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Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Told by Doctors to Abort, I Regained My Mother's Heart For My Child, by Jennifer Frey

My name is Jennifer Frey.  I would like to share a piece of my heart here with you, and her name is Faith Elizabeth.

Before I get there, I would like to confess, I haven’t always been pro-life.  In fact, I was very much pro-choice until my children came into my life.  I remember in high school writing my senior paper on the topic of abortion.  Being the naive teenager that I was, I thought for sure those extreme cases of rape, or health of the mother/baby were valid reasons for abortion. 

I hadn’t thought much about the topic of abortion until I had children -- i
n particular, my second born baby.  All of my children have changed my life, but she is the one who changed things deep in my heart.

While I was pregnant with my second born baby, at my 20 week ultrasound
came some devastating news.  Our baby was promptly diagnosed with anencephaly.  Words I had never heard before -- “incompatible with life” -- were used.  

The doctor refused to show us any more pictures of the baby, as to "not hurt our feelings."  They did not tell us the gender and they sent us on to a specialist.  I left feeling like my baby was already dead.  

At the appointment with the specialist, they confirmed the diagnosis.  They told us over 95% of families with this diagnosis have an "early termination."  They told us it was okay to do, that it was too difficult to carry the baby to term just to watch it die. We were told the baby wouldn’t make it much past birth or could pass away in utero. The doctors offered no support for choosing life.  It was never given to us as an option.

I will admit right now, I believed them.  I was a beginner Christian, a fairly new mom (my oldest was 3) and was still unsure about abortion. The doctors did a really good job of making it seem like termination was the best choice.  

Without making any decisions at that appointment, my husband and I went home, barely able to talk to each other, let alone cope.  

We were leaning towards early termination.  I thought that there was no way I would be strong enough to carry the baby to full term, just to watch the baby die.  I had even made the appointment for the termination.  By the grace of God, we ended up cancelling the termination the day before my appointment.  Something stirred in my heart to love my baby, and I regained my mother's heart for my child which was almost stolen by lies and deceit -- not just from the doctors, but by our country's opinion of babies with adverse diagnoses.

We carried our baby -- our daughter -- to full term. We named her Faith Elizabeth.  During the remainder of the pregnancy, she lay breech in my womb, her head right up under my left rib cage, close to my heart -- the symbolism of which I hold very dear.  

We included our older daughter, Julianna in all the planning so she could always remember having a part in her sister's life. 

On December 27, 2010, Faith Elizabeth was born.  We were told to expect the
worst, that she would be deaf, blind, mute, and probably unconscious.  From what they could see on ultrasound, she had a severe case and seemed to only have use of her brain stem.

Faith was born, and she defied all expectations!  She was alive, alert, eyes open, making noises and responding!  We spent the day with her, introducing her to family and friends.  

She lived for 18 hours, and died in my arms.  She was here only a short time in our lives, but the impact she made in my life is continuous and ongoing.  

While it is a sad, bittersweet memory of mine now, there is also an enormous Joy that goes along with it. Her life changed mine.  And when I think back about being in that place of finding out her diagnosis, wondering if it would be easier to terminate or not -- I find myself so thankful for choosing life.  I imagine I would have been filled with regret had I chosen to terminate.  But now I am thankful to have given her the best chance at the longest life possible for her.  I will never regret having met my daughter and seeing my oldest who was wise beyond her years cradle her baby sister.

My family and I are now a solid pro-life family.  We stand for life, we fight for life, we help others going through situations like our own because we KNOW how precious life is.  We have learned that life is sometimes short, but sweet, and to enjoy the time we have together. It is so worth it to choose life every time -- whether in your womb or in your heart.  You won't regret it!

I've been doing my own research on abortion ever since I've had Faith and it always felt like there was a portion of the discussion missing because abortion is often associated with clinics like Planned Parenthood, there wasn't much talk of the abortions that happen in hospitals due to medical influences there.  It's a whole hidden agenda that most people aren't aware of, and so many babies are killed by abortion each year as recommended by doctors, at hospitals, because of a disability.

When I was pregnant with my firstborn, it was suggested that we do genetic testing and they said our daughter had a high chance of Down Syndrome.  We were offered "options." And then again, same thing with our 3rd born child. She had measurements which were "off" and they were talking about doing more testing so I could have "options."  Today, all three of my living children are completely healthy.  Had I taken the advice of my doctors, I would have aborted three children and have only one living child today!
Thank you to Save The 1 for bringing awareness to this sneaky area of abortion. I am available and would love to help in any way! 

