Children in Foster Care and Children in the Womb Have Something in Common

May 18th, 2018

The concept of drug problems in youth.

Because of the opioid epidemic, record numbers of children are coming into foster care:

Every 15 minutes a baby is born substance-exposed. Nearly 50,000 will enter care this year, more than ever before…

Author Darcy Olsen writes in National Review that now more than ever, the system is in serious need of reform:

The purpose of foster care is to provide temporary safety for children, but for thousands it has become a life sentence.

Like pre-born children in the womb, children in foster care are denied some of the “basic constitutional rights we cherish as Americans.”

In America, the criminally accused have a constitutional right to counsel and to the speedy disposition of their cases; these children don’t.

And the legal protections afforded these children are decidedly weaker than those given to their abusers.

As the judge in one of my severance hearings said, “I’d like to remind everyone in the courtroom that mom’s rights are constitutional, and baby’s rights are only statutory.”   

Darcy Olsen is a foster mother and founder and CEO of Generation Justice, which works to extend constitutional rights and protections to foster children.

Olsen shares:

I fostered “Emma” as a newborn. She is still a ward of the state as she nears her sixth birthday. Statistically, Emma is more likely to end up in prison than to be adopted.

Or consider a teenager I know. “John” entered state care in diapers. He was never returned home or adopted. He’s lived 16 years in the system — in 48 different homes.

Like the nearly 60 million preborn children who have died in the womb, children in foster care are often denied basic constitutional rights.

There are the lasting consequences for these children and for our society.

The author presents some promising developments in Arizona indicating that change to existing laws is possible – changes that protects vulnerable children.

Arizona’s has enacted new legislation that can be used as a model to guide lawmakers nationwide.

Please read Olsen’s full article in National Review:

America’s Flood of Opioid Orphans

Women with a Past Abortion Loss can Celebrate Mother’s Day?

May 11th, 2018

Mother Baby Connection

By Kevin Burke, LSW

Susan Swander, a Rachel’s Vineyard team member in Oregon shares:

“Yes, Mother’s Day can be a hard day for women with abortion loss. But it can also be a day for those women to celebrate being mothers.”

How is it possible that a secret and shameful event from the past…can be a cause for celebration?

To understand this good news, we first need to explore the heart of the abortion wound.

So many of the symptoms women and men struggle with after abortion such as depression, anxiety, addictions, and relationship problems are rooted in the following:

– Abortion attacks the unique relationship between a mother and her unborn child

– A woman who has experienced abortion loss has within her heart, soul and body a powerful desire to reconnect in love as mother with her aborted child or children.

– Given her role in the child’s death, the circumstances of the pregnancy and trauma associated with the procedure, it can be very difficult to sort through the emotional aftermath and pain to find peace and reconciliation.

The Intimate Relationship of Mother and Child

Until that bond between parent and child is re-established in an abortion recovery program, women and men may develop substitute relationships with things like substances, work, and sex as a way to cope with repressed grief and the complicated feelings that often accompany the abortion experience.

Often these symptoms lead to the process of traumatic re-enactment resulting in repeat abortion procedures (close to 50% of all abortions are repeat procedures.)

Abortion is an especially sensitive wound for women given their unique role in pregnancy and childbirth. With conception, a mother’s body is quite aware that there is a very small child growing in the womb.

The female body is anything but “pro-choice.” From the beginning she begins the intimate process of nurturing and protecting the developing life that resides within her.   A woman’s body is clearly pro-baby and pro-life.

We know that pressure from the baby’s father, other family members, fears and anxieties about motherhood, and challenging circumstances can lead parents to see abortion as the only way to resolve an unplanned pregnancy.

Yet, even when a conscious decision to abort seems the only possible solution, (which of course it is not), and she experiences a sense of relief after the procedure, a mother is still deeply injured when she participates in severing that intimate relationship as the mother of her unborn child.

Thanks to the mercy of God and the physical resurrection of Jesus, our Christian faith gives mothers the sure hope that while there may have been a physical separation with the child (or children), she never stopped being the mother of her unique and precious child.

When parents go through an abortion recovery program, they come to understand and more importantly, intimately experience a new reality. The bond between parent and child, which was denied for many years, is now resurrected and firmly rooted in their maternal and paternal heart.

