Christine Dhanagom

Former jailed pro-life activist founds Tijauna orphanage

Christine Dhanagom
Christine Dhanagom
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TIJUANA, Mexico, October 5, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) - It’s an accusation that most pro-life activists have heard at one time or another: “You’re only concerned about children before they’re born!”

Connie Youngkin is a living refutation of the charge. A dedicated pro-lifer who has seen jail time for her witness to the dignity of human life, Connie’s activism has led her in an unusual direction. She and her husband, Tyler, now live in Tijuana, Mexico, where they house, feed, clothe, and educate 80 children they rescued from the city’s streets.

Their young charges, who range in age from five to their early twenties, are the children of drug addicts and prostitutes. They were living in the city’s notorious red light district before they took refuge at Niños de la Promesa, Children of Promise, the children’s home founded by the Youngkins.

Whether from the streets of Tijuana or the forceps of an abortion doctor, Connie and Tyler have been rescuing children for three decades. It started in 1982, when Connie made a comment to a pro-life neighbor about Margaret Sanger being a “nice person.”

“Connie, you better sit down!” the neighbor exclaimed.

The conversation that ensued was an eye-opener for Connie, who knew almost nothing about the millions of children whose lives had been claimed by abortion only nine years since the passage of Roe v. Wade.

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Although busy raising three children of their own, the Youngkins dedicated themselves to the pro-life cause: they prayed and demonstrated at abortion clinics near their hometown of Toway, California, and helped found a Crisis Pregnancy Center that is still running today.

Then Connie heard about Operation Rescue, an organization that was mobilizing pro-lifers to peacefully block clinic doors in an attempt to physically prevent women seeking abortions from entering the clinic.

“I knew without a doubt that I was to be part of it. God put this desire very strongly on my heart right away,” she says. “It was never to me a sacrifice. I knew the Lord would take care of my family.”

Her husband, a doctor, held back from this form of activism so that he could continue supporting the family with his work and take care of their now teenage children.

Connie was arrested for the first time at her third rescue, an event that she says saved the lives of several babies. These “turn arounds” were confirmed by sidewalk counselors who spoke to the women attempting to enter the clinic, and gave them information about abortion alternatives.

Connie saw the trial itself as an important aspect of her mission, and decided to represent herself. This way, she would not have the interference of a lawyer in her choice to ignore the judge’s gag order that prohibited the defendants from sharing their views about abortion.

The judge pounded on the gavel as she ploughed through her defense, demanding that she stop using the word “baby.” When she refused, the jury was sent out of the room. They found her guilty of trespassing and she received a 40 day jail sentence in a maximum security prison.

“If it is criminal to rescue babies sentenced to death, then I am a criminal,” she told the press.

The experience, she says, was a formative one for her. She had been separated from other pro-lifers, and found herself surrounded by murderers, thieves, and drug addicts.

Determined to treat this as her new mission field, Connie set about forming friendships with her fellow inmates with the goal of evangelizing them.

On one occasion, she brought a pocket Bible into a holding cell of 40 women, and by the time she left her fellow inmates were singing Sunday school songs with her, marching around the cell to the tune of “When the Saints go Marching In.”

“The policemen were just looking at us like we were nuts!” she remembers with a laugh. “They were all really sweet girls.”

It’s an experience she now draws from as she walks the streets of Tijuana’s red light district, where she is seemingly as out of place as a mild-mannered Christian housewife in a maximum security prison.

The children she and Tyler rescue have come, like her fellow inmates, from a life of crime, violence, abuse and neglect. They are often the children of prostitutes, left to run wild in the streets while their mothers are out plying their trade. These are children who, out of sheer boredom, have seized alcohol from drunks on the street, dumped it over them, and lit them on fire.

Some have come only temporarily, residing there while their parents go through rehab programs, but others spend their entire childhood in the home.

