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Saturday, September 23, 2017

Double Jeopardy: Mom Conceived in Rape, Dad Conceived in Incest, by Van Atkins

Of course, our precious Savior always perfectly knows what went on, is going on, and will
go on in our lives. For us, the reasons why our life has unfolded the way it has only begin to come into focus when we can look back and see the footsteps of Our Lord as he walked with us at every moment. Recently, the 50th anniversary of the precious matrimonial sacrament of myself and my beloved Maureen was a huge such opportunity to reflect on my journey home so far. For me, I see more clearly every day how even the very moment of my conception was so unlikely it could only have been God’s mysterious will and divine providence.

You see, my father was the result of incest,and my mother was the result of rape. The fact that both occurred in the early part of the last century, when such things were “dealt with” via cover-up or keeping them secret -- instead of the now ubiquitous abortion solution -- was certainly a providential blessing in disguise. 

Through my now 7+ decades, every time I’ve marveled at the numerous blessings God has bestowed on me, in those same moments, I’ve also been acutely aware that almost all folks judge that in such situations of conception -- let alone in the double jeopardy I was in -- should be able to be murdered, in their mother’s womb, well before birth. Yet, praise the Lord, here I am. And here also are 4 children, 7 grandchildren; a sister; 7 nieces and nephews; and 6 grand nieces and nephews -- all of whom are certainly intensely pro-life and also making other real differences, for good, in the Body of Christ.

It arouses deep gratitude, in the depths of my soul, to realize that God loved me so much
and so hungered for my role in his salvation plan. But it’s also almost immeasurably humbling -- not infrequently accompanied by a palpable sense of “why me?” -- and difficult to accept that I was chosen to be born when so many other tens of millions were cast away as easily and dispassionately as the day’s trash. 

Yet, as I know without doubt that I exist per God’s will, I’ve come to a more full, and peace-filled, resolution of my internal guilt conflict. And such resolution has emboldened my willingness to clearly stand up and be counted everywhere -- workplace, neighborhood, friends, extended family, parish -- as 100% pro-life, with no exceptions. 

The “Save the 1” mentality took deep roots in my spiritual journey. There are folks alive today because we shared, with their confused and frightened parents, the beauty and sanctity of every conceived child.

It has never seemed to me even remotely understandable that those in authority can think they can play God with his precious children’s lives. The very thing they tout as a wonderful “good” for society seems so clearly to actually be a death rattle for society. And then there’s that almost universal tagline “except in the cases of incest and rape, or danger of the mother’s health” that’s endlessly and mindlessly used by those who purport to be pro-life, but are actually “let me chose which life is more important”. 

Every time I hear that phrase, I become almost physically ill: “What about me and how I came to be”?

But how did mom and dad deal with the circumstances of their births? Dad knew he was
born in a very rural home, located in a backwoods area called Gopher Valley. So, when he
needed a birth certificate to go with the Army to Panama in the late 1930's, he wasn’t
surprised that local record keepers didn’t have his . He was able to get some birth affidavits from the delivery doctor and relatives, and didn’t think any more about it. 

But then, later in his civilian life, he got a job in Morocco and the need for a U.S.passport-compliant birth certificate arose. Through that process, the old family rumors which he’d always discounted -- that some “farmer” had been involved in his birth -- began to seem at least possible. Dad still pretty much still was a man who lived in the present and looked forward. But doubts about his origin did make him more introspective and reflective. 

He was non-Catholic. But thereafter, he took real interest in Catholic perspectives (beware getting between him and watching his favorite program, Bishop Sheen!) and got to the point where he could argue Catholic dogma -- including about life issues -- better than most baptized Catholics. And, sure enough, on his deathbed, he requested baptism, and was received into the Catholic Church where he felt he’d found his real Father. 

After he passed, DNA testing done by me, in connection with my genealogy hobby, proved the rumors -- and the farmer turned out to be his maternal great uncle, in whose home he’d been born.

Mom’s revelation about her birth was more of an immediate surprise. The Morocco move
meant she also needed a passport. That caused her mother to tell her, for the first time, that
she was not her parents' natural child. Indeed, she’d never been formally adopted. 

Her parents had recently lost a child and were visiting North Dakota. They heard of a baby girl who’d been abandoned at the local Catholic hospital. A local farmer had brought his pregnant 13 year old daughter, who’d been raped by a malcontent hired hand, to that hospital to ask the good nuns for help, as no facilities existed anywhere in the county to handle such events. 

The nuns took her in and a very premature -- a nearly certain death sentence in those days -- little girl was born soon thereafter. Since the child was dying, the nuns baptized her Catholic. (To this day she’s still the only Catholic ever in her birth mother’s bloodline.)  But she miraculously survived (God’s plan at work again!) and ultimately mom’s parents agreed to take the child with them as they returned to Oregon. 

After mom learned about her birth circumstances, she tried hard to locate her birth mother.
She was enormously grateful, and in awe, that such a young child should so bravely give birth to her. Especially as the world, in mom’s later years, began to see such bravery as utter foolishness, and such babies as out and out “tragedies”. 

