Archive for April, 2013

Science Can’t Explain Shroud

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

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Original research team member says science still can’t explain Shroud

By Lauren Colegrove
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Even with modern scientific technology, the Shroud of Turin continues to baffle researchers.

Barrie Schwortz was the documenting photographer for the Shroud of Turin research project in 1978, an in-depth examination of what many people believe to be the burial cloth of Jesus.

Read rest here

 

The Intoxicated Will: CS Lewis’ Weston is Gosnell

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

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A reader comments:

When you suggested that Gosnell may have initially had noble motivations that were extinguished it reminds me of the character Weston from CS Lewis’ Perelandra:

“The forces which had begun, perhaps years ago, to eat away his humanity had now completed their work. The intoxicated will which had been slowly poisoning the intelligence and the affections had now at last poisoned itself and the whole psychic organism had fallen to pieces. Only a ghost was left – an everlasting unrest, a crumbling, a ruin, and odor of decay.”

Like Weston, our society is “bent” on lower goods (choice, autonomy, privacy) to the exclusion of God’s greatest laws, but his and Gosnell’s tragic path is not ours! “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Amen!

Massacre of the Innocents: The Boston Marathon Bombings and the Gosnell Trial

Friday, April 26th, 2013

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Cowardly, gruesome and senseless acts of violence like the Boston Marathon Bombing make us feel great compassion for the victims and their families, but also intense feelings of anger at these attacks upon the innocent.  We hunger for righteous action against the perpetrators and justice for the victims.

The trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell draws to a close in Philadelphia next week.  The sparse media coverage of the trial and Gosnell’s house of horrors reveals  a powerful disconnect in our society between the senseless acts of violence committed by Gosnell and other abortionists…and our collective grief, anger and desire for justice with events like 9-11 and the Boston bombings.

At the same time that spectacular and gruesome testimony poured out daily from the  Gosnell trial to a handful of spectators and  a few journalists, the Boston Marathon Bombings warranted 24 hour massive media coverage and man-hunts of the perpetrators.  The coverage naturally and rightly elicited massive expressions of grief, anger and a desire to assist the victims.

But maybe legal abortion and the Gosnell trial and events like the Boston Bombing are more closely connected than it appears:

Do the very public and emotionally compelling events like the Boston Marathon Bombings provide an emotional outlet for the vast reservoir of repressed grief, guilt and anger from the over 50 million abortions in this country…especially for those men and women, doctors and clinic employees who participated in the death of these unborn children?

I spoke to a couple of men who were part of an abortion decision in the past.   They reflected on their experience of 9-11 and events like the Boston Marathon prior to their recovery from their abortion loss,  and how deeply these events impacted them.

Here’s John reflecting on his reaction to 9-11:

“I watched hours of coverage on the 9-11 tragedy as it unfolded.  I felt like for a time I was obsessed with it, as many were of course.  I felt such solidarity and compassion for the victims, but an even deeper anger and desire for revenge against the evil men who planned and carried out these crimes.   I admired the men who were risking their lives to help the victims, to find any still trapped in the wreckage, and help the community clean up and recover from this nightmare.

But I experienced anxiety and depression even after the events passed and life moved… I had nightmares about not only 9-11, but other dreams where there was death, and mutilated corpses and children.   I found myself thinking about that abortion I was part of years ago, but never really dealt with.  I began to feel guilt and sadness about my role in the child’s death. 

I  began to see that I was not like those brave men, the fire fighters, police and rescue personnel of 9-11 who risked their lives while trying to save others.  I began to see that though it was right to desire justice for the victims and the community devastated by the terrorist attack, I was also infusing a lot of my own personal anger, grief and guilt onto this very powerful public event. 

This event triggered a lot of my guilt, anger and pain from my abortion experience that I really needed to finally give attention to.  I had to face that in reaction to my girlfriend’s pregnancy I was not the brave protector of the vulnerable innocent I wanted to be.  I was a participant in the death of an innocent person…my son or daughter.   Maybe it was time to look into my own heart and soul with greater clarity and honesty.

Fortunately John did not give in to despair, self hatred, or continued denial of his pain and loss.   He found a faith based healing program  that transformed his pain into reconciliation with his unborn child and peace with God.

