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. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

What 40 Years of Roe v Wade & Doe v Bolton Has Affected My Life

Today marks 1 of the saddest days in the history of the USA, a day of even greater infamy than the attack on Pearl Harbor that drug the US into WW II. Roe v Wade & Doe v Bolton changed this country. & not for the better.
As a part of their trying to make abortion seem acceptable, NARAL has asked those participating in their annual Blog for Choice to explain why they are pro-choice. (More about it & how to respond here.) So since they are calling on abortion supporters to tell their story, I felt it only right tht I share my journey as a Pro-lifer. I use the word journey intentionally because that is exactly what it has been as you will see.
I have to admit that the ruling was NOT on my radar that day 40 years ago. I was a 17 year old High School Senior. The upcoming retreat weekend I was to make at Gilbertville Don Bosco HS was at the top of the list, along with all the usual things that concern a HS Senior.
It wasn't until my college days that I even began to think about it. I remember one of the 1st times a few of us discussed it. I was a sophomore @ Loras. The Catholic Church's teaching didn't come up. Also, I will admit that I really didn't understand what abortion did to the unborn child.
But over the next few months I began to look at what the Church taught &, even though I didn't fully understand why, I knew what the Church was saying was right.
So, fast forward to my junior year & the 1976 Dubuque County Democratic Convention. I went as a Carter delegate because he was the only candidate claiming to be Pro-life. I learned later how sincere that claim really was. At the time I was going on what I knew, so I have no regrets for what I did.
The proposed platform didn't contain anything about protecting the right to life of the unborn. So, Joe Hart, a fellow Loras student, & I went arround to get the signatures needed to bring it up.
This is where I ran into my 1st experience of "I'm personally opposed but I can't impose my morality on others," cop out. The person was a local Franciscan, Sr. Dorothy Hennessey OSF. Yes, the same Franciscans that have Pat Farrell, the recent head of the dissident LCWR, as a member. The problems do go that far back.
Needless to say I was shocked. At the time, I didn't know much about her, but as the years wore on she became a prime example of the hypocrisy of those liberal Catholycs who make the same claim.  I say that because she would show up in DBQ & elsewhere waving a sign saying "War is immoral" & calling for an end to war. So, it was OK for her to impose her morality when it came to war by saying it is never moral & never should be allowed. But it was wrong for her to speak out about the immorality of abortion, something that has killed more Americans  in one year than every war the US has participated in since 1775. (Details  of war death numbers here) Sadly, I never got the chance to talk to her about her double standard before she died.
By 1980 I knew I couldn't support Carter, so I voted for Reagan. I have never voted for a Democratic president since. As time went on I eventually left the Democratic party because, as a Pro-lifer, I wasn't very welcome. Yes, it was hard since I grew up active in Democratic politics. But I knew I had to move as I could have some effect there. This is also why I am not wedded to the Republican party either. What I believe in guides my politics, not politics guiding my beliefs.
Back in the 80s the nearest abortion clinics in Iowa were those in Iowa City. Because of my work schedule I couldn't go with those going to protest at Emma Goldman in CR a lot. But I occasionally did.
During the 80s I continued to grow in my faith & the conviction that abortion was wrong. During this time, science took a leap forward so we could see what actually happened from fertilization/conception to the birth of the child. Add to that Dr. Bernard Nathanson's ultrasound video showing what actually happened during an abortion showed me why what the Church taught was right. (As an aside, Dr. Nathanson started NARAL but later converted to Pro-life & made the video as a result of that conversion.)
Speaking of ultrasounds, as the importance of them as a tool in saving lives has grown, I have spoken out & supported as I could the efforts to expand the use of them at crisis pregnancy centers. Ditto supporting the places that offer aternatives in general.
In my naivete during those early years, I honestly thought that we would be rid of abortion by the mid to late 80s. All we needed to do was get Pro-lifers elected & that would do it. We see how wrong I was, unfortunately.  I still didn't really understand the type of battle this was. I didn't know there was much more to it that politics.
But about 1989-90, I began to come to an understanding of what was really being the pro-abortion movement.
