Category Archives: abortion

holy innocents

14 Pro-Life Resolutions to Make This Year

The feast of The Holy Innocents, celebrated on December 28th, really pricks my heart. Therefore, I find it rather disappointing that it seems to pass by each year without much attention. Certainly the Church calendar is dotted with the memorials of so many great martyrs, but the Holy Innocents offer us a particular model for our current culture.

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On Saturday’s Chore List: Telling Lies; Exposing the Truth About the Anti-life Protesters

Imagine you are a scared teenager who has just discovered you are pregnant by a boyfriend who adamantly tells you he’s not interested in raising his child. Maybe you’re a single woman whose married boyfriend finally admits he has no intention of leaving his wife and helping raise his child. Perhaps, you are too poor to take care of the kids you already have and you feel overwhelmed by the thought of having another. Or you trusted your contraceptives to make your sex life sterile and now you’re shocked to find out they didn’t work.

You have cried, begged, bartered, and agonized. Your situation feels hopeless and all that you can think of is wanting it all to go away.
Someone offers you a solution. Maybe it’s the parents who threatened to kick you out or the boyfriend who wants to keep his options open or perhaps the guy who raped you; someone advises you to have an abortion. You know, just some out-patient surgery to dilate your cervix and rip/vacuum out the “contents” or some magic pills to force your body to dispel the little body growing inside of you. It’s just that easy; a bit of cash, some anesthetic or pills and your problems will disappear (at least that’s what they tell you).

Maybe you’ve always been okay with the idea of abortion or maybe you weren’t until now. Either way, this is a big deal for you. You are the one who has to go through it. You are the one who has to live with your decision forever.
You can do this, you decide. You can have an abortion. Lots of women have had them, so it’s no big deal, right? So, you make the hard decision and you secure a ride to the appointment. On the day of your abortion, you wake up early with your head spinning. Maybe you can’t eat anything because you’ll be under-going anesthesia or maybe your appetite is gone because all those pregnancy hormones have already kicked in leaving you with morning sickness. But you’ve made up your mind or at least it has been made up for you, so you are going to go through with this.
Just as your boyfriend cruises closer to the clinic, you see a commotion that looks something like a circus. Then you realize it’s all happening right in front of the place you need to be. There’s some lady with bright orange and crayon red hair standing next to the driveway. Next to her is a woman dancing around with a sign that reads “Everybody poops.” Then, you do a double-take because there are police officers and another woman holding a sign that declares, “Too bad I’m a vegetarian” right next to a picture of a dismembered baby. Is this some kind of macabre party that is being busted by the cops?
No, those “creative” people (the girl in her bathrobe and the hippie with his pants falling off) are here to help you in your worst hour. They want to comfort you and tell you that you have options. They want to share the truth with you and offer you a free ultrasound. NO, that is not their intention. That group of anti-lifers are enjoying the limelight by making a mockery of your horrible day.
This group that dubs itself Saturday Chores (SC) is full of contradictions and self-aggrandizement. Just read some of the coverage in online interviews and it doesn’t take very many lines into the articles to uncover the lies.
My family and I have prayed quite a number of times in front of the old abortion mill that closed (and is now a tubal reversal facility) on the other side of town, but this past Saturday was our first at the clinic next to Cary, NC. A notice of intent is required for groups of 10 more persons to gather for vigils/protests in this city and that means there are boundaries to abide by.* The police were required this weekend because the SC group found it repeatedly necessary to violate their boundaries. Two individuals crossed the street in order to intimidate one pro-lifer. They stood less than 3 feet from her and shifted positions every time she did. I suppose when they say, “We do our best to not talk to the pro-lifers” we should assume that that kind of taunting behavior isn’t expected to incite a conversation.
Already, they’ve taken to putting their signs down when we show up, which we consider an important if brief victory,” their spokesperson says. Ummm, what can I say other than that is a blatant lie. If you want proof, look at SC’s own pictures wherein they photograph pro-lifers holding signs.
They made claims that they planned to show up early and take over the curb so that “they’ll (pro-lifers) have to squeeze into our ranks, as we normally do with theirs.” I guess they forgot about the permits when they said this. No worries, the police officers reminded them to step back to their assigned place this Saturday.
While it’s true that we’re mocking people, we consider the chief value of what we’re doing the solidarity that we demonstrate for the individuals or families that need to use the clinic’s services for whatever reasons they may have,” stated the groups organizer. So back to that frightened woman in the car who feels like she has nowhere else to turn, is this circus helping her? Do the antics make her feel loved and empowered? Does she appreciate the cameras and attention called to the driveway as she enters? Maybe she hasn’t even told her family and now SC has pictures on the internet that show her silver car parked in the lot (oh, yeah and those pictures of her car aren’t only on the group’s webpage, they are also showing up on other sites like The Daily Dot). I suppose that’s solidarity, using a woman’s traumatic situation to drive-up hits on their tumblr page.
In all of my times praying at abortion mills, I have never once encountered the hate they mentioned. That would be completely contrary to the mission of pro-lifers. Sidewalk counselors have to abide by permit regulations so they can’t even legally prevent a woman from entering the facility. They can, however, present her with the facts and offer her options. There is a pro-life organization in Raleigh that does free pregnancy tests and ultrasounds. Pro-lifers offer this kind of information to scared and reluctant mothers. On the other side of town, the free pregnancy help center is proudly boasting two or more saves a week. That means at least a few mothers were shown the options and offered help and they chose to mother their babies rather than kill them. Clearly, not every woman walking into these abortion facilities wants an abortion.
Anti-lifers, as of late, don’t have such a clean track record when it comes to being civil to their opposition (see HERE and HERE and HERE and HERE– caution on these last ones). Perhaps, they might also crunch their numbers and ask themselves why minority children are more often aborted than their non-minority counter-parts. A little research on Planned Parenthood’s founding mother (Margaret Sanger -her quotes are found here) will clue you in on that (hateful) agenda.
I will offer one disclaimer. There is a so-called religious group that is attempting to shout their judgments, scriptural counsel and advice at confused women and that is always wrong. That is not charity. Angry tones and condemnation will not save children or their mothers in most cases.

