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‘I still grieve’: former abortion workers find healing at retreat with Abby Johnson, Fr. Pavone

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By Abby Johnson

June 3, 2013 (ATTWN) - Last weekend, several former abortion clinic workers from all different states joined together for a healing retreat through And Then There Were None (ATTWN).  Father Frank Pavone and Father Terry Gensemer led the retreat and helped the former clinic workers open up. As the workers shared their stories with each other, they realized how much they had in common with one another.

Bitter divorce, broken families, drug and alcohol abuse, and abortions in their own pasts were all major factors in these women's decisions to initially begin working in the abortion industry. "I'm angry at my ex husband... the abuse," said 'Amy,' who was employed by Planned Parenthood for many years.  "I felt worthless and thought 'what difference does it make where I work?'" 

Also common among former clinic workers is how secretive they were (and still are) about working in the abortion industry-it's something they'd rather keep from their friends and family.  "I hate to admit that I ever worked at a place like Planned Parenthood," said 'Jamie,' who had tears in her eyes.

"I still grieve the person that people think I am," said 'Molly.'  Even though she left the abortion industry many years ago, she still struggled with telling her adult children about it. "How can I tell them I was capable of that [working in a clinic]?"

Going into the abortion industry, it is not unusual for a person to be told "Don't worry, you won't actually have to participate in the abortions."   This happened with most of the women who attended the retreat.  Although they may have been initially be uncomfortable with the idea of working in an abortion clinic, this justification helped push that discomfort aside.  "It wasn't long before they were in the procedure rooms, directly assisting in the abortion process."  'Mary' described the introductory process to helping in abortions as she recalled: "First, you'd just sit in a chair by the door when they happened.  Then, they would have you stand by the door.  Eventually you'd come closer, and then suddenly you're at the edge of the bed actually helping with the procedure.  They did it that way because most people don't make it through the first one."

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A lot of horrific memories surfaced during the retreat - memories of babies being born alive and having to piece babies back together after procedures were particularly painful for the women to describe.  "When you take that jar and dump it [after an abortion], and you see those arms and legs, there's no denying it's a baby," said Mary.  'Christine' recalled a time that a baby was born alive into the toilet. "This baby was moving... I'm like, oh God, what do I do?" she said.  "We were supposed to give CPR but never did... once that fetus dropped in the toilet, I knew I was done... I am guilty for not saving the child who drowned in the toilet.  When I left, I didn't look back."

Truly, Christ's presence was a palpable during the retreat as tears were shed and admittance of guilt and sorrow poured out.  All of the women opened up about their pasts like they never had before, and made promises among themselves to set new goals for their lives.  Many made a goal of gathering the courage to pray outside of abortion clinics, including the ones where they formerly worked.  Molly made a goal of talking to her family and children about her past. Some made the goal of starting up and working for pregnancy resource centers to help pregnant women choose life. Christine is currently writing a book about her experiences, and wants to expose the doctor for whom she worked.  Jamie has set a goal of finding a medical job where she can use her skills without having to compromise her beliefs. 

Here are a few more quotes from the former clinic workers who attended the ATTWN retreat.

"Gosnell's going to prison for life, but I'm just as guilty... but the 24 week abortions I helped in, that was legal.  There is no statute of limitations on murder, but I'm not in jail... If you can believe it's an unfeeling non-person, it's so much easier to dehumanize them.  You can't hear the baby cry."  - Molly

"After you work at Planned Parenthood, you're set apart.  It's a stigma.  As a single parent it's lonely... people look at you differently.  The medical community does too.  Planned Parenthood makes you feel like you're stuck there because you've been involved with abortion... When I left Planned Parenthood, I never wanted to think about it again.  It worked for a few years, but eventually I went out to pray during 40 Days for Life.  I figured after that I'd be done, but God has more in store for me." - Mary

"Dr. _X_ was good at the digoxin, but Dr. _Y_ wasn't.  Dr. _Y _ would mess up and babies would be born alive... Moms are damaged mentally.  You will never, ever, ever, ever forget it.  [Abortion] hurts a whole community.  It hurts a family."  - Christine

"The hardest question you get asked is 'does the baby feel pain?' We had to lie to them or say we don't know."  - Amy

All of you, with your financial contributions, your support and your prayers helped to make this weekend happen.  On behalf of all the women that attended the retreat, I want to say THANK YOU.  Lives are being changed because of you.  

We anticipate holding another healing retreat in August.  If you know someone who has worked for the abortion industry in the past (or currently), please let them know there is help.  We would love for them to join us on our next retreat.  