After talking with John and few other fathers involved in abortions, we wondered how many of the men witnessing those events at the Boston Marathon and now having intense discussions on sport talk radio, or with their buddies at the bar, or in the workplace…how many of these men had abortion in their history?   How many enraged at the mutilation of bodies by these bombs, also gave their assent, or perhaps were unable to prevent, the mutilation of their unborn child?  Does this displacement and repression of abortion pain feed disparity in coverage by our media of the spectacular and horrific details of the Gosnell trial…and the 24 hour coverage of events in Boston?

It is natural, especially for men to have intense feelings of righteous anger, when we feel powerless in the face of such senseless violence by those sick and twisted terrorist bombers.  We also rightly feel admiration and pride for the brave men and women who rush in to rescue and protect the victims.

But tragically in the Gosnell case,  legalized abortion removes the personhood and hence all rights to the unborn (and just-born) children of our nation.  They have no one to protect them and their mothers from Gosnell’s death center and torture chamber for babies…or offer compassion and care to the victims, both the unborn and their vulnerable mothers traumatized by these “procedures.”  We see in these events the worst and best of our human nature.

Is it possible  that in our collective grief and compassion for the dead, wounded and their families in Boston… that this might also be touching a deeper personal grief that is not allowed expression in our society?

For those of us working in the ministry of healing and recovery after abortion…we don’t have to wonder if there is a connection.  We have heard thousands of men and women share their pain, and their journey to healing…and we know that events such as the Boston Bombing, can trigger repressed grief reactions from other losses.

Let us pray for healing of those families and communities impacted by violence…and for those mothers and father who have lost children to abortion.  Let us reach out with love and compassion and share the good news of hope and healing.

Gosnell and Abortion: Trauma and Death for the Poor

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

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Trauma specialist point to the painful reality of traumatic repetition, that is engaging in self-destructive repetition of abusive themes or behaviors in relationships:

Trauma can be repeated on behavioral, emotional, physiologic… levels. Repetition on these different levels causes a large variety of individual and social suffering…Adults, as well as children, may develop strong emotional ties with people who intermittently harass, beat, and threaten them. The persistence of these attachment bonds leads to confusion of pain and love… (The compulsion to repeat the trauma. Re-enactment, revictimization, and masochism. )

The Gosnell trial highlights what a disaster on so many levels abortion has been for  poor African American communities.  In a previous post I looked at the trial through the lense of trauma.  But there are wider inter related trauma infused issues related to abortion and the Gosnell case that cry out for recognition.

The rates of sexual abuse and other trauma in poor African American communities is well documented.  Left untreated, this trauma history leaves women vulnerable to relationships with abusive partners who “harass, beat, and threaten them” as the trauma specialist points out above.   Many find themselves pregnant and facing challenging circumstances.   Women whose lives are chaotic, dysfunctional with trauma/abuse histories…these are just the women that will deny and delay dealing with a pregnancy until it is late in the pregnancy…like so many hurt by Gosnell.

How about those employees of Gosnell, like Kareema Cross who I heard testify?  How many of these women have abuse histories, abortions in their past?  Does this make them more vulnerable to witness and participate in the barbarity practiced under Gosnell’s authority…passively, powerless to stop the horror they were witnessing and becoming accomplices and abusers themselves?  It surely does. 

Regardless of the age and size of the child at the time of abortion, whether 6 weeks or 6 months or more…a woman with previous sexual abuse and other loss, will experience the abortion procedure on an emotional and spiritual level as another rape, another sexual violation, another abuse of her body and soul.  She may feel relieved on one level, but on a deeper level where trauma impacts most seriously, she will have added fuel to her previous dysfunction and traumatic repetition in her life and relationships.

After abortion are these poor women less depressed, anxious, less likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, in healthier relationships, do we find lower crisis pregnancy rates…does abortion make them better parents?  All the statistics clearly say the opposite.

