Jennie Stone

Personal dialogue and graphic images: Justice for All’s approach to saving lives, changing hearts

Jennie Stone
By Jennie Stone
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September 4, 2012 (LiveActionNews.org) - Justice For All is a pro-life training organization whose mission is to train pro-life activists to use persuasive and articulate arguments to educate others on the reality of abortion and challenge people’s viewpoints on the issue. The organization travels from campus to campus to share its message. David Lee, founder of Choices Medical Clinic and the executive director of Justice For All, launched the organization with a mission rooted in the belief that personal conversation is more effective in changing hearts and minds on abortion than impersonal public debates.

“Our goal is to train pro-life people to be good ambassadors, as well as be persuasive in their arguments,” says Jacob Burow, the operations coordinator for Justice For All. “We teach that a good ambassador seeks first to listen. We teach people to ask good questions and listen to gain an understanding of what the other person believes and why. Then we teach how to ask challenging and thought-provoking questions in a loving manner, in a way that will best help the other person really think through her position.” Justice For All encourages discussion using polls and asking questions of those who pass by the displays.

“Our smaller, fetal development kiosk asks, ‘Where Do You Draw the Line?’ for when we gain basic human rights,” Burow said. It is a great way to start the discussion on the central issue, the question of whether or not unborn living human beings have the right to live.”

Asking good questions, listening to others, and finding common ground between the pro-life and pro-choice viewpoints are critical aspects of Justice For All’s mission. “Using these skills promotes respect among everyone, and many pro-choice people tell us that although they disagree with our message, and even our display, they really appreciate how we take time to hear their positions and their stories,” Burow explained. “We even go so far as to have an open microphone on which we allow anyone to share his views with the crowd.”

Most people can agree that opening dialogue and simple polls are good tools to get people discussing abortion. However, perhaps the biggest controversy lies in one of the methods Justice For All uses: a large, 18-foot-tall display with graphic images depicting the aftermath of an abortion procedure.

“With our large [abortion] exhibit, people are generally astounded that we would go to such great effort to get our message out,” Burow said. Many passers-by express gratitude that the Justice For All team does not engage in yelling or shouting: the graphic images speak loudly enough. But naturally, there are pro-choice and pro-life activists alike who become very upset at the use of graphic images in such public places such as college campuses.

“I often relate the story of Emmitt Till, a black boy whose murder in Mississippi in 1955 was a major catalyst for the Civil Rights movement.  [Till’s] mother requested an open casket funeral, even knowing that his body was barely recognizable.  Reporters were shocked she would do this, and they asked her why she would choose an open-casket funeral.  She said: ‘I want all the world to see what they did to my boy.’

“Jet Magazine published the story of Emmitt’s death and funeral and included photos of his body as he lay in state. In a very public way, America saw the horror of what racism meant practically. They saw the face of racism in what had been done to Emmitt. The Justice For All exhibit, in a similar fashion, shows the face of choice, the horror of what abortion does to unborn children.” Burow continued, “If our exhibit being on campus today saves the life of one child, would it be worth upsetting hundreds of people?” Although the display has certainly upset many, it has also saved lives!

“We should be sensitive to the fact that they can cause an emotional train wreck for men and women who have been involved in abortion and are just beginning to learn what it is that they have done,” Burow said. He explains that he can’t know what each person experiences after an abortion, but there are post-abortive women who work with Justice For All. Lori Navrodtzke is such a woman.

“Initially, Lori was not excited about our exhibit due to the personal pain of having had an abortion herself,” said Burow. “As she slowly got more involved, she found that learning to minister to others brought more healing for herself. Lori is now actively involved in our certification program, and has found that her voice on campus has weight and authority that others’ do not.” (Lori’s reflections can be read here.)

Just this spring, a young woman named Amanda passed by the Justice For All display. Her roommate was scheduled to have an abortion, and Amanda was desperate to find the words to help her roommate choose life instead. Amanda stopped by the JFA display and spoke with Catherine, a volunteer, who helped Amanda learn how to share the informational brochure with her roommate.

A couple of days later, Catherine received a phone call at the office – Amanda’s roommate was calling to thank Justice For All for talking to Amanda, who had shared the brochure with her. She decided not to go through with the abortion, and Catherine was excited to attend a baby shower for this young lady recently.

“My immediate goal is saving children from being aborted.  But my larger goal, my main concern, is reaching out to those who have realized the bad news about abortion by sharing the good news that abortion is not the end,” Burow concludes. “I want them to know that pro-life people love them, but most importantly, I want them to know that God still loves them.”

Training through Justice For All teaches pro-life advocates how to dialogue effectively. The fall schedule is available on their website. Internship opportunities are also available. You can also sign up to receive JFA prayer updates on their website or donate to JFA or to one of their missionaries. This article reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org.

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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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