Susan Michelle Tyrell

Stunning photos of baby Nathan, miscarried at 14 weeks, prove the humanity of the unborn

Susan Michelle Tyrell
By Susan Michelle Tyrell
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September 23, 2013 (LiveActionNews.org) - According to Texas law he wasn’t old enough or heavy enough to need a death certificate, but he got a proper burial anyway.

Allison’s son was 13 weeks and 4 days when she lost him. Her husband Daniel, 2 ½ year old son Matthew, along with their family, laid Nathan Isaiah to rest on September 12.

Nathan’s story is one of life and death—and ultimately life. Allison and Daniel, both 28, rejoiced in the news of their pregnancy and looked forward to February 28, 2014, their due date. After suffering a miscarriage about a year after Matthew’s first birthday, they knew they wanted more children, despite the pain of losing Matthew’s younger brother a day after discovering their pregnancy. “I did not have time to even get used to the fact that I was pregnant before blood and pain flooded our happy reality with loss,” Allison said.

Then in June, joy returned as they learned that Nathan was on his way. Excitedly they shared the news with their toddler. “We asked my son, Matthew, which he wanted, a little brother or a little sister, to which he quickly replied, ‘I want a pickle.’  (He had been on a pickle kick.)  So the nickname stuck and Nathan became known as, ‘our little pickle.’”

Allison endured an exceptional case of morning sickness that left her in bed often for two months, but was delighted when the small baby bump formed in her belly; they rejoiced at seeing this life develop.

Seeing a Certified Nurse Midwife at about 12 weeks, Allison and Daniel were thankful for the views of this pro-life provider:

“She was almost just as excited to see his little life on the ultrasound for the first time as we were, and was so passionate about what she was doing.  She affirmed to us privately, during our first ultrasound, how she could not understand how others did not see babies this young in the womb as a life.  Little did we know that her view on this would become so important to us.  She rejoiced with us when we saw him squirming around and kicking his legs and saw his heart beating so quickly—and grieved with us when we lost him.”

Allison recalls how she fell in love so early with the precious life inside her:

“He was so active that he would hardly stay still for her to get a steady reading of his heartbeat.  I cried when we saw him for the first time.  I loved him from the moment I knew he was mine, but then I heard his heartbeat with my sister-in-law’s Doppler, and he burrowed himself a little deeper into my heart, and then I saw his face on the ultrasound and his tiny feet and beating heart and was head over heels.”

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The turning point for them came at 15 weeks when, visiting with Allison’s sister-in-law, they repeated an oft-requested favor—to listen to Nathan’s heartbeat on the Doppler, only this time something was different. Nathan, who was already seemingly prepping for a soccer career, had gone strangely silent. For 20 minutes she searched, but could not find the heartbeat.

After trying again the next day, Allison’s worries could not be appeased through the weekend. Feeling no symptoms of miscarriage like before, she and Daniel went to the emergency room anyway, because “I could not wait any longer to find out what was going on with my baby.”

And the news wasn’t good:

“After hours of waiting for an ultrasound, the doctor finally came in and told Daniel and I that our baby was not moving and had no heartbeat.  He said that although I should be 15 weeks along, the baby was measuring 13 weeks and 4 days. No preparation could have been enough.  I felt as though my heart stopped beating with my baby’s.”

She was sent home abruptly:

“The doctor told us that since I had no signs of miscarriage or infection that we were free to go home and follow up with our obstetrics provider on Monday.  Just like that.  No funeral home, no casket; just me, my husband, and our dead child in my womb were to drive home and wait until normal office hours.”

Allison was sustained not only by her family, but by her faith. “I know that the Lord gave me a peace beyond my understanding during this time, and there was such a stillness and a quietness before the Lord.  I did not know what to expect.  I didn’t know what is usually done in this situation.  All I knew is that I didn’t want to rush the hand of God.  I didn’t want to move out of fear or doubt, but out of trust in Him.  I knew He was right there with me.  I knew that He was weeping with me.  I knew that I could trust Him. “

Still the issue of Nathan’s death was a physically present one because after a miscarriage, the baby has to be removed from the mother’s body. Allison didn’t understand everything, but she knew two things:

“From that moment I only had two requests from the Lord.  I didn’t know what to expect and how things would go, but I knew that I absolutely did not want my baby ripped apart in an abortion-like procedure and discarded in some trashcan like he was worthless.  I wanted to have my baby and take him home and give him the dignity of a burial. “

Her doctor confirmed the miscarriage the next week and, unlike in the ER, allowed them to see pictures on the ultrasound of Nathan, revealing the features of the life of her son.  The experience in the exam room further proved the power of unborn life to the family. Allison added, “A young nursing student was in the room with us, and as we saw our little baby and wept over his loss in the exam room.  This awakened, even more, a roar inside my heart for others to see Nathan’s little life.  To know of his significance, to understand that he was our son, a baby, fashioned in my womb by his Creator, fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Cherishing life is part of Allison’s family, and her sister Amy recalls,

“She said she didn’t want someone to just ‘suck her baby’s body out of her,’ that this little one deserved to be honored more than that. She understands sometimes that is necessary but she, we all, prayed it wouldn’t be her necessity.

And then the answer came:

“They told me that a DNC is not as effective after 13 weeks in removing everything that needed to be removed and that I would need to be induced and have the baby in the hospital in Labor and Delivery, and that I would be able to take my baby home and bury him.  A surge of validation, satisfaction, thankfulness, and relief flooded my heart!  Just four days sooner and my baby’s body would have possibly been subjected to unspeakable horrors and possibly discarded like waste.  How could such a thing be? “

The next day, they went to the delivery room where Allison was induced, but refused pain medications. “I wanted to feel the pain and to let the reality of it wash over me,” she said.  “I wanted to be very present and to feel every contraction.  I felt it was my honor to labor for my son.” After over 9 hours of labor, Nathan’s body came out of the womb.   He was named Nathan Isaiah because “Nathan means, ‘gift of God’ because Nathan was a great gift from our Lord, and Isaiah means ‘salvation,’ because the greatest gift God has given us is salvation through His only son, Jesus."

But the most stunning witness of life was their perfectly formed son. Allison said, “His little body was so perfect with ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.  He had a nose, a mouth, two little eyes and ears.”

And the family wanted him buried properly.  As Amy notes, “You see, until 20 weeks gestation a baby doesn’t require a death certificate or to be legally buried in a cemetery.”

In fact, Texas law says:

“A fetal death certificate must be filed for any fetus weighing 350 grams or more, or if the weight is unknown, a fetus aged twenty weeks or more; the certificate must be filed with the local registrar within five days of the date of fetal death by the institution or person who is responsible for the disposition of the fetal remains. “

Since Nathan, at 13 weeks and 4 days and  6 oz., was neither 20 weeks nor 350 grams, they were free to take him home and bury him on a spot of land where Allison and Amy grew up in East Texas.  Reading the Bible, praying, worshiping they thanked God for the life they had gotten to know in the womb and had gotten to hold after death . “It was simple and beautiful,” Allison said. “It honored the Lord and Nathan.  It shouted significance about a life that many would disregard. “

Amy adds, “My heart is heavy. He was so perfectly formed. No one can deny that 13 week and 4 day old baby wasn’t a baby. He is delicately put together. You can see every detail. I know God will use him to bring glory to His kingdom and for that, I am thankful."

As the family grieves, the pictures of the life they lost tells the story no one with eyes can clearly deny, even at a time when abortion is legal and common, the blob many see is actually a life.

Nathan Isaiah will always be remembered, and the entire family’s prayer is that his life would remind others of the value of all life.

Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org. 

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

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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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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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.

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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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