BIO:  Jennifer Frey is a wife, mother of four, photographer and pro-life blogger for Save The 1.

Monday, February 13, 2017

After the Rape, Choosing Life Fixed Everything, by Paula Love

New Year's Eve 1991, I was invited to go bowling with a small group of people
who I hadn’t known for very long and didn’t know very well at all.  We bowled and we drank, but I don’t remember much more.  I don’t remember leaving the bowling alley, but I remember seeing headlights on our way somewhere.  

I have no idea how I got into a hotel room.  I only remember opening my eyes and knowing that someone was on top of me.  It took me a minute to comprehend what was happening.  I felt dazed.  Once I realized the situation I was in, my mind was screaming for me to push him off, but my body wouldn’t do what I wanted it to.  I had no strength.  None.  I was dead weight.  I am certain I was drugged.  I looked at my hands laying by my sides and kept saying to myself, “Lift your hands; push him off!!”  I stared at my hands waiting for them to do what I was telling them to, but they never did and I passed back out.

After waking up naked, confused, cold and terrified, I found my way home.  I didn’t leave my house much.  That went on for weeks.  I didn’t tell anyone what happened.  I felt depressed and dirty, and I wasn’t getting out of bed very often.  Then, about the time I was beginning to come out of the “fog” of the incident, I began getting sick -- every morning.

I looked in the phone book and found a place that specializes in “crisis pregnancies.”  I called and made an appointment.  February 14, 1991 -- Valentine’s Day.  I pee'd in a cup and waited for the results that I already knew the answer to.  The lady came to the waiting area and took me back into a room to give me my results where several counselors were waiting.  They told me I was pregnant and had a video for me to watch.  I watched.  I watched the life cycle of the baby in my tummy.  I learned about the heart developing.  This baby already has a heartbeat.  As I left the building, that’s what I couldn’t get out of my head:  a heartbeat.

I drove away from there a very scared 18 year old and felt I had to tell someone.  I chose my sister.  When I arrived, she looked so beautiful in a red formal dress, busy blowing up balloons, preparing for her engagement party to her future husband.  It was just me and her in the room.  “I’m pregnant.”  I wasn’t feeling the excitement, but she had enough for both of us and it gave me hope.  She could feel my despair, but never wavered.  

One by one, I told those close to me about the "incident" and about the pregnancy.  I was blessed to have such a loving and supportive family.  We’ve always been very close.  I’m grateful I was surrounded by their love.  It would carry me through the next eight months of pregnancy, and far beyond.

As I was going to sleep one night, I began praying to God.  My Dad was a minister.  My parents were missionaries when I was much younger and I had been raised in church my entire life.  As I lay there, I told God my hurt and my fear.  I told him that I choose life for this baby and we’re in His hands. 

I opened my eyes the next morning and took a minute staring at the ceiling.  During the night I had a vivid dream.  I dreamt that I had a healthy, red-headed, beautiful baby girl.  I thought to myself, “red-headed?”

On October 12, 1991, the contractions began.  I called my brother who wasn’t very far away.  After placing trash bags on all the seats, he let me in the car.  Away we went.  My mom soon arrived at the hospital with us.  Now it was just me and her, and the Doctor in the room, and things were getting real.  

Twelve hours had past and finally Kayla Ann was here.  My mom held her briefly, counted her fingers and toes and then handed me my healthy, red-headed, beautiful baby girl -- just like in my dream, only better.

“Before I formed you in your mother’s womb, I knew you.” Jeremiah 1:5

Kayla Ann got married a few years ago.  She asked me to walk her down the

aisle.  As we walked together, my mind was like a movie reel of memories.  I captured those memories in a poem for her:

It’s a girl, I heard them say and the journey began that autumn day.

God decided that it’s you and me, by each other’s side we will always be.

One years old! You’re walking! Starting school, you won’t stop talking…

Caught another fish, made a dandelion wish. Honor rolls, field trips, laughter and tears,

Sweet sixteen… you’re grown….. I’d do it all over again.

Gorgeous eyes and confidence, you’ve persuaded hard hearts to buy into this.

My bond with you, nothing compares, they have no idea, they’ve never been there.

Don’t walk, Stomp your own path! Do your thing and never look back.

My heart explodes with gratitude that I was given this gift to be paired with you.

You are love, you are laughter, you are my Happy Ever After. 

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.
I will comfort them. I will give them joy in place of their sorrow.” Jeremiah 31:13

BIO: Paula Love is the happy mother of two and a very proud “Mimi” to two
incredible grandsons.  In the quiet mountains of Montana she spends her time with her family, tending her garden and gathering chicken eggs! She left the big city life 16 years ago and never plans to go back.  Paula is also a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.

