Uniting for Life

Winter 2003

National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc.
109 2nd St., N.E.
Washington, DC 20013

 

Lutheran Pastor Challenges Silence on Abortion
As God's People, We Have Something to Say About the Issues of Life
Katie, A Blessing From God
After 30 Years of Abortion...Are Women Better Off?
A Matter of the Heart
NPRC Seeks New Members
NPRC Development Office

 

Lutheran Pastor Challenges Silence on Abortion

Dr. Laurence L. White spoke to the Lutherans for Life Convention last November in stirring words on the convention theme, Time to Speak. Dr. White challenged the gathering in a powerful and prophetic keynote address.

Dr. White, Senior Pastor of Our Savior Lutheran Church in Houston, Texas, reflected on the laws of 1935 Nazi Germany that designated an entire category of people as non-human, unworthy of protection. The Nazis had a new "god"- race, to which were made human sacrifices. At the time, the Lutherans in Germany were divided into three camps. 1. German Christians (nationalists); 2. Confessing Church (the majority of whose members did not want to speak out because the issues were "too controversial"); 3. "Three Monkey" church - "see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil."

According to Dr. White, a deaconess bitterly asked him about the reluctance of the Church to speak out: "Why does the church do nothing? Why does the church remain silent?" To this the church seemed to ask Cain's question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" Dr. White said the "Three Monkey" approach does not work. "Evil not opposed doesn't go away. It festers." He also said that the answer to Cain's question is "Yes."

He went on to say that today there is a new version of the Old Testament pagan god Molech called "reproductive freedom." However, when it comes to abortion there can be "No more compromise. No more delay. The killing must stop!" said Dr. White. In the United States alone there are 3,250 abortions every day, one every 30 seconds.

Dr. White, in calling the Church to be faithful to God's Word, said it should be clearly understood that on the issue of abortion there is "only one Christian position. Only one human position" and reiterated that, "the killing must stop! ... The time for silence is over."

 

As God's People, We Have Something to Say About the Issues of Life

Dr. James Lamb, LFL Executive Director

(In a Sunday morning Bible study and a sermon during the LFL Convention, Dr. Lamb addressed the convention theme of Time to Speak.)

It is time to speak because we, as God's people, have something to say ... about the issues of life and death facing our country. It is time to speak because we have something to say to those who are facing difficult situations -- the pregnant teen, individuals dealing with chronic diseases, and those with terminal illness. It is time to speak because we have a message about our God who is extremely loving enough and caring enough and powerful enough to help us in any and every situation we may find ourselves in. It is time to speak because we have a message of life and people do not need to turn to death as the solution to their problems.

 

KATIE, A BLESSING FROM GOD

By Elisabeth Slotkin

(From United Methodist newsletter, Lifewatch)

In October of last year, my husband and I were confronted with one of those "tragic conflicts of life with life that," The United Methodist Church's Book of Discipline states, "may justify abortion." An ultrasound revealed that something was seriously wrong with our four-month-old fetus.

Aware that we were only weeks away from the deadline for legal abortion in our state, our doctor strongly urged us to consider an amniocentesis. From what he saw on the ultrasound screen, he suspected our child had a chromosomal disease called Trisomy 13, which, he told us, "is incompatible with life." Amniocentesis, the doctor explained, would let us know for certain whether our child had a chromosomal abnormality. He added that it also carried certain risks for the fetus, including miscarriage. I told the doctor I believed abortion was wrong. "Why," I asked him, "should we risk killing our child merely to satisfy our curiosity?"

Our doctor looked me straight in the eye. "You are going to get big," he said, "and people you don't even know will come up to you in the grocery store. They will be excited for you and ask when your baby is due. All the while, you will know the hard truth that your baby is not going to live." He added compassionately, "You may not be able to handle that."

My husband, Steve, and I were shaken. I felt numb. The previous ultrasounds and prenatal visits had indicated that all was well. We had joyfully begun preparing the nursery. Nonetheless, I felt the peace of the Lord, and my resolve was steady. "I can handle it," I told him.

