Archive for April, 2019

It Takes a Village…To Abort a Child

Saturday, April 27th, 2019

by Kevin Burke, LSW

You’re no doubt familiar with the African proverb, “it takes a village to raise a child.”

Read carefully the following abortion testimony.  I highlighted, in bold italics, those individuals who were influential in the decision to abort the developing child in Dora’s womb. 

As you will see, abortion is rarely a woman’s “private personal decision.” Having heard countless abortion stories like Dora’s over the years, let me assure you, it often takes a village to abort a preborn girl or boy.

Every Picture Tells a Story

Dora: “When I first found out I was pregnant, I was a bit nervous and anxious; however, choosing to abort was not an option in my mind at this point. The very first person I told was my older brother, who was at my parent’s house with me when I took the test (my parents were at work, we were home alone). I walked into his room and told him I was pregnant, and he reacted by punching and breaking his window. I was very frightened and upset after that…

When I was finally able to let my boyfriend know I was pregnant…he replied, “There are other options.”  I immediately felt so much disappointment and sadness. I was overwhelmed by the intense emotions of fear, confusion, anger, resentment, hopelessness, and anxiety. I told him I would think about it…

I don’t know why I took a picture of us that same evening in my car. I have looked back on that picture often, wishing I could go back to that precise moment and tell him that I choose my baby. I don’t know why I keep that photo…but I do. Every now and then I look back and see such sadness hidden behind a smile, and I remember those intense feelings and the brokenness that was beginning to form.

When we arrived at his apartment his roommate and two other friends were there watching TV. We told them the news together…I remember that the rest of the evening consisted of all of them sitting down with me in the living room and telling me the best choice was to abort. I told them I was uncertain of my choice, but they kept reminding me that we were so young and unable to raise a child on our own.

I was so confused, and I remember thinking that I was going to have to go against everyone to keep this baby and that I would have no support if I didn’t go through with it. My boyfriend told me that a family member (a few years older) recently got a girl pregnant. He told me his dad and mom were so disappointed in him and how it basically ruined the plans for his life. My boyfriend told me he didn’t want to be that disappointment to his parents.

 I remember thinking that I would lose my boyfriend (who I was obsessed and infatuated with at that time) if I decided to keep the baby. I remember thinking I loved him so much that I didn’t want him to feel tied down to me because of a baby. In that moment I was convinced I was doing the most selfless thing, for him. All his friends said so, he said so, and I believed so.

Sadly, I fell for the pressure, and I fell for the lies. Although we all technically agreed with the decision, I still felt completely alone, and I began to fall into a depression.

My boyfriend made an appointment the next week, and I went to a Planned Parenthood clinic by myself (he had to work). The security was pretty intense, and the protesters outside were many. As I waited in the lobby I remember looking around and seeing many young girls, some balling their eyes out and others in a zombie state…I was one of the very few that was in there alone. I was scared and upset. I was still trying to convince myself that this was the best decision.

As they called me in with the nurse, they went over a very brief consultation of what was going to happen. They gave me a small cup of pills, (the RU-486 pills manufactured by Danco Laboratories [1]). I took the first dose there (first set of pills that stops the baby from growing but doesn’t actually abort the baby yet) and, almost immediately, I regretted my decision.

 In tears, I asked the nurse if I could take back my decision. I told her I wasn’t sure if I could go through with it. I was desperate to find encouragement from someone, anyone. She encouraged me, yes, but encouraged me to continue with the abortion. She said if I didn’t go through with the second dose my baby could and most likely will have severe damages and disabilities. [Dora was denied available medical information about the option of abortion pill reversal – KB]

I couldn’t bear to think of it, nor did I think I could live with myself, to see my baby suffer because of my decision. Looking back now, I would have done whatever it took to save my baby, but once again my fear kicked in, making me choose to continue.

I went back to my boyfriend’s apartment and waited for the time to take my second dose, the dose that actually causes the abortion. I remember sitting on the couch with my boyfriend and his friends watching TV, feeling complete numbness…

It was time for me to take the second and last dose. As I put the pills in my mouth and let them dissolve, within 10 minutes I started to feel intense cramps. When the cramps became unbearable, I made my way to the bathroom. I locked the door and experienced the most severe pain I had ever felt in my life.

