So How do You Start a Productive Conversation on Abortion?

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The following was posted on National Right to Life website.   Maria V. Gallagher, the author of this article is Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Editor’s note. Periodically I ask people how to approach men and women who on the issue of abortion reside in what might be called “the borderline” (to borrow from Philip Yancey in another context). They are in neither camp but are open to persuasion. One of the people I asked was Maria.

It’s an intriguing proposition to do a little bit of mental role-playing and contemplate what I would say to an individual who has never been engaged on the abortion issue.
I suppose it’s all the more interesting since I was once that individual.

I would say the most important decision when engaging such a person is to be committed to being friendly, non-confrontational, and winsome. A smile can be one of the greatest communication tools we have.

I suppose I would begin with a definition of terms, since that is sorely missing in modern media. What is abortion? The individual might have heard it defined as a “woman’s right,” but what is it, exactly? I would explain that it is the taking of an innocent, unrepeatable human life, absolutely distinct from the mother with separate DNA

At this point, I would entertain questions, which I would surmise would begin with, “But when does life begin?” It certainly could not be after the first trimester, I would argue, because by then the baby is fully formed. Does it begin with brain waves (43 days after conception)? A beating heart (24 days after conception)? The development of the eyes—the windows to the soul (19 days)? It is difficult to use a single developmental milestone as the starting point, so we must begin at the true beginning—conception

I might then pose some numerical questions—without a significant amount of math being required. For instance, how many abortions does the individual think occur each year? [1] And how many since the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized abortion throughout pregnancy? [2

It has been my experience that few people know the correct answers to these questions. They aren’t the sort of facts you find on a network news website or in a text alert from your local TV news department. But I have seen the reactions to these numbers—and normally, people are quite startled by the magnitude

I would then ask if the individual has ever seen an ultrasound picture of an unborn baby. If so, what did he or she see? Was it surprising at all? If not, knowing that pictures can often speak more eloquently than I can, I would share some ultrasound images and watch the individual’s eyes light up.

My attention would then turn to the testimony I have heard from women who have had abortions and who now regret them—the “dissatisfied customers” of the abortion industry, so to speak. The heartache of losing a child and not being given permission to grieve openly. The callousness of the abortion center staff. The pain—both physical and emotional—of a procedure advertised as being as harmless as tooth removal. The grief of knowing that a life has ended when it could have been saved.

I would ask if I could follow up with some additional information that the individual could read for himself or herself—privately and pressure-free. For I think that everyone has to have time to assess and analyze the full impact of abortion—not just on their lives, but on millions of lives around the globe.

That’s the method I followed—and it led me from being a hardened pro-choice journalist to serving as a passionate defender of the right to life. If someone was able to penetrate the walls that kept me away from the abortion issue, I figure anyone can cross over to the pro-life side.

[1] “Approximately 862,320 abortions were performed in 2017,” according to the Guttmacher Institute
[2] Over 61 million.

Website: National Right to Life

Denied Sacraments; Not Access to Abortion. Catholic Bishops, Speak Up

By now, many Catholic bishops have made one of the hardest decisions to ever come in the midst of the pandemic. That decision was to suspend the celebration of mass and live stream masses until the pandemic passes. Catholics are not thrilled over this decision. They are deprived of receiving the Eucharist. However, many are encouraged to make a spiritual communion. In the midst of it, one brave pastor held a Sunday service. He paid the price as he was arrested.

As Lent is drawing to a close and one of the most pivotal times of the church’s calendar approaches, it seems many pro-lifers are being challenged even more. 40 Days for Life campaigns are canceled now due to the rapid spread of the virus as we cannot have 10 people or more outside of abortion facilities in the midst of physical distancing (the correct term as opposed to social distancing). No palms this year, witnessing new Catholics coming to the faith on Easter Sunday, not even families gathering for mass together and receive the blessing of the Easter Holy Water.

Meanwhile, across many states, Planned Parenthood facilities remain open as they are deemed “essential”. Even House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck the Schmuck Schumer were looking out for Planned Parenthood when it came to stimulus money without a care for the average American out of work. Even many doctors are up in arms about many states’ decisions to leave them open. Time and time again, the abortion industry is using events like the pandemic to put profit ahead of actual care.

At the same time, the Catholic bishops have been silent. It has helped the oppressors. Our bishops can do better. Where are they? They all come together to close the church’s door and improvise mass celebrations to the virtual world. Catholics can’t receive the sacraments. No weddings. No funerals. Churches are open for worship only. Many Catholics are seeing this as a way to forget the 3rd commandment, yet they are encouraged to view the mass on the internet. Sadly many are not doing so.

