Kathleen Gilbert

Complete interview with Abigail Seidman - abortion and the occult

Kathleen Gilbert
Kathleen Gilbert

LSN: A preliminary question: what faith are you now, if any?

SEIDMAN: I am in the process of being received into the Roman Catholic Church (attending RCIA and planning to formally join at 2011 Easter Vigil).  After a period of study and consideration starting around October/November 2009, I accepted Jesus Christ as my savior in June 2010 and attended an evangelical church for a few months before deciding that the Catholic church was where I belonged. 

Prior to my reversion to Christianity, I had been an atheist/agnostic since my parents left the Episcopal church when I was 6.  I was never a serious practicing wiccan/pagan/new-ager, although I did dabble in it as it was culturally expected.  I mainly stuck to atheism because it felt safe - it cast the pagan activities I had witnessed as silly superstitions with no true spiritual power, which was much more comforting than believing the truth about them. 

I also felt that Christianity would not welcome me if I returned (a belief assisted by my mother, who forbade me to associate closely with Christians, and repeatedly told me that Jesus would not accept me back once I had doubted him, so my only choice was to continue on the path away from him).  This was a common scare-tactic among pagans - “Christians won’t accept you after what you’ve done, so you’d better stick with us and work for the goddess’s triumph over the Christian god.” 

LSN: What aspects of life inside an abortion clinic did you notice were occult in nature? Did occult values assist the abortion process? How and to what extent?

SEIDMAN:  The clinic where my mother worked was pervaded with occult imagery and practices.  There was goddess art and statuary in the office, waiting, counseling, and recovery room areas, and new age music (occasionally including goddess chants and songs) was piped throughout.  The counselors were primarily chosen for their spiritual qualifications, and a few did not even have a degree in a relevant field (ie psychology, counseling, social work).  One was a trained chef turned sex worker (or “sacred prostitute”, as they preferred to think of it). 

After the clinic closed for the evening, the staff would all smoke marijuana together and occasionally take hallucinogens if they were available - this was viewed as a spiritual practice, not a recreational one (they were rather scornful of people who used drugs just to get high for fun rather than to ‘open their minds’ to ‘spiritual realities and higher planes of existence’). 

There were also special ceremonies involved when members of the clinic staff got intentionally pregnant in order to have abortions, which would be conducted after hours with a large group.  I was not welcome at these ceremonies since I had never had an abortion myself (at the time), so I can’t give details, but on one occasion I babysat the infant daughter of a clinic worker during one, upstairs from the clinic, and I remember hearing bits of song/chanting and that the doctor was not present (he was male and the ceremony was female only), so the abortion was obviously being performed by an unqualified person.  The women at the clinic were trained in “underground” abortion techniques in case of Roe v Wade being overturned. 

My mother hosted a menstrual extraction party at our house once in 1992, when there was a lot of fear circulating about the possibility of Bush being re-elected and appointing a lot of pro-life judges, or getting a Republican Congress to work with and chipping away at legal abortion that way.  [Menstrual extraction is a low-tech procedure that removes uterine contents by suction immediately before menses are due, and may be used as a very early abortion method.]

LSN: What was the mood like in this atmosphere?

SEIDMAN: The mood I remember as being dark and terrifying - not in an overtly scary way, but in a pit-of-the-stomach sort of way.  I always had a ‘feeling’ that there was something ‘wrong’ or ‘dangerous’ there - almost a feeling of a presence, which I now recognize as being the exact opposite of the Presence that I feel in a church. 

I now see other things that make sense - like the fact that the baby I watched on occasion upstairs from the clinic never smiled or laughed or played - she screamed most of the time except when her mother was nursing her, after which she would fall into a fitful sleep for a while.  My otherwise-difficult autistic sons, on the other hand, are very soothed by being in a church - any church - and behave, one could say, ‘miraculously’ well!  I would think children would naturally be more sensitive to spiritual things, not having learned yet to filter them out or shut that awareness down.  I know I was very aware of, and joyful about, the presence of God in church when I was little, despite my parents rolling their eyes and telling me to calm down and stop pretending.

LSN: What deities were worshipped?

SEIDMAN:  The main figure worshipped was The Goddess, goddess figures from various traditions (Hindu, Greek, Roman, Babylonian, Egyptian, etc) were seen as ‘archetypes’ or ‘faces’ of this one true goddess, who was viewed as being in opposition to (and ultimately, to triumph over) the Judeo-Christian God.  The goddess was taught to me as being more ancient, having created the world and people to live in it peacefully in a prehistoric ‘golden age’ of matriarchal rule, before the rise of patriarchy and civilization.  God was painted as a diabolical figure, jealous of the Goddess’s power, who invented the idea of rape and taught human men to practice it, bringing about the end of humans living in a natural, violence-free state. 

Women were encouraged to choose particular goddess figures as their personal role models or patrons (much like Catholics choosing a confirmation saint).  The culture was rather lesbian-separatist (and in that way different from other pagan individuals or groups that I’ve researched or been in contact with), in that ONLY goddesses were worshipped, never gods, and men were not welcome to participate in ceremonies and only barely tolerated as sexual or romantic partners. 

The clinic’s only male employee was the doctor, and he was strictly business - he showed up, he performed procedures, he left.  I got to know him fairly well over the years and he was just in it for the money, he thought the spirituality was ridiculous.  He preferred to work in a medical/professional environment (the other clinics where he worked, including the one where my first abortion was performed, were no different from any other doctor’s office in layout or procedure), but his and his wife’s addictions to spending made him work whenever and wherever he could, so he tolerated the goddess stuff.  (He was also a bit of a sex addict, so the clinic staff’s willingness to fornicate freely and have abortions whenever possible definitely worked in his favor, and most of the clinic employees had sex with him at some point, except for the sworn lesbians ....)

Interestingly, the Goddess was also known as the Great Dragon (this was said to be her “truest form”) - which I was quite surprised to find out existed in the Bible as well, although definitely not a person to be worshipped!  Seriously, I had no idea.  My exposure to the Bible and Christian theology was minimal at best until a year ago.  You could have knocked me over with a feather when I read Revelation. 

I had always been a bit afraid of Mary due to my past and wanting to repudiate anything resembling goddess-worship, so Revelation and its account of the great dragon being at war with the true Queen of Heaven, the mother of Christ, was truly a revelation for me, and toppled my final objection to becoming Catholic rather than remaining nondenominational Protestant.  I had heard Mary strongly denounced by my mother and her friends, but their rationale was that she was the ideal oppressed Christian woman and had been set up by sadistic patriarchal men as an impossible model for women to conform to, being both a virgin and a mother.  (Their ideal was to be promiscuous and childless, like Artemis/Diana.)  I have since found the spiritual motherhood of Mary to be a great comfort to me as a mis-mothered and now motherless woman (my mother has stopped speaking to me as I have become a stronger Christian and more prominent pro-lifer, and I’m fine with that as I find her presence even on the phone to be a sort of “spiritual toxin”).

LSN: Did you notice any effect of pro-life prayer on life inside the clinic?

SEIDMAN: The best example of pro-life prayer and its effectiveness can be found in a story I posted to my local pro-life group’s blog (http://prolifecville.blogspot.com/2010/10/power-of-prayer-never-give-up.html).

I also remember one clinic worker seeking to reach out and form some sort of partnership with the local CPCs, as it bothered her that women who decided against abortion were just being pushed out the door with no further assistance.  She struck up some friendships with CPC staff and had tours of each others’ facilities arranged; and eventually came to an agreement with the CPC that in the event of a woman changing her mind about abortion during the counseling process, she would be set up with an immediate CPC appointment and given directions there by the abortion clinic staff (the CPC naturally refused a reciprocal agreement to make abortion appointments for women who were not swayed by their arguments for life).  I don’t know what became of this in the long term, as she is no longer employed there; but I do know that the clinic’s new location (it was forced to move due to the former building being bought and demolished for new construction) is back-to-back with the CPC.  Coincidence?

I also had some positive interactions with one sidewalk counselor in particular, who is now older and doesn’t get out to the clinic but is apparently still active in local pro-life fundraising - I hope to meet her again when I travel to Toledo next fall to speak at their 40 Days For Life kickoff rally.  She had an adopted son who was my age and I could tell that she really felt for me as a teenage girl being misled and abused by my mother and her friends.  It was as though she could see past the cold front I put up right into my heart that wanted to be free from the twisted world I was growing up in.

LSN: How widespread do you believe the behavior you witnessed to be among abortion clinics?

SEIDMAN:  I really can’t say.  I think the independent and/or feminist-oriented clinics would be more likely to be similar to what I experienced.  The owner of the clinic I’ve described was a good friend of the late Dr. George Tiller and the descriptions of his clinic that I’ve read sound like there was more going on there than just business, too.  Many if not most clinics are strictly business (including, in general, Planned Parenthood affiliates), but that does not preclude individuals or groups who work in those clinics, or abortion advocates in general, being involved to some degree in the occult.  I believe many of them are, although many are also atheists, or liberal Christians. 

I do believe that the occult believers are the “core” of the pro-abortion movement, just as the born-again Christians are the “core” of the pro-life movement, and I see no harm in striking at its heart, and informing “pro-choice” people (particularly the well-meaning but misguided Christians) of who and what they are truly associating themselves with.

LSN: Please tell me anything else you find surprising about your experience vis a vis the occult, or something you think the typical pro-lifer would not guess to be so.

SEIDMAN:  I think the thing that pro-lifers have found to be the most surprising, in my discussions with them thus far, is that the paganism/wicca/goddess-worship IS taken seriously by many liberals, pro-choicers, feminists, etc.  It’s not just a boogeyman.  Whether or not one believes that these spiritual beliefs and practices have any power, the fact is that there is a significant population of people who do, and who believe in it just as wholeheartedly as we believe in Christianity or other faiths. 

I’ve had a bit of disbelief from Christian pro-lifers who seem to not be able to comprehend someone honestly believing in another religion and not just rebelling against Christianity (which they, of course, know to be true - doesn’t everybody?) - they tend to be the ones who were raised Christian and sort of kept in the “Christian bubble”, and just really aren’t aware that there are people, even in modern America, who did not come from the same sort of background, people who may not have even been exposed to Christianity except in the vague cultural sense (celebrating Christmas as a secular holiday, etc).  There needs to be more educational work done about this, because I know the “core” of pro-lifers does tend to be lifelong Christians (especially the younger set), and many of them are just a bit naive or sheltered. 

I have written and spoken a bit on effective outreach to atheists. and the information has been mostly well-received (and used to positive effect by a team of sidewalk counselors in Fairfax, VA).  I plan to work on a guide to outreach for pagan believers too, since there are a great many pagan-friendly arguments for life, and also the scientific approach can work with nearly anyone (and the science is definitely on the pro-life side!). 

To me at least, religious conversion is secondary to conversion to pro-life beliefs.  I was pro-life for many, many years before accepting Christianity, and although I wasn’t a strong activist during that time, I did donate to secular pro-life groups like Feminists For Life, and voted for pro-life candidates whenever possible, as well as privately voicing and arguing my stance among friends.  I would rather see a hundred pro-life atheists in the world than one pro-abortion Christian.

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Lisa Bourne

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Cardinal Dolan: Debate on denying Communion to pro-abortion pols ‘in the past’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

As America heads into its 2014 midterm elections, a leading U.S. prelate says the nation’s bishops believe debate over whether to deny Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians is “in the past.”

The Church’s Code of Canon Law states in Canon 915 that those “obstinately persevering in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.” Leading Vatican officials, including Pope Benedict XVI himself, have said this canon ought to be applied in the case of pro-abortion Catholic politicians. However, prelates in the West have widely ignored it, and some have openly disagreed.

John Allen, Jr. of the new website Crux, launched as a Catholic initiative under the auspices of the Boston Globe, asked New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan about the issue earlier this month.

“In a way, I like to think it’s an issue that served us well in forcing us to do a serious examination of conscience about how we can best teach our people about their political responsibilities,” the cardinal responded, “but by now that inflammatory issue is in the past.”

“I don’t hear too many bishops saying it’s something that we need to debate nationally, or that we have to decide collegially,” he continued. “I think most bishops have said, ‘We trust individual bishops in individual cases.’ Most don’t think it’s something for which we have to go to the mat.”

Cardinal Dolan expressed personal disinterest in upholding Canon 915 publicly in 2010 when he told an Albany TV station he was not in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians. He said at the time that he preferred “to follow the lead of Popes John Paul II and Benedict XVI, who said it was better to try to persuade them than to impose sanctions.”

However, in 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who became Pope Benedict XVI the following year, wrote the U.S. Bishops a letter stating that a Catholic politician who would vote for "permissive abortion and euthanasia laws" after being duly instructed and warned, "must" be denied Communion. 

Cardinal Ratzinger sent the document to the U.S. Bishops in 2004 to help inform their debate on the issue. However, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, then-chair of the USCCB Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, who received the letter, withheld the full text from the bishops, and used it instead to suggest ambiguity on the issue from the Vatican.

A couple of weeks after Cardinal McCarrick’s June 2004 address to the USCCB, the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger was leaked to well-known Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, who published the full document. Cardinal Ratzinger’s office later confirmed the leaked document as authentic.

Since the debate in 2004, numerous U.S. prelates have openly opposed denying Communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians.

In 2008, Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley suggested the Church had yet to formally pronounce on the issue, and that until it does, “I don’t think we’re going to be denying Communion to the people.”

In 2009, Cardinal Donald Wuerl of Washington D.C. in 2009 said that upholding of Canon 915 would turn the Eucharist into a political “weapon,” refusing to employ the law in the case of abortion supporter Rep. Nancy Pelosi.

Cardinal Roger Mahoney, archbishop emeritus of Los Angeles, said in a 2009 newspaper interview that pro-abortion politicians should be granted communion because Jesus Christ gave Holy Communion to Judas Iscariot.

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However, one of the Church’s leading proponents of the practice, U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke, who is prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, insists that denying Communion is not a punishment.

“The Church’s discipline from the time of Saint Paul has admonished those who obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin not to present themselves for Holy Communion,” he said at LifeSiteNews’ first annual Rome Life Forum in Vatican City in early May. "The discipline is not a punishment but the recognition of the objective condition of the soul of the person involved in such sin."  

Only days earlier, Cardinal Francis Arinze, former prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, told LifeSiteNews that he has no patience for politicians who say that they are “personally” opposed to abortion, but are unwilling to “impose” their views on others.

On the question of Communion, he said, “Do you really need a cardinal from the Vatican to answer that?”

Cardinal Christian Tumi, archbishop emeritus of Douala, told LifeSiteNews around the same time that ministers of Holy Communion are “bound not to” give the Eucharist to Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Pro-life organizations across the world have said they share the pastoral concern for pro-abortion politicians. Fifty-two pro-life leaders from 16 nations at the recent Rome Life Forum called on the bishops of the Catholic Church to honor Canon 915 and withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians as an act of love and mercy.

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‘His bones are basically like paper’: Parents refuse to abort baby with rare condition

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By Kirsten Anderson

At just 11 weeks old, little Layton Diven is not like other babies. Every time his parents pick him up or cuddle him, there is a chance they will break his bones. In fact, Layton has already suffered more than 20 fractures in his short life – beginning at the moment of his birth.

Layton has Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), a rare disease that makes his bones brittle and prone to breakage. There are several types of OI, and Layton’s type, OI Type III, is the most severe type found among infants. Most babies born with the disease, like Layton, are born with multiple fractures, especially along the rib cage. Many struggle to breathe or swallow. The incurable disease is progressive, so it will get worse as he gets older.

Layton was diagnosed with OI in the womb, but abortion wasn’t an option for his parents, Chad and Angela Diven, who considered their baby a gift from God, no matter his condition.

“We weren't going to have an abortion, so he was born with the disease,” Angela Diven told KSLA. “God chose me for him, to be his mom, so I have to take that huge responsibility and do what's best for him.”

That responsibility comes with a heavy price. Layton requires 24-hour care, but both Angela and Chad have full-time jobs. He can’t go to regular daycare, because it’s not safe for him.

“You can't just pick him up like a normal baby,” Diven said. “You can't dress him like a normal child; his bones are basically like paper. He can't go to daycare because of his condition. He's medically fragile, and a daycare can't handle him."

Childcare costs are just the beginning, though – the treatments Layton will need throughout his life are expensive and may not be covered by insurance.

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Layton is currently receiving pamidronate IV therapy, which will help to strengthen his bones. But in order to be able to stand or walk, he will need metal rods implanted in his legs – an operation that will cost the Divens $80,000. The OI specialist coordinating Layton’s care is in Omaha, Nebraska, while the Divens live in Louisiana. As he grows, Layton will also require special equipment, such as a wheelchair, along with extensive physical therapy.

Despite the hardships they knew would come, the Divens stepped out in faith to bring Layton into the world. Now, they are reaching out to the internet for help to shoulder the financial burdens that came with their baby blessing. The family has set up both a GoFundMe and a Facebook page called “Lifting Up Layton Diven,” where people can receive updates on Layton’s condition and contribute to the cost of his care.

To donate to baby Layton’s medical trust fund, click here.

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John-Henry Westen John-Henry Westen Follow John-Henry

Sources confirm Cardinal Burke will be removed. But will he attend the Synod?

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By John-Henry Westen

Sources in Rome have confirmed to LifeSiteNews that Cardinal Raymond Burke, the head of the Vatican’s highest court, known as the Apostolic Signatura, is to be removed from his post as head of the Vatican dicastery and given a non-curial assignment as patron of the Order of Malta.

The timing of the move is key since Cardinal Burke is currently on the list to attend October’s Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He is attending in his capacity as head of one of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, so if he is removed prior to the Synod it could mean he would not be able to attend.

Burke has been one of the key defenders in the lead-up to the Synod of the Church's traditional practice of withholding Communion from Catholics who are divorced and civilly remarried.

Most of the Catholic world first learned of the shocking development through Vatican reporter Sandro Magister, whose post ‘Exile to Malta for Cardinal Burke’ went out late last night.

If Burke’s removal from the Signatura is confirmed, said Magister, the cardinal “would not be promoted - as some are fantasizing in the blogosphere - to the difficult but prestigious see of Chicago, but rather demoted to the pompous - but ecclesiastically very modest - title of ‘cardinal patron’ of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, replacing the current head, Paolo Sardi, who recently turned 80.”

At 66, Cardinal Burke is still in his Episcopal prime.

The prominent traditional Catholic blog Rorate Caeli goes as far as to say, “It would be the greatest humiliation of a Curial Cardinal in living memory, truly unprecedented in modern times: considering the reasonably young age of the Cardinal, such a move would be, in terms of the modern Church, nothing short than a complete degradation and a clear punishment.”

On Tuesday, American traditionalist priest-blogger Fr. John Zuhlsdorf also hinted he had heard the move was underway. “I’ve been biting the inside of my mouth for a while now,” he wrote. “The optimist in me was saying that the official announcement would not be made until after the Synod of Bishops, or at least the beginning of the Synod. Or at all.”

“It’s not good news,” he added.

Both Magister and Zuhlsdorf predicted that the controversial move would unleash a wave of simultaneous jubilation from dissident Catholics and criticism from faithful Catholics. The decision to remove Cardinal Burke from his position on the Congregation for Bishops last December caused a public outpouring of concern and dismay from Catholic and pro-life leaders across the globe.

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Both men speculated on the reasons for the ouster. 

Magister pointed out that Burke is the latest in a line of ‘Ratzingerian’ prelates to undergo the axe.

“In his first months as bishop of Rome, pope Bergoglio immediately provided for the transfer to lower-ranking positions of three prominent curial figures: Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, Archbishop Guido Pozzo, and Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca, considered for their theological and liturgical sensibilities among the most ‘Ratzingerian’ of the Roman curia,” said Magister.

He added: “Another whose fate appears to be sealed is the Spanish archbishop of Opus Dei Celso Morga Iruzubieta.”

Fr. Zuhlsdorf observed that Pope Francis may also be shrinking the Curial offices and thus reducing the number of Cardinals needed to fill those posts. He adds however, “It would be naïve in the extreme to think that there are lacking near Francis’s elbows those who have been sharpening their knives for Card. Burke and for anyone else associated closely with Pope Benedict.” 

“This is millennial, clerical blood sport.”

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