this is a baby at 8 weeks gestation (sure doesn’t look like a blob of tissue)

Lastly, the SC group needs to go back to school and bone up on their science lessons. Apparently, these creative people have decided that they know when life begins and it isn’t anytime prior to when a woman wants to abort. Maybe they should offer to drive one of the reluctant moms over for a free ultrasound and see for themselves what a baby looks like before it’s shredded or dumped. Or they could just listen to an abortionist admit it for himself (HERE). Or read about it (HERE and HERE).

Abortion is no laughing matter. Not for those who value life in all its stages and not for the women who feel like it is their only option. Abortion has real risks, in the present (perforated uterus, uterine infection,hemorrhage, in addition to the dead baby) and in the future (prematurity in subsequent pregnancies, infertility, post-traumatic stress disorder). Women deserve all of that information. They deserve to know that people do care about their welfare and the welfare of their child. They deserve to know there are couples who would joyfully adopt their child. They deserve to know there are free services and aid to help them through their pregnancies as well as continuing help beyond the birth.
I am praying for the day when abortion isn’t legal. Really, I’m praying for the day when no woman wants to kill her own; the day when we all see human life for the gift that it is. The day when we recognize no one can be truly free when we are willing to deny the rights of the least among us and call it a “progressive view.”
*In the city of Raleigh, NC individuals may legally gather for prayer vigils or protests. This is considered “picketing” and only groups of 10 or more people need to be covered by a notice of intent which is filed with the city. A current notice was on file as of the writing of this post and individuals do not need to carry a copy with them. I urge others to answer the call to defend the sacredness of all life by volunteering a bit of your time to pray in front of your local abortion clinic. See your local ordinances for requirements.
** all quotes attributed to the SC group and photos referenced appear in an interview posted on The Daily Dot (dated July 23, 2014) 

My Morning At the Abortion Clinic

Hilarious” that’s the adjective used to describe the pro-aborts’ signs in front of a local abortion mill. A couple has made it their weekend chore to mock Christian pro-lifers and chronicle their efforts on a blog. Their dedication to confrontation merited them some viral exposure from a writer who found the couple’s signs (that state things like “I like turtles” and ‘Hail Santa”) to be side-achingly hysterical. The coverage inspired a fellow parishioner to post the article on facebook along with a call to offer a counter-balance to the situation.

