Saturday, July 16, 2011

last thought of the day, forreal

I've been writing so much about homelessness lately. I didn't realize how long it had been since I wrote about abortion. The next few weeks will likely be filled with abortion related posts as we are delving into that topic in class.

Passion? Check.
Motivation? Check.
Emotional stability to be able to talk about abortion all day without getting sad? I plead the 5th.
Kleenex? Check.

rando factz

If you are a stranger I've met on the street twice and you are reading this, please watch this video: Zachary's Thoughts On Abortion or actually if you are anyone that is anywhere you should watch it! 
look at this picture but instead of the
label "fetus" imagine the label "Gianna." 

I've been lucky enough to meet some really wonderful people in the past 2 years of my involvement in the Pro-Life movement.  These are their stories. *cue dramatic Law & Order- bumbum- sound*

Gianna Jessen, abortion survivor
Gianna's mother was 17 and in her third trimester when she had a saline abortion. This was completely legal. Until last year, I personally was unaware that a woman could have an abortion up until the time of birth. Roe v. Wade secures a woman's right to have an abortion in the first trimester and the states' rights to regulate after that point, but Doe v. Bolton ruled simultaneously and granted women the right to have an abortion at any time if the child would be a risk to her health. However, the definition of the word "health" is so broad that any woman could argue that an unwanted child would be a risk to her "health" even up to birth. According to Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life:
Doe v. Bolton was meant to be read in conjunction with its more famous counterpart. In Doe, the Court ruled that a woman's right to an abortion could not be limited by the state if abortion was sought for reasons of maternal health. The Court defined health as "all factors physical, emotional, psychological, familial, and the woman's age relevant to the well-being of the patient." This health exception expanded the right to abortion for any reason through all three trimesters of pregnancy.
This definition is so broad and encompassing that it allows for wrong timing, marital status, fear of pain, too many children, weight gain, etc., as "health" reasons. Because of Doe, any reason for abortion can be construed as a health reason. Together with Roe v. Wade, Doe v. Bolton allows abortion for any reason and at any time during the pregnancy.

Me, Jacob, and Rebecca surrounding Gianna
In a saline abortion, the abortionist injects concentrated salt into the amniotic sac so the baby swallows the poison and the baby's skin is also burned away. The baby is being burned alive in her mother's womb and struggles to escape the poison but, errbody knows that the uterus doesn't have an escape route if the baby feels threatened or is in pain (aka 5 weeks into pregnancy). After injecting the solution, the mother leaves the clinic and enters into labor about 1.5 days later. The baby is delivered usually around 72 hours of injection, but the baby is delivered dead... except in Gianna's case.

Gianna was born alive. A nurse in the abortionist's office had Gianna taken to the hospital and luckily Gianna survived and was adopted. She has "the gift of cerebral palsy" and when she speaks- people listen. She is truly one of the most amazing people I've ever met. One of my favorite things she said was "Just because I walk with a limp doesn't mean I want to marry an ugly guy." How she managed to bring up dating standards as the keynote speaker at a Pro-Life benefit in Austin last year is beyond me... but I loved it. If you want to hear her tell her story click here. It's a 2 part video but it is TOTES worth it. She's pretty amazing.

first time I met Abby... I was really giddy.
Abby Johnson, PP director turned Pro-Life activist
Abby became involved with Planned Parenthood as a volunteer in 2001, but by 2008 she was named Planned Parenthood's employee of the year. After years of doing everything she could to do what she thought was helping women, Abby realized what she was really doing. Assisting in an ultrasound guided abortion, where the abortionist locates the baby using a sonogram machine rather than just poking around a woman's uterus and risking perforation, Abby watched as a baby at 13 weeks fought for his life in his mother's womb and struggled to escape the abortionist's tool but ultimately, lost his life. Realizing that this baby at only 13 weeks was actively trying to escape, Abby knew she had to get out of Planned Parenthood. 

