Friday, February 4, 2011

I Have a Book That Will Rock Your World!!

An excerpt from the preface of Abby Johnson's Unplanned:

"Thirteen weeks," I heard the nurse say after taking measurements to determine the fetus's age.
"Okay," the doctor said, looking at me, "just hold the probe in place during the procedure so I can see what I'm doing."
The cool air of the exam room left me feeling chilled. My eyes still glued to the image of this perfectly formed baby, I watched as a new image entered the video screen. The cannula - a straw-shaped instrument attached to the end of the suction tube - had been inserted into the uterus and was nearing the baby's side. It looked like an invader on the screen, out of place. Wrong. It just looked wrong.
My heart sped up. Time slowed. I didn't want to look, but I didn't want to stop looking either. I couldn't not watch. I was horrified, but fascinated at the same time, like a gawker slowing as he drives past some horrific automobile wreck - not wanting to see a mangled body, but looking all the same.
My eyes flew to the patient's face; tears flowed from the corners of her eyes. I could see she was in pain. The nurse dabbed the woman's face with a tissue.
"Just breathe," the nurse gently coached her. "Breathe."
"It's almost over," I whispered. I wanted to stay focused on her, but my eyes shot back to the image on the screen. At first the baby didn't seem aware of the cannula. It gently probed the baby's side, and for a quick second I felt relief. Of course, I thought. The fetus doesn't feel pain. I had reassured countless women of this as I'd been taught by Planned Parenthood. The fetal tissue feels nothing as it is removed. Get a grip, Abby. This is a simple, quick medical procedure. My head was working hard to control my responses, but I couldn't shake an inner disquiet that was quickly mounting to horror as I watched the screen.
The next movement was the sudden jerk of a tiny foot as the baby started kicking, as if trying to move away from the probing invader. As the cannula pressed in, the baby began struggling to turn and twist away. It seemed clear to me that the fetus could feel the cannula and did not like the feeling. And then the doctor's voice broke through, startling me.
"Beam me up, Scotty," he said lightheartedly to the nurse. He was telling her to turn on the suction - in an abortion the suction isn't turned on until the doctor feels he has the cannula in exactly the right place.
I had the sudden urge to yell "Stop!" to shake the woman and say, "Look at what is happening to your baby! Wake up! Hurry! Stop them!
But even as I thought those words, I looked at my own hand holding the probe. I was one of "them" performing this act. My eyes shot back to the screen again. The cannula was lareday being rotated by the doctor, and now I could see the tiny body violently twisting with it. For the briefest moment it looked as if the baby were being wrung like a dishcloth, twirled and squeezed. And then the little body crumpled and began disappearing into the cannula before my eyes. The last thing I saw was the tiny, perfectly formed backbone sucked into the tube, and then everything was gone. And the uterus was empty. Totally empty.

Order this book for yourself and anyone who thinks abortion is about the right of a woman to "choose"


  1. There is no solution to the abortion debate. Both sides have their stances rife with circular logic and, ultimately, irreconcilable differences.

    It's the ultimate human rights issue with no good resolution and the same tired arguments being trotted out by both sides.

    I, like other pro-choice individuals, feel that outlawing abortion would violate the civil rights of women everywhere in that it would force them to carry pregnancy to term regardless of medical risk or the circumstances surrounding the original conception.

    The pro-life crowd feels that every unborn child has the same basic rights as a physiologically independent human and that terminating a pregnancy violates said rights.

    At the root of the issue is the question of when life actually begins. Does it begin at conception or birth? Is a zygote a human even though it can't survive outside of the uterus? These are questions that no one can answer: I can't answer them; Fr. John Hollowell can't answer them; Abby Johnson can't answer them; Barack Obama can't answer them; Antonin Scalia can't answer them; Pope Benedict can't answer them.

    Abortion is legal and will remain so because we are a secular country founded on the principle of separation of church and state. All Americans have the freedom to worship whoever, whatever, and however they chose but no specific religious tenets shall determine what becomes law. Outlawing an approved medical procedure practiced by licensed and regulated professionals based on the church's teaching would violate the secular nature of government and could be the first misstep on a slippery slope to eventual theocracy.

    How about a compromise? Congress outlaws abortion in exchange for a repeal on the church's tax exempt status. The taxes collected from the Catholic Church and other pro-life, faith-based organizations and PACs would go toward funding healthcare and state custody until the age of 18 for all infants who would have otherwise been aborted and are not adopted. Oh, and these taxes will also fund multi-million dollar wrongful death settlements to the families of mothers who die during high risk pregnancies that would have otherwise been terminated. Sound good?

    As far as I'm concerned the church can offer counseling to mothers considering abortion, present them alternatives, provide resources, etc., etc. They can demonstrate, protest, and pray all they want but shouldn't actively attempt to foist their values upon society by contributing to political campaigns through PACs and lobbying organizations in order to enact legislation.

    J.Maxwell Roncalli '98

  2. The solution to the abortion debate is conversion of a person's heart and turning away from selfishness, one person at a time. Mother Theresa said, "There are two victims in every abortion: a dead baby and a dead conscience." You have a dead conscience that you could read that excerpt and come up with a diatribe about the politics of abortion. The question is Why?

  3. Generalize much mparsons? Why is abortion the be-all-end-all social issue that the church leans on so heavily? How is my position on that issue alone determinant of a dead conscience? I could just as easily say that you are devoid of human sympathy because you read the passage while not giving a moment's thought to the mother's circumstances, pain and what lead her to that point. Of course, that wouldn't make it true.

    Notice the language used. The author repeatedly refers to the fetus as a baby and describes it kicking, twisting, etc in an effort to "get away" from the suction cannula. At 13 weeks gestation the baby has basic reflexes (clenching it's fingers, etc.) so it will react to the presence of a foreign object in the uterus but it is unknown if proprioception has developed to the point where it can actually feel pain. Johnson uses this descriptive language so that your mind pictures a cooing, kicking active baby inside of the womb instead of what it really was: a 3-inch long, 0.5 oz. fetus at 13 weeks which may not have even developed external sex organs to the point where gender could be determined. Did you notice how she never referred to the fetus as a boy or girl?

    It's well-written descriptive language that clearly obtains its sensationalist objective when read from the mindset of someone who sees a 13-week fetus as analogous to a newborn infant lying in a mother's arms. A newborn infant lying in its mothers arms is physiologically independent. It exchanges oxygen and carbon dioxide in it's own lungs, not a placenta. The concept really isn't all that difficult.

    J.Maxwell Roncalli '98

  4. Maxwell,
    It seems that you have in fact decided that the child Johnson describes ISN'T a life, although above you said it is unclear.

    Abortion heals nothing, it doesn't heal rape, etc. Ever talked with a woman considering abortion? How about a woman who has been raped? The women I've worked with, and the accounts from other people in the cause who I know and trust have shared this as well, those women are never helped by having an abortion. It sounds good in theory, but it never actually bears itself out in real life - but yet it is the pro-life camp that is accused of operating in some lofty philosophical realm.

    Children need parents until, I'd say, roughly age 7-10 so the whole idea of viability is an absolute joke. The child lying in its mothers arms is physiologically independent for about an hour and a half until it needs food or water - come on man, you are getting ridiculous now.

    Is Mparsons guilty of generalizations but you aren't? "Care for the mother" is the most abused phrase in all of this debate. That is the number one insult that pro-abortion (notice I said abortion not choice) people hurl at pro-lifers (notice I said life not anti-choice) but have you ever been to a "clinic" or "abortion mill"? I can tell you that the ONLY people who are there AFTER the abortion are the pro-lifers. If Planned Parenthood were really about concern for the mother and helping the woman then why would they do everything in their power institutionally to funnel them towards abortion and prevent them from contact with people who want to help. To be pro-life is to be pro-woman.

    I agree 100% semantics is the key to this whole debate. The March 4 Life on CNN - "The Anti-choice Rally." Planned Parenthood's language - "fetus" "tissue" "clump of cells" - that's why Johnson could work there for years but the first time she saw it all go down on an ultra-sound she ran out the door. That's what Planned Parenthood and the culture of death want from you - to keep using their language. There was a book I leafed through a couple of years ago - "John Paul II - Combating the Language of the Culture of Death." Semantics means everything - even a postmodernist like Sartre or Nietzsche would tell you that much. Of course words matter.

  5. I'll certainly agree that abortion "heals" nothing. In cases of rape or incest then I would suppose the abortion vs. life debate would come down to which option was least emotionally taxing to the victimized woman. Would abortion be more devastating to the woman than carrying the unwanted child to term through the violent hormonal storm that is pregnancy? Post-partum depression takes a heavy toll on many women who wanted to conceive, carry and deliver their child. Now imagine what that would be like if the child's very existence was a result of traumatic circumstances and acts as a constant reminder of that trauma? There's no easy way out of that quagmire. It's really all about which distasteful option is best for the individual.

    I didn't express my position clearly in that I should have divorced myself from Planned Parenthood a bit. There are, in fact, many of their policies, procedures, and stances that I am not at all fond of. Take, for example, the recent video shot at a PP clinic of the couple who posed as a pimp and underage prostitute. That was simply deplorable and I would hope is the exception rather than the rule. Just as I view the militant pro-life individuals who murder abortion doctors as the exception rather than the rule.

    I also vehemently disagree with PP's emphasis on abortion as the primary option. They should present ALL options. Including faith-based ones if the patient wishes to give any of those groups audience to her dilemma.

    As far as being there after the abortion, I would question what capacity the pro-life individuals are acting in. If they are there to comfort, reassure, and present help to the women then I'm all for it. Hell, I'll send them a donation when the checks start rolling in from my new job here in Nashville. But if they are there to cast aspersions, inflict emotional pain and exacerbate what must already be tremendous guilt then I'd be in favor of them being unable to protest within 300 feet of the clinic door.

    I've gotta run for now but I'll further explain physiologic independence in a later post.

    J.Maxwell Roncalli '98

  6. No, Maxwell I don't generalize. You have a dead conscience because this issue is so basic and paramount. Abortion is the ultimate act of bullying--killing someone smaller than yourself. I am hardly devoid of sympathy for mother's--being a mother of six children myself--three adopted from the foster-care system and one biological child that is severely handicapped--in a wheelchair and on a feeding tube(twenty-four hour nursing care). I have walked the walk. I can tell you that a thirteen-week old baby in my body was every bit as precious to me as a newborn. To commit abortion one must go against every natural instinct a mother has. By the way-I had two babies after my severely handicapped daughter, so I know a thing or two about difficult circumstances. What about you--are you a mother or is this all just hypothetical to you?

  7. Maxwell,

    With the rape thing again I ask have you been there and talked with women after a rape? I agree that one can make a "reasoned" argument for aborting children conceived in a rape - BUT DOES THAT ARGUMENT PLAY OUT IN REAL LIFE? I can also make a "reasoned" argument about how contraception will lower the number of "unwanted" pregnancies, but does that statistic actually PLAY ITSELF OUT TO BE TRUE? Of course not.

    That, to me, highlights one of the major benefits and joys of having a magisterium - my reason is sometimes in need of support - what I think in my head to be true is bolstered by my faith because what I think in my head is not always what happens, even if my logic is sound. The benefit of being Catholic is that at those moments when logical arguments can be made in two opposite directions, the Church comes in and provides the direction based on the fact that it has been around and experienced life through its tens of billions of members through the millenia.

  8. Since Roe v. Wade 52 million children have been aborted. If Roe v. Wade never happened, do people think all 52 million abortions would have happened in our country, just illegally instead?

  9. First to Fr. Hollowell:
    "With the rape thing again I ask have you been there and talked with women after a rape? I agree that one can make a "reasoned" argument for aborting children conceived in a rape - BUT DOES THAT ARGUMENT PLAY OUT IN REAL LIFE?"

    No I haven't talked to women after a rape resulting in an unwanted pregnancy. I had at least two friends at IU who were raped at some point. Neither incident resulted in conception that I'm aware of but, then again, that might not have been something they really wanted to divulge. When a friend of mine breaches that subject I really don't know what to say because I have no frame of reference to the violation of self that they've experienced nor do I have any frame of reference to their continued emotional pain AND NEITHER DO YOU. Does the argument play out in real life? In some cases yes and in some cases no. Are there rape victims who later regret the decision to abort the child? I'm sure there are. Are there others who are provided some small amount of closure to the matter in that they don't have to carry through the entire pregnancy? Probably. Again THE ARGUMENT PLAYS OUT BOTH WAYS which is why abortion isn't illegal nor is it mandatory. It's a choice that women themselves are free to make utilizing consultation from any source they choose to access.

    "Since Roe v. Wade 52 million children have been aborted. If Roe v. Wade never happened, do people think all 52 million abortions would have happened in our country, just illegally instead?"

    No, all 52 million abortions would most likely not have happened illegally. Would the foster care system have become more over-burdened than it already is? Would we have an increase in the number of child deaths due to abuse and neglect? Would the mortality rate of teen mothers spike as a result of accessing underground procedures? Would the number of children born to socially and financially unstable single mothers be even greater than it is now? Would the government be able to support the increase in public assistance needed by unskilled, uneducated single mothers? What about the prison population as a result of abuse/neglect cases, mothers accessing illegal abortions and the individuals offering these reckless and unregulated services? See, I can play the what-if game too and deduce answers to hypothetical questions that, although probable, may not have actually played out in line with the odds.


    I'm a male so I'd say it's all hypothetical to me. This is the problem with this debate in that it is so emotionally charged that you are unable to separate yourself from your deep-seeded feelings and instincts to support your position logically. Hence, you resort to unverifiable statements of personal experience and ad-hominem attacks like accusing your opponent of having a "dead conscience".

    Fr. Hollowell gets a bit more latitude in using statements of personal experience to support the church's position because as a clergyman THAT'S WHAT HE DOES. He has a verifiable vocation as a priest in the Catholic Church. Part of his call is to minister to those seeking guidance and facing issues such as choosing abortion or life. That's why I'm more than willing to cut him some slack in this regard. However, I still don't believe he can fully appreciate what these women experience nor can I. Your beliefs are what they are. There was no choice for you because you had already made up your mind.

    I may be an anonymous, godless, subhuman to you but I assure you I am not anonymous to Fr. Hollowell. He knows full well who I am and I respect his viewpoints and his ability to engage in civil discourse without accusation or contempt.

    J.Maxwell Roncalli '98

  10. Maxwell,
    You are not a anonymous,godless,subhuman to me. On the contrary, all my prayers yesterday were offered for you. I believe you are spiritually crying out for help. I felt it was best to get straight to the point and not sugarcoat things. You seem to put a lot of time and energy into thinking up excuses for abortion. I see a lot of rationalization and "the sky is falling" arguments instead of taking this one person at a time. If your friend or girlfriend comes to you seeking advice about abortion, how about manning up and telling her you will be there for her and that it will work out. Did you know that many women seeking abortion want to be talked out of it and if they felt the support from the men in their lives, they would have the baby. I am a woman and we are more emotional but that doesn't make my position less valid. I've been to the dance--I have firsthand knowledge of pregnancy and I have shared my story with you. I felt called by the Holy Spirit to respond to your post. My prayers for you are that you will allow yourself to come out of darkness and be the person that God intended you to be--a soldier for Christ. If you are worried about foster-care kids, why not be a Big Brother or find a wife and adopt some like I did? That would have much more real-world positive impact than being an abortion spin doctor. Change starts with the man in the mirror. I see you are a Roncalli grad? I am a Cardinal Ritter grad and our school motto was,"Dare to be Different." That's why I defend the unborn. Peace be with you, Maxwell.

  11. Maxwell,
    Just curious as to why you chose to use a Catholic priest's blog to spred your very anti-Catholic message. Is it something personal? Is that why you also put the fact that you graduated from Roncalli, like Fr. Hollowell?
    It seems to me your comments would be more appreciated on a Planned Parenthood or similar type blog.
    Like M.Parsons, I will pray for your conversion. You were obviously brought up in the Church and must have some pride in that fact, or you wouldn't make sure we all know you went to Roncalli.
    We've all been caught up in the sins of this world, but there is hope in Christ. Be open to Him, Maxwell.

    J.Williams Ritter'91

  12. Maxwell,

    I am still waiting for a woman to come forward and say "Abortion helped me heal from my rape." Don't you think the abortion industry would be putting that woman on Oprah and the View and using every other connection they have to promote this? In all of my research in this debate, and in the work I've done with women I've never come across one. I'm shocked that Planned Parenthood hasn't found that woman yet to put her on a billboard and use as a face for their theoretical claim that "abortion can help heal a rape."

    I have to be honest, I really get upset when people start throwing around hypotheticals about effects on welfare, over-stressed orphanages, prison numbers, etc. I don't hate you, obviously, but I hate the logic because it has been used to justify the biggest atrocities in the history of mankind. We are saying, when we use those hypotheticals, that we know what WILL happen. I'd personally trade 52 million babies lives for the problems you mention. Plus, what if one of the aborted kids figured out the solution to all of your problems you mention. Me saying that one of the kids aborted would have solved these problems is just as possible and just as certain as the things you raddled off.

