Monday, June 3, 2013

Just Curious: What made you turn from pro-"choice" to pro-life?





A couple of weeks ago I received an interesting email from a reader, and I thought it would make a great "Just Curious". She said in part:
It occurred to me that you might be interested in inviting your readers to share if they've seen pro-abortion people change their hearts and minds....and how it happened. I imagine you and your readers would have some great insights that could inspire and help others!  
I'm also mulling the idea of doing more. It would be fascinating to hear stories from those who participate in sidewalk prayer as well as volunteers in crisis pregnancy centers. When I say stories I think I really mean witness. This is all so foreign to me and yet I already know that this is where I'm headed! I can't not do something.
So in honor of this woman's sincere desire to be a better pro-life witness, I'm just curious:

1) What made you (or someone you know) turn from pro-"choice" to pro-life?

2) Sidewalk counselors and crisis pregnancy center volunteers: What graces have you witnessed or consolations have you received in your ministry?


I am allowing the comments to be anonymous for this post, at least for now. Let's see how it goes.








83 comments:

  1. For me, when I was "pro choice" it was that never-for-me-but-everyone-should-get-to-make-their-own-decision type thing. I was shown how utterly illogical that is, and I became pro-life for ALL BABIES!

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  2. Become a mother and realize the immense value of life. Every life.

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  3. My first pregnancy, both the experience and also researching just what was going on with my body and my baby. When he was first placed on my chest, something really changed for me. Here he was - a person, and he'd been that person all along!

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  4. I have never witnessed a save on the corner of the abortion clinic. I know a few who have..... But that's not why I keep going back. I keep going back because those babies lives are worth fighting for. And for some reason I'm not very outgoing in person, but I can holler to save a life. :)

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  5. You would probably still consider me pro-abortion, as I have no problem with artificial means of contraception, but I'll take a chance a post my perspective anyway. My feelings towards induced abortions changed radically the moment I held my own daughter in my arms. To be honest, I was always uncomfortable with the concept of induced abortions, but I never realized how abhorrent it was until I thought about it in terms of, "What if that was YOUR daughter?" It was a simple as that.

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  6. For me it was a combination of things. As a child/teenager I had bought hook, line and sinker all the propaganda that abortion was a women's rights issue and that thousands of women would die in back alleys at the hands of quacks if it was illegal. I also thought of the baby as just tissue and not as a person. My mind was changed over a couple of years after I was married, while I studied theology and catholic views before and during my conversion through RCIA. That was also the time that we were trying to get pregnant. Once I was pregnant, it was all over. My son was so clearly a living person as soon as I saw him on that first ultrasound when he was just a blinking dot.

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  7. I know this question is mainly for those who used to be pro-choice and sidewalk counselors, but I will tell you how I how my feelings of apathy for abortion ended; it was when I became pregnant with my 5th child when I had health issues. It was the first time I had to actually fight for the life of a child, which was my own. Although I had no intention of ever killing my little Henry, it seemed that so many were angry at me for "risking my life" and "being so stupid." I had read Abbey Johnsons's book a month before finding out about this pregnancy, and I remember that a spark was lit for the first time when reading this book. Then I found out that i was pregnant and her inspiration helped that little spark become a flame. Fighting for my baby's life and his right for life, even over my own life, gave me a fire to be an advocate (through prayer, for that's all I can do for now), for other babies who are killed every day.

    And Henry is now 16 months old. :-)

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  8. My pro-choice attitude was "I would never do it, but it's none of my business if anyone else chooses abortion." Then I had my twins and that all changed. I could have used "my rights" exercised and not have had them at all. Later, I joined a Catholic mother's group and we discussed abortion at length. I'm now 100% for life and pray for babies and women on a daily basis.

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  9. It was actually before my husband and I had a conversion. We were having a heated argument about the Scott Peterson murder trial and whether it was fair for him to be judged for not only the murder of his wife but also of his unborn child. I did not agree but my husband forced me to see the logic that this baby was in fact a baby and he was killed right along with the mother. My whole pro choice perspective was compromised after that.

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  10. My pro-choice to pro-life conversion happened after a series of posts I ran on my own blog (that you were part of Leila!) and I was really challenged to think about what abortion really is. I thought I had a strong "pro-choice" opinion, but when I really thought about it, internalized it (and had TONS of people praying for me, I now realize), I found that all I had were the lies of the culture and a misplaced sense of "kindness" or "fairness."

    And though you didn't ask, the hardest part of the process wasn't the switch from pro-choice to pro-life (that was actually very quick) it was a combination of admitting I had been wrong AND then finding my voice to stand up for what I had come to believe. I am first a stubborn woman and second, felt I had no ground to stand on b/c I had changed my mind. It took a while to gain my confidence - and a great priest in reconciliation made a difference as well.

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  11. My dad asked me this same question when I became Catholic..."I remember having a conversation with you in high school where we talked about abortion and how it should be rare and legal for safety..." I honestly don't remember the specific conversation my dad claims, but I can imagine it happening. While I was pro-choice, I knew that it had to occur in order for women to be equal, and that everyone who wanted abortion KNEW beyond a doubt that it is an actual, live baby that you're killing, it just HAS to be that a woman can have control over what's happening inside her body if women EVER will really gain equality. When I finally looked at that rationality and reason how I literally had to ignore reality (the reality of another person's life) to have that view, I was able to honestly assess what it means for women to be equal in the first place. The necessity of abortion was a casualty of sorts. But when I learned NFP and thought about how we can actually support women instead of killing their babies, I was able to admit to myself I was wrong (like Rebecca mentions above, that was hard! and humbling!) and FINALLY admit that it was never about that being a baby or not.
    Everyone who supports abortion knows beyond a shadow of a doubt that its a baby. Its about giving women the "extra" tools to help make her equal in a society that biology clearly makes her different. Once I realize that, as a culture, there are much better ways to do that, it was all over.

