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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Are you praying for the upcoming Synod on the Family? You should be, and here’s why

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By John-Henry Westen

Catholics, and all Christians who value family values, should be praying earnestly for the Catholic Church as a struggle over critical family issues is coming to a head in the run-up to the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which takes place October 5-19. 

Augmenting the concerns is the fact that some of the cardinals closest to Pope Francis himself are increasingly in public disagreement over crucial matters related to faith and family. For some, the concerns reach right to the pope himself.

While Synod preparations have been going on for a year, Sunday’s weddings of 20 couples in St. Peter’s Basilica by Pope Francis presented a figurative, and perhaps foreboding launch.

In a press release prior to the ceremony, the Rome diocese inexplicably went out of its way to highlight the fact that some of couples the pope was going to marry were cohabiting. "Those who will get married Sunday are couples like many others,” it said. “There are those who are already cohabitating; who already have children.”

Unsurprisingly, the mainstream press took the bait and seized upon this statement to run headline after headline pushing the confusing notion that the event was a prelude to, or evidence of, a change in Church teaching on marriage.

Headlines like: 

All I can do is pray that the public fallout from these wedding ceremonies does not foreshadow the public outcome of the Synod. If so, we could be headed for a tragedy akin to the tragedy of the late sixties when, despite the proclamation of the truth of Humanae Vitae against contraception, the effect among ordinary Catholics was a near universal rejection of the teaching in practice.

What to expect at the Synod

The official list of those taking part in the Synod includes 114 presidents of Bishops’ Conferences, 13 heads of Eastern Catholic Churches sui iuris, 25 heads of the dicasteries of the Roman Curia, nine members of the Ordinary Council for the Secretariat, the Secretary General, the Undersecretary, three religious elected by the Union of Superiors General, 26 members appointed by the Pontiff, eight fraternal delegates, and 38 auditors, among whom are 13 married couples and 16 experts.

You’ve undoubtedly heard of Cardinal Kasper’s intervention at the Consistory of Cardinals earlier this year, in which he laid out a contentious proposal to allow Catholics who have been divorced and then ‘remarried’ outside the Church to receive Communion. 

Since then a bevy of heavy-hitter cardinals have fought that proposal, including:

Today, however, Cardinal Kasper said the “attacks” from these cardinals were not so much directed at him but at Pope Francis, since, claims Kasper, he discussed his intervention with the pope and gained his approval.

The claim has some basis, since the day after Kasper made the proposal, before it was made public, Pope Francis praised it publicly.  According to Vatican Information Service, the Holy Father said:

I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper's document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the 'sensus Ecclesiae', love for the Mother Church. ... It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one's knees’. Thank you, thank you.

Of note, Vatican correspondent Sébastien Maillard, writing for France’s La Croix, reports today that Pope Francis is “irritated” by the release of a book containing criticisms of the Kasper proposal by five cardinals.

As LifeSiteNews.com reported yesterday, one of those authors, Cardinal Raymond Burke, is being demoted from his headship of the Apostolic Signatura. The only post planned for the 66-year-old cardinal thus far is patron of the Order of Malta. 

Cardinal Burke’s pre-Synod interventions go beyond the divorce and remarriage question and into the matter of homosexuality.  In a recent interview Cardinal Burke gave a clear refutation of the misuse of Pope Francis’ famed ‘Who am I to judge’ quote to justify homosexuality.

While the issue of the Church’s teachings on homosexuality is seldom raised in reference to the Synod, with most of the emphasis being placed on the question of divorce and remarriage, it is mentioned in the working document, or ‘Instrumentum Laboris’, of the Synod.

As with the matter of divorce, no doctrine regarding homosexuality can be changed, but much confusion can still be sown under the auspices of adjustments to “pastoral” practice. Without a clear teaching from the Synod, the effects could be similar to the shift in “pastoral” practice among dissenting clergy after the promulgation of Humanae Vitae, which led to the use of artificial contraception by most Catholics.

Already and for many years there has been de facto broad acceptance of homosexual sexual practices in many Catholic schools, universities and many other institutions, with many staff being active homosexuals in open defiance of Catholic moral teaching.

Regarding the Synod’s deliberations on homosexuality, it does not bode well that one of Pope Francis’ personal appointees to the Synod is retired Cardinal Godfried Danneels.  The selection is remarkable because of Danneels was caught on tape in 2010 urging a victim who had been sexually abused by a bishop-friend of Danneels, to be silent.  Then, only last year Danneels praised as a “positive development” that states were opening up civil marriage to homosexuals.

Then, just this week, as reported on the Rorate Caeli blog, one of the three Synod presidents gave an interview with the leading Brazilian newspaper in which he said that while stable unions between homosexual persons cannot be equated to marriage, the Church has always tried to show respect for such unions.