The spiritual relationship with their child in this life, and the hope of reunion in eternal life to come with the Lord, is a source of great consolation and peace.

Susan shares:

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.”

 

Lenin, Fatima, and the Annihilation of the Unborn

May 9th, 2018

lenin-and-fatima

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder…  (Matthew 15:19)

Last May 13 we celebrated the 100th anniversary of the first appearance of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the shepherd children of  Fatima, Portugal in 1917.

The apparition featured the greatest publicly witnessed miracle since the resurrection of Christ.

In October of that same year of 1917, Vladimir Ulynov (better known by his alias Lenin) led the atheistic communist Bolshevik party to power in the Russian Revolution.

The Blessed Mother warned at Fatima of Russia spreading her errors across the globe, and the threat of another catastrophic war with grave consequences for humanity.

But Fatima is not just a fascinating historical event to commemorate and quickly forget.

As you will see, the messages and warnings of Fatima continue to have special relevance and urgency for our times.

Revolution Rooted in Rage

The seeds of the Russian communist revolution were planted in Vladimir Lenin many years before the Bolsheviks seized power in October 1917.

In January 1886, when Lenin was 16, his father died of a brain hemorrhage.  The loss of the families stabilizing father figure appears to have played an important role in Lenin’s embrace of revolutionary ideology.

After the death of his father, Lenin renounced his belief in God.

Russia under the Tsars provided few outlets for healthy political expression and intellectual freedom.  Lenin’s older brother Alexander, like other disenchanted Russian intellectuals, was seduced by Marxist revolutionary ideology.

In March 1887 Alexander was part of an unsuccessful plot to assassinate the Tsar.   Alexander and his co-conspirators were executed.

The death of his brother Alexander led to an embrace of Marxist philosophy, economic theory and revolutionary politics.

Lenin’s smoldering grief and hatred of the Russian Monarchy metastasized into a lust for power through Marxist revolution.

Angels and Shepherd Children

In Fatima Portugal, as men like Lenin were orchestrating communist revolution, another story was unfolding.

In 1916 three shepherd children were visited by an angel as they tended their sheep.

As the First World War raged on in Europe and blasphemy and atheism were spreading like a malevolent virus, the Angel of Fatima declared to the shepherd children:

I am the angel of peace.

Pray with me:  

“My God, I believe, I adore, I hope, and I love You. I ask pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You.”

In the aftermath of this angelic visitation, the children were unable to speak for a time as they were so overwhelmed by the powerful presence of God.

The Angel gave the timely plea for the children to make sacrifices, “in reparation for the outrages, sacrileges and indifferences by which [God] is offended” and for the conversion of sinners in danger of eternal separation from their Creator.

Later in the apparitions Mary revealed a frightening vision of hell to the children. The mother of Jesus spoke of her sorrow at the potential loss of so many souls that were falling into grave sin.

Yet this was surely also a warning that the sin and arrogance of men promoting new anti-Christian and pagan ideologies, were summoning the powers of hell upon the earth.

In the same apparition where the children were shown this terrifying vision of hell, the Mother of Jesus warned:

The [First World War] is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI (1922-1939.) When you see a night illumined by an unknown light[1], know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father…

The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world”.(7)

Tragically men continued to offend God as they unleashed hell upon the earth. The forced famine in the Ukraine under communist dictator Stalin, the persecution of Christians, the horrors of Nazi terror, and the threat of nuclear war were just some of the diabolical fruit cultivated by the satanic deceptions embraced by men like Lenin and Hitler.

The Errors of Russia and the Abortion Holocaust

Many years later, we can see in the fall of the Soviet Union in March 1990 a fulfillment of Mary’s promise of a future conversion of Russia.

With the fall of the Soviet Union, the threat of nuclear annihilation was reduced considerably.

But do the errors of Russia only refer to the evil of atheistic communism?

Since the 1960’s the consumerism of the western world, partnered with the unfolding cultural and sexual revolutions, has led to the rise of practical atheism and pagan morality.

The deadliest fruit of these errors has dark roots in the former Soviet Union.