CALL TO ACTION

I am calling on all people of faith to come together, call their representative and ask their officials to close the abortion facilities.

If you are in good health and are prepared, go and be physically present outside of abortion facilities. Bring resources with you.

Offer your next Holy Hour or prayer meeting (physically or virtually) for an end to abortion.

Take a photo of your pro-life sign and tag the location of the Planned Parenthood facility on your next social media post (Facebook and Instagram).  Remind women that they are amazing, strong, and beautiful. You have help.

Post-pro-life messages on your church’s billboard and bulletin.

Use social media to spread the pro-life message. Be ready for a backlash. Respond with love.

This pandemic can bring the best and worst out of everyone. Let this bring out the best in every pro-lifer.

“Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice”  Proverbs 31: 8-9

 

Upcoming Events from Students for Life

Coronavirus cancellations have you stuck inside?

While we can’t ship you milk or toilet paper, we CAN provide you with FIVE weeks of virtual training courses! You’ll be joined by your Regional Coordinator along with 50+ other pro-life students.

Your virtual pro-life training is happening over video calls every week all the way through April 20th. Remaining sessions include:

  • Week of 3/30: “How to Dialogue Online
  • Week of 4/6: “Countering Abortion Culture
  • Week of 4/13: “Non-Violent Patient Care
  • Week of 4/20: “Preparing for 2020 Elections

Click here to find out what time & date yours are and to register!

Are You a Pro-Life Artist?
Students for Life has added a brand-new program to our family of fellowships: The Hildegard Art Fellowship. And this one’s just for pro-life artists! The Hildegard Art Fellowship is about engaging young artists to use their artistry to change hearts and minds on abortion by becoming artist-activists. Click here (or the button below) to apply by May 1st!

Here’s who can apply:

  • Any incoming undergraduate, graduate, law, and med students.
  • Artists of all kinds: visual, word, and performing.
  • Must be a current leader or member of a campus pro-life organization.
  • Must be interested in pursuing a full-time career in the pro-life movement.
  • Must be able to attend the kick-off weekend, Friday, June 26th– Tuesday, June 30th.*
    *pending the safety of travel at that time due to COVID-19.

BUY PRO-LIFE GEAR

It’s spring cleaning time at the Students for Life warehouse! All merch & apparel are on sale through March 31st or until supplies last.

Some of our most popular items are up to 40% off! It is the BEST time to stock up on our trendy, thought-provoking gear.

Shop to find discounts on our pro-life hoodies, crew neck sweaters, tees, cropped tops, tanks, stickers, and pins with some of our favorite designs.

Don’t miss out – it won’t last long!

Top 8 Pro-Life Things To Do During COVID-19
While we’re all in virtual quarantine, Students for Life decided to go ahead and create a plan for the Pro-Life Generation to go 100% digital. Check out how you can take advantage of all that time you’ll now be spending at home and continue to be a voice for Life!

The Top 8 List:

  • Sign up for the Regional Pro-Life Trainings.
  • Tune in to the SFLA Facebook Lives with special guests.
  • Subscribe to and catch up on the Explicitly Pro-Life podcast.
  • Check out our re-vamped Students for Life HQ.
  • Log conversations and earn prizes with the T.A.L.K. Challenge. Read more here.
  • Write thank you’s to your pro-life legislators (check their track records here).
  • Update your group’s materials so you’re ready to go next fall.
  • Promote an online diaper bank to support families in need at this time.

 

Bonus Training: Should Women be Jailed for Aborting?

As you saw, Students for Life is hosting our own pro-life trainings for the next 5 weeks.

But there’s also a Bonus Training by Equal Rights Institute this Tuesday at 9pm EST!

The topic is a question that comes up often in conversations about abortion: “Do you think women should go to jail for having an abortion when it becomes illegal?”

In this webinar, Josh Brahm (the president of the Equal Rights Institute) will discuss that difficult question and offer several practical suggestions for how to respond to it. Afterward, Josh will take YOUR questions!

Make sure to REGISTER HERE or you won’t be able to join us live. Plus, the replay of the webinar will only be available for 48-hours. If you can’t join us live but you want to receive the replay link afterward, click HERE to register now.

Doctors Without Borders and WHO prey on women worldwide

The following is from Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life

In response to Doctors Without Borders’ promotion of do-it-yourself abortion, we asked for input from Dr. Ingrid Skop. In our exclusive interview, she explains what is going on internationally and the implications for women’s health in areas around the world in greatest need — and the World Health Organization’s own complicity.