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  12. It was a combination of my first miscarriage (first pregnancy, lost at 8 weeks, and realizing that according to our culture's talking points, the child that I was grieving for didn't actually exist because he/she was merely a "clump of tissue") and a friend sitting down with me an exposing the lack of logic in my thoughts (I fell into the pro-choice camp, not pro-abortion: in other words, the "I could never do it myself, but I can't make that choice for another woman, and therefore it must be legal").

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  13. What beautiful testimonies! All you ladies: on behalf of every child whose life will be saved as a result of your efforts - or even just your witness - here, if you will accept it, is a humble, grateful and reverential kiss for you! Power to you, and God bless you!

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  14. For me there were a number of steps. I was raised in a liberal, politically active home and a “pro-choice” position was present as the only rational, compassionate stance. As I grew I knew it rang false to me but I couldn’t define or defend that feeling. When I converted to Catholicism I found myself really wrestling with teaching that all people are made in the image and likeness of God; not because I disbelieved it but because my political beliefs didn’t embrace it. At its core the issue was that if I valued human life and thought it had some inherent value, how could I simultaneously hold the potion that it was a mother’s right to end her child’s life? Ultimately intellectual honesty demanded that I acknowledge that I could not hold both beliefs. In my opinion most people who are pro-choice believe as I did, that human life is valuable and women have a right to abortion. They are never forced to examine this inconsistency in the way my conversion forced me to examine it.

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  15. I never felt that it was something that I could personally do. I thought that it should be legal but very rare. Beyond that, I never really thought about it.

    I had a friend that I didn't discourage from having an abortion. She was in a really dark place and on drugs, I was in my Freshman year of college, and didn't know what to do. I told her that she should do what she thought was best and that I wouldn't judge her either way. That the most important thing was that she get help for her drug addiction. After the "crisis" was over, I thought more and more about what abortion actually was. Something didn't feel right to me about the advice I gave her. The more I thought about it, the more it bothered me. So I started researching what happens during an abortion and the pro-choice arguments didn't make an sense after that.

    As time went on, I ended up converting to the Catholic faith, starting a pro-life group at my college, and after I graduated I spent time working with children that were born on drugs. My husband and I hope to adopt some of these children, one day.

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  16. What made you (or someone you know) turn from pro-"choice" to pro-life?

    Logic and science, o'course!

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  17. I was always an "In the case of rape and incest" pro-choicer. And I believe in high school I had a brief period of "as long as you do it in the first few weeks" or before the heart beat or something like that. What I think changed it for me what my infertility journey. I was researching a lot. I stopped taking the pill that the doctors had given me to "fix" all of my issues. I started reading about how the pill worked and started thinking about all of the years I could have possibly been getting pregnant and basically aborting my babies without knowing. When I started thinking about it in terms of my babies it clicked that it was in fact a baby so that blew my "only in the first few weeks" idea out of the water. Then I started thinking about how rape and incest is not the fault of the child so how is it right to kill said child. It was just illogical.

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  18. Beautiful comments!! Thank you for sharing your testimonies!

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  19. For me it was becoming a mom myself that started the journey and the steadfast wisdom of the Church that I realized over many years. I was very pro-choice in my teens and 20's. When I was just pregnant with my 1st I even encouraged/didn't discourage a co-worker from an abortion. Then when the first child developed special medical needs we shared a room with a mom who had lost several children to a rare inherited chromosomal condition. She was expecting again while caring for a dying preschooler. I was expecting our 2nd. With legal abortion I for a small second even considered it for our own child. After this came years of spiritual struggles and growth. Then a full return to the Church, then infertility, and then 2 adoptions of babies that would have so easily been aborted all led me to see the value of life. Lots and lots of grace of course as well.

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  20. I'm reading every word, and I look forward to the rest of the comments! Thank you all so much. No doubt others are being affected by your witnesses. God illuminates the heart in many different ways.

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  21. I was never really "pro-choice", but I used to feel I couldn't stop someone else because I didn't know their situation. What changed my mind into being clearly pro-life was a conversation with one of my childhood friends. He was adopted (from Korea) as a small child, and he told me he how his parents didn't know anything about his mother (he could definitely have been a result of rape or other situation most people use as an excuse for abortion). Looking at the adult that could have not existed if abortion was legal and remembering how different life would be without my childhood best friend made me see how there can be no excuse to destroy a life. My friend probably won't go on to change the world (in fact he decided to be a chef and is turning out to be a pretty good one), but my life is different for having known him and I know his sister can't imagine life without him. I'm also sure whatever future family he has is glad that he is here and knows that he is not a "choice" and is a life that is treasured by his friends and family.

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  22. I grew up in a pro-choice family. It wasn't something we really talked about, but our family was non-religious, democrat, etc. Even after I became Catholic in college I still wasn't really pro-choice; I thought it was needed "just in case" of rape or incest, or "really bad" circumstances. It wasn't until I miscarried my first pregnancy that my mindset really changed. My husband and I were so thrilled to be expecting, and at our first OB visit we got to see the baby's heartbeat on the ultrasound. And then I miscarried at 9 weeks and was crushed. I had lost a baby, not just some cells. After that everything I had read or heard about the sanctity of life made sense.

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  23. I think I speak for many when I say the graces revealed to pregnancy center volunteers are innumerable. Most of the time, I don't know what happens to the moms and unborn babies that leave our center. Regardless of this, I have seen the seeds of faith take fragile roots in hearts torn by pain and anxiety. I am so powerfully reminded of Mother Teresa's wisdom. She tells us that few of us can do great things, but we can all do small things with great love. Pregnancy center volunteers do not do big things. We perform very tiny and simple acts. We have conversations, ask questions, listen. We pray with broken young girls whose mothers forced them to abort. We witness the softening of the faces of abortion minded mothers who meet their babies via ultrasound. We marvel at the words exiting our mouths after we pray, "Spirit of God, I don't know what to say. Speak through me to this young woman." I have never been so honored and humbled to be part of a ministry. Even on the most heartbreaking of days, I can feel the tender love of God at work. I know most people who are pro choice hold such beliefs because they believe they are protecting and empowering women. I simply ask them if they have ever held the hand of a young woman who is crying for the first time since her abortion. When they say no, I tell them to do just that. Then, after that, they can be pro choice if they like.