The statement matches that of another prominent Synod participant, Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who in 2010 spoke of giving more consideration to ‘the quality’ of homosexual relationships. “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships. A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous,” Schönborn said.

In the end, while there is currently a public battle in the Vatican that is unprecedented in modern history, the faith will not and cannot change.  As faithful Catholics, and Christians, we must cling to the Truths of Christ regarding the family and live them out in our own lives first and foremost.  That is difficult, to be sure, especially in our sex-saturated culture, but with Christ (and only with Him) all things are possible. 

Plead with heaven for the pope and the bishops in the Synod.  LifeSiteNews will be there reporting from Rome, and, with your prayers and support, be of service to those defending truth.

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Poet: I ‘would’ve died’ for my aborted daughter’s ‘right to choose,’ just ‘like she died for mine’ (VIDEO)

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By Ben Johnson

What kind of mother asks her baby to die for her? And what kind of media outlet celebrates that?

To take the second question first, The Huffington Post is promoting a video featuring Scottish “poet” Leyla Josephine, celebrating her decision to abort her daughter. The video, “I Think She Was a She,” was uploaded to YouTube a month ago.

In the video Josephine, decked out in military camouflage, justifies herself in part by saying that she would have been willing to serve as a sacrifice to abortion just as she offered her daughter to the idol of “choice.”

“I would’ve supported her right to choose – to choose a life for herself, a path for herself. I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine,” she said.

In the next rhyming line, she addresses her unborn daughter: “I’m sorry, but you came at the wrong time.”

“I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed. I am not ashamed," she continues – a phrase she repeats a total of six times. She repeats the phrase "This is my body" three times. (She also takes the Lord's name in vain once.)

In the early part of the video, she describes her belief that her child was a girl and imagines a life where she had given birth to her daughter.

“I know she was a she,” she says. “I would have made sure that there was space on the walls to measure her height,” she adds. “I would have made sure I was a good mother.”

At one point she appears to describe the emotional aftermath of her choice as “a hollowness that feels full, a numbness that feels heavy.”

But she later calls the idea that her child was a girl or a boy “bull---t” and affirms, yet again, she is not ashamed.

This provokes a few observations:

1. If she knew her child's sex, she must have had a late-term abortion. Our gentle, healing restoration is needed in a world marred by so much aggression and anger in the name of political orthodoxy.

2. Fr. Frank Pavone has written, ”Did you ever realize that the same four words that were used by the Lord Jesus to save the world are also used by abortion advocates? 'This is My Body.'” To paraphrase him, he notes the difference. One, by surrendering His life on the Cross, gave life to the world. The abortion industry uses this phrase to impose its will on the bodies of separate, living human beings who have not harmed anyone.

3. The most chilling phrase in the video is her statement, “I would’ve supported her right to choose...I would’ve died for that right like she died for mine.”

First of all, her daughter did not die for the “right to choose.” Her daughter was not sacrificed for the inalienable “good” of keeping abortion-on-demand legal (and, in the UK, taxpayer-subsidized). Politicians are bribed to maintain it; no baby needs to die for it. Josephine's child died because HuffPo's hero of the moment chose not to carry the baby to term and place him/her in the hands of loving adoptive parents who would have cherished her baby – whether it was actually male, female, or intersex.

Josephine describes the emotions that actually led to the abortion only metaphorically – e.g., she compares the abortion to chopping down a cherry tree – but that angst is the root (so to speak) of the abortion, not the great and grand cause of assuring that other women have the right to go through the same soul-crushing grief.

That intimation that her daughter died for “choice” – that she offered her baby as a living sacrifice on the altar of abortion – confirms the darkest rhetoric of the pro-life movement: That for some in the movement, abortion is sometimes regarded as an idol.

And that raises one other, more universally held question: What kind of parent asks his son or daughter to die for the “right” to abortion? Parents are supposed to be the one who sacrificially care for their children, who forsake their own comfort, who do whatever is necessary – even die – to keep their children safe, healthy, and well. Josephine's blithe, “Sorry, but you came at the wrong time” sounds as hollow as a gangland assassin's apology to the family caught in the crossfire of a drive-by shooting. Abortion severs the love that God, or Mother Nature, or evolution, or whatever you choose to believe in placed within every pregnant woman to link the mother to her child.

The abortion lobby's rhetoric, which increasingly disregards the value of unborn life, is untethered by the bonds of human compassion, is fundamentally selfish and cold-blooded, and lacks a sense of humanity and brotherhood to the point of obliterating maternal love itself.

“Will a woman forget her child, so as not to have compassion upon the offspring of her womb?” God asks through the prophet Isaiah. “But if a woman should even forget these, yet I will not forget thee, saith the Lord.”

The pro-life movement exists precisely to set this upside-down order aright, to reinstate the natural love and compassion everyone should have for all of God's creation – most especially that between a mother and the innocent child she has helped create and fashion with her own DNA.

Cross-posted at TheRightsWriter.com.

