John Jalsevac

Stunning new 3D ultrasounds offer clearest-yet picture inside the womb

John Jalsevac
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This ain’t your mother’s ultrasound.

The Daily Mail reported last week on the development of next-generation 3D ultrasound technology that is offering the clearest picture yet inside the womb.

According to the Mail, “The software takes a conventional 3D ultrasound scan and adds colour, skin texture, lighting and shadows.”

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The result is stunning images that make you feel as if you can reach out and touch the baby. 

The technology has returned some amazing images even of babies early on in pregnancy, clearly showing the arms and legs and other features.

With technology like this, it is getting harder and harder every day for abortion advocates to claim with a straight face that the unborn child is “just a blob of tissue.”

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Porn is 'empowering' and 'freeing' and 'the way the world should be,' swears Miriam Weeks. Except she forgot a few important details.

Porn is super-empowering: just ask the Duke University porn star

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

She looks young, younger than her 18 years. Sitting on a bed in a hotel room wearing baggy pajamas, glasses, and a far-away look, she looks at the camera and says bluntly, “A lot of s**t in my life has been ruined because of sex.”

It is then that you see her eyes. They look somehow old.

Hundreds of thousands of fans know her as Belle Knox, one of the most popular names in porn. The media often refers to her as the “Duke University porn star,” after a classmate revealed that she was paying her tuition by starring in porn shoots. We later discovered that the name her friends and family know her by is Miriam Weeks.

She has been touted far and wide as proof that porn can be empowering and evidence that feminists can sell their bodies as objects and still be, well, “feminist.” Here, porn supporters told us with satisfaction, is a nice girl from a Catholic home who loves to do porn just because she loves sex. Porn is, as Weeks told the cameras, “empowering” and “freeing” and “the way the world should be.”

And then, recently, Weeks did a series of interviews for an upcoming documentary. In them, she paints a much different picture than the freeing, empowering, sex-fueled fantasy world her fans and porn supporters claim she inhabits.

Is it any wonder that many fathers have a harder time connecting with their daughters, when they spend countless hours watching girls their daughters’ age being beaten up, raped, and subjected to every imaginable type of sexual degradation?

“The sex industry has a way of making you very cynical and very bitter,” a tired-looking Weeks tells an off-camera interviewer, “In a way I’ve started to become kind of a bit bitter and a bit cynical.”

Why? “It teaches you to be street smart and not to trust people…I’m so used to being on the lookout for scammers, people who are going to try pimp me out or traffic me. I think my experiences have aged me. I don’t have the mind of an eighteen-year-old. I have the emotional baggage of someone much, much older than me.”

Some of this baggage is what propelled her into the porn industry in the first place.

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In many interviews, Weeks talks obsessively about how porn gives her control over her own sexual destiny: “In porn, everything is on my terms. I can say no whenever I want to. I am in control.” Later on, we discover why this is so important to her: Weeks reveals that she had been raped. “What porn has done for me,” she says firmly, “is it has given me back my agency.”

Even amidst the perverted adulation of porn-addicted fans, however, she still bears the scars of self-loathing. In some cases, literal scars. One day looking in the mirror, she became so overcome with self-hatred that she smashed the mirror and cut herself, slicing the jagged letters “FAT” into the flesh of her thigh. Thus, the reactions of many who found out that she had done porn shoots – who called her “ugly” and “a dumb whore” and said that she “should die” - proved devastating to Miriam. It is this ugly misogyny that increasingly fuels many porn viewers, and gives delusional publications like Salon the excuse they need to claim that working in porn has not hurt Miriam Weeks, but only opponents of porn who try to “shame” her.

Listening to Miriam tell her story, it boggles my mind that people can still defend the porn industry, or call it “empowering” or “the way the world should be.”

Miriam herself admits that her first scene, shot for a company she refers to as “Facial Abuse,” was “a really, really rough scene. I wasn’t prepared for how rough it was. It was weird having some random photographer watch me have my a** kicked on camera.” She talks about getting literally torn up during porn shoots. She admits that porn shoots in which she was physically beaten up until she sobbed were probably shoots she should have refused. Yet she didn’t.

The control is a myth too, of course. The porn industry has many ways of coercing the human beings they market into doing what they want. For one shoot, Miriam recalls almost tearfully, her agent wouldn’t tell her who she had to “work with.” When she arrived at the set, she realized he was fifty years old. She wanted to leave, but then she’d have to pay a 300 dollar “kill fee,” the director would have been furious, and, she says, she could never have worked for that company again. So she did it.

“I felt like crying during the entire scene and afterwards I was really, really upset,” Miriam says tearfully to the camera, looking like nothing more than the hurting 18-year-old girl she is. “I just thought of my mom, who was always there for me and always protected me…I think about my mom a lot when I do porn scenes. Just how sad she would be that her little daughter was doing this.”

And Mrs. Weeks’ little daughter does these things in part because of the demand. The demand of creepy grey-haired men twice her age or more who line up to get her photo autographed at porn conventions. Is it any wonder that many fathers have a harder time connecting with their daughters, when they spend countless hours watching girls their daughters’ age being beaten up, raped, and subjected to every imaginable type of sexual degradation?

Miriam Weeks, we see in her heart-breaking interviews, is just a hurting 18-year-old girl being used by an industry that takes girls like her, exploits their insecurities, promises them empowerment, and then subjects them to abuse and degradation until they can’t handle it any more. Then the carnivorous recruiters simply go out looking for fresh flesh to feed the baying cannibalistic mob, burning with insatiable lust and shouting their demands for new girls, new girls to degrade and discard.

A new day, a new human sacrifice at the altar of Eros.

The more fortunate girls realize they need to leave the industry. One of Miriam’s friends has told her that when she can no longer distinguish between her porn alter-ego and herself, it’s time to leave. Miriam is not quite sure what this means, she tells the interviewer, but she finds it interesting.

“People see Belle, but they don’t see Miriam,” she says sadly, “I think I’m…Miriam right now?”

And for all the world, she sounds as lost as our morally bankrupt culture.

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Tom and Anne Fritz in the backyard of their home in Chepstow

Wounded hero Tom Fritz needs your prayers

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

Jim Hughes, vice-president of International Right to Life and leader of Canada’s national pro-life organization, and I drove together for a few hours today to visit a truly great man and dear friend, Tom Fritz, who was terribly injured in a car accident yesterday morning.

It struck us as we were talking how scarce great men and women are these days. There seem to be so few such men and women among all the ruling classes and elites that we encounter every day. In our work we personally meet with, talk to and hear intimate details of many of these disappointing persons of influence. Weakness, fear and concern for personal comfort, careers and especially finances are rampant.

The great German pastor Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who actively worked against Adolf Hitler and shamed many fellow Christians with his courage and who was eventually executed by the Nazis proclaimed, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

Tom Fritz, faithful husband and father, pro-life and pro-family to the core, a quiet, humble man of extraordinary generosity, a prolific entrepreneur, a man who loves God deeply, has always been fearless in speaking and acting against evil. 

Tom was the founder of Business for Life along with Fr. Ted Colleton over 20 years ago. Jim and I have also been a part of that organization for all those years and Tom and his wife Anne and their daughter Lisa, also a key Business for Life member and now a LifeSite board member, have become dear friends.

I have never known Tom to be concerned, like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, about what others think of him. His only concern has been what is right and what is wrong and what God expects him to personally do about these things. He has personally given considerable support, including the work of his hands, to Campaign Life Coalition, LifeSiteNews and other pro-life efforts and often delivered his crops to the Food Bank and to Dr. Simone's Food for Children.

Tom is what Jim and I would call one of the truly great men that we have personally known in our lives. He also is someone who would never be comfortable with people writing or saying such praiseworthy things about him, but today I think that it is appropriate to do so.

And now Tom really needs our prayers. He needs your prayers.

Tom is over 70 years of age, but he has still kept working at his Fritz Construction Business and doing good works. Nobody can stop Tom. He is a very robust country boy, farmer and contractor who thrives on heavy work that would kill most men his age. Tom has always loved challenges – the bigger the better. The doctors at the hospital say that his heart is very strong.

Yesterday, for some reason, at 7:15 am, Tom veered across the highway into the back of a large truck, flipped a number of times through the air and onto the side of the road. It took firemen over an hour to free him from the vehicle and then he was immediately airlifted to hospital in Hamilton, Ontario. Another half-hour and he would have lost all of his blood and not survived.

Tom was in surgery for several hours yesterday with massive injuries, including internal bleeding that took several hours to stop. He has many broken bones, a punctured lung, some terrible lacerations, his spleen was removed. He survived that surgery.

