Christine Dhanagom

The miracle story behind the 5-minute pro-life film touching thousands

Christine Dhanagom
Christine Dhanagom
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October 8, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - It’s a thought that haunts the waking hours of many post-abortive women: “what if my child were still alive?”

In a new LifeSiteNews short film published on the website last week, a young woman grapples with the question as she imagines a day at the playground with her aborted son on the anniversary of the baby’s due date. The video, titled “Aaron,” climaxes with her sitting alone on a park bench as she hears the voice of a young boy whispering: “I love you, Mom. I forgive you.”

The film was offered to LifeSiteNews for its work by Don Cobb of the American Family Association after LifeSiteNews Managing Director Steve Jalsevac saw a preview at the recent Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.  Jalsevac told Cobb he found it to be one of the best pro-life shorts that he had ever seen.

The film’s script writer, Kendra White, hoped that her work would touch the hearts of her viewers, but what she didn’t anticipate was that the film’s impact would begin with the actress she hired to star in it.

White came across Vanessa Ore’s biography on the entertainment industry website IMDb while she was holding auditions for the part, and tracked her down with the help of Ore’s former agent.

Ore, who sports an impressive resume in the field of Christian film-making, was at a conference in the mountains of Nashville when she was contacted about “Aaron.” She was taken aback by the phone call from a former agent whose information she knew was not listed on her IMDb profile.

“I wasn’t even sure how she found him, so I’m just thinking God has to have orchestrated this whole situation,” Ore told LifeSiteNews.

But the unusual way in which she was contacted wasn’t the only thing that made her feel that the opportunity was providential. Ore was in the middle of a pro-life project, still under wraps, that involves helping women deal with the memories of past abortions. Vanessa herself had an abortion when she was 19 years old. She did not relate anything about this to White before or during the filming of Aaron.

Vanessa had been living in New York City at the time of the abortion, and was beginning a successful career as a sales manager at an ad agency. Her future seemed promising, and she didn’t think she could fit a baby into it.

Years later, when she had found her way to the Christian faith, married, and had three children, the reality of the abortion began to sink in.

“The process is so much deeper than people realize,” she says. “It’s a scar. It’s literally a death inside of you, physically and emotionally.”

She forgave herself for her abortion at the time of her conversion, she says, but still had a long road to travel in coming to terms with what she had been through.

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The turning point in her journey of post-abortive healing came when she was invited to a viewing of “October Baby” by one of the film’s producers. The recently released pro-life movie is about a young woman who discovers that she is the survivor of a botched abortion.

“I just lost it watching the movie,” Ore recalls. The film was an impetus for her to become more deeply involved in pro-life work. Soon after seeing the movie, she found herself not only involved in an important pro-life project but also ministering to a friend who was considering an abortion.

“I love you, no matter what you do,” Ore told her friend, “But I gotta tell you that I have to be the voice of this child right now for you.”

Her friend chose to continue the pregnancy, and Ore is now looking forward to holding the little girl whose life she helped save.

It was in the midst of these unfolding events that she received the phone call about “Aaron.”

At the time, White didn’t know anything about Ore’s personal journey, but after speaking to her on the phone and viewing a recorded audition, she says she felt a sense of peace in offering her the part. Ore was on a plane to Mississippi to begin filming within a week.

“None of this is a mistake,” the actress says, confidently. “All these things happened so quickly within a short period of time that it just blows my mind.”

She hopes, like White, that the film will not only move women in crisis pregnancies to choose life, but also touch the hearts of post-abortive women who need the same healing that she has experienced.

Already, she has connected with another post-abortive woman who stumbled across “Aaron” through a Facebook link. The woman is suffering the early stages of Alzheimers, but she still remembers and mourns for an abortion she had over 30 years ago.

“I told her that she was forgiven and that she has this baby that she will see again when she goes up to heaven,” says Ore.

That, she believes, is a key message of “Aaron,” and one of the most important messages that the pro-life movement has to offer.

The comments posted by readers and viewers beneath the LifeSiteNews introduction of the video and on the LSN YouTube page with the video attest to the power of Aaron.

The grace and mercy that post-abortive women need to experience can come only from God, Vanessa Ore says, but “as his people we can offer that hand. That speaks more than yelling at people ‘this is wrong.’”

Editors Note: Because of a Disqus problem the comments posted beneath this story belong to the story, Supreme Court of Canada rules you don’t have to tell your sex partner if you have HIV

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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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