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  24. I was vehemently pro-abortion throughout my teens and twenties. Paid for one, held a friend's hand during another, would have gotten one had I needed one (but never did.)
    What changed for me was having been pregnant four times (while married) and being offered/pressured to abort my children three out of four times. It made me start to question why the culture and ob/gyns had become so pro-abortion even for married, educated, financially secure women who had no "reason" to abort and no "proof" that there was anything wrong with their babies. The more I investigated why this had become so commonplace and acceptable and even expected - the more I realized it had all stemmed from abortion on demand. It didn't help the pro choice cause in my mind to find out that now Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan had interfered with the deliberations/statement of Amer Coll of Ob/Gyns - to make it sound like sometimes an abortion was necessary to save a mother's life - even though now we know that it is not ever required. As an attorney, I was ashamed that she had done that. I also converted to Catholicism, but I was not pro-life until about 12 years afterwards.

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  25. Holding newborn babies in my arms .... other's and my own .... moved the argument for or against abortion from theoretical to actual. No hands down: even babies born so early that they are unbelievably alive at 1 or 1-1/2 lbs makes you realize the miracle of conception and birth.

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  26. For me it was when I realized that life begins at conception. That abortion is a very selfish act. These babies also deserved rights because they are humans.

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  27. My computer ate a much longer version of this twice. It's late and I still have homework to do, so here's the gist of what I wanted to say.

    -I learned that life really does begin at conception. It's not "potential life," and in retrospect I'm not even sure what we (pro-choicers) meant by that. Sometimes I wonder if it was originally a lie intended for the largely-indifferent.

    -I realized that we can only decide who's worthy of life from our extreme position of privilege. We are strong, we have voices, no one could deny our humanity. But the youngest of us aren't so lucky. What gives us the authority to say that they aren't really people, or that their lives don't matter? At the end of the day it's just the strong deciding whether the weak deserve to exist. Ick.

    -I realized that supporting abortion, which I'd originally just accepted as part of the Democratic package, is *not* necessary for someone who believes in other Democratic ideas X, Y, and Z. I think the core value of American liberalism is supposed to be equality. I have no idea how abortion is "equality." It seems more like extreme, enforced inequality to me.

    I've also got to credit this blog for helping me become pro-life. Thanks, Leila.

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    1. I really enjoyed this post. I am/ways already pro-life but it's encouraging to read and you summed up how I feel about the subject to a "t."
      Thank you

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  28. Chris, thank you. You are a bright young man, and I've been impressed with your intellect from the first time you commented here. It's been a pleasure to watch you reason this out over the months, from a non-Catholic perspective no less. You give me a lot of hope! :)

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  29. My conversion from being pro-choice to pro-life is tied directly to my full reversion to the Church.

    Even as a teenager just learning about abortion, I was pro-choice. How dare anyone tell a woman what to do with her body! My older sister, if I remember correctly, took part in a pro-life march once, and sat me down and told me how wrong abortion was. I agreed with her just to shut her up, but I was still pro-choice, and a disinterested, non-practicing Catholic until 1998, when I became a church-going but very much cafeteria Catholic, until January 2012.

    What led to my conversion and reversion? Two things. I'd started reading Catholic blogs, including this one, in 2010. I'd get very irritated by the faithful Catholic points of view...but I kept coming back. Intellect was going to win over pride, but slowly. I'd also started saying the Rosary regularly in April 2011, and used Rosary booklets with meditations on the mysteries, published by the Dominicans, to help concentrate.

    In January 2012, I was talking with an acquaintance/friend, "P.", whom I'd known had suffered endometriosis in the 90s that was bad enough to make her infertile, and also bad enough that she had to have a hysterectomy. Her inability to have biological children with her husband was a bitter pill to swallow.

    What I had not known, until it came up in the conversation then, was that she'd had two abortions during a wild time in her life, prior to her two marriages. I was floored. She was one of three children in her family; she would never be able to have children after the two babies she'd aborted; her sister did not marry until her late 40s (plus she has a serious health problem), so children were highly unlikely; and her brother had died young, with no children. She and her siblings are the last generation on her side of the family.

    She said it took her a long time to heal from the abortions, but that she knew she'd see her babies in heaven someday. (Also, some pro-life tactics, particularly showing photos of dismembered babies, made it more difficult for her to heal.) I told her that I loved her and I was so sorry for what she had gone through.

    Then somehow, the topic turned to my being Catholic, and how the Obama administration was going to take away our 1st Amendment rights, including through the HHS mandate, the problems about which (contraceptive coverage and contraceptives often being abortifacents) I explained to "P." "They can't do that!" she protested. I offered to send her the link to the mandate on the US govt. web site. First, she said she would read it. Then she said, "On second thought, please don't send me the link. I don't want to live with my head in the sand, but..."

    That did it. That was it.

    This woman, who lost her children to the lie that is the pro-choice/pro-abortion side, the side that preys on weak women (the state in which "P" was in during her youth when she conceived twice), the lie that President Obama supports so boldly but which his sycophants deny, WANTED to be blind. She, who professed in the same conversation to be a major Jesus-lover, was willfully choosing being ignorant in favor of learning any truth her real Messiah, Barack Obama, which would have been simply looking at a document on a US government web site. It all tied together.

    After we hung up, the Rosary meditations on the Sorrowful Mysteries came to life. I knew Christ made His excruciatingly painful way to Calvary, knowing full well that in spite of all of His suffering, so, so many would choose blindness and deception over His Truth.

    For three days, I cried about this realization, finally understanding how terribly sick this world is, and how much worse it is going to get.

    Thus was my conversion to pro-life and reversion to the Faith. I still stumble, fall and sin, and struggle to get up and stay upright on a daily basis, but regardless of my personal failings, I know my faith is the Truth.

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  30. Just the realization that they were the weakest, and that in all of my liberal blathering about standing up for marginalized, I realized that I was a complete and total hypocrite to not stand up for the unborn who had no voice. That the fight for human rights begins in the womb.

