Is Birth a Human Rights Issue?

The first debate between Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump left me with a sense of incompleteness. Some of the questions posed by the moderator had little relevance to current issues in the United States. After the debate I wrote a letter that was published on the editorial page of our     local newspaper. Here is the text of my letter:

During the first presidential debate the topic of abortion did not come up. Neither candidate was asked about taxpayer funding for Planned Parenthood. I was thinking about this when I opened the current issue of Midwifery Today. The theme of the issue is: Birth Is A Human Rights Issue.

I wonder if we have lost sight of mothers and their infants in the attention that has been placed on the provision of contraception and abortion.

The article written by Jan Tritten quotes a point listed under Article 25 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (United Nations 1948):      Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy the same social protection.

Some would like us to believe that the most important issue for women is the freedom to have an abortion.   Is anyone paying attention to        maternal/infant morbidity and mortality? Why is the United States one of the few countries where the maternal death rate is increasing?

More attention needs to be directed at healthy choices that support life. Countries that have a greater percentage of midwives have better outcomes. Many states in the U.S. have limited the practice of midwives. In Illinois midwives have been fighting for legislation that would license them to attend homebirths.

Healthy women want to have the option of giving birth at home with a midwife.

Recently a law that requires pregnancy care centers to offer referrals to abortion clinics (SB 1564) was signed into law in Illinois. This law strips away the conscience rights of health care workers. I hope this law is challenged. In the meantime I think abortion clinics should have the same standard. They [clinics like Planned Parenthood] should be legally required to offer referrals to pregnancy care centers.

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Decision Was a Sad Day for Women’s Health

This letter was first published on the editorial page of the Daily Herald on July 3.  I was sorting through my thoughts about the Supreme Court decision when I wrote this:

Is it a victory for women? The Supreme Court overturned a Texas law that would have required safety regulations for abortion clinics.

Two years ago Joan Rivers was in an outpatient surgical clinic that did have safety regulations that were violated, and she died. The outcry was huge, and rightly so. The director of the clinic stepped down and a large settlement was made with River’s family.

What happens when an abortion clinic—which is an outpatient      surgical clinic— doesn’t have to meet safety standards?  What     happens when a woman is injured or dies at this clinic?

Abortion providers aren’t concerned. They are profiting from women in difficult circumstances.   Poor women or desperate women are more    likely to seek care at a Planned Parenthood clinic. Are we comfortable with the idea that these women deserve less?

I have to wonder if Justices Ginsburg, Kagan and Sotomayer would feel comfortable having a surgical procedure in a clinic that is unregulated and unsafe. Justice Ginsburg wrote in her opinion that abortion is safer than childbirth. That is a blanket generalization. I have been a childbirth nurse for more than 30 years, and I disagree.

Childbirth ranges from a normal physiologic birth (which is safer than abortion) to high-risk pregnancies and births that require medical intervention. I think I can assume that Justice Ginsburg has never seen the tools that are used in a surgical abortion. Nor is she aware of the medications that may be involved.

It is a sad day for women. Five Justices struck down a Texas law that     established common sense safety practices for abortion clinics.

It’s About Religious Freedom

Little Sisters of the Poor

On Monday night our PBS station aired a documentary about Pope John Paul II. As I watched I was remembering the discussions that I had with my daughter about the Theology of the Body (writings by Pope John Paul II).

Julia was attending Marquette University and was introduced to the Theology of the Body, God’s design for male and female, for marriage and sexuality. She brought home some tapes for me to hear, and we talked about them.

I am not Catholic, but this teaching on sexuality makes sense to me. I have great respect for the Catholic position on life. I understand the position of the Catholic Church, opposing contraception and drugs that cause early abortions. As a nurse I have concerns about the        effects of hormonal drugs on longterm health.

So when the Little Sisters of the Poor refuse to be providers of         contraception, I am with them. This is the teaching of their church. They have a right to live out their faith.

My own right of conscience was tested during my first year of nursing practice. I was working in a large city hospital, affiliated with a        university. I was shocked when I realized that an abortion was taking place in our labor/delivery unit—a saline induction. I could not participate. That night I wrote a letter stating my conscience objection to abortion, gave it to my manager and it was kept in my file.   I was     never called to assist with an abortion.