Having been a while since the kids and I stood in defense of life and with the calendar providentially clear, I heeded the call and arranged the details to transport my crew bright and early this Saturday morning.
Our big, white, pro-life-stickered van rolled into a parking spot around 10:15am just in time to meet a fellow parishioner. Together we rounded the corner and took up our positions in the prayer line next to a dozen or so other advocates for the unborn. We stood shoulder to shoulder across the busy road from the clinic and immediately jumped into the rosary.
Noise from the constant flow of traffic competed against the gentle voices reciting those well-known words of Hail Marys, Our Fathers and Glory Be’s. I was thankfully to have that familiar pattern to follow so that my mind and heart were never far from the source of true peace. Indeed standing there, with so many rosary beads dangling, my mind continually beckoned me with the words, “Let nothing disturb you. Let nothing steal away your peace.” Vigilantly we held our positions in that prayer formation for the next hour.
On the opposing side of the street the scene was something quite different. A group of twenty-something pro-aborts jockeyed for attention (at times working hard to stir up a disturbance). Intermittently they cranked up the volume on a radio and busted a few moves while flipping from one nonsensical sign to the next. From the young woman clothed in her bath robe and pj’s to the low-pants donning male, those on the opposite side shifted positions like preschoolers after they’ve suckled a bottle of Mountain Dew.
Life versus death. Good versus evil. Light versus darkness. The stark contrast between our missions on either side of the road this Saturday morning was palpable. You could quite literally feel the contrast in your bones.
Our group managed all 20 mysteries before the permit time ran short. By that time, I’d stepped back behind my crew because I was swaying my toddler and monitoring a couple of little warriors who’d found some dirt to kick. Our priest, who was wearing his traditional full-length cassock (as always), had stepped into the center of the line when my attention was momentarily adverted. Turning my focus back again, I was awestruck. Father seemed (to my eyes) to have grown bigger than life. Inexplicably, he appeared to physically tower over the young men who flanked him and his black draped shoulders seemed broader than I’d ever noticed them to be before that moment. As he led us in the chaplet of Divine Mercy, I couldn’t shake this curious vision and I wondered if he’d always been this size.
After completing the chaplet, Father spun around and gave us his final blessings and then he quickly departed. Watching him leave, I calculated that while he is indeed tall, my brief perception of him was something truly supernatural.
Following in Father’s footsteps, the rest of our group disbanded. Across the street things were still lively as another church group had arrived to take up the pro-life torch and the opposition was still rambling about. I considered staying longer because it felt like there was more to do. I wanted to drop to my knees and beg some more intercession, to show that I was still in the fight. Instead I listened to that still, small voice that told me it was enough.
On the way back to the van, we circle-chatted with those friends who’d inspired our participation. They, too, were battling the internal struggle to stay longer, to outlast our sign-wielding contenders. It was pride, my wise friend noted, that was egging us on. Another friend reminded us that we weren’t engaged in a competition here. God hadn’t called us each here on this clear Saturday morning to outdo one another in some show of bravado. No, He called us here to witness to Truth and to pray for peace for the babies whose lives were being lost inside that building as well as for mercy for their misguided parents.
Real power resided in the prayers we’d prayed. No one could see it, but God. And no one, but God, needed to.
For the remainder of my afternoon, I ruminated on the morning’s event, on that internal whisper to remain undisturbed, on Father’s temporarily unnatural stature and on that prompting to trust that my meager offering was enough. Turning to God’s Word, I searched out the daily reading and here’s what it told me:
Then children were brought to him that he might lay his hands on them and pray. The disciples rebuked them, but Jesus said, “Let the children come to me, and do not prevent them; for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these. After he placed his hands on them, he went away (Matthew 19: 13-15).
Christ asked us on this day to bring the children to Him. Our prayers were the channels through which they were delivered from the horrors taking place yards in front of us. Jesus wanted us to be docile vehicles for the Holy Spirit, so that He may work through us. Our pride sought to be in control like the disciples wanted todirect the crowd. Surely, I wanted to rebuke a few people this morning, but that was not my job.
I think my vision of Father was a gift that was meant to remind me that I must follow his example of persevering peace, constant striving for holiness, and docility. Virtues, I fail to achieve often. My priest is not a demanding man (of others, although I think he is of himself). He doesn’t spit out hell-fire and brimstone nor does he cater doctrine to garner money in the coffers. He is a shepherd who, no doubt, carries a great deal of weight on those arching shoulders without much complaint. Even more so, I think that vision was meant to represent the Church and my role within Her.
The gospel said that after Jesus had placed His hands on them, he went away. He didn’t stay longer than was necessary. He gave the blessing and moved on, just like Father did today. To have stayed and continued on would have been about my will in this situation.
The Battle of Lepanto also came to mind today. I imagined the maritime warriors were well trained in the art of war, but they ultimately recognized that the power of victory was wrapped around their fingers. How utterly absurd it would seem to the non-believer that a fight could be won by surrendering their human strategies and taking up the arms of the rosary. However, history is proof that the docility of those men to faith was rewarded with victory.
I realized, my coming before God with child-like abandon and following His gentle directives is what will ultimately win the struggle. Some day, that abortion mill will close down just like the other one across town did (of that I am confident). Some day, every abortion facility will be remade or left as an empty shell. The win won’t be because of any clever signs or showy protests. Because the real fight isn’t between pro-lifers and pro-aborts, it is within each of us, you and me. When we first learn to lay down our selves and adopt a spirit of docility, then God will claim His victory person by person, heart by heart until eventually the whole world will experience unending peace.
tubal reversal

This Is The Building That Cried Out To God

This is the building.
This is the building we used to drive a half an hour to get to.
This is the building that we used to park our big, pro-life stickered van in front of.
This is the building that drew us down to our knees.
This is the building which beckoned us to pray.
This is the building where I encountered my first real taste of venomous words (shouted at my children and me).
This is the building that reduced me to tears.
This is the building where babies were slaughtered, ripped, suctioned and incinerated.
This is the building where women went in whole and came out broken.
This is the building that cried out to God.

God heard the cries.

This is the building now.
This is now the building that people will travel hours if not days to reach.
This is now the building where couples will proudly walk hand in hand through the front door.
This is now the building that will call people off of their knees.
This is now the building in which prayers will begin to be answered.
This is now the building in which words of encouragement are spoken.
This is now the building which will inspire tears of joy.
This is now the building in which the hope of babies will be restored.
This is now the building where women will go in broken and come out whole again.
This is now the building that glorifies the Lord.

Raleigh Women’s Health Organization

Formerly this building bore the duplicitous name of Raleigh Women’s Health Organization. It was an abortion facility.

Then it became a focal point for the 40 Days for Life campaign in Raleigh, NC. That is when my family and I first became aware of its existence. Participating in the 40 Days for Life campaign, my brood of then seven children, my husband and I stood more than a couple of hours before this edifice praying for the souls lost inside.