The Youngkins have accepted unflinchingly all the challenges that come with welcoming such children into their home. “Once you’ve been in jail, you’re not afraid of much,” says Connie. 

Twelve years after coming to the country, their success is now evident in the lives of the children they have raised. Seven of the kids are now studying at the university, a destination they might never have dreamed possible from their previous life on the streets. One of them, a student of photography, has some of her work on exhibit at the Tijuana Cecut Museum.

The Youngkins make sure that all of the children receive basic instruction in academic subjects, as well as in the Christian faith. They have also imparted to them their own spirit of Christian service. Three times a week, all the children take to the streets with 500 burritos to distribute to the hungry.

The boys have built houses for the homeless, and three young women who once lived in the home as children are now working there as staff.

Some of the older children have also, by their own initiative, joined Connie and Tyler in local pro-life activism. Abortion is still illegal in Tijuana, but some pregnant women travel to other parts of the country where it is permitted. The Youngkins regularly lead some of their charges out to the streets with pro-life signs and literature to educate others about the sanctity of human life.

All of the children, it seems, have imbibed a lesson borrowed from Connie’s pro-life activism and her time in prison. “If we just give people a chance and just love them with God’s love, it’s amazing the change that can happen,” she says.

 

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Julie Ralph

My 7-year-old son found porn on his iPod, even with a filter

Julie Ralph
By Julie Ralph

A few weeks ago an article went viral on my Facebook feed entitled “The Day My 10-Year-Old Discovered Hardcore Porn on his iPhone.”  As one Mom after another shared and commented about how frightening and horrible it was and wondered what do we do to prevent it, I commented on several of those shares (perhaps a little smugly and proudly) that WE had installed an excellent filtering program on all of our devices that even filters YouTube.  I most likely left the impression that WE have no worries in this house, that our kids can watch their iPods and kindles, even those annoying Minecraft how to videos on YouTube, and WE don’t have to worry about them seeing filth. 

Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, WRONG.

I could have entitled this blog post “The Day My 7-Year-Old Discovered Porn on His iPod” but it might look like I’m trying to one-up that other Mom.  Which I’m not.  Because, trust me, this is one Mom competition I’d rather lose. 

This is no longer a battle friends, it’s an all-out war.  It’s a war we’re fighting for the minds and futures of our children.

So YES we have this supposedly great and awesome filter on all of our devices and we pay about $70 a year for it.   Look, I’ve been on my computer trying to shop for a swimsuit at Lands End and the filter blocked me.  Annoying, yes.  But assuring.  I remember thinking wow….if I can’t even get on here and see the tummy-sucking-miracle-fat-hiding-mawmaw-swimsuits, my boys will NEVER be able to discover Victoria or her Secret.   And I’ve been on YouTube trying to see how to quickly defrost CHICKEN breasts, and it blocked several videos AND ads that probably had nothing to do with fowl or a thawing method.  Again I remember thinking, good.  This is really good.  Nothing to worry about.

Then last night happened.

My youngest son was visibly shaken as he was getting ready for bed.  I knew something was wrong when I saw he was wearing his flannel pajamas with the mountain bears printed all over them on one of the hottest August nights this month.   He seemed almost disoriented and I asked him if he was sick as he was trying to quickly crawl into bed and pull the covers over his head.   He then reached over to the bedside table, grabbed his little iPod, and tossed it to me saying he doesn’t deserve it anymore because he is bad.  “I’m bad, so bad….I saw bad things.”  My heart started racing and I felt like I had been punched in the gut.  Because I knew where this was going.  Very calmly and quietly I assured him he was not bad and there was nothing in the world he could ever tell me that would make me think he was bad.  “What did you see, sweetheart?” I asked.  After about ten minutes of me coaxing it out of him, with a wobbly still-tiny-smidge-of-baby-left voice he told me he was searching for a word he had heard and he spelled it for me.  T-t-i-s.  (I quickly unscrambled and knew what he meant).  He went on to tell me he searched for this on YouTube (the app is not even on his iPod….he must go through the “filter” app to access it!).   He told me he saw pictures and videos.