Friday night, he was scheduled for 8-12 hours of orthopedic surgery to repair the broken bones in his leg, arms, wrist, chest and hip and elsewhere. That has been re-scheduled for possibly Saturday because of continued bleeding from one of his injuries. He is in critical condition, so there is much concern as to whether he will survive the surgery. After the surgery, there will be a long, painful recovery.

Please pray for Tom and Anne and Lisa and their son Greg and the five grandchildren.

These are salt of the earth good people from God’s country in the tiny, beautiful country hamlet called Chepstow. Tom and Anne have a house and small farm next to their formerly owned Fritz Concrete factory. Lisa, who still works at the former family business and for the construction business, lives down the street with her husband and children. Son Greg and his family live not too far away in the town of Terra.

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Abortion and the mystery of suffering

Melanie Pritchard Melanie Pritchard Follow Melanie
By Melanie Pritchard

When I check my Facebook, I love to see people celebrating and sharing beautiful moments in their lives. But today as I peruse my page, I see heartache.

First I see the mother of a girl I went to high school youth group with sharing that her mother will die of cancer in the next 48 hours. I pause as I remember building gingerbread houses at their home every year at Christmas time, remembering when life was normal.

Then I see a post by a woman who I had talked to at a wedding I attended about a week prior. She has just learned her teenage son has Leukemia and she is pleading for prayers.

I read on to find that another friend who is pregnant has been told that her baby will only survive but a few hours after he/she is born.

My heart aches and I try to hold back tears as I tell to my children in the next room to brush their teeth and get ready for school. Today, our day is normal. Our day will most likely be usual. And, I am grateful for that; but I ache for those whose lives will change today and never be the same.

I ache for those who hurt because I know what it feels like to suffer the intense circumstances that life throws at you when you least expect it. I write each of my Facebook friends a note of encouragement and prayer, but it doesn’t seem enough.

And then I recall how I spent the previous evening. A friend texted me asking for help. A girl he knows was at his house and was determined have an abortion. I tried to support and encourage him through texting while he was trying to convince her to save her child.

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She is 24, had a one-night-stand with a guy at a party, and now she is pregnant and in deep distress. She wants the immediate disappearance of her difficult situation. And why wouldn’t she, when we live in a culture that revolts against any type of suffering?

We live in a culture that creates every gizmo and gadget to make life easier and simple. They have duped us all. There is no real escape from suffering, as my friend whose son has cancer, my friend whose mother will die, and my friend who will lose her child after birth know too well. There is no escape.

This woman who chose to have a one-night-stand with a stranger can legally choose to kill her child in the name of convenience, but it does not take away the suffering she will endure. She can hide that she is pregnant, but she cannot hide from the fact that she is a mother. The only real choice she has left to make is whether she wants to be the mother of a dead child, by choosing to pay an abortionist to kill her child, or to suffer through nine months of pregnancy to sacrifice for her innocent child. Then, she can choose to raise the child or give him/her up for adoption.

Pain hits me in the gut as I think of my friend who would give anything for her child to live a long life after birth, while this stranger is ready and willing to end the life of her child before birth. It is a paradox I don’t pretend to understand, but I pray for each. I pray for the woman who will lose her child to natural causes.  I pray for her strength because I know people in our culture will encourage her to abort her unborn child to save her the agony of carrying full term just to witness her child’s untimely death. I also pray for the woman who will choose to end the life of her child. I am physically powerless to stop either situation from happening, but I will pray because God is not powerless.

I don’t know why we suffer. I don’t know why God allows us to suffer, and I don’t pretend to have all the answers. But what I do know is that when we allow God to be in the center of that suffering, there is hope, there is grace, and there is mercy. It may be a mercy far beyond our understanding, but it is there.

And when we are faced with horrific, life changing news that will rip our hearts apart in the suffering we will endure, we have two choices:

We can separate ourselves in our pain, anger, and heartache from the love of God, or we can cling to the love of God and let nothing—nothing come between us and the God who loves us. The same God who loves the mother who will die a horrible death of cancer, the same God who loves the child just diagnosed with Leukemia, and the same God who loves the two unborn children and their mothers who will make radically different choices.  

The same God who will love and grow us in strength and virtue through our suffering if we allow it.

Through God, all things are possible, and so we must cling to hope for all those who suffer today and pray their suffering brings them right into the heart of Christ who sees it all, who can heal it all, and who strengthens all.

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