It Looked Like Such a Bleak Situation, But I Had a Reason For Being by Kerry Ann Beckley from the U.K.

I was conceived in 1974, in a little town called Newbury, in England. Abortion became legal in the UK in 1967, but it wasn't as acceptable or as accessible as it is now.

When my mum fell pregnant with me, she already had four other children to look after, and she was married to my dad who had schizophrenia. He was extremely physically and mentally abusive to her, beating her often -- once was with a chain.

They were struggling financially and my mum really didn't want to bring me into the world, so she tried to force herself to miscarry with a hot bath and alcohol, but obviously it didn't work.

I am quite sure that if abortion had been as accessible then as it is now, I wouldn't be here to share this story.

My mum is the one who confessed to me that she had tried to abort me. I don't know why she told me -- I never thought to ask because I knew she loved me and she did her best by us. Of course, she made mistakes -- some huge ones, but growing up, I saw my mom as a strong woman who found herself in a difficult situation.

My dad took his own life when I was 18 months old. Then my mum had a partner after him who was a horrible bully to us, but she loved him. They split when I was 8 years old and I was overjoyed. My mum and I had a great relationship.

I did struggle with issues of self worth, but I think that was more to do with feeling abandoned by my dad, which is crazy I know. I found my faith when my mum died. I was a single parent myself with an eight month old baby. My mum was my rock, my foundation, my breath. I was heartbroken.

I had dabbled with party drugs before that, but then I met a guy a few months
Kerry Ann Beckley, 2nd from the right
after I lost my mum, and I was doing all kinds of drugs at that point. My life felt like fun, but I was an emotional mess. My friend invited me to church one day and I liked it. I didn't feel judged by anyone there. I love to sing, so I always enjoyed the music worship -- I still do! I went on to take an Alpha course -- learning the basics of who Christ is -- and I found my faith. At first, I wanted to ensure my ticket to Heaven so I would see my mum again, but then finding out what Jesus had done for me and that he would mend my brokenness, was just so attractive!

My relationship with Christ has taught me that I have value and purpose, because He laid down His life for me, so that I could be all that He wants me to be. I mess up daily, but I know that His grace is sufficient and His mercies are new each morning! My start looked incredibly bleak and who in this day and age would try to convince a woman in that situation to keep her child? My friend put it like this: my mum's pregnancy (me) wasn't the problem -- my mum's situation was. She needed to get all of us away from my dad. She should have been safe, she should have had someone to turn to, to help her relocate, and my dad really should have gone to prison or been committed. She thought she had no way out, but that should never be the case!

A baby is never the problem. A baby is a blessing. The circumstances and situation may be a huge problem, but they can be changed. I just really want people to understand that a bad start doesn't mean a bad end.

I am a wife, a mother, a foster parent, a volunteer for a homeless charity, a friend, a sister and a voice for the unborn. I am living out God's purpose for my life. It looked like such a bleak situation, but I had a reason for being -- as every child who is conceived does!

My husband is as passionate about defending the rights of the unborn as I am. I knew Paul when I was a teenager, and I had a crush on him then. We reconnected through Facebook and got married in 2013. We have so much respect for each other, so that even when we at times drive each other crazy, we are such good friends and we always have each other's backs.

Especially given my own beginnings, I am passionate about the unborn having a right to life! Just by defending the unborn, many think I'm being judgmental to those who have had abortions, but I'm really not. I hate abortion -- but just as I still loved my mum who had attempted to abort me, I don't hate people for having one.

BIO: Kerry Ann Beckley is a wife and mother, residing in Reading, England. She is a foster care giver, a worship singer at her church, and a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Abortion Was More Damaging Than the Rape, by Nona Ellington

My father was an evangelist, traveling and ministering where ever he was called.
 My mother was a devout Southern Baptist and my father was a full-gospel, spirit-filled Christian.  I was torn between two churches.  They were both very godly people but had different outlooks on the Bible because of their denominations.

I received Jesus as my Savior and was baptized at age 12 in the Baptist Church, but I did not understand the importance of daily prayer, and reading the Word of God.  

At the age of 13, I was raped by a 15 year old extended family member, stealing my virginity.  I was scared, having not received any sexual education at all.  I thought immediately that I would be pregnant.  I was afraid to tell anyone because this was a family member. Because he had given me marijuana beforehand, I felt ashamed that I had not seen it coming.