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Cardinal Dolan greets worshipers and guests on the steps of Saint Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan after Easter mass on April 8, 2012 in New York City. Lev Radin / Shutterstock.com
Lisa Bourne

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Catholic leaders criticize Cardinal Dolan’s defense of gay group at St. Patrick’s Parade

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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New York Cardinal John O'Connor on the cover of the New York Post on January 11, 1993. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/

New York Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended his decision to serve as grand marshal for the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade on Wednesday, in the wake of widespread criticism from Catholics after he praised the organizing committee for allowing a homosexual activist group to march.

“If the Parade Committee allowed a group to publicize its advocacy of any actions contrary to Church teaching, I’d object,” Dolan stated in his weekly column. On the contrary, he argued, “The committee’s decision allows a group to publicize its identity, not promote actions contrary to the values of the Church that are such an essential part of Irish culture.”

Austin Ruse, president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, was not impressed with the cardinal’s argument. This is precisely about publicizing advocacy contrary to Catholic teaching,” he said.

“As a Catholic father I find there is rapidly contracting space where this shameful agenda is not stuck in the faces of my children,” Ruse told LifeSiteNews. “The Church should be protecting our children rather than abetting those who prowl about the world seeking the ruin of innocent souls."

Pat Archbold, a popular blogger at the National Catholic Register and who runs the Creative Minority Report blog, lambasted Dolan for suggesting the embrace and promotion of “gay identity” can be separated from the sin of homosexuality.

“This identity is not a morally-neutral God-given attribute such as male or female, black or white,” he said. “The identity is with the immoral choice to engage in immoral behavior.”

“The best that can be said in this situation is that these people choose to proudly identify themselves with an intrinsic disorder.  But in reality, it is worse than that,” he continued. “The people find their identity and pride in sin.  Either the Cardinal knows this or he doesn't, either way Cardinal Dolan reveals himself unequal to his responsibility as a successor of the Apostles.”

The parade committee changed its longstanding policy on September 3 after decades of pressure from homosexual groups. Upon being announced as the parade’s grand marshal later the same day, Cardinal Dolan said he had no trouble with the decision at all, calling it “wise.”

The organizers had never prohibited any marchers, but did not ban issue-focused banners and signs, whether promoting homosexuality or the pro-life cause.

Cardinal Dolan stated in his column Wednesday that he did not oppose the previous policy.

“This was simply a reasonable policy about banners and public identification, not about the sexual inclinations of participants,” he explained.

“I have been assured that the new group marching is not promoting an agenda contrary to Church teaching,” he said as well, “but simply identifying themselves as ‘Gay people of Irish ancestry.’”

The homosexual activist group that will march is called OUT@NBCUniversal, which describes itself as the employee resource group for LGBT & Straight Ally employees at the media giant.

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The network held the broadcast contract for parade coverage. Reports indicated the contract was about to expire, and that NBC joined in pressuring on parade officials.

Cardinal Dolan conceded in his column there were many thoughtful reasons for criticizing the parade policy change, and noted that he shared some of them.

“While a handful have been less than charitable in their reactions, I must admit that many of you have rather thoughtful reasons for criticizing the committee’s decision,” he said. “You observe that the former policy was fair; you worry that this is but another example of a capitulation to an ‘aggressive Gay agenda,’ which still will not appease their demands; and you wonder if this could make people think the Church no longer has a clear teaching on the nature of human sexuality.” 

However, he said, the most important question he had to ask himself was whether the new policy violated Catholic faith or morals.

In stressing that homosexual actions are sinful while identity is not, Cardinal Dolan said, “Catholic teaching is clear: ‘being Gay’ is not a sin, nor contrary to God’s revealed morals.”

Making opinion paramount, the cardinal offered that the parade committee “tried to be admirably sensitive to Church teaching,” and even though the original policy was not at all unfair, the committee was “realistic in worrying that the public perception was the opposite, no matter how often they tried to explain its coherence and fairness.”

“They worried that the former policy was being interpreted as bias, exclusion, and discrimination against a group in our city,” Cardinal Dolan wrote. “Which, if true, would also be contrary to Church teaching.”

When the decision was announced and Cardinal Dolan named the parade’s grand marshal, Philip Lawler, director of Catholic Culture and editor for Catholic World News, called it a significant advance for homosexual activists, and a significant retreat for the Catholic Church.

Pointing out in his column that the media will be correct to concentrate on that narrative at next March’s event, Lawler identified what he said is almost certain to be the result of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

“Next year there will be only one story-line of interest to the reporters who cover the annual parade in the world’s media capital: the triumph of the gay activists,” Lawler wrote.

“Photographers will be competing for the one ‘money’ shot: the picture of the contingent from OUT@NBCUniversal marching past the reviewing stand at St. Patrick’s Cathedral, under the benign smile of Cardinal Timothy Dolan.”

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