Unplanned and Post Abortion Help

Abortion has left a deep wound in our nation, but there are organizations that offer help and healing.

Last weekend my husband and I went to see the movie, Unplanned, with some friends. Some of the scenes were hard to watch. The movie pointed out that uterine perforation is a risk during surgical abortion. Sometimes perforation requires hysterectomy, other times the bleeding is controlled and the uterus develops a scar that can impact future childbearing.

It was hard to see girls and young women deceived about the procedure—the promises that everything was going to be okay.

The best take-away for me was the example of the couple from 40 Days for Life. They interacted with Abby (the abortion worker) and prayed for her. They were patient and available to her. They modeled kindness and loving concern. 

After the movie we talked about Abby’s journey with our friends. It took eight years for her to acknowledge the reality that a baby was being killed. When she saw an ultrasound guided abortion the truth became clear.

Abortion has left a deep wound in our nation, but there are organizations that offer help and healing.

Care-net provides post abortion help for women who have had abortion, for fathers whose child was aborted, for grandparents and for abortion workers. Here is the link to their site.

Rachel’s Vineyard offers weekend retreats for post abortion help and healing. It is a ministry of Priests for Life.

Abby, the former abortion worker, now leads And Then There Were None, an organization that helps abortion clinic workers that want to leave the industry.

ATTWN seeks to end abortion from the inside out. We believe that the end of abortion starts with abortion clinic workers leaving their jobs and finding healing from their past work. That’s why, as former clinic workers ourselves, we’re committed to helping them through the ENTIRE journey.

Be sure to visit the Five Minute Friday writing community . Today’s prompt is: OFFER. Kate has an offer to check out!

When Health Care Becomes Perplexing

Health care was one of the top issues in the midterm elections. According to a letter that I received yesterday from the School of Nursing at the University of Michigan (my alma mater) : We grapple with the knowledge that the United States is the top spending country in health care but only ranked 34th among wealthy countries in health outcomes. 

It is perplexing to see the ideas about healthcare that are being promoted. I am saddened to know that two bills in the Illinois House of Representatives expand access to abortion, up to nine months of pregnancy. 

It is painful to know of depressed young people that are being counseled to change their gender with expensive surgery when there is no clear evidence that it will have a positive impact on their health. Transgender adults have a high rate of suicide.

Health care should be about life and healing. 

There is an interesting passage of scripture in the book of Exodus. The Israelites have left Egypt and are in the wilderness. They are looking for water. God provides water and speaks to them through Moses.

There the Lord made a decree and a law for them, and there he tested them. He said, “If you listen carefully to the voice of the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will  not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord who heals you. Exodus 15:26

He didn’t say that they would never get sick but referred to diseases they saw in Egypt.

As a nurse my first experience with abortion was in a labor/delivery unit of a hospital. It occurred shortly after Roe v. Wade was decided. A young woman seven months pregnant was admitted for a saline induced abortion. Saline was injected into the womb to kill the infant and induce contractions. I was horrified and wrote a letter to my manager stating that I could not participate in abortions. 

Every type of abortion procedure has risks. When I read about the early cases of women that died after using the abortion pill, the procedure became part of the story in my novel, Aliisa’s Letter. The book is about a young nurse, her friend, and a midwife. The story is set in Upper Michigan.   

On January 22nd it was the 46th anniversary of Roe v.Wade, the national legalization of abortion. Since that time the March for Life has become an annual event, pregnancy care centers have sprung up, healing retreats have been organized and a support group for former abortion workers has been organized.

Physical, emotional and spiritual pain surround abortion. I am thankful for the organization, Students for Life. As they educate millennials about the abortion procedure, the infant’s development and experience of pain, young people are changing their mind about the right to abortion at any time in pregnancy.

God’s ways are good. He has created life and calls on us to seek him for help. In our churches we can come along side the unmarried woman who is pregnant and the woman who has an unexpected pregnancy with difficult circumstances. I am wondering and thinking about how we can walk along side young people who are in emotional pain and suffering. How should we, in the church, respond to the transgender person?

I encourage you to pray with me over these difficult issues.

This post is part of #Write28Days. You can follow me on Facebook for health related posts.

Save the Turtles but Not the Babies

If you go to see the movie, Gosnell: the Trial of America’s Biggest Serial Killer, you will understand the title of this post.

