Tag Archives: love

Rethinking Perfection

A few links for you today featuring parents who accepted an unexpected diagnosis and experienced unforeseen love and joy.

There are two videos with fathers talking about their child who has a disability. This father is a well-liked and respected teacher who he shares his story about his son with his students every year.

If you didn’t see this one last fall about a perfectionist dad who is transformed by his daughter with Down Syndrome, it is absolutely worth watching. As a comment below the video says, it should be required viewing for all parents told they are expecting a child with Down Syndrome.

This week, a story that speaks to the power of ultrasounds was published about a young couple glad to have been able to hold their baby in their arms:

The couple were offered the chance to terminate the baby at 24-weeks.

But despite his poor prognosis, being able to watch her son in real time 3D scans during the screening tests, Miss Rowe said she was astonished to see him smiling, blowing bubbles, kicking and waving his arms.

She said: ‘Despite all the awful things I was being told, while he was inside me his quality of life looked to be wonderful and no different to any other baby’s, he was a joy to watch.

‘I was told he would never walk or talk yet the scans showed him constantly wriggling and moving.

‘As I watched I knew that while I was carrying him he still had a quality of life and it was my duty as a mother to protect that no matter how long he had left, he deserved to live.

Finally, what a great idea! Changing the Face of Beauty promotes using individuals with disabilities in advertising.  The pictures are fantastic, and it’s about time our definition of beauty became more inclusive.

Choosing Love on Valentine’s Day

Head on over to NCLN for a great post on Valentine’s Day by uOSFL alumnus Rebecca Richmond!

Love wants the highest good for the other person. As such, love is not self-serving, but is oriented towards the other. It is more than a onetime proclamation or commitment, but rather is revealed in our daily actions as we serve others.

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.”

The Hippocratic Oath

by Paul T

Doctors can often be the most influential figures for women who are confused and nervous about their unplanned pregnancy. Women see doctors as healers, role models, even important figures when they have no one else to turn to. These doctors, however, even under the Hippocratic oath, are often keen to suggest abortion as the first and only option for the woman seeking help. I seem to remember and quote one of the most important lines in the Hippocratic oath:

Similarly I will not give to a woman an abortive remedy. In purity and holiness I will guard my life and my art.

It seems to me this part of the oath remains as true to the doctor’s role now as it ever did. Isn’t the doctor the one who heals? The one who cures? The one who cares for patients? Let’s remember that pregnancy is not a disease, it is the natural reproductive cycle of the human species. Thus, terminating it is not curing anything. It’s not healing anything either, nor is it caring for the patients, the woman and child.

The doctor plays an essential role in the lives of men, women, and children, and his Hippocratic oath is explicit in its defence of life in all instances. The doctor’s role of curing, and healing, and protecting life can be no more evident in the role of delivery at childbirth. The doctor’s role of delivering the unborn child and handing it to the mother is a much different picture than that of the “doctor” who aspirates the unborn child into a machine, or dismembers it within the mother’s womb. It is up to us, as a just and responsible society, to stand up for the giving of life in all circumstances, and not to be turning a blind eye to “doctors” who recommend and perform the spilling of innocent blood.

Fighting the good fight, the good way

by Oksana K.

A few weeks ago, one of my professors gave a lecture comparing two iconic figures of the 1980s Canadian abortion debate, one of whom was pro-life, and the other, pro-choice. His argument was that, apart from their differing stances on abortion, the two fought with the same attitudes and tactics: on the upside, both were extremely passionate, but they were also both rather arrogant, and both became lawbreakers in the pursuit of their causes. Their differences, he suggested, did not go much farther than their ‘pro-life’ and ‘pro-choice’ labels. If not for that, they may as well have been the same person.

The lecture brought me to an important realization: to “outsiders looking in,” the way in which we fight against abortion may say far more about our cause than what we are actually fighting for. That idea got me thinking about my own experience as a pro-lifer.

I got involved in the pro-life movement last year, when my high school law teacher told my class that we’d have to write a position paper on a controversial issue. I chose abortion as my topic, but I didn’t know much about it at the time – I understood, vaguely, what the procedure entailed and how fetal development progressed, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to learn.

The first time I saw a photograph of an aborted child, I stared at my screen with tears streaming down my face. I couldn’t get the image out of my head for weeks. The photo didn’t just leave me concerned — it left me heartbroken. Soon after, I began visiting sites like standupgirl.com to read stories of post-abortive women who looked back on their decisions with regret. Each one left me praying and grieving, and I felt an unexpected connection with these women, any of whom could have been my mother, my sister, my best friend. For the first few weeks, I immersed myself not in statistics and legal discourses about abortion, but in the names, faces, and memories of those it had touched.