Click "like" if you say NO to porn!

My stomach turned.  I ran through all the “How To” files I’d stored away in my mind.  You know those files….situations you’ve thought about as a Mom and how you’d handle…you file them away for another day.  Usually one you hope will never come.   Turns out I didn’t have a file for this.  Because I honestly thought we had done everything on the front end to keep it from happening. 

I ran my fingers through his hair and pulled him close and started talking to him from my broken heart.  I asked him if he knew what that word meant before he searched for it.  He said no.  I told him it is a very crude and ugly word for something that is not crude and ugly.  I told him what the proper word is and I asked him if he knew why God made them like that on women?  He said no.  I told him it was the miraculous and wonderful way that God made women able to feed their babies.  I told him how every woman who has those is made to feed a baby, and those women in those pictures and videos are either already someone’s Mommy or they will be one day.  And what God meant for a beautiful purpose is twisted and made into something very wrong and ugly by those pictures and videos.

Don’t trust some computer geek working for a software company to care a flip for or protect your kids.

We continued to talk and then we prayed together and I left him to sleep as I walked back to my room for a sleepless night.  I cried for the ugly, messed up, twisted, and sick world out there that I can’t protect my children from.  I cried for what he had seen that I couldn’t un-see for him.  I cried because I had abdicated MY parenting duties to some stupid computer software that I thought would protect my children.  I cried because I can never get back that bit of innocence he lost way, way too early.  I cried as I went onto YouTube, put in that same search and saw just the thumbnails of what he had to have seen.  I just can’t bring myself to actually click on the videos.  I cried because, when I went in to check on him later, he was curled up with Big Bear in one arm and his little blue and white checked blanket in the other.  He’s still a baby. 

I’m mad now.  And I really hope my anger continues to burn because I need it to fuel my diligence.   I need my guard to be up and to stay up.  This is no longer a battle friends, it’s an all-out war.  It’s a war we’re fighting for the minds and futures of our children.  I know there are those who would say I’m being overly dramatic, that I can’t put my children in a bubble, blah blah blah.  I don’t care.  I will do whatever it takes to protect my children until their minds, bodies and emotions are better prepared to grasp, filter, and sort through the warped and ugly parts of our world that are pulling on them.  I will continue to pull back and hold on for dear life.   Don’t do as I did, friends.  Don’t trust some computer geek working for a software company to care a flip for or protect your kids.  Do as I am doing now.  Uninstall any and all browsers or video apps on your kids’ personal devices and set the restrictions where they can’t install apps anymore without asking you first.   Have one central computer in a public area of your home that they may use, with permission, and still with filter software installed.  But remember that’s not the first line of defense in this war.

You are.

Julie Ralph blogs at Mommy, Esquire, where this piece was originally published.

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Sen. Ted Cruz's wife douses him with water as part of the Ice Bucket challenge for ALS research. Youtube
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Sen. Ted Cruz: Do the ALS challenge, donate to pro-life institute

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By Dustin Siggins

One of the nation's most prominent senators is doing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge -- but encouraging donations to a pro-life ALS research institute.

In the last month, the ALS Ice Bucket challenge, sponsored by the ALS Association, has raised tens of millions of dollars for research for the disease, commonly known as Lou Gehrig's Disease. However, in mid-August pro-life leaders raised awareness that the Association supports embryonic stem-cell research.

Embryonic stem-cell research includes the destruction of a human embryo, and is thus condemned by pro-life advocates as an abortion. The Association has said it currently has one project that uses embryonic stem cells, funded by an outside donor.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Cruz -- who took the challenge last week -- said that he and his wife "are proud to personally support the John Paul II Medical Research Institute the Home of Give Cures (http://jp2mri.org), which conducts groundbreaking research into curing this terrible disease, without using embryonic stem cells."

