Accessories to Death: Why Abortion is Never Simply a Woman’s “Private Health Care Decision.”

July 21st, 2015


Collateral damage 2

I was 16, and he was my first boyfriend. It was so easy to get caught up in the kissing and the touching and then quickly came the sex. He seemed to be so careful, using a condom every time.  It was New Year’s Eve, and we were drinking at a friend’s house. We slipped away to a bedroom, and I noticed he didn’t put a condom on. I asked him about it. He assured me that everything will be okay. But…it wasn’t.  Later, I was pregnant.

We went to different schools. He went to a small town school, and I went to a big powerhouse school. My goals were already set for college out of my hometown. He was planning on going to a community college nearby.  I was not letting anything stop me from going to college. I thought I was too smart to be pregnant at 16. It was embarrassing. I had to have an abortion. I thought it was my only option.

I told my boyfriend. He was not sure what to do. He was scared. He knew his parents would be so disappointed. Probably make him marry me. I certainly didn’t want to get married. No way! I loved him, but I didn’t want to end up in Small Town, USA. I wanted to leave Texas, I wanted to travel. So, I knew I had to end this pregnancy, even though this was against my religion. I was not letting anybody change my mind.

I did end up telling my oldest sister about my pregnancy. I wanted her to know what I was doing in case something went wrong; and I needed money. She told me she would not give me money, and I should tell my mom. I made her promise me not to tell my mom.  Well, she broke that promise and told my mom. My mom didn’t yell or get mad. She was just very sad.  Later, many, many years later, I find out she had an abortion, and she also was there for my older sister’s abortion. My mom did try to talk me out of it, but she knew I was not changing my mind.

As for the money…we needed $200 for the abortion. My boyfriend and I asked every friend we had for money. We asked for $5 or $10 until we got the money we needed. Little did they know to what they were contributing to…the death of our unborn child.  Better they didn’t know.

The day we went to the clinic is a bit of a blur. I remember bits and pieces of it very clearly and other parts are fuzzy. The first part I remember is the big orange chairs in the waiting room. My boyfriend and I sat next to each other and my mom sat across from me. We sat in silence. My boyfriend was on the verge of tears the whole time. It was early in the morning. We were the only ones in the room it seemed. I’m not really sure if we were. They called my name. I paid the $200 at the window and a nurse took me to another waiting room.

This time it was a small room with chairs all around the walls. Almost every chair was occupied. I found a seat and looked around and everyone seemed to be as sad as me. It seemed like I was waiting for so long.  I finally went into the procedure room. I undressed and put on a gown. I sat on the table until a nurse and doctor walked in. The doctor was talking to me, but he sounded like he was babbling. I couldn’t understand him. I felt numb. The nurse told me to lie down on the table.

She put my legs in the stirrups. The doctor was still talking. He turned on this big machine in the corner. He held up this white tube, and I felt it go inside me. It felt like suction. I turned my head to the right toward the huge machine. I felt like everything started to move in slow motion. I turned and saw two large glass jars attached to the side of this machine. I saw blood pouring into them. I saw the blood flowing through the clear tubes running from me to the jars. Then…the image I have burned into the deepest part of my soul…I saw white pieces of my baby’s body running through the tubes from my body into the jars. I turned my head back toward the ceiling. And that was when I began to have tears rolling out of my eyes. Tears for my baby. I knew right then and there that God would never forgive me. He would never love me again. I was a murderer. I had just killed my baby. I guess the nurse noticed. She grabbed my hand and said, “Everything will be okay.”  She was so terribly wrong.

The aftermath of my abortion rocked me to the core. After I left the clinic, I just put the whole experience away and didn’t think about it. My life went on, but it was never the same. I was hurting inside, and I didn’t know why. I did not show anyone that I was hurting inside.

I did not go away to college. I stayed in my hometown with my boyfriend and went to a local community college.   I still had desire to travel, so I joined the Air Force. My boyfriend and I stayed together for four more years, and got married.  We have four kids. I had put the memory of that horrific day so far away in my memory; I did not realize that was the reason for my sadness, depression, and anxiety. I did eventually show my husband the pain I was suffering. But we couldn’t figure out why I was so depressed. At that time, I was an officer in the Air Force. I always had to have a “game face” at work and when I would get home I would just collapse in exhaustion and depression.

It finally became too much to handle. I was admitted into the mental health ward of a hospital for a week. It was during this time, a sweet Chaplin told me about Project Rachel. I went through the healing program. Me and some other ladies who have also had abortions met for weeks going through activities that helped us progress through the healing process. I named my baby, received grace and forgiveness form God, but what I needed most…the beginning of forgiving myself. It was this program that led me to healing and helped me find God again.