So if you think safe, readily available abortion  services for poor minority women will stop the many Gosnell type abortionist practicing in our country…and keep in mind Gosnell is the tip of the iceberg…think again.  Women may abort their babies early or late in the pregnancy.  The toxic after effects of abortion, like some highly radioactive substance are injected into the heart and soul of women that abort, and the men and fathers who participate in those abortion decisions.   The poor, who have higher rates of sexual abuse, physical abuse and other trauma are all the more vulnerable to post abortion reactions, and this includes men.  Abortion creates a cycle of suffering that hurts the child, the parents, families and the community.  The human and social costs are enormous.

 

 

As Terrible as it May Sound: White Indifference to Black Abortion Rates

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

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Alveda’s Newsmax piece got me thinking of a an article we published on Alveda’s blog: As Terrible as it May Sound:  White Indifference to Black Abortion Rates     Here’s an excerpt:

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

What is the public response to the alarming abortion rate, especially in places like NYC? The response is often indifference… and silence…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 a “terrible” but necessary solution to managing the birth rate of a community 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….

Read the rest Here over at Alveda’s blog.

My next post will tie this piece into Gosnell and the coming spin on the trial.

 

Dr Alveda King Warns: Don’t be Deceived by the Spin!

Wednesday, April 24th, 2013

My friend and colleague at Priests for Life Dr Alveda King has an important commentary at Newsmax:

But now that the media has been moved into covering the trial, some reporters
seem all too eager to comment and condemn the actions of abortionist Kermit
Gosnell — but not the system that created him.
Described as the growing mushy middle,” some people have even taken the quantum leap to blame pro-life activists for abortionists like Gosnell. They argue that the pro-life legislation to better regulate the abortion industry has somehow forced clinics to operate in an unsafe manner.
Don’t be deceived by this spin.        (Read the rest here )

Amen Alveda!  The pro abortion spin doctors will be working overtime to twist the Gosnell case to advance their cause.   I will be writing more about this in days ahead.  It is essential that those that work to protect the unborn and to bring healing to those who have lost children to abortion, understand the propaganda that will be coming from the pro abortion spin doctors…and be able to effectively respond to it.

Gosnell Coerced Pregnant Employee to Abort

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

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At the Gosnell trial last week, employee Kareena Cross testified that Gosnell applied pressure on her to have an abortion if she wanted to keep working at his death center.  He made it clear that remaining pregnant, given the nature of the business would not make sense.  Cross who I recall in her testimony mentioning a previous abortion, fortunately resisted Gosnell’s pressure and did not abort.

Gosnell was actually revealing something accurate about his medical practice.  If we look behind his motives with his pregnant employee, we can fairly imagine Gosnell communicating:

  “This is a place where pregnancies end, where unborn babies die.  Wouldn’t your decision to parent your child place pressure on mothers coming to my center to reconsider their  ‘choice.’  I cant afford to have your pregnancy get in the way of  my lucrative practice.  It’s just business you understand, nothing personal.”

As I said in my previous post, you can’t do the work of an abortionist on a daily basis, and  not have it corrupt your mind, your heart and soul…it is impossible both from a psychological and a spiritual perspective.  Gosnell would have been all to happy to abort the baby of Kareena Cross for business purposes…as he used the threat of aborting her from her job to apply pressure.

I don’t think this is what the early champions of women’s rights had in mind (many who were anti abortion.)

 

Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here: A Descent Into Hell and Trauma at the Gosnell Trial

Friday, April 19th, 2013

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I spent April 18th 2013 inside a Philadelphia Courtroom with the notorious late term abortionist Kermit Gosnell along with lawyers, jurors, court personnel and witness Kareena Cross who worked at Gosnell’s “medical center.”  Ms Cross presented the majority of the testimony of that day.

Based on that experience, I am recommending that a warning banner be posted above the entrance to the courtroom with the chilling words the poet Dante placed at the entrance to the gates of Hell in his epic Divine ComedyAbandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here.  Dante’s epitaph would also have been well placed at the entrance to the Gosnell Women’s Medical Center in West Philadelphia as an impassioned plea to dissuade all the unfortunate mothers and their unborn children from entering this place of darkness.

To call Gosnell’s abortion business a medical center is like calling Auschwitz a health spa.  It was a place of trauma and death, not only for the unfortunate children butchered there, but for the desperate mothers and staff that entered into this pit of hell.