After leaving, Abby exposed some of the lies Planned Parenthood feeds its employees and patients. One lie PP was telling women was that their babies couldn't feel pain which, as Abby witnessed, wasn't true. Fetal pain is real. Babies shouldn't have to endure the pains of abortion. Abby also shed light on the financial motives of PP regarding abortions. PP advocates will jump at the chance to tell you that abortions only account for 3% of their services, but will be reluctant to let you know that abortion accounts for more than a third of their revenue (great facts here). Read her article here that exposes PP's warped business model. Abby states in the article that even the 3% claim is false:
Planned Parenthood’s claim that abortions make up just 3 percent of its services is also a gimmick. That number is actually closer to 12 percent, but strategically skewed by unbundling family planning services so that each patient shows anywhere from five to 20 “visits” per appointment (i.e., 12 packs of birth control equals 12 visits) and doing the opposite with abortion visits, bundling them together so that each appointment equals one visit. The resulting difference between family planning and abortion “visits” is striking.
She goes on to mention that by 2013  all of its affiliates provide abortions. I thought the goal was to reduce abortions? Apparently not so much. And without abortion, where would PP be financially? I'm all for helping women, I kiiinnd of am one and all, but abortion isn't helping women and the cost of an unborn life is too great to cover the cost of their other services (including non-existent mammograms... shammograms).

To hear more about Abby's story and incredible journey- which includes having to deal with some freaking crazy Pro-Lifers - read her book Unplanned. So good. Also, she is just a cool person to talk to. She says what she thinks and she has a good time doing what she does. She has me lol-ing everytime I hear her speak!

Didn't have my camera when I met Lila #fail
but I have the Live Action card #notascoolasapicture.
Lila Rose, founder/president of Live Action
Not only is Lila incredibly beautiful and has great hair, she is a Pro-Life superstar. I got to meet her at the FOCUS conference in Nashville in January and she was so endearing! Live Action works to expose the abuses of the abortion industry and recently has been in the news for a series of investigations of Planned Parenthood locations across the country. Their blog has great content.

One thing Lila inspired me to do this year was call Planned Parenthood just to see what they say on the phone. The Pro-Life community has created this huge dark cloud of an idea of Planned Parenthood and I was just curious how true that is, so I started calling. Initially I would call clinics in TX and ask about emergency contraception which was pretty true to their standards; it's not hard to get. Over the next few weeks I started calling Colorado, Michigan, and California. Kind of a random group of states, haha. The thing I found most interesting was that despite Planned Parenthood's claim to be Pro-Woman and Pro-Choice, you can't get a sonogram there UNLESS it is preceding an abortion... which is weird. Pregnancy is a part of the lives of many women, so shouldn't an organization that is so keen on helping women be eager to perform sonograms?

My favorite phone call was to a PP in California. They were friendly (unlike the one in Flint, MI- uh, RUDE!). I asked to have a sonogram done to determine the sex of my baby since I was at 22 weeks. I was out of town so I couldn't go to my doctor. PP said they don't perform sonograms. I asked if they did before abortions. She said yes. I said that I already had a daughter so I wanted the sonogram done to determine the baby's sex and if the sonogram said my baby was a girl I wanted to abort, so I asked if I could just schedule an abortion as if I were going to go through with it and then if it ended up being a boy I could just "spontaneously" back out. She put me on hold. A few minutes later she came back and gave me the number to another Planned Parenthood and wished me luck. Something about that was just eerie to me. Her reaction was as if my request was very commonplace... frightening.

Father Frank Pavone, director of Priests for Life 
I wrote about Fr. Frank pretty recently after the National Right to Life Convention, but in case you are reading this, my new friend, I'd like you to take a look at this: It's Father Frank's YouTube channel and this guy tells it like it is. For me, it took learning about the methods of abortion and watching videos like the ones on Father Frank's YouTube (specifically under the playlist "This Is Abortion"). The word "abortion" or what some Pro-Choicers will call "termination of pregnancy" seems simple, while in reality- the process of burning a child alive, of dismembering a baby limb by limb, of crushing a baby's skull, of vacuuming a child up - is a big deal, a freaking big injustice, and ought to be treated as such.