Mom began to more concretely recognize and accept God’s plan in her life. To bring her to life -- and such a long-lived and loving one (she lived to age 96) -- just had to be part of specific plan God had for her. When mom died, she’d come through 3 marriages, 2 divorces, and much physical pain, to die in full concert with the Church, receiving all the anointing sacraments, and revered as a long-time pillar of her parish. 

Even mom’s 13 year old birth mother’s life was distinctly affected by being raped yet choosing to still have her child at such a young age. The physical event rendered her unable to have other child and ”Aunt _____” became the favorite mentor and counselor of everyone in her sibling’s extended family. When that bloodline family learned their beloved aunt’s child had been found, there was an incredible outpouring of joy and love from them.  

And, . . . hard to believe, but there’s still another remarkable aspect to our family story:
My wife Maureen’s own mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer, but refused treatment so she could choose birth Maureen -- at the expense of her own life. The knowledge of her mother’s ultimate sacrifice has hovered over Maureen’s entire life and strengthened her Catholic faith throughout. It’s been integral to her on-going spiritual awareness and growth, and has played the major role in her always being the leader in faith in our family.

As I humbly look back on the life God has thus far gifted me, I daily thank him that he so lovingly allowed the role my family has played in his plan.  It breaks my heart when those who wantonly disregard life's sanctity start their delusional, self-congratulatory mantras about how it's not life; or "my body" -- which is really "my avoidance of the consequences of my actions."  Evil!  God's plan to populate his kingdom with precious souls he brings forth out of his perfect love has NO exceptions.  When our selfishness and lack of trust causes us to take a tiny life that is God's, it is a far greater travesty than the terrible loss of that life.  It is a complete denial of God's love and of that child's absolutely necessary role in God's plan for the happiness of us ALL.

I started my genealogy hobby and created our family tree so that my immediate family and extended family -- and all those who come after us -- would always know and be able to reflect upon the heroics of so many of our ancestors, but most especially of mom and dad, grandma and grandpa, and great- grandma. These dear souls believed all life was precious and worthy, no matter how it came to be or what it cost, and so willingly sacrificed that we might enjoy God's gift of life.  I ask that they never be forgotten because, without their selfless love, we would not be here, and I genuinely believe that the world would be a lesser place.  Our lives will be so much more God's if we can also have, as they did, at least one great and defining moment of unselfishness.  Thanks to them all!!!

My Bio: Van is a husband of 50 years to his beloved Maureen, father of 4 and the
grandfather of 7. He and Maureen presently serve as their parish’s RCIA Coordinators.
Additionally, they own a thriving health coaching outreach that specializes in all areas of
permanent better health change -- weight, nutrition, supplementation, diet, home safety and
detoxification, stress, exercise, and sleep.
Wednesday, September 13, 2017

I helped my mother heal from the rape in which I was conceived, by Claudia Marcela from Columbia

Hello, my name is Claudia Marcela and I’m Colombian. I’m the product of the rape that my mother endured at the age of 15 at the hands of a family acquaintance.

My mother still had the innocence of a girl her age and she couldn’t say anything in her house because she was afraid of the threats of the person who had defiled and left her pregnant. 

She didn’t understand why her body was changing so quickly and she couldn’t find the courage to tell her mother Ana, her grandmother Mercedes, or her sister Amanda what had happened to her.  It was something very painful for her.

However, the person who was most distraught by the situation was her grandmother Mercedes. My mother was her precious little girl, the apple of her eye. Her pain was so great that she became sick, and after she found out the truth that her granddaughter was pregnant by rape, she was never the same again.

With fervor, my family searched for the man who raped my mother, in order that they could turn him into the police, but they weren’t able to find him because he’d already left town.

My mother and grandmother decided to persist with the pregnancy, not only because of the advanced stage of her pregnancy, but because the innocent child she carried within had all the rights in the world to be born.

The months passed and I was born. My mother’s uncle said that my birth helped relieve some of my mother's pain but my mother’s grandmother, my great-grandmother Mercedes, couldn’t overcome the pain and she fell into bed depressed.

Everyday she would ask that I was laid beside her so that she could cuddle me, kiss me and watch over me, but her pain didn’t let her continue doing that and she died shortly after. This caused my mother to blame herself for her grandmother’s death and she hardened herself, even with her baby.

A few months later, her sister Amanda, my aunt, married a man named Edgar who fell in love with me from the moment he laid eyes on me, and like my grandfather, he became a paternal figure for me.

My grandparents hadn’t lived together for a long time. My grandfather lived in another town with his own family, but he was a father to me during the vacations in which I went to visit him. He was loving and fun. 

In everyone in my family, I found love, but in my mother, I noticed an emotional distance.  Though she gave me gifts and material things, I couldn’t understand why there was this distance.

As the time passed, I asked about my father, and the answer was that he had died
before I was born.  However, when I turned 13, a relative confessed the truth to me. Even though learning the truth of my origins was very hard, it made me understand the attitude of my mother. Nonetheless, I never discussed this with her, out of fear of hurting her by reminding her of such a painful moment.