I sat on the toilet and bent over in pain. I wanted to scream, but my boyfriend and his friends were right outside the door in the living room, watching TV (it was a small apartment). I grabbed a towel to bite on, in order to keep from screaming and was nearly passing out.

As I got up, I saw blood everywhere. I saw parts of my baby, an image I will never be able to erase from my mind. I fell to my knees in pain and was blacking out. Concerned that the guys would see all the blood and clumps, I got on my knees and cleaned it up.

Throughout the intensity all I could think was, “They cannot see this and be as traumatized and scarred as I have been.” As soon as I left the bathroom I was about to faint when my boyfriend helped me to bed.

The next two weeks were nothing but a blur. All I remember doing was lying in bed to sleep and cry. I didn’t eat, I didn’t shower, I didn’t answer phone calls, I didn’t go to school or work. I didn’t want to leave the bed…

I went by myself for the check-up [at Planned Parenthood] a few weeks later (once again he was working). The nurses performed the evaluation, and they told me the abortion wasn’t successful. Parts of my baby were still inside of me. The pill didn’t expel it all. The one in a million chance that it wouldn’t work (as they told me) had happened. I was that one in a million.

 I had to have an emergency D&C. They told me that, had I waited or not gone to my check up, I could have died. The nurse sent me immediately to a room for the procedure, and all I could hear were women screaming from the hallways. It sounded like a torture house.

They took me to a little room for a quick consultation of what was going to be done. At this point I was balling my eyes out and my whole body was shaking in panic. When the nurse saw how bad I was getting she offered me more sedatives to calm me down. I took many more and became completely numb, both physically and emotionally. I was a zombie. I simply didn’t care about anything at that moment.

They finished up the consultation and walked me to the procedure room. As I walked into the room, I saw a table full of surgical instruments, still full of blood. They had accidentally sent me in a room without cleaning up first…but in that moment I was way too drugged to care…

As they performed the D&C I couldn’t help but think that my baby was a fighter. The guilt was crippling every fiber of my being, and I was just waiting for it to end and go back home to lay in bed. Once the procedure was done, I called my boyfriend and told him to pick me up. I had told him what was going to happen before the procedure, and he was able to get off work early.

The next six months of my life was pure darkness, pure depression. I started drinking heavily and smoking weed every day to escape. I would often cut myself with razors to release the pain I had inside.

I remember one night I wrote out my suicide letter. I wrote my goodbyes to all my loved ones. But, by the grace of God, as I wrote my mom my final goodbyes, I couldn’t bear the thought of all the pain I’d put her through. Only the love I have for my mom caused me to not go through with it. I thank God for reminding me of that love, at that moment, which saved my life…

I dropped out of nursing school. I hardly ate. I went down to 110 pounds and I’m 5’9” in height.  I didn’t visit my family or see friends. All I did was consume myself in the bed and cling to my boyfriend. I was also diagnosed with severe anxiety and panic disorder that following year…

My boyfriend and I inevitably broke up. And I spent many years living in self-destruction because of my abortion. I would sleep around, get drunk three or four times a week, do drugs every day, put myself in situations that could have caused me fatal harm…going home with men I had just met. I didn’t really care about anything anymore, and the only time I felt alive was when I was having “fun” partying, drinking my sadness away.

One day I was at a park, and I was confronted with all my brokenness at once…My heart literally felt like it shattered. I cried out in agony and pain from the truth with which I was being confronted…

I had always known about Jesus. I grew up Roman Catholic my whole life and went to private Catholic schools. But in that moment, I felt a need for Jesus. I asked Jesus to help me. I asked Jesus to heal me. I asked Jesus to forgive me. That was the day I truly found Christ.

Christ truly healed me and restored me. He led me to therapy where I continued my healing from all my child abuse and abortion trauma…

Although I will have to forever live with my decision and mourn the loss of my baby, I know I am forgiven…and after 11 years I have finally learned to forgive myself.

As I found healing (and I will always continue my journey of healing…one never completely heals from abortion) Jesus has shown me that the more I share my story, the more healing I receive from doing so.

“Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Because I am no longer that same broken woman I was before—God has restored and redeemed me, and in Him I am a new creature! Praise Jesus for forgiveness He freely gives!

I am now a child of God—clean, sober, no longer self-injuring myself, and happily married with two beautiful baby boys!

All of this through the grace and mercy of Jesus Christ

[You can read the full account of Dora’s testimony here.]

An original song and video by author Kevin Burke on a couple’s experience of abortion loss and healing.

Photo for blog by Genta Mochizawa on Unsplash

[1] The use of medication abortion has greatly increased over the years, and now makes up roughly one-third (32.8%) of all abortions at 8 weeks gestation or less. RU-486, the medication that Dora was given at Planned Parenthood, is manufactured by Danco Laboratories, the sole drug manufacturer for mifepristone.  Every employee and shareholder of Danco Laboratories has direct responsibility in the death of Dora’s unborn boy or girl.  <



Mary Magdalene and the Apostle Peter – Perfect Saints for Women and Men Who Have Experienced Abortion

Wednesday, April 17th, 2019

I just completed a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend where I served as team counselor.  All the weekends are powerful manifestations of the mercy of God and the effectiveness of this healing retreat model for those hurting after abortion.I just completed a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend for healing after abortion loss, where I served as team counselor. 

The retreat process features special scripture meditations, the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and exercises that lead women and men to a deep emotional and spiritual healing.

I was struck how each participant drew closer to Jesus as the meditations and exercises helped them express their pain, shame, anger and fear. In the growing safety and solidarity of the group, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they discovered a yearning in their heart to draw closer to Jesus, their merciful Savior.

A number of the women in this group suffered abuse, rejection, and exploitation by significant male figures in their lives.  This made their encounter with Christ even more profound and healing for them.

As we enter Holy Week and the coming Easter Season, I wanted to focus on two Gospel figures that played important roles in the life and ministry of Jesus.   Each offers inspiration and hope for women and men suffering after abortion loss. But they also offer a message of consolation for those burdened by past abuse and anyone suffering from emotional, spiritual or physical illness.

Mary of Magdalene – Apostles to the Apostles

Contrary to the common misconception, Mary (from the town of Magdala,) was not the other Mary of scripture identified as a prostitute.  Mary Magdalene was a woman of some financial means, as she was in a position to contribute money to support the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles.

In Luke 8:1-3 we read that at the start of Jesus’s ministry:

“The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out …and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.”

Mary’s conversion to follow Christ followed a personal experience of His healing power.  While her deliverance from “seven demons” could be a reference to an emotional or physical illness, it is also possible that she was involved in occult or pagan practices that may have opened her up to demonic oppression or possession. 

Regardless, this healing encounter made her a generous, but also courageous disciple of Jesus.   Mary was present at the foot of the cross, grieving and loving her Master as he suffered the horrific torture of Roman Crucifixion. 

Pope Benedict XVI had this to say about Mary Magdalene in a 2007 address referencing her role as first witness to the resurrection of Christ:

St. Thomas Aquinas reserved the special title, “Apostle of the Apostles” (apostolorum apostola), dedicating to [Mary Magdalene] this beautiful comment: ‘Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life’ (Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, § 2519).  

After many years in abortion recovery ministry, we encounter many women set free by the power of Jesus, who become grateful and fervent Disciples.  Like Mary Magdalene, some are called to courageously witness to the saving power of Jesus in the sharing of their abortion testimonies.

The Shame of Peter – His Liberation by Christ

Men with abortion loss, and those who have experienced abuse in the past, understandably struggle to enter into the emotional and spiritual vulnerability that is so essential to healing.

 Peter had to face his own pride and fear on the Sea of Galilee, and at that fateful Passover in Jerusalem during the last hours of his Master’s life.  Men who make the challenging but rewarding journey of abortion healing discover that, like Peter, they emerge renewed and strengthened as men, spouses, fathers and disciples of Christ.

Here’s a music video of a song I wrote with Henry Gennaria, “Dawn” on the experience of Mary Magdalene and the Apostle Peter at the time of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.   It features live performance of the song and excerpts from a beautiful Claymation movie about the life of Jesus, called The Miracle Maker.  (I highly recommend The Miracle Maker, a movie faithful to the Gospel accounts, and a great presentation for family viewing during Holy Week and Easter season.) 