Later I would choose to work at Catholic or Lutheran Hospitals.

In the United States the first amendment guarantees the freedom of   religion—the right to live according to one’s faith. The Little Sisters of the Poor are living out their faith as they minister to the elderly.

Can the government force the Little Sisters to provide free contraception in the health insurance they give their employees? The mandate goes against their faith. The Supreme Court is hearing arguments on this case today. I am praying for the right of conscience to be upheld.

If SCOTUS rules against them the Little Sisters will be heavily fined and may be forced to discontinue their work.

The Little Sisters minister at St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in my community. I am participating in a day of prayer and service as a sign of support. Let them serve.

Women Speak for Themselves
www.womenspeakforthemselves.com

Addendum: A good sized crowd gathered in front of St. Joseph’s Home for the Elderly in Palatine. We were positioned along Northwest Highway and were encouraged by cars and trucks honking as they saw the signs. We received many waves of approval.

Little Sisters of the Poor

Little Sisters of the Poor

Maria Goldstein led in prayer and Bible reading. We sang the servant song together.

What do you want of me, Lord
Where do you want me to serve you?
Where can I sing your praises?
I am your song.

Refrain: Jesus, Jesus, you are the Lord.
Jesus, Jesus, you are the way.

You are the light in my darkness.
You are my strength when I’m weary.
You give me sight when I’m blinded.
Come see for me.

I am your song and servant,
Singing your praise like Mary.
Surrendered to your Spirit,
“Let it be done to me.”

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We prayed for the protection of conscience rights:

Father, we praise you and thank you
For your most precious gift of human life
And human freedom.
Touch the hearts of our law makers
with wisdom and courage to uphold conscience rights
and religious liberty for all.
Protect all people from being forced to
Violate their moral and religious convictions.
In your goodness, guard our freedom
to live out our faith and
to follow you in all that we do.
Give us strength to be bold and joyful witnesses.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Linking with Thought Provoking Thursday,   Whole Hearted     Wednesday,  A Little R & R

Is Medical Research Supporting Planned Parenthood?

L of L

For the past five months I have been studying the book of Acts. The book provides a picture of  the early church,  the work of the Holy    Spirit and the challenges that believers faced.

Times and circumstances are different now, but the challenges are similar. When we pursue truth we will encounter pushback. The 19th chapter of Acts records a confrontation between silver craftsmen and the Apostle Paul.

About that time there arose no little disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, brought no little business to the craftsmen. These he gathered together, with the workmen in similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that from this business we have our wealth. And you see and hear that not only in Ephesus but in almost all of Asia this Paul has persuaded and turned away a great many people, saying that gods made with hands are not gods. And there is danger not only that this trade of ours may come into disrepute but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis may be counted as nothing, and that she may even be counted as nothing, and that she may even be deposed from her magnificence, she whom all Asia and the world worship.” Acts 19: 23-27

Is medical research supporting planned parenthood?
Planned Parenthood in Houston Texas: photo via wikimedia

Planned Parenthood has enjoyed a profitable business in our country, promising women their independence and control over reproduction. The organization receives tax dollars for women’s health. Recently some little known truths began to emerge when videos showed that Planned Parenthood is willing to provide baby parts for purchase.  With a little research I discovered that the interest in aborted fetuses for the purpose of research dates back to the legalization of abortion. On another post I wrote:

In 1950 Finland legalized abortion. Socialized medicine paid for the abortions; research provided a return on the investment.

In the past week Alliance Defending Freedom reported that the Planned Parenthood clinic in Madison, Wisconsin is selling baby parts to the University of Wisconsin. ADF obtained documents through the freedom of information act. Read the press release here. I know that the University of Michigan is doing embryonic stem cell research. Are they buying baby parts too?

Medical research is enshrined in this country. We want answers. We want to eradicate all infectious disease. Should the life of innocent pre-born babies provide for the health of others—and does it even work? How does this fit with God’s design for human life?

In this twisted culture we have a spiritual battle  going on.    The       producers of the videos, showing abortion and the planned sale of body parts, are being indicted. Planned Parenthood gets a pass.  The      abortion industry has deep roots, people that support it for their own profit.

Pray for our country. Pray for truth to prevail. Pray for all innocent life to be protected.

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UPDATE: LifeNews.com has an article that details the sale of fetal tissue–and the tax dollars that support research that utilizes fetal body parts. Click here.

Linking with Word of God Speak,  Grace & Truth,  Essential Fridays,  Faith Filled Friday and Thought Provoking Thursday

The March Goes On Despite the Wind Chill Factor in Chicago

At times the wind chill on Sunday was -11° F in Chicago. Yet, many people turned out for the March for Life.

Chicago March for Life
Federal Plaza

The message was pro-woman, pro-baby, pro-life.

Chicago March for Life

A large group of college students were present.

Chicago March for Life

We were cold but in good spirits.

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Linking with Sue’s Wordless Wednesday

Why I Participate in the March for Life

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Sunday is the March for Life in Chicago. For the past three years I have participated in the march that takes place in my community. This year our community is joining the Chicago March for Life. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to ride the bus into Chicago, and so I have thought about this. Why do I participate?

As a nurse I believe with my whole heart that abortion is damaging to women. Early in my career I refused to participate in an abortion that took place in the hospital where I was employed. Besides the fact that medical people were killing a  human  being,  I felt that our unit had insufficient resources to help a woman through the emotional impact.

The story of Hagar in the Bible has always caused me to pause and muse on God’s  care for a single woman who became pregnant–through Sarai’s plan to achieve a child. Twice an angel was sent to rescue Hagar.

Painting by Francesco Cozza
Painting by Francesco Cozy

The angel of the Lord found her by a spring of water in the wilderness, the spring on the way to Shur. And he said, “Hagar, servant of Sarai, where have you come from and where are you going?” She said, “I am fleeing from my mistress Sarai.” The angel of the Lord said to her, “Return to your mistress and submit to her.” The angel of the Lord also said to her, “I will surely multiply your offspring so that they cannot be numbered for multitude” . . .  

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 16:7-10, 13

Later when Hagar’s son was about seventeen years old, Hagar was sent away by Sarai and Abraham. She and the boy were out of water in the desert and an angel directed her to a well. The Bible demonstrates God’s care for all women, in all circumstances. As Christians we can be God’s hands.

One of the arguments for abortion is that if we defund Planned Parenthood women will have unsafe abortions. And yet many of Planned Parenthood’s clinics do not meet the safety standards for a surgical center.

I  recently read a study  that  was  done in  Chile  after they  made  abortion illegal. Did  hospital admissions  for abortion complications  increase or decrease?  Hospital admissions decreased and maternal mortality decreased. Chile has better statistics on maternal mortality than the United States! You can read the article here.

World Magazine includes an interview with an obstetrician. She was asked about rape victims. Would she perform an abortion for a rape victim? She shared an experience that she had with a teenager that was pregnant by incest. Here is what she said:

So we talked with the girl and her family. She said, ‘Oh, you mean you’d kill the baby? I don’t want to kill the baby. No, no, no. I just want you to stop Grandpa from hurting me.” . . .

When you say there is a pregnancy as a result of incest, there’s usually some horrible abuse that must be diagnosed and treated.  To kill  the   victim doesn’t really treat the crime.*

I am not in favor of protests in front of an abortion clinic. I am glad that for the most part the approach has changed to prayer and sidewalk counseling. Clinics like Informed Choices and Caris, in my area, provide support for women that are pregnant and in a difficult place or life situation.

The Christian community can do more.   Women that are single       parents need help. Children in foster care need to be adopted. We can all increase our attentiveness to women and children in need.

UPDATE: The cold temperature in Chicago and wind chill factor predicted for tomorrow is going to be hazardous. Prayer for this event is welcomed!

SUNDAY: We encountered brutal wind chill but all were in good spirits and the march went well!

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Camilla Hersh, “The Happiness Specialist”, World Magazine, January 23, 2016, p. 29

Linking with A Little R & R, WholeHearted Home,  So Much at Home, Tell it to Me TuesdayTitus 2sdayTuesdays with a Twist, the Homemaking Party,  Word of God Speak, Grace & Truth,  Essential FridaysWeekend Whispers and Faith Filled Friday.

Rubella: Virus & Vaccine

The letter R in MMR stands for rubella. When I was a kid we called it the German measles. (Not to be confused with regular measles–or rubeola–which was in the news this year.) My siblings and I all had rubella when we were growing up; we got a fever and a rash. We stayed home from school for a few days. According to the CDC the symptoms are often mild and complications don’t happen often. Adults are more likely to have complications than children.

But rubella can cause birth defects if a woman has rubella during pregnancy. The vaccine issue popped up again as I worked on some continuing education for nursing. After reading about lab tests that check for infections during pregnancy, I went to the CDC’s page about rubella.

Being infected with rubella in the first three months of pregnancy has the most risk. The rubella virus can affect every organ in the body of the developing fetus. According to the CDC this is the reason that the rubella vaccine was developed—to avoid congenital rubella. The virus can also have delayed effects. Here is the quote that jumped off the page.

Manifestations of CRS [congenital rubella syndrome]may be delayed from 2 to 4 years. Diabetes mellitus appearing in later childhood occurs frequently in children with CRS. In addition, progressive encephalopathy resembling subacute sclerosing panencephalitis has been observed in some older children with CRS. Children with CRS have a higher than expected incidence of autism.

Recently I was reading research reports that described the development of the rubella vaccine. Timo Vesikari described the research in an article.

Under the seniors I was to do much of the work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception [the baby] and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that. *

The process of developing the rubella vaccine in the current MMR vaccine involves making use of viable fetal cells that are infected with rubella.

The full list of ingredients in the current MMR according to the CDC’s website: Medium 199, Minimum Essential Medium, Phosphate, recombinant human albumin, neomycin, sorbitol, hydrolyzed gelatin, chick embryo cell culture, WI-38 human diploid lung fibroblasts. WI-38 refers to the specific line of cells developed from an aborted fetus of approximately 3 months gestation.

Why does this bother me? The combined measles-mumps-rubella vaccine  became part of the vaccine schedule in 1971. The early version of this vaccine was developed from duck embryos. In 1971 abortion was not legal in the United States and a negative political reaction was feared. The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia was working with Finnish researchers to avoid censure. Finland legalized abortion some years before the U.S.

The vaccine developed from fetal cells was approved and became the standard in 1979. At 12 or 15 months of age children received the first dose of the MMR vaccine. In 1970 the rate of autism was 1 in 10,000. In 2012 the rate was 1 in 88. The rate continues to become more frequent. The current rate of autism is 1 in 59 children.

If a fetus that is infected with the virus during pregnancy can show long-term effects on health during childhood, is it possible that in some children the vaccine can cause long-term effects? At 12 to 15 months of age a child’s immune system is not mature. The immune system continue to develop to age two. How do we know the full impact of giving this live virus vaccine?

The FDA licensed the MMR vaccine based on eight groups of children that were given the vaccine (834 children total). The focus of the study was on the immune response to the vaccine–blood tests were done initially and 6 weeks later.

The studies revealed that a large portion of children (up to 55%) developed respiratory infection following the vaccine. Another 40% of children developed gastrointestinal illness. These side effects sometimes continued beyond 42 days but were not studied. No research on side effects and risks. Click here to view the studies submitted to the FDA.

We are learning with new research that the health of the gut impacts both mental and physical health.

Is it possible that the rubella portion of the MMR, in combination with other factors, contributes to the rising autism rate? A large number of research studies indicate that this is possible. Click here for a link to the studies.

Do we completely understand how the vaccine impacts a toddler over an extended time? Currently it is pretty much up to parents to report reactions. The mantra in the medical field is that vaccines are safe ; only parents seem to be tracking reactions.

The current vaccine injury program requires that severe reactions be documented in a timely fashion. Only with this documentation can the family have a hearing before a special court.    If the court decides that a vaccine caused the injury, the family is compensated. The U.S. government has paid over 4 billion dollars in compensation for vaccine injuries. Keep in mind that it is pretty much up to parents to contact the VAERS court.