The time passed by and I turned 21. I became pregnant with the child of my boyfriend, Carlos, but I didn’t realize I was pregnant. I went for a medical check up because I didn’t feel well and the doctor performed an ultrasound on me where I could see a small image the size of a grain of rice. The doctor told me, “Claudia, you’re pregnant.”

I didn’t care if the father would be responsible for him or if my family would accept this development.  My eyes filled with tears, my heart wanted to jump out of my chest with love and joy, but the doctor thought that I was crying out of fear, and he told me, “Claudia, if you want an abortion, you’re just in time for it, and I can help you.” I looked at him with wide eyes filled with anger, and a desire to hit him. I said, “Butcher, I’d give my life for my child! I’d do anything for him without caring about anything else.”

I left the doctor’s office furious, found the father of my child and told him, “I’m pregnant, and I’m having this child with or without your help.” He told me to calm down, that we would go through the pregnancy together and that the baby was as much his as he or she was mine. The words of the man who would become my husband filled me with peace and encouragement.

After that, we went to talk to my mother. And that woman who was always distant and strong like a rock became passionate because of the news! My grandmother was happy as well. 

Later, a little battle unfolded within the family when my uncle Edgar found out the news. The women in my family wanted the baby to be a girl, but my uncle desired a boy so that there could be another male around to keep him company. Finally, my uncle won the war because my beautiful son was born and he won over all of the women in the family, including myself, his mother. That child has been a great blessing.

Six months after the birth of my son Mauricio, I found out I was pregnant with my daughter, Laura, and 13 years after that came my youngest daughter Ana Valeria. My children are my greatest blessings.

Years later, my mother asked for psychological help to help heal the trauma from her rape and the after effects. We did it together. Thanks to God and the therapy we received, my mother realized that the only person she could count on in her life was her daughter, and that realization, joyful if very late, filled her with serenity.

My children knew the story of my life during their adolescence. It was hard for them to accept it, but they did it with the wisdom and love from God.

The phrase “God makes roses grow where there are only stones” is very fitting and I’d like this story to get to all of the women who don’t know what to do when they find themselves in a similar situation, or any women who are thinking of aborting their children.

My whole life I was able to achieve because of the wonderful Divine being I have always called “Father”, and the wonderful, celestial being called Jesus. I always went to him, in every moment, as well as his Saint Mother, Mary. 

BIO:  Claudia Marcela is a wife, mother of 3, and now blogger for Salvar El 1 -- the Spanish division of Save The 1.  Read her story in Spanish here.

Though conceived in rape, my son is the best thing that has happened to me, by Akli Ahlet from Argentina

I always lived alone with my dad because my mom passed away when I was four years old and nobody in my family ever wanted to take care of me. My dad found it very difficult to take care of me and go to work, so after school I used to go to swimming lessons by myself.

At age 15, I met at school a girl who hated me because I was completely against abortion. She would always say me: "That's because they never raped you."  And I replied that even if someone did, I would never kill my son because he would not be to blame for that violent aggression.

One day, while waiting for the bus, she and her brother got me in a car and raped me. To be honest, this hasn’t caused me any permanent trauma, although that day I felt disgusting.  But just in that moment. . . .

I told my dad what happened, and I still do not understand why, but he felt guilty for not being able to pick me up because of his work.  He was not to blame because, truly, it was impossible for him to pick me up.  He had to work because otherwise, we would not be able to eat. 

We are from Croatia, although we now live in Argentina where life is easier for us. But in Croatia, everything was more complicated and I had to stop attending swim lessons after the rape.

Four months later, I started fainting and having very low blood glucose levels. I am a diabetic and I went to the doctor where they told me that I was pregnant and that I had to have an abortion because the pregnancy came from a rape.

The so-called "doctor" told me that my son was disgusting -- all for a crime my son did not commit!  She said he would not survive because of my low blood glucose levels. I started to cry and to say that I did not understand why she was against my son if he had not done anything wrong.

My dad grabbed my hand and pulled me out without a word. The only thing he told me when we got into the car was that, when my son was born, I had start working because with my father's salary, he wasn’t going to be able to pay for everything. I knew that my father would never ask me to kill my son and his words made me very happy.

I kept going to school, eating lots of cookies so that my blood sugar did not drop. My classmates always looked at me badly and said that my son was going to ruin my life.  But I never responded to them because my son really is my reason to live.

 He is a very good boy and there are people who look at him rudely because, in one way or another, they learned how he was conceived. At the age 5 he said, "They're bad Mommy, and I’m good, that's why they look at me like that."

He still does not know how he was conceived. I will tell him when he grows up, but my son is the best thing that has happened in my life and I would go through everything that happened again to see my son every day, and also to see my father's joy when he looks at his grandson and says: "At last, a boy for me".

Now I am studying to become a teacher and my son comes to school with me from time to time and gets very spoiled there. When I experienced what it was like to be a mother, I understood what true happiness is.