Gosnell Movie

My husband and I saw this movie today. The movie is based on the actual court documents from the trial. It was riveting and held the attention of the audience. We were in a small theater; probably three fourths of the seats were occupied. The later showing was sold out.

The film showed the condition of the abortion facility. The abortion procedures were described but not shown on screen. The focus was on the trial, and the hesitation that the health and legal systems have in overseeing abortions.

Gosnell Movie

There are some things in life and in our culture that we would rather not think about. Babies who are born alive have their neck cut with scissors to kill them. Because it is legal, is it kinder to suction the gray matter of a baby’s brain (insuring death) prior to delivering the baby?

We should weep for our country. How can we think that we are solving human problems with abortion? I do not fault the desperate women—I fault the solution that we are offering them.

I hope you will make time to see this movie. It presents a real picture of a complex issue.

Supporting Mothers: The Hike for Life

Over the years I have often participated in the Hike for Life on Mother’s Day weekend. It has been a family event, children included.

In the 1990s we hiked along the shore of Lake Michigan in downtown Chicago. Yesterday my daughter reminded me of her first hike. It was the beginning of her concern for mothers and their infants. The years that we hiked together have now been passed along to the next generation.

Hike for Life

Now my grandchildren participate in the Hike for Life. A couple years ago we all went together.

Mother's Day Weekend

This year they will hike, and I will go visit my mother who is in a nursing home in Michigan.

All women need support during the transitions of life.

The money raised by the Hike for Life goes to pregnancy care centers. These centers provide ultrasounds, parenting classes, infant clothing and diapers. The staff at the pregnancy care center come along side a woman that needs assistance.

It is wonderful when a woman has the support of family and friends during pregnancy. Sometimes she needs another source of support. //

I am grateful, too, for organizations that help women adjust to the roles of motherhood. The Mother of Twins group meeting was my favorite evening out when I had three children under the age of three.

My daughters have benefited from MOPS (mothers of preschoolers), and I have enjoyed being a mentor mom for MOPS.

When we were in Finland I was  happily  surprised  to learn that the    parents of young children ride the buses in Helsinki for free.

Flowers and cards for mothers are nice, tangible help is better. Perhaps, there is someone that you can encourage.

Today I am joining the Five Minute Friday community. Our one word prompt is: INCLUDE

 

Women’s Rights & Midwifery

Prayer and RestWomen today have more rights than our ancestors. As we have made progress it is odd that the loudest voice in the current women’s movement is for abortion. I would rather support the right of women to give birth in the setting that they choose. Across the world there is unresolved controversy over midwifery and home birth.

At the same time that suffragists were fighting for a woman’s right to vote, the medical system in the United States, was fighting against the practice of midwifery.

For the past few years I have been researching the life of Hanna Pörn and her court case. She was a Finnish midwife that received a certificate of midwifery from the Chicago Institute of Midwifery. She lived and worked in the Finnish/Swedish community of Gardner, Massachusetts. After eight years of practice, having better statistical outcomes than the local doctors, she was arrested for practicing medicine without a license. The case went to the district court, and was appealed several times. In 1909 she was found guilty and sentenced to two months in jail.

Other countries have had lawsuits against midwives. In recent years Agnes Gereb left her position as an obstetrician and trained as a home birth midwife in Hungary. After delivering many babies in the home setting, she was arrested because one baby died. She was placed in house arrest and the case has been moving through the courts. You can read about her case here.

Today my husband handed me the Wall Street Journal pointing out this article, Sweden Blacklists an Antiabortion Midwife. Ellinor Grimmark trained as a midwife in Sweden in response to the current shortage of midwives.

In spring 2013, with one term left in her studies, she asked supervisors at the hospital where she planned to work to accommodate her conscience rights. [She did not want to participate in abortion.]

She received a furious call from one manager. “How could you even think of becoming a midwife with these opinions?” *

It is a strange world if, in order to attend the birth of babies, you must be willing to kill babies. This brings to mind the Biblical account of two midwives.