As a result, I turned to drugs, alcohol and sought attention from older men.  Within a year, I was raped by a cousin who was 10 years older than me  -- once again, after being given marijuana.  He drove me into the woods and raped me in his truck.  

At that point, I felt like there was a big sign on me, "Rape this girl."  After that, I went into a really dark place, again, feeling so much shame.  I didn't want the devastation in the family if I told anyone because I knew he would go to jail, and I didn't even know if anyone would believe my story.

I became distant with my parents.  I was involved in church, going church with my Mom, but found the worst crowd to hang out with there -- those who would smoke pot in the parking lot.  I was even in a private Christian school, but got kicked out at age 14 because of my activities.

In 10th grade, I started a public school and soon after met a boy who I began dating.  He took me to his cousin's house after school because no adults were home.  We smoked pot that must have been laced with something else, then he locked me in his cousin's room and raped me.  

He left me in the room where I was devastated, and I could hear him and his cousin laughing about it.  I felt like I just wanted to get out of there and get home, but I didn't even know where I was so I was still dependent upon the guy who raped me to be able to get a ride home. 

After few weeks later, I'd missed my period.  I called an older sister to tell her my predicament, and my sister began to tell me I needed to have an abortion.  At 15, I didn't even know what an abortion was.  My mother overheard our conversation, burst into the room and grabbed the phone from me.  During their conversation, my sister convinced my mom that I needed to abort. I have no idea how she achieved this, because my mom had 9 children and was, as I said, very devout. 

I was scared, so I made a "deal" with God:  "Please help me to not be pregnant.  If I'm not pregnant, I promise not to ever have sex out of marriage again."

That same sister took me to Planned Parenthood in Houston for a pregnancy test, where they confirmed my pregnancy, and I was in shock.  They told me that at this stage of only five weeks, "it" was only a blob of tissue. They also suggested that I needed an abortion, since I was so young and still in school. I didn't know what questions to ask as far as other options.  All that was discussed was abortion, and they referred me to another clinic to have one. 

I was devastated.  At school, I told all of my girlfriends and every single one recommended I get an abortion.  Everybody told me that it was really "no big deal, people do it all the time, especially since you're still in school."  Not one person suggested that I could keep the baby or choose adoption.  I felt abortion was my only choice, and completely lacked any education on pregnancy.
I was covered with shame and guilt, even before the abortion took place. 

When I told the guy who raped me that I was pregnant and needed money for an abortion, he denied that he was the father, which deepened my shame.  However, under pressure from my sister, he decided to tell everyone in school so he could gather money to pay for the abortion, and handed my sister a wad of 1's and 5's.

Around October, 1983, my Mom and sister took me to the abortion facility.  My Dad was never told until more than 20 years later.  My Mom, like me, knew absolutely nothing of what an abortion actually did to a baby or the woman, but she knew enough to hide it from my Dad.

The first thing I remember is that my mother was appalled, having noticed that there were women in the waiting room who were far along in their pregnancies, and she said to me, "What are all of these women doing in here?  They look like they are about to deliver."

My sister handled the paperwork, but my Mom and sister were not allowed into the counseling room.  The older woman there advised me that because I was so young and so small, I might not be able to have children later in life.  But marriage and children were the furthest thing from my mind in the moment and I was not afforded the benefit of having my mother there for me to help me make an informed decision.

In hindsight, I believe this was the first open door God gave me to not go through with it.  I really believe that, had my mom been in the room with me, we would have left.

The next thing I remember is being on the hard, cold abortion table.  I was never introduced to the doctor.  I just remember that he was a man.  As the nurse was prepping me, I could hear my mother's voice at the door, asking, "Is my daughter in there?", then her being told, "Ma'am, you cannot come in here."  We never discussed it since, but I believe my Mom was wanting to get me out of there -- the second open door.

I was told to focus on a baby mobile hanging from the ceiling.  Now that I look back on it, I see how sadistic that was.  

I could hear and feel everything that was happening to me.  I'd never been to a gynecologist before, and I felt like my entire insides were being ripped out of me.  I've heard it said that abortion is like rape, and it's true, but worse than rape because of the devastating level of violence involved.  The violence and pain of the abortion are more extreme in my memory than the violence and pain of the rapes.

I was bleeding profusely when I left.  My Mom and sister took me to a restaurant, but I passed out on my plate because I was so physically and emotionally exhausted.  After that, the subject of abortion was taboo with them.

Emotionally, I spiraled into a very destructive behavior of drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sex almost immediately following the abortion. I was completely spiritually void, rebelling against my Christian upbringing.  I also became emotionally numb, with not much regard for living at all.  