    So often people who get hysterical about the hypotheticals that you mentioned imagine that if it weren't for Roe there would suddenly be 52 million screaming kids in our streets or getting beat by their single mothers. Some of the kids aborted under Roe would be 37 years old - well old enough to adopt other "unwanted" children, old enough to be contributing to society, helping build other prisons, old enough to be working in the child welfare offices, etc.

    One of the things you mentioned though seems especially false. We have a lot of couples (I talk to them) who can't conceive and yet they don't even bother lining up for adoption because it is NEARLY IMPOSSIBLE. Many couples have to pay 5-10,000 dollars to adopt some child from Russia or China because here no one has kids that doesn't want them.

    I just hate the hypotheticals because they sound like reasoned and rational thoughts but they are no more certain than the world ending tomorrow.

    I'd love your thoughts on "physiological independence" that you were talking about earlier whenever you get the chance. Also, what are your thoughts on the fact that our society isn't replacing itself? Is that a good thing? I'm asking that seriously; I'd love to know your thoughts.

  13. J. Maxwell,
    In regards to your comments: "As far as being there after the abortion, I would question what capacity the pro-life individuals are acting in. If they are there to comfort, reassure, and present help to the women then I'm all for it. Hell, I'll send them a donation when the checks start rolling in from my new job here in Nashville. But if they are there to cast aspersions, inflict emotional pain and exacerbate what must already be tremendous guilt then I'd be in favor of them being unable to protest within 300 feet of the clinic door."

    There are MANY pro-life organizations that offer loving post-abortion help (and many of the people praying at the clinics participate in those organizations too). I can only speak for the many CATHOLIC pro-lifers that I know who are very passionate about helping all women, pre-abortion & post-abortion, and NONE would "cast aspersions, inflict emotional pain and exacerbate what must already be tremendous guilt" !

    Listed below are just 5 of many wonderful Post-Abortion Healing Ministries. Each website has a "donate" section/tab. I hope you will keep your word and put your money where your mouth is.

    Healing Hidden Hurts

    Rachel's Vineyard

    Bethesda Healing Ministry

    National Office of Post-Abortion Reconciliation and Healing (NOPARH)

    Hope After Abortion

    You will be in my prayers as well. I also pray that you will be blessed to see your unborn child for the first time in your wife's womb via ultrasound one day. At 7 weeks post-conception, looking at the silhouette of your precious child and it's beating heart. I don't doubt it will take your breath away! It changed my heart and I pray it will do the same for you. God bless you.

  14. After reading the excerpt of the horrific, graphic, preface of this book, I know I cannot read it. I made the mistake of reading this blog before going to bed, and now I know I'm going to have nightmares. I know the story needs to be told in this manner; people need to know that abortion is just wrong.

  15. This is not the tone of the rest of the book - the rest of the book though is fast paced and it has all the things of a John Grisham novel that make them so enjoyable to read - court room drama, corporate behemoths vs. the little person, and redemption. There is a reason it cracked the NYT bestseller list.

  16. I can tell you as a person who "chose" abortion that the only hope is to pray and pray that women are strong enough NOT to allow the devil to make them turn on their own child. I am sickened by the sense of relief I felt when my pregnancies were ended. I was living a sinful and sorrow filled life and I am sorry every day for the choices I made. Maybe one of the ironies of abortion is that your child goes back to God, while you live on in your self created hell. I have a child now, one is all I will ever have now (due to my previous choices, use of contraception and sinfully wasted time) and she is precious beyond description. I have always felt somethting was missing in my life even after my dream of having a child was finally recongnized... and I have come to realize that I am accutely aware of the absence of the children whose human lives I have destroyed. I sometimes kneel by my bed to pray and I picture them at the ages they would be now, looking back at me. A great fear of mine is that they will not recognize me when we hopefully can meet again. Knowing how much I loved my living baby from the moment I knew she existed only increases the pain and regret that I feel for having so easily rejected the children I could have had. I do pray for all women who have had or are considering an abortion. The time for "choice" is BEFORE you engage in activities that lead to pregnancy.

  17. Wow! Thanks for your amazing testimony! Myself and all the readers of this blog will definitely keep you in prayer!

  18. As someone so desperately waiting for a child to adopt I hope and pray that all those like me are blessed by strong women who choose life. I have come to find as each day passes that life without children is somewhat empty. I find myself angry at women who so easily disregard life that someone like me finds so hard to bare. My hope is that like stryan says women start making the "choice" at the time they engage in activities that lead to unwanted pregnancy.