As abortion advocates across the country continue to push to keep abortions available as an “essential” health care service during the COVID-19 pandemic, the promotion of unsafe, often illegal abortion by those who are supposed to be tasked with protecting patients’ health could not be more timely.
—Serrin
Dr. Skop, as an OB-GYN, what are your thoughts about Doctors Without Borders instructing women to use the abortion pill, even where it is illegal?

I am sorry to hear that Doctors Without Borders (MSF), an organization that I have supported financially in the past due to their brave humanitarian work in some of the world’s most difficult areas, has compromised its medical integrity due to its leadership’s pro-abortion ideology.

This organization has recently begun recommending the use of medical abortion pills (illegally) in countries with restrictions on abortion. They may be unaware that the World Heath Organization statistics reporting 65,000 to 70,000 abortion-related maternal deaths and 7 million long-term complications yearly are inaccurate and dramatically inflated because they are largely drawn from subjective opinion surveys, rather than standard epidemiologic techniques.

What are the most common causes of maternal mortality and medical abortions?
The most common cause of maternal mortality worldwide is hemorrhage, and that is also the most common complication of medical abortion. International studies and meta-analyses show that up to 8 percent of medical abortions performed using mifepristone and misoprostol in the first trimester fail, requiring surgical completion. Misoprostol alone is even more ineffective but is often recommended because it is more readily available. Misoprostol in the first trimester fails in one out of five women and in the second trimester fails in two out of five women.
When incomplete abortions happen, deaths may occur in women who live remote from emergency medical care and blood transfusion, particularly if these women are already anemic due to malnutrition, parasitic infections, or inherited diseases such as sickle cell anemia and thalassemia. Retained pregnancy tissue may increase a woman’s risk of infection or sepsis, particularly in women who are immunocompromised due to HIV, tuberculosis, or other chronic illnesses. In addition, deaths may occur due to ruptured ectopic pregnancies if the medication is taken when the pregnancy is implanted in a location other than the uterus. There is also a potential that medical abortion will be provided unknowingly to a woman by someone else who may benefit from the loss of her pregnancy, such as sex traffickers, incestuous abusers, and men who do not want to become fathers.
What is the World Health Organization’s role here?
WHO acknowledges that women are already accessing information via word of mouth and the internet to obtain illegal abortions performed in medically standard ways by health care professionals, but WHO continues to promote the narrative that these abortions are dangerous in order to pressure countries to change their laws.
Now MSF has joined them in this ideologic quest, despite the clear evidence that promoting medical abortions with their high failure rates in countries with poor health care systems will cause injury and possibly death to many women.
I hope that MSF can recognize and backtrack from this error. They are respected for their work in caring for humans most in need around the world. We do not need them to become yet another organization pushing population control and eugenics by promoting the killing of unborn humans.
Thank you, Dr. Skop.
Ingrid Pfanstiel Skop, M.D. attended Oklahoma State University and the Washington University School of Medicine, and she trained in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio. She has been caring for women and delivering babies for 25 years in San Antonio. Dr. Skop is married to Brian, a psychiatrist, and has three children: Ian, Eli, and Sophie.

Masses Are Closed; Planned Parenthood Stays Open: WHERE IS THE USCCB?

The following is from Judie Brown, President of American Life League. 

No one worried about receiving the Holy Eucharist in a state of mortal sin, but the coronavirus shows up and suddenly we have all these rules and regulations in every diocese! 

It’s enough to make an average Catholic wonder.

What will it take for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to defend the Holy Eucharist against pro-abortion Catholic public figures?

Abortion Joe Biden doesn’t seem to be much concerned.  Neither was Nancy Pelosi as she was lobbying to give Planned Parenthood access to over $1 billion in federal taxpayer funding in direct violation of the Hyde Amendment.

. . . and do we even need to mention Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez? 

Yet once again — with few and notable exceptions — where are our bishops?  Why are Masses closed while Planned Parenthood remains open for business?

It is high time the USCCB start enforcing Canon 915 and take square aim at those who are giving aid and comfort to Planned Parenthood and the hundreds of abortion centers still open across the country.

Right now in Virginia, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to attend Holy Mass with more than 10 people.  That’s 12 months in jail and/or a $2,500 fine.

But Planned Parenthood abortion centers across America are exempt from these restrictions as they continue to slaughter innocent babies. 