BIO:  Akli Ahlet, from Argentina, sent the Spanish division of Save The 1, Salvar El 1 this testimony to share it and to help other women who have been through something similar. Here is her story in Spanish.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

They react to someone conceived in rape, as a vampire reacts to a crucifix, by Rebecca Kiessling

Since returning home from my recent visit to Chile, I've been attacked in social media, along with Diana Contreras -- a Chilean mother who miscarried after rape -- because we both met with a pro-life presidential candidate (José Antonio Kast) during my visit, and the largest newspaper in Chile ran an article about it. So we have seen a lot of extremely vicious words from others.  Though it's not uncommon for abortion rights advocates to behave this way, I realize this is not something to which many are accustomed. Good people of faith are alarmed to see such hateful and vile words come out of people.
First of all, we did nothing wrong. Yes we are under attack, but we are innocent, and I know that God is working this all out for good. The voices of hatred and death may sound louder, but there are many quiet people who are watching, who perhaps are unsure as to how they feel about this issue. Now they are observing the unmitigated hatred toward us, and I know with confidence that this is ultimately eliciting more sympathy for innocent children conceived in rape and the mothers who love them.  Decent people do not enjoy seeing others being attacked so viciously.

Do you recall seeing vampire movies where someone pulls out a crucifix and holds it up to the vampire and the vampire shrieks? Then the vampire begins to burn because now the vampire has been faced with ultimate truth and knows the power of the Cross. This is what is happening now in this battle to defend life. Instead of a crucifix, we put the face of the child conceived in rape before them, as well as the face of the mothers who love their children, and the abortion advocates are terrified because they know the power of our testimonies. They want to silence us and bully us into submission. They want us to be afraid. They want me to be afraid to ever come back to Chile. 
But when I was threatened by this same spirit of death in someone from Poland who "offered" to break my legs for me if I followed through with coming to Poland, I stepped onto my airplane with legs strong and firm because I know truth is on my side and love is stronger.  Besides, I knew something special was going to happen there because the voices of hate were so loud.  In fact, they were shrieking like a vampire.
It is good that we are relevant and that we have taken the battle to the enemy. We do not want to be like a sports team who comes together before the game for a huddle to talk strategy with the coach and the team captain, but then they never go out onto the field to engage their opponent. 
Right now, we are engaging the opponent and others are watching this epic match. Some are trying to ascertain which team should have their allegiance. These spectators see us engage with honor. The opponents demonstrate poor sportsmanship -- truly crude behavior -- and those watching the match don't like that. So always remember that there are multitudes watching and we are winning people over.
This engagement will make us stronger. It is like weight training. You lift weights which tears down the muscles, but this resistance training ultimately results in the muscles being built up stronger. This is what is occurring with us. It may seem painful and unpleasant at the time. We could be in the gym and wonder why we are putting ourselves through such a difficult workout. But we know that in the end, we will be made stronger and again, others observe and admire and respect our commitment, our tenacity.
"Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up." -- Galatians 6:9
Many of the recent negative comments are suggesting that we are celebrating rape because I, and others, value my life, or they say that others are promoting rape by sharing my story.  I explain that just because you celebrate firefighters does not mean that you advocate arson.  While it's true that without arson, there would be no firefighters, it's absurd to suggest that anyone who likes firefighters is pro-arson. Admiring doctors who heal does not make you pro-disease. 
The same holds true when we value the life of a child conceived in rape.  Of course we are not pro-rape!  In fact, giving birth typically ends the rape for many young victims of assault.  Supporting abortion is actually pro-rape, because it protects and enables rapists, child molesters and sex traffickers.
Some of the other comments suggest that we don't care about women, and especially rape victims. First of all, Diana and I are both women, so the irony and hypocrisy should be obvious. Secondly, I have hundreds of friends now who are rape survivors who either love their children whom they are raising, are birth mothers from rape, mourn the loss of that child through miscarriage, or regret aborting after being raped.  These women are precious to me.  My own dear mother is a rape victim.  I've advocated globally for laws to protect rape survivor mothers and their children from the rapist having parental rights.  These advocates for death have no idea what they are saying by throwing such nonsense out there in a futile attempt to silence us.
We are the true feminists because we encourage women and tell them, "You are stronger than you think!  I believe in you.  You CAN do this!"  Meanwhile, the abortion advocates continually suggest that women are weak and pathetic and that they must necessarily be afraid of a baby -- a baby!!!  They teach women hatred.  They turn them into killers.  They encourage victimizing someone smaller and defenseless.  How is this pro-woman?  It's not.
If you want to see strong women, just take a look at the women who have shared their "difficult cases" stories through Save The 1.  They courageously share their stories and their love of life, while opening themselves up for attack from the forces of death.  But love wins because love is stronger than violence, fear and hatred, and we won't be silenced!

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is an international pro-life speaker, attorney, wife, mother of 5,
founder and President of Save The 1, co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception, co-founder of Embryo Defense, and author of the Heritage House ’76 pamphlet “Conceived in Rape:  A Story of Hope.”  Visit her website at
Tuesday, August 29, 2017

I See My Son Reflected In You -- Message from Mother Who Miscarried After Rape, by Diana Contreras

This message moved me to tears! I received this heartfelt message from a Chilean mother just one week after the Chilean Supreme Court upheld the new abortion law legalizing abortion for rape, incest, fetal abnormality and life of the mother, and one week before I will arrive in Chile to speak, where I will have the opportunity to meet Diana in person. This letter is published here with her permission. I hope this will be an encouragement to everyone associated with Save The 1, to see that we are a global family who truly care for one another. -- Rebecca Kiessling

Dear Rebecca, I hope you are well. Unfortunately, my country of Chile gave the green light to death, but I would like to express my commitment to life.
I have thought a lot about you because I am the mother of two babies who died -- Angelito and Gabriel. The first one was the product of a rape when I was only 15 years old. I wanted to express my feelings of affection towards you because I see my son, Angelito reflected in you and not because of your origin, but because of your feelings of kindness and love towards the innocent.

