Arland Nichols

‘The single biggest mistake of my entire life’: a letter from a post-abortive woman

Arland Nichols
By Arland Nichols

The following unsigned letter was received by a priest friend of mine following a pro-life homily. Her message is a powerful one that deserves to be heard by and shared with all young women and parents in a similar situation. I am happy to share her witness with you:

Do you ever hear a homily or Bible verse and feel as if God is directly speaking to you?

This weekend I wasn’t sure if I would go to church or skip it for the week. I was tired, I had a long week and frankly, I didn’t want to be out in public dealing with arguing and talkative children who have to go potty just to get out of their seats.

In spite of my brain saying to skip Sunday Mass, my heart forced the keys into the ignition and I found my way to church.

As I sat in the pew with my little family, I listened intently as the uncomfortable topic of abortion came up. At that very moment, I knew God was talking to me. Sharing His forgiveness and unconditional love and also sending a message by tugging on my heart that I need to share my story.

I am one of you. I am Catholic, a mom, a wife, a sister, a daughter and a friend. I am a sinner, and by the Grace of God, I am forgiven. I could be sitting next to you at this very moment and you don’t even know it. I am one of those people you would never guess had a dark story behind me. While I don’t feel compelled to disclose my identity, I do feel the story behind the person is important and should be shared.

Abortion is one of those subjects that make people squirm in their seats and rightfully so. It is an act that destroys virtually everything we’re taught to respect in the Bible. Our bodies, love between all parties (including the baby), the sexual act itself and especially the fact that once conception has occurred, there is a human being where there once was none.

So many people try to convince mothers facing an unintended pregnancy that the “product of conception” (aka: the baby) is simply “tissue”. Pro-choice individuals attempt to dilute the fact that once the sperm fertilizes the egg, there is now a living human being; a very tiny person who already has a purpose and dignity given by God.

When I was 15, I found myself going out with a boy who I came to truly believe was the love of my life. We knew more than our parents and defied every attempt to keep us apart. Sneaking out nightly to meet somewhere between his house and mine was more common than not and very soon thereafter, I found myself giving him the most sacred gift God had given me.

I absolutely had the mindset that “it won’t happen to me.” I knew how pregnancy happened and I knew we weren’t using any contraception, but I still was in denial that I might find myself pregnant.

I will never forget the feeling that went through my body as I sat in the bathroom of the grocery store after taking that pregnancy test and seeing two very bright lines come up in the little square. My legs went weak. I felt like I was going to faint. I was shaking uncontrollably. I was crying.

I called out for my boyfriend who was waiting outside the door and he came inside. It was the middle of the night and nobody was even around to notice a guy walking into the women’s bathroom to hold onto a young girl now facing a very adult situation.

We left the grocery store and headed to his sister’s house. Once we got there, we called my parents. They did not realize that I was even gone until the phone rang. They thought all along that I was in my bed sleeping. Through my hysteria, they guessed that I was pregnant after a few questions. This is where the situation could have gone one of two ways, and unfortunately, it went downhill and very fast.

It was made clear that I was a shame to the family. It was continuously reiterated that if I chose to continue with the pregnancy, I would not be allowed outside of the house for nine months. I had brought such disgrace to our family and I now wore the Scarlet Letter.

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Feeling as if I had already done such an injustice to the family name, I felt pressured to “get rid of the pregnancy” to save face and spare the family any more humiliation than I already caused. In spite of my parents telling me they would not force me to make a decision either way, I felt as if I had no choice if they were going to ever love me again.

It wasn’t the baby that I didn’t want. I simply didn’t want for my parents to hate me anymore.

The first appointment I made was to hear a doctor tell me I was not far along enough to “achieve the goal” of termination due to a tilted uterus. He sent me home and told me to return in four weeks.

As time went on, I endured daily comments about how disappointed my family was that I had chosen to gallivant around and get myself pregnant. I had horrible morning sickness and was so thin that I was already starting to show. My parents now forbade my boyfriend to have any contact with me whatsoever and my friends wanted nothing to do with me. I sat in my room and cried every hour that I was awake.

