Archive for September, 2013

Priests For Life Newsletter Article on Fatherhood Forever

Monday, September 30th, 2013


Check out the latest Priests For Life Newsletter with a feature on the Fatherhood Forever Section of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign (SNMAC) website for men who have suffered abortion loss.  Read the inspirational story of the man who lost a child to abortion, nearly lost his life, and later developed the Fatherhood Forever site .

[In the picture above PFL Executive Director, Janet Morana, was chosen to greet the Pope after the Mass on the Day of Life (June 16). She updated him about the work of the Silent No More Awareness Campaign and Rachel’s Vineyard.  Pope Francis spoke to her about his awareness of and appreciation for this work, including in Argentina.]




Comedian Louis CK: The Eternal Rewards of Unplugging from Technology and Facing the Existential Void

Monday, September 23rd, 2013


Emmy winning Comedian Louis CK had a great bit on Conan where he talked about kids glued to their smart phones and how we use technology/entertainment to run away from the darker things we struggle to face (like grief.)

Louis CK shared a personal experience about taking a break from technology and taking the risk to enter his personal “existential void.”

“You need to build an ability to just be yourself and not be doing something, that’s what the phones are taking away — the ability to just sit there…”

The comedian recalled a recent time in which he heard the Bruce Springsteen song “Jungleland” while driving and he was deeply moved:

“I started to get that sad feeling and reached for my phone, but I thought ‘don’t’ — just be sad, let it hit you like a truck…I pulled over and I just cried…I was grateful to feel sad and then I met it with true, profound happiness.”

As Louis Ck points out, it’s so easy to remain connected, numb and distracted – continually attached to our devices.

To be fair, this is an inevitable part of trying to manage personal and professional responsibilities in a 24/7 society.  But this continual connection to ever present technology does have the capacity to change our sense of reality and our relationship to others, as well as a connection to our deeper selves.

There can be a high price to pay for all that distraction, especially when there is some important stuff to sort out, to feel and grieve, new soil in our hearts and souls that we are being called to cultivate.

For some, the immersion in entertainment, media, and for many, pornography, have become addictions.  These obsessions and addictions can keep us cut off from areas of our lives that need attention and healing.

When we allow ourselves to be still, to put away the smart phone for a few hours…are we afraid of the silence?  That great emptiness Louis CK spoke of can lead us to contemplation of the deeper meaning of our lives.

I believe there is a great longing today, perhaps unconscious and unspoken, but a hunger to quiet all the hyper-activity and at least for a time let go of the gadget obsession.  People want to give a voice to the deeper desire in their souls for reconciliation of past losses, to finally stop running from the pain and allow a healthy expression of the feelings and memories.

One very important caveat that Louis CK did not mention:

If you are going inward, and you encounter some complicated and painful areas of loss, such as abortion or abuse, please don’t try to go it alone.

Once you recognize that a painful experience like abortion has left a deep wound on your heart and soul, reach out for the help you need.  This is especially true for men with abortion loss who may struggle to reach out for support.

As Louis CK points out, our bodies and souls will reward us if we can safely do that grief work because along with the necessary pain and grief are good for the body, and will cultivate life-giving emotions, new insight and understanding.

Best of all, when we safely open up deep parts of our hearts and souls that have been long ignored, numb and lifeless…this freshly tilled soil provides an excellent place for God to sow new seeds of faith, hope and love.

We can come to know in a deeper and intimate way the God who created us – and embrace him as our Heavenly Father.





A Father Attacks Mother of His Aborted Child: “Do You Realize How Badly You Hurt Me?”

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

Road Rage

Those familiar with my writing and speaking know that I often focus on men and abortion loss with a special emphasis on those fathers who are powerless to stop their partner/wife/girlfriend from aborting their unborn child.  This unleashes powerful emotions in men…and without healing this can lead to some really bad outcomes.

Check out the following excerpts from this woman’s abortion story:

Every day for two weeks prior to the abortion, Jace would plead with me.