Geoffrey Strickland, J.D., J.C.L., who serves as the Rome Office Director for Priests for Life, shares about the roots of abortion in the former Soviet Union:

Russia was the first country ever to legalize abortion up to birth without restriction and also developed and promulgated technology to this end.[1] Russia and areas formerly controlled by the Soviet Union have the highest abortion rate in the world.[2]

 Further, those countries sharing in the political and ideological legacy of Russia at that time such as China, Cuba and others continue to carry on this violent imperative.[3]”

 “Thus “various nations” – the innumerable children of every race, creed and culture – have indeed been “annihilated” through the fundamental error of abortion and the faulty logic behind it, namely that a human child is not a human being.”

Over 1 billion unborn girls and boys have been aborted around the world in the last 100 years.

In China and India, sex selection abortions have killed 160 million unborn baby girls.  The imbalance of men to women is having unforeseen consequences for these societies.

My Immaculate Heart Will Triumph!

Such massive deception and death can leave us numb and tempted to despair.

But evil, death and despair will not have the last word.

The Mother of Jesus assured us that in the end, “My Immaculate Heart will Triumph!”

But Mary wants our prayers, rosaries and acts of sacrifice and reparation to play an important part in this great victory, the final consummation of the victory of her Son Jesus over satan and death at Calvary.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XIV comments on the conclusion of the famous Third secret of Fatima entrusted to visionary Lucia:

“The concluding part of the ‘secret’ … is a consoling vision, which seeks to open a history of blood and tears to the healing power of God. Beneath the arms of the cross angels gather up the blood of the martyrs, and with it they give life to the souls making their way to God

… As from Christ’s death, from his wounded side, the Church was born, so the death of the witnesses is fruitful for the future life of the Church…

The vision of the third part of the ‘secret,’ so distressing at first, concludes with an image of hope:

 No suffering is in vain, and it is a suffering Church, a Church of martyrs, which becomes a sign-post for man in his search for God.”

This message from Benedict XVI has special relevance and consolation to those parents involved in the abortion of their children, and the millions of preborn children who lost their lives in this holocaust and are now with the Lord.

Thanks to the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus, there is the hope of repentance and restoration.

The blood of the innocent unborn children lost to abortion, and the tears of their parents, can be a fruitful source of conversion and new life for the Church.

As Benedict XVI wrote, no suffering is in vain when united to the cross of Christ.

[You can find an excellent and informative overview of the Fatima apparitions here at EWTN.]

[1] Sr. Lucia believed that an especially intense an widely seen aurora borealis, which appeared in the sky on January 25, 1938, was the “unknown light” to which Mary had referred. The celestial phenomenon could be seen throughout Europe and as far south as Australia, and across the Atlantic to Bermuda and parts of the United States.

 

Hey U2 and Bono! Meet Two Icons of Rock that Would Never Have Been Born if Abortion Was Legal 1940 in the United Kingdom

May 3rd, 2018

U2

On Tuesday, Internationally acclaimed Irish rock band U2 tweeted in support of relaxing Ireland’s  strict abortion laws.

It’s ironic that rock stars and entertainers often promote abortion as a progressive social justice cause.

What U2 and their lead singer Bono fail to understand, is how many rock legends were conceived in very challenging circumstances, and would likely have died in the womb  if conceived today.

In my article from The Stream, I look at 2 iconic rock stars that were thankfully conceived and born before abortion was legal in the United Kingdom:

 Imagine for a moment. It’s 1940. We’re in Great Britain. Tweak just one detail of history. Pretend that abortion is already legal.

We’re in a historical port town on the northwest shores of England. A woman named Julia discovers she is pregnant. The father, a merchant seaman named Alfred, abandons her during the pregnancy.

Julia is a creative and free-spirited woman. She’s unprepared for the responsibilities of motherhood. Alfred prefers to spend much of his life on the open seas. He is unwilling to support a family or parent his child.

In July 1940, in Julia’s sixth month of pregnancy, German bombers began their reign of terror. They attack the civilian population and strategic port cities of Great Britain.

Imagine if Britain had Planned Parenthood or Marie Stopes facilities that performed legal abortion procedures in 1940. And Julia came to one of their centers. What would the staff most likely have recommended?

Read the rest of the article here.