If the USCCB can’t stand up to the likes of Planned Parenthood, how on earth are they ever going to stand firm in defense of the Holy Eucharist from sacrilege by these pro-abortion Catholics?

Every year, American Life League publishes our “Deadly Dozen” list — 12 so-called Catholic public figures who defy Catholic teaching on abortion, yet still receive the Eucharist in defiance of Canon Law.  

This year, we want to make sure the Catholic bishops have the guts to do the right thing.  If they can protect the Eucharist from a virus, they can protect the Eucharist from the worst virus of them all — an obstinate mortal sin.

Where on earth are our shepherds??

Our Catholic bishops need to be reminded of their duties to the Catholic faithful.  If we can protect the Eucharist from a virus, we can protect the Eucharist from sacrilege.  Simple as that!

But I need your help to bring the USCCB to their senses.  Help me enforce Canon 915 against these so-called “Catholic public figures!

PS:  REMEMBER that no one worried about receiving the Holy Eucharist in a state of obstinate mortal sin, but a virus shows up and suddenly we have all these rules and regulations in every diocese! 

Masses are closed; Planned Parenthood is open; our bishops are silent.  All we have is one another — which is why I urgently need your help to enforce Canon 915 today.

Evangelium Vitae- 25 years later

For most of his papacy, St. John Paul the Great emphasize the necessity for every Catholic to protect the sanctity of human life.

For him, his work that was promulgated on this day 25 years ago rings true today.

The point of the document is to reinforce church teaching on the sanctity of human life. Not only does he reinforce the teaching on abortion and contraception, but he also takes it a step further by discussing the death penalty stating that it is “unholy and unlawful”.

Another form of a murder he discusses is euthanasia “grave violation of the law of God” because it is a form of deliberate killing.

Overall, the encyclical was a pro-life manifesto. It defines what it means to be for all stages of life and how we can pick and choose which form of life we should defend.

To read more of the papal encyclical, visit here

You are also encouraged to obtain a physical copy of the document here

Pray Hard… From Home

This is an email sent from Dr. Monique Ruberu. 

Dear friends,

Gov. wolf just put an order out that we must all stay at home unless we are exercising, purchasing food or going to the doctor.
for this reason, I will ask all of you to pray from home. I don’t know how they will enforce it… but I don’t want any of you to get into trouble.
I truly believe that God will hear our prayers… and that He will let those going in and out of the abortion centers FEEL our prayer.
At the moment we have 1-3 people signed up for most hours until Saturday…

I am going to list the times again and let you know what times are not covered as well…

the more intense prayer we have at each hour, the stronger our petitions, the more impactful this effort will be…

This time will not last forever.. let’s continue to pray that these women will find our online help available… let’s make ourselves present in the online places that abortion-minded women hang out… if any of you have dealt with extreme illness in pregnancy but chose life – go to the Hyperemesis groups and help women considering abortion there… those of you who know and love someone with Down’s syndrome search for the groups discussing downs or prenatal genetic diagnosis…  post on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… put the Pro-life union hotline number out there… (484) 451-8104 let it be known that you are someone who can guide people to those who can help… check out people who like abortion and pro-choice groups… you never know who will be looking for support for such a choice that you can reach out to…

meanwhile- at the same time… let’s pray and pray HARD!!!!

I’m listing any hour that has less than 3 people praying: hour (number of people signed up)

Wed: 8(2),9(1),10(2),12(2),1(2),4(1),5(0),6(1),7(0)

Thurs: 7(2),8(2),9(1),10(1),11(2),12(1),1(1),4(1),5(0),6(1),7(0)

Fri: 8(2),9(1),10(1),12(1),1(1),4(0),5(0),6(1),7(0)

Sat: 7(0),8(0),9(0),10(0),11(1),12(0),1(0),3(0),4(0),5(0),6(1),7(0)

Sunday:

7(0),8(0),9(0),10(0),11(0),12(0),1(0),2(0),3(0),4(0),5(0),6(0),7(0)

Monday :

7(1),8(1),9(0),10(0),11(1),12(0),1(0),2(2),3(0),4(0)5(0),6(1),7(0)

God bless you all feel free to share this list and email me to let me know what hours you and yours want to cover !!

‘Assist Us to Live, Not Die’

The following is from Judie Brown of American Life League

“Assist Us to Live, Not Die” is what a poster reads in a recent demonstration against assisted suicide. If this sounds like an overstatement, stay tuned. The situation in the world of euthanasia advocates right now is not only disturbing but deadly.