When my father and a longtime friend heard that all was not well, they tried to persuade me to consider abortion. "You don't know what you're facing," they said. "What if the baby lives a full lifespan and needs total care? What kind of life will you have?" My father argued, "If the baby is going to die anyway, why not terminate now? The longer you carry the child, the harder it will be for you."

Before we ever tried to get pregnant, Steve and I had discussed abortion. He thought abortion was sometimes acceptable, but he was willing to go along with my conviction, with the moral truth, that abortion is wrong. Now that the problems we faced were no longer hypothetical, however, I raised the issue again. I asked him what he wanted to do.

For a few days, Steve weighed the pros and cons of abortion. Then one day, as he was driving home from work, he heard a radio spot for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which grants the wishes of children who have life-threatening illnesses. Steve thought to himself, "If my baby had one wish, what would it be?" Instantly, he knew the answer: it would be to live.

From then on, abortion was out of the question for both of us. At some point I decided to research Trisomy 13 on the Internet. The pictures I saw broke my heart. The afflicted babies were severely misshapen, sometimes having only one eye, no nose or a nose on top of the head, malformed genitalia, extra fingers and toes. That night I told Steve what might await us.

To be honest, I felt shame. "Maybe you should not come into the birthing room," I suggested...."No," he said. "I don't care what our baby looks like. I am going to be there with you, and I am going to love him or her no matter what."

.....Towards the end of the pregnancy, the doctors convinced us that the risk of miscarriage was negligible, and an amniocentesis would help them know whether or not to attempt immediate, surgical procedures. Since this was for a valid medical reason, not just to satisfy our curiosity, we agreed. The amnio results arrived about two weeks later... and, sadly, we learned that the initial diagnosis had been correct: our baby girl had Trisomy 13 and was beyond the help of modern science.

In the early morning of March 4th, my water broke. I woke Steve and told him it was time for us to go to the hospital. Before we left, we got down on our knees and prayed. I thanked God for the privilege of carrying our baby. We asked for a miracle; we asked for God's comfort and peace; we asked for His will to be done. On the way to the hospital, we sang songs to our little Katie. We had been told she might be stillborn, so we imagined ourselves dancing with her in afield of daisies....

When Katie was born, she was blue and still. Steve was praying that I would just get to hold her for a few minutes before she died. The doctor carried her to the warming table, and she started to breathe. Finally, they brought her to me. She seemed perfect, and she had a head full of dark hair. My heart skipped a beat. Had God healed her? I looked down at her hand and started to count her fingers. "Don't count," my husband said. Attached to Katie's pinky was a tiny extra finger, a telltale sign of Trisomy 13.

When Katie showed signs of hunger, I put her to my breast but could not get her to suckle. The nurses tried to help, but they finally told us we might have to choose between an IV, a feeding tube, or letting her starve to death. Reluctant to cause our daughter any discomfort, we were not sure what we should do. Finally, one of the staff suggested we try a bottle. To our delight, Katie began to suck at the plastic nipple. We were overjoyed to see her alive and feeding.

Since the first indication of Trisomy 13 in October, we had stopped working on the nursery and avoided baby stores, for the doctor had told us she would probably live no more than a few hours. So it was with great pleasure that Steve walked into WalMart the next morning and bought four shopping carts full of baby accessories. He brought the new car seat into the hospital, and we did what we had never expected to do: we loaded up our things and we took our daughter home. We were able to hold, love, and kiss our daughter for two wonderful months. Steve took a leave of absence from work so that he could spend every possible moment with her. We explained to friends that Katie was a "special needs" child. "She needs extra kisses," we said; and we gave her all the kisses we could.

Our precious daughter is gone now, and we miss her terribly. Katie was a gift from God, and she changed our lives forever. We have wonderful memories and hundreds of pictures, and someday we hope to see her again in heaven. Those who urged us to consider abortion did not realize what a huge blessing God had in store for us. They do not understand that God does not make mistakes.

 

After 30 Years of Abortion ...Are Women Better Off?