I Spoke to A Group of Teenagers About My Abortion. I Was Amazed by Their Response

April 26th, 2018

Silent No More
[Kathy Gonzales is a Regional Coordinator with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign. Kathy recently had the opportunity to share with high school students about her abortion at age 20. I was curious how her message was received by the youth and Kathy agreed to share about her experience. – Kevin Burke]

Kathy: Valerie Jacobs from Rachel’s Vineyard Seattle asked me to talk to a religious education youth group…8th to 12th graders. I prayed about the event and asked for guidance. The Lord told me to revisit where I was as an 8th grader and share with the students the path that led me to my abortion at age twenty.

Reflecting back on that time, I wanted to share with the youth that in many cases the abortion doesn’t occur as an isolated event in someone’s life. My story reveals that the path to abortion at age 20 began years earlier.  One sin led to another sin. Others, a relative or friend for example, can play an important role in opening the door to darkness in our lives.

So, I shared with the teenagers about my childhood abuse, drugs, alcohol, premarital sex, involvement in the occult. I hope the talk opens up an opportunity for the teachers to revisit some of these issues that can open the door to sin and to life changing events like unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

Most, importantly, I shared how God revealed his great love and the healing I experience in Rachel’s Vineyard.

According to one of the parents I spoke with after my talk, he claimed it was the first night that they didn’t have to discipline the kids for being noisy and off track, or worse…lethargic and bored.

One girl came up afterwards and she hugged me for the longest time and kept thanking me for talking to them. I would say that of all the talks I have given this one struck me as the most meaningful, and I am thankful for the opportunity.

I concluded the evening by passing out fifty fetal models (at ten weeks gestation.)  The models I believe help bring what can be very abstract in the minds of many people, particularly teens, to something tangible and real. I encouraged the students to keep the model as a reminder to pray for babies in danger of abortion.

I am continually amazed at how God so loves me…loves all of us. I pray that others will consider inviting a regional representative of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign for the youth and young adults in their community.

[Speakers are available from the Silent No More Awareness Campaign to share their abortion testimony at your high school, youth group or college. You can contact us at mail@silentnomore.com for more information.]

God Bless
Kathy Gonzales – RC Silent No More

The Judas Option: How Self-Sabotage After Abortion Nearly Took My Life

April 13th, 2018

Judas Option

By David

Self Sabotage…You probably don’t think of it as abuse.

But it can be the most pernicious form of abuse.

It’s abusive to yourself and to those who love you.

I know this subject well. For most of my adult life I did nearly everything I could to thwart my own happiness.  It came very close to taking my life.

Building the False Façade

I came from an emotionally abusive home where my job was to be the peace keeper. I was set up to fail in this impossible task in a dysfunctional and crazy home environment.  As I failed as a child and young adult to restore order out of this chaos, my parents, especially my mother, continuously reinforced a message within me – I wasn’t good enough.

I left home for college as a man with incredibly low self-esteem and not a lot of self-confidence. I managed to hide all of that under a façade that I presented to the world.

I was blessed with smarts, a good sense of humor, and not a bad looking guy.  So, I learned to act like a person who had those qualities – though deep down, I believed none of it.

My freshman year of college I began dating a beautiful lady named Karen. Karen was pre-med; she was smart, attractive and seemed to come from a good family.

In the last semester of her senior year, we got pregnant.

To have the baby would mean giving up medical school for her and force me to drop out of college. Planned Parenthood assured us that there was no baby yet, it was just a blob of cells. For only $300 they told me, our lives could go on as planned.

We stayed with my parents during this time and went to the Planned Parenthood center for the abortion. After the procedure she was still foggy from the anesthesia. Karen was crying and through her tears she said “They took my baby. I saw them take my baby.”

Our relationship began to decline from that day forward. Within a year we broke up.  I blamed myself for being such a loser that I couldn’t take care of her or my kid.  Not a day went by that I didn’t think about the abortion.

When good times would come in the back of my mind I would have the thought…“Yeah, times are good, but don’t forget you killed your kid.”  I would not allow myself to experience joy.  If that joy did break through my wall of self hatred – I did not to trust it and certainly did not to feel I deserved it.

Drifting…into Deeper Darkness

I worked at a radio station as a program director and DJ for a couple of years out of school, drifting from one meaningless encounter with women after another. Truthfully there wasn’t even that much sex involved.  I wouldn’t allow myself to get that close most of the time.

