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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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PBS defends decision to air pro-abortion documentary ‘After Tiller’

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By Dustin Siggins

Under pressure for showing the pro-abortion documentary "After Tiller" on Labor Day, PBS' "POV" affiliate has defended the decision in response to an inquiry from LifeSiteNews.

The producers of the film say their goal with the documentary, which tells the stories of four late-term abortion doctors after the killing of infamous late-term abortionist George Tiller, is to "change public perception of third-trimester abortion providers by building a movement dedicated to supporting their right to work with a special focus on maintaining their safety.” 

POV told LifeSiteNews, "We do believe that 'After Tiller' adds another dimension to an issue that is being debated widely." Asked if POV will show a pro-life documentary, the organization said that it "does not have any other films currently scheduled on this issue. POV received almost 1000 film submissions each year through our annual call for entries and we welcome the opportunity to consider films with a range of points of view."

When asked whether POV was concerned about alienating its viewership -- since PBS received more than $400 million in federal tax dollars in 2012 and half of Americans identify as pro-life -- POV said, "The filmmakers would like the film to add to the discussion around these issues. Abortion is already a legal procedure."

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"This is an issue that people feel passionately about and will have a passionate response to. We are hopeful that the majority of people can see it for what it is, another lens on a very difficult issue." 

In addition to the documentary, POV has written materials for community leaders and teachers to share. A cursory examination of the 29-page document, which is available publicly, appears to include links to outside sources that defend Roe v. Wade, an examination of the constitutional right to privacy, and "a good explanation of the link between abortion law and the right to privacy," among other information.

Likewise, seven clips recommended for student viewing -- grades 11 and beyond -- include scenes where couples choose abortion because the children are disabled. Another shows pro-life advocates outside a doctor's child's school, and a third is described as showing "why [one of the film's doctors] chose to offer abortion services and includes descriptions of what can happen when abortion is illegal or unavailable, including stories of women who injured themselves when they tried to terminate their own pregnancies and children who were abused because they were unwanted."

Another clip "includes footage of protesters, as well as news coverage of a hearing in the Nebraska State Legislature in which abortion opponents make reference to the idea that a fetus feels pain." The clip's description fails to note that it is a scientifically proven fact that unborn children can feel pain.

The documentary is set to air on PBS at 10 p.m. Eastern on Labor Day.

Kirsten Andersen contributed to this article.

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He defended ‘real’ marriage, and then was beheaded for it

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By Pete Baklinski

A Christian man was executed during the night by a high-profile ruler after making an uncompromising defense of real marriage.

The Christian, who was renowned for his holiness, had told the ruler in public that his relationship with his partner was “against the law” of God. The Christian’s words enraged the ruler’s partner who successfully plotted to have him permanently silenced.

John the Baptist was first imprisoned before he was beheaded. The Catholic Church honors him today, August 29, as a martyr and saint.

While John’s death happened a little less than 2,000 years ago, his heroic stance for real marriage is more pertinent today than ever before.

According to the Gospel of Mark, the ruler Herod had ‘married’ his brother’s wife Herodias. When John told Herod with complete frankness, “It is against the law for you to have your brother’s wife,” Herodias became “furious” with him to the point of wanting him killed for his intolerance, bullying, and hate-speech.

Herodias found her opportunity to silence John by having her daughter please Herod during a dance at a party. Herod offered the girl anything she wanted. The daughter turned to her mother for advice, and Herodias said to ask for John’s head on a platter.

Those who fight for real marriage today can learn three important lessons from John’s example.

  1. Those proudly living in ungodly and unnatural relationships — often referred to in today’s sociopolitical sphere as ‘marriage’ — will despise those who tell them what they are doing is wrong. Real marriage defenders must expect opposition to their message from the highest levels.
  2. Despite facing opposition, John was not afraid to defend God’s plan for marriage in the public square, even holding a secular ruler accountable to this plan. John, following the third book of the Hebrew Bible (Leviticus 20:21), held that a man marrying the wife of his brother was an act of “impurity” and therefore abhorrent to God. Real marriage defenders must boldly proclaim today that God is the author of marriage, an institution he created to be a life-long union between one man and one woman from which children arise and in which they are best nurtured. Marriage can be nothing more, nothing less.
  3. John did not compromise on the truth of marriage as revealed by God, even to the point of suffering imprisonment and death for his unpopular position. Real marriage defenders must never compromise on the truth of marriage, even if the government, corporate North America, and the entire secular education system says otherwise. They must learn to recognize the new “Herodias” of today who despises those raising a voice against her lifestyle. They must stand their ground no matter what may come, no matter what the cost.