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A protester rallies against Hobby Lobby, protesting against the Supreme Court decision Dan Holm/Shutterstock
Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

DNC chairwoman exhorts constituents to boycott local Hobby Lobby store

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

The Supreme Court's Hobby Lobby decision was nearly two months ago, but the issue as hot as ever, as was demonstrated yesterday when Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schulz, D-FL, urged constituents to boycott a Hobby Lobby store in her district.

In a press conference one lot away from the Hobby Lobby location in Davie, which opened in April, Wasserman-Schultz said that she wanted "people to know that this Hobby Lobby is here and they should vote with their purses and their pocketbooks, and women should not shop here."

"If you didn’t know this Hobby Lobby was here before, know it now and don’t shop here. They don’t deserve women’s business because they are the ones that all across the country have made it harder for women to get access to birth control,” she said.

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Wasserman-Schultz said that Hobby Lobby's corporate ownership "doesn’t support its employees" and "wants to be able to get in the personal business of their employees and make health care decisions and replace their own values, replace their employees’ health care decisions, with their values…."

She also criticized the Supreme Court's late June decision in favor of Hobby Lobby, which had sued the federal government over the Obama administration's HHS Mandate.

The Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, say it violates their conscience to pay for coverage for the four abortifacients and potential abortifacients that the mandate required them to cover.

"The Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case was not only disappointing, it was dangerous," said the Democrat. "No boss should have the right to dictate and employee’s health decisions because [they] don’t belong in the bedrooms, doctor’s offices or pharmacies of their employees.

"A woman and her doctor know what’s best for their body. Not an insurance company. Not a politician. And certainly not a manager at a Hobby Lobby."

The Supreme Court's decision allowed closely held corporations to not fund coverage of contraception or abortion drugs and devices.

Wasserman-Schultz's office did not respond to multiple requests for comment.

Through a spokesperson, the Green family declined to comment about the Congresswoman's statements. 

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Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten

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America is rejecting abortion because pro-lifers are having more children: study

Kirsten Andersen Kirsten Andersen Follow Kirsten
By Kirsten Anderson

According to a new Northwestern University study, American attitudes about abortion are trending more conservatively than other contentious social issues, a phenomenon the authors credit to the simple fact that pro-lifers have more kids.

“We find evidence that the abortion attitudes have lagged behind a liberalizing trend of other correlated attitudes,” the authors wrote. Using GSS data collected between 1977 and 2010, “We test[ed] the hypothesis that the comparatively high fertility of pro-life individuals has led to a more pro-life population.”

The authors wrote: “Support for abortion rights has turned flat after a period of increase following Roe v. Wade, and in recent years there are even indications of a reversal toward more restrictive attitudes. This U-turn is evinced particularly among younger cohorts, and is happening despite liberalizing trends in several ostensibly related issue domains.”

The authors speculated that the reason for the increase in pro-life attitudes among young people is that their parents had more children than their pro-abortion counterparts. When they examined the data, they found that pro-life individuals had, on average, 27 percent more children than those who considered themselves “pro-choice.”

Not only that, but pro-life parents appear to be much more likely to pass their views on to their children. The researchers found that the younger generation’s pro-life shift was too strong to be blamed solely on differences in fertility – meaning children of pro-abortion parents are rejecting their parents’ views.

“[E]ither pro-life beliefs are always more faithfully transmitted than pro-choice ones; or, there has been a cultural shift towards more pro-life beliefs that is being reflected in the parent-child correlations,” the authors wrote.

The study concluded that if it wasn’t for the higher fertility rate among pro-life people, the nation as a whole would favor abortion by about five percentage points more than it does currently – and researchers predict the pro-life trend will continue.

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“Taken together, these findings suggest that fertility has had at least some part in leading the population in a more pro-life direction over time,” the authors wrote. “Further investigation into this pattern indicates that not only are abortion attitudes associated with fertility, but in proportional terms—which is what matters for cultural change—the gap is widening.”

“Fertility has declined for both pro-choice and pro-life groups over the past 30 years, but fertility has declined far less markedly for pro-life individuals,” they added. “Whereas pro-[life] individuals born before 1940 were only having about 1.2 children per one child born to a pro-choice parent, this ratio has grown to over 1.5 for those born in the mid to late 1970s. This pattern suggests that future cohorts may place an even stronger demographic drag on the liberalization of abortion attitudes.”