I truly felt that everyone was better than me and I was putting on a good act, but if the truth about the real me ever came out it would be devastating.   So I never talked to anyone about the abortion.

I met Joanne at the radio station. We began a sexual relationship and while we thought we were being careful after a few months she was pregnant.  At the time I was thinking, well this sucks, but at least I can do things the right way this time.  I told Joanne I would support her and the baby as best I could.

But that first abortion left me damaged and weakened as a man and a father.  When Joanne told me she was thinking about getting an abortion, I didn’t try to talk her out of it.  I didn’t fight for the life of our child and instead told her, “I will support you no matter what you decide.”

Her friend let me know that Joanne had the abortion. For a minute I felt relieved, but then I was overcome by guilt and shame.  Once again, I didn’t do my duty as a man.  I let my kid be killed.  A short time later, Joanne moved away without a word to me.  To this day I have no idea what happened to her.

Not long, I met Kathy.   I’ve never met anyone as honest and decent-hearted as she is.  I felt Kathy was out of my league.  I really felt that I in no way deserved her.

Even after we married, I lived in constant fear that she would find out who I really was.

Creating a False World

Here’s the thing about self-sabotage. It’s not something you consciously plan out.  I didn’t wake up in the morning thinking, “Here’s how I’m going to screw up my relationship, today.”

Rather it’s a slow progression of selfish acts that build upon each other, fed by the inner demons that reinforce the lie that you’re a worthless human being. My fear that Kathy would discover the real me led to me create a false world for us to live in.

I didn’t tell her that we had money problems because I didn’t want her do without – that would reinforce my sense of being a loser. So, I took out credit cards that she didn’t know about.  The net result was that I bankrupted us twice.

Through all of this, I thought about the abortion every day.

I only told Kathy about the abortion with Karen. I lied about of a lot of other things to keep up the false front.  But as Kathy uncovered the truth, it began a process of slowly, steadily, eroding her trust in me.

On top of that I had this weird, irrational anger that would come up.  I would be verbally abusive, passive aggressive, and well, to put it politely, a real jerk.  I would try to make her think that she was the one with the problem.

Fortunately amidst all this suffering Kathy had converted to Catholicism after 15 years of marriage. I was raised Catholic but had been away from the Church since college.  Her embracing Catholicism inspired me to return to the practice of my faith, and I came back in a big way.

I became active in my parish and served as a Eucharistic minister, lector, I helped teach RCIA, I was on the Respect Life Committee, and served on various parish councils. People were constantly telling me I should become a deacon.

While I appreciated the respect and regard people had for me, in my heart I knew it was a façade. If these people knew that I had two abortions in my past they would disown me for sure.

I was living a lie.

Marriage Tipping Point

All that pain from childhood and later the two abortions continued to hurt Kathy and attack our marriage. We finally hit a tipping point where Kathy told me I needed to get help, or she would have to leave.

I went to speak with a priest, Fr Peter. I told him what was going on, and he asked me if I had ever been involved with an abortion. I was shocked he knew to ask that.

I confessed to him my story and Fr Peter told me about Rachael’s Vineyard.  I was so tired of thinking about the abortion every day for the last couple of decades and I was ready to get help.

I expressed to Fr Peter that I was worried I would be the only man on the Rachel’s Vineyard retreat. He playfully punched me in the arm and said, “Well, if that’s the case, blessed are you among women.”   Kathy was kind enough to attend the weekend with me.

The retreat was overwhelmingly amazing. I named my kids Anthony and Claire.  I also became the godfather of the unborn child of a dear college friend whom I had driven to an abortion center when she became pregnant from a one-night-stand.

I’ll never forget Saturday evening of the retreat, standing around the bowl of lit candles floating in that holy water, each one representing our children lost to abortion. For just for a brief moment, I heard my children’s laughter.  I started to believe that they forgave me as much as Christ had.

The Judas Option 

I wish I could say that the story ends here, that we went on to live happily ever after.

The truth is, the retreats exposed the light of truth to the lie I had been living, but my old habits and beliefs were not miraculously cured.  I struggled to fully embrace the forgiveness of Christ and that of my children.

But I believe I drew upon the grace of that healing weekend during a coming time of dark and dangerous temptation.

Things got better for Kathy and me for a while, but gradually the inner demons began their endless reminder that “Okay, Christ forgave you, but that doesn’t change what a loser you are.”