Though I was able to find personal healing, my marriage was still suffering from the after effects of our abortion. My husband has never been able to speak of our baby, whose name is Matthew. I held on to this anger because my husband did not acknowledge our baby. I felt angry because he did not seem to suffer the way I did over the death of our first child.

I heard about Rachel’s Vineyard when I attended Project Rachel. Since then, 11 years ago, I have wanted to attend a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. I finally found one, and I planned on going alone. I told my husband I was planning on going, and to my surprise just out of the blue, he said “I’ll go with you.” Needless to say, I was shocked, and I jumped on the opportunity. I knew it was the Holy Spirit working on us. So, I signed us up, and made sure he did not back out.

My husband and I signed up to go on a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat in June 2015. It was a three hour drive for us to the retreat location. As we got closer to the site, my husband was getting very anxious about what was going to happen at the retreat. He wanted to know exactly what he was getting into. He said he was just going to support me. My prayer to God was that He would show Matthew to my husband.

The retreat was wonderful! It was more than I expected and especially valuable for my husband. On the very first night, our son spoke to my husband at 3 in the morning.My husband said the light around the door all of a sudden started to glow and get brighter and brighter as if it were daylight outside.   Then he heard a little boy’s voice say “Its okay daddy” and he knew it was our son. He began to cry uncontrollably for hours. He knew our son forgave him for not acknowledging him for 27 years. My husband now is going through his healing and fully acknowledges our son, Matthew.

I cannot say how grateful we are to Rachel’s Vineyard and the whole team who put it together. It was a top notch event. My husband and I look forward to helping other men and women in our home town who suffer from post abortion trauma and are discerning helping the Rachel’s Vineyard here. We are moving slowly as my husband naturally needs time to continue his healing and allow that grace to settle into his life.    But we are praying and are open to God’s will for our lives.

Useful Idiots: The Apologists for Planned Parenthood’s “Doctor of Death” Deborah Nucatola

July 15th, 2015


Amanda Marcotte

[Vladimir Lenin and Joseph Stalin used the term “polyezniy idiot” or “useful idiot” to describe sympathizers in the West who blindly supported Communist leaders.]

There is a rapidly spreading firestorm surrounding the video of Dr Deborah Nucatola, the medical director of Planned Parenthood. The video shows her enjoying her salad and red wine as she describes the harvesting of aborted pre-born human organs and body parts for sale to bio-medical companies.

What is perhaps even more disturbing, are some of the responses from those that serve as apologist for Planned Parenthood.

This from Amanda Marcotte at Slate:

As someone who is squeamish, it was extremely difficult for me to listen to Nucatola talk about extracting liver, heart, and other parts to be donated to medical research…But people who work in medicine for a living do, in fact, become inured to the gore in a way that can seem strange to those of us who aren’t regularly exposed to it. She also thought she was speaking to people in her profession who would be similarly accustomed to this sort of thing.

Marcotte pats the general public on the head (who are rightly horrified and sickened by the video) and assures us that you have to understand the context. Unless you are accustomed to the gore associated with an abortion procedure, you could easily misunderstand Dr Nucatola’s seemingly cavalier description of her trade.

It is one thing to be squeamish about graphic medical procedures. It is quite another to be so detached, as Dr Nucatola clearly is, from the reality of what this abortion doctor does for a living. Nucatola describes how in a mid and later term abortion, the unborn baby is decapitated and dismembered without anesthesia, at times with the intent of delivering the torso intact so you can harvest the organs.

This is not a matter of a natural discomfort with a graphic medical procedure. We are travelling here in much deeper and darker waters.

 The Nazi Doctors: It is Demonic that They Were not Demonic

Psychiatrist Robert Jay Lifton interviewed 28 former Nazi doctors, including five who worked in the death camps; and he also interviewed about 80 Auschwitz survivors, including many who worked as prisoner-doctors along with a German medical staff.

One survivor asked Dr Lifton what kind of men the Nazi doctors were.

“Neither brilliant nor stupid,” Lifton sums up his reply, “neither inherently evil nor particularly ethically insensitive, they were by no means the demonic figures–sadistic, fanatic, lusting to kill–people have often thought them to be.” The survivor interjects:   “But it is demonic that they were not demonic.” – The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton

Dr Lifton in his study of Nazi doctors discovered that these men developed the capacity to divide the gruesome and disturbing aspects of their role as Nazi doctors, from their normal life as family members, husbands, wives and parents:

Dr Lifton: These doctors had not killed anybody until they got to Auschwitz, so they weren’t extraordinary killers to start with. They were ordinary people who in that way were socialized to evil… They did selections, they selected in the camps…In a sense, they ran the killing process… So when they were in Auschwitz they had an Auschwitz self, which was responsible for doing all of this…But they would go home to their families, from Poland to Germany, for weekends or for leaves and they would be ordinary fathers and husbands where they would function in a relatively ordinary way… (The Nazi Doctors: Medical Killing and the Psychology of Genocide by Robert Jay Lifton)

Dr Lifton found that the Nazi doctors thought of the prisoners as pre-dead. Every prisoner in Auschwitz was marked to die, they reasoned. They had no control over that. To experiment on their prisoner/patients was to bring some good out of those who were already sentenced to death. To select the old and weak for the gas chambers was actually a form of compassion because it spared them the more painful experience of starvation.