As the deadline of the essay began to draw near, however, my focus shifted from caring about the people involved to winning the debate – making a bulletproof argument, convincing my classmates, winning over my teacher, and ultimately getting a good mark. I continued to stumble upon images of aborted fetuses, but I scrolled by them without a second look. I skimmed past the stories of abortion recipients, only pausing to read them when I thought they’d be of use for my project. Phrases like ‘dismemberment,’ ‘suctioned limbs,’ and ‘crushed skull’ ceased to shock me. I’d become desensitized, but that, to some extent, is natural. The troubling part was that I had began viewing these stories of victims as mere fodder for a good essay – as stories that mattered to me only insofar as they helped along my argument. I tried to seek out the most shocking statistics I could find, forgetting that one cleanly-executed abortion with no complications was just as much a tragedy as thousands with more problematic consequences.

It was only after the pressure of the deadline was past and I had a chance to reflect that I realized in my quest for making the best arguments, I’d assumed the very same attitude I that resented in the pro-choice side. To them, the 100,000 abortions that happen in Canada each year are not 100,000 unborn daughters, brothers, or cousins, but 100,000 pieces of tissue that can be removed and disposed of at will. To me, 100,000 abortions became not 100,000 people, but 100,000 chances to win a debate. In fighting against abortion, I had dehumanized the very people I was trying to prove human.

Since then, I’ve realized that, although winning is extremely important to pro-lifers, equally important is how we fight this battle. We need to set ourselves apart with more than just whether there’s a ‘life’ or a ‘choice’ suffix tagged onto the end of our ‘pro-‘ label. We need to fight in such a way that, 3 decades from now, no professor will be able to tell his class that, while our ideologies were different, our attitudes and actions were basically the same as those of the other side. And we need to remember that the strength of the love, concern, and compassion which drive our cause can speak infinitely louder than arguments of words.

Pro-Life Spin on Earth Day

by Amanda Hennessey

I realize Earth Day was yesterday, but I wanted to remind you that while we’re celebrating the glories of nature on Earth Day, we should also take this time to think of Nature’s greatest gift: life. Respecting the Earth we have been given is definitely important, but why are we putting so much energy into saving the trees when we could be saving babies?

Bill C-384 Vote Today

by Garnet

Our elected Members of Parliament will vote this evening on Bill C-384, the “Right to Die with Dignity” bill proposed by Bloq MP Francine Lalonde.  This vote will decide whether the bill is suitable to move to the next stage in Parliamentary procedure: the committee stage.  Five or six of us were in the House of Commons yesterday to hear the final debate on this bill during Private Members’ Hour.  Here are a few reflections.

The house was a lot emptier than I expected it to be.  Very few cabinet ministers attended the debate, but we did see two of our pro-life heroes MPs Brad Trost and Maurice Vellacott.  After a discussion about representation by population (or something) was finished, the speaker of the house was asked to recognize that the clock was at 5:30 p.m., which meant the Private Members’ Hour was to begin.

Liberal MP Mauril Belanger from Ottawa-Vanier spoke first. He called for more dialogue on the issue, and will vote in favour of the bill going to the committee stage.  He also called for clearer definitions of terms like euthanasia, assisted suicide and “dying with dignity”.

Next was NDP MP Bill Siksay from Burnaby, BC.  He pledged his support for the bill, insisting that the right to die would not turn into the duty to die.  He is committed to providing choice for those that wish to end their lives.

Bloq MP Nicole Demers from Laval, QC also spoke about providing choice.  She said,

As long as one has a life to live and wants to live it, life should go on. However, when an individual can no longer endure the pain they are suffering, I want them to have choices.

MP Nicole Demers

After hearing just about enough choice rhetoric, Conservative MP Tim Uppal from Edmonton spoke with the voice of truth.  He is opposed to the bill and does not believe that doctors should be given the authority to end a life.  I was waiting for him to mention the Hippocratic Oath, but he didn’t.  He also expressed concerns with the bill itself, saying the scope was much too broad, and the safeguards for informed consent were not sufficient.

Liberal MP Mike Savage from Dartmouth, NS, spoke next.  He told an emotional story about his parents, who both died of cancer six weeks apart. Even though his parents suffered, he said, they were still able to be in control of their lives until the end.  I liked his emphasis on palliative care:

Let us focus on palliative care and home care. Let us provide the supports that people need in their time of need. Let us be very mindful of people with disabilities, particularly people who are not always able to make decisions on their own and who rely upon others for support, guidance and the everyday aspects of their lives.

MP Mike Savage

NDP MP Jim Maloway from Winnipeg, MB also spoke against the bill.

I am concerned about the point made by some members that if we were to adopt this measure, it would cut back the impetus to improve palliative care. As long as assisted suicide is illegal, the pressure will still be on governments and jurisdictions to develop palliative care as quickly as possible. If we passed legislation like this bill, then the pressure would be off.