“We can get married and I will get another job; we can be a family and make this work” he would say to me over and over again.

I was angry and I wanted someone to blame. I refused to speak with him about it, and he eventually gave up. My mind was made up and there was nothing he could do or say to change that.

January 2014 will mark 5 years since my abortion. I recently came into contact with the Father of my aborted child, whom I had not seen or barely spoken to in years.

I agreed to see him…and he attacked me.

            He pinned me to the seat of his truck and told me that he had to get even with me for the abortion. I cried and screamed and fought him. He said that hurting me was the only way we could make things ‘right’ between us.

“Do you realize how badly you hurt me?” he kept yelling. When I begged him to stop, he said “you know what is funny about that Annie, I begged YOU to stop, I begged YOU not to have an abortion, but you did it anyway, you let someone rip our child from your body”.

 After a half hour struggle, I was finally able to escape from him and run for help. The police were called and he is now facing assault charges.

This father will have to face the legal consequences for his actions and there is never an excuse for violence against women.   But his powerful feelings and actions powerfully proclaim that men like Jace desperately need to know about healing programs for recovery from abortion loss…especially traumatic abortion loss.

  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.

Jace was clearly traumatized by his partner’s abortion and wrongly took out his helplessness, powerlessness and rage on the mother of the child.

I recently shared in my blog about a prison inmate who linked his life of crime and other immorality to his participation in 2 abortions.  Police, prison administrators and chaplains, mental health professional and all of us need to understand that whatever their role in an abortion, men are profoundly affected and need to hear about resources for recovery after abortion. 

Fortunately for this mother, her story did not end in death and despair.  She writes:

In March 2011, 2 years after my abortion, I had reached another breaking point. One day I just had a complete melt down. That’s when I decided to seek spiritual help. I attended a Rachel’s Vineyard retreat.   My family did not agree with my decision to attend this retreat, but I knew that I had to do it if I wanted to heal. I thank God every day for the women at Rachel’s Vineyard. That weekend truly changed my life. I was able to make peace with God about my abortion, and I didn’t have to do it alone.

Let’s pray the father of her child also learns about healing resources and reaches out for the help he desperately needs.  Jace needs the support of others who understand his loss, and a healing process where he can safely express his painful emotions and encounter the power of God.  Jace will find that the end of his story is not Calvary, but an empty tomb, and a spiritual relationship with his precious child.

This is the only path away from violence, despair and death…to peace, recovery and new life.  Let’s pray for all fathers of children lost to abortion, that they discover this path of healing.

–        And He who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new!”  

(Revelation 21)

To Learn more about  Men and Abortion Loss:



Life After Aerosmith’s StevenTyler: Julia Holcomb Shares Her Abortion Story With High School Students

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

La Crosse Tribune

Steven TylerÕs ex-fiancŽe, Julia Holcomb, gave a moving testimony relating her abortion experience with the American Idol judge and rock star.  Holcomb spoke on the steps of the United States Supreme Court building as part of the Silent No More Awareness

Julia Holcomb spoke at Luther High School in Onalaska, Wisconsin, Tuesday as part of the school’s annual Life Week.  She told students about her life with
Aerosmith singer Steven Tyler, her abortion, and abortion’s aftermath.

Read Article

You can read Julia’s amazing story in this Lifesite News article The Light of the World: The Steven Tyler and Julia Holcomb Story .

I love this picture of Julia below because it reveals that while her story is important to share for what it reveals about the culture of death…her life speaks much more eloquently about the mercy and power of Christ.  Jesus saved Julia’s life  leading her to embrace the vocations of wife, mother and to nurture her gift as a very talented artist  painting powerful and moving religious icons.



A Father Discovers Freedom From His Abortion Pain… In A Prison Chapel

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013

The following is an article written by “TJ” an inmate at a Florida Correctional Institution.   The institution is a level 6 maximum security prison… a high percentage of the inmates will call this home for the rest of their lives. 

