Archive for the ‘Rachel’s Vineyard’ Category

This Planned Parenthood Scandal Gives Grave Robbing a New Meaning

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

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StemExpress and Planned Parenthood, both recently featured in Center for Medical Progress videos, are taking grave robbing to a new level according to Richard Esposito, the publisher, of the Placerville Mountain Democrat. He writes that “grave-robbing has become acceptable in the name of science and those engaged in the business can make a good buck.”

So for some, the work of baby body part harvesters is akin to grave robbing, a practice that involves bodies being dug up after burial in order to harvest their body parts for research.

In the case of aborted babies though, most of the bodies don’t even get buried before someone is lining up to claim their body parts. In many cases the dignity of a human person’s life has been so devalued by acts such as abortion that the defenseless preborn babies are not even recognized as humans but as commodities, to be chopped up and sold to the highest bidder.

As a post abortive mother, I still shudder to wonder what happened to my aborted and miscarried babies; little people. When I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat for healing after my two abortions, and miscarriage I named and memorialized the babies. This forgiveness and healing process, available to everyone, helps to restore dignity to those lost and harmed by abortions.

Thank God for Priests for Life, and all pro-life warriors who respect human life and work to restore the dignity that has been taken away from millions of aborted babies and their parents. Because Baby, Mother and Daddy suffer in the process.

Many aborted babies never receive names, proper burials or graves. But Priests for Life is working to change this indignity.

At a naming ceremony in June 2013 despite the medical examiner’s refusal to release the babies for proper burial, The baby victims of Dr. Gosnell, the doctor convicted on three counts of first degree murder for ‘snipping’ the spinal cords of babies he delivered alive, were given names, and memorialized.

Fr. Frank has also presided at a number of funerals for aborted babies. Also, on September 12 of each year there is a National Day of Remembrance for Aborted Children where memorials are conducted at sites all over America in tribute to the humanity of the aborted children.

All too often society would look away from the truth that babies being aborted by the millions. Yet we must not forget that these babies are human beings created by God; little human persons deserving of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

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African American Victim of Rape and Molestation Says Abortion is Another Form of Enslavement for the Black Community

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

This blog below by my colleague, Kevin Burke, LSW, reminds me of the need to refocus the exception clause in the abortion debate.

As the controversy over the “rape and incest” exceptions continues to rage on, we must keep in mind that just as rape and incest are devastating traumatic events in a girl’s/woman’s life, abortion, too, is a devastating traumatic event that only compounds the rape or incest trauma.

In an effort to comfort rape and incest victims, many err by offering abortion as a way to eliminate some of the pain victims experience. Yet, abortion doesn’t heal anyone; it brings pain, suffering and death to babies and many of their mothers. Abortion also doesn’t solve problems. Rather, abortion creates new problems for women, men, families and society.

- Alveda King

150209 blog imageOnawu Pickett is an ordained Christian minister. She feels a special calling by God to reach out to African Americans who are being ravaged by the Shockwaves of Abortion through public speaking and personal ministry.

In the following interview, Onawu tells her own story and shared some very important insights on how to better reach the millions of black families wounded by abortion loss:

Kevin: Onawu can you share with us some of your family background?

Onawu: My mother and father were migrant farm workers. She married my father when she was only 16, still very much a child herself. They met in a work camp in the season of chopping cotton in the central valley of California. Mama only went to school up to the sixth grade which led to a very limited education.

I was molested at age four by a neighbor’s son who is in prison to this day for armed robbery and rape. The boy that molested me was older…not sure how much older. His mother was my baby sitter and his parents were my parent’s good friends. I never shared this with my parents. The lie told by the molester was that I would be in trouble if I did would stick with me for the rest of my life.

My father was very abusive to my mother. He was very good looking and a drifter as well as a con artist. He was also educated and up on world events. His grandmother was a slave.

My grandmother struggled with mental health issues. My grandfather was a very humble man who very seldom lost his temper. He was murdered in 1963 by one of his seven daughter’s husband in a very small farming community of Fairmead, CA.

Kevin: What impact did those early experiences of violence, molestation have on you?

Onawu: As I reflect back on my life it started out in a pretty violent and twisted environment. With the challenges I faced in my family, I struggled with a sense of shame, not really understanding this…but also a fear of being rejected. Always looking for acceptance; yet always wanting to run away.