The pattern of self-sabotage returned along with my abusive behavior.  It was too much, and Kathy I separated.

Three years ago I had a three-month assignment for my work in South Bend InKaren. It was Easter Weekend and I was alone.  No one in my family invited me to spend the holiday with them even though they knew Kathy and I were separated.

I went to the Easter Vigil Mass and wept for joy for those people coming into the faith.  But I also wept with despair at the reality that I was alone.  I had sabotaged my life so bad that no one wanted to be with me.

The darkness of that rejection and pain took hold of my heart and I set out on a path of anguish and temptation.

Rather than focusing on the Resurrection and the forgiveness of Peter’s denial in the Easter story, I became preoccupied with the experience of Judas Iscariot. Judas had sold his soul for some silver.  Not all that different than me selling my unborn kids out, selling my marriage out…all for my own agenda.

And what was his solution? Yes, Judas killed himself.

Finally, an answer I thought. What do I possibly have to live for?  I’m alone with no prospects of a better life in sight.  I have a job.  So, what?  In betraying Kathy, my kids, myself, I ultimately betrayed Christ.  Yes, the ultimate act of self-sabotage must be the answer.

I deserved the same fate as Judas.

I didn’t sleep much that night. I just kept thinking about Judas.  Christ had forgiven him, but that wasn’t enough.  That’s exactly where I was.

The next day I walked along the Riverwalk of the St. Joseph River that runs through South Bend.  I crossed onto a bridge that spanned the river and stopped in the middle.

I looked down into the fast-moving current.  I knew the water was very cold and deep.  I figured I would probably succumb to hypothermia within five minutes.  I imagined what drowning would feel like. The suffering wouldn’t last too long.  I just had to work up the courage to take the leap.

Suddenly, in the distance, I heard the church bells of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where I had attended Mass the night before. I could see the parking lot about a quarter mile away from the bridge.  I watched families all dressed for Easter filing out of the church.

And then the thought hit me.

Is this how I want Kathy to remember me? Is this really the way I want to meet my kids?   Could I really kill myself in a river named after St. Joseph?

I stepped away from the edge of the bridge and quickly walked off it. I found a park bench and wept.

Soon after, I went back to St. Joseph’s church and confessed to a priest, Fr Kevin, about my experience. Fr Kevin helped me more than the countless therapists I had seen over the years.  He helped me see that the negative self-talk I engaged in need not have such power over me or define who I was.

This wise priest awakened me to the reality that the negative thoughts were like a flock of birds flying overhead.  I had no power to stop the birds from flying over, but I did have a choice of whether I allowed them to land on me.

My future meetings with Father Kevin all included the sacrament of confession. While it was Father Kevin talking to me, Christ was the true counselor in the sacrament of reconciliation.

Once a week, I would go to confession and sit down with Our Lord.  His grace led me to realize that I may have negative thoughts, but I always have the power to not engage them.  With God’s grace, I simply choose not to engage them.  The more I don’t engage the less power they have over my life.

The Lord Heard My Cry for Mercy

A little over a year ago, Kathy and I reconciled. The two years we were apart we both used to get the help we needed.  We had kept in touch during this time and managed to stay friends.

I know the love we had for each other never went away, but we could not stay together while I was continuously sabotaging myself and our marriage.  I’m happy to say our marriage is better than it has ever been.

The inner struggle? Yeah, it’s still there, and maybe always will be, but I have those negative messages under the power of Christ and his love so they have no power over me any longer.

In closing I share two songs; one a contemporary tune by Julia Brenna that has been a source of inspiration and comfort to me.

The other is a much older song from the grateful heart of Israel’s King David. This David also suffered through his own journey into the darkness of sin and death.  David’s sins, to his horror and anguish, brought great pain upon his family and nation.

Yet King David learned from this tragedy to trust in the Lord’s saving power, and experienced in time, restoration and salvation, reflected in this beautiful psalm:

I love the Lord, for he heard my voice; he heard my cry for mercy.  Because he turned his ear to me,  I will call on him as long as I live.

 The cords of death entangled me, the anguish of the grave came over me;     I was overcome by distress and sorrow. Then I called on the name of the Lord: “Lord, save me!”

