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Harry Potter: The Archetype of an Abortion Survivor

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By Marie Peeters-Ney, MD and Philip G. Ney, M.D., M.A., FRCP(C), FRANZCP, RPsych

Originally published in Catholic Insight December 2003
  Republished with permission and encouragement of authors


One could speak about a worldwide "Harry Potter phenomenon," appearing soon after the Pokemon craze. The object of this discussion is to reflect on the possible reasons for the remarkable popularity of Harry Potter.

  Can the current craze be only due to good marketing skills? Does this book have exceptional literary value? Could the book be an indicator of a deeper cultural trend?  We wish to hypothesize that the popularity of the Harry Potter series is due to the fact that the themes and the main character strike deep chords in the minds of our younger generation because they are abortion survivors.

  They identify with them, because Harry Potter appears to hold the key to unlock the deep, unresolved conflicts which the young generation has buried in its unconscious. We write this short article after reading the first book of the series, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. We will not expand on the progressive downward spiral commented on by numerous other authors.

  Some cultural events may transcend generational gaps and cultural differences because they reflect our common humanity, its aspirations, hopes and struggles. Some may shape human thought and influence the course of history. Others are a reflection of the mindset that is in vogue and are thus just an expression of the times. Others go further: they express a facet of the times and present it as the norm, thus shaping the thought of an era and influencing the course of current thinking.

  Much has been written about the Potter series and considerable controversy has arisen about it. However, there has not, to our knowledge, been anything written which analyzes some of the deeper reasons for the success of the Potter series. Such an analysis is important in order to gain understanding both of the reasons for its success and to judge the work itself.

  In 1979, Dr. Philip Ney discovered and described people with a unique constellation of signs and symptoms, whom he called "abortion survivors." The malaise they suffer from is called the post-abortion survivor syndrome (PASS). Post-abortion survivors are all those individuals who could have been aborted, but mere chance or the fact that they were wanted saved them from termination.

  Examples are: people who were born in a family where a sibling was aborted; people whose parents told them they should have been aborted; or people born in a country where the majority of children are aborted. This applies to at least 50 percent of the people born since the 1970s. Thus, being an abortion survivor affects millions of young people and unquestionably, popular literature is bound to reflect the thinking of those hurt by having an abortion and/or being an abortion survivor.

  With few exceptions, the rest of the young population wonders if they were allowed to be born because they were wanted. The world is thus filled with people who have an anxious fascination about issues that the Harry Potter series broadly hints at.

  A brief description of the psychopathology associated with being an abortion survivor is necessary to understand the attractiveness of the Harry Potter books.

  Children born in families where there has been an abortion live with a mother who is struggling with her own guilt and grief. They also often have a father who is alienated. Having parents who are prepared to exercise the power of life and death over their children, these children grow up with very ambivalent relationships with their parents - wanting desperately to be close to them, but knowing that it is too dangerous, and wanting to flee, but caught by their emotional and material dependency on them. Deep anger, violence or passivity, intergenerational communication designed to avoid confronting harsh truths and secretiveness are some of the conflicts that are then expressed. 

  Given the fact that they cannot ask their parents about the real causes of their fears, they grow up in an atmosphere of pseudo-secrets. There are important events and problems they sense their parents or any parental figure will not talk about. Abortion survivors live in a closed, unreal, dehumanized world, communicating with code words and through cyberspace. Communication is mainly between peers, but rivalry, competition and lack of commitment interfere with their relationships.

  The first attachment, that to mother, was an anxious attachment that resulted in ambivalence and conflict. Abortion survivors grow up with self-doubt and very ambivalent relationships to others. People are used, not loved.

  Abortion survivors have cut themselves off from all their emotions, except fear and anger. They feel they have no intrinsic right to be. Their right to exist depends on their being wanted. Having made it into the world, they survive by gaining power, by trickery and seduction. They must "have" to be: money, good looks, sports prowess, magic powers, etc. Only by having can they continue to be wantable and thus to continue to exist.  Unable to trust, they live in a world of fear, with nobody to turn to. They suffer from nightmares in which their aborted sibling (who is not always identified as such) is seeking revenge, full of rage for her wrongful death and full of anger against the sibling who is alive. The surviving siblings feel like a weight on their shoulders and a permanent curse from the aborted sibling.  They are, therefore, threatened in their very existence, both from the seen and unseen world.

  Abortion survivors flirt with death and seek control. They often seek answers and power in the occult.

  The genius of Ms Rowling is to have consciously or unconsciously tapped into the secret world of abortion survivors. Her first book described the world of abortion survivors: a world where all is "unreal," dominated by primary relationships with peers, absent parents, a dread of being used, abused or killed by caretakers who have no love or understanding. Ms Rowling describes people who have everything, but live in fear that their "secret" will be discovered (the Dursleys). The real world is so awful that Harry Potter thought, "He did not know where he was going (to witchcraft school), but it had to be better than what he was leaving behind ..."

  In inventing the character Harry Potter, Ms Rowling introduces the reader to a person whom an abortion survivor can relate to.