The king of Egypt said to the Hebrew midwives, whose names were Shiprah and Puah, “ when you help the Hebrew women in childbirth and observe them on the delivery stool, if it is a boy, kill him; but if it is a girl let her live.” The midwives however feared God and did not do what the king of Egypt told them to do; they let the boys live. Exodus 1: 15-17

Ellinor Grimmark was unable to secure a position in Sweden and is now living and working in Norway. Swedish mothers are coming to Norway to give birth.

Many women are seeking a kinder, gentler way of birth.   Birth  has    physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. Midwives understand this.

So  much  emphasis  is  placed  on  the   physical aspect of birth alone—treating pregnancy like an illness. Frequently, aggressive management of labor takes place in the hospital—and there are consequences. We need to swing the pendulum back. Let labor and birth take place at a natural pace. Midwives have an important role in providing healthy birth care.

In Illinois the Home Birth Safety Act is up for debate in the senate.      Thirty-two states allow midwives to provide home birth care. Illinois should join these states and pass SB 1754. If you live in Illinois, call your state senator and ask him to support SB 1754.

*Sweden Blacklists an Antiabortion Midwife, The Wall Street Journal, April 10, 2017, A17.

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Five Ways to Support the Choice for Life

On Friday (1/27) the March for Life will take place in Washington D.C.  Every year, after the ruling on Roe v. Wade was handed down, people have marched to the Supreme Court in protest. God is the giver of life. We should support all life.

Events recorded in the Bible emphasize the value of human life. When the maid servant, Hagar, became pregnant by Abraham, tension grew between Hagar and Sarah. Hagar ran away to the desert, but God sent angels to watch over her.

And the angel of the Lord said to her, “Behold you are pregnant and shall bear a son. You shall call his name Ishmael, because the Lord has listened to your affliction.”

March for Life

 

So she called the name of the Lord who spoke to her, “You are a God of seeing,” for she said, “Truly here I have seen him who looks after me.” Genesis 16: 11, 13

When Hanna struggled with infertility she wept and prayed.

She [Hannah] was deeply distressed and prayed to the Lord and wept bitterly. And she vowed a vow and said, “O Lord of hosts, if you will indeed look on the affliction of your servant and remember me and not forget your servant, but will give to your servant a son, then I will give him to the Lord all the days of his life, and no razor shall touch his head.”

March for Life

And in due time Hanna conceived and bore a son, and she called his name Samuel, for she said, “I have asked him from the Lord.” 1 Samuel 1: 10-11, 20

My heart goes out to women who are struggling with infertility.   I am    encouraged that NaProTechnology has made progress in diagnosing the   underlying health problems related to infertility.

My hope is that as a nation we will value human life. There are ways that we can assist women that are in difficult circumstances and need support.

  1. Pray for our country and a message of life. The Colson Center has an app available, 21 Days of Prayer for Life.
  2. Pregnancy care centers provide support. Care Net is nationwide. Volunteer at one of the centers.
  3. Often these centers will have a fundraiser. Participate in a fundraiser for a pregnancy care center. In my area Informed Choices has a fall banquet and Hike for Life in the spring.
  4. Some centers have a resale shop. Proceeds from the shop support the services of the Pregnancy Care Center. Donate to the resale shop or volunteer to work there.
  5. Write letters to your Congressman and Senator to defund Planned Parenthood and redirect taxpayer dollars to community health care centers that provide full services for women’s health.

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The Women’s March on Washington

A friend of mine is going to participate in the Women’s March on Washington that will take place on Saturday (1/21). I have seen pictures of pink hats that women are knitting for this event on instagram. I don’t plan to go, but the event has captured my attention. The following paragraph is taken from the mission statement of the march:

The Women’s March on Washington will send a bold message to our new government on their first day in office, and to the world that women’s rights are human rights. We stand together, recognizing that defending the most marginalized among us is defending all of us.

This statement sounds good—defend the marginalized. Who are the most marginalized? What rights are human rights? Life is the most basic right. The organizers have issued a statement. The march is for pro-choice women only. Pro-life women are not welcome. This saddens me.

As a nurse I am concerned about reproductive health.

According to World Magazine chemical abortion (pills that terminate pregnancy) is becoming more widespread with less medical supervision. The FDA published a report of adverse events following use of abortion pills in 2011. Fourteen women died. Another 339 women experienced blood loss requiring transfusion.    Young  women  need  to  be  fully educated about medications and treatments that they receive.