Anger Words and Angelic Pictures

A worker, angered by our silent praying one bright afternoon, stopped her car at the end of the driveway. She told me how stupid I was. My prayers, she advised, were useless.

I continued praying.

Another day, one of my little ones was full of questions which inspired me to paint him a visual picture.

“Consider the angels,” I said. “Think of them. They must be surrounding this place. The angels are here with us praying for an end to abortion and they’re escorting all those precious, unborn souls back to heaven with them and interceding for their hurt mamas.”

We continued praying.

In time, I heard that the clinic closed. After the death of its owner, there was no one willing to run the killing site.

That was then. This is now.

tubal reversalTime passed, as it always does and I’d filed those experiences away. Prayers had been answered.Though with so much more to be done to end the scourge of abortion, I continued to pray. But I’d largely forgotten that building.

Then, a friend emailed me this picture of the building as it stands today. It’s abortion services long gone, I couldn’t help but consider those angels again. I imagine they are still there, but now their mission has changed. Now they must be singing hymns of praise and thanksgiving, offering petitions for patients’ healing so that new souls can be planted.

You see, the address now houses Chapel Hill Tubal Reversal Center and its two extraordinary physicians, who are making it their life’s work to restore women’s reproductive health through tubal ligation reversal and corrective tubal surgery. Drs. Monteith and Berger claim that,
“Together they have performed more successful tubal ligation reversals and tubal surgeries for blocked tubes resulting in the birth of more babies than any other doctors in the world.”

We know Who triumphs in the end, but it is always a blessing to see the Hand of God so overtly at work.

They are brought to their knees and fall, but we rise up and stand firm. Psalm 20:8

Burning with the Fire of Truth: Are We Pro-life or Just Pro-birth? The Contraception Debate

While house hunting, we happened upon a sweet southern lady. She would turn out to be the previous owner of our current abode, a fine gentlewoman full of spunk and hospitality. Proudly, she pointed out what she considered to be a pivotal selling point. In her melodic drawl, she advised, “Y’all can burn in the country!” Spying the numerous blackened patches and charred stumps that dotted the grounds, it was clear she practiced what she pitched. Deed transferred, we’d come to appreciate the necessity for yard waste disposal with the abundance of flower and fauna spread across our yardage.
A few years later, the deep gully in our chicken yard had amassed an ample amount of logs and limbs, dragged down from our neighbor’s lot by fierce spring rains. Added to that was the dry, weathered Fraser fir from Christmas past and all the twisted, rotting scraps the kids had freed from my azalea bushes. Seeing as the weather was the right balance of early fall temperatures combined with still summer air, I set about to preparing a controlled bonfire.
Carefully, I built two piles as my helpers stretched the long, green hose from the nearest spigot. Once all safety precautions had been enabled, I stuck the match and set the blaze. It would surely have done Mrs. Wade proud to see those flames dancing hot and steady. There’s something about a bonfire that excites the heart. Maybe its the inviting warmth that calls you closer or maybe its the hypnotic tongues of fire lapping up the oxygen. My brood and I fed and monitored that burn until the sun started its descent. Then, as the smells of supper wafted out from the kitchen, I decided it was time to enlist Smokey’s advice (to prevent forest fires) so I pointed the hose squarely at the center of the flames.
A good bit of time passed with me standing guard, hose in hand. Enough water had met its target so that a small swift river was flowing down the gulley and all appearances of smoke had ceased. The wood looked thoroughly saturated in my estimation; therefore, I called it a day and headed inside.
Satisfied that I’d accomplished my day’s task of rendering most of our yard waste to ash and properly extinguishing any resultant threat, I peacefully laid my head down that night. You might imagine my shock at what I discovered the next morning. Smoke and heat were wafting from my pile which was also substantially smaller than when I’d left it. Apparently, my fire woman skills were lacking as I’d failed to snuff out the source of the fire.
The crew and I participated in the 41st annual March for Life in Washington, DC earlier this month. Coverage of the event is always minimal at best so any mention of it calls my attention. Scrolling on social media I was intrigued by an article debating the tactics of Michael Voris of The Vortex at the March. Brendan Malone, on TheLeading Edge, alleged that Mr. Voris was creating divisions among pro-lifers at the event because while interviewing attendees he asked whether or not they supported contraception. It seems many were accepting and saw no dilemma in their stance.
While I won’t weigh in either way on Mr. Voris’ tactics, I must agree with the point he was trying hard to make. According to Guttmacher statsapproximately 68-72% of Catholic women contracept. Certainly, Catholics are not the only pro-lifers, but that statistic is similar to the population at large.
Well, everyone knows that access to affordable, convenient contraception reduces the need for abortion, right? I mean pro-lifers need to target their attention on the bigger problem at large which is simply the aborting of the unborn, agreed? I mean these are two separate battles, aren’t they?
Consider that according to Guttmacher, “Fifty-four percent of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method (usually the condom or the pill) during the month they became pregnant.” Only, 8% have never used contraceptives. Get that? More than half of women seeking to dispose of their unborn babes had been attempting to frustrate their conception in the first place (i.e. thought they couldn’t get pregnant because they were using contraceptives).
What Mr. Voris was trying to expose, I believe, was the ember that fuels the raging firestorm of abortion.
I’ve written about contraception before (you can read more HERE and HERE), but undoubtedly the topic is far from exhausted. As the interviewer unveiled at the March, many pro-lifers are soaking the blaze with good efforts and righteous confrontation, but until we target the interior ignitor we will never fully succeed in the fight.
Going back to those stats it is clear that contraception does not reduce abortions, indeed it actually leads to more abortions.
Firstly, it is important to remember that hormonal contraceptives like the Pill and devices like the IUD are, in and of themselves, abortifacients. That means they can and do abort newly conceived children before their mothers even know of their creation. So, to begin with, contraceptives abort babies. Just because no one has discovered their conception doesn’t nullify their killing.
“In summary, according to multiple references throughout the Physician’s Desk Reference, which articulate the research findings of all the birth control pill manufacturers, there are not one but three mechanisms of birth control pills: 1)inhibiting ovulation, 2)thickening cervical mucus, and 3) thinning and shriveling the lining of the uterus to the point that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly-fertilized egg. The first two mechanisms are contraceptive. The third is abortive.”Additionally, the mini-pill, the IUD and