I use to fantasize about being adopted. I wanted a different family. My father was affectionate to me and my two sisters and brothers…but I couldn’t grasp why my mother did not say she loved us and did not show affection to us. I did not want to be punished so I will do what was asked of me, whether it was right or wrong.

The impact caused me to be a companion to intimidation, depression, a lack of self esteem and being the victim of others that had issues to want to control others. Oh yes, rejection and bitterness kept me in bondage. All I wanted was love and security. Because of my mother’s lack of education and her youth; and my father unwilling to be a Godly man (he was atheist) I felt a deep sense of insecurity.

Kevin: When we spoke earlier by phone, you shared that you were a victim of rape.

Onawu: Yes I was raped in 1972 when I was a senior in high school. I never did report the incident to the police or my parents. I knew the identity of my rapist. He was someone that I used to date. He raped me six months after we broke-up. I did not report the incident because I was afraid no one would believe me. My father wanted me to have an abortion, but I was too far along. He had a social worker come to talk to me about adoption. My mother convinced me to keep the baby and she would help me to raise him while I went to school. I graduated from high school in June of 1973. I am glad I did not abort. My son is a wonderful man who is serving in the army. He has done two tours in Iraq.

Kevin: Your first abortion occurred when you were a college student, correct?

Onawu: My first abortion in 1974, I was 20 years old and shortly after the Roe vs. Wade decision…and yes I was attending junior college at the time. When I learned I was pregnant the young man did not want the responsibility and he was already seeing someone else as well. I was referred to Planned Parenthood by a friend. I got involved again a year later with another man who was in the military was the same scenario, resulting in another abortion. I was caught up in the confusing moral climate of the time, you know, love the one you’re with. Searching for security and love in ALL the wrong places.

Like many others of my generation. It is amazing how easy it was for me to accept the pro abortion Planned Parenthood counseling back then. I was convinced that I was not carrying a human being. I was able to believe that abortion was the answer because I needed a quick fix and a cover up for a repeated act of not being a nice girl.

I met someone and married him after my second abortion. It was a stormy relationship with infidelity on his part. We had two children. He abandoned us and got involved with another woman and we divorced after seven years together.

I met a wonderful man a couple of years later. We have been together 28 years with two children together. I thank God that I had a change of heart and HE erased my shame.

Kevin: It was many years later that you decided that you needed to reach out for help from your abortion pain. What led you to take that step?

Onawu: I need to share with you some symptoms I was experiencing after my 2nd abortion. It was sometime after that I would go over overpasses or bodies of water that I actually felt that I would throw an infant over the railings into the water or over into a canyon. If I was holding a child in my lap I would hold the baby tighter. Sometime I would fight tears.

I had this fear for years up until I went to a PACE bible study program at the local Pregnancy Resource Center. I was in my fifties when the Lord brought it to my attention that constant fear and anxiety was connected to my abortions.

I faced what I had done and repented. God willingly forgave me and helped me to forgive myself. After I went through the process I wanted to share my story and tell others, especially women about God’s forgiveness and love. I gave my testimony at a local prayer group called Aglow International. It was confirmed by God that this is one major thing HE wanted me to do tell others you can be set free of your past with a major emphasis on my fellow Afro Americans.

I began to research and through this research I contacted Priest for Life. I was directed to Rachel’s Vineyard for further healing and education. I contacted the nearest retreat which would be held in Santa Rosa, CA. I was blessed to been able to attend the retreat. I did receive further healing. They were so loving, patient and more than willing to be at your side thru every step.

Kevin: Can you share about your Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat Experience?

Onawu: It was an intense three days. The men in attendance were surprisingly open to the sessions as they began to take responsibility for there part in forcing in some instances there partners’ decision to have the abortion. Tears began to flow, stony hearts were turned to flesh. In some instances the men had no say so in the woman’s decision and mourned the loss of his child. Some of the men came without a partner.

It was obviously difficult going thru the process but we all made it thru. . .individuals, couples and some grandparents were there as well. I heard testimonies how thru the retreat lives were being changed, knowing that they were on the road to healing.

Kevin: Onawu, we know that minority women face higher rates of sexual abuse, violence and rape. Do you see these things as making African American women more vulnerable to unplanned pregnancy and also seeing abortion as the best option?