A blessed Holy Week and Easter Season to you and your loved ones.

St. Thomas Aquinas reserved the special title, “Apostle of the Apostles” (apostolorum apostola), dedicating to [Mary Magdalene] this beautiful comment: ‘Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life’ (Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, § 2519).

Mary Magdalene and the Apostle Peter – Ideal Saints for Women and Men Hurting After Abortion

Friday, April 12th, 2019

I just completed a Rachel’s Vineyard Weekend for healing after abortion loss, where I served as team counselor. 

The retreat process features special scripture meditations, the sacraments of Reconciliation and Eucharist, and exercises that lead women and men to a deep emotional and spiritual healing.

I was struck how each participant drew closer to Jesus as the meditations and exercises helped them express their pain, shame, anger and fear. In the growing safety and solidarity of the group, and empowered by the Holy Spirit, they discovered a yearning in their heart to draw closer to Jesus, their merciful Savior.

A number of the women in this group suffered abuse, rejection, and exploitation by significant male figures in their lives.  This made their encounter with Christ even more profound and healing for them.

As we enter Holy Week and the coming Easter Season, I wanted to focus on two Gospel figures that played important roles in the life and ministry of Jesus.   Each offers inspiration and hope for women and men suffering after abortion loss. But they also offer a message of consolation for those burdened by past abuse and anyone suffering from emotional, spiritual or physical illness.

Mary of Magdalene – Apostles to the Apostles

Contrary to the common misconception, Mary (from the town of Magdala,) was not the other Mary of scripture identified as a prostitute.  Mary Magdalene was a woman of some financial means, as she was in a position to contribute money to support the ministry of Jesus and the Apostles.

In Luke 8:1-3 we read that at the start of Jesus’s ministry:

“The twelve were with Him, and also some women who had been healed of evil spirits and sicknesses: Mary who was called Magdalene from whom seven demons had gone out …and many others who were contributing to their support out of their private means.”

Mary’s conversion to follow Christ followed a personal experience of His healing power.  While her deliverance from “seven demons” could be a reference to an emotional or physical illness, it is also possible that she was involved in occult or pagan practices that may have opened her up to demonic oppression or possession. 

Regardless, this healing encounter made her a generous, but also courageous disciple of Jesus.   Mary was present at the foot of the cross, grieving and loving her Master as he suffered the horrific torture of Roman Crucifixion. 

Pope Benedict XVI had this to say about Mary Magdalene in a 2007 address referencing her role as first witness to the resurrection of Christ:

St. Thomas Aquinas reserved the special title, “Apostle of the Apostles” (apostolorum apostola), dedicating to [Mary Magdalene] this beautiful comment: ‘Just as a woman had announced the words of death to the first man, so also a woman was the first to announce to the Apostles the words of life’ (Super Ioannem, ed. Cai, § 2519).  

After many years in abortion recovery ministry, we encounter many women set free by the power of Jesus, who become grateful and fervent Disciples.  Like Mary Magdalene, some are called to courageously witness to the saving power of Jesus in the sharing of their abortion testimonies.

The Shame of Peter – His Liberation by Christ

Men with abortion loss, and those who have experienced abuse in the past, understandably struggle to enter into the emotional and spiritual vulnerability that is so essential to healing.

 Peter had to face his own pride and fear on the Sea of Galilee, and at that fateful Passover in Jerusalem during the last hours of his Master’s life.  Men who make the challenging but rewarding journey of abortion healing discover that, like Peter, they emerge renewed and strengthened as men, spouses, fathers and disciples of Christ.

Here’s a music video of a song I wrote with Henry Gennaria, “Dawn” on the experience of Mary Magdalene and the Apostle Peter at the time of the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus.   It features live performance of the song and excerpts from a beautiful Claymation movie about the life of Jesus, called The Miracle Maker.  (I highly recommend The Miracle Maker, a movie faithful to the Gospel accounts, and a great presentation for family viewing during Holy Week and Easter season.) 

A blessed Holy Week and Easter Season to you and your loved ones.