By Kristen Panico

Director of Education, National Organization of Episcopalians for Life

When I recently attended a pro-life conference, I was already aware of all of the post-abortion statistics, but I didn't really believe them. Then I met the women whose faces made the numbers real. I saw the heartbreak of infertility. Hearing from women who had "chosen" abortion brought me to tears.

Most people are aware that once abortion was legalized, it was termed safe. But after thirty years of abortion, we are now seeing the serious health consequences of abortion. The truth about the effects of abortion on women's health needs to be available to women, so they can make an informed choice. Parents in particular should know the health implications of abortion. An abortion often seems like the only solution to their daughter's unplanned pregnancy. In reality abortion can have a devastating impact on her emotional and physical health, fertility and future pregnancies.

Unfortunately abortionists and the medical community have downplayed the health risks of abortion. Endangering the physical and emotional health of millions of women, many we know and love.

So as you read each bullet point below, try to make the data real. Think of the children who will lose their mother to cancer because of a choice she made while she was young. Think of the father who grieves for his miscarried child. Consider the women suffering from a legal, safe, "choice."

43% of American women will have at least one abortion by age 45. We all have friends, coworkers, and neighbors who have had an abortion. Abortion is creating a women's health crisis.

In the US, over 140,000 women a year have immediate medical complications from abortion- problems such as: infection, uterine perforation, hemorrhaging, cervical trauma.

Abortion increases a woman's risk of breast cancer by 30%. A careful study of international literature shows a woman's risk for developing breast cancer has increased dramatically since 1960. According to the National Alliance of Breast Cancer Organizations, back in 1960, 1 in 14 women would develop breast cancer in her lifetime, currently 1 in 9 women have the chance of developing breast cancer.

After an abortion there is a higher risk of developing cervical as well as ovarian cancer. Childbirth actually protects against cancer of the reproductive system. The conclusion seems to be that if we can avoid abortion, some types of cancer may be preventable.

Abortion can lead to infertility, a long-term complication that often goes undetected for many years. Abortion can lead to infections (such as pelvic inflammatory disease), as well as uterine scarring. Of particular note to parents: "Single young women who have never carried a baby to term risk experiencing greater difficulty [than any other group] in conceiving and carrying future pregnancies to term."

Abortion can lead to complications in future pregnancies including: miscarriage, premature birth, placenta previa, and ectopic pregnancy. How does this happen? During an abortion the cervix is artificially dilated, this can weaken the muscle and cause permanent damage leading to miscarriages and premature birth. The uterus may be perforated and sometimes it is scraped out with a knife, both leading to scarring. When a woman gets pregnant the newly fertilized human embryo may have difficulty implanting in the womb because it cannot attach itself to scar tissue. This can lead to placenta previa (when the embryo attaches itself to the lower part of the uterus near or over the cervix), and possible future ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo attaches itself to the fallopian tube) potentially fatal if not caught early. According to the Centers for Disease Control: "From 1970 through 1989 more than one million ectopic pregnancies were estimated to have occurred among women in the United States. The rate increased almost fourfold from 4.5 to 16.0 ectopic pregnancies per 1000 reported pregnancies.


In the twelve months following an abortion women have a death rate 4 times greater than women who continued with their pregnancies. This is a clear sign that women may be dying from abortion-related causes. It also suggests that there is a higher suicide rate for abortion than pregnancy. "Although infrequently, women do die as a result of abortion, yet abortion-related maternal mortality is generally under-reported. One reason for this is that codes in hospitals report only the presenting cause of death, not the underlying reason which, for example, in the case of abortion-related death, might be hemorrhage, infection, embolism, or ectopic pregnancy." Often staff may deliberately avoid citing a death as caused by abortion in order to protect the privacy of the woman. There are other causes of death as well: "Approximately 14% of all deaths from legal abortion in the United States are due to general anesthesia complications."

It is minorities who suffer the greatest number of serious complications and deaths after abortion. "Death from legal abortion is more common among minority women than white women, women over the age of 35 and those who undergo the procedure during the second trimester."

