Archive for May, 2013

Does Adoption Mean Abandonment?

Monday, May 13th, 2013


A Mother’s Day plea to stop equating adoption with abandonment

 By Nina Easton,

May 11, 2013 12:52 AM EDT

The Washington Post

Nina Easton is Fortune magazine’s Washington columnist and a Fox News analyst.

In today’s America, a single woman facing a surprise pregnancy is likely to consider just two options: abortion or single motherhood. The third choice, adoption, carries such a social stigma that domestic placement of infants has plummeted — even as the number of parents desperate for a baby grows.

Read on




Gosnell’s Other Victims: Mothers Traumatized at his “Medical Center.”

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Black Mother

by Dr. Alveda King and Kevin Burke, LSW

In closing arguments at the trial of abortionist Kermit Gosnell, Assistant District Attorney Ed Cameron highlighted graphic, shocking testimony of late-term abortions and gruesome procedures performed on his victims.

As we celebrate Mother’s Day, we remember another group of victims in this case who suffer silently in that poor Philadelphia neighborhood in West Philadelphia where Gosnell practiced …the mothers who had abortions at his “Women’s Medical Center.”

Cameron revealed a number of violations of Pennsylvania laws regarding informed consent and a 24-hour waiting period, enacted to give the mother time to properly discern what Cameron described as “a life-changing decision.”  He shared that a number of these mothers later expressed pain and regret about the abortion of their child.

Through our work, we have heard the heart-breaking stories of thousands of women and men who come to regret their abortion decisions.  Each loss is unique, but the stories of later-term abortions reveal this to be an especially traumatic procedure for the mother.

The manual used by psychologist and psychiatrist to diagnose their patients lists a key feature of psychological trauma:

  1. The person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of oneself or others.
  2. The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

The testimony from the Gosnell trial revealed that after the administration of drugs to cause “fetal demise” and open the cervix, these later-term babies were often born in the waiting room, in toilets or in procedure rooms.  Many were born alive and had their necks cut to kill them, sometimes in the mother’s presence.

Mothers experienced the painful birth of their child and, together with medical center staff, were direct participants in the child’s death.

Read again the definition of trauma:

The person has experienced, witnessed, or been confronted with an event or events that involve actual or threatened death… The person’s response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror.

We know from our experience and the details of the Gosnell trial that these women were deeply traumatized by their abortion procedures and that the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder such as severe anxiety, flashbacks and nightmares about the procedure will wreak havoc on their personal and family life.  Like other trauma victims, they will turn to drugs/alcohol and other addictions and self-destructive behaviors to repress the painful emotions and memories.

Gosnell served African -American and other minority women facing poverty, often with abuse and other trauma in their history.   All these factors only make these vulnerable women even more susceptible to post- trauma symptoms, without the safety nets and psychiatric and healing services needed to recover.

As this trial draws to a close there is greater focus on the abortion issue, later-term procedures, regulations and laws. But we hear little of the countless women who gave birth to their children in Gosnell’s medical center.  Each of these aborted babies had a mother.  While they signed consent forms and agreed to the procedures, many of these women likely were exploited at a time of desperation and weakness and experienced great pressure and even violent coercion to abort.

Many of these poor women have other children.  How are they going to process the traumatic emotions and memories of their child’s death and take care of their families?  How do the fathers who pressured these women to abort or were powerless to stop them deal with their own guilt, grief and anger?  Without healing we know there will be more dysfunction, unplanned pregnancy, addiction and death among communities that can ill afford another attack upon the family.

Whatever your position on abortion, we need to see that the Gosnell’s victims were not only the woman he is alleged to have killed out of medical malpractice, but also  the thousands of mothers who experienced these later-term abortions.

Dr. Alveda King recalls that her two abortions and subsequent miscarriage were neither safe nor rare. “My first abortion was termed a D&C in 1970, performed by a physician who often referred his patients to Planned Parenthood for outpatient follow up services, such as free birth control and the like. My second abortion post Roe v. Wade was legal, but just as painful as the previous one. By painful, I mean physical, emotional and spiritual suffering.  I later was able to see how the symptoms of my post abortion pain left untreated led to such suffering for me and my family.  We have to reach out to these wounded women and men with hope and healing.”