Another appointment was made for me and I went to the same doctor who had told me to return in four weeks. He tried to perform the abortion that day in the office, but due to my uterus being too far tilted still, he was unable to succeed. It was painful and terrifying. He referred me to an “abortion specialist” and I left his office, for the second time, still pregnant.

The night before my appointment with the specialist, I vividly remember sitting on the floor of my bedroom crying until I had no tears to cry. I knew what I was about to do was wrong. My heart hurt so badly. I wanted to have the strength to say I would not have the abortion but I was desperate for my parents love and approval again. As I sat there curled up in a ball crying, I physically and very clearly heard a strong yet soft man’s voice in the darkness of my bedroom.

The only words spoken were, “Don’t do it.”

The day of my abortion, both of my parents took me. I was led to a very cold room and given an IV to put me to sleep. I don’t remember anything of the actual abortion itself.

When I woke up, I was told it was over and was given Oreo cookies and orange juice. Immediately I regretted what I had just done. I had 13 long weeks to make this decision and it was suddenly crystal clear that I made the wrong choice but I could no longer go back and undo it. To this day, the abortion is the single biggest mistake of my entire life. My dad carried me out of the building and the details afterwards are very foggy.

Seventeen years later, there has not been a single day go by that I haven’t wondered about the baby whose life was cut short because of a choice. I look at my children now with the knowledge of having robbed them the chance to have an older sibling that they have never even heard about. Knowing I took the only opportunity for the father of the baby to have a child of his own. Living with such mental and emotional distress that not only I, but my husband now has to deal with, and finally, wondering each day if I am truly forgiven and if I will be allowed into heaven after I die.

I can say with 100% conviction that absolutely nothing positive came from my abortion.

Looking back now that I am an adult, I find myself asking what my parents could have done differently once I was in the situation that may have led me to keep the baby or put him or her up for adoption by choosing life. I’ve played over a hundred times in my head what I will say to any of my children if they come to me pregnant or having gotten someone pregnant.

If you are the parent to a pre-teen or teenager, please rehearse what you would do if your child finds themselves facing an unintended pregnancy, and talk with your spouse about it. So many parents say “not me, not my child,” but I am living proof of being a teenager who would go to any length to do what I wanted to do. My parents did not realize I wasn’t even a virgin until the night I called to tell them I was pregnant. Sure they asked me, but I lied and they believed me. They had no idea I had been sneaking around seeing my boyfriend at night.

If your child comes to you and tells you that she is pregnant, or that he got someone pregnant, please reach out and hug your child. Hug her with depth, sincerity and love. Hold her and let her cry. Cry with her and let her know everything will be okay and that you will stick by her and make the right choices with her. Most importantly, remind her that she is loved by you and God, No Matter What.

At this point, what’s done is done and your child is already scared. She has already judged herself and feels horrible for letting you down. She needs your support and she needs you, in your maturity, to think clearly for her and to do everything in your power to not allow her to have an abortion. She will regret it and if you allow it, someday, you will wish you had your grandchild to celebrate with. Some regrets are so painful they cut deeper than a knife and leave scars that never heal.

If you are a teenager listening to my story, please realize that someone has been in your shoes before. I’ve been “in love” with a boy who cared more about physical desires than my true well being.

If a boy or girl truly loves you, he or she will support and encourage you in putting God first and staying out of situations where you may find yourself feeling very alone and scared with another life on the line.

If you are currently facing an unintended pregnancy, know that God chooses to make every single baby inside each pregnant womb and He makes no mistakes. All conceived children have meaning and purpose, regardless if the timing is right for you or not.

To this day, 17 years later, I know in my heart, the voice I heard the night before my abortion was the voice of God. I will never get over knowing that I heard, out loud, the voice of God who told me not to do something and I chose to do it anyway.

I don’t know how many of you will remember my story, but if I can positively impact the life of only one person, then it was not written in vain.