the drug RU-486 have abortion as the primary operation.

Alcorn, Randy. Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions?(Eternal Perspective Ministries: 2007)
Secondly, contraceptives delude couples into thinking sex and procreation are not necessarily connected events. Men hear that a woman’s fertility is a feature they can opt out of; and women are sold the idea that their healthy, functioning bodies are in need of medical intervention. A child is nothing more than choice. This distorted notion is the oxygen feeding this inferno. When a man and woman view sexual intercourse as nothing more than a pleasurable activity void of long-term effects, they don’t bother to consider or plan for the future or a different outcome. The unexpected child is then viewed as a threat and a failure, a problem to be remedied.
The medical community has done a fantastic job at convincing the populous that it has the remedy for most of what ails us. (Unfortunately, they have incorrectly taught women that fertility is an ailment when instead it is a healthy, function of the female body.) Indeed it has done its job so well that now people sue their doctor when his promises of health and vitality fall flat. Remembering that more than half of those seeking abortion were depending on contraception to avoid the “problem” of a child in the first place, it is easy to see the “need” for a back-up plan. And the medical community has filled the need by offering abortions. Not only is abortion the back-up to contraceptive failures, it is the extended money maker.
Oh, but my doctor doesn’t “do” abortions, you argue. Well, if your doctor wrote a prescription for your “sister’s” contraceptive then he/she is complicit in abortion- via the abortifacient components of the contraceptives or her decision to procure a back-up abortion.
By further extension, if patients have been promised sex without procreative consequences, they certainly aren’t interested in the unexpected blessing of a child with special needs. No worries, the medical community is happy to weed out those pesky, needy children whose parents bothered to consider allowing the unplanned pregnancy to continue.
Like the hot burning ember contained in the core of my bonfire, so is contraception to the pro-life fight. Sex divorced of procreation is, simply and honestly, a lie. True, there are ethical means by which to postpone pregnancy, but couples who choose to practice periodic abstinence understand that sex is the means to the procreative powers.
If the pro-life movement doesn’t acknowledge that contraception leads directly to abortion, then it will never succeed in extinguishing the wildfire. We didn’t begin this tragedy with 54 million dead babies on the abortionist’s floor (that is in America alone, not counting those babes aborted through contraceptive means), we began it with the erroneous belief that conception was separate from sex. If we hope to end this holocaust, we need to train our nozzle of energy, time and resources at the central igniter, as well as the burn pile.

Why I Will March This Year: the 2014 March for Life

braving the weather to march for the unborn

Last year at this time, I made a vow. I vowed to never return to the DC March for Life. After a long, uncomfortable day in painfully cold weather that ended with crying and a harrowing drive, I’d reached the end of my rope.

Now God is not One to be put to the test and I wasn’t actually testing Him, but I told God if He ever wanted me to return He’d have to work it out so that my husband could attend again. Seeing as the march typically fell on a Monday, I felt confident that I was in the clear. My husband had been my co-pilot in previous years, but since we ventured out into business on our own, two years ago, sick/vacation days are non-existent. So, when I learned the 2014 March for Life had been scheduled for a Wednesday (my husband’s regular day off) it seemed my bluff was called.
hundreds of thousands gather to march for life each year

My husband thoughtfully pointed out January is part of our slow season, and our family budget couldn’t easily meet the extra expense to transport our crew of ten to and fro. Oh well, I thought, there’s my out. Just as I’d started to get comfortable with that obstacle, my children, one by one, began emptying out their piggy banks. From our 17 year old to our 5 year old, they tallied up their savings and informed me they had their portions covered.

A farmer often purchases our stale products to feed to his pigs, but the holidays threw that arrangement out of sync. Consequently, we’d accumulated a larger than usual back stock for him. When he counted out his payment last week my 7 year old son was quick to draw my attention to the fact that the payment was the exact amount needed to pay for my husband’s and my seats on the parish bus.
Finally, I relented and we registered for a block on the bus.
Briefly, a sense of peace and purpose steeled my will. But isn’t it the way that when God whispers (and we listen), the evil one roars.
The weathermen betrayed my confidence with forecasts for bitter temperatures, plummeting lower by the hour. And though snow is a rarity in North Carolina, it is snowing here hours before we’re due to rouse our sleepy brood in the dark pre-dawn hours. This year we have a baby to keep warm and how will our 5 year old fare without benefit of a double stroller. Surely, our prayers from the security of home could suffice. Indeed, I must be crazy to think our participation will even make a difference. Anxiety and discouragement rattled through my head.