MP Jim Maloway

He also expressed concerns with the way the issue has developed in Holland, where the minister who introduced the euthanasia bill to the Dutch Parliament has since changed her mind.  He advocated for increased support for palliative care programs.

The last MP to speak before Ms Lalonde had the floor to respond was NDP MP Charlie Angus from Timmins, ON.  He also opposes the bill.  He also advocated for increased support for palliative care.

It is possible to treat people with dignity right through the final moments. However, that has to be a decision we make as a society and a commitment we make to each other that we will be there as a society, we will be there with the medical system, we will be there as family and we will be there as a community.

MP Charlie Angus

Then Francine Lalonde had an opportunity to respond.  She spoke quite passionately about the issue.  For Lalonde, someone who has fought cancer herself, this issue is somewhat personal.  She concluded with this:

I can tell you that when I wrote that [newspaper article in 2005], I did not know what unbearable pain was. Now I do and I have learned that medicine, with all its progress, can only provide help with side effects such as hallucinations or other terrible effects to the body. We have to have the right to choose. I am speaking on behalf of the vulnerable. They are the ones who need this type of legislation the most because only this type of legislation will allow them to be the people they choose to be. There are currently many places where people can die and with all the instruments available to doctors, it is possible to help people die without them having to ask.

MP Francine Lalonde

It is the vulnerable that have the most to fear if this bill passes. As is seen in European countries who have legalized euthanasia, the “right to die” can easily become “the duty to die” and “the expectation to die”.  This is symptomatic of a devaluing of human life.  I hope this is not happening in Canada, but so much of what I hear and see tells me it is happening.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier in a letter to the editor in the National Post yesterday says it best.

. . . the slippery slope has definitely materialized in jurisdictions where euthanasia is legal. In the Netherlands, euthanasia is administered routinely to patients who are not terminally ill but rather have chronic diseases or psychological distress; to patients who are incapable of consenting or who are capable but were not consulted; and to children, including newborns. Dying with dignity should indeed be a right for all Canadians, but Ms. Lalonde’s proposal of allowing doctors to kill patients is the worst possible way of reaching this goal.

Dr. Catherine Ferrier

We will be going back to the House this evening to witness the vote.  I hope our politicians will have the courage to stand up for the dignity of human life and oppose this bill.

*quotes taken from a transcript of the debate on OpenParliament.ca.

True Support

by Eliza Jane Phillis

I feel I have been blessed with a pretty uneventful life. I have never suffered any tragic sudden loss, been subjected to any type of abuse, abused any type of substance, gone hungry or cold, or even ever really been alone. I have lived a very sheltered and essentially happy existence. While I am eternally grateful for this, I also sometimes worry that this means I am not able to truly empathize with the very women I profess to support as a member of the pro-life movement: women facing an unexpected or crisis pregnancy as well as those hurting after an abortion. All of these women have suffered some, all, or more of the list above. In comparison, I have suffered nothing.

I often ask myself, am I really helping or does my lack of experience make my efforts seem self-righteous and trivial? How can I truly understand their suffering? How arrogant is it on my part to pretend that I know how to help these women? It is easy to help ease their material needs with events such as our annual OSFL Baby Shower, and it is even easier to feel proud of such a little act. But what will I do when a woman who has found herself unexpectedly and undesiredly in the position of an expectant mother reaches out to me for help? What will I do when a woman who is suffering post-abortion confides in me? How will I show her that I love her and long to help her when what she is experiencing is so far beyond my sheltered experience and I cannot for a moment hope to comprehend her fear, pain, regret, confusion, guilt, anxiety, loneliness? All I can do is pray that when that day comes, I will be given the words and the love that she needs.

Yet, we as pro-life men and women are part of a movement that exists to help these women. We should be more prepared and more willing to try to understand the suffering of these women. This means that we need to listen to the stories of those who are brave enough to tell them, and through their courageous act of sharing learn what it feels like to face a situation which many of us will hopefully never have to experience. For this reason, I wanted to share with our pro-life readers this link to the Canada Silent No More website. Here you can witness the testimonies of regretful and courageous post-abortive men and women and learn from their experiences. These men and women are working to end the silence on abortion and bring to light the lies and pain behind the rhetoric. There is much we can learn by listening to their stories of loss and healing.

The website also contains links to resources and help for those suffering post abortion, so that if and when the you are approached by someone suffering beyond your experience, you can direct them to a group who truly understands and can empathize because they have been there too. That being said, what every human being needs most when faced with suffering is to be listened to and loved without judgment. This is within the capabilities of us all, no matter our life experiences or lack thereof.

Canada Silent No More

Loving the Wounded

by Reita S.