I know that my son would have fought side by side with you and me. To me, you are much more than a product of rape. To me, you are love made flesh and I promise that I will continue fighting whether we have that law or not. Although. I must confess that I suffer seeing how the people have become cold and indolent, but I will not cease in my fight for my children and for all those who are to come, and for you too. I will not stop fighting against the culture of death.

Thank you for being a sight of my Angelito, who without knowing, with his short passing through my life left an eternal footprint. From here I send a hug and I ask my children to give you the strength to continue fighting, a hug with all my heart.

Diana Contreras
Angel of Light Foundation,
Spokesperson for identity in the law

Diana is a blogger for Save The 1 and our Spanish division, Salvar El 1. Her story appears here in English and here in Spanish.
Friday, August 25, 2017

Interview of Save The 1 President Rebecca Kiessling conducted by David Arboix from Salvar El 1

Rebecca, it is unusual to meet a person who has been conceived in rape. Could you explain the influence that this discovery had on your understanding of yourself and your life?

When I first learned how I was conceived, I instantly felt targeted and devalued by so much of society because I had heard what people say about abortion in cases of rape. My very soul cried out for my worth. I was wounded by what people said, but I have never been one to crawl into the corner and just give up.

I am safe. I'm alive. But there are others who are yet at risk and the most selfish thing for me to do would be to just say, “Oh well, at least I got to be born.” I can't do that. I feel like my life was spared from a burning building, and as I have the opportunity to go back and save others, I'm going to do it.

Can you explain the origin of the name of your organization?  What is Save The 1 and what is its role within the broad pro-life world?

The name Save The 1 comes from two places. First of all, there is a sad motto within
the pro-life movement in the United States, that you should “save the 99 in exchange for the 1.” They allow the rape exceptions in mediocre laws which merely regulate abortion. For example, there will be a proposed law to end funding of abortion or funding of Planned Parenthood, but it will have a rape exception. Or they will have a ban on late-term abortions for children who feel pain, but they will have a rape exception. The pro-life leaders who are willing to compromise with the rape exception will use this unfortunate motto of “Save the 99 for the 1” and they will say it's like the “burning building analogy,” asking, “Wouldn't you save the 99 in exchange for the 1?”

They will claim that they simply don't have the votes from politicians to be able to save 100%. But the reason they don't have the votes is because they keep supporting rape exception politicians. So in the burning building scenario, what's really happening is that you have firefighters who are coming in for job interviews before the fire chief and they tell the fire chief, “Just so you know, I discriminate. When I go into a burning building I am not going to save them all. I don't want to save children who will be a ‘horrible reminder’ of the fire, and if you try to force me to go in to save them all, then I won't go into save any.”

Now what fire chief in his right mind would hire that firefighter?! But in the United States, the fire chief who is the pro-life leader not only hires the one who promises to discriminate, but when they in fact fail to save the innocents, the leaders give them a hefty bonus in the form of a political action endorsement.

So this is the corruption we have in the United States and it is the majority voice within the pro-life movement here. If you wonder why the United States can't end abortion with so many pro-life organizations and such huge budgets with their fundraising, I am telling you this is why.

Whenever I hear the saying, “Save the 99 in exchange for the 1”, I can't help but think of the Parable of the Lost Sheep, because Jesus left the 99 to save the 1.  In context, Jesus was talking about the little children. He said, “See that you do not despise any of these little ones for I tell you that their angels in heaven always look upon the face of my Father in heaven.” And then He goes right into the whole Parable of the Lost Sheep, explaining how the Good Shepherd leaves the 99 to save the 1 lost sheep, and He finishes the parable by explaining it’s point: “For in the same way, your father in Heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish.” And neither should we!

In context, Jesus was speaking about the little ones who are despised who are at risk of perishing. In today's world, are these at-risk, despised children not the so-called “difficult cases” in the abortion debate? Are they not the children who are conceived in rape or incest or who have fetal abnormalities? Our Father in Heaven is not willing that any of these should perish.

This is why I gave our organization the name Save The 1. I founded it because I had my website for many years and was continually adding other people’s stories to my website, but I was concerned that if something ever happened to me, then all of those stories would be lost forever. I wanted something which would endure, and I wanted a legacy which would not be under my name. A neutral place was needed for everyone with these stories to feel like we are all part of something greater, and not just belonging to me.

Today we have a global network with a database of over 500 who were conceived in rape or mothers who became pregnant by rape, as well as hundreds from our carry to birth division who were given a challenging prenatal diagnosis and told to abort, or their parents had been told to abort them.

