Straight Guy with the Catholic Eye: A Powerful Testimony
by Matt Abbott
I recently received the following e-mail from pro-life activist Holly Dutton. It was in response to an article of mine on the controversial subject of prenatal diagnosis. Read on...
"Prenatal diagnosis is something that has quietly perturbed me for years. As you write in your column today, prenatal diagnosis is NOT a trivial matter. It is a major medical procedure with grave moral implications.
"Although I never underwent prenatal testing (it had not yet been invented when I was pregnant), I STILL get edgy when a friend or relative announces that they have been advised to have such a medical test. The reason WHY prenatal testing makes me uneasy goes back to 1973, the year of Roe vs. Wade.
"I was 17, two months pregnant, and had epilepsy (grand mal seizures struck me at age six, but careful medical therapy reduced them to petit mal by age nine. However, at age 12, my epilepsy altered from petit mal to psychomotor, and my doctor prescribed Dilantin, a drug I soon grew to hate. However, my seizures remained very mild and infrequent, with NO convulsions).
"I wanted to have my baby. My parents were apprehensive about how my epilepsy might complicate things, but were adverse to abortion. But our family doctor INSISTED abortion was our ONLY option, and ABSOLUTELY REFUSED to discuss adoption or other decent alternatives. He frightened my parents and me TO DEATH with horror stories of complications, disability, coma, and death.
"However, I held out until the doctor warned that my prescribed epilepsy medications, Dilantin and Phenobarbital, 'just might induce birth defects' in my baby. After some four weeks of intense emotional pressure, my parents and I just couldn't take it anymore.
"We caved in and had the abortion.
"Only afterward, my mom, dad, and I were TERRIBLY SORRY we did such a thing to this child God had sent us. When I found out that women with epilepsy WORSE than mine had their babies, it only devastated us FURTHER! Gripped with an all-consuming guilt, grief, confusion, and fear, we were tragically alienated as a family and from friends for the LONGEST time. It took almost 20 YEARS of arduous struggle against the enormous and persistent difficulties of post-abortion syndrome before we were restored to a normal life again.
"Now, 31 years later, I am 48, live in Dallas, TX, and am majoring in bilingual (English-Spanish) elementary education. However, the MOST important thing I do is Catholic pro-life activism. I am associated with the Catholic Pro-life Committee of North Texas. I write pro-life news stories and poetry.
"At times I have spoken publicly to educate people on abortion (especially the kind I experienced, the "hard" case abortion done for sexual assault or medical reasons. As my family, friends, and I have so painfully discovered, even doing an abortion for 'justifiable' reasons does NOT necessarily make it ANY EASIER to cope with!).
"I help fellow pro-life Christians with prayer and sidewalk counseling outside Dallas abortion mills. First, we always pray, asking God to help us be instruments of His mercy and providence to the pregnant women seeking abortions and their companions. We pray to be compassionate in counseling them, and discreet yet courageous in upholding the truth.
"We offer them literature on the Catholic-operated White Rose Women's Center. The White Rose offers medical, housing, financial, and educational assistance--all FREE! Many competent and compassionate pro-life doctors and nurses volunteer their services, and know how to handle even high-risk pregnancies. Some of my sidewalk counseling friends and I are bilingual, and being bilingual outside abortion mills SURE helps! Some, like me, are post-abortive.
"Some pro-aborts who know us condemn us as "hypocrites" because we warn others against abortion while WE had one. However, Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life (and a good personal friend of mine), reassured us that we are doing the RIGHT thing by sounding the warning! Our Catholic and Protestant pastors bravely defend us, too. My Catholic priest says there is no one BETTER QUALIFIED to bring the truth about abortion to others than we who know it FIRSTHAND!
"When a pregnant woman listens to reason and compassion and chooses life for her unborn child, she is also choosing life for HERSELF as well! It's just like Easter ALL OVER AGAIN! For God Himself asks us to 'choose life, that you and your children may live' (Deut. 30, 19), not only on earth, but in heaven FOREVER! Therefore, we will CONTINUE to bring the Good News of Jesus Christ--the Gospel of LIFE--to those who need it so much!
"Sincerely, Holly Dutton
"(In 1999, Fr. Pavone graciously posted my personal pro-life testimony on his website at Priests for Life at: http://www.priestsforlife.org/testimony/hollydutton.htm And, since January, I have corresponded by e-mail with one of MichNews.com's greatest columnists, the Rev. Joseph Grant Swank, Jr., a strong pro-life Protestant minister in the state of Maine. Rev. Swank likes my e-mails, especially my cutting remarks about the Democratic Presidential candidate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts.
"(Rev. Swank enthusiastically supports my incisive criticisms of Kerry, especially his utter hypocrisy in claiming to be a Catholic and receiving the Bread of Life in Holy Communion--and, tragically, blaspheming Our Lord in the process!--while advocating abortion and other anti-life measures contrary to Catholic teaching... As a Catholic myself, I find Kerry's two-faced ways just plain DISGUSTING!)"
Holly Dutton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
God bless you, Holly!
http://www.catholic.org IL, US
Matt Abbott - Author, 661 869-1000
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