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A declaration that PP is an 'enemy of the Church' would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication. American Life League
Lisa Bourne

New campaign asks Pope Francis to declare Planned Parenthood an ‘enemy of the Church’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

The Catholic pro-life organization American Life League (ALL) is launching a campaign calling for the Catholic Church to declare Planned Parenthood an “enemy of the Church.”

Using prayer and education, ALL’s Defend the Family campaign seeks to expose the nation’s largest abortion provider for contribution to the destruction of human lives, as well as the family. 

The campaign, said Jim Sedlack, vice-president of ALL, is quite simply “a way of calling attention to the fact that this is a very bad organization.”

“Planned Parenthood is attacking the family, either by killing preborn children or by robbing the souls of the older children,” he said. 

A declaration that PP is an “enemy of the Church” would mean that Catholics who work with, advocate for, or support Planned Parenthood, incur automatic excommunication.

Such a declaration would not be unprecedented. Popes in the past have identified and condemned organizations that posed a grave threat to the Church, most recently Pope Pius XII in 1949 with Communism and Pope Clement XII in 1738 with Freemasonry.

While specifics would depend on the wording of the Papal pronouncement, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews if the Holy Father makes the declaration there would be no mistaking its intent.

“When the pope makes the declaration it becomes crystal clear,” Sedlak said. “There’ll be no shades of gray, it’ll be black and white, it’ll be clear to the world.”

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'Now is the time'

There are still people who are not fully aware of the extent of the societal damage inflicted by Planned Parenthood, said Sedlak, including members of the Church hierarchy. He said it’s important to emphasize the truth of what the abortion giant does.

“That’s why we’re focusing on the enemy,” said Sedlak. “When people really stop and focus on Planned Parenthood, they realize it’s the enemy.”

ALL cites Planned Parenthood’s targeting of children to sexualize them as a major cause of the destruction of the family and a fundamental reason for the Defend the Family campaign.

“They really push for getting young people into lives of sexual sin,” Sedlak said. “Young people who aren’t pulled into sexual activity do not provide a cent of income to Planned Parenthood, but young people who are pulled in provide millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood empire.”

ALL compiled a comprehensive report on Planned Parenthood titled, “The Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood,” as part of the Defend the Family campaign.

“The document builds the case,” said Sedlak. “Why Planned Parenthood, why now is the time.”

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that for its part Planned Parenthood has always recognized that its greatest enemy is the Catholic Church, even working to have the Church lose its status at the UN.

“They fight anybody who wants to take sex away from the kids in any way possible,” Sedlak said. “That’s one reason why Planned Parenthood is the sex mafia.”

And when Sedlak uses the term “mafia,” he means it literally, pointing out that the Holy Father condemned the mafia in his June 21, 2014, homily in Calabria, Italy, denouncing its, “Adoration of evil and contempt for the common good.”

“Planned Parenthood kills far more people than the mafia,” Sedlak said.

Also underscoring the need for the Vatican to act on declaring Planned Parenthood an enemy of the Church, is the convening of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family this October in Rome, which will lead into the general synod in 2015.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that these, along with the 2015 World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia, are events that ALL will rally around to raise awareness of the Defend the Family campaign.

Preliminary response to the campaign has been very positive, he said.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that the “Vatican can help save souls from Planned Parenthood” report was so well received upon initial presentation to Vatican officials, that ALL was asked to translate it into three more languages.

“The support we’ve gotten from talking to bishops has been overwhelming,” Sedlak said.

Prayer is priority #1

The Defend the Family campaign consists first and foremost of prayer, Sedlak told LifeSiteNews.

“Our approach is that we need prayer support,” he said. “The only way that we’re going to succeed is through prayer to the Blessed Mother; the only way it will succeed is if God wants it to succeed.”

Participants are asked to say regular prayers after Mass, to offer prayers for the pope and to initiate communication with local bishops about the dangers that Planned Parenthood poses to the faithful.

Sedlak also added that The Defend the Family campaign is for everyone, not just Catholics.

He said pro-life supporters of all faith traditions are invited to contact ALL for assistance in encouraging their religious denomination or church leader to declare Planned Parenthood an enemy.

In addition to prayers for the campaign, ALL is asking people to sign and submit ALL’s Declaration of Encouragement to the Holy Father, enroll in the Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father and to share ALL resources on Planned Parenthood.

Information, links and resources are available on the campaign website, defendthefamily.org.

Sedlak told LifeSiteNews that ALL is giving the success of the Defend the Family campaign up to God.

“This is all happening in God’s time, and so far he’s been blessing us mightily,” Sedlak said. “And we’re going to go wherever God takes us.”

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