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  31. I am the opposite, I was very much pro-life but a personal experience changed my views to pro-choice. NOT pro-abortion but pro-choice. Having a close experience with someone who was carrying a non-viable fetus and watching the struggles of having her womb become a tomb with no chance of baby surviving to term or being stillborn, I feel that she had the right to choose to terminate if that's what she wanted to do. I by no means support abortion as an everyday, off the cuff decision but a well informed medical decision has to be in the hands of the individual. This little life was wanted and cherished but also the biggest heartbreak this couple could have ever faced. Watching this and being close really changed my perspective on the choices we as women and parents should be allowed to make.

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  32. Btw, I'm ^^anonymous and I just want to add, for me personally I don't know what I would do in my friends situation but I would like the option of choice. I have a daughter with disabilities and abortion was never and option for us. Having a child with disabilities is one of the hardest roads I've been down. Heartbreaking most days but I wouldn't change my daughter for anything. People were telling my friend to abort, I would never tell someone to do that, nor in this circumstance would I tell them not to. I have great respect for your blog, your idea's and beliefs and the many well thought out responses.

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  33. Anonymous, I had hoped that no one would answer the "opposite" question" (switching from pro-life to pro-"choice"). I had thought I'd delete anyone who answered the way you did (since it was not the question), but I will leave your comment up and respond.

    The scenario you paint is one that two couples in our community (dear friends) have also encountered. The first couple had a baby with Trisomy 18 who lived for 26 minutes after birth. My friends knew from seven months gestation that their daughter (their sixth child) would not survive. For two months she resisted the pressure to kill her child, and when she was born, she was welcomed into this world, as all children should be, in love. She was baptized, cuddled, talked to, sang to, kissed, stroked and rocked. She was held close to her mother's heart, her father wept and adored her and snuggled her, and her photo was taken with them. Just as any other child born, her life was celebrated for every moment that the gift was given. Just like any other child created by God should be, she was treated as a child of God.

    With my other friends, it was the couple's second child (they have gone on to have two more children), and she was diagnosed early on with anencephaly. No chance of survival. As a Catholic community, we prayed with the family through the months of the pregnancy. We knew when her C-section was scheduled, and dozens of us were "stationed" at several Adoration chapels around the city while the little girl was being born. It was a time of great grace. As we prayed, my friend's daughter was born into great love. She had the gift of an hour with her parents and big brother. Holy baptism, singing, family photos, warmth in her cozy blanket, nothing but tenderness and gentleness did this girl ever feel in her entire time on earth and in the womb. Not a harsh sound, no cruelty, no bloodshed or violence. Only love and kindness. Again, a child of God must not be treated any other way, no?

    A bit of a miracle occurred during adoration that night during the birth, one which gave us a 2x4-across-the-head "sign" that the Heavens were with us in welcoming this little child as we did. I might see if I can get permission to tell it, but for now, trust me, it was a stunning confirmation that this girl's life was sacred and inviolable.

    I cannot judge the culpability of your friends and I am sure they were in great pain. Only God can read hearts. But I can say that objectively it is a grave sin to directly and willfully kill a helpless child, even "imperfect" children.

    We are made to love and be loved. These are God's children. I cannot imagine the pain of a couple whose child will not survive, but the truth of it is, in the end, none of us will survive. It's all about what we do with the time we have and how well we love others. What we do to the least of these. I cannot imagine where the violent, willful killing of a disabled child would be preferable, more loving, than cherishing and showing love to that child for as much time as the good Lord allots him or her on this earth.

    With due respect, there was a better way for your friend.

    "I have set before you life and death… therefore choose life, so that you and your descendants may live." -- Deut. 30:19

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    1. I should add: The children were also given full funeral masses and the dignity of Christian burial, like all other children who live very short lives.

      And there is hope and support and help for anyone who has received a prenatal diagnosis that is incompatible with long life:

      www.benotafraid.net

      "Be Not Afraid (BNA) is a private non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide support to parents experiencing a prenatal diagnosis and carrying to term." These are wonderful people who have walked this road and can give the comfort and advice that only they can give.

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    2. Wow, I am Catholic and have always been Pro-Life but I wanted to read what changed the hearts of others. This was an amazing and beautiful story you told and I wanted to say thanks for sharing. I just stumbled upon on your blog and am so happy I did. Thanks!

      itfreezesbeautifully.blogspot.com

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  34. Okay, you've really got my brain going now, lol. You are a reader of the blog, so you know that I like to find out the objective, principled reason behind a position, not simply accepting that a belief about who should live or die can be based on a "personal experience" (or an emotion).

    So, I am going to press you a bit: What truth or principle is your position based on? For example, the pro-life position is based on the natural law principle that "we don't kill innocent human beings" or the Catholic truth that "we are all made in the image and likeness of God and human life is inviolable". It seems to me that we would never argue that because a child is more vulnerable, more weak, more at risk (due to disability or congenital defect), then that is the time we are most allowed to kill him.

    So, what is the principle under which you are operating? Perhaps it's "minimizing suffering by whatever means necessary"? If so, that opens up a whole new can of worms:

    http://littlecatholicbubble.blogspot.com/2010/10/is-suffering-worse-than-death-part-one.html

    But I will let you speak to the principle you are using, as I am sincerely interested in how you reasoned it out.

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  35. Actually my friend did not abort! But I'm glad she and her husband had the option. I am by no means arguing with you...I believe very strongly that life begins at conception but the suffering of the family involved and the baby who had Potters Syndrome (100% fatal) was beyond what I think is humanly possible. I know God comforts us and loves us but this really did shake my faith. I do believe that there is a time when "minimizing suffering by whatever means necessary" does come into play but that is a very slippery slope. Thank you for letting me join in this conversation. Absolutely NO DISRESPECT is being directed at you or your readers.

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  36. Understood, and I appreciate the respectfulness of the conversation. I still want to press you a bit on this, taking the view from Heaven, not the emotional, clouded view from earth: What is "humanly impossible"? Your friends actually did not kill their child, and they survived it. With no blood on their hands, no guilt. Isn't this a beautiful triumph of grace?

