January 29, 2009

Sometimes Miracles Come In Twos - Perla's Story

This is from Ruth at Project Defending Life, www.defendinglife.org, in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

In the Fall of 2007, Philip, a sidewalk counselor, brought Perla to the Project Defending Life office to introduce her to me. He thought I would be able to talk with her about her options, if she were pregnant. Phillip said they met at Planned Parenthood, and she agreed to come talk with me.

Perla said she had been at Planned Parenthood to get a pregnancy test and schedule an abortion, if the test was positive. She said she was relieved to be told she was not pregnant after all.

We spoke for a while about her current situation. She said she already had two children and was separated from her boyfriend. Her mother had been helping her out. We talked about what abortion was and the impact it would have on her. Perla shared she was Catholic but not practicing. She agreed it was wrong to kill an unborn child but felt it would be more difficult to give her child to an adoptive home. I reminded her it was important to focus on the facts and no matter what the situation an unborn child is just as human as she and I. And no matter how difficult it seemed, God would help her if she asked. She agreed and thanked me for talking with her.

A few months later Perla returned to Project Defending Life, 5 months pregnant with twins! She said Planned Parenthood was wrong about the pregnancy test after all but she remembered what we had spoken about. She decided to keep her babies and told her boyfriend. He had since reunited with her and asked her to marry him. She also remembered how PDL offered emergency assistance for expecting mothers. We were able to assist with helping pay her bill.

Perla keeps in touch on a monthly basis to let us know how they are all doing. Children are doing fine. Octavo is looking for work as he was recently laid off. Please keep them in your prayers and feel free to contact us if you have any job leads :)


January 23, 2009

The Pro-Life Battle - Does It Matter Who Is President?

With Barack Obama now president, many in the pro-life community are extremely upset, and rightfully so. If he follows through with his plans, he will do everything in his power to make sure that it's easier to get abortions during his administration. If he signs the Freedom Of Choice Act, it will overturn all the hard work the pro-life movement has done legislatively over the past few years. It may be hard to fathom, but he wants to give more rights to terrorists who want Americans dead than to totally innocent unborn babies.

That being said, when one analyzes the amount of abortions that have occurred, it doesn't matter who the president is or which party he is from. In the last 14 years, under both Democrat and Republican presidents, the yearly amount of abortions has decreased by approximately 200,000. That's cause for celebration, until you think that there are still 1.2 million babies being killed every year. Also, can that decrease be attributed to anything the president or any political party has done? Some will say that it did, but when you look at the facts, it just doesn't show it. The most notable accomplishment is the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act in 2003, but that prevents relatively few abortions. The president, of course, has the ability to inform the masses about this horrendous act called abortion. Unfortunately, the best that we have seen is George W. Bush on rare occasions using the phrase "culture of life" or some similar term.

I believe abortions have decreased because teens and young adults have realized that it is a baby being killed, and there has to be a better alternative than abortion. Educational organizations such as Stand True, Justice For All, Students For Life, and many Catholic pro-life groups have greatly helped educate the youth about abortion. High school and college-aged students have tremendous communication networks, such as MySpace, Facebook, texting, etc. When the youth is exposed to the truth about the pro-life view, it can spread like wildfire.

The pro-life message is often sugar-coated by using benign pictures and terminology. The youth just want to be told the honest truth. Of course, if they are shown graphic photos or videos, they may be repulsed, but in the long term there's a very good chance they will remember them. The pro-life community is in a battle with universities, the media, and movies where abortion is often seen as a very acceptable practice. The pro-life side is almost always portrayed in a negative fashion, but the truth about abortion needs to be continually exposed. Although this task of changing their hearts and minds may seem insurmountable, it can be successful. No matter who is president, the pro-life fight needs to be focused at a grassroots level with the youth in our culture.

January 2, 2009

Guest Post - Jennifer's Story

This is a story from Rachel's Vineyard, www.rachelsvineyard.org

Jennifer's Story:

My story... I am a post abortive mother.
I suffer from the internal wounds that pierced my heart that day sixteen years ago when I chose to abort my baby. I was eighteen years old, single and starting college when I found out I was pregnant. Scared and confused I sought the advice of peers, the father and a women's clinic. The "messages" I received from them and the lack of communication with my family left me more confused and scared. The clinic and peers supported the decision of abortion. My relationship with the father was already failing and I was trying to start a new life within the college scene. Terrorized of the future and the "real world," I made the decision to terminate the pregnancy (as it was called then), in the hope that it would solve the crisis I was in and I could just go on with my life. I entered the clinic as a frightened child and left the clinic a few hours later wounded for life. There was so many things I was not informed about. Especially, the long lasting emotional and spiritual effects.

When the reality of what I had done sunk in, I turned to alcohol and drugs to ease the pain. I became depressed and buried myself in my academic studies at college. The emotional and spiritual wound that was left untreated grew in magnitude. The guilt, shame, sorrow and regret created a great "black hole" inside myself. I tried to fill it with numerous things: marriage, children, a career and volunteer work. For the next sixteen years I felt isolated, depressed and anxious. I constantly condemned myself for what I chose to do. I "deserved" eternal punishment and only sought out abusive relationships thinking I didn't deserve love, honor or respect.

A sword pierces my heart each time I hear the word abortion, see a pro-life billboard, hear a pro-life speaker at Mass, or read an article about abortion. I would repeat to myself that I was a murderer and counted myself among the wicked for taking the life of my unborn child. The pain inside became overwhelming - only a few people knew - those who supported the decision. It was my hidden secret. Who could I tell? What would they say? Who would understand the pain or help me to cope with it? I felt alone but I also knew that I needed to do something. The wound was affecting all my relationships - with myself, God and others. My self condemnation was leading me to the edge of suicide. I attended Mass with my family but never felt worthy to be there because of the heavy guilt and shame.

There's hope... One day I glanced through the Catholic Advance and saw a small advertisement that caught my eye. It was an organization called Rachel's Vineyard. I read it and was filled with hope and joy. It was help for those hurting from abortion. It took me weeks to get up the courage to pick up the phone and call. I thank God continuously for Rachel's Vineyard, because my life has never been the same. I had reached someone who understood and wanted to help me heal the deep wound. I found acceptance, compassion, support and guidance. I experienced our Lord's healing touch through Rachel's Vineyard's team of support. With the help of some wonderful priests and post-abortive women who had healed their wounds, I began my journey back to God. It has not been an easy journey. The reward of peace of mind and heart through God's grace and mercy, and a renewed relationship with Him outweighs the pain of the journey.

Journey toward forgiveness... The journey included: naming my child and establishing a spiritual relationship with my child who is in the Lord's arms. Facing myself and those involved in my abortion and working through the anger and bitterness, toward forgiveness of myself and others. I restored my relationship with God by feeling and accepting His infinite love and mercy toward me. I attended a retreat with other post-abortive women and discovered I was not alone in my pain but many other women suffer also. In our deepest despair, we came together as God's children hurting and suffering by our own self-inflicted condemnation, guilt and shame. Together, we encountered Christ's infinite mercy and compassion through His example and through other post-abortive women, counselors and priests. Seeing others in the deep pain that I suffered moved me to compassion and desire to ease their pain. This helped me to allow others to ease mine. The weekend was an opportunity to grieve the loss of my child with others who feel the same loss. I put some closure on that chapter of my life through the Sacrament of Reconciliation, a memorial service for the babies and celebration of the Mass of the Resurrection. I will feel the pain now and then for the rest of my life but the heavy weights have lightened on my shoulders.

--- Jennifer