We have a Spanish division, Salvar El 1, which has the largest following on social media which is almost 35,000 on Facebook, as well as a Portuguese division, and we are still in 
the process of launching a Polish division. It is clear to me that the Spanish division has become the most popular because this is where the battle is primarily being fought on the so-called “difficult cases” -- all throughout Latin America. I know this is why our stories are so highly valued by the Spanish-speaking world.

We have a team of translators from all over Latin America as well as Spain and I knew that if these stories were translated, then others who speak Spanish would come forward to share their stories. Sure enough, we now have stories of women from all over Latin America and their stories are having to be translated into English for us to share with the English-speaking world!

It is clear that Save The 1 fulfils a clear informative and formative function within the pro-life community. Do you also carry out some kind of support and counseling activities for women who are in a situation similar to that of one of your speakers?

We have many private groups on Facebook for people with the difficult stories. But our Spanish group has not grown like the English groups have. For example, for men who were conceived in rape who speak English, we have almost three dozen members in our private Facebook group for them. We have a few dozen women who speak English who are in our private group for birth mothers who became pregnant by rape. We also have groups by state or region. 

Our Spanish network just has not grown like that yet, but we do hope that, as people know that we have a support network specific to these stories, then they will spread the word and recommend these people to get in contact with us so that we can connect them all together, because no one should have to be alone in this.  Even still, what we hear most commonly is that just reading other people's stories, being able to understand what brought them healing, is very comforting – especially to know that you are not alone.

You were conceived after a violation. Why do you think that the life of the conceived in these circumstances is often considered as a mistake? Why do so many countries’ legislative systems struggle with the introduction of the exceptions clause?

I think the biggest problem has been that we are nameless and faceless to most people. We know that in war, it is always easier to kill the enemy when you dehumanize him or her. As long as we remain merely a concept, it is easier for politicians to sweep us under the rug like we are just dirt of the earth and to consent to us being killed.

This is why I feel so strongly that our stories need to be told, our voices need to be heard so that others would have to look us in the eye before consenting to our people group being killed. I have changed the hearts of many, many politicians throughout the world and here in the United States, including two presidential candidates during their campaigns. They said they could not look me in the eyes and justify the rape exception any longer.

I understand that everyone wishes to show concern for rape victims. My dearest friends on Earth are rape victims. My own precious mother is a rape victim. I very much appreciate people's concern, but they also need to understand that more violence is not the answer. More violence does not bring her healing, and punishing the innocent person is certainly not going to heal her.

I think sometimes it comes down to worldview. If you don't believe in a Creator who designs people and has special plans for each person's life, then you must think that the rapist is creating children like me. For anyone who has ever experienced infertility, you know that you can try to plan your parenthood, but you really don't have the power you thought you had when you were younger. We are not the Creator.

But the real reason why we have rape exception clauses being introduced is because abortion advocates know that this is how they can make abortion legal on demand for any reason. They use rape as merely an excuse to justify all abortions. They know that if they can get abortion legalized in cases of rape, then the door will be open for all abortions. This is how abortion became legal in the United States. In the landmark United States Supreme Court case of Roe versus Wade which legalized abortion through all nine months of pregnancy for any reason, the pregnant woman called “Jane Roe” whose real name was Norma McCorvey later changed her mind about abortion and sought to have her case overturned. She filed a sworn affidavit with Congress explaining that she lied when she said she was gang raped because her lawyers told her to say she was raped -- that it would make her case stronger.

Amnesty International has been advocating to legalize abortion around the world using the rape issue, and on the radio I have debated these advocates from Amnesty International and from other abortion rights organizations. When I made this point that they will use the rape issue to legalize all abortions, they denied that fact. Then I asked the next question, are women going to be required to prove the rape? Will they have to report it? Will there be a trial before the child is convicted and sentenced to death? They always laugh and then say mockingly, you aren't going to believe a rape victim?

They are so smug because they will now play on people's sympathies that you should just simply believe a woman if she goes into an abortion clinic and says she was raped. This is why it will become abortion on demand for any reason. They will coach women to just say they were raped just like Jane Roe was told by her lawyers to say she was raped. Or, they can just coach the doctor to file the abortion as a rape case.

In Spain and probably in other countries of our cultural environment, we feel that the defense of life begins to be a lost topic. Do you also consider that this is so?

Sometimes what I see is much like what I once heard a religious leader refer to as a “holy huddle” -- like how a sports team gets together in a huddle to cheer each other on and discuss strategy. But then they never make it out onto the field to engage the opposition.

It is extremely frustrating to see people of faith who participate in making some image or video of a kitten or dog doing tricks go viral on social media, but when it comes to raising awareness and defending the preborn from being slaughtered, they aren't willing to share on Facebook, Twitter, etc.. This is very disheartening.

In recent years, the abortion lobby and other international organizations have been pushing hard in Latin America to intrude the decriminalization of abortion through exceptions. Little by little, it is getting the culture of death implanted in countries where life has always been protected. How do you contemplate this panorama?

Nations which have been protecting all children without discrimination are better people because you teach love and not hate. I was so impressed to see in the Spring of 2016, 700,000 people show up to the March for Life in Lima Peru, just one month after pro-life people there defeated the efforts to legalize abortion in cases of rape.

