Category Archives: women

Happy Ending for Selfless Mom and Baby Delivered at 28 Weeks

by Marissa Poisson

From an article on a young woman who had a rare tumour growing inside her heart while pregnant:

“I decided I would have him before doing anything with me,” she said. “I wanted him to have a chance to survive before me. There was no way I would be able to do the surgery while being pregnant knowing there was a chance he would die from it.”

Not everyone felt the same way. Some family friends, a nurse in Thunder Bay, even her mother for one brief moment, thought Stout should put herself first. They intimated that Stout could always have another baby if she were healthy.

“They weren’t saying it meanly,” said Stout. “They were saying that I hadn’t met the baby yet, that I wasn’t attached. But even when I was pregnant, Bentley was my whole world. I would never choose myself over him.”

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Coldhearted Calculus

by Marissa Poisson

One week ago, two major American newspapers published two very different stories. The Two-Minus-One Pregnancy examines the phenomenon of parents who select to “reduce” twins to singletons for mainly lifestyle considerations while How a D.C. area family with 11 children, ages 12 through 1, makes it work describes just that. The former features “Jenny” and her husband, who are “choosing to extinguish one of two healthy fetuses, almost as if having half an abortion,” though you can no more have half an abortion than you can be a little bit pregnant. (“Coin-toss abortion” is a more apt description, unless of course the parents are choosing one child over another based on their sex.) In the latter, we read about Jen and Larry Kilmer, who have welcomed their children one after another with open arms.

In reading one article after the other, I was struck by how it all came down to a matter of perspective. The parents electing to have a shot of potassium chloride injected into one or more of their healthy babies’ hearts in the article are financially stable, married and often did everything they could to become pregnant in the first place, but they want precisely one child to be born. Still, on one level they know what they are doing is wrong. “This is bad, but it’s not anywhere as bad as neglecting your child or not giving everything you can to the children you have,” says Jenny. But what does it mean to give everything you can to your children? “I feel very strongly that the best gift you can give a child is a sibling,” says Jen.

The first article states, “Whatever the particulars, these patients concluded that they lacked the resources to deal with the chaos, stereophonic screaming and exhaustion of raising twins.” Jen, on the other hand, says, “People are always asking, ‘How do you have time for yourself?’ But when you realize there’s more to life than yourself. . . I think time to yourself is overrated.” Even the author of the “reduction” piece, referring to her own situation, says, “There’s no doubt that life with twins and a third child so close in age has often felt all-consuming and out of control. And yet the thought of not having any one of them is unbearable now, because they are no longer shadowy fetuses but full-fledged human beings whom I love in a huge and aching way.” The crux of it is not the specific number of children in a family but rather that those “shadowy fetuses” are already fully human; they are the same individuals who elicit that huge and aching love.

Now that Jenny has subtracted one of her twins, she will be able to set aside twice as much money for the child who emerges from her womb alive, and it’s true that the Kilmers don’t have college funds for their children. But I have no doubt as to which family is richer. As Mother Theresa said, “It is a poverty to decide that a child must die so that you may live as you wish.”

More articles on “selective reductions” here, here, here and here. To read them is to weep.

*New, heartbreaking article by a father who recently lost two of his triplets: The New Scar on My Soul

Half Body, Whole Life

by Dante De Luca

Today’s story is about a woman named Rose Siggins; I am sure many of you are familiar with her story. Siggins was born with a medical condition called sacral agenesis, which means that she is missing the lower part of her spinal column. Her useless legs were amputated when she was a child in order to increase her mobility. Despite all this, she has lived a full and fairly normal life. She appeared in the 2005 documentary The Woman with Half a Body by the British Channel 5 in their series Extraordinary People and in the documentary Born Different: Unbelievable Medical Conditions on E! Entertainment Television in 2010.

What is all this doing on our pro-life blog, you ask? Well, not only is Siggins remarkable for the many obstacles she’s overcome due to her medical condition, but she is also a shining example of a woman who chose life despite overwhelming circumstances:

 “Two years into their relationship, Rose discovered that she was pregnant. Rose’s pregnancy was extraordinary and ground-breaking, no-one with Sacral Agenesis had ever given birth. The only doctor who didn’t advise Rose to have an abortion was Dr. Wilson who says “This couple have committed themselves to a pregnancy and she is, basically, laying her life on the line because nobody knows what this means, no-one has lived this experience before. With the first counselling with Rose and David I was very specific and told them that they have to know that if they move forward with this that she could die.” The main concerns were with her lungs being compressed, as the baby was likely to grow up the way because of her short stature. The other concern was how she would tolerate a caesarean delivery, because the baby was lying transversely she would have to be opened across the top, a true 19th century caesarean delivery. Rose told her mum that if there were any complications and there was a choice between her life and the baby’s, she should choose the baby.”

For the rest of her story, I present you with this article: part one and part two. You can also watch what I think is the Channel 5 documentary The Woman with Half a Body here.