Gosnell employee Kareena Cross spent much of the day April 19th on the witness stand (warning graphic material coming.)   She shared how countless women with advanced pregnancies were given a drug to open the cervix so the unborn child would “precipitate”, (a medical term they used to describe the baby descending into the birth canal to its brutal death.)

Cross shared seeing one such baby “precipitated” right into a toilet bowl by her mother, alive and squirming in the waters of the bowl.  In this incident the baby was taken out of the toilet with the mother present as the “medical assistant” punctured the baby’s neck with scissors to “snip” the spinal cord.

Everyone involved in this and other hellish procedures at this center, (live births and abortions with breathing moving babies were not uncommon here) experienced direct and intense psychological trauma…including the medical staff.   The employees may be numb by repeated exposure to this barbarity practiced under the direction and authority of their boss Gosnell.   (This traumatic numbness I saw reflected in the flat affect and blunted emotions of Cross on the witness stand.)

But Gosnell’s employees were being repeatedly traumatized by their witnessing and participating in the “procedures” at that clinic.  If I were to sit down and interview the employees involved in this center we would surely find drug abuse, sexual and relational dysfunction, nightmares and insomnia, depression, anxiety…these are natural symptoms in response to such atrocities.

None of this relieves these employees of the moral and legal responsibility for their actions.  But it is important to see that Gosnell used his considerable authority as medical expert and boss as he led his employees to engage in barbaric and traumatic actions that not only destroyed babies, and injured their mothers but deeply wounded his employee’s own souls and psyches…many who were African American women from that west Philadelphia neighborhood…many who I assure you had abortion, sexual abuse and other trauma in their backgrounds making them vulnerable to engage in such horrific acts under Gosnell’s spell.

I want to focus not only on some of the shocking testimony I heard, but how this trial impacts the jurors, and court personnel. How does hearing this deeply disturbing testimony, and seeing some of the graphic pictures of aborted late-term and full-term babies on a regular basis over the last 6 weeks effect them?  Based on my own professional and personal experience with victims of trauma, I wondered how these people process this powerful material…how might it impact their sleep, emotions, and relationships in the days and months ahead long after the trial ends?

The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice  studied the effects of jury service especially with the type of graphic horror found in the Gosnell trial on a daily basis.  In their conclusion the authors had this to say:

These results from this first exploratory survey from the UK confirm that jury service can be a significant source of anxiety and for a vulnerable minority, can engender moderate to severe clinical levels of stress and in the longer term, lead to symptoms associated with PTSD. Trials involving crimes against the person are more likely to induce a stressful reaction than those involving property crimes. Women as a group appear to be more vulnerable than men, especially when the trial touches upon a past traumatic event that has been personally experienced. As regard sources of stress, those most widely shared were linked to the deliberative and decision-making phases of the trial. Dealing with repellent and horrific evidence was also highlighted as a significant area of concern… (The Howard Journal of Criminal Justice Volume 48, Issue 1, Article first published online: 20 NOV 2008)

We know that trauma victims, and those who experience vicarious trauma, can often turn to drugs, alcohol and other self-destructive behaviors to cope with the symptoms that emerge.  Based on this study, we see the expanding circle of victims that Gosnell continues to leave in the wake of his destruction.

I hope that the jurors lawyers and other court personnel receive the counseling and support they need to process this traumatic material, and find healthy strategies to deal with any symptoms.  Some of them no doubt have experienced their own abortions.  In this case they would be experiencing traumatic triggering on a regular basis and have to process not only the traumatic material of the trial, but their own emotions and memories of a personal abortion.

How do the mothers exposed to this horror process the memories and feelings of participating with Gosnell in the desecration and destruction of their unborn?  Without expert faith-based intervention , it is impossible.  Surely more death and destruction, abuse and more abortions will follow in their tragic lives.  The poor and minorities targeted by the abortion industry are by far the most vulnerable.  (Keep in mind almost half abortions are repeat procedures, a symptom of unresolved trauma.)