A bunch of us from DBQ went down to join in a march from Coralville to the Iowa University clinic where they did abortions. As we gathered so did a group of radical abortion supporters. It became clear that they were going to try to stop us, with force if necessary. So they asked the men to come to the front to protect women & children there from harm. What I saw in the eyes of those on the other side was pure evil & rabid hatred. Demonic in nature to be exact.
I didn't grasp the full implications for many years. But the seeds of understanding what was behind what they were doing were planted. In 1993 Pope John Paul 1st started speaking about a "Culture of Life". In his 1995 encyclical, Evangelium Vitae, he developed the idea of what a "Culture of Life" should be like. He also talked about the "culture of death", what it stood for & its relation to sin.
As that teaching sunk in & as I grew in my understanding of the spiritual underpinnings, I eventually grasped what was behind the current "culture of death", it was demonic.
I had a different job in the 90s. But I worked nights & weekends, making it even more difficult to do much other than on the political scene. I did my best to speak up where & when I could.
After the turn of the century some things changed that lead to me being more active in a variety of ways.
1 of those was the start of this blog in December of 2004. It didn't start out to focus as much as it has on abortion. & for a while, I was inactive. But as time went on, I began to focus primarily on the Pro-life issues. The growth of on-line Pro-life news resources as well as the growing use of the Pro-life movement of the internet helped me to turn this into a strong voice defending the life of the unborn.
About the same time, I took a speaker's class at DBQ Co. Right to Life. We had to chose a topic to speak on. At 1st I was looking at the psychological damage done to women by abortion. But something got me thinking, what about the men, how does it effect them. At the time research into this was just beginning. But I was able to find enough to show me this was worth pursuing. Since then there has been much more research giving more proof that it does harm the men, emotionally & psychologically.   We have seen the growth of ministries aimed at helping both men & women get the spiritual & psychological healing they need. Many times I have had been able to call on my knowledge to speak out about this topic. This also became something personal after I met Jason Jones in 2007.all I could, He was promoting the movie Bella that he helped co-produce. He also shared his story about how he lost a child to abortion. I got to know him better when he was working on Sam Brownback's presidential campaign.
Jason has spoken as a part of Silent No More's presentations during the annual March for Life. If you get the chance, listen to his story. It is a powerful reminder that abortion leaves many victims in its wake.
I was also able to get more involved with some of the things sponsored by DBQ Co Right to Life, like attending their Life Dinner. Then came that dark day in 2008 when Planned Parenthood opened a clinic in downtown DBQ. At the time they were open 40 hours & I began to regularly pray & protest in front of it on my day off. As time went on they reduced their hours & changed the days they were open. I have filled in when I can. & last year I helped to run the 40 Days for Life prayer campaign in DBQ.
Over the years I have been sworn at, had my reputation attacked & even suffered vandalism for speaking up. I have forgiven those who have tried to harm me & pray God will do so as well. I realize it is a part of the price God has asked me to pay. So I willingly, if not always happily, pay it.
Well, that is it in a nutshell. Have I always done all I could? No, I haven't. But with God's help I will work to grow in my commitment & willingness to do what I can & must do to build the "Culture of Life", starting with my prayer life.
As I said earlier, I came to realize the demonic underpinnings of the "culture of death". As my understanding of that grew so did my realization that this battle won't be won without prayer & reliance on God to do it.
I also realize that I am but a small part in God's plan to build a "Culture of Life". Small, YES. But that doesn't matter. My responsibility is to do what God wants, great or small. I will never know this side of eternity the effects my efforts have had. All I need to know now is what God expects of me & to do it with the power of the Holy Spirit. I don't know what the cost will be. with the way things are in the USA it may someday mean my freedom, or even my life. That doesn't matter. Until abortion is no longer a part of our culture or I die, whichever comes 1st, I will continue to speak out for the unborn & defend all those who are harmed by abortion. May I bring God's healing, forgiveness & mercy wherever I go & in whatever I say.

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