In many social circles, as 1.2 million babies are killed in the US alone through abortion each year, it is considered inappropriate to talk about abortion, as it straddles both politics and religion. Yet how will we ever learn from each other, and grow in our faith journey, if we remain blinded by silence for the sake of political correctness? That is exactly why I have decided to be Silent No More.
A closer look at abortion.
BALTIMORE, MD (Blog) - Today, abortion is one of, if not 'the' most polarizing, controversial, and emotionally-charged issues in America. Though the Catholic Church has consistently advocated for the peaceful preservation of human life for generations, perhaps a closer look at abortion and the trauma it causes may bring some clarity and healing to this challenging, bio-ethical issue.
Silent No More
Once, while I was a nursing student at a prominent professional nursing school in Baltimore, Maryland in 1980, I was told I had to observe and assist with a late term abortion at an abortion clinic to be eligible for graduation. I felt sick about it, as I was a lifelong Prolife Catholic. 'Had even gone to the First March on Washington in 1973 with my mother. However, I was reassured that it was necessary to graduate. I was mortified. At first, I talked my instructor into letting me stay in the waiting room. Then I was called inside the abortion clinic doors. I told my instructor that I was a Pro-Life Catholic and Conscientious Objector, but it made no difference. Finally, we agreed I would just observe, as I could not possibly assist in an abortion in any way for religious reasons.
I remember standing at the side of the woman's bed, seeing her very pregnant abdomen moving with her baby inside, and hearing the heart beat with a Doppler ultrasound. Shortly after, to my great surprise and the abortionists chagrin, they induced delivery, and the newborn baby actually entered this world crying! The abortionist quickly turned the crying baby over, face down, stabbed him in the back of his head in the brain stem severing his spinal cord with sharp scissors. He skillfully recovered the bloody brain serum in a large syringe. As the woman screamed and we were both physically restrained by the abortion clinic staff, the baby was placed, crying loudly, into a red trash can marked BIOHAZARD, and whisked away from the mother without a word in the trash bag. Though this 'haunting experience' happened some 33 years ago, it has stayed with me for decades
What I observed that day was cold blooded murder. No doubt about it. How could this barbaric killing have happened in a civilized society with laws against murder? The Sermon on the Mount in The Bible teaches that we must protect the least among us, the oppressed, and the weak. It was further complicated by later learning that fetal and embryonic stem cells, culled from abortions, were being used as the cornerstone of ground breaking Stem Cell Medical Research. Clearly, as medical research marches on, I vowed to do everything in my power to peacefully protect the pre-born/unborn-even from unethical new medical advances that take a life to save another.
Sometimes it is even hard for practicing Catholic Christians to discern the 'right thing' to do when presented with an unplanned pregnancy, as reason can be clouded by difficult circumstances, emotion, the temptation of convenience and the well-meaning advice of others.
On one hand, we have 'Prolife' Christians calling for the bio-ethical preservation of Civil Rights of the Unborn, and the promotion of 'the Sanctity of Human Life' from conception to natural death, in line with Biblical teaching and the 10 Commandments. On the other hand, we have Pro-Choice' advocates calling human life 'cell clumps,' while placing Women's Rights above that of the life of the unborn/preborn.
Tragically, statistics seem to indicate that for too often, abortion has become an 'easy answer' to a social dilemma, and an acceptable part of American culture. Long time Catholic Christian teaching, going against the tide, has always focused squarely on the 6th Commandment handed down from Moses where abortion is concerned: "Thou shall not kill," as expounded upon in the Book of Exodus 20:13. And in keeping with that, the Catholic Catechism is also very clear about the prohibition on abortion, as well. According to the National Right to Life website and Guttmacher Institute statistics:
* There have been 54.6 million abortions since the landmark decision was made by the US Supreme Court in the Rowe vs Wade case allowing for abortions to be performed on the unborn up to 24 weeks gestation.
* Nearly one half of all pregnancies in the US are unintended, and 4 out of 10 of these pregnancies end in abortion.
* 1 in 10 pregnancies are aborted by age 20, 1 in 4 by age 30, and 3 in 10 by age 45.
