on your head are numbered” Matthew 10:29-31. I have watched the children jump and stretch, stick their tongues out, yawn, suck their thumb, show me if they’re a boy or girl, listen their heart beat, measure their bones and waist size.

I have been privileged to watch their growth through the various stages of human development and share that view with their parents and our Creator. I can’t help but be attached to them, because I know them; I have seen and heard them. I have watched them play.

Many Post Abortion women have commented that a piece of their heart died with their aborted child, just like any parent that looses a child. It doesn’t matter what stage of development. What matters is that those that have lost a child have a deep grief.  Grief that is made worse when it is a secret, when there is no support for your grieving, no memorial, no family gathering. It’s as if the child never existed.

The survivors of the abortion try to go on with their lives as if this child did not exist. For many women and men this causes a festering wound that must be kept secret, the pain denied, until they are desperate enough to seek healing.

I found myself in a similar, secret (hidden) grieving place and didn’t know where to turn for help.

I am certainly moved by both the joy and the sorrow of the outcome following the Ultrasound at the Crisis Pregnancy where I volunteer. The Joy part is great. When we save a little one I’m reminded of the parable of the good Shepherd, how our Father values each and every one of us (especially the lost ones). When we lose one of these little ones it is hard to express the depth of my grief. These children touch my heart as I view them on the Ultrasound screen. A little piece of my heart dies each time we are unable to help the mother see her way to giving birth.

I found the place to turn to when I attended a Post-abortion recovery weekend retreat (Rachael’s Vineyard). To my surprise the grief I had been carrying came forth in uncontrolled, sobbing tears. I was grieving the loss of so many children I had come to know. I knew the torment that they went through and I knew of the pain that their parents were dealing with. With the other participants I went through the grieving and recovery process. Representing the children who I grieve, I picked names for them and memorialized their brief life on earth. I received a certificate of Life for Tanisha, Jawan, Bridget, Lawanda, Keesha, Brendan, Anton, Thomas, Joseph and Andrew. I entrust these children to the creator of life, recognizing the dignity and gift of each and every one of them.

I join the voices of those that are Silent No More.


Mike Stack MEV