During the trial at breaks, sometimes right after a particularly gruesome picture or story was shared there would be some good natured joking and laughter…it was striking to me as a visitor.  (I have not been subjected to this traumatic material on a daily basis as they have.)  This is not because the court personnel and jurors were insensitive to the death and horror.  They were merely trying to escape for a moment from the darkness they were immersed in on a daily basis.  The judge, though very much in charge of his courtroom and the proceedings, seemed weary and eager for the proceedings to move to conclusion.

Gosnell has seemingly “mastered” whatever trauma he experienced in those first late term abortions he performed many years ago as a young doctor.  During the day’s proceedings he remained calm, composed, even at times smiling…looking quite the kind, elderly gentleman physician.  But under this calm exterior, there is surely a darkened soul and mind.  If there were ever any positive values and noble motivation early in life that led him into medicine and later performing abortion procedures, this man has had the light of human decency and respect for human life extinguished from his mind and soul.

Like those doctors in German concentration camps performing “medical procedures”, it is this calm and measured participation and accommodation to the death of the innocents, the jokes and normalization of torture and killing evident from comments made by Gosnell during procedures that is most disturbing.

Kareena Cross testified that In one later term abortion of a living, breathing baby Gosnell joked “this one’s big enough to walk to the store.”   Of all the gruesome details of the day, it is that casual and joking accommodation to the barbarity he practiced, that is most chilling.

Those that support abortion rights will look at Gosnell and say “see, this is what will happen if enemies of choice get their way and outlaw abortion!  You will see more Gosnells!  We need to clean up these unfortunate aberrations and keep abortion safe and legal.  The Gosnell case proves that rather than restricting access to abortion, we need to expand government funding for abortion  especially in poor and minority neighborhoods so they have equal access to safe, professional abortion services. ” 

A clever argument…but tragically and fundamentally misguided.  Ross Douthat in a NY Times Opinion piece reveals the challenges the pro abortion forces face in this attempt to shift the focus away from the horror  of what abortion does to an unborn child, especially evident in later term abortions, but really no less ghastly at earlier stages.  But there is a much deeper level of the human heart and soul that is the real foundation of our struggle as a society to come to terms with abortion.

The bible story of our first parents in the Garden of Eden is instructive here.  They were warned by God that if they try to gain control over things that belong to the province of the Creator, such as the life and death of humans, all hell will break loose.  Genesis tells of how the Serpent deceived our first parents tempting them; “God doesn’t want you to be happy or share his power with you…that is why he forbids you from eating of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.”

It is out of  love and care for his people that God warns us that if we eat of this tree’s fruit, we will be unable to control the forces that will be unleashed upon our hearts and souls and on all of humanity…and the depth of depravity that  we are capable of under the powerful influences of those forces.

Abortion is just such a fruit.  We think we can make abortion safe, sanitary, and less traumatic to the parents and clinic staff if we contain some of the excesses of the Gosnell Center and have better standards and training for abortionists and their staff.  A comforting and deceptive lie.

Once we begin to participate in the dehumanization, desecration and destruction of unborn life and any stage of development, no matter how sanitary and professional the medical center, we unleash those forces that over time eat away at the humanity of all who participate in that death…but also attacks the heart and soul of our communities and our nation.

The fruit of legal abortion is Gosnell…he is the natural progression of our accommodation as a society to the desecration of unborn human life that is abortion at any stage.

Does Abortion Reduce the Mental Health Risks of Unplanned Pregnancy?

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

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David M Fergusson, L John Horwood and Joseph M Boden

Study Results

Almost Shell-Shocked

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

 

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Take a look at this informative piece below on a man suffering with PTSD from his time in Iraq.  He’s not a soldier, but a contractor working at the massive U.S. base on the edge of Baghdad International Airport.  I’ll share some reflections later in a separate post on how this relates to those of us working with men after abortion and other trauma.

Almost Shell-Shocked

Posted By Jeremiah Goulka On April 16, 2013 @ 12:09 pm In | 5 Comments

I was one nightmare short of PTSD.

It didn’t take much, that’s what surprised me. No battles. No dead bodies. I spent just three and a half weeks as a contractor in Iraq, when the war there was at its height, rarely leaving the security of American military bases.

Read the rest Here