The district attorney spoke passionately about women who testified they had “regret” about their abortions.  This word does not adequately express the depths of emotional, physical and spiritual pain and trauma that can torture a parent years after such a procedure.  For their sake, for their living children and spouses, it is our hope and prayer that local pastors and ministers  of that community, as well as those committed to women’s rights and civil rights stand ready to reach out with love, compassion and without judgment for these women and men suffering after traumatic abortion loss.


Tennis Great Christ Evert and Jimmy Connors Abortion

Monday, May 6th, 2013


Tennis great Chris Evert has hit out at her former fiance Jimmy Connors for hinting that their relationship ended in the 1970s after she had an abortion against his wishes…Read the Article


Fetal Reduction: The Garden of Eden Re-Visited

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

s Suffering

As Jenny lay on the obstetrician’s examination table…She didn’t want to see the two shadows floating inside her… “we created this child in such an artificial manner — in a test tube, choosing an egg donor, having the embryo placed in me — and somehow, making a decision about how many to carry seemed to be just another choice.  The pregnancy was all so consumerish to begin with, and this became yet another thing we could control.”

-New York Times The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy, Ruth Padawer, August 10, 2011

Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made…5 “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil… she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. 7 Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked. (Genesis 3)

The sophisticated technology and complex moral dilemmas that parents like Jenny face are seemingly light years away from the dawn of human history and the great temptation of the serpent in Genesis. But as the reproductive drama unfolds as Jenny describes in the New York Times article on the pregnancy reduction of twins, the temptation faced by our first parents has never been more diabolically clear and powerful.

Read the rest here:



How Catholics Can Conquer Depression

Thursday, May 2nd, 2013


An American psychiatrist explains what inspired him to write a guide to the condition ( of depression) specifically for members of the Church

By Aaron Kheriaty        Thursday, 2 May 2013

Read the article Here


Philadelphia Has a Serious Case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

 [Well written, informative and moving study of urban violence and PTSD by Steve Volk of Philadelphia Magazine.  I think this has special relevance as Rachel’s Vineyard expands its post abortion outreach to urban settings where abortion is part of larger culture of trauma and violence and where abortion rates are so high (6 out of 10 African American pregnancies in NY city end in abortion)…similar to the poor West Philadelphia neighborhood where Gosnell practiced his perverted form of medical care. ]

Welcome to Hell: Philadelphia Has a Serious Case of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder


As a result of our gun crisis, tens of thousands of Philadelphians might be suffering the same psychological trauma as people in Afghanistan and Rwanda. In a world like that, do two young boys stand a chance?

By Steve Volk

 Read the story here:

The Light Shines in the Darkness, and the Darkness Has Not Overcome It.

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Mary Advent Calendar - side view

Time for some beauty in the midst of our  reflections on Gosnell and trauma to remind us of the truth from John’s Gospel:

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome  it.

Here’s some musical beauty from the Band Yes who are touring this summer in the U.S. (my birthday is June 7 BTW Burke children):

And You And I    by Yes


Hostel Territory: What Psychiatrist Jung Reveals About Repressed Trauma and Art

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

Volcano 3

  As the Planned Parenthood grisly scandal of trafficking in unborn baby organs continues to unfold, I thought it might be helpful to re-visit this article.  This information and the trauma to the children and their parents has been deliberately repressed and censored for many years.  But there are other ways this type of repressed horror may be manifest in our society. – Kevin Burke, MSS

Hostel Territory

 “The artist is not a person endowed with free will who seeks his own ends, but one who allows art to realize its purposes through him. As a human being he may have moods and a will and personal aims, but as an artist he is “man” in a higher sense – he is “collective man,” a vehicle and molder of the unconscious psychic life of mankind.” (Carl Jung, from ‘Psychology and Literature’, 1930)

Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung theorized that there exists a universal human consciousness which holds the collective memories, experiences, and wisdom of the human race, and which certain people with artistic gifts and sensibilities can tap into.  Some elements of Jung’s psychology and mystical writings are new age fluff conjured up in mediations with various “spirit guides” and the musings of his very fertile mind.

However Jung was also a brilliant man who articulated some useful concepts that can help us to better understand art and culture.    Jung proposed that art might express broader themes in a society, that an artist may tap unconscious elements of individuals and mankind through the medium of music, art, and film.  This concept may be helpful to better understand the relationship between films such as Hostel and the nearly 50 million abortion procedures since the Supreme Court legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy in 1973.