Onawu: Yes. When the slaves were taken from our homeland, many women who were pregnant with child would throw themselves overboard and drown so as not to bring their children into slavery. Some women would drown themselves and their live children. I know that abortion is a form of bondage as well.

I believe that we have been conditioned to believe giving up life will make it all better for mother and child. For the child it would not have to face a cruel world and not wanted by its parents or society. Being a single mother would keep us down, and from pursuing an education and no one would want you or your kid. In other words a child out of wed lock will keep us from the pursuit of happiness…so the lie says. The woman could not carry a baby for nine months and give it up to adoption; this would be an added burden psychologically. Another mind set is why bring a child in the world and suffer the same tragedies as the mother.

Kevin: What are some of the obstacles you see in getting a message of awareness and healing to our African American Christian churches? How can we open doors to healing our families and communities?

Onawu: Some of the obstacles are trying to convey awareness to our church leaders to convince them that some of our women and men are tragic victims of abortion. Some of our leaders don’t understand the mental anguish of the consequences of abortions for mothers and fathers. Lack of knowledge is damaging, the truth shall make us free.

Some of our politicians and Christian ministers and leaders need healing as well…of their own participation in abortion and by encouraging others to abort. I believe lack of education and perhaps the ability to face their own past lead them to put up defensive walls. Maybe our church leaders would consider part of the confession of St. Augustine, “For thou has made us for thyself and restless is our heart until it comes to rest in thee.” Let us love what God love and hate what God hates.

I believe more of us need to share our testimonies not only in our churches but in government halls. Unfortunately we do a lot of sweeping hurtful issues under the rug and throw accountability out the window. Healing comes with love, compassion and forgiveness at least in my case God’s love swept away my shame.

God also helped me to forgive myself. I would love to see some celebrities hearts be touched to share their testimony I pray someone brave in the entertainment industry would stand up and come along side those who have testified about the hurt of abortion in their life. I am talking about those who our young folk took to.

We must be examples of hope and life for generations to come. My prayer is that we no longer be enslaved to poverty and violence; especially in the womb; not only for African Americans but for human beings as a whole.

Kevin: Please touch on what we discussed about abortion being a trap, exploiting women. Touch on the importance of healing in the black family.

Onawu: We need to regain our dignity. The fact of the matter is we have lost self respect. We have been conditioned to believe that we have no future unless we remain dependent of the county and state. We have patterned ourselves by allowing The Margret Sangers of the world to cheat us of our dignity and the right to life and family.

The Proclamation of Emancipation was signed into affect January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln…but we are still in bondage to think we will never be any better. We must know that the abortion industry was designed to eradicate black people as a race. Without our children we have no future. We are erasing our scientist, doctors, teachers, leaders and so forth. Healing brings on the continuing of love, hope and success in our communities to share with other races as well.

We need very much to return to respecting the wisdom of our elders and embrace them with respect; for they were our guides that kept us on track with prayer and experience. We can have laws changed but without a change of heart the laws will be hard to enforce. Some one must lay their lives down as Dr. King did for human rights, whether they are still in the matrix or born into this world. A quote from the bible says it best: “Open your mouth for the speechless, in the cause of all who are appointed to die. Open your mouth, judge righteously and plead the cause of the poor and needy.” (Proverbs 31:8-9) NKJ bible.

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As Terrible as it May Sound – Understanding the Widespread Indifference to Black Abortion Rates

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2015

By: Kevin Burke, LSW and Dr. Alveda King

In The Chicago Tribune (April 25, 2011) Dennis Byrne used a billboard controversy in Chicago as an urgent plea to move beyond the polarizing abortion rhetoric and take a closer look at abortion in the African American community.

The billboard features a picture of President Barack Obama and proclaims:

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“Every 21 minutes our next possible leader is aborted.” It’s part of a national campaign that states that “Black children are an endangered species.”

It’s hard to argue with the facts.

The Shockwaves of Abortion have especially devastated the African American family. According to the Census Bureau, the rate of abortions in 2006 among black women was 50 per 1,000, compared with 14 for white women and 22 for “other” women. In New York City, 6 out of every 10 unborn African Americans are aborted! Since 1973, 13 million African American pregnancies have been ended by abortion.

What is the public response to the alarming abortion rate, especially in places like NYC? The response is often indifference… and silence.