Then, as if on cue, while I was randomly trolling online tonight my Facebook feed had this advice to offer from my spiritual father: 

 If God wills to prolong our trials, do not let us lament or try to find out the reason. . .We have to see God through the fire of thorns, and to do this we must go barefoot and renounce our own will and affection and accept the will of God wholeheartedly. St. Padre Pio

That word “barefoot” reminded me of the barefooted religious Brother whose path we’d crossed at last year’s march. His self-sacrificial testimony (walking shoeless on the icy streets of downtown Washington in the sea of hard-soled companions) beckoned our attention without words. I’ll never know the reason for his drastic penance, but it seems clearer now that he had accepted the will of God wholeheartedly and so, too, should I.
So, in a few short hours from now, I will roll out from beneath warm blankets, rub the sleep from my eyes and rally the troops to the ready. Tomorrow I willwalk in the 2014 March for Life in Washington, D.C.
I will march for those who want to be there, but can’t. I will endure the discomforts for all the women who are suffering in silence from their abortions. I will walk while shouldering the weight of my littlest one slung across my body to give witness for all the babies who’ll never know the loving embrace of their mama. I will march tomorrow because my presence matters. I will march because although our trials in this fight have been prolonged for the last 41 years, it is the will of God that we continue because one day soon He will lead us into victory!

The Pro-Life Generation: Your Voice Matters

                                                                                                                                                              My son, Nikolai R.F.X.Brelinsky, and some of his fellow high school friends created this video. Spread out throughout the states and abroad, they each filmed their part individually and then worked it into one message. This wasn’t an assignment; it was just a calling they felt compelled to answer. They want to make their voices heard and encourage you to follow their examples because YOUR VOICE MATTERS.

Getting The Facts Straight On Abortion And Contraceptives

Okay, so this isn’t my typical post, but I felt it needed to be written. Unfortunately, too many people (me included for many years) aren’t learning the facts about hormonal birth control’s abortifacient properties. Sadly, many of us may one day discover our missed children in heaven.

Consider the facts:

Are all obstetricians and gynecologists providers of abortion? Nearly all are.

Some ob/gyns perform surgical abortions. This means they end the life of an unborn child, by a variety of means and then extract the body from the mother’s womb or cause the mother’s body to expel the child. In third trimester abortion, some children are first expelled from the mother’s body and then killed after birth (like in the current case of Kermit Gosnell, in PA).

Any ob/gyn who prescribes hormonal birth control(the Pill, Norplant, Depro-Provera, etc.)is supplying abortifacient drugs because EVERYtype of chemical birth control has the power to cause early abortions.

  • “Combination oral contraceptives act by suppression of gonadotropins. Although the primary mechanism of this action is inhibition of ovulation, other alterations include changes in the cervical mucus, which increase the difficulty of sperm entry into the uterus, and changes in the edometrium, which reduce the likelihood of implantation” (implantation of a child who has already been conceived). From the Physician’s Desk Reference product info for Ortho-Cept

    • “In summary, according to multiple references throughout the Physician’s Desk Reference, which articulate the research findings of all the birth control pill manufacturers, there are not one but three mechanisms of birth control pills: 1)inhibiting ovulation, 2)thickening cervical mucus, and 3) thinning and shriveling the lining of the uterus to the point that it is unable or less able to facilitate the implantation of the newly-fertilized egg. The first two mechanisms are contraceptive. The third is abortive.”

    • When a woman taking the Pill discovers she is pregnant it means that all three mechanisms failed. The third mechanisms sometimes fails as backup, just as the first two mechanisms sometimes fail; however, each and every time the third mechanism succeeds it has caused an abortion.

  • The prescription drug RU-486 has the primary function of causing an abortion.

  • The mini-pill (progestin-only or progestogen-only) is abortifacient.

    • The primary mechanism through which the mini-pill prevents conception is not known, but progestogen-only contraceptives are known to alter the cervical mucus, exert a progestational effect on the endometrium, interfering with implantation, and in some patients, suppress ovulation. According to the FDA

  • Intra-Uterine Devices (IUDs), which were once pulled from the market due to numerous damage suffered by their users, are abortifacient. They have two functions 1) thicken cervical mucus to inhibit sperm migration 2) cause inflammation of the uterine lining to inhibit implantation of the newly conceived child.
    How statistically significant is the abortifacient mechanism of hormonal birth control?