As I was going through the motions, trying to fill this huge void within me, I attached myself to an abusive relationship less than a year after the abortion, and I eventually married him at age 19.

The abortion did in fact ruin all chances of having children.  I suffered 5 miscarriages during my marriage of 18 years, which resulted in divorce. Three of these miscarriages were tubal pregnancies, requiring emergency surgery and very near-death experiences.  I so wanted an "atonement" baby to make up for the one I killed. 

At the age of 32, having suffered low self-esteem from the rapes, the abortion, the shame, the abusive marriage, the loss of my babies, and my infertility, I attempted suicide.  The experience of the abortion did not make the rape experience any better, but drove me into a much darker place, and I realize I'd been suffering from clinical depression all of those years.

God then began drawing me close to Him through listening to Christian music on the radio.  As the Lord was filling me with this influence of His Truth, I gave my heart back to Christ, and the radio became my Church.  I even committed myself to quit smoking.

One day, on my local Christian radio station, they happened to be holding was what was called the world's largest baby shower, benefiting local pregnancy resource centers.  I heard a woman speaking about the centers, and I knew I had to pick up the phone, call her, and make myself available to tell other women never to have an abortion. I realized that God had been working on me to see that so many of my struggles in life were caused by my abortion.

Up to that point, I'd still considered myself to be pro-choice, because I felt like I had been forced into an abortion and wasn't really given a choice.

As I visited the pregnancy resource center in central Houston, the director asked me if I'd ever had an abortion, and breaking my silence, I told her.  In order to volunteer, I was told I had to go through their post-abortion healing study called "Beauty For Ashes."  It sounded so refreshing to hear that something like this existed!

This study saved my life.  My abusive husband didn't want me going.  He didn't want me volunteering at the center.  It was a battle to come back to the Lord, but I received so much healing through this study.  I got to name each of my six babies, and God healed me to be able to minister to other people and change my life.

During this time, I'd also begun attending church with my Dad.  As I said, he was an evangelist, so I was too fearful to ever tell him about the abortion, until almost 20 years later as I was going through this study.  When I told him, he was devastated that he had lost a grandchild.  He said to me, "If I had known I had a grandchild, I would have raised that baby myself."

Abortion was the most selfish decision I ever made in my whole life. It affected everyone in my life and caused devastation to my mind, soul and body.  It caused the loss of my five other babies, my infertility, and I'm also convinced it caused me to get breast cancer at the age of 45 in 2014.  Research has proven that abortion can cause breast cancer -- especially early onset.

There is healing for broken hearts and lives after abortion, through the love and forgiveness of Jesus Christ. His work at the Cross of Calvary removes all shame, bitterness, self hatred and sin, if we only believe and receive Him in our hearts.
I pray that anyone reading this testimony who is considering abortion for their self or someone else would consider seeking help through a pregnancy care center that will share the truth in love about all of your options.  I'm convinced that if anyone had taken me to a pregnancy care center, I would not have had an abortion.

I want everyone to know that abortion doesn't fix rape, and the experience of abortion is more damaging physically and emotionally than the rape itself.  My child had every right to life and I would do anything in my power to have that child in my arms, or to be able to hand that baby to a loving couple.

BIO:  Nona Lynn Ellington is a pro-life speaker and writer, residing in Houston,
Texas.  Her ministry is Eagles Restoration Ministries.   She spoke at the Family Research Council press conference in DC in March, 2016, the day before the Texas HB2 US Supreme Court hearing. Her name and story, along with many others, was on the amicus brief filed with the high court by The Justice Foundation.  Nona is now a blogger for Save The 1 and available for speaking and testifying before legislatures. Watch a video of her sharing her post-abortive from rape testimony 
Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Pregnant by Rape at 15, That Baby Was Mine, by Diana Valeria Contreras from Chile

In the summer of 2008 in the South of Chile, I was raped at the age of 15. Time
passed, and I found out I was pregnant.  I was scared, and I didn’t want to be a mother, so I kept my pregnancy a secret.
I cried a lot and I was broken-hearted because there was another person living inside me and I didn’t have the right to do much more than protect him or her.  I tried to prepare myself mentally to understand what no one ever explains to you.

After three months, I miscarried the baby.  Later that same year, I attempted to take my own life.  Someone ended up bringing me to the hospital where I was finally treated for my depression.  I was suffering because it was horrible that the people who knew about my situation said that my miscarriage was a good thing.  They told me: "At least, you won't see the baby's face."