However, a response to Byrne’s Chicago Tribune article in the comments section is illuminative, because beneath this silence lie unspoken assumptions:

“Let them exercise their right to abortions. As terrible as it may sound, imagine the crime rates and social services that would be required in addition to all we already provide, if abortions didn’t happen in the black community.”

For many Americans, (particularly among non blacks) abortion is seen as an unpleasant but necessary solution to managing the birth rate in communities where the family is already on life support and city and state budgets for social services are pushed to the breaking point.

Missing the Post-Abortion Connection

The tragic mistake here is the failure to see the high price that minority communities pay for their high abortion rate. There is a dynamic and toxic synergy at work in the after-effects of the abortion procedure interacting with and intensifying the ongoing social problems that plague these communities. How does the experience of abortion make black women, their living children and relationships more vulnerable to ongoing dysfunction, exploitation, poverty and abuse?

In Forbidden Grief: The Unspoken Pain of Abortion, Dr Theresa Burke reveals that for many women, while abortion may initially appear to solve the problem of an unplanned pregnancy, the unfolding consequences of the procedure can be devastating. This is especially true for women who have a previous history of sexual, emotional/physical abuse. Dr Burke found that in her work with thousands of post abortive women, this population with previous abuse/trauma had a higher rate of depression, anxiety, relationship instability, and parenting problems after their abortion.

If we look at the rate of sexual abuse among Africa Americans, we find a group of women that is especially vulnerable to post abortion complications:

* 1 in 4 women, 3.3 million African American women have been sexually abused.
(No Secrets No Lies: How Black Families Can Heal from Sexual Abuse, Robin D. Stone)

How does previous abuse intensify post abortion symptoms and complicate post abortion recovery?

Dr Burke shares in Forbidden Grief that the invasive and painful experience of the abortion procedure serves to re enact the physical and emotional violation of previous sexual abuse. After the abortion the women experiences a powerful resurgence of the repressed shame, anxiety, and grief of that previous exploitation. The common coping mechanism for this unleashed traumatic emotion…addictive substances, impulsive acting out in relationships, episodes of rage and grief.

We think that abortion will protect an African American woman from the challenges of single parenthood, or the burden of additional mouths to feed. But this is a suicidal trap for the black community.

Abortion creates emotional, spiritual and physical wounds and vulnerabilities that only exacerbate pre existing abuse and other trauma and makes women more vulnerable to ongoing exploitation, dysfunction and abuse and in their relationships.

We know that this instability and dysfunction in relationships leads to breakdown in family life, leaving children vulnerable to predatory relatives, partners and friends. The cycle continues…more abuse, more trauma, more abortions, more death.

Multiple Abortions

When a woman has her first abortion, and is unable to find emotional and spiritual healing of that loss, she is more likely to find herself on the abortionist table again. The most recent statistics from the Alan Guttmacher Institute reveal that 47% of abortions are repeat procedures. Many see this as callous irresponsibility on the part of minority women (though repeat abortion statistics are consistent among other nationalities.)

But there is a tragic psychological drama unfolding in the lives of these post abortive women. Dr Burke explored the dynamics of repeat abortions in her international clinical experience. She discovered that abortion in these cases becomes part of an unconscious process to gain mastery over the experience and feelings associated with the initial abortion trauma…to feel a sense of control, and over time, detached indifference.

But this traumatic mastery comes at a high price as emotional and relational dysfunction flourish in these women’s lives. (This reveals the importance of emotional and spiritual healing of this loss, for women and men in programs like Rachel’s Vineyard. Obviously we want to prevent abortions if at all possible. However, if there is an abortion, healing resources are essential after that initial procedure to prevent multiple abortions and deepening dysfunction.)

The Cycle of Death

This cycle of death and destruction in the African American community will never end as long as abortion is seen as an acceptable way to respond to an unplanned or unwanted pregnancy. It is indeed challenging to face the scope and complexity of the problems facing our poor minority communities. It is tempting to see abortion as a cost effective and even compassionate short term solution to these problems:

“As terrible as it may sound, imagine the crime rates and social services that would be required in addition to all we already provide, if abortions didn’t happen in the black community.”

As terrible as it may sound?…it’s even worse than it sounds.

Abortion, far from being a cost effective solution is in effect accelerating the devastating implosion of poor minority communities.