The Lord is gracious and righteous; our God is full of compassion. The Lord protects the unwary; when I was brought low, he saved me. (Psalm 116: 1-6)

To Learn More about the impact of abortion on Men:

Tears of the Fisherman: Recovery for Men Wounded by Abortion by Kevin Burke, LSW

Register Your Abortion Regret with the Silent No More Awareness Campaign.  You can sign up to receive a newsletter every month highlighting opportunities to be Silent No More along with news about the Campaign.

The Men and Abortion Network    Our Mission:  To promote emotional healing for men who have lost a child to abortion, and to create awareness among the counseling community, the pro-life movement and society as a whole regarding the impact of abortion on millions of these hurting fathers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Getting Help to Men Hurting After Abortion

April 6th, 2018

MAN

[Bradley Mattes is a founding member of the Men and Abortion Network.  As Bradley shares in this important article, even if only a small percentage of men are impacted, there are millions of fathers who are experiencing psychological and spiritual distress after abortion and in need of help. 

Bradley introduces an ongoing service of the Men and Abortion Network – one that we hope to expand – a nationwide network of trained peer counselors and pastors who can mentor hurting fathers through the grieving process. – Kevin Burke]

 

Getting Help to Men

By Bradley Mattes

Over the last decade-and-a-half, considerable advances have been made in generating awareness within the pro-life movement that men who have lost a child to abortion can, and do, suffer from emotional fallout.

The question people often ask is, “How many men are affected by abortion?”

The most comprehensive analysis of abortion’s effect on men is presented in a book entitled Men and Abortion: Lessons, Losses and Love by Arthur B. Shostak, Gary McLouth and Lynn Seng. Based upon information extrapolated from their data, approximately eight percent[1] of fathers who’ve lost a child to abortion suffer psychologically.

To date there have been 60 million abortions which has generated nearly five million “walking-wounded” fathers who struggle day-to-day with abortion’s lingering impact.

This is a conservative number due to many more men who are affected to lesser degrees. Abortion’s resultant carnage on men is unfathomable. For example, no research been done to confirm our suspicions that a vast number of men in America’s prison system may have a history of abortion which contributed to their incarceration.

The good news is that we have a grassroots, nationwide network of trained peer counselors and pastors who can mentor hurting fathers through the grieving process. The most effective way to do this is with a biblically-based program. However, we are ready, willing and able to assist men with no religious affiliation.

Additional good news is that several programs have been developed and are being used to transform grieving men into new creations through the blood of Christ.

These encouraging developments, however, present a challenge of how to match hurting fathers with the help they so desperately need. That too has made promising gains but remains a work in progress.

The Men and Abortion Network (MAN) is a small ad hoc group of men and women who individually or as an organization have experience on a national or international level of promoting healing and creating awareness regarding the issue of men who have experienced abortion loss.

Further, MAN has developed a website exclusively for men who have adverse symptoms resulting from abortion loss. The site primarily serves two purposes.

First, it provides a nationwide referral network for a man who is struggling after abortion. With no cost to him, he can request a trained mentor near his location. Credentialed counselors are also available.

If a man seeks anonymity, we can still assist him. All that is required is a city, state, zip code and email address. Additional information is helpful to provide the best support available, but it is not required. His privacy is paramount. If possible, we try to match him with a mentor from his same religious background.

Second, the men and abortion website provides a wealth of resources to assist fathers:

– New articles by MAN members are posted every month. A variety of Bible studies are available to walk with men through the grieving and healing process.

– Books, authored by experts in the field, give additional, in-depth information.

– Website visitors can also find brochures that summarize why men are affected, identify possible symptoms and share ways in which these symptoms can be treated.

– In addition, half-hour video and audio programming are available.

Research on men who have experienced abortion loss is limited, however, helpful data is posted on the website.

Is God Calling you to Serve as a Mentor to Men Hurting after Abortion?

Now our most pressing need is to expand the network of trained mentors and reach out to fathers who may be suffering.

The need is great, so if you or someone you know may be well-suited to assist this crucial work, please contact us here at the Men and Abortion Network if you feel God’s urging. We can provide the assistance and resources you need to be tools of the Holy Spirit.

It is an amazing thing to see the Holy Spirit at work through us as we witness the transformation of these dads. When you help a father, you impact an entire family.