In a recent survey, post-abortive women who were seeking counseling reported: an increased use of drugs and/or alcohol to deaden their pain, reoccurring insomnia and nightmares, eating disorders that began after the abortion, suicidal feelings, and many even attempted suicide. Sadly, many in the psychiatric community deny any serious emotional trauma after an abortion. This does not mean that it does not exist. It took years for the medical community to recognize Post Traumatic Stress in Vietnam Veterans. Ironically women who have undergone abortion often fit the psychiatric profile for diagnosing someone suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

This article outlines the physical and emotional consequences of abortion. But we must remember the real women who suffer in silence every time we see a statistic. Since abortion was legalized the number of reproductive health problems is increasing. This information is crucial because the right to choose is meaningless without the right to know.

When we look at the evidence, it is clear that although early activists promoted abortion as a solution to many problems, the data reveals new ones, and the old issues haven't gone away. In light of the 30th anniversary of Roe v. Wade (January 22, 2003) we must ask: "After thirty years of legal abortion, are women really better off?" Maybe you could ponder this question with your family and friends.

For further information contact NOEL at 1-800-707-6635 or visit NOEL's website at NOELforLife.org.

 

A Matter of the Heart

Fr. Frank Pavone, Founding Director of Priests for Life

Priests for Life thanks the United States bishops for their statement "A Matter of the Heart," issued in observance of the upcoming thirtieth anniversary of Roe vs. Wade (see www.usccb.org/bishops/heart.htm).

The statement is filled both with hope and determination, declaring that "Roe vs. Wade must be reversed," and also pointing out many signs of progress.

The word "heart" is used often in the statement. It speaks with special emphasis of the loving and hopeful hearts of the young. It speaks of the hearts of children broken by abortion. It speaks of the hearts of those tempted to abort, and broken by having aborted their child. The bishops point out that we must strive to know these hearts. We are no strangers to evil, temptation, and sin. We have all aborted God's will in our lives. We will know the hearts of the women and men ensnared by abortion to the extent that we strive with honesty and courage to know our own hearts.

The statement calls us to reach the hearts wounded by abortion, and give them hope. Abortion, indeed, is not only a sin against life but a sin against hope. It says there is no future, no reason good enough to strive for life. To affirm life, on the other hand, is to say there is room for hope, and room to welcome the unwanted. Welcome opens the door to hope, and hope opens the door to life.

In calling for a ministry to the heart, the bishops also exercise it by their promise in this statement that the Church is ready to assist all who are pregnant and in need, and to accompany all who need repentance, healing and forgiveness.

The fact that the defense of life is "a matter of the heart" obviously does not exclude matters of the law, because this statement calls for a reversal in the law. The things of the heart and the things of the law affect each other in profound ways.

Yet evil, as our Lord told us, flows from what is in the heart. Nobody has to choose or tolerate abortion. No nation or public official should feel bound to uphold a "law of the land" that turns God's law upside down. The heart is free when it recognizes truth, and chooses what is good, despite the superficial attraction of evil. The heart is pure when it belongs to God, and thereby belongs to life.

The most fundamental sense in which the pro-life effort is "a matter of the heart" is that to end abortion, our hearts must be broken. This evil cannot simply be something we know about or debate. We have to allow it to grieve us, to bring us to tears, to bring us to our knees. "Blessed are those who mourn," for only when our hearts are broken can they open wide enough to receive the victory which has already been won, the victory of truth over lies, of hope over despair, of life over death.

Indeed, this is a matter of the heart.

Please visit our website at www.priestsforlife.org.

 

NPRC Seeks New Members

This is your opportunity to join with other Christian pro-life leaders to help restore legal protection to the unborn child. The National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc. (NPRC) is a Christian pro-life coalition which acknowledges Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, and is called to witness to and affirm the biblical standard of the value, dignity and sanctity of human life.

Associate membership is open to any individual, church or group who subscribes to NPRC's principles.

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National Pro-Life Religious Council Development Office

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Thank you for your willingness to help! Be assured of our prayers. God bless you.

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