Remember that it is never too late to start over. It is never too late to turn around and decide to make the right choices going forward. It is never too late to come to God and decide to walk the right path, even if the one you’ve been on isn’t the best.

The message to take away from my story is that abortion is wrong. You know it, I know it. I knew it and did it anyway. Seventeen years later, I am still suffering the consequences of it.

No matter what, know in your heart of hearts that it is not, hasn’t ever been, and will never be “just tissue.” From the moment the sperm fertilizes the egg, there is a human being with purpose, with meaning, created by God. Please do not deny God’s gifts and please learn from my horrible mistake. You will be glad you did. I promise. Some things cannot be undone. Ever.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Arland K. Nichols is the National Director of HLI America. He writes for the Truth and Charity Forum, where this letter first appeared. It is reprinted with permission.


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Hilary White Hilary White Follow Hilary

Growing ‘Women Against Feminism’ movement draws fury

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By Hilary White
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Critics of feminism have long said that it is entering the final stages of its long career, with more of its assertions about the nature of human sexual and social relations being contradicted by the evidence and fewer young people following its dictates every decade. But in the last few weeks, it seems that feminism’s last gasp is being used to direct insults at young women who are lining up to publicly reject and ridicule it.

The Tumblr site Women Against Feminism has started a social networking trend in which thousands of young women photograph themselves holding signs bluntly denouncing feminism, giving a sharp indication that the feminist brand has become poison to young, hip, and internet-savvy women.

Mainstream and journalistic feminists have lashed out at the site and its followers, entering into an online spat over the increasingly popular photos. The signs say, “I am not a victim,” and “This is what an anti-feminist looks like.”

They continue: “I am an adult who is capable of taking responsibility for myself and my actions. I define myself and derive my value by my own standards. I don’t need to be ‘empowered’. I am not a target for violence and there is no war against me. I respect me and I refuse to demonize them and blame them for my problems.”

The messages held by the women pinpoint with pithy and acerbic precision exactly the reasons given by many critics that the movement has lost favour with young people. They call it a creed of double standards that promotes victimhood and endorses bullying of anyone who critiques it.

The site’s explanatory page, which was taken down for unknown reasons in the last two days, said, “Feminists are the only people who lose their minds with rage when you tell them that women already have the same exact rights as men. That’s not good enough. They want more. They desperately want to be victims. They want a privileged social position.”

The author goes on to accuse feminism in general of systematic censorship, discrimination, elitism and “policing other women” who do not toe the line – as well as baseline misandry. The anonymous creator denounced feminism’s adoption of “abortion as ‘empowerment’”:

This opinion is unpopular, but I don’t agree that I need to have my baby scraped out of my uterus in order to feel empowered. But the abortion industry (i.e. Planned Parenthood) makes a ton of money off this perversion of empowerment. ‘Abortion as empowerment’ teaches women to see their wombs as nothing but garbage bins full of disposable waste.

One of the contributors wrote, “I don’t need feminism because my self-worth is not directly tied to my victim complex. As a woman in the western world I am not oppressed, and neither are you,” says one. Another: “I don’t need feminism because I don’t need to bully someone to share my opinions with others.”

Some come right out and say that feminism promotes exactly the evils it purports to fight against: “I don’t need feminism because I believe in equality, not entitlements and supremacy.”

Although the site and its contentious photos have been running around the internet for many months, arguments among journalism’s feminists started breaking out this week after a mocking Buzzfeed feature helped the site gain momentum on social media outlets.

Some feminist journalists simply flung insults. Lillian Kalish sniffed on Ryot, “These Women Who Think They Don’t Need Feminism Don’t Know What Feminism Is.” “Did these posters ever think to look up the actual definition of feminism?”

Nuala McKeever, in the Belfast Telegraph, called the women posting the photos “silly, ignorant, vacuous wee girls with absolutely no thoughts beyond their own self-absorbed inanities.”

Time Magazine’s Sarah Miller said, “I Really, Truly, Fully Hate ‘Women Against Feminism’—But…” Miller wrote, “[T]he tendency to see sexism everywhere is proof that feminism is healthy and vigilant, and that is not necessarily a bad thing, because misogyny is insidious and rampant… We need feminism.”