John the Baptist was not intolerant or a bigot, he simply lived the word of God without compromise, speaking the word of truth when it was needed, knowing that God’s way is always the best way. Were John alive today, he would be at the forefront of the grassroots movement opposing the social and political agenda to remake marriage in the image of man.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

If he were alive today he might speak simple but eloquent words such as, “It is against God’s law for two men or two women to be together as a husband and wife in marriage. Marriage can only be between a man and a woman.” 

He would most likely be hated. He would be ridiculed. He would surely have the human rights tribunals throwing the book at him. But he would be speaking the truth and have God as his ally. 

The time may not be far off when those who defend real marriage, like John, will be presented with the choice of following Caesar or making the ultimate sacrifice. May God grant his faithful the grace to persevere in whatever might come. St. John the Baptist, pray for us!

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The Wunderlich family Mike Donnelly / Home School Legal Defence Association
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German homeschoolers regain custody of children, vow to stay and fight for freedom

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By Thaddeus Baklinski

One year to the day since a team of 20 social workers, police officers, and special agents stormed a homeschooling family’s residence near Darmstadt, Germany, and forcibly removed all four of the family’s children, aged 7 to 14, a state appeals court has returned custody of the children to their parents.

The reason given for the removal was that parents Dirk and Petra Wunderlich continued to homeschool their children in defiance of a German ban on home education.

The children were returned three weeks after being taken, following an international outcry spearheaded by the Home School Legal Defense Association.

However, a lower court imposed the condition on the parents that their children were required to attend state schools in order for them to be released, and took legal custody of the children in order to prevent the family from leaving the country.

In a decision that was still highly critical of the parents and of homeschooling, the appeals court decided that the action of the lower court in putting the children in the custody of the state was “disproportional” and ordered complete custody returned to the parents, according to a statement by the HSLDA.

The Wunderlichs, who began homeschooling again when the court signaled it would rule this way, said they were very pleased with the result, but noted that the court’s harsh words about homeschooling indicated that their battle was far from over.

“We have won custody and we are glad about that,” Dirk said.

“The court said that taking our children away was not proportionate—only because the authorities should apply very high fines and criminal prosecution instead. But this decision upholds the absurd idea that homeschooling is child endangerment and an abuse of parental authority.”

The Wunderlichs are now free to emigrate to another country where homeschooling is legal, if they choose, but they said they intend to remain in Germany and work for educational freedom.

“While we no longer fear that our children will be taken away as long as we are living in Hessen, it can still happen to other people in Germany,” Dirk said. “Now we fear crushing fines up to $75,000 and jail. This should not be tolerated in a civilized country.”

Petra Wunderlich said, "We could not do this without the help of HSLDA,” but cautioned that, “No family can fight the powerful German state—it is too much, too expensive."

"If it were not for HSLDA and their support, I am afraid our children would still be in state custody. We are so grateful and thank all homeschoolers who have helped us by helping HSLDA.”

HSLDA’s Director for Global Outreach, Michael Donnelly, said he welcomed the ruling but was concerned about the court’s troubling language.

“We welcome this ruling that overturns what was an outrageous abuse of judicial power,” he said.

“The lower court decision to take away legal custody of the children essentially imprisoned the Wunderlich family in Germany. But this decision does not go far enough. The court has only grudgingly given back custody and has further signaled to local authorities that they should still go after the Wunderlichs with criminal charges or fines.”

Donnelly pointed out that such behavior in a democratic country is problematic.

“Imprisonment and fines for homeschooling are outside the bounds of what free societies that respect fundamental human rights should tolerate,” he explained.

“Freedom and fundamental human rights norms demand respect for parental decision making in education. Germany’s state and national policies that permit banning home education must be changed.

"Such policies from a leading European democracy not only threaten the rights of tens of thousands of German families but establish a dangerous example that other countries may be tempted to follow,” Donnelly warned.

HSLDA Chairman Michael Farris said that acting on behalf of the Wunderlichs was an important stand for freedom.

“The Wunderlichs are a good and decent family whose basic human rights were violated and are still threatened,” Farris said.

“Their fight is our fight," Farris stressed, "and we will continue to support those who stand against German policy banning homeschooling that violates international legal norms. Free people cannot tolerate such oppression and we will do whatever we can to fight for families like the Wunderlichs both here in the United States and abroad. We must stand up to this kind of persecution where it occurs or we risk seeing own freedom weakened.”

Visit the HSLDA website dedicated to helping the Wunderlich family and other German homeschoolers here.

Contact the German embassy in the U.S. here.

Contact the German embassy in Canada here.

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