Who is looking for the side effects that may occur over an extended period of time? Who believes the observations of parents?

The current CDC schedule requires 2 doses of the MMR: first one at age of 12 – 15 months, second one at age 4 – 6 years. The second dose is given because 2 – 5% of children don’t develop an immune response after one dose. If a child has had one MMR vaccine she may not need a second dose. A blood test can determine if a child has antibodies. A second dose might not be necessary.

In hindsight I wish that I had been better informed about vaccines when my children were little. I urge parents to become educated on this topic.    As Christians, how do we feel about the injection of cells derived from an aborted fetus into a healthy toddler? a child whose immune system is still developing?

CORRECTION: Although the rubella vaccine from fetal cells was developed in 1969 it was not initially accepted in the United States. The first rubella vaccine was developed from duck embryos. The vaccine developed from fetal cells was licensed in the U.S. in 1979 and replaced the vaccine developed from duck embryos.

Link to research article: “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond” by Timo Vesikari

Link to “Isolation of attenuated Rubella-Vaccine Virus from Human Products of Conception and Uterine Cervix” 

Updated: 4/15/2019

*Vesikari, Timo, M.D., PhD., “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond”, Human Vaccines & Immunotherapies, vol. 11, issue 6, 2015 pp. 1302-1305.

Vaheri, Antti M.D., “Isolation of Attenuated Rubella-Vaccine Virus from Human Products of Conception and Uterine Cervix” New England Journal of Medicine: June 1972

The Uncomfortable Truth About Vaccine Research

 

vaccines

Gut wrenching videos. Do you wonder what kind of research requires live baby parts? The barbaric procedures we have seen in undercover videos did not happen overnight. Biological research has been taking place for years with ever increasing boldness. I was shocked when I came across a link to a Finnish research article that detailed experimentation with live fetuses during abortions.

In the past I have expressed pride in my Finnish heritage. But medical research culled from abortion? I am saddened. In 1950 Finland legalized abortion. Socialized medicine paid for the abortions; research provided a return on the investment.

A research paper titled, “Development of Mammalian Sulfur Metabolism”, was published in Pediatric Research in 1972.  It details an experiment performed on live fetuses, just prior to the termination of their life. The purpose of the study was to track the metabolism of amino acids—requiring that the fetus live for 10 minutes beyond the injection of a solution into the umbilical cord. This study was designed to assist in the production of infant formula.

The article states: We have therefore examined the development of the transsulfuration pathway in 58 human fetuses obtained at therapeutic abortion during approximately the 2nd-6th month of gestation and in liver from 5 full term and 3 prematurely born infants.

The article goes on to explain the procedure that was used on live fetuses lifted from the uterus during a surgical procedure (hysterotomy): For “in vivo” experiments, each fetus immediately after removal from the uterus was injected with . . . [a specific solution]. All injections were made into the umbilical vein through a short Teflon catheter which was then rinsed with 0.2 ml 0.9% NaCl; the whole cord was clamped on the fetal side of the point of entry of the catheter to prevent blood loss during the experiment. After 10 min, the cord was severed close to the fetus, and as much blood as possible was collected into a tube which contained heparin as anticoagulant. The fetal organs were quickly removed and dropped into liquid nitrogen. The plasma and organs were prepared for amino acid analysis as described previously [26]  Click here to access the article.

This was not the only research being conducted through abortions. I did a little more searching. Timo Vesikari writes about his participation in vaccine development in an article titled, “From Rubella to Rotavirus, and Beyond”.* Here is an excerpt from the abstract:

Next, in late 1966, I was incredibly lucky to meet Antti Vaheri (later Professor of Virology) who had just returned to Finland from the Wistar Institute in Philadelphia with all the latest knowledge in rubella research. . . . Live attenuated rubella vaccines were being developed and the leading candidate was HP-77 high passage virus from NIH. An important open question was whether the live attenuated vaccine would cross placenta same way as wild type rubella virus. The crucial study was to be done in Finland, away from potentially damaging publicity in the US, with Dr. Fred Robbins, a Nobel Laureate, as godfather of the project. Under the seniors I was to do much of the work: vaccinate pregnant women prescreened to be seronegative for rubella and scheduled to have a legal abortion a week or two later. The plan was to isolate rubella (vaccine) virus from the products of conception [the baby] and, in fact, we succeeded in doing that.