But Miller added, “Still, the pain that we experience as women—even physical—does not give us the right to tell people there’s one way to think or feel, or to assume that we have some god-like understanding of everyone’s motivations.”

Cathy Young, however, responded in Time, saying, “Stop Fem-Splaining: What ‘Women Against Feminism’ Gets Right.” She writes, “The charge that feminism stereotypes men as predators while reducing women to helpless victims certainly doesn’t apply to all feminists—but it’s a reasonably fair description of a large, influential, highly visible segment of modern feminism.”

The site, Young says, “raises valid questions about the state of Western feminism in the 21st Century — questions that must be addressed if we are to continue making progress toward real gender equality.”

Sarah Boesveld wrote in the National Post on Friday that the site shows that feminism has become “complicated” and “sometimes alienating.” She quotes an email sent to the paper by 22 year-old Australian Lisa Sandford, who “believes in equality for the sexes” but firmly rejects feminism as “rude and nasty” and intends to be a stay-at-home mother. 

Sandford wrote, “If feminism really accepted equality, they would not tell me my views are wrong, they would accept it and let me be.”

Browse the 'Women Against Feminism' archives here (warning: occasional strong language).


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Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

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Welcome Baby Filipino 100 Million!

Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse
By Steven W. Mosher and Anne Roback Morse

Population Research Institute welcomes the birth of little Chonalyn Sentino. Baby Chonalyn was born this past Sunday to parents Clemente and Dailin, and was feted in the Philippines as “Baby 100 Million.” PRI welcomes Baby Chonalyn as well, saying that she will be a blessing to her family, her community, and her nation.

The Philippines is one of the largest Catholic countries in the world, and its people value children. For this reason, it has been a target of the population controllers for decades. It was one of the countries singled out by Henry Kissinger’s National Security Council in 1974 for special “attention” and, more recently, has been bullied by the Obama administration into passing its first population control law. 

The bill, which was touted as being all about promoting “reproductive health,” was actually intended to drive down the birth rate. For example, section 15 requires that all couples receive a “Certificate of Compliance” from the local Family Planning Office before becoming eligible for a marriage license.

Some in the Philippines are decrying Chonalyn’s birth, repeating USAID’s talking points about the “dangers” of overpopulation. They welcome Chonalyn as an individual little girl, while simultaneously calling for future little girls and boys to be removed from existence.

The Philippine Star wrote that the birth symbolized a “large population that will put a strain on the country's limited resources.” Another paper cited the executive director of the official Commission on Population who bluntly said “We'd like to push the fertility rate down to two children per (woman's) lifetime.” And the Global Post cited “concerned advocates” who thought the current population was not a “complement with the country's economic growth.”

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But many other Filipinos aren’t buying into the anti-people hysteria. Francisco Antonio, a Filipino Chemical Engineering graduate student at Yale, adamantly rebutted the notion that there are too many Filipinos, saying: “I celebrate life because population control is defeatism disguised as pragmatism. And because human creativity holds more potential for protecting this planet and its inhabitants than any other resource I know of.”

A Filipina currently living in California told PRI that she welcomed the transition of her country to 100 million persons: “Filipinos are not a burden to the world population, because we not only care for our own but also for others in the world. One of the greatest and most sought after exports of the Philippines is our skilled, motivated, and exemplary workforce. And these workers tirelessly cultivate their family and community abroad and in the Philippines. We are a very social and civic minded people. We care and share because it is part of our culture and we do it with a smile.”

 Ed, a Filipino accountant, also celebrated the birth of Baby Chonalyn: “The typical Filipino does not associate a baby with ‘cost’ or ‘expense’ but rather as a ‘blessing’ and a ‘gift.’ This is because Filipinos recognize that true happiness does not come from the accumulation of material wealth or prestige, but rather, from true, genuine, and strong relationships with other people. [Filipinos] value life, not because the Church says or the Pope says so, but because they recognize it to be true. And the truth about the value of life, will continue to shine, long after the debates are over.”