Okay, I really want to write about Melissa Ohden and DAN COMPTON and Carrie Holland but I should get to work on some other things. This post didn't seem to have much of an objective or structure other than if you are reading this, P, I hope that something in this made you agree/disagree with me more.

my journey into the pro-life movement

I know I've talked about this with people but I'm not sure if I've ever put it in writing, so now seems like a good time.

Confirmation of my Catholic faith!
my sweet sponsor, Esther.
After voluntarily getting into my faith (wassup, Catholicism?!) in 2006, I hadn't really given abortion any thought. If someone had asked me about my stance on the issue I probably would've told them that I only found abortion acceptable if the mother was raped or if she was going to die. 

In 2008 at a youth group event, we were shown a video about how precious life is. It was a cutesy video with pictures of giggling babies and cute families and toddlers at the park. However, in the "related videos" section on the website I saw a video titled something to the effect of "WARNING!!! DO NOT WATCH! HIGHLY GRAPHIC CONTENT!" so naturally, I went home that night and watched it. That's when I realized that I am Pro-Life and that abortion is wrong.
*I cannot personally vouch for the video's authenticity. I haven't done any searching regarding who filmed it but I consider the website to be credible and, EVEN IF it weren't actual footage, from the research I've done since I can say that the video depicts the procedure I have read about and know to be in existence. This is the video if you are interested. Warning though, seriously, it is disturbing. Click at your own risk, but I really recommend against it unless you really want to see.

I'm not sure what I was expecting to see in the video and I'm not sure what exactly I thought abortion was before that night, but what I saw in the video scared the crap out of me, broke my heart, and left me speechless. I remember crying in my room for hours that night just feeling sick about it, about what happened to the baby in the video. The next day at school I asked people in my class if they knew about this procedure, about what abortion really was, and about partial birth abortion. No one seemed to know. That freaked me out.

At the time, I wasn't necessarily passionate about respecting life. I knew abortion was wrong but I didn't feel any urge to get involved, or maybe I just didn't feel like I had the time (what a lie). Once I got to college in the fall of 2009 I was thrown into the movement and I haven't looked back since.

The day I moved into my dorm I headed to the Catholic Student Center to see how I could get involved with music ministry or a Bible study or the Pro-Life group that had been mentioned on their website. After being informed that there was no longer leadership in the group I volunteered to help out however I could, lucky for me the director took that as meaning I would lead the group, which was one of the best things that has happened to me so far, I think.

Hello, DC! March for Life 2011
So now, I'm President of Bobcats for Life. Only problem is that leading this group required more than just saying "abortion is wrong." That was a huge learning experience for me: not only learning the facts, but relaying what I learned to the (few) people who came to the meetings initially. I didn't feel qualified for the job really, but a few trusty members was all it took to get it off the ground. The rest is history... or at least history in the making.

Fall of 2009 I was clueless and reactivating an old organization, January 2011 I was marching with hundreds of thousands of people in D.C. for protection of all human life. I sometimes laugh when I think about how I end up where I do.

Another sidenote, although I am Catholic I did not become passionate about life issues because I was Catholic, which is unfortunate. Within the Catholic Church there are some who are not Pro-Life, even though the Catholic Church has a very specific (and beautiful) teaching on abortion. I sometimes feel like I lose credibility in the eyes of people who are not Pro-Life because I am Catholic. I feel that they assume I was born and raised going to Church every Sunday and I've blindly accepted anything that has been taught to me, which isn't the case. For the record, I am a practicing Catholic and I am Pro-Life on my own accord. I was told recently regarding a quick speech I had to give that, aside from fidgeting with my hands, I have a "relatable quality" so people hear me and think "oh yeah, she's just like me" which was cool to hear... I think.

I know many beautiful and wonderful and saintly people who have never had a thought contrary to Pro-Life beliefs in their life, and I admire them very much. Likewise I know, and can identify with, people who have been converted on the issue. I am glad that I have become informed and have come to the truth regarding respect for life, but I am also glad that I was raised by parents who encouraged an open mind and tolerance and let me think for myself- which, though it may not have generated Pro-Life thoughts in my mind my entire life- has blessed me with a different perspective and ability to empathize and relate.

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