More needs to be done to rescue the girls that are caught in the web of human trafficking. Abortion clinics enable abuse when they don’t report the pregnancy of underage girls.

Women need complete information about the side effects and risks associated with hormonal birth control. An article published by the BBC News Magazine was titled “My Nightmare on the Pill”. Vicky Spratt wrote:

We can’t make informed choices without information. We need better research into how hormonal contraception can affect women’s mental health, better ways of monitoring reactions in patients, more awareness and support for those who do experience serious side effects. No woman should feel dismissed or ignored.
To read the whole article click here.

Midwifery Today published statistics on maternal death following childbirth. Almost all countries are seeing the rate go down. In the U.S. the rate is going up. In 2015 the rate was 14 deaths per 100,000 births.

Women would benefit from an increase in the availability of midwives. Illinois could move forward and license certified professional midwives. Midwives educate women on healthy lifestyles and childbirth care at lower cost.

Pray for the women in our country and across the world. Pray that they would find their identity in Christ. Pray that every woman could grow and mature with support, health education and good healthcare.

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A Diatribe on the Kelly File

Megyn Kelly’s diatribe at Newt Gingrich on the Kelly File illustrates a     festering wound in our culture. The sexual revolution that endorses sex outside of marriage has hurt many women. Feminists have embraced an idea of equality that does not take into account the differences in nature that men and women possess. What would the early feminists think about our progress?

The early feminist movement addressed issues important to the respect of women. Hilary Clinton mentioned the Seneca Falls Convention in a speech she gave. The convention took place in Seneca Falls, New York in 1848. It is informative to learn a little about the early feminists.

The most well known were Elizabeth Cady Stanton, daughter of a lawyer, and Lucretia Mott, a Quaker. The three other women were also part of the Quaker community: Martha Wright (Lucretia’s sister), Mary Ann M’Clintock and Jane Hunt. Each was married and had children. This group of five women organized the first women’s right convention.

They were concerned about educational opportunities for women, the right of a woman to own property, the right to her own children, the right to vote, the right to decent jobs.* Together they wrote the Declaration of Sentiments. Elizabeth Cady Stanton made the final revision of the document. She wrote: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men and women are created equal**. At the convention 100 people signed it.

Today women in the United States enjoy freedom and opportunity. We can applaud many of the changes that have taken place.  The focus on    reproductive rights, that Hilary Clinton constantly mentions, did not fit in the perspective of these early feminists. They were pro-life and pro-family.

In the publication, Revolution, Stanton wrote: The strongest feeling of a true woman’s nature is her love for her child; and the startling facts in the above extract [NY times article on infanticide], multiplying as they are on every side, warn us that all things are inverted. Objectors cry out to us who demand our rights, and the ballot to secure them, “Do not unsex yourselves.” It is against this wholesale unsexing that we wage our war.

We are living today under a dynasty of force; the masculine force is everywhere overpowering the feminine, and crushing women and children alike beneath its feet. Let women assert herself in all her native purity, dignity and strength, and end this wholesale suffering and murder of helpless children. With centuries of degradation, we have so little of true womanhood, that the world has but the faintest glimmering of what a woman should be.***

The hope of these women was that marriage would be strengthened by equal participation in the marriage covenant. They were against the abuse of women by men. They promoted education and protection of their right to their children. They acknowledged the nurturing nature of women.

Reproductive rights have not improved overall respect for women’s feminine nature. The availability of the pill and abortion has not reduced the abuse of women, but instead made it easier for abuse to take place without consequence. When Planned Parenthood neglects to pursue charges against a man who brings a teenager, a minor, in for an abortion, that perpetuates the abuse.

Many women today have more in common with the early feminists than with Hilary Clinton. We would prefer to pursue improved education on women’s health and fertility. We would like young women and poor women to have alternatives to abortion, the support that they need during a difficult time. We would like all women to be informed of the risks and side effects of hormonal contraception and abortion.

True reconciliation between men and women comes by following the Bible’s principles for healthy living. The Bible teaches love and respect in the marriage relationship. When we believe Jesus (we are all sinners needing forgiveness) and follow his ways we are able to forgive and love.

marriage

Women are speaking up for healthy relationships at Women Speak for Themselves.