  • Although the combined Pill probably suppresses ovulation in 95% of cycles, abortions can occur among the other 5% (noting that the mini-pill or single hormone pill is less effective at suppressing). A “breakthrough ovulation” rate of 4.7% was reported in 1984, so applying that rate to the 13.8 million American women on the Pill in the early 90’s would yield 648,000 ovulations per cycle (not every ovulation results in pregnancy). Assuming 25% of those breakthrough ovulations result in pregnancy would mean that of those 648,000 ovulations, 162,150 new human lives could be conceived each cycle. That’s 1,945,800 lives each year that would then be denied implantation in the womb and thus be aborted. More than the number killed by surgical abortions.
From a pro-life standpoint we must address this problem and educate others, including healthcare providers. From a Catholic standpoint we must ask why Catholic physicians are not being held accountable for their part in fueling the abortion industry and the culture of death.  It is not enough to simply avoid contraceptives for ourselves and ignore that the doctors we are funding financially are killing our sister’s unborn children.

What are couples, who have discerned a serious reason to postpone a pregnancy to do?  They are free to practice Natural Family Planning, methods of fertility awareness that are up to 99% effective, morally acceptable and abortion-free.

We cannot turn back the clocks to the day before abortion and contraception stripped away God’s design for man’s sexual powers, but we can pull back the veil of dishonesty and misinformation that attempts to hide the death agenda. We can start at home, in our own marital bedroom by rejecting the lie. We can educate anyone who will listen via all means available. We can pray, pray, pray for our physicians and priests that they may have the courage to face the truth and refuse the wide road.

Kippley, John F. and Sheila K. The Art of Natural Family Planning. (Couple to Couple League International, Inc. : 1996)

Alcorn, Randy. Does the Birth Control Pill Cause Abortions? (Eternal Perspective Ministries: 2007) (Accessed April 12, 2013) 

2010 March For Life: A Mother’s Journey

I’m a people watcher, so theweekend trip to Washington, DC afforded me ample opportunities to indulge myself. You can learn so much from just watching one another, reading body language and listening to that which is being said without words.

The whole Brelinsky brood made the journey to our nation’s capitol to unite with our fellow pro-lifers in the annual March for Life. This was our first time participating in the DC March, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We knew we’d be among “friends,” but we weren’t quite sure how we’d navigate our large family through the myriad of protesters. This type of concern is enough to stop some from ever making the attempt and in truth it has prevented us in the past, but we were called this year and so we had to trust and march forward. 

All the beforehand preparation and concerns caused me to reflect on the work of the Apostles and even our founding fathers. God called them, too, to go out and spread His Truth, to forge His path in a new land. His call required their response, their willingness and action. So, we Brelinskys responded by booking a hotel, requesting time off from work, making arrangements for our animals, creating T-shirts and signs, packing and then setting out on the four hour drive. 

All around me was eagerness and combined cooperation as our kids put their full efforts into dreaming about the anticipated events. It is times like this when I relish the blessing of being part of a big family, even though in the moment to moment mothering duties I sometimes succumb to my own weaknesses.

When we arrived on Thursday night the forecast for Friday was telling us to expect the worst with a 70% chance of precipitation and low temperatures. We woke up Friday morning undaunted and began our trek to the metro station with rain drizzling down upon us. The kids were troopers, layered in shirts and coats. Watching them reminds me that life is meant to be lived joyfully. They ignore the minor details like rain and cold and simply focus on the excitement of the moment.

Arriving to wait

Arriving at the metro station, we purchased our tickets for the day and that is when I began to watch more intently. Being unfamiliar with metro mass transit systems’ methods of operation, we initially had difficulty purchasing our tickets and then discerning how and when we could use them. 

At the same time, we were fumbling around from machine to machine, there were several transit employees standing together chatting. Perhaps, they simply didn’t notice our family of nine with a double stroller in the lead because no one of them acknowledged our struggle. Once we did garner their attention, the response we received was less than warm and personal. The tickets it seemed required us to stand about for another ten minutes before we could commence our journey. We were like race horses confined by the stall gate waiting to charge forth, but instead God placed us in the moment that tested our patience. Are we too far north for some southern hospitality, I thought?

When finally the clock registered 9:30am, we charged forth navigating each of our children one by one through the ticket gate. I, myself, felt like a child following behind Greg. It all seems like a maze to me, so I simply pulled up the rear of our caravan and grasped the tiny hands of stragglers. After an elevator ride and some quick jockeying around obstacles, we pushed onto the first of our several trains for the day. 

Mindful of fellow passengers, who might not be accustomed to the commotion and noise that erupts from our children every other minute, we did our best to keep their endless stream of energy and conversation contained to a reasonably tolerable level. All the while I was on guard and watching.

Many of the other occupants on our trains seemed to me to be on their way to work, judging by their attire and baggage. It seems a rational deduction that they might see one another from time to time if they make this same trip daily. But, what struck me like a lightning bolt was the way they ignored each other. It appeared to me that there were no quick, friendly smiles nor even general polite pleasantries like “Good morning.” At one point, the man in front of me was texting a long note when a woman sat down beside him. She began talking to someone on her headset. Another young lady across the entrance was listening to her iPod. In my estimation they never made eye contact, it was as though each was alone on this crowded train. Being made in the image of Christ, we are made for communion. 

Understandably, we should exercise some cautious and privacy, but written in our very hearts is the desire for communion. This all seemed so unnatural.