TJ shares how abortion impacted his life and of his participation in a Rachel’s Vineyard (RV) after abortion program specially adapted for use in prison by the local RV site leader Donna Gardner and Tom Lawlor, Director of Prison Ministry for the Diocese of Palm BeachTJ is half way through his facilitator training and will be part of the Rachel’s Vineyard Team in the prison. 

Over 50 men have participated in this prison outreach bringing reconciliation and peace to those in darkness and a number of Rachel’s Vineyard leaders have emerged from the prison population.  Here’s TJ’s story:   –Kevin Burke, LSW

 Healing a Father’s Heart


 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.   He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord.”  (Luke, 4:18)

Rachel’s Vineyard is a ten-week seminar offered here at the Correctional Institution on Wednesday mornings in the Chapel.  The service it provides for those who attend is immeasurable.  However, few really know what it is about.  In order to understand what this program offers, one must first become aware of the scourge of abortion.

I’m writing this article…to share with you a real-life experience that kept me in the deepest and darkest misery for twenty-seven years.  My hope is, if you were involved in a similar situation, that you may find help.

Twenty-seven years ago, as a teenager, I was involved in two abortions because I lived as an irresponsible, arrogant, prideful, selfish, self-centered human being.  Those abortions lead me down a road of drugs, alcohol, irresponsible sex, crime and so many other destructive things.

How could abortion lead to all that? Because it produces guilt, whether the person realizes it or not, which turns to bad decisions, self-hatred, anger towards others, violence and all kinds of other messed up emotions.  While these are taking place the person is in denial, refusing to recognize there is a problem.  Or, if he or she does admit to a problem, they don’t know that it is rooted in an abortion that may have taken place years ago.  At the time of my abortion experiences I knew none of this.

I was told that an abortion is simply getting rid of a glob of cells or tissue, that it was not killing a baby.

Let’s look at some facts.  Day one: the sperm fertilizes the egg in the fallopian tube; forty-six chromosomes combine which predetermines all of the person’s characteristics.  By day eighteen there is a heartbeat.  At eight weeks all the body systems are present.  The baby is rapidly growing.  The genital organs are clearly differentiated in sixteen weeks and the baby grasps with hands, kicks, and turns.  This is not a blob of tissue, but clearly a little human being.

Abortion has been a divisive topic long before the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade made it legal.  Two of the biggest arguing points are a mother’s “right to choose” and the baby’s “right to life.”  Rarely does the father even get a say in the argument even though twenty-three of those chromosomes are his and the rest of his life is affected by the decision.

Every day 4,300 babies are killed by abortion.  It is said that one in every three adults has been involved in an abortion.  If you’re one of them, and if you’re like I was, maybe you hate yourself or your spouse or girlfriend or even your parents.  Perhaps you’re mad at the doctor or God or experiencing every messed up emotion that could entangle a person’s life.  I was.

Humans are not designed to carry burdens alone, and we don’t have to.  There is hope, and there is help to heal from the brutality of abortion.  That’s what Rachel’s Vineyard does.  It is led by Donna Gardner and Tom Lawlor, two of the most awesome people I’ve ever met.  They have love and a great passion for what they do and for the men and women inside and outside who have experienced the devastating tragedy of abortion.  They can help mend the affects of years of wrong choices and destructive behavior.

Even if you don’t fully understand some of what I’ve said and how an abortion years ago could be responsible for so much destructive behavior – come and check it out and learn.  Take a step forward and give yourself a new beginning.  Sign up now by sending a request to the chapel.  It will be a life changing experience for the good.


Donna Gardner M.S. is the Coordinator of the Healing Ministries Rachel’s Vineyard/Lifeforce  for Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Palm Beach 100 West 20th Street Riviera Beach, Florida 33404






Jason Baier – Pioneer In Outreach to Men After Abortion

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Fatherhood Forever

Jason Baier is featured in one of the chapters of my book on men and abortion entitled Redeeming a Father’s Heart. Jason’s story is a harrowing account of his experience of learning the exciting news that his longtime partner was pregnant… Read more…