I know a little girl who died. Her name was Katelyn. She had a brother named Kyle, who also died. They were about 9 and 11 when their house caught fire. They were with their mother in the second floor bedroom. She tried to convince them to jump from the window and that the fire department would save them. They were too afraid to jump, though, so she told them that she would go first and would catch them. She jumped from the window and called to them to jump. But they were still too afraid. They were dead of smoke inhalation by the time the fire department reached them. Their mother regrets every day that she did not throw them from the window. If she had, they might still be alive.

They say that hindsight is 20/20. If that mother had been able to foresee the consequences of her actions, we know she would have chosen differently. In the same way, post-abortive people don’t need your judgment anymore than the mother of those children needs you to tell her she made the wrong choice. That was years ago and there is so much regret. She needs you to come along side her, to tell her you’re sorry, to help her get over a tragedy she couldn’t foresee.

Women and men affected by abortion believe at the time that they’re making the right choice. They are sold a lie by society and by abortion providers. They don’t see the long-reaching effects of ‘the easiest way out’. If they’re telling you their story, don’t tell them how they should have known better, don’t tell them they killed their children. They know.

On this blog, one post abortive woman writes:

I know that this sounds terrible and helpless, but I cannot underemphasise the gravity of what I did – I murdered four human beings. […] I made four mistakes. The mistakes were not those babies, who were known and loved by God – they were the abortions.

Those abortions nearly killed me – in more ways than one. While I developed a thick skin on the outside, what was a very scared and helpless little girl on the inside was crying out from a nearly inexpressible anguish, but no one would listen. In the world, abortion is supposed to empower a woman and give her freedom and dignity, not make her weak and crippled as I was becoming.

Abortion is a scar on the soul of all who participate. When we minister to our communities, let us never forget that post-abortive men and women need us just as much as pregnant women do. They need a safe place to take out a private wound. They need to forgive themselves. They need to be forgiven.

Hard-line tactics do not help the wounded. Love does.

Please, show love to the hurting.

Making it Personal

by Reita S.

In early September, a family I grew up with suffered a horrible tragedy. Their 17 year old daughter was killed by a drunk driver as she was pulling into her family’s driveway. When I saw a newspaper article about the accident, my first reaction was ‘What a shame. Who’s drunk on a Thursday night?’ Then I saw the girl was from my hometown – Emily, someone I knew. The article mentioned her parents and sister; people who I had known for years. I had been in a play with Emily; I think we went to the same summer camp. Suddenly, an impersonal accident became a tragedy.

A similar situation occurred to me when I was fresh out of high school. A boy in my class, Travis, had spent the 4 years I knew him talking about nothing but his desire to join the army. Then, a week after his graduation from basic training, he and another soldier were thrown from a vehicle and killed because they weren’t wearing their seatbelts. He was 18 years old.

We hear about soldiers being killed and injured in the news so frequently, but it so often seems to be nothing but a statistic. In fact, even though two other young soldiers were involved in the accident, Travis’ is the only name I remember.

What impressed me most about both of these situations was the futility of the death. These were not people who were old, sick, or in some adverse circumstances. They were healthy young people who had just as much chance of getting up the next morning and continuing on with their lives as I did. Through some seeming cruel twist of fate, their lives were cut short.

Sadly, though they are no longer with us, those of us who knew them can think about what they were, what they could do, what they could have become. I look at those young people and I see squandered potential. Emily and Travis had their whole lives ahead of them – they could have been so much more than statistics.

If they had lived, I often wonder what they would have been. Would Travis have made it to Afghanistan, where he always hoped to “defend the people who need to be defended”? Would Emily be like my own sister, poring over her post-secondary applications and waiting for her acceptance letters? What have we lost? What could they have become? Been to us?

So often in the pro-life movement, we think of a faceless mass of ‘The Unborn’. They are some nameless entity that we feel it is our religious, moral, or civil duty to protect. Just this year, a friend’s sister-in-law lost her baby at 8 months of pregnancy. When the baby was delivered, she was physically perfect, but was strangled by her umbilical cord, a move none of the doctors could have predicted. Despite my pro-life convictions, I find that I have been moved 100 times more for the death of this child, through an unavoidable accident, than I have ever been for an aborted child.

An abortion is not the result of medical condition, an accident, or a tragedy. It is result of a society that has degraded the position of the unborn to such an extent that we don’t even stop to grieve their absence.

As pro-life supporters, we need to be conscious that we are not supporting some ‘idea’ or ‘collective’ – we are representing individual children, who become adults. They are endued with gifts and abilities that we haven’t had the opportunity to experience. For every child aborted, we should look with sadness and regret at someone who never had the opportunity to be. Just as we wonder what Emily would have pursued after high school, how Travis could have protected the disenfranchised, what that tiny baby’s first words would have been, so too we wonder what sex each of those children would have been, what colour their eyes would have been, what their names and occupations and gifts and talents could have been.

Abortion is a tragedy. It should never just be a statistic.