Like many young couples, Richard and Linda Bannon wanted to have a family of their own. But Linda, the oldest of five children, was born with Holt-Oram syndrome. Holt-Oram syndrome is “characterized by skeletal abnormalities of the hands and arms (upper limbs) and heart problems.” For Linda, it meant that she was born without arms.
Holt-Oram syndrome can be passed down to a child, even if just one parent has it. Through ultrasound images, the Bannons learned that their son also had Holt-Oram syndrome. Little Timmy, too, would be born without arms.
You could say D.C. McAllister had hit rock bottom when she found herself sitting in her car outside a Planned Parenthood in the heat. She had walked away from her life as a wife and mother to two children. A decision she calls selfish.
She began a new life with a new man, but it didn’t take long for her to realize how much she missed her children and that she wanted to give them the stable home that they deserved. But now she was pregnant, and a future with her husband and children just didn’t seem possible.
As she writes in her piece for Ricochet called Choosing Life, not only was she in a bad place with her husband because of her affair, but her church had shunned her for her actions. She writes:
When I saw them [church members], they turned the other way. They saw me as an untouchable, no longer a Christian, no longer a mother. Unforgiven. Cast out.
By now, most pro-lifers have heard the cruel and elitist comments made by Richard Dawkins about aborting Down syndrome babies. Dawkins claims that the “ethical” choice is to abort all babies with Down syndrome, even though these children often lead happy lives and enrich their families and society.
An NBC article by Kimbery Hayes Taylor describes the results of 3 studies conducted by Boston Children’s Hospital. In the first study, out of 2,044 parents or guardians surveyed, 79% reported their outlook on life was “more positive” because of their child with Down syndrome.
A second study found that among siblings of children with Down syndrome, 97% expressed feelings of pride for their brother or sister and 88% were convinced that they were better people because of their sibling. This study polled siblings over the age of 12.
In a disturbing reminder of the threat of religious liberty in the nation, the state of California today reversed a decision which had allowed two Jesuit Catholic universities to exclude paying for elective abortion coverage in their health insurance place. Instead, California decided the rights of those “needing” an abortion supersede those of religious conviction.
Both Santa Clara University and Loyola Marymount University had elected to offer insurance plans that were consistent with their pro-life values and did not pay for abortion coverage, citing their religious convictions. Today the Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC) reversed its decision and said that “abortion is a basic health care service” and even Catholic institutions must provide it because “the exclusions violate a 1975 state law that requires group health plans to cover all basic services – defined, by the law, as those that are ‘medically necessary.’”
Foster families play an integral role in the lives of children and teens who have no solid family structure to call their own. Foster children often deal with struggles and trials related to their past family life and the circumstances of being placed with foster families. They are forced to quickly adapt to new families in succession, as most foster families only keep foster children for a finite amount of time.
Sometimes, teens will age out of the foster system and into adulthood without any family to call their own. When Meredith, a teenager in foster care, finds herself receiving an adoptive family after a painful journey through the foster system, her relief and happiness are almost palpable. Meredith’s foster parents told her that they had called a meeting with her to affirm her and give her encouragement. She did not expect what was going to happen next.
Read more about efforts to help foster teens find forever families here.
Deanna Wallace is a student at Louisiana State University’s Paul M. Hebert Law Center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where she is working on her childhood dream of becoming a lawyer for the pro-life movement. Adopted by a loving family, Deanna first found motivation to do pro-life work through her own personal history. Now, as a law student, she makes use of every possible opportunity to reach out and encourage others.
At an art studio in rural Pennsylvania, Patrick Cleary examines a handful of ordinary white shoelaces before he begins a new work. Will he arrange the laces in playful whirls and spirals for the start of a sunset, one of his favorite themes? Maybe he’ll use them to create a variation on the American flag, another subject close to his heart and always undertaken in honor of his late brother Michael Cleary.
To replicate different textures on his paintings, Pat experiments with the laces, removing their plastic tips and fraying the threads to mimic grass, or an angel’s wing or a sky full of fuzzy stars. One of his paintings features a cheery turquoise owl perched on a branch made from extra long laces, meant for a tall man’s sneakers, painted to resemble tree bark.
I recently came across this touching Facebook group, Prayers for Shane. It was created by the mom and dad of baby Shane, a little boy who is due in October.
Baby Shane has been diagnosed with anencephaly, a malformation of the baby’s skull and brain. Many parents, upon receiving this heart-wrenching diagnosis, lose hope for their child’s future. But Shane’s parents, Dan and Jenna Haley, are no ordinary parents. With a deeply-rooted faith in God, which has remained unshaken by the unclear path set before them and their son, Dan and Jenna have relinquished their anxiety and fear and chosen to embrace the time they have with Shane — however long or short that may be.
I recently interviewed Donna, who struggles with feelings of loss, sadness, and guilt over an abortion her mother had before she was born. Her testimony is raw and honest, and she is still struggling with the death of her sibling. Even though neither her testimony nor her views fit neatly into the typical pro-life narrative that some people may expect, I feel she deserves a chance to be heard. May her story raise awareness of the pain that siblings of aborted babies often feel.
What were your feelings on abortion before you found out about losing a sibling?
I had always been pro-life, to varying degrees. I went through a “personal pro-life” phase around middle school – I would never make the choice, but it doesn’t necessarily mean no one should have the right, you know? But it got to a point where I couldn’t justify anyone making the choice, ever.
The pre-release buzz on the film adaptation of Lois Lowry’s acclaimed bestseller for young people, The Giver, was positive, from fans, from the author, and, notably, from the pro-life community. Indeed, the film version of the book brings visuals to the startlingly accurate pro-life message of the novel.