In the bottom of my heart, I had felt that baby was mine, despite knowing about his or her conception.  While I was pregnant, I had thought about what I would say to people if they asked me who was the child I had with me.  I thought about what I would say to my child if he or she had asked me about the origin of their horrible father, because I cared about my child.

The years passed by, I met a man who I fell in love with, and in 2014, I became pregnant with my second child.  But seven months into the pregnancy, my baby's heart stopped beating.  When I got to the hospital, the doctor told my mother about my first child, and, on top of that, the medical staff treated me rudely because they thought I had been negligent in order to miscarry at seven months.

I felt completely isolated as I gave birth because the medical staff wouldn't let anyone else into the room, and they immediately took my son away as if his life didn't mean anything.  I was left alone as I experienced a let down of colostrum -- the initial breast milk meant for the baby.  Eventually, I was able to see my son, Gabriel, under horrific circumstances -- inside a jar.  

I was deeply scarred, so hurt and unable to cope, that I was fired from my job. And then God began to work on the conversion of my heart, having experienced so much tragedy.

Having been raped at 15, becoming pregnant from such a horrible act, and then spontaneously losing that child -- my child, I felt abandoned by God despite knowing that He, in some form, had protected me when I attempted to take my life.

After I was raped, I had felt so worthless and ended up devaluing myself by allowing myself to be exploited, being prostituted.  I didn't care what happened to me anymore.  My body experienced a tremendous amount of chaos and there were no resources in my home to cope.

I dressed in black and got a tattoo of an enormous dragon on my back because I wanted to document my pain, my anger.  I had just seen the movie Millennium, and I could very much relate to feeling like I was in a strange paradox.  I didn't know how to express my feelings outwardly, so I got the dragon tattooed on my back as a statement.

When my son Gabriel died, I asked God, "Why do you let these types of things happen?" One day, I knelt down and told God, "Give me a reason to understand all this because I need a reason to stay in this world."

One day, a mom came up to me and asked for my help.  Given her situation, her need for assistance, and my opportunity to help her, I suddenly realized that everything -- absolutely everything -- has a purpose.  That's when I finally handed God my pain.

I started going to church and reading the Bible.  A group of Christian students helped me a lot.  I knew there were a lot of people who had suffered the way I had, and I didn't want them to feel worthless.  I left behind my black clothes and the meaning behind my tattooed dragon.  I told God, "You can't give me back my children, my virginity or the youth that I lost, but you can tell me how to help others."

I started by forgiving.  I forgave myself for despising myself.  After that, I did the difficult task of forgiving all the people who had hurt me:  the doctors, the nurses, and my rapist.  However, with forgiveness, I reached peace.

Today, I use that pain which is nostalgic, to fuel my passion to help others.  If I'm standing up today, it is thanks to God's mercy.  I learned that even the saddest things in this world have a purpose.  God is capable of taking your biggest hurt, your broken heart and returning to you the will to live.  He rewards you for every trial He allows you to go through.

Presently, I'm single and fighting for the lives of the unborn in memory of my children, in memory of my own pain, because what we need the most is support to keep going forward without having to kill anybody.

BIO: Diana Valeria Contreras is is the president of Foundacion Angel de Luz
(Angel of Life Foundation), an association which supports and defends the identities and lives of unborn children who have died.  She is also a pro-life blogger for Save The 1, with her story having been originally written in Spanish for our blog Salvar El 1, and translated by our Spanish-speaking editors.
Friday, February 3, 2017

Though Conceived in Adultery, I Am Not an Accident, by Lori Sealy

I’m adopted and several years ago I was privileged to learn some of my back story from my birthmom.  I came crashing onto the scene under less than stellar circumstances.  My biological mom was a musician who ended up in an adulterous affair with a married man – a married man who had 6 children.

They had no plans for her to get pregnant – but she got pregnant, and they got scared!  They felt the best decision for everyone was to have an abortion.  To them, terminating a pregnancy seemed better than terminating a marriage, and stopping the heart of an unknown, unborn child seemed better than breaking the hearts of 6 well known, well-loved children.

Together, they drove to an abortion clinic.  They walked in, signed the register, sat down, and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited.  They waited for almost an hour  -- but nothing happened.

You see, a clerical error caused my birthmom’s name to be skipped, while another’s name was called, and someone else’s life was ended. 

That secretary’s mistake is one piece of the amazing providential puzzle that perfectly came together and helped ensure that I would eventually continue on to exist outside my mother’s womb.  Another piece of that providence is that, as my birthmom waited, the memory of a children’s Sunday School class from over two decades earlier made its way to her mind.  It was a lesson on the Ten Commandments – a lesson she “just happened” to sit in on one Sunday while visiting an out of town aunt who “just happened” to take her to church -- a thing her family rarely did.