    So many evils on this earth shake our faith, but isn't that when our faith really counts? Think of the Apostles who fled the Crucifix. Their faith was shaken. They took their eyes off of the Lord. They forgot who he was! When you say "minimizing suffering by whatever means necessary" is sometimes legit, you realize that you are saying, "the ends justify the means" -- a fiercely anti-Christian proposition. This cannot be your guiding principle? Aren't principles there to guide us precisely when things get most difficult for us to bear? And isn't it in those moments of the most profound suffering where grace abounds?

    I can hear in your words that you are not an "ends justify the means" person. You are afraid (as we all are) and weak (as we all are), but please don't adopt an un-Christian position to address human fear and weakness. As Jesus said, do not be afraid, He has overcome the world.

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  37. I don't want to admit that I was once pro-choice. I want to run and hide from the fact I use to give $ to NARAL. Okay, nothing to see here. Move along. I am crawling under my desk now. I was SO STUPID then.

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  38. A good friend had CF, and we were talking about how prenatal testing for CF is now available. Some people abort their babies with the CF gene or markers. Then it was like my friend was defending her own life. You should never have to defend your own existence just because you have bad luck with genes. Every baby who is aborted means someone else is going without his or her best friend!!! Stop killing friends is what I say.

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  39. I did once confess about supporting the abortion industry and received absolution. The Sacrament of Reconciliation is a great gift. But I'm still embarrassed to be admitting it here on the Internet. This is difficult for me. That was so long ago.

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  40. Lena, I am so grateful that you did tell us! What a great story of grace and redemption! And these lines:

    "Then it was like my friend was defending her own life. You should never have to defend your own existence just because you have bad luck with genes."

    Powerful. Amen!

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  41. Living life and coming to greatly regret not starting my family in my 20s and realizing how utterly lost and selfish I was, and reading Bernard Nathanson.

    However, I am still not certain a blastocyst is a person, but I err on the side of caution here.

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  42. When I was in high school, the argument was "what if it was rape." I struggled with if it was actually killing a person, how was it "ok" in one situation but not another? The clincher was people telling me I couldn't say what I would choose if I were raped unless I was actually in that situation. I said baloney. That is precisely why we must discern with reason when calm what would be the moral choice in a situation. Women are smart enough to think about and decide the right choice. Women are strong enough to resolve to make the right choice should that ever happen, and women are strong enough to persevere in the right path even if it is extremely difficult or painful, and women are strong enough to stick to their guns because they made a decision or a promise to do something, and follow through. They were telling me I was a weak woman and needed abortion as "a way out." They were telling me all women were weak. But we are strong. It made me angry, and sometimes just the right amount of anger can clarify one's perception and strengthen one's resolve in the right path.

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  43. I once had a viewpoint similar to Karen's - I thought abortion was abhorrent but that it was a "necessary evil" for cases like rape and incest. I started studying the issue in more depth and realized that my reasons for wanting abortion legal were based on emotion instead of logic and reason. Eventually, I had to conclude that there was no logical, rational reason to deny the basic right to life to any human being, no matter their size, location, environment, or stage of development.

    Mary - I'm curious; what makes you think a blastocyst is not a person?

    Anonymous - I'm confused; you say your friends chose not to kill their child but you wish they had? Is that what you were trying to say? I don't see how choosing violent dismemberment for a terminally ill child is kinder than giving him/her a death with dignity at the end of his/her natural life. My friend Stephanie had a son with anacephaly almost a year ago and was privileged to have several hours with her son. I don't see how anyone's life would have been improved if they had chosen to violently dismember him in the womb instead of celebrating his life, short as it was.

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  44. Leila, your trisomy stories are just awesome. I just dig the communion of saints, the living and the even more living in heaven. Your comments are so well said. Your story very much reminds me of this one. http://www.cuf.org/FileDownloads/LayWitness/JF07coffin.pdf
    I'd like to ditto Francis' comments above. You ladies, are solid Oak. I've always thought that abortion is the crowning jewel of a dying culture. It rots from inside and runs very deep and has permanently damaged tens of millions both moms and babies. It wasn't until I first saw the "Silent no More" clips that I truly thought this issue can be turned. And also seeing a post abortive mom we know become a pro-life T-Rex after conversion. The set of goofy lies that have prevailed for 40 years is beginning to crumble a little. You hear the pro-choice arguments getting lazier and more honest. " yes OK it's a baby, but what are ya gonna do? I still demand the power to control and take their life". and Chris above "It's not "potential life," and in retrospect I'm not even sure what we (pro-choicers) meant by that. Sometimes I wonder if it was originally a lie intended for the largely-indifferent." SO True, a lie that was simply meant to cloud , confuse and buy time. Girl from NY, I truly know your frustration. It's so deeply seeded many people just can't face it.
    This may be a little out there but I'll say it anyway. Reading these comments gives me great hope, especially hearing such strength and conviction. I believe this fight will be led by amazing women of tremendous courage and fortitude. Whose gender has largely bore the wounds of abortion but because of the tremendous loss, will forge very strong character and toughness. It reminds me of the Steven Pressfield book on the battle of Thermopylae. I don't really know the true historicity of his account but there was what I thought was a big take away. Through-out the book it's left a great mystery why the King choose the 300 warriors he did. No Rhyme or reason, some to old, many just untested rookies given the task of holding back the Persians. At the end of the book it's revealed the King Leonidas choose the men entirely based on the strength and character of their wives. The survivors. Knowing that the horrible wounds and loss from the battle, joined with their already formed character, was the best chance for Sparta to survive and or rebuild. And have the intestinal fortitude to face the challenge. I often call my wife a Spartan wife because she is so tough. And she jokingly says" I guess that makes you a ....Spartan?
    Anyway, thank you all for these comments and God Bless.

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  45. The killing machine is moving into top gear:

    http://www.ncregister.com/daily-news/new-york-kicks-into-high-gear-of-abortion-battle?utm

    Partial birth abortion on demand, right up to full term of pregnancy. No ifs, no buts, no questions asked.