*Cady Stanton, Elizabeth and others, eds., 6 vols., History of Woman Suffrage, New York: Fowler & Wells, 1881-1922, 1:70-71

**Oakley, Mary Ann, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, New York: The Feminist Press, 1972.

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Celebrating Life on Planned Parenthood’s Anniversary

As Planned Parenthood celebrates their 100 year anniversary, I choose to mourn the lives lost and the wounds that many women carry. Although Planned Parenthood portrays itself as woman’s health care,  its most      lucrative business is abortion. It masquerades as compassionate care.

I give thanks for the growing number of pregnancy care centers and for support groups that help women heal from the trauma of abortion.

Our community held a march for life, proclaiming that life is a gift.       Together we offered this prayer:

O God, our Creator, all life is in your hands
From conception until natural death,
Help us to cherish our children.
Help us to understand and respect the awesome
privilege of our share in creation.
May all people live and die in dignity and love.
Bless all those who defend the rights of the
unborn, the handicapped and the elderly.
Enlighten and be merciful toward those who fail
to recognize the sacredness of life.
Give us courage to speak with truth and love
and with conviction in the defense of life.
Let freedom be tempered by
responsibility, integrity and morality.
We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

life-is-a-gift

The Psalmist did not have the tool of ultrasound, yet he offers a clear    understanding of life. These verses convey a deep truth.

Oh, yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;
you formed me in my mother’s womb.
I thank you, High God—you’re breathtaking!
Body and soul, I am marvelously made!
I worship in adoration—what a creation!
You know me inside and out,
you know every bone in my body;
You know exactly how I was made bit by bit,
how I was sculpted from nothing into something.
Like an open book, you watched me grow
from conception to birth;
All the stages of my life were spread out before you,
the days of my life all prepared
Before I’d even lived one day.

Psalm 139: 13-16 MSG

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The Lack of Respect for Women

Words. Ugly references to women. It is hard to listen to the political mud slinging. Trump’s words revealed on a recording were vulgar and cannot be condoned. These words have opened wounds that many women carry.

Our culture is saturated in sex. I wonder if we are ready to assess the damage that has been caused by the push for sexual freedom. Perhaps the ugliness of this campaign will encourage discussion.

When sex is separated from a committed relationship, when men do not have responsibility for the potential pregnancy that may result from sex, women are hurt.

Beginning in the 1960s, significant court decisions took place. In 1965 contraception for married women was legalized by the Supreme Court under a right to privacy decision (Griswold v. Connecticut). In 1972 contraception for unmarried women was legalized as a right to privacy (Eisenstadt v. Baird). In 1973 abortion was legalized for all women as a right to privacy (Roe v. Wade).

The Supreme Court has a huge influence on our culture.

These court decisions set laws in place that made sex available to men without commitment or shared responsibility. This is not what God intended. God designed the family and the bond between husband and wife.

In the Bible Jesus reiterates the sacredness of marriage. When Jesus was asked about divorce he said this:

“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, Therefore shall a man leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh? So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man separate.”         Matthew 19: 4-6

Some people viewed contraception as necessary to avoid over population. Some people of faith thought that contraception would improve marriages and the care of children. The Bible does not specifically mention contraception, but the word itself is against life.

A couple can deepen their relationship by talking about sex  and  the   potential for pregnancy.  With contraception a woman may feel that she has to be always available.   Sex can be a self-centered act  instead of    affirming the sacred bond of marriage.

What about when we look at the big picture? What has changed?

Failure of contraception led to the “need” for abortion.   The rate of    abortion has increased over time. Millions of babies have been killed in their mother’s womb. Women have been wounded by abortion. The rate of divorce has increased. The number of children born out of wedlock has increased. Women’s health has been impacted by hormonal contraception. And respect for women?

Our human remedies may fail us. We need to seek God’s ways. This text states a hard truth.

For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. Claiming to be wise, they became fools . . . Romans 1:21-22

The current political mud slinging should cause us to pause. We have God’s remedy for the moral descent that is going on.

If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.       2 Chronicles 7:14

God heals us if we turn to Him.

Bless the Lord , O my soul, and forget not all his benefits,
Who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases.
Psalm 103:2-3

Prayer:  Lord God, my human nature leads me to seek my own way.     Forgive my sins and guide me in the path of life. I praise you because you are my redeemer and healer.

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