Across the world, proponents of assisted suicide are gaining ground. And these are the very people who are using the panic created over the coronavirus to convince people that assisted dying is a good idea.

The Atlantic published a report about the “extraordinary decisions” that confront Italian physicians in the wake of the pandemic. The writer explains:

The Italian College of Anesthesia, Analgesia, Resuscitation and Intensive Care (SIAARTI) has published guidelines for the criteria that doctors and nurses should follow as these already extraordinary circumstances worsen. The document begins by likening the moral choices Italian doctors may face to the forms of wartime triage that are required in the field of “catastrophe medicine.” Instead of providing intensive care to all patients who need it, the authors suggest, it may become necessary to follow “the most widely shared criteria regarding distributive justice and the appropriate allocation of limited health resources.”

While such extreme measures are not mandatory for doctors, the recommendations give us cause to stop and consider what is going on in medicine right now. Steven Ertelt observes: “The irony is that the guidelines are called ‘distributive justice.’ But there’s no justice when treatment decisions are based on who is considered too old or too ill.”

Yet this sort of prejudiced justice has been advocated in many scenarios over the years. One writer says: “When it was first made legal, doctor-assisted death was seen as a way to spare terminally ill, pain-racked patients unnecessary suffering in their final days. But definitions of what kind of anguish is unbearable have in many cases widened over time, leading to debate about when a doctor is justified in helping a patient die.”

But what is missing from this rhetoric and similar comments is the fundamental truth that nobody should have the right to take another’s life for any reason any more than someone should be encouraged to take his own life.

Having said that, clearly more and more medical professionals are twisting words and creating wide areas of confusion to drive their anti-life agenda. Efforts to brainwash physicians, nurses, and others with alleged facts that are truly fiction are spreading like wildfire.

For example, Nancy Valko, RN, recently wrote in an e-mail to me that a student nurse expressed concerns to her about what might be on her licensing exam: “She was very concerned about the key points on death and dying to know for her nursing exam for licensure. . . . She was especially concerned about this one: ‘Terminal dehydration has been shown to be palliative in reducing pain. IV hydration is not indicated unless it is a patient’s choice.’”

In other words, denying hydration to an extremely ill patient will result in that person’s death. That does indeed reduce physical pain, since the dead do not feel pain.

Regarding the current pandemic, Diane Coleman of Not Dead Yet addresses this virus as someone who, herself, is disabled. She points out the failures of a medical system that have created another kind of crisis. She writes:

This pandemic resource shortage will touch people who previously felt safe from healthcare rationing. How we treat people in need is a reflection of the priorities of the policymakers we elect. All too often, the voices of people with disabilities and other justice communities have been drowned out. Perhaps the unnecessary loss of life from this pandemic due to healthcare capacity limits will cause others to join with us in re-evaluating the priorities that got us here.

Such justice communities include defenders of the preborn and the elderly as well. Imposing death on a fellow human being for any reason—including neglect, rationing, abortion, or infanticide—is always wrong.

“Assist us to live, not die” is not just a slogan; it is a battle cry for anyone fighting for the right to life.

 

Just the Facts, Baby!

The following is from the March 21st newsletter of Pro-Life Union of Greater Philadelphia.

baby

The human being is a complex being, made in the image and likeness of God. Here are some fun facts about us before we were born, given by international expert, Dr. Eduard Gratacos:

  • The first heartbeat occurs at week 5 of gestation. But the entire heart is only the size of the head of a pin! During this week, the heart grows from 1 millimeter to 2.
  • All preborn babies have a mustache, which is called a lanugo. It is a kind of very fine hair, like velvet, that covers the whole body from week 15 on. All of us had a mustache!” (Yes, even girls!) It will disappear shortly before birth and then the permanent hair will appear. Elephants, whales, and seals also have lanugo, as do primates. But only the human being loses it before birth: the other species will always keep it.
  • Each unborn baby has its own fingerprints. They begin to form in week 10 and are unique to each one, even in identical twins.
  • Fetuses open and close their eyes. Although they are in the amniotic fluid, it is as if they are swimming in a pool and opening their eyes. This occurs in weeks 12 to 14.
  • Preborn babies yawn! And they do it often, between one and three times an hour. It occurs from week 13 on. The funny thing is that scientists do not know why most mammals yawn.
  • Starting in week 13, fetuses start to stick out their tongues. So, on an ultrasound it may appear that the baby is making fun of the “photographer.”
  • Their heart is a high-speed train. At week 15, it pumps at a rate of 150 beats per minute.