It goes without saying that we at the Population Research Institute also welcome Chonalyn’s birth. We need more Filipinos, not fewer. 

Reprinted with permission from Pop.org.


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Two very different ways to respond to Pope Francis’ unrecorded interviews

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By John-Henry Westen

In the last few weeks another series of interviews with Pope Francis surfaced and have again left many Catholics scratching their heads.  Headlines all over the world had the Pope saying that two percent of priests are pedophiles, but is that what he said?  Even though the Vatican spokesman did issue a clarification, that question and others remain unanswered.

Critical reactions to these interviews have been interesting not even so much for their contents as from whom they arise.  These are the observations of some of the most faithful Catholic Church watchers today.  The folks pointing out these concerns are not, as many would assume, ‘“far right-wing-holier-than-the-Pope” types, but mainstream Catholics known for their loyalty to Pope Francis.

Phillip Lawler is the founder of Catholic World News, the first Catholic news service operating on the Internet. In part of his criticism of the most recent interview, he states: “Why was Pope Francis speaking with Scalfari without having first established clear ground rules for the conversation—rules that would certainly include recording and verification of any quotes?”

(To comprehend the situation accurately it is necessary to have an understanding of the man whom the Pope has allowed to interview him.  Eugenio Scalfari is relatively unknown in the West even after the fanfare of his papal interviews. LifeSiteNews has produced this piece to assist that understanding.)

Lawler recalls: “Back in October the Vatican had been embarrassed by an ‘interview’ in which [Scalfari’s] reconstructed quotes caused an uproar, and the Vatican press office was forced to issue an awkward ‘clarification’ which only added to the confusion.”

In addition to that clarification of the October Scalfari interview, the confusion and uproar got so bad that the Vatican removed the interview from their website, where they had it posted in the section containing the Pope’s speeches. Interestingly, that interview resurfaced two weeks ago on the Vatican website only to be removed again after a new round of criticism.

A blogger at the EWTN-owned National Catholic Register offered an observation similar to Lawler’s but with a little more bite. Pat Archbold writes, “The internet is once again abuzz with the second-hand hearsay of an unrecorded Papal interview.” Archbold advises his readers with characteristic sarcasm, “So pay no attention to those crazy and outlandish anti-Catholic headlines tearing up your RSS feed.  Just ignore them and hope they will soon go away, just like unrecorded Papal interviews.”

A second unrecorded conversation with the Pope makes news

Another write-up of an encounter with Pope Francis also caused a stir.  Brian Stiller, an Evangelical leader from Toronto was part of a delegation of Evangelical Christians who met with Pope Francis earlier this month. In his July 9 account, Stiller puts in quotes this statement he attributes to the Pope: “I’m not interested in converting Evangelicals to Catholicism. I want people to find Jesus in their own community.  There are so many doctrines we will never agree on. Let’s not spend our time on those. Rather, let’s be about showing the love of Jesus.”

That led noted priest-blogger Father Dwight Longenecker to first caution that the quotes are “Brian Stiller’s memory of the conversation.” 

Then with the caveat of not actually knowing the whole conversation, Fr. Longenecker says “it would not be unusual for a Catholic priest of Pope Francis’ generation to feel that way.”  He explains that he has “heard from numerous convert clergy over the years who said when they went to their local Catholic priest and expressed the wish to become Catholic the priest told them it wasn’t necessary and that they could do much more good to Christ’s kingdom and the Catholic church by staying where they were and evangelizing within their own denomination.”

“Now this strikes me as rather troublesome on several levels,” says Longenecker. He notes he had himself once used that line with a Protestant friend, to which his friend replied, “You don’t want to convert me? Why not? I don’t have much respect for your religion if you think so little of it that you don’t want me to share it!”

“He basically called me out on what was a little lie on my part. I wanted to be nice to him [so] I said I didn’t want to convert him. He said our discussion would be much better if I admitted that I did want him to become Catholic. He was right. I did. I still do.”