    P.S. If you happen to see, hear or read the word "equality" in connection with any proposed legislation nowadays in the West, know right away that the scheme was drafted right in the bowels of hell. It's a dead giveaway - so to speak.

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  46. Thank you all!! Keep them coming! I love all the comments here (and I hope to hear back from anonymous).

    Mary, I am going to win you over fully yet, ha ha! Okay to press you (as JoAnna did): Assuming there is a difference between a "person" and a human being (and of course I assert that all human beings are persons), what is the value of a "person" above and beyond that of a human being? Why is one superior, and who is the arbiter of which human beings are persons? Why is a distinction made at all -- for what purpose?

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  47. I love animals. I love wolves, bison, baby seals. It saddens me when people kill them in horrible ways. A few years ago, I found myself simultaneously protesting the killing of animals, but turning a blind eye to the killing of the most vulnerable members of our own species. My conversion to Catholicism helped me to make sense of the pro-life position.

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  48. I believe a person has a soul and any cell in the human body is a human cell, including the first, early, fertilized egg, but due to the fact that identical twins are formed from one egg and sperm that splits later on after division, they cannot share one soul and then have that split. I am not sure when the human cells become ensouled, but I will err on the side of caution.

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    1. When and how cells become ensouled is very mysterious. God is mysterious and give us lots to ponder. God is awesome that way.

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    2. Mary - I have an identical twin, and we have pondered this very thing. :) This is definitely not proven, haha, but we know that the Church teaches that if there is a body, there is a soul (and yes, even at conception there is a body! A very tiny one!). That said, we think what *likely* happened was that God created one of us first, and when the split occurred, well a body must have a soul, so he created the soul simultaneous to the split. You have to remember that even with identical twins, we are two different people... there's no reason why we would have to exist at the same moment... one of us could have come first, and God decided He was so pleased with that baby, he wanted to bless her with a twin, hehe. :) The point is, human life began at conception and neither my sister nor I would be here if it wasn't for that particular conception with those genetics.

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    3. I guess another way to look at it is... why would the fertilized egg be a non-human just because twins came out of it? That just seems weird, My sister and I did not come from some non-human entity!

      Okay, I am totally breaking the rules on commenting on Leila's blog by hitting "reply." Sorry!!!

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    4. Hi Sarah...I did not say "not human", it is truly a human (Homo sapiens), but when is it a person? I see a distinction.

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    5. [Posting this for Leila, as she only has Internet access via iPhone at the moment and is having trouble replying]

      Mary, if the distinction between a human being and a person is ensoulment, then how would you argue against abortion with a secularist? Many of them claim non-persons may be killed. -- Leila

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    6. This entire "non-person" argument is so spurious! Hitler tried it by replacing people's names with numbers on their wrists, but when the truth was finally outed, no one in the world bought the criminal Nazi nonsense. Now it's the turn of children, courtesy of the equally criminal Roe vs Wade. But all the gruesome evidence that's necessary to dispel the old myth that's been resurrected is slowly but surely coming to light again - and again it'll be proven that it's just a disgraceful case of the strong victimizing (murdering) a section of the weak for their own selfish ends. What an unedifying bunch of heartless "persons" with the most grotesque arguments!

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    7. Francis, I agree with you, but I have a very hard time looking at a blastula http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blastula,
      and declaring that a person. I have no problem declaring a 6 week old fetus a person...it seems obvious. But, I err on the side of caution and am against abortion except in the case where the mother's life is in serious danger. I will go back to the end of the posts and posit another question, as I just read another piece by the Economist which (I think) incorrectly portrays the Church's position, and get some clarification.

      Leila- with a secularist who does not believe in souls, I would ask them when a person becomes a person and if they think babies should be able to be grown in hired wombs until they are 8 mos gestation and then harvest their organs for people needing transplant. I would then step it back a month and keep going...when do you draw the line? What is your criteria? Eventually they have to admit that all criteria becomes subjective.

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    8. Mary, wouldn't it be more logical to declare all human beings persons instead of trying to decide which human beings are persons and which aren't?

      And wouldn't it make more sense to declare human beings as persons based on objective scientific criteria instead of subjective criteria, such as bestowing personhood on humans based upon what they look like? By your criteria, Joseph Merrick also wasn't a person, yet he had the rights of one.

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    9. Mary, this is exactly the trap we must avoid: judging by the appearance of a blastula, a zygote, an embryo, a fetus, a child, an autistic child, a disabled teenager, a quadriplegic adult, a terminally ill person, a senile old person, someone with "no quality of life", someone non-communicative in a coma, and what have you. This was exactly the red herring in the crucial life vs "choice" debate, the wool that was so successfully pulled across the eyes of the Supreme Court justices in Roe vs Wade - that the unborn were anything but "persons". We aren't in the business of protecting "persons", whatever the definition of "person" might be (subject, you bet, to change at the whim of an influential and unethical few at any time). Every person that lives or has ever lived was a blastula, an embryo, a zygote and a fetus at some stage of his/her formation/development, hence to terminate the life of any of these "things", is, to all intents, purposes and outcomes, to terminate the life (even if it must be termed by hair-splitters as "potential life") of a person! That is the net, irreversible outcome of every abortifacient process or abortion. It might look or seem less chilling at the earlier stages of a human being's formation/development (e.g. when it is "only" a blastula), but the action and the philosophy behind it is always chilling - the snuffing out of a priceless human life. This is why we're pro-life (from conception to natural death) instead of merely pro-person. We stand for the sanctity and inviolability of every human life, regardless of its stage or state of formation, development or existence. Once we start entertaining the "person" argument, we open wide the door to murder at every stage of a human being's existence. Selective birthing, infanticide, eugenics, utilitarianism, population control, "death with dignity", "mercy killing", euthanasia, and all manner of homicidal practices follow an abortion mentality as surely as abortion itself follows a contraception mentality, until we're all - repeat, all - sliding uncontrollably down a slippery slope in a terrifying twilight of death.