While many prevailing themes exists in the film, the films rising action and climax center around a saving a baby not considered good enough to live.
In a previous article, I presented an interview with Renee, whose mother had an abortion, about what it is like being the sibling of an aborted baby. In this followup piece, she gives suggestions to the pro-life movement on how to help people like her and also reaches out to other post-abortion siblings.
How can the pro-life movement reach out to people who have lost a sibling to abortion?
For several years after finding out about the abortion, I purposely tried to avoid the whole pro life movement. Mostly due to not wanting to dwell on the topic at all ( how he [my brother, the aborted baby] died, how mom felt, etc). In addition though, I felt it was more about shaming the post abortive, bashing the abortion minded, and using those graphic images. It’s tricky being a pro life sibling, because it feels like if we agree with abortion being murder and such, that we are betraying our parents who we still deeply love. And we don’t want to express our pain in front of them, for fear that we will only add to theirs. ( obviously this does not describe the feelings of ALL siblings, but myself and plenty I have spoken to/heard of).
xoJane.com is where women go when they are being selfish, and where their selfishness is applauded.
You know we’re in for a treat when a website advertises its character flaws right in its own slogan. Today’s example of praiseworthy narcissism is Natasia Langfelder’s harrowing tale of being “a bridesmaid at a wedding that became an anti-abortion PSA”:
I knew I was going to stand up for my cousin in a traditional Catholic ceremony, thereby embracing the values therein. But I didn’t expect to be bombarded with anti-abortion rhetoric the entire time.
After a three hour plane trip and three hours of driving on the longest, flattest expanse of land I’ve ever seen in my life, the bridal party and Duke’s and Diamond’s families all met at the church for the wedding rehearsal.
“Look,” my nine-year-old cousin exclaimed, “there are babies on the wall!” She pointed to a wall covered in multiple four foot high posters showing fetuses at several stages of development. Matching pamphlets were fanned out on a low coffee table in the center of the room.
Renee, who lost a sibling to abortion, has launched an internet ministry to help others in the same situation. She sometimes writes under the nickname “Susi O Fanabba”, which stands for “Surviving Sibling of an Aborted Baby.” She runs an online support group for surviving siblings and also has a blog here.
She was kind enough to let me interview her. Here she talks about her struggles after finding out about her brother’s death, things that have contributed to her healing, and her outreach to other siblings. A follow up article will talk about how she thinks the pro-life movement can do more to reach out to people like her.
Some married couples need time to “settle” and adjust before having children, but one pro-life couple says that “settling is silly” and loving children is what matters most. Natalie Brumfield, whose story of being pro-life began as a child, barely let the ink dry on her marriage license for her and her husband Mathew when they began their classes to be licensed foster parents.
Married in November 2012, the couple started their 10-weeks of foster care classes in January 2013. They wanted to go through a local Christian agency, Lifeline Children’s Services, and knew they had to be married a year before the home study and interviews could begin, but they felt it was important to dive in and get everything done they could so they would be ready when their first child arrived.
Tucked away in a children’s ministry office at Church of the Highlands in Birmingham, AL, Natalie Brumfield’s sweet voice that engages children to love Jesus almost masks the warrior that lives to fight abortion—but only for a moment. To know Natalie is to know what being wholly pro-life is.
Natalie is proof that one ordinary person who doesn’t speak before thousands or write best-selling books can make more of a difference for life than many ever will. But her life also reminds us that we can do the same. In her, the extraordinary is formed from an ordinary person who chooses to say yes to the call to life.
Mollie Thomas was born and raised in the beautiful mountains of North Carolina. Her parents are a loving couple, who grew her up in the Christian faith. From the young age of five Mollie had an awareness of the love of Jesus. When she was eight Mollie’s church held a presentation put on by a local crisis pregnancy center. During the presentation a clip of an abortion was shown. Mollie remembers seeing the baby’s limbs being pulled off its body while in its mother’s womb. She describes the dismemberment scene as ‘nightmarish’, and was shocked she was actually allowed to watch it.
Imagine coming to church for worship, and then having your silent prayer interrupted with “Abomination! You’re going to hell! Synagogue of Satan!”
This is what pro-abortion activists at “Faithful America,” a left-wing religious group, asked readers this week following a protest organized by Operation Save America at a Unitarian Universalist center in New Orleans.
Kasey Jackson is a wife and pro-life advocate who, in the last two years, had twin boys and wrote the newly released pro-life allegorical suspense novel BLUE. The book is written in a a unique histopian genre as it intertwines a fictional story with real-life historical events, namely the implementation of the Termination of Pregnancy Bill in South Africa in 1996.
Jackson believes that “art influences culture” and wanted to reach across the pro-life vs. pro-choice divide through her writing. The original inspiration for the story came “after watching a documentary about the social justice issue of the harvesting of body parts of people with albinism in different areas of Africa.” Her motivation for the story “was to explore the subject of abortion in a way that was approachable from BOTH sides of the debate–pro-life and pro-choice–to hopefully open up a fresh discussion about this issue.”
In college, I became close friends with a sincere and loving artist named Noelle. After we graduated I kept up with her mostly through social media updates and a Christmas card of her family I kept on my fridge. While I stayed in New England, Noelle and her husband Feike (a spirited and talented musician from Holland) moved to Wyoming. As the years passed their family expanded to hold five children, with one set of twins. Raising five children under the age of five isn’t always easy. However, Noelle and Feike embraced parenthood with compassion and joy. Their pictures of life lived in the great big spaces of open Wyoming land, always put a smile on my face.