Inside the Vatican

Vatican journalist Edward Pentin has reported that unnamed “Vatican officials are uneasy and perplexed” about the interview. Pentin began reporting on the Vatican as a correspondent with Vatican Radio in 2002 and has since covered the pope for a number of publications, including Newsweek and The Sunday Times.

“The officials’ discomfort also extends to the Pope’s spontaneous telephone calls to strangers, a couple of which implied he deviated from Church teaching but, being private and unrecorded conversations, are difficult to verify,” he wrote for Newsmax.

From the outset of the Francis pontificate, there were these unrecorded and yet published interviews – the first was from a meeting with Latin American religious leaders in June 2013.  That was the one that had Pope Francis speaking of the existence of a “gay lobby” in the Vatican and also about being concerned about Catholics who would count rosaries to offer prayer bouquets.

At the time LifeSiteNews published nothing on that first unrecorded interview even though almost all other news services did.  Shortly thereafter I was at the Vatican inquiring about that unrecorded but reported-on encounter and was assured by various Vatican insiders that the communication was not accidental but intended – to me at the time a rather startling revelation.

But that same assessment came later from another Vatican quarter, a man who speaks German as does the pope and also shares the pope’s religious order.  “Francis knows exactly how power is spelled,” said Bernd Hagenkord, a Jesuit who is in charge of German programming for Vatican Radio in a May interview with The Atlantic. “He’s a communicator in the league with Mother Teresa and the Dalai Lama. They say he’s being unclear, but we know exactly what he means.”

Two different ways to respond

One of the most disturbing outcomes of these ‘interviews’ is that the words and interpretations of what is being said by the Pope, while they may be clear for the German Jesuit, are remarkably unclear for the vast majority of Catholics.  Catholics who know well their faith, its moral teachings, and the reason for them are few and far between. They are able to discern that the Pope cannot mean to undermine Church teaching; that those teachings are unchangeable.

But most people are taken in by the media’s false interpretation that ‘who am I to judge’ involves a new acceptance of homosexuality; the false possibility for legitimately-married Catholics to divorce and remarry outside the Church and still receive Communion; the idea that the Church should quiet down on her teachings on abortion, contraception, and same-sex “marriage.”  All of those false conclusions were drawn from previous Francis interviews.

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There are two ways forward for faithful Catholics in such a situation.  One way – a way that is most tempting - was recently recognized as a growing tendency by blogger Father Ray Blake. “Most Catholics but especially clergy want to be loyal to the Pope in order to maintain the unity of the Church,” he said.  “Today that loyalty is perhaps best expressed through silence.”

In leading up to that observation, Blake noted that in the previous pontificate “there was a solidity and certainty in Benedict's teaching which made discussion possible and stimulated intellectual honesty, one knew where the Church and the Pope stood.”  He added, “Today we are in less certain times, the intellectual life of the Church is thwart with uncertainty.”

However, Vatican Cardinal Raymond Burke suggested a different approach recently. According to Burke, who serves as head of the Vatican’s highest court, the Apostolic Signatura, the pope has made a strategic decision to focus on making the Church appealing, and thus bishops and priests “are even more compelled to underline these teachings (on life and family) and make them clear for the faithful.”

He told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo, “The Holy Father has said on different occasions that he expects that bishops and priests are doing this teaching while he’s trying to draw people closer and not have them use [these doctrines] as their immediate excuse for not coming to the faith.”

Cardinal Burke’s strategy confronts the culture head-on even on the most difficult issues.  He sees that the often-used but failed tactic of avoiding difficult situations, of obfuscating or compromising on moral issues as worse than useless.

When truth is pushed aside for political correctness, to fulfill ideals of civility or to achieve false unity and false peace, the world is harmed by the lack of truth the Church is called to bring to it.

When truth is boldly proclaimed and held to, despite persecution, even the enemies of truth are forced to see that the opponents of their secular or liberal ideologies truly believe their teachings and are willing to suffer for them. This eventually generates a degree of respect from some of the critics and an openness to re-consider their own flawed positions.


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