As she sat on a cold metal chair in that dark and dingy waiting room, the words “thou shalt not kill” rolled across her conscience like thunder and she became convinced that what she was about to do was murder.  She turned to my biological dad and told him that as trying and traumatic as it may be, she couldn’t go through with the abortion but would find a way to carry me to term.

They walked in that clinic together.  She walked out alone. 

She spent the next seven months alone – hiding out in a one-room hunting cabin deep in the woods of Sumter, South Carolina.  She isolated herself from everyone in order to try to avoid the shame of her circumstances, all the while being determined to give life to the fruit of her circumstances. 

That’s what she did, and her selfless sacrifice is why I’m here.

She did not choose to continue down the path of personal convenience, but radically reversed her course and set out on the rocky road of conviction – conviction that the little one in her womb shouldn’t die because of her act of adultery.

When I pause to really ruminate on my story – the circumstances through which I was conceived;  my narrow escape from the abortionist’s office;  the other little boy or girl who died that day;  the marriage that was rocked and wrecked by my birth;  the siblings who suffered because of their dad’s infidelity;  the fear my birthmom faced as she sat contemplating life and death in that little cabin; and the long-term consequences the commitment to carry me personally cost her – when I think on these things, it absolutely blows my mind.  And it cost her a lot -- many of her dreams died, but she willingly buried hers in order to give life to mine.

Why am I here? . . . .  And should I even be?

I could look at my life and think, “I’m just an accident.  I shouldn’t exist.  I’m nothing more than a mistake.” 

In those moments when doubt and guilt may rise up in me over the dark details
of my conception story; when I begin to feel the weight of the burden my birth placed upon the backs of others;  it is then that I pause to take my thoughts captive to God’s revealed truth about why I am here.  I am here by Divine design -- even if it seems that I was created in chaos. 

God’s Word tells me that I’m not an accident, but that I am here – regardless of the circumstances that got me here – because God wanted me here.  It tells me that in spite of the sexual sin of my biological parents, God sovereignly “formed my inward parts and knit me together in my mother’s womb.”  It tells me that I am “fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Several years ago, I received a note from my birthmom – the woman who sacrificed so much for me.  She wrote to tell me of her own confidence that I am not alive by accident, but that I exist by sovereignly secured appointment.  She wrote assuring me that, in spite of her own suffering, she wouldn’t change a thing. 

She wrote:  “Lori, God made you on purpose.  You’re not an accident or an afterthought, you’re not on earth ‘just because,’ nor are you simply some random act of God’s creativity. You were planned by the Creator of the universe, even if unplanned by me. You were given God’s 100% stamp of approval from head to toe before you were born – and the moment you were born He beamed with joy.  I did too!”

Friends, I don’t know your story, but what I do know is that no matter where you find yourself today – facing an unplanned pregnancy;  working through the aftershocks of an abortion;  trying to decipher the details of a birth that flowed out of adultery, or rape, or some other awful scenario – all life has worth and meaning from womb to tomb. 

Just as I am not an accident, neither are you -- nor is the little life that may be forming inside you.  No matter what your story looks like in this moment, I want you to know that there is a Redeemer in this moment.  There is a good God and a sufficient Savior who takes bad things and makes them beautiful; who takes the most horrific messes and makes them marvelous; who takes the saddest stories and creates the sweetest songs.

He has done that for me and for my birthmom, and my prayer is that through me sharing my story, you might catch a glimpse of the hope and help that can be found in Him! 

BIO:  Lori Sealy resides in North Carolina with her husband and their two
children.  She's a pianist, guitarist, singer, songwriter, speaker, worship leader, and now pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She not only shares her pro-life story, but her story of autism and raising a son who also has autism, as well as her faith testimony, from athiest to Christian.  Her website is  Watch her pro-life speech at a pregnancy resource center fundraiser here, including the song she wrote of her birthmom's story.  And here is an extended version of her adoption story.
Thursday, February 2, 2017

Hope Has Become a Liability Risk in Cases of Poor Prenatal Diagnoses, by Andrew T. Bodoh, Esq.

As a lawyer, I appreciate the legal quandary doctors face when they discover an unborn child with a significant health issue. As a father who has experienced a poor prenatal diagnosis for a child, I sympathize with both the parents and with their children.

I am a plaintiff’s litigation attorney in Virginia. In short, I sue people for a living on behalf of clients. In my practice, I have learned that a person does not have to do anything wrong to be sued. After all, our society (for better or for worse) uses lawsuits to resolve conflicts between people, and we all know you do not have to do something wrong to find yourself in conflict with another person.