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  49. Hi Leila,
    What made me turn from pro-"choice" to pro-life? I saw a moral "blind spot"

    http://2catholicmen.blogspot.com/2012/01/pro-choicethe-moral-blind-spot.html

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  50. Anonymous comment on ending a life based on suffering reminds me of a time I saw a bug dying on the ground. I mentioned it to my Mom who was with me at the time and she said, "Oh, poor thing!" and then squashed it with her foot. I was horrified, because her sympathy did not match her actions.

    But, it was a bug. And it makes sense that animals and bugs should not have to go through suffering and therefore need to be put out of their misery. But a baby who is born (or developing) with even a fatal diagnosis is not a bug. Their life is worth more than a bug. I don't understand why people are taking on the same mindset of putting a bug out of its misery and joining that with people.

    This wasn't very well said, but I'm sure you get the gist of what I'm trying to say.

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  51. BTW, in turn, I don't mean any disrespect Anonymous comment from June 5th. Her comment about ending a life based on suffering is a sympathy that many people have. I don't disbelieve the sincerity of their sympathy but think it's misguided. I admire her for speaking up and being honest about her beliefs--couldn't have been easy! Hopefully she will come back and discuss her views; maybe we can hash it out together w/o disrespect or judgement. (So far, I think things have been very respectful!)

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  52. I was pro-choice as a teenager. I was a shy, quiet student, but was quite vocal in defending abortion during a senior year (HS) government class. Looking back, my stance was based on my sense that - as others have said - women can't be equal if we don't have full control over our bodies. I was quite a feminist and felt women had great disadvantages compared to men.

    Now, sometimes that is true. Women can certainly be discriminated against. That said, I think my thought-process changed when I started to take another feminist perspective... the celebration of femininity and a woman's great ability to be a mother. When I began to see motherhood as something interwoven with womanhood and as a privilege and a blessing, it suddenly didn't make much sense to be so gung-ho about abortion. Surely a baby - and a woman's maternal qualities - are valuable enough to preserve even in the hardest circumstances! And seeing pregnancy as something disabling began to feel offensive to me.

    Later, I realized that of course the baby is equally human (in the age of ultrasounds, it baffles me that "clump of cells" is still believed). And of course, becoming Catholic helped me round out my perspective.

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  53. I have always been pro-life for myself but, as a teenager, my father (a doctor) would come home from his stint at the emergency room and discuss what he had dealt with in saving girls who had tried to self-abort by using coat-hangers and coke bottles (because it was still illegal at that time). Yes, I am that old. He lived in a university town and saw a lot due to this. So, I guess I was pro-choice at first - although I voted for candidates who were pro-life and only in the case of incest or rape. In high school, one of my best friends had a baby due to incest (her stepfather). Her mother wanted to keep it - her father came and removed her from the home and the baby was given up for adoption. I never saw that friend again. When did my feelings truly change? When I was pregnant with my first child. I told my children - when they were old enough - once you become a mother, you cry for all of the babies in the world. So very true. I would make the choice to die for any one of my children - even if it was my unborn child (think of St. Gianna Beretta Molla). If I would do so, then I should fight for every baby - shouldn't I? (and yes, as a biologist - science teaches me that baby is alive and not just a mass of cells).

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  54. When our 16 year old daughter got pregnant, I asked my wife what we were going to do. She replied, "What do you mean? That's our grandchild." At that moment, I became pro-life.

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  55. In 2006 I became Catholic, and I agreed with everything the Church teaches. Simple as that. :D

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  56. Hi all...please read this and respond:
    The Economist Magazine (highly respected in all powerful circles) has an article out in its current issue: http://www.economist.com/news/americas/21579065-brutal-farce-el-salvador-highlights-regional-failing-miscarriages-justice

    where the author states: "At the urging of the Catholic church, abortion is banned under all circumstances—including rape, and where the mother faces death—"

    I am under the impression that the Church allows for abortion if the woman's life is in imminent danger. Am I wrong?

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  57. Mary, that article made me wince. For a publication that is "highly respected in all powerful circles," they got some facts about the case wrong.

    First of all, as reported by the New York Times, Beatriz was not in imminent danger of death. Her kidneys were not failing. Medical professionals testified to this before their Supreme Court. I've seen several pro-abortion articles claim that Beatriz was near death or dying, but this is not the case; her own doctors said her condition was stable and being carefully monitored.

    Secondly, the article fails to distinguish between direct abortion and indirect abortion. Direct abortion, which is directly attacking and killing the child, is never permitted for any reason. Moreover, direct abortion is never necessary to save the life of the mother, so it's entirely logical to make it illegal in all cases. Indirect abortion, which is not illegal in El Salvador, is different. It's morally licit to treat a woman's condition as long as the end goal is not the death of the child (even if the child's death is a foreseen but unintended side effect of the treatment). This is also known as the principle of double effect.

    Thirdly, the article fails to mention that Beatriz went into spontaneous labor, which is why she had the emergency C-section to deliver her baby -- a baby that was born alive and given palliative care until she died, peacefully and with dignity, instead of being dismembered and tossed out with medical waste. The discussed "compromise" was never actually implemented.

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  58. Thank you for the clarification.

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  59. The bloody unbearable and very controversial aborted baby photographs at vigils. Say what you want, they break through layers of self-denial.

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  60. What honestly had the biggest impact on me was learning about fetal development in high school anatomy class-- I think it was particularly helpful that it wasn't in the context of "sexual health," but just factual scientific information.

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  61. I can't say I was ever pro-choice. As soon as I found out what abortion was, I was horrified by it.

    I am, however, quite cynical about pro-life politics, at least in the United States. The political movement seems more about electing Republicans than supporting life. (I consider myself a pro-life Democrat with politics way out in deep centerfield.) The initiatives seem more about criminalizing abortion over making it easier to choose life.

    That being said, several recent cases have shown me the need for abortion restrictions. One was Gosnell. Legalized abortion has not gotten rid of the back alley butchers, it's just made it harder to stop them. Even in a "good" clinic, the standards for abortion "care" are far below the standards of any other gynecological procedure.