Marcotte tells us it’s ok to extract the organs or body parts from unborn boys and girls because it’s what the parent wants…they are going to die anyway so might as well derive some benefit, right?

Marcotte: We also shouldn’t deny women who want to donate fetal or embryonic remains to science any more than we would deny someone who wants to be an organ donor, even though the latter is also quite gross to ponder.

Of course she fails to mention that organ donors volunteer to offer their body to science after natural death. You can’t decide to euthanize your elderly relative and say it’s Ok because you are donating their organs to science.

Buchenwald Was “Gross”

More from Amanda Marcotte at Slate about how abortion can be “gross”:

Abortion is gross, no doubt about it. It becomes grosser the later in a pregnancy it gets. But so is heart surgery. So is childbirth, for that matter. We don’t deny people who need help in those cases because the help is gross. Nor should we deny people that help when it comes to needing abortion.

Nazi doctors were seduced by the twisted philosophy of Hitler and other German racial purists.   Dr Lifton revealed that these men felt called to be part of a great messianic medical mission – cleansing the body of the great German nation of the Jewish infection.

But this would require some messy and really gross medical work.

This soldiers who liberated Buchenwald discovered some pretty gross things:

The bodies of human beings were stacked like cords of wood…The stack was about five feet high, maybe a little more; I could see over the top. They extended down the hill, only a slight hill, for fifty to seventy-five feet. Human bodies neatly stacked, naked, ready for disposal. The arms and legs were neatly arranged, but an occasional limb dangled oddly. The bodies we could see were all face up. There was an aisle, then another stack, and another aisle, and more stacks. The Lord only knows how many there were. – Liberation of Buchenwald by Harry J. Herder, Jr.

It’s ok! It’s legal!

The Nazi doctors were doing nothing illegal in Nazi Germany. The systemic destruction of the Jewish people, the mentally disabled and other enemies of the state was the law of the land.

Samantha Allen at the The Daily Beast tells us not to get ourselves all worked up over this sensational video…it’s all perfectly legal…so everything is good:

But although Nucatola’s comments raise questions about the acquisition of fetal tissue and the ethical issues surrounding its collection, the transfer of human fetal tissue is not illegal in the United States. Women undergoing abortions sometimes choose to donate fetal tissue for scientific research and abortion providers do not facilitate these donations without their explicit consent.

Useful idiots indeed.

The Shockwaves of Roe V Wade

Abortion became the law of the land in 1973. The Shockwaves of that seismic event continue to impact the unborn, and the parents, family, friends, and all those intimately connected to those procedures.  But the publicly sanctioned practice of fetal killing has an even darker fruit; the corruption of the mind, heart and soul of those that become facilitators and apologists for this practice.

The video of Dr Nucatola reveals that just as with the Nazi doctors, these normal men and women learn to divorce the gruesome reality of their medical practice from their everyday life and activities. Dr Nucatorla enjoys a nice lunch while discussing ripping a living unborn human fetus apart (without anesthesia), safely removing the body parts, and harvesting the little boy or girl’s organs.

Please pray for Dr Nucatola. Pray that the firestorm around this video leads her to repentance and healing. Pray that she comes to see how abortion has so deeply twisted her as a physician and as a human being.








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

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

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

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

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?

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

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: Empty Arms and Wounded Hearts

March 30th, 2015


Cast Out Garden

 [Monday March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day. The Jerome Lejeune Foundation is one of the leading organizations behind the day.  In a 2012 publication in Prenatal Diagnosis, their research calculated a 67% termination rate following prenatal diagnosis of Down Syndrome.  This day provides an opportunity to look at the challenges couples face after abortion of their unborn children diagnosed with Down Syndrome and other disabilities.] 

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 for healing after abortion, 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. (Autumn 2008 Issue of Perspectives, the newsletter of the DeVeber Institute for Bioethics and Social Research.)

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. (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 programs like Rachel’s Vineyard, or with the compassionate counsel of a minister or counselor 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 aborted.

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

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: