Christine Dhanagom

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‘Forever in my heart’: finding healing after an abortion and a stillbirth

Christine Dhanagom
Christine Dhanagom
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May 1, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Hannah Rose Allen vividly remembers the decisive moment when she knew that she was going to choose life for her child.

At nineteen years old, this was Allen’s second pregnancy. The first had ended only a few months before with a traumatic chemical abortion that had left her empty, grieving and numb. She had tried to escape the pain by throwing herself into another relationship, only to find herself pregnant again.

Allen had scheduled a second abortion for August 15th, but on a quiet summer evening after the date had come and gone, she found herself standing outside, taking in a beautiful sunset, with her child still growing inside her. She was, she says, still trying to understand why she had not walked through those clinic doors.

“I felt like I had committed the unforgiveable sin,” she remembers. “What’s another abortion? I’ve already had one. It’s too late for me to have a successful life, a happy life, to be a Christian. It’s just too late.”

But that evening, in a moment of piercing clarity, she knew that the fact that she had not gone to Planned Parenthood on the 15th was proof that God had not abandoned her.

“He showed me that he was fighting for me and for my unborn child,” she recalls.

She felt that she had come to “a fork in the road,” and that God was revealing to her the beauty that would come if she chose life. The realization, however, opened the floodgate of fears that haunted the thought of that path: How will I face my parents? What will my future be like with a child? Will I ever get married if I’m already a mom?

But, she says, even as she was overwhelmed by those familiar doubts, she knew that the victory had been won. 

“I realized that all those things no longer mattered because I knew that God would walk with me and would hold my hand and give me the strength I needed the moment I needed it,” she says. Little did Hannah Rose realize at that moment how desperately she would come to lean on the promise of that grace.

The pregnancy was a turning point in her life. When she found out she was having a girl, she named her daughter “Lily,” which means "purity and innocence," as a symbol of her renewed purity in Christ. Her first child she named “Luke Shiloh,” which she says means “light and peace.”

“In choosing life for Lily, God restored my heart that was totally broken from my abortion,” Allen says. She knew, too, that she wanted to share her story in order to encourage other young women in crisis pregnancies.

 “I started to have this passion ignited within me to be a voice for these unborn children,” she says.

On March 16, 2010, two days after her due date, she arrived at the hospital ready to deliver. It had been a normal pregnancy and an ultrasound just days before had revealed a healthy, full term baby. Contractions were coming steadily, but along with the pain was the joyful expectation of finally holding her daughter in her arms.

But moments later, in the delivery room, she was living a mother’s worst nightmare. What had begun as a routine check of the baby’s heart rate quickly escalated into a frantic search for the sound of a heartbeat.

An ultrasound machine was wheeled in, and Allen’s doctor stared silently at it for a moment before delivering the devastating news: “I’m so sorry. Her heart is no longer beating.”

“I just remember turning my head from side to side and saying no, no, no,” Allen recalls.

With the support of her family, Allen labored all day to push her child’s body out. Lily Katherine Allen-Ball was born that afternoon at 4:24 PM. She was seven pounds, nine ounces, and twenty one inches long.

The nurse wrapped Lily’s tiny body and placed it in the arms of her grieving mother. She was “perfect and beautiful,” Allen remembers.

“I literally remember myself perishing under the weight of this,” she says, “In that moment I knew that God was saying, ‘You have to depend on me.’”

That night, as Allen cradled her daughter’s body and cherished the few moments that she would have with her on this earth, she knew that Lily’s name had taken on a whole new meaning. It was a symbol not just of Allen’s renewed purity but of Lily’s purity, which would now remain forever untouched.

“It just blew me away to see how [God] cared so much about my daughter that He would reveal her name to me,” says Allen. “He fought for her life because He had a greater plan and purpose for her life than I could ever have imagined.”

That purpose, she believes, is only beginning to find fulfillment in her own efforts to reach out to other pregnant and post-abortive women by sharing her story. She now maintains a website, and has spoken at the March for Life and other pro-life events.

The message of Luke and Lily’s life, Allen believes, is that “if you choose life, no matter the outcome, you’ll have no regrets.”

She adds: “These aren’t empty words from someone who doesn’t understand and has never walked this road. I can say ‘I get it’ because I truly do. I’ve walked the road twice and I’ve chosen both ways, and I will forever regret my abortion, but I will never, ever regret choosing life.”

Through her contact with other post-abortive women, Allen has also learned that, contrary to what she was told by a Planned Parenthood employee, it’s “normal and it’s perfectly ok” to grieve for a child lost through abortion.

“It’s the forbidden grief,” Allen notes. “It’s easier to talk about Lily and her loss because a lot of people look down on me for being so open about my abortion. But I feel that I’m called to be a voice for Luke and for other aborted babies, and for the women that live in shame and silence and suffer for decades.”

“God loves Luke and has a plan for his life just as much as Lily’s,” she adds. “They will both forever be in my heart.”

Hannah Rose Allen can be reached at: roseandherlily@gmail.com.

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Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
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Vatican pressing forward with reform of US feminist nuns: Cardinal Müller

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, says the Vatican is pressing forward with plans to reform the U.S.-based Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR).

In an interview published in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, the cardinal said that the reform of the LCWR, which was undertaken after an assessment of the group found serious doctrinal problems, will be carried out with the goal of helping them "rediscover their identity.”

“Congregations have no more vocations and risk dying out," Müller said. "We have first of all tried to reduce hostility and tensions, partly thanks to Bishop Sartain whom we sent to negotiate with them; he is a very gentle man. We wish to stress that we are not misogynists, we are not women gobblers! Of course we have a different concept of religious life but we hope to help them rediscover their identity.”

Moreover, the cardinal said that problems specific to the LCWR are not a reflection of all the women religious in the US.

"We need to bear in mind that they do not represent all US nuns, but just a group of nuns who form part of an association,” Müller said.

“We have received many distressed letters from other nuns belonging to the same congregations, who are suffering a great deal because of the direction in which the LCWR is steering their mission.”

Cardinal Müller's remarks confirmed the assertion he and the Holy See’s delegate to the LCWR, Archbishop Peter Sartain of Seattle, made in an address to LCWR officials in Rome on April 30, that the theological drift the feminist nuns are taking constitutes a radical departure from the foundational theological concepts of Catholicism.

The Holy See “believes that the charismatic vitality of religious life can only flourish within the ecclesial faith of the Church,” Müller said in the address.

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“The LCWR, as a canonical entity dependent on the Holy See, has a profound obligation to the promotion of that faith as the essential foundation of religious life. Canonical status and ecclesial vision go hand-in-hand, and at this phase of the implementation of the Doctrinal Assessment, we are looking for a clearer expression of that ecclesial vision and more substantive signs of collaboration,” he stated.

The LCWR has openly defied the mandate of reform intended to bring their organization into line with basic Catholic doctrine on the nature of God, the Church, and sexual morality.

Among the CDF’s directives, to which LCWR has strenuously objected, is the requirement that “speakers and presenters at major programs” be approved by Archbishop Sartain. This, Müller has explained, was decided in order to “avoid difficult and embarrassing situations wherein speakers use an LCWR forum to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.”

The LCWR has invited speakers to their Annual Assembly such as New Age guru Barbara Marx Hubbard, and Sr. Laurie Brink, who is particularly noted for flagrantly denying the Divinity of Christ and telling the sisters that to maintain their “prophetic” place in society they need to “go beyond” the Church and even “go beyond Jesus.”

In one of the first public statements of his pontificate, Pope Francis affirmed that the investigation and reform of the LCWR must continue.

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Brian Fisher

Birth mothers: real heroes of the pro-life movement

Brian Fisher
By Brian Fisher
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What does it mean to be brave? Is it the doctor who dedicates himself to improving the health of a third-world nation? Is it the woman who faces her third round of chemotherapy to fight the progression of cancer? Is it the teacher who forgoes the comforts of a suburban school to reach minorities in the inner city? All of these are examples of bravery demonstrated in exceedingly challenging circumstances. And our society longs for stories of bravery to inspire us and fill us with hope.

As someone who works day in and day out with those on the front lines of helping rescue babies from abortion, I’m no stranger to stories of bravery. I see courage every day in the eyes of the men and women who sacrifice their time and energy to help women facing unplanned pregnancies. I see it every time a young mom — despite being pressured by her parents or significant other to get an abortion — chooses LIFE. And perhaps more profoundly than in any other situation, I see it when an expectant mom with no relational support, job, or income chooses to place her baby for adoption rather than abort her son or daughter.

This was Nicky’s situation.

When Nicky found herself pregnant with her boyfriend’s child, her life was already in shambles. During her 26 years, Nicky had already given birth to and surrendered sole custody of a little girl, committed several felonies, lived in her car, lost several jobs, and barely subsisted on minimum wage. So when she met up with an old boyfriend, Brandon, Nicky believed she was being given a second chance at happiness. “Our first year together was beautiful. We were getting to know each other and deciding if we would stay together forever.” Unfortunately, a positive pregnancy test result changed everything.

“When I told him I was pregnant, Brandon sat down on the bed, looked me in the eyes, and told me to ‘get an abortion’.” Nicky says those three little words changed everything for her. “I became depressed living with someone who wanted his child ‘dealt with.’”  Like thousands of women every day, Nicky began searching online for information on abortion, hoping her boyfriend would eventually change his mind. Through our strategic marketing methods, Online for Life was able to guide Nicky to a life-affirming pregnancy center where she received grace-filled counsel. “The woman I sat with was beyond wonderful. She helped me to just breathe and ask God what to do….And so I did.”

Nicky left the pregnancy center that day with a new resolve to choose life for her child, even though she still wasn’t sure how she’d financially support a child. “I was alone with just $10 in my pocket…and without any type of plan for what I was going to do.” So Nicky relied on the support of the staff she met at the life-affirming pregnancy center. With their help and through a chain of fortunate events, Nicky was put in contact with the couple who would eventually become her daughter’s adoptive parents.

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After meeting this couple face to face and coming to terms with her own desperate situation, Nicky conceded that the best thing for her unborn child would be to place her in someone else’s loving home. She told Brandon about her plans and he agreed that adoption would give their child the best chance at a happy and secure future. He even returned home to help Nicky prepare for the birth of their child. “The weeks leading up to my delivery were filled with a mixture of laughter, tears, protectiveness and sadness,” Nicky recalls. But one sentiment continued to be shared with her. “Brave…so brave.” That’s what everyone from the life-affirming pregnancy center to the adoption agency to the birthing center kept calling Nicky. “The nurses kept coming up to me and telling me they were honored to care for and treat someone like me.” After several weeks of preparation, Nicky finally gave birth to a healthy baby girl, and she made the dreams of a couple from the other side of the country come true.

Nicky’s adoption story continues to be riddled with a strange combination of pain and joy. “I cry every day, but I know my baby, who came out of a very bad time, ended up being loved by people from across the country.” When asked what message she’d like to share with the world about her decision to give up her child for adoption, Nicky responds, The voice of the mother who gives up a baby for adoption isn’t heard. We need to change that.”

To learn more about Online for Life and how we’re helping to make stories like Nicky and her daughter’s story a possibility, please visit OnlineforLife.org.

Author, speaker, and business leader Brian Fisher is the President and Co-Founder of Online for Life, a transparent, metric-oriented, compassion-driven nonprofit organization dedicated to helping rescue babies and their families from abortion through technology and grace.

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New York farmers stop hosting weddings after $13,000 fine for declining lesbian ceremony

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By Dustin Siggins

New York farmers Robert and Cynthia Gifford, who were ordered last week to pay $13,000 for not hosting a same-sex "wedding," say they are closing that part of their operation.

"Going forward, the Giffords have decided to no longer host any wedding ceremonies on their farm, other than the ones already under contract," said Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) lawyer James Trainor. ADF represented the Giffords in their legal fight against New York's non-discrimination law.

Last week, the Giffords were ordered to pay a $10,000 fine to the state of New York and $3,000 in damages to a lesbian couple, Jennifer McCarthy and Melisa Erwin, who approached them in 2012 about hosting their "wedding." The Giffords, who are Roman Catholic, said their religious convictions would not let them host the ceremony, but that McCarthy and Erwin could hold their reception on their property.

Unbeknownst to the Giffords, the lesbian couple recorded the two-to-three minute conversation. After declining to hold the reception on the Giffords' farm, on which they live and rent property, the lesbian couple decided to make a formal complaint to the state's Division of Human Rights.

Eventually, Judge Migdalia Pares ruled that the Giffords' farm, Liberty Ridge Farm, constitutes a public accommodation because space is rented on the grounds and fees are collected from the public. The Giffords argued that because they live on the property with their children, they should be exempt from the state law, but Pares said that this does not mean their business is private.

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Trainor told TheBlaze that the Giffords' decision to end wedding ceremonies at Liberty Ridge “will hurt their business in the short run," but that was preferable to violating their religious beliefs.

“The Giffords serve all people with respect and care. They have hired homosexual employees and have hosted events for same-sex couples,” he said.

However, "since the state of New York has essentially compelled them to do all ceremonies or none at all, they have chosen the latter in order to stay true to their religious convictions," Trainor explained to LifeSiteNews. "No American should be forced by the government to choose between their livelihood and their faith, but that’s exactly the choice the state of New York has forced upon the Giffords."

"They will continue to host wedding receptions," said Trainor.

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