Dr Alveda King, Niece of Dr Martin Luther King, Jr. and other influential African American leaders, are pointing to the film Maafa21 produced by Life Dynamics as proving factual evidence that this implosion in poor black communities is rooted in a well planned and orchestrated strategy of genocide by the eugenics movement. Blacks, the poor and other minorities are at the top of the list for elimination, or at the very least reduction of their populations by abortion. If you think this is crazy conspiracy thinking, please take the time to view this powerful film and remember that 6 out of 10 unborn black children die by abortion in New York City alone.

Justice for All

In her book KING RULES, Dr. Alveda King shares her own testimony not only of abortion, but of healing and God’s forgiveness. She also often quotes her uncle Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., when she addresses the issue of abortion:

Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Targeting vulnerable minority communities with birth control and abortion services has decimated the black community. But genocide in any form is an injustice to our society as a whole and threatens the fundamental and inalienable rights and liberties endowed to all of us by our Creator.

A just and compassionate society must find solutions that value the lives of African American unborn children and the health and welfare of their parents and communities. Abortion is not the answer.

Dr. Alveda King is the daughter of the late civil rights activist Rev. A.D. King and his wife Naomi Barber King, and serves as a Pastoral Associate and Director of African-American Outreach for Priests for Life and Gospel of Life Ministries. Kevin Burke, LSW is the co founder of Rachel’s Vineyard Ministries, also serves as a Pastoral Associate with Priests for Life and is the author of Redeeming A Father’s Heart.

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Every Baby has a Mother, and a Father

Monday, May 6th, 2013

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The Chris Evert and Jimmy Connors story is a chilling reminder that aborted babies have two parents. The two tennis greats are in the news because of their abortion years ago. Not her abortion, their abortion.

How many fathers are denied the opportunity to see their children whose mothers chooses to abort when the fathers don’t agree? The law gives the father no choice even though 23 of the chromosomes of the aborted baby belong to him.

Many people say that men should stay out of the abortion debate; that it’s none of their business; that they have nothing to do with what a woman does with her body.

Just like the Kermit Gosnell murder trial opened a can of worms that the abortion industry did not want opened, the Conner/Evert situation is proof of another can that needs to have the lid snapped right off.

For 40 years women have been having legal abortions and there have been many situations where the woman is forced or coerced into having an abortion against her will. But there have also been cases where the fathers did not want their baby aborted but were told it was not their decision, their choice to make.

Coming out in the news yesterday was an article on TVNZ about Chris Evert, the tennis star, blasting her former beau, Jimmy Connors, for writing in his book about the abortion that he blames for breaking them up in the 1970s. He wrote that his response [to learning that she wanted an abortion] was: “‘Well, thanks for letting me know. Since I don’t have any say in the matter, then I guess I am just here to help’.

As more time since the passing of Roe v. Wade goes by, more and more men are stepping forward to talk about their abortions and the consequential collateral damage they have experienced.

Some of these testimonies can be heard at the men’s link at Silent No More Awareness Campaign.

Rachel’s Vineyard, a ministry of healing after abortion, has also seen an increased participation by men in their weekend healing retreats. In fact, the need for healing for post abortive fathers has grown so much that they now have a page dedicated to men and abortion.

As I often say, abortion hurts women and men. The “and men” should not be an afterthought because the reality is that while men may not be able to get pregnant or carry an unborn baby, the loss of their children is just as real and the pain of that loss can be just as devastating as it is for women.

Abortion is about the killing of a human life. Any participation in that killing or the inability to do something to prevent their child’s death can have traumatic effects on the life of the father as well as the mother.

As Kevin Burke, co-founder of Rachel’s Vineyard wrote on May 4, 2011 in his story of celebrity Steven Tyler’s abortion:

“The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders defines a traumatic event as follows: “1. The person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others. 2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.”

“Those who support abortion rights assure us that post-abortion complications are a myth. But Steven Tyler cuts through this fog of denial and lays it on the line: Jesus, what have I done?

“This is the cry of a post-abortive father whose very intimate exposure to the reality of abortion fits the textbook definition of trauma — as set down by the very same American Psychiatric Association that assures us abortion is a safe procedure with no negative effects on a man’s or a woman’s mental health.”

I thank God that the father of my fifth child said “no” to my having another abortion. He knew that 23 of the chromosomes were his and he wanted them to be given life in the baby I was carrying. My grandfather agreed with him.

While these two men didn’t have wombs, they had a stake in the life of the baby. Connors’ pain is telling us something. Every baby has a mother and a father.

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