Do you know how many people came to the March for Life in the United States when states began legalizing abortion in cases of rape in the mid to late-1960s? None! Noone cared enough to organize a national march. There was no March for Life in the United States until abortion became legal in all circumstances for any reason through all nine months of pregnancy. And even then, we did not reach the number of 700,000 until the 40-year anniversary of the Roe vs Wade Supreme Court case which legalized abortion in every state for any reason.

It took us 40 years to have that many people care enough to sacrifice their time to attend our national March For Life, and that's with over 1 million being slaughtered every year in the United States! In Peru, abortion wasn't even legalized and the effort to legalize it was “only” for the circumstances of rape, and yet, the good people of Peru cared enough about the child conceived in rape to show up and March. You are a different people.  You have more love. Do not become like the United States.

What is the motivation that today, with so much scientific knowledge and technological advances, still a significant number of the political and medical community are so favorable to abortion?

Politicians and physicians often like to control people groups. They can do this through abortion. There are those who are often quite elitist, thinking only the so-called “right” kind of people should be born, which is part of the eugenics mentality, which is rampant in much of the medical community. They have become heartless.

What would you recommend to the Spanish society and the Latin American society so as not to give up in our struggle to defend the lives of all, without exception?

Fight like your own life depended on it. Do not be selfish just because you were wanted by your mother, or because you had the opportunity to be born.

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is the founder and President of Save The 1.  She's an international
pro-life speaker, writer and attorney.  David Arboix from Spain is a translator and editor for Salvar El 1 -- the Spanish speaking division of Save The 1.
Sunday, August 20, 2017

The daily chore, and blessing, of forgiveness, by Jennifer Christie

It's not the day.
It's the days.
It's moments.

I am uncomfortable .
A vast understatement.
I sip milkshakes through a straw and take little bites of pudding that I can't taste because it's all I can manage.
I had two back molars pulled yesterday. Teeth that shattered some months ago during a spate of uncontrollable seizures . I ignored the pain for a time until infection set in and now here I sit. All chipmunk cheeks and popping ibuprofen wishing it were Percocet..but my toddler here is a tempest ,(as toddlers tend to be), and needs a caregiver who doesn't come with a warning to avoid operating heavy machinery.
Being sober minded however has its disadvantages. I can't help but think about the origin of my pain..
and I find myself in the position of needing to forgive.

I've talked a lot about forgiveness lately. People assume that I mean the rape. That one day.
That nightmarish morning into afternoon.
They wouldn't be entirely wrong, but it's much more than that.

Not the day.
The moments.
It's the call that will have to be made to our landlord ..again.. apologizing for not being able to make rent this month because everything we had went to fix my mouth.

It's the blood that won't come out of the bedsheets because even after two surgeries there is intestinal damage that remains from being violated with a broken glass bottle.
(I've never shared that publicly before..I didn't intend to just now. I know how difficult that will be to read.
I assure you, it was more difficult to write.)

It's the loss of independence when my epilepsy requires a driver,
a cook,
a babysitter.

I feel angry.
I ask "Why me?"
I think back to my life before it all.

Not the day.
The days.
The moments.

C.S.Lewis said that everyone thinks forgiveness is a lovely idea until they have something to forgive.
For me, for many of us, it isn't an idea. It's a daily reality. If you are a follower of Christ, forgiveness is more than a suggestion. It's a command.
And not just for ourselves.

I forgive for my joyful baby. All light and love.
I forgive for my older sons, growing into the good men of tomorrow.
For my daughter who watches me to see how a woman of faith responds when in the valley.
For my devoted husband who needs and deserves a helpmate who is present and whole.
And I forgive for myself. For my Savior.
So I may become that empty vessel, that tool in His Hands as He molds me into the woman I was born to be.

I'm not looking for pity.
I don't want praise.

I write to anyone else out there who lives in this challenging place of seemingly endless forgiveness. Cliche alert: Recognize the blessing in disguise. Spiritual battles, of every sort, keep us on our knees.
The only way battles can be won.

So today.
Swollen and weary, I forgive.
Seventy times seven and beyond.

I forgive.

The day .
The days.
The moments.

I forgive.

BIO:  Jennifer Christie’s story Raped While on a Business Trip – My Husband and I Chose
 went viral after it was published on our blog and elsewhere, with over 1 million shares to Facebook. She wrote a follow-up story, Raped, Married and Pregnant:  When People Said We Shouldn’t Have You, We Loved You Louder, and her husband Jeff also wrote out their story from his own perspective:  My Wife and I Both Saw This Baby As Something Beautiful Coming From Such Evil.  The latest update of her story — with the rapist-murderer having been killed is My Son Was Never a “Rapist’s Baby” or “Product of Rape” – He’s My Child.  For more information about Jennifer see her page on our website
Friday, August 4, 2017

All Across The World, Children Like My Son Have Targets on Their Backs, by Jennifer Christie

All across the world, children like my son have targets on their backs. They are targeted for genocide. Even in
countries like Ireland where all preborn children have been protected for many years without discrimination, there is a growing contingent who believe that children like my son should not exist, that they do not deserve protection, and that they should be put to death for crimes they did not commit.  And these voices of death are getting louder. 