[1] C.T. Coyle, Ph.D., Men and Abortion, A Path to Healing, 1999, p. 27.

Bradley Mattes is president of Life Issues Institute, the pro-life grassroots partner of the Susan B. Anthony List Education Fund. He is a founding member of MAN and has done considerable anecdotal research on the effects of abortion on men. His writings on this topic have been printed in US and international publications. He has a master’s degree in Biblical Studies and Biblical Counseling from Master’s International University of Divinity and has written undergraduate and post-graduate courses on men and abortion. He serves as a peer counselor to men who’ve lost a child to abortion.

 

 

A Grandmother and Her Parish Priest Bring Healing to a Family Wounded by Abortion

March 27th, 2018

Priest Eucharist

By Leann Domico-Vasquez

I learned that my Daughter Lisa, age 19,  scheduled an abortion and was at a nearby hospital.

I contacted our parish priest Fr. Dominick and explained the situation.  He  immediately rushed to the hospital to try and persuade Lisa to change her mind.

Fr. Dominick encouraged Lisa telling her that she would be a wonderful mother.   He shared with her what a beautiful gift this child would be to the family.

Lisa walked away from the priest in tears.  She went into the procedure room to allow the doctors and nurses to assist in the destruction of her unborn baby.

I cannot explain the level of grief and anger that flooded my heart and soul…my grandchild was dead.

I was filled with rage at the hospital and all involved with the procedure. But I was especially so deeply hurt and angry at my daughter.

Reaching Out from the Pain

Shortly after the abortion I went to talk to Fr. Dominick. He suggested I consider a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend Retreat to help me find a deeper healing of my loss as a grandparent.

Rachel’s Vineyard was a powerful experience of healing for me and really went to the heart of my post abortion trauma and grief.  The weekend helped me to find peace and closure.

Lisa knew of my Rachel’s Vineyard experience.  Lisa would react with cynicism and mock my “abortion friends” that I stayed in touch with after the retreat.   I knew she was hurting and in need of healing.

A Miracle Unfolds

Six months after the abortion, my son asked Lisa to be the Godmother of his baby boy. This event triggered a release of her pent up post abortion grief and pain and Lisa suffered a nervous breakdown requiring hospitalization.  Lisa recovered from the breakdown, but remained deeply wounded.

Two years after the abortion she met a man with an abortion in his history.  He encouraged her to consider the Rachel’s Vineyard weekend. When Lisa told me she was considering making a retreat, I was overjoyed.

She expressed some reservations… “Did they already know her story? Would I be able to name my child?” I let her know that on my retreat I told my story…not hers.

I assured her that the name I gave my grandchild was a temporary one and that she as the child’s mother would rightly provide the name God would put on her heart.

I was blessed to be able to attend the memorial service on Sunday of the Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat with Lisa when retreat participants honor the child with a special ceremony and Mass and entrust the children to the Lord.

When I opened the memorial service program I looked over the list of names of the babies being entrusted.

I knew right away the name Lisa had given my grandchild…Dominick Leonard.

Lisa named the baby after our parish priest, Fr. Dominick.

[You Can Read Leann’s full story here]

 

The Traumatic and Mysterious Abortion of Aerosmith Lead Singer Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb

March 21st, 2018

Julia Holcomb

By Kevin Burke, LSW

In 2011 I shared the story of the traumatic abortion of Steven Tyler, lead singer of the rock group Aerosmith.

Here’s that article:

“Jesus What Have I Done”

I did not realize that my article would be read by Julia Holcomb, the mother of Tyler’s aborted child.

Julia contacted me to assist her in sharing a more accurate and detailed account of her relationship with Steven Tyler and their abortion experience.

This is harrowing account of the mysterious events leading up to the late term procedure.  It is ultimately a story of the triumph of faith in Christ over the forces of evil and death.

Here’s Julia’s story:

The Light of the World

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

February 22nd, 2018

Nicki Minaj

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Family Background

Minaj was born Onika Maraj in Trinidad in 1982:

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

With this history in mind, consider her abortion decision.

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

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

Abortion and Sexploitation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom…or Bondage?

Jesus said “the truth will set you free.”

Conversely, the lie will keep you in bondage.

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

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

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

There is another way.

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

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