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"The JPII Institute respects human life, and is working to improve the lives of all of us," said Cruz. 

The ALS Association has said donors may specify their dollars not be used to fund embryonic stem-cell research. However, critics note that donated funds are fungible, meaning they potentially free up funds the Association can then direct to illicit research.

At least two Catholic dioceses have encouraged Ice Bucket Challenge participants to donate to the JPII Medical Institute.

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7989 West Virginia Drive, Dallas, where Planned Parenthood is working on secretly opening up a new abortion facility. Google Streetview
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Pro-abortion study: Texas will be down to eight abortion clinics by fall

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By Dustin Siggins

A study by a pro-abortion research group shows that Texas will be down from 41 abortion clinics in July 2013 to eight by this fall.

In July, the Texas Policy Evaluation Project found that six abortion clinics matched the standards required in HB2, which was signed into law 13 months ago. Those standards include requiring abortion doctors to have admitting privileges at hospitals within 30 miles of clinics at which they work, a standard already in place, and a requirement that all abortion clinics must upgrade their facilities to the same standards as ambulatory surgery centers.

The study estimates that a total of eight clinics will be able to meet the ambulatory standards, including one that will open in the fall. The standards take effect on September 1. According to the study, this means there will be one abortion clinic for every one million Texans who could become pregnant. An infographic from the study shows that the existing clinics will be located on the eastern half of the state, largely near metropolitan areas.

The study's results, published in the peer-reviewed journal Contraception, have abortion supporters outraged. Andrea Grimes of RH Reality Check writes, "No legal abortion facilities will operate south or west of San Antonio," and that five of the clinics will be operated by Planned Parenthood.

However, the closure of so many clinics is good news to pro-life activists like Karen Garnett, who heads the Catholic Pro-Life Committee in the Diocese of Dallas.

"The closing of abortion facilities in Texas the last few years has been the result of the owners of the facilities themselves not being willing or able to comply with the higher standards of medical safety" required by the Texas legislature, Garnett told LifeSiteNews. "Pro-life activists and leaders in Dallas (and Texas) have been working vigilantly with the members of the Texas legislature the last few years to pass these sensible laws.  There is much to be said for the power of prayer, particularly through the powerful 40 Days for Life campaign and prayer vigils."

While abortion supporters claim Texas is abandoning pregnant women, Garnett said the Catholic Pro-Life Committee in Dallas has "helped more than 7,500 mothers choose life outside the abortion facilities," but "we don't stop there."

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"Our Project Gabriel Ministry takes the next step. For those mothers needing and desiring spiritual, emotional and material help, we offer Gabriel Angels, who are paired with them in a one-on-one mentoring and support relationship. We also have a Gabriel Resource Coordinator on staff to help them with practical needs as their situations stabilize." Life skills classes, adoption counseling, and partnerships with pregnancy centers are also part of the Diocese's work to help pregnant mothers.

Jor-El Godsey of Heartbeat International said that there are 326 pregnancy help organizations across the state, which outnumber abortion clinics by approximately 40 to 1. He estimated that approximately 120,000 pregnant women have come to care centers in 2014.

The Texas Policy Evaluation Project, which is funded by an anonymous donor, is a five-year effort to "analyze the impact of the measures affecting reproductive health passed by the 82nd and 83rd Texas Legislatures." The project's partners include the University of Texas at Austin’s Population Research Center, the pro-abortion Ibis Reproductive Health, and the University of Alabama-Birmingham. One of the project's investigators is Daniel Grossman, whose biography says that "his current research at Ibis includes both clinical and social science studies aimed at improving access to contraception and safe abortion."

The project has also published reports titled "The Public Health Threat of Anti-Abortion Legislation," and "Finding the Twitter Users that Stood With Wendy." The latter examined social media support for gubernatorial candidate Wendy Davis, who briefly became a national figure for her support of late-term abortions in 2013.

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