Hostel is directed by Eli Roth and opened as a “Quentin Tarantino Presents” film upon its release in January 2006.  Tarantino, a director of his own brand of excessively violent films such as the “Kill Bill” series, acted as a mentor to Roth during the creation of Hostel.  Tarantino recently warned people of how horrifying Hostel really is. He says, “Be careful about the film, you might end up in a hospital at the end of the night, it’s no joke. We’ve actually had people pass out at screenings and they had to call the paramedics.” (

What is a deeper concern, given the number of young people that will see this movie, is the graphic blending of titillating sexual content, and sadistic violence.

The first stage of Hostel is basically a porn movie with 3 young men on a European sex spree engaging in graphically represented immorality of every kind.  The second stage of Hostel involves the young men being kidnapped from one of these sex hostels and imprisoned in a torture chamber attached to it that services wealthy businessmen who pay big bucks to inflict pain upon their captured victims.  The scenes of torture, dismemberment and violence perpetrated upon the men and women in this film are graphic and shocking.

So where’s the abortion connection?

The intelligentsia and media elite zealously suppresses the graphic truth about the nature of the abortion procedure and its traumatic aftermath.  This pain and grief lies buried deeply in the collective unconscious of our culture, where it is forbidden expression.   The effects of the abortion procedure on the unborn, and the trauma unleashed upon all who participate in the death of the unborn remain largely hidden from public view.

The truth about abortion, like steam rising up through cracks in the earth’s surface, searches desperately for an opening in our cultural crust to find expression and release.  In the film Hostel, as with other films of this genre, we find elements of this suppressed trauma, violence and pain released through the medium of film:

Immoral sexual activity leads to traumatic experiences/images of dismemberment, torture and pain.  These can be seen as painful metaphors of the excesses of the sexual revolution and abortion on demand and their deadly fruits evident in the images of countless dismembered bodies of unborn children daily discarded at abortion centers. 

We have a generation since 1973 who have lost siblings to abortion and see themselves as “survivors of abortion.” The legalization of abortion communicates to them that their own lives were disposable contingent upon the judgment of their parents.   They have an innate sense of their historical vulnerability.    Films such as Hostel may connect in some way with their collective unconscious and conscious awareness of the loss of life and traumatic impact of 36 years of “choice” as it impacts their lives, parents and families.

Hostel is not the first film of this genre popular among youth.  Many of the “slasher/horror” films since 1973 often feature young people, sexual references or situations followed by graphic bloodshed, torture and violent mayhem.

Neil Malamuth is a professor and chairman of the Department of Communication Studies at UCLA. He co-edited (with Edward Donnerstein of the University of Wisconsin) the book, Pornography and Sexual Aggression.  Dr Malamuth’s and his associates have studied reactions to excessively violent films such as Texas Chain Saw Massacre, popular with youth and easily accessible at the local video store. In their research they found viewers were initially disturbed and depressed by this content. However with further viewing they became desensitized to the content and eventually found the material enjoyable. [1]  (Brings to mind abortionist Gosnell joking that  one of the babies he aborted was “big enough to walk to the store.”)

Films such as Hostel are part of the desensitization of young people to violence and pain associated with sexual content.  As with pornography, there are addictive elements at work when each new film must increase its violent shock content to out-do its predecessors.  Audiences develop a higher tolerance to the graphic content while craving increasing levels of gore and sickness.  As Dr Malamuth indicates, many teens and young adults have developed a type of dissociation from the reality of such violence and will see movies such as Hostel as an entertaining form of twisted comedy.

This should fill us with an even greater urgency to end the scourge of abortion on our land.  Abortion not only ends the life of a developing child, but also deeply wounds all who participate in this action.  The fallout from abortion over time, like radiation after an atomic explosion, is like a cancer that seeps into countless marriages, families our children and communities.  This repressed unhealed toxic trauma finds a type of release in twisted films like Hostel, but in a form that celebrates the violence and further corrupts the soul of youth.

Now more than ever we must work tirelessly to protect the unborn and to heal those wounded by their participation in abortion, confident in the belief that one day, abortion like slavery, will become a shameful relic of our past that we will never allow to rise again.


[1] Media and Values, Media’s New Mood: Sexual Violence, Issue 33 Fall 1985.