I'm not a politician, I'm not a lawyer, nor do I have an impressive string of letters after my name.  No, my credentials are even better -- I'm a mother, and I will not be silenced. 

The targeting I'm referring to is called the "rape exception," and you've probably heard of it.  There are many people who think they are pro-life, but compromise in this area. I'll say it:  there is no compromise! There are no gray uniforms in this war. You are with us, or you are against us. You believe in the sanctity of life, or you do not.

I am a mother, and I will bear witness for the unborn.

In Ireland, those fighting to repeal the 8th Amendment and to legalize abortion chant in unison their call to arms:  RAPE.  RAPE???  Do you really have the audacity to try to own my assault, my pregnancy, my CHILD to assuage your collective conscience for demanding the unconscionable -- abortion, for any reason, at any time during pregnancy and at taxpayer's expense?!

I have a question for the people of Ireland who claim great concern for the pregnant rape victim to the point of demanding abortion:  What have you actually done to help us? Do you counsel?  Have you offered rape victims maternity clothes, prenatal care, baby items, food or even shelter?  Have you helped facilitate adoption? Do you help to make sure we and our children are safe? Do you help us to seek justice? Have you advocated for a law to terminate the parental rights of rapists, like we've passed in U.S. Congress?  Or does your alleged concern for the pregnant rape victim begin and end with the destruction of our babies? 

I've seen people deftly slip on the mask of phony compassion, their voices softening as they speak of the brutalized woman, asking such loaded questions as, "How can we force her to carry a rapist's baby?"  And, "What psychological abuse to know she's growing evil in her belly!" They suggest that it would be horrific to have a constant companion as she lives with the ever-present reminder in the face of the child, as though he or she is simply a smaller version of her attacker.

I say: How DARE you!  How dare you use me and my sister survivors to justify the unconscionable slaughtering of millions every year!

How dare you feign to speak for Paula Love who was pregnant after being drugged and raped at 18: "There was always a voice in my head telling me that I could have an abortion and it would fix everything. The truth is, choosing life fixed everything. I’m thankful every day that I didn’t buy into the lie. My daughter and the two incredible grandsons that she’s given me fixed everything. They have turned my sorrow into joy." 

Shame on you for thinking you know the mind of Elizabeth Diaz Navarro, who was raped and pregnant while attending university.  Of her daughter, she says,"thanks to her birth, I am a more complete human and a strong and happy woman. I now know that abortion would have made my situation worse – especially since I am unable to have more children.  She is my blessing.  Abortion is never a solution. Thank you my child. You make my life a place full of love and hope!"

You speak out of place when you say pregnant rape survivors like Michelle Olson needed abortion as their solution. Michelle explains:  "She made it easier to get past the rape. I got a beautiful baby girl from what happened to me. She is sweet, loving, and beautiful. What I went through was nothing compared to the joy my little girl has brought to my life."

The heart of these mothers are not the exceptions. They are the majority -- WE are the majority and our global network is nearly 500 strong.  Won't you stand with us? 

I am a mother, and this is also my story.  My precious three-year-old son was conceived during the darkest day of my life. It was the day that changed who I was forever -- as a human being, as a woman, and as a wife. I became another statistic.  During a nightmare I couldn't awake from, a child was conceived.  This child had nothing to do with the attack on my body or the scars on my soul.  He had everything to do with my healing -- giving me a reason to hope.  I did not save my son.   He saved me. 

I am not raising a "rapist's baby."  I am raising MY BABY. He is the love that I pour into HIM.  He is the love of the father who is raising him and siblings who play with him and the grandparents who dote on him.  He is all of these things and more.  As unique as a fingerprint, he has something that is just him, and he's perfect. 

Is he a reminder? He is.
He's a reminder that, as women, we can be stronger than our circumstances. 
He's a reminder that beauty can come from ugliness. 
And he's a reminder that how we began does not determine how we end. 

Some may seek to dismisss me -- to dismiss all of us. They'll say we made our choice. 
This is not about choice!  This is about the humanity of our children at their most vulnerable state.  

When we were raped, we had been unable to protect ourselves.  But for our children, we can and we will protect them.  We will work to make the world a more loving and accepting place for them where they will not be hated, demonized and targeted.  But as long as they are being singled out for destruction and discrimination, we will speak out. 

I am a mother.  I will not be silenced.

BIO:  Jennifer Christie’s story Raped While on a Business Trip – My Husband and I Chose
 went viral after it was published on our blog and elsewhere, with over 1 million shares to Facebook. She wrote a follow-up story, Raped, Married and Pregnant:  When People Said We Shouldn’t Have You, We Loved You Louder, and her husband Jeff also wrote out their story from his own perspective:  My Wife and I Both Saw This Baby As Something Beautiful Coming From Such Evil.  The latest update of her story — with the rapist-murderer having been killed is My Son Was Never a “Rapist’s Baby” or “Product of Rape” – He’s My Child.  For more information about Jennifer see her page on our website