Peter Baklinski

Post-abortive woman finds closure after working in hospital where abortion happened

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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CORNWALL, Ontario, 13 February, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Dale Barr, 50, always had trouble recalling the details that surrounded her abortion experience when she was 16. It was as if her mind would not let her mentally revisit that dreadful day of November 29, 1979. But all that changed when Dale started a new job in 2011 as a nurse at the very hospital where her abortion took place.

“In the first few weeks of my new job, I did not think about the abortion but in the weeks following, I found myself thinking about it more and more,” wrote Dale in a testimony to LifeSiteNews.com.

As a young teen, Dale had become sexually active and ended up pregnant at 16. The news rocked her family and they reacted with much “crying and yelling,” she said.

A panel of doctors — called the Therapeutic Abortion Committee — convinced Dale’s parents that abortion was the only choice for their daughter. Two weeks after the announcement, Dale was brought to the General Hospital in Cornwall, Ontario where, under general anesthetic, the life of her little baby was snuffed out. 

One of the last things Dale remembers prior to the abortion is lying on a stretcher in the hallway and hearing the nurses talking about her. “I felt helpless, afraid, confused and alone,” she recounted. From this moment on, Dale’s memories of her abortion experience had become fragmented. Yet she was sure that repressed memories “too painful to bear” were lurking in the depths of her unconsciousness. 

At her new job, Dale began to wonder where in the hospital her abortion had taken place. She desperately wanted to reconstruct the events of that fateful day, but she felt frustrated and defeated by her lapse of memory.

Then one night, Dale suddenly awoke from deep slumber and remembered a hospital record of her abortion experience that she had buried away. She dug out the chart and poured through the pages looking for any mention of room numbers. Finally, on the last pages of the chart she found the numbers 214 and 2. The first was her recovery room number, the second was the Operating Room (OR) number. 

During a break during her next shift, Dale made her way hurriedly to the hospital’s 2nd floor, which had now been converted into all-day clinics. She approached room 214. She hesitatingly turned the handle. The door was locked.

Suddenly, a forgotten memory surged into her consciousness.

“I suddenly remembered that after the abortion I was crying uncontrollably and screaming: ‘my baby’s dead, my baby’s dead.’”

Room 214 was hidden in a back hallway, just two doors down from the OR where Dale had lost her baby. She says she realized that doctors had put her in that room because it was so private, a place where her post-abortion hysterics would not be noticed. 

Dale was sure there were more memories to awaken. On her next night shift, a friendly security guard, whom she had never seen before, approached her and offered his help.

“He was very friendly and he told me that he would only be on duty this one night because of some schedule change. He said that if there was anything that he could do for me to just let him know.”

Dale asked the man if he might be able to show her a room in which she had recovered from a traumatic surgery many years ago.

The man agreed and followed Dale to room 214. He unlocked the door, and Dale stepped in. Then the memories came flooding back. 

“I imagined where the bed had been and I entered the very tiny bathroom where I recalled losing a large amount of blood, like I was hemorrhaging. I remembered that I had almost passed out.” 

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The guard then asked Dale if she would like to see the Operating Room suites. He opened the big automatic doors of the OR and led Dale to one particular room.

“I looked up at the big bold number above the door, which was the number 2. My heart was racing, as I stepped inside the very room where my abortion took place.”

“The room was empty and very cold and I found myself thinking, ‘that’s exactly how I felt on that day.’”

Dale returned with the guard to her unit, her heart and mind grappling to make sense of everything that had happened to her on that day so many years ago. She thanked the man for helping her. He told her that if he was ever on duty again when she needed help, to just let him know.

Now, more than three decades after her abortion, Dale was finally able to bring some closure to her emotional and traumatic experience.

However, she viewed this step as only the beginning of yet another chapter of the story of life’s journey. She began to share her abortion testimony with students, church groups, and at pro-life events in Canada and the USA. More than anything, she wanted to reach out to “people who are hurting after abortion, to love and encourage them”.

“I want to help others avoid the pain of abortion,” she wrote.

Dale says she has come to know that the pain and regret from abortion do not have to have the final word on one’s life. She is “constantly amazed” about how much good continues to come out of her “tragic event” that took place so many years ago. She has found “love and forgiveness” through the Church and through organizations such as Rachel’s Vineyard and Silent No More Awareness Campaign. 

Dale says that the healing and forgiveness that she experienced is a testament to the words of good news given by St. Paul in his letter to the Romans (8.28): “We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him.”

“So you see, having the abortion continues to affect my life, even years later. For 20 plus years it caused many damaging effects, but for the past several years God has transformed it into something good.” 

Dale Barr has shared her abortion testimony at the Washington March for Life and at the Ottawa March for Life. She is Silent No More Awareness Campaign’s regional coordinator for Eastern Ontario. She is married and a mother of four on earth, one in heaven.


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Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

African researchers warn early sexual activity increases risk of cancers

Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus
By Thaddeus Baklinski

A report on rising cancer rates in Africa delivered at a conference in Namibia last week warned that oral contraceptives and engaging in sexual activity from a young age lead to an increased risk of breast and reproductive system cancers.

Researchers presented the "2014 Integrated Africa Cancer Fact Sheet & Summary Score Card" during the 8th Stop Cervical, Breast and Prostate Cancer in Africa (SCCA) conference, held in Windhoek, Namibia from July 20 to 22, noted that cancer is a growing health problem in many developing countries and that breast and cervical cancer are the most common forms affecting African women.

The report said that sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) play a major role in reproductive system cancers and that young girls who engage in sexual activity risk getting, among other STDs, the human papilloma virus (HPV), some strains of which are linked to cervical cancer.

The report said although HPV infections are common in healthy women, they are usually fought off by the body’s immune system, with no discernible symptoms or health consequences.

The Cancer Association of South Africa points out that of the scores of HPV types, 14 of the more than 40 sexually transmitted varieties are considered "high risk" for causing serious illness, while two, HPV-16 and HPV-18, are linked to cervical cancer.

“Long-term use of oral contraceptives is also associated with increased risk [of cancer], and women living with HIV-AIDS are at increased risk of cervical cancer,” the report said.

Dr. Thandeka Mazibuko, a South African oncologist, told the conference attendees that when an 18-year-old is diagnosed with cervical cancer, “this means sex is an important activity in her life and she indulged from a young age.”

Mazibuko said the standard treatment for cancer of the cervix is seven weeks of radiation therapy.

“After the treatment they cannot have sex with their husbands or partners. They cannot bear children because everything has been closed up. Some may still have the womb but radiation makes them infertile,” Mazibuko said, according to a report in The Namibian.

Statistics from the Cancer Association of Namibia show that cases of cervical cancer have risen from 129 in 2005 to 266 in 2012.

The SCCA Conference theme was, "Moving forward to end Cervical Cancer by 2030: Universal Access to Cervical Cancer Prevention."

In his keynote address, host and Namibian President Hifikepunye Lucas Pohamba urged African countries to help each other to expand and modernize health care delivery in the continent.

"Within the context of the post-2015 Development Agenda and sustainable development goals, the provision of adequate health care to African women and children must be re-emphasized," said the president, according to AllAfrica.

The Namibian leader urged mothers to breastfeed their children for at least six months as a measure to prevent breast cancer.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Allow ‘lethal injection’ for poor to save on palliative care: Lithuanian health minister

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By Hilary White

Euthanasia is a solution for terminally ill poor people who cannot afford palliative care and who do not want to “see their families agonize” over their suffering, Lithuania’s health minister said last week.

In an interview on national television, Minister Rimantė Šalaševičiūtė added that the Belgian law on child euthanasia ought to be “taken into account” as well. 

Šalaševičiūtė told TV3 News that Lithuania, a country whose population is 77 percent Catholic, is not a welfare state and cannot guarantee quality palliative care for all those in need of it. The solution, therefore, would be “lethal injection.”

“It is time to think through euthanasia in these patients and allow them to make a decision: to live or die,” she said.

Direct euthanasia remains illegal in the Balkan state, but activists tried to bring it to the table in 2012. A motion to drop the planned bill was passed in the Parliament in March that year in a vote of 75 to 14. Since then the country has undergone a change in government in which the far-left Social Democrats have formed the largest voting bloc.

Šalaševičiūtė is a member of Parliament for the Social Democrats, the party originally established in the late 19th century – re-formed in the late 1980s – from Marxist principles and now affiliated with the international Party of European Socialists and Socialist International.

Fr. Andrius Narbekovas, a prominent priest, lecturer, physician, bioethicist, and member of the government’s bioethics committee, called the suggestion “satanic,” according to Delfi.lt. He issued a statement saying it is the purpose of the Ministry of Health to “protect the health and life, instead of looking for ways to take away life.”

“We understand that people who are sick are in need of funds. But a society that declares itself democratic, should very clearly understand that we have to take care of the sick, not kill them,” he said.


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Islamists in Mosul mark Christian homes with an Arabic "N" for Nazarene.
Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.

We must open wide our doors to Iraq’s Christians

Gualberto Garcia Jones, J.D.
By Gualberto Garcia Jones J.D.