    The other was the death of a young woman from a late abortion. As long as abortion is an option, women with undesirable pregnancies will be pressured into having them. The woman who died had a wanted, but severely deformed child. She was probably pressured by doctors, family members and others into aborting, so the child wouldn't suffer. She was not told of the dangers of the procedure and was likely discouraged from simply letting nature take its course.

    The third is how the "pro-choice" side tells blatant lies and half-truths to promote legalized abortion or demonize those who oppose it. Savita's death in Ireland was a tragedy, but it was caused by medical incompetence in failure to timely diagnose sepsis. She did not need an abortion, nor did Catholic teaching or Irish Law prevent her from getting proper treatment. Same thing with Beatriz. Her condition was not as dire as the "pro-choice" side claimed. When she went into labor, doctors performed a c-section. The child died, as expected, and Beatriz is doing well.

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  62. Check this out!

    http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/video-unborn-babies-struggle-in-womb

    While we're fighting for them, they're happily fighting with each other! :)

    That's LIFE!

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  63. Hi James! It must be lonely being a pro-life Democrat. My hubby works in politics (state level, used to work in national level) and he (a former Democrat) says pro-life Democrat politicians are a bit like unicorns: You hear about them all the time, but they don't actually exist. What do you think of the Democratic platform removing (quite deliberately) the word "rare" in the support for "safe and legal" abortion (on demand)? I admit, I am not a fan of the Party of Death.

    One of the best ways to help women choose life for their children is to make death for their children illegal (abortion rates were dramatically lower when abortion was illegal, as you can imagine). And after that, it's to support the amazing crisis pregnancy centers that do so much good work (on shoestring budgets and many volunteers, including docs and nurses), but whose existence are under attack from Democrats who want to see them, quite literally, shut down. It's unconscionable.

    I agree with you on the rest! These cases are indicative of the corruption, deceit and deadly, filthy nature of the abortion industry. And it's an industry, no question.



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    1. Hopefully, that didn't sound too combative! I am not being pastoral, just honest, after a long road trip with some of my boys, ha ha!

      And, for everyone: I am going to remove the anonymous posting option since I've been getting tons of spam. I have really enjoyed the responses and hope there will be even more!

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  64. It was returning to the Church and taking Confirmation classes for me (combined with the fact that I was ignorant about abortion before). I have Asperger's Syndrome, so this might come across as heartless, but please remember that I was ignorant and this is how I think, I don't mean it to be heartless: I came to realize that my arguments were inconsistent, a clear sign of falsehood.

    I realized that biology tells us that a new human being begins at conception, because the genetic pattern is human and because it is unique, different from either the mother or the father. In addition, I realized that my views were inconsistent because I already thought that contraception was pointless and stupid--so how could I not believe that abortion was even worse?

    Ultimately I came to realize things that shocked and upset me: I was born after Roe v. Wade. But for the goodness of my parents, I could have been aborted myself. That begged the question of at what point do human beings have the right to live? Do I have it even now? In addition, I realized that the Democratic Party to which I belonged at the time supported abortion and other anti-Christian things--I only discovered that last year and have since left.

    I'm not sure if I remember everything exactly, but that's what I can remember of it. I came to realize that it's not a question of whose rights trump whose (as in the case of a woman raped, say), but of which rights trump which contrary rights. In addition, when I actually saw the photographic results of an abortion for the first time...it made me cry. There was no way to argue in favor of that.

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  65. Pair O'Dimes (great name!), wow, this line really struck me, clarity-wise:

    "I came to realize that it's not a question of whose rights trump whose (as in the case of a woman raped, say), but of which rights trump which contrary rights."

    Very well said, and I have to say that I am glad you are not allied with the Democrats anymore. And, I think Asperger's is in many ways a gift…. You have a logical brain and I love that.

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  66. The phrase "safe and rare" has cropped up several times. Of course the reality is that abortions are "unsafe and frequent."

    How could any one imagine walking up to Jesus, asking "Should I kill my baby?" and Him saying "Yes."

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  67. James, I think it's interesting that you think the pro-life movement in the US is more about electing Republicans than supporting life. A true pro-life Democrat? With all the lily-livered Irish Catholic Democrats in my town who actively promote the culture of death, I am cynical about there being any pro-life Democrats who can get elected to a legislative position and who are not easily bought by the abortion lobby. Now I do happen to know many pro-life Democrats, including many, many family members, but at least in my immediate family, these Democrats vote Republican because that's almost always the only pro-life choice. And as a New Yorker, I really have to say that the supposed Democrat concern for making it "easier to choose life" are a major fail. New York is very generous in providing Medicaid for pregnant women, which is great. Ok then, surely New York has an extremely low abortion rate, right? Of course not, because true to Democratic Party form, New York also pays for abortion through Medicaid. How does that work out? It works out that New York is the most dangerous place in the United States for an unborn baby to be. As you probably know, the raised-Catholic governor of New York is pushing to make New York the late-abortion, no-parental-notification, decriminalization and abortion-without-a-physician-involved capital of the country as well. Sorry, I absolutely don't buy the "Democrats care more for the born" line. Maybe they do (and that is arguable)... but only if you make it to being born, and good luck at that in New York State. As you can see, James, you have touched a nerve in this formerly Democrat New Yorker.

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  68. I was raised secular and default pro choice. When I became Catholic at the age of 21, I believed EVERYTHING the Church teaches and so that's when I became pro-life. Didn't need to think about it. The Church says it, I believe it. She knows more than me and that's the end of it. :)

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  69. I was pro-choice until I became a mother myself. I went through pregnancy and felt my baby kick inside of me and instantly loved him. He was born with challenges/disabilities and was very precious and vulnerable. I had a big job and it broke my heart to think I could have chosen to end his life. He has brought so much joy into my life that having him turned my life upside down in every way (good and bad), but he was the best decision I ever made and I have changed for the better. I cannot imagine a woman not wanting to experience the unconditional love and innocence of watching a version of themselves grow up. I never knew what life was about until I became a mother. I am expecting again and love this child just as much. It's unimaginable to think of what my life would be like without my kids.

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