  Harry is the "boy that lived," although physically marked by the sign of death and wanted dead by a satanic figure. On his forehead, he is scarred, he is special, he is a survivor. He witnesses the death of an innocent creature by one who has nothing to lose and everything to gain by committing such a heinous crime. The centaur tells him "because the blood of the innocent will keep you alive, even if you are inches from death, but at a terrible price … You have slain something pure and defenceless to save yourself, you will have but half a life, a cursed life from the moment the blood touches your lips."

  Harry Potter is emotionally, physically and verbally abused by caregivers, but he feels little pain and sheds no tears. The only emotions he seems to feel are fear and hatred. He is not allowed to ask questions. He does not know his own story, although he knows there is a secret about him. He has been dehumanized. He lives in a world of fear, plagued by the recurrent nightmare of a hooded, faceless figure who drinks the blood of the innocent victim. As Ronan, the centaur explains, "Always the innocent are the first victims …"

  The fear of death that is present in all abortion survivors is usually dealt with by flirting with death, so that the person imagines he has some control over life and death. Harry Potter exemplifies this when he is told, "Don’t stop and don’t be scared you’ll crash into it, that is important. Best do it at a bit of a run if you are nervous …" When Harry Potter did it, he closed his eyes, ready for a crash.

  Using coded language, Rowling has been able to put into written form the unrevealed and unspoken fears of the abortion survivor. She expressed in writing psychological conflicts that generally only appear in nightmares. Many of the struggles experienced by children, and which she fantasizes about in her Harry Potter series, have been expressed in the terrifying dreams of abortion survivors. For example:

  - somebody tried or wanted to kill you (Harry’s teacher, Mr. Quirrell, trying to kill him)

  - the feeling that one is surrounded by invisible people, some of whom are hostile and wish your death (Harry looks into the mirror and sees a whole crowd of people standing right behind him)

  - shedding blood, murdering your sibling (in fantasy), so that you can live half a life (Mr. Quirrell drinking the blood of an innocent, pure victim to stay alive, although at a terrible cost)

  - the feeling of being burdened by a parasite, a hostile sibling who hangs on to you and prevents you from living (Mr. Quirrell, a man with two faces, carrying a half-dead Voldmort who explains that he has a form only when he can share another’s body and who dreams to create a body for himself)

  - and, of course, the terrifying reality that somebody is angry at the survivor for being alive (Voldmort’s anger at Harry Potter)

  Ms Rowling also appeals to the abortion survivor, because she briefly touches on some of the deepest yearnings of all humans for life and meaning. (Harry finally finds somebody who watches over him). However, having opened up this yearning, she sends the reader away empty-handed. She remarkably and accurately describes and expands on the dark side of a humanity without God. The themes she develops are anti-thetical to the glory of Christian revelation. She illustrates the morbid fascination abortion survivors have for control and power, even if these are dark and frightening.

  Harry Potter looks for the stone that confers eternal life. This is clearly opposed to Christian revelation. He experiences a mother’s love that is so strong, it is capable of burning and destroying the enemy, a caricature which is quite obvious.
 
  Ms Rowling appeals to the more pathological dreams of the abortion survivors. She describes transfiguration as one of the most complex and dangerous kinds of magic. She describes a world of magic and of power. "There is no good and evil, only power and those too weak to seek it." In the Harry Potter world, there is the mirror of Erised, which shows us what we want or want to see. A world where one can be special, if one is marked as having survived.

  The inventor of Harry Potter describes with great accuracy the world of the abortion survivors. However, in a truly satanic fashion, she leads these broken people in a downward spiral into a world that is not life-giving, but one of death and despair. She shows them the way to an illusion of power, which is without life and which is the realm of Satan.

  Harry Potter can become a cult, making people feel they are understood and will understand the truth and then deliberately lead them away from the source of Life and Truth. The psychopathology associated with being an abortion survivor is real. It needs to be understood by those involved in the new evangelization. We now need people who are saintly enough to descend into the pit of hell where they are and who can bring them to the light. Preaching Jesus Christ is a work of love, healing and life. It is a work of mercy.

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Philip G. Ney trained as a child psychiatrist and child psychologist at McGill University, University of London and the University of Illinois. He taught in five universities in four countries and has been hospital and university department chairman.

  As an academic and clinician of more than thirty five years, he has done research into child abuse for more than thirty years and has authored or co-authored 66 scientific papers and 7 books.

  In his early research Professor Ney became increasingly aware of the reciprocal connection between child abuse and abortion. More recently he has studied children who are the survivors of abortion. He is conducting therapeutic groups for men and women abused as children in private practice in Victoria, British Columbia.

  As a semi-retired professor, Philip Ney is currently researching the effects of various kinds of pregnancy losses on women’s physical and mental health. With wife Dr. Marie Peeters-Ney, Philip conducts training sessions world-wide.

  Dr Marie Peeters-Ney is an American. Having obtained her medical training in Belgium and her paediatric specialty training in the USA and Canada, she worked at the University of Paris with the world-famous geneticist, Jerome Lejeune, and won an important scientific prize for her research into the biochemical causes of mental retardation.  


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

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By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

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By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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