* Demographically, 36 percent of all abortions are Caucasian, 30 percent are non-Hispanic black women, 25 percent are Hispanic, and 9 percent are from other ethnic backgrounds.
In a just society, bio-ethics are revered, the Civil Rights of the unborn are paramount, and Religious Freedom is preserved. The guiding bio-ethical medical principle here is this:
It is fully unacceptable to take a human life to save another human life./amg
Hippocratic Oath: "First do no harm"
Compassionate Help to Heal Lasting Effects of Abortion
Recent studies have found that abortion increases a woman's risk of getting breast cancer, cervical, and/or uterine cancer later in their life. In some women, the trauma of abortion has also been tied to endometriosis, and subsequent, infertility in some women of childbearing age due to adhesions that form in the womb. To become pregnant later in life, some women who have had abortions must either have surgery, go through infertility testing and trials, and/or adopt children if unable to conceive.
Depending on the trimester or month of gestation, many women I have encountered post-abortion who have endured traumatic, late term abortions go on to have serious, pervasive emotional challenges in their lives. Like the woman I observed, most often they were entirely unprepared for what transpired during the late gestation abortion procedure, and unable to share the experience with others for a myriad of personal reasons.
Some women have found that abortion can be so traumatic that they go on to develop eating disorders, severe depression, Bipolar disorder, or even Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. These serious emotional side effects of traumatic abortion, though 'invisible' to others, may be experienced many, many years later, as one struggles to deal with feelings of guilt derived from having made the decision to have an abortion and carrying it through.
Women who have experienced the trauma of abortion need to know that compassionate, healing help is available to them, even decades after an abortion. Regardless of their faith affiliation, this help is just a phone call away through Catholic Church based programs such as Rachel's Vineyard Ministries, offered by the Catholic Church at locations across the US. They need to know that sharing their abortion experience with a non-judgmental, licensed psychotherapist, priest or minister may be the first step towards much-needed healing from the trauma of abortion. If you or someone you know is struggling with the trauma of abortion, please consider visiting the Silent No More Website.
By Michaela Daphne
People say things like "If you really love me, you'll have sex with me" or "If you really love me, you'll buy me nice things," but what is the real definition of love? How do newly weds navigate the difficult terrain of authentic love? BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - When ... continue reading
By Jackie Stammen
Recently I've crossed into a place I'm not proud to admit I've entered. It's not a physical place, but rather a spiritual and mental place. It's a product of exhaustion coupled with fear, but mostly it's due to a greater distance between God and I because I've been ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
What is a "corporate Christian"? It is a name I have coined for Christians whose world-view is filtered through the 501c(3) charter of their church. Not every Christian nor every church goes through this filter. However, there are a number who do and they do not ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
In these increasingly dark days, a philosophy of freedom without reference to God has emerged. In other words, people believe they are free to do anything they want. Well, the fact is, God does give the right of free choice or what is often called free ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
The parable of the "while men slept" has a message for our times. How can we apply its lessons to our times? The parable of sleeping men is in Matthew 13:24-30, 39.24 He proposed another parable to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
Belief systems cause people to act, or "not" to act, as the case may be. Beliefs dictate actions; they also dictate in-actions. Therefore a lot of what happens to a person and community is caused by their actions creating consequences, or their lack of offensive ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
The insanity of Western leaders is being manifested as 1000 'Altars to Baal' will be erected in cities around the world. The first alter is expected to appear on April 19, the anniversary of both Waco and the the Oklahoma City Bombing. An altar is planned in ... continue reading
By Cheryl Jones
There are some serious questions to ask in this election cycle. A big one is: has the church become secular? What does that mean? The question refers to whether the church adopted the tactics of the secular world as a means to obtain its ends? This ... continue reading
By Tara K. E. Brelinsky
I suppose you could say I was feeling inspired (or maybe just brave) when I decided to follow up our hour of peace and stillness with another hour of quiet reflection and prayer at the home of a fellow parishioner for the parish's annual rosary crusade (sans ... continue reading
By Michael Seagriff
It is only with much perseverance and undeserved grace that our meditation and contemplation will bear fruit - fruit which we should share with those around us. On those occasions when we are so blessed, most of us will resort to sharing our experience with written or ... continue reading