Coverage of the March for Life!

by Marissa Poisson

Thanks to all those who came to the 2011 March for Life! It was great to be surrounded by such a huge number of pro-lifers. The above video is worth watching whether you were able to participate or not. I especially like the message at the 5:23 mark. The child in the womb is human, women are strong enough to have their babies, and support is available. (See resources in Ottawa on the right.) The March for Life is an annual event, but that is something that bears repeating every day of the year.

“It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it.”

by Marissa Poisson

Over the weekend, I read an article that describes the writer’s experience in a Chinese village during and shortly after the birth of a baby girl. I found the whole article very moving and the following passage especially striking:

“Doing [killing] a baby girl is not a big thing around here. You city folk are shocked the first time you see it, right?” the older woman said comfortingly, obviously seeing how shocked I was.

“That’s a living child!” I said in a shaking voice, pointing at the slops pail. I was still so shocked, I didn’t dare to move.

“It’s not a child,” she corrected me.

“What do you mean, it’s not a child? I saw it.” I could scarcely believe that she could tell me such a blatant lie!

“It’s not a child. If it was, we’d be looking after it, wouldn’t we?” she interrupted. “It’s a girl baby, and we can’t keep it.”

“A girl baby isn’t a child, and you can’t keep it?” I repeated uncomprehendingly.

Try substituting the word “preborn” for “girl” in the above, and I think you’ll find it applies quite handily to the West. After all, killing a preborn baby cannot be a big thing around here, given the rate at which it’s done. Those unaccustomed to the practice may instinctively find it revolting, but those who have embraced modern cultural values can assure us that it’s perfectly normal. It may seem self-evident that the preborn are living children, but they must not be since we’re not looking after them.

In some cultures, girl babies don’t count if their families wanted a boy and are routinely disposed of. Here, both boy and girl preborn babies don’t count if they are deemed unwanted and are routinely disposed of. Is that the difference between the developing and developed world? Does killing earlier and without discriminating between the sexes make us any more civilized?

International Women’s Day

by Theresa Stephenson

Today is International Women’s Day – a day to celebrate the economic, political and social achievements of women. While there have been many significant achievements for women in the past century, I cannot help but view this day with unease. Of course I’m happy to have the right to vote, access to education and gender equality in the workplace. But what about that one “achievement” for women that’s named “reproductive rights”? What has abortion really done for women?

As Patricia Heaton, the Honourary Chair of Feminists for Life said, “Indeed the tragedy of abortion haunts women from all walks of life. Abortion advocates are spending millions to package their tired rhetoric and half-truths in cutting-edge advertising campaigns targeted to young women.” Women are not liberated by abortion, they are degraded. They are hurt. They are emotionally scarred. They are sold a lie.

In Canada, there are no restrictions whatsoever on abortion. Women are able to have their babies aborted at any time during pregnancy and for any reason. In 2007, for every 100 babies born in Ontario, 37 were aborted.

So today, let’s think about all those little babies, half of them girls, who are being killed in hospitals and clinics under the banner of “women’s rights.” Let’s think about the women who have been hurt by abortion. Let’s remember that abortion is a step backwards for all women.

The Pain of Abortion

by Kate Larson

If, like me, you were unable to attend the Silent No More event on Feb. 2, I direct you to their website where you can listen to or read stories from women who have regretted their abortions and found healing. The stories are short, but there is a lot of pain in them, pain in the circumstances leading up to the abortions, pain in the procedures themselves, pain in the fear, self-loathing, depression and other negative emotions many women experienced before, during and after the abortions, pain in their regret at the decision, and pain in the healing process. The stories, however, end hopefully. While the regret at choosing abortion does not go away and has led these women to speak out, the stories describe finding forgiveness both from others and from themselves, and experiencing a sense of being set free from the past.

The latter cannot be said of the comparatively few testimonies I have come across from women who apparently do not regret their abortions. They may genuinely feel this way, or genuinely believe they feel this way. They are entitled to their opinion. What strikes me about these stories, however, is how much more negative they are than the stories of regret, despite being considered “positive” experiences of abortion. I don’t just mean negative in the obvious sense of considering that there is nothing regrettable in ending a human life. I mean negative in the sense that they detail all the pain of the stories of regret without the redemption.

Many of the “no regrets” stories describe women being in the same situations and experiencing the same fear, anger, shame, and pressure upon discovering they were pregnant as they do in the stories of regret. Both types of stories describe women having similar reactions during and after their abortions, such as crying, hatred of themselves and those around them, initial relief, and emptiness. The main difference is in how most of the stories conclude. The stories on the Silent No More website end with the admission that, though the hurt caused by abortion never goes away, healing is possible. Many of the so-called “positive” stories of abortion conclude that the author has no regrets because she considers herself undeserving or unfit to be a parent, because she has made and sees herself continuing to make bad decisions, or simply because she did not know of, or wish to know of, any other option at the time. Far from proving that the negative consequences of abortion are either non-existent or inconsequential, the “no regrets” stories show women in pain and as in need of healing as the women of Silent No More. The real difference is that the women of Silent No More have found healing and want to help others begin that long process.