Because you don’t have to do something wrong to be sued, doing everything right is not always enough to save you from a lawsuit. In high-risk situations, you have to do more. After all, we all want to avoid being sued, even if we win in the end.

If a person really wants to avoid being sued, there are four things he or she should do. First, avoid situations where someone can later ask “Why didn’t you?” Second, avoid conduct where there will be big, provable damages. Third, if there is a risk of harm, confuse the source of the harm. Fourth, get consent for what you do.

In medicine, using these and similar methods is called “practicing defensive medicine.” In ordinary cases, it may mean the doctor performs a test or a procedure which carries with it an economic or emotional cost, even if there is a disproportionately small risk that process will have a health benefit. In this way, they can avoid a lawsuit which essentially asks the question, “Why didn’t you?”

Unfortunately, when a doctor sees a significant problem in an unborn child, the best means of avoiding liability is to recommend abortion.

First, the doctor has to discuss abortion with the expectant mother. In the U.S., abortion is typically a legal medical option for the mother through much of the pregnancy where there is a poor medical diagnosis for the child (at least up to a point), and the mother generally has the final say on this matter. Moreover, most of the medical profession considers abortion to be a relatively safe medical procedure for the woman to undergo. Failing to discuss abortion raises the question “Why didn’t you?” if a complaint is filed with the medical licensing board. In approximately half the states, doctors can be sued for failing to recommend an abortion.

Second, if a child is born with a serious medical condition, it is not difficult to prove the costs of caring for the child. On the other hand, if the child is not born, there are generally no big provable damages.

Third, if there is physical or emotional harm from the abortion, the proximate cause of that harm is difficult to pin on the doctor recommending the abortion. If there is harm from not having abortion, the treating physician can be blamed.

Finally, a mother’s consent to the abortion becomes a large obstacle to legal liability. If you consent to a legal procedure, it is much more difficult to sue.

As a result, doctors have an incentive to recommend abortion when they discover a serious prenatal abnormality. 

So how does this play out in practice? Building from my own experience, at the end of a long, exhausting, and stressful day of tests, the parents are called into a small room where their hopes for this child's future are torn down with a technical explanation of the child’s condition, and often with a very bleak prediction of what is to come. To say the family, and especially the expectant mother, are emotionally vulnerable is like saying Mount Everest is a bump on the map. The word “abortion” will probably never come up. 

In my case, they actually used my daughter’s name as they talked about terminating the
pregnancy, in words so gentle my wife did not immediately realize they were recommending abortion.

My daughter Elizabeth was diagnosed with bilateral schizencephaly when my wife Joyce was 22 weeks pregnant. Basically, Elizabeth was missing a large portion of her brain. We were advised that she would likely need lifelong care in a medical institution, if she survived long enough to leave the hospital. We were devastated, but abortion was out of the question for us. Later, my wife and I reviewed the available medical literature. We formed our own opinion that, while the data was not favorable, it did not support the doctors’ dire prognosis.

In our journey since that day, we have met remarkable people both inside and outside the medical profession. We met a doctor who opened his heart about his own daughter who he lost after birth in similar circumstances. We met the wonderful nurse who has made it her career to care for families with a little one who will not leave the delivery room or NICU.

By the grace of God, and with the help of some wonderful medical professionals, Elizabeth was born five weeks early. A month later, she received a VP shunt. She has low vision, serious developmental delays, ongoing seizures -- and a smile that lights up the world.

I do not know what life will hold for Elizabeth. I know she has taught me more about love than some people learn in a lifetime. I hope for the best.

In our society, hope can be a liability risk. As a result, vulnerable parents are ushered into a
life-ending decision with kind words, sympathy, and a gloomy prognosis for their child. Abortion is made to seem the kind option when the parents do not know what they are losing -- the opportunity to love a special child.

(Photo right - Andrew holding daughter Elizabeth, and wife Joyce holding their second daughter.)

BIO:  Andrew Bodoh resides in Virginia with his wife Joyce and two daughters, where he is a
litigation attorney and the senior associate for Thomas H. Roberts & Associates, P.C. in Richmond.  Andrew served as President of Lex Vitae (pro-life club) at Ave Maria School of Law in Naples, FL, where he earned his J.D. in 2010.  He's now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  Listen to Andrew Bodoh's guest lecturer speech at his Alma Mater, Christendom College from 2011 on Understanding the Culture of Life (Item 16, via iTunes.)