Vaccine research continues. According to a table that is available here, twenty-one vaccines indicate a line of fetal cells in their preparation. The terms that identify a line of fetal cells, from individual fetuses are: WI-38, MRC-5, HEK-293, PER C6, Procell92, RA273. I believe that it takes experiments from many abortions to achieve one line of live cells.

I am not against scientific research that provides medical treatment, but we need to have boundaries on what is ethical. We shouldn’t being killing children of the next generation to provide vaccines that may or may not prevent an infectious disease.

I hope you will join with me in praying for our members of congress. We must demand that they look at research practices, defund planned parenthood and review the manner in which vaccines are produced along with the risks and benefits. Pray for the women that have been traumatized by abortion. Pray for the children.

For more about the MMR vaccine (which contains rubella derived from fetal cells), click here.

UPDATE: A scientist speaks up against the use of fetal tissue in research.             Click here.

UPDATE: A new line of fetal cells for the purpose of making vaccines, has been developed from more abortions.  Click here.

Psalm 139

 

*Vesikari, Timo, M.D., PhD., “From Rubella to Rotavirus and Beyond”, Human Vaccines & Immunotherapies, vol. 11, issue 6, 2015 pp. 1302-1305.

Linking with Titus 2sday,  Grace & Truth,  A Little R and R and Tuesdays with a Twist

Miscarriage and Abortion

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Have compassion on me, Lord, for I am weak.  Heal me, Lord, for my body is in agony.   Psalm 6:2  NLT

The reality of abortion is before us. The videotapes taken undercover show barbaric practices. What about the women that received abortions? Did they suffer? In the fifth video one of the abortion clinic workers affirms that the women receive conscious sedation but sometimes it doesn’t cover the pain—the patient may not be cooperative for a good collection of the fetus.

I recalled an experience that I had as a nurse in the hospital. My patient experienced a miscarriage. At sixteen weeks gestation, the infant had died in the womb.  The mother had experienced wrenching physical and emotional pain as she labored.   She had moaned, tossing and turning in bed.   As her nurse, I had given morphine ordered by the doctor, but it had not covered the pain.  After eight exhausting hours the body of the tiny girl baby was delivered.

We wrapped the baby in a blanket and after the mother held her, I made the memorial card. I held the tiny feet gently, applied ink and made footprints on the bereavement card—a memorial to the life of a baby girl and one aspect of bereavement care provided at the hospital.

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At the nurse’s station, a doctor was explaining various medications that he had used to abort pregnancies.  He talked about the abortion process and it struck me that women going through abortion may have experienced the same misery that I had just witnessed.   The difference was that they did not receive bereavement care.  Women went home from the hospital or clinic quietly. The experience may have been traumatic and done in secret.

Health care has physical, emotional and spiritual aspects. That is what I learned in nursing school in the 1970s. Whether a woman experiences a miscarriage or an abortion, it is traumatic. It is helpful if she can talk about it. Our God is merciful and compassionate.  He is able to bring healing. As believers we can affirm life, acknowledge loss and speak truth in love.  We can reach out to hurting women and tell them about God’s love and compassion.

Here are some specific ways to help.

1.  Support your local pregnancy care center. In the Chicago area we have Informed Choices, Caris and Care-Net.

2.  If you know a woman that has had an abortion or miscarriage be willing to come alongside her and listen. Let her know that God loves her.

3. Some of the pregnancy care centers provide post-abortion counseling. Rachel’s Vineyard offers a retreat for women that have had an abortion.

4. The bill to defund Planned Parenthood, sponsored by Joni Ernst, provides funds for women’s health though other health providers. Continue to contact your senators and congressmen, asking them to defund Planned Parenthood.

Linking with Coffee and Conversation, the Homemaking Party and A Little R & R