On July 18, the largest Christian community in Iraq, the Chaldean Catholics of Mosul, were given a grotesque ultimatum: leave your ancestral home, convert to Islam, or die.

All but forgotten by the 1.2 billion Catholics of the world, these last Christians who still speak Jesus’ native tongue of Aramaic and live in the land of Abraham and Jonah are being wiped out before our very eyes.

As a way of issuing a thinly-veiled threat, reminiscent of the Nazi persecution of the Jews, the Arabic letter “N” (for Nazarean) has been painted on the outside of the homes of all known Christians in Mosul.

These threats, issued by the fanatical Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) known for its bloodthirsty rampage of executions, have been taken very seriously by the several hundred thousand Christians in Mosul who have left with little more than the clothes they were wearing. 

At least most of these Christians were able to flee and find temporary protection among the Kurds in their semi-autonomous region.  However the Kurds do not have the resources to defend or shelter the Chaldean Christians for much longer.

On Monday, during an interview on Fox News, Republican U.S. Rep. Frank Wolf, who recently joined with 54 other members of the House of Representatives in a letter to President Obama asking him to act to protect these communities, stated that while Iraqi President Maliki had sent military flights to Mosul to evacuate Shiite Muslims, the US has done nothing to protect the Chaldean Christians.  Rep. Wolf also stated emphatically that President Obama has done “almost nothing” about the genocide taking place.

The silence from the White House is deafening.  But the lack of leadership from the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in America has been shocking as well.

Nevertheless, the plight of these Iraqi Christians is beginning to be taken seriously.   This is due in large part to the heroic efforts of local Iraqi religious leaders like Chaldean Patriarch Sako, who has gone on a whirlwind tour of the world to alert us all of the plight of these Iraqi Christians.  In a statement demonstrating his character, he told the Christians of Iraq last week, “We are your shepherds, and with our full responsibility towards you we will stay with you to the end, will not leave you, whatever the sacrifices.”

Before the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq was launched there were approximately 1.5 to 2 million Christians living in Iraq.  Today, there are believed to be less than 200,000.  The numbers speak for themselves.

Now that the world is beginning to be aware of the genocide in Northern Iraq, many of us ask ourselves: what can we do?  As citizens and as Christians blessed to live in nations with relative peace and security, what can we do?

The answer is quite simple and unexpected.  Demand that our government and church pull its head out of the sand and follow France. Yes, France.  

Yesterday, in a heroic gesture of Christian solidarity that would make Joan of Arc proud, the government of France opened wide its doors to the persecuted Iraqi Christians.  

”France is outraged by these abuses that it condemns with the utmost firmness," Laurent Fabius, France's foreign minister, and Bernard Cazeneuve, France's interior minister, said in a joint statement on Monday.

"The ultimatum given to these communities in Mosul by ISIS is the latest tragic example of the terrible threat that jihadist groups in Iraq, but also in Syria and elsewhere, pose to these populations that are historically an integral part of this region," they added. "We are ready, if they wish, to facilitate their asylum on our soil.  We are in constant contact with local and national authorities to ensure everything is done to protect them.”

The French statement drives home three crucial elements that every government, especially the United States, should communicate immediately:

  1. Recognize the genocide and name the perpetrators and victims.

  2. Officially condemn what is happening in the strongest terms.

  3. Offer a solution that includes cooperation with local authorities but which leads by making solid commitments such as offering asylum or other forms of protection.

With regard to the Church, we should look to the Chaldean Patriarch and the Iraqi bishops who shared their expectations explicitly in an open letter to “all people of conscience in Iraq and around the world” to take “practical actions to assure our people, not merely expressions of condemnation.”  Noticeably, the last section of the letter from the Iraqi bishops, before a final prayer to God, is an expression of thanks to the Kurdish government, which has welcomed them not just with “expressions” of goodwill but, like France, with a sacrificial hospitality.

On Friday, July 25, the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops did issue a statement, but unfortunately it lacked much in terms of leadership or solutions.  We should encourage our bishops to do better than that, be bolder and stronger for our persecuted brothers and sisters, name names and offer concrete sacrificial aid. In a word, be more like the French.

In 1553, Rome welcomed the Chaldean church into the fold of the Catholic Church.  Nearly 500 years later, Catholic Americans must find ways to welcome these persecuted people into our country, into our churches, and into our own homes if need be.

I say, I am with you St. Joan of Arc.   I am with you, France.  I am with you, Chaldeans!

Gualberto Garcia Jones is the Executive Director of the International Human Rights Group, a non-profit organization based in Washington, DC, that seeks to advance the fundamental rights to life, the natural family, and religious liberty through international law and international relations. 


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