Changing Company

Once we reached our destination we found ourselves in different company. Now I don’t mean to imply better or worse company, just different company. Perusing the pro-life messages printed on their hand-held signs, we discovered that our new companions were marching in the same direction as we were. We began to exchange nods and smiles and friendly banter. Our communion of purpose was obvious, so I suppose that may be the reason for our greater displays of charity. Of course, it is always easier to show charity to our friends, but we are called to charity for strangers and enemies as well.

As we walked the blocks to the Basilica, we prayed that our Mother Advocate would ask her Divine Son for clear skies and comfortable temperatures. Inside the church we met up with a number of friends both old and new. Together we joined in communion to receive the Word and the Eucharist. Contrasting our feelings of separateness that we experienced on the train rides, I felt united with my fellow Catholic pro-lifers. But if I’m honest and I delve a little deeper, I have to admit that sometimes even inside the pews of my parish there exists a separateness. Some Masses find me, like on the metro, focused on shepherding my children and trying to hear the Word, but scarcely connected to the people sitting in front, beside or behind me.

Ultimately, we found our way to a designated starting point for the March for Life. There were so many people that we could see neither the beginning nor the end of the crowd of protesters. Many schools and churches were represented by large groups of teenagers. The exhilaration was palpable, but we were reminded of the true nature of our mission when we walked passed the images of the tiny, innocent victims of abortion. 

Our young children had never seen those images beforehand and so they had questions. The tone changed to solemn as we explained that the small limbs belonged to babies who’d been aborted. I know that many would chide me for exposing my children to what they deem “violent” images, but that is how evil continues to exist. When we turn our heads away, we are too easily convinced to accept a lie. We, in that crowd, had a shared purpose which was to walk in the place of those innocent babies and cry out on their behalf. Ironically, the children looked intently at those pictures trying, no doubt, to make sense of it all. It seemed to them, obvious, that those were babies, individual persons worthy of living. Fair to say I believe, those who claim abortion is a simple “choice” are the ones who refuse to look at the reality and consequence of that “choice.”

Flowing Blessings Everywhere

Blessings flowed throughout the day in the form of helpful friends and sunny skies. We managed to feed everyone while in transit and to keep them all close. There wasn’t a whine to be heard. Thanksgiving echoed in my thoughts.

Returning to our hotel required another trip on the metro, albeit this trip didn’t require any change-overs. Understandably the children had plenty of energy to spare, except the baby of course. Again trying to be considerate of our surrounding travel mates I kept our 3 year old busy with tales of the Three Little Pigs and Five Monkeys Jumping. This time a person or two offered a compliment about the children’s good behavior before exiting at their stop. Being a family of nine with so many young children we are often hyper-alert to those around us since not everyone appreciates the beauty of a large brood. I’ve shared the stories before of comments both complimentary and insulting that strangers and sometimes acquaintances freely utter to us. It’s not worth re-mentioning except as an explanation of why we are vigilant in public appearances.

Mulling It All Over

The long ride home a few days later allowed me the opportunity to mull over the whole journey and to apply some more thorough reflection. I took an account of the various encounters we had and applied this to my insights on the purpose for our trek. I thought about the reasons why a mother would abort her child. I considered what we need to do to end this murderous agenda. It hit me so squarely.

Our nature is for communion, but we in this current age suffer from loneliness. Women are life bearers and so they have the ability to manifest communion in a physical way. Husbands and wives join in communion through the marital act. These are facts, but they are regularly distorted. When contraception was created and then invited into the marital embrace, it destroyed communion. The husband and wife broke off from their communal union with God, as pro-creators. They fractured their communion with one another by holding back their fertility and they thwarted communion with the new soul that their love was capable of conceiving. The people on the metro were a glaring example of this. Rather than recognize their connectedness as persons, persons in the image of One God, they were alone in their travels. They separated themselves with things. They ignore opportunities to shine His light to one another, to offer charity, comfort and direction.

When we deny ourselves the truth, true communion, the lie does not suffice. People are lonely, lonely in their relationships, lonely among one another. It is this deep and real loneliness that leads a mother to reject her child or to accept the lie that he isn’t really a person in the first place. Abortion can’t be eradicated simply through legal means. We need to recognize its roots. We must reach out to one another and share our gifts. Christ abides within us if we abide in Him and through us He accomplishes His work, but we are called to action. He instructed us to love one another as He has loved us, freely, faithfully and fruitfully. In His Presence we are never alone. Women need to feel His love, His support, His forgiveness and it must come through us, her fellow travelers.

It seems such an insurmountable task. Before the Holy Spirit descended upon the Apostles, they couldn’t imagine how they would ever carry out Jesus’ mission for building His Church. Abortion must become unthinkable to each and every individual. When we all recognize and understand that we are not alone and that every choice we make, every step we take is connected to our fellow journeymen, then the culture of death in all of its forms (contraception, the contraceptive mentality, abortion, euthanasia) will become a sorrowful page in our human history.

So, today I must do my small part by living in the moments and seizing every opportunity to reach out through acts of sacrifice, compassion, charity, honesty, mercy, etc. It is not enough for me to simply watch people, I am called to respond. We are not alone and if we all live that way imagine how lovely and fulfilling this life journey can be.