Kirsten Andersen

The story of how a life was saved from forced abortion

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen
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Editor’s Note: Kirsten Anderson joined LifeSitenews only a few months ago. Her narrative below is a fascinating and moving telling of her personal experiences in helping to save the life of a U.S. child threatened by a forced abortion on her mother.

FRONT ROYAL, Virginia, December 14, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) I was hired as LifeSiteNews’s Washington Correspondent in September, I knew I would have my work cut out for me.  It was fall of an election year, and a big part of my job would be covering what was happening in U.S. politics. 

I expected long hours, an avalanche of deadlines, and endless games of phone tag with beleaguered public relations professionals tasked with explaining away their bosses’ latest gaffes.

The job delivered as promised.  Big issues were debated.  Promises were made and broken.  Good people said dumb things, and dangerous people told slick lies.

We wrote about it all.

Our U.S. Bureau Chief Ben Johnson, got the unenviable night shift, staying up all night after the presidential and vice presidential debates to cover every angle.  As expected, I spent my days on the phone with all manner of “spokesmen.” Communications Directors, Vice Presidents for Public Relations, Community Liasions, Public Affairs Officers … they go by a dozen titles of varying unwieldiness, but in print, they’re always “spokesmen.”  I took notes, and quoted them in stories.

I liked my new job a lot.  I knew our work was important; getting the truth out always is.  Still, the fall of 2012 was shaping up to be just another election season in Washington – important, yes, but probably not life-changing.

Then I received a tip that would come to fundamentally change the way I view our work at LSN.

Let me first say that we get a lot of news tips at LSN.  Some of them are worth covering; some of them, not so much.  The first and biggest question we have to ask ourselves when considering any news tip, though, is, “Is this true?”

So that was the first question I asked myself upon receiving in my inbox what amounted to a cry for help from a lawyer in Reno, Nevada.  He told an unbelievable story: a woman in her early thirties, mentally disabled and suffering from epilepsy, had become pregnant under questionable circumstances.  Her adoptive parents, still her legal guardians now that she is an adult, had decided with her that she would carry the pregnancy to term and place her baby with an adoptive family.  They took her to the doctor to adjust her medications to reduce the risk of harm to the child growing within her.

The doctor called adult protective services.  The court stepped in.

I read on, horrified, as the attorney for the woman’s parents claimed a District Court judge, acting well outside the normal bounds of his judicial authority, was attempting to force the woman to undergo an abortion – against her will, and against the wishes of her family.  His reason?  He thought it might be “best for her.”  When her Catholic parents objected, he told them their religion was “irrelevant” inside his courtroom and that, as court-appointed guardians, they were ultimately subject to his authority.  He referred to the parents dismissively as mere “agents of the court.”

At this point, I admit I was ready to call bovine scatology on the lawyer’s story.  My reaction echoed the ones I saw over and over again in the LSN comment boxes as this story unfolded over the next three weeks: What is this, China?  We don’t force people to have abortions in America.  Not yet, anyway.  I couldn’t believe this was happening.

Ben Johnson and I agreed that we had to try and confirm the situation with the Court before taking any action on such a potentially explosive story.  Luckily, Washoe County has a searchable database of cases online.  That made my initial fact check easy to do.

My stomach sank as I entered the details the lawyer had given me into the search function and it came back with the results.  The case existed.  The facts checked out. I called the lawyer back.

Thus marked the beginning of a three-week journey that ended in tears of joy last month as I hit ‘submit’ on my final story about the case, reporting that the judge had spared the baby’s life.  Both the lawyer for the family and the president of Nevada Right to Life partly credited LSN’s coverage with making the difference, the latter saying unequivocally, “New media saved this little baby’s life.”

Here, to the best of my recollection, is the way it went down.

On the day we broke the story, I spoke for an hour each with Amy Bauer and her attorney Jason Guinasso, who had first given us the tip.  I spoke to Dania Reid, the District Attorney representing Washoe County’s public guardian, which had been tasked with investigating Amy’s daughter Elisa’s condition to help the judge decide whether to order an abortion to be performed.  I read through old court documents and statements from medical professionals.  Then I wrote the story and we posted it online.

Our coverage was strong enough to gain the attention of local and national mainstream media.  In the following days, my story was referenced in the Washington Times, the Las Vegas Review Journal, and other outlets.

Other outlets used and reused quotes, often without citation, until I lost track of how many newspapers I’d done research for un-credited.  There’s an old saying President Ronald Reagan was fond of: “There is no limit to what a man can accomplish if he does not care who gets the credit.”

Credited or not, LSN’s coverage was having a massive impact.

The stories we posted about the case spread like wildfire around Facebook and Twitter.  Readers were understandably horrified that something like this could happen in America.  They wanted to know what they could do to stop it.

Rebekah O’Brien, our social media coordinator, suggested they call the judge’s office and make their voices heard.  She provided his contact information.  Our readers filled his voicemail box with messages until the system couldn’t store any more.  After that, they called the governor.

That was about the time the court started changing its tone.

It was exhilarating to witness.  I kept in close contact with Jason Guinasso as I kept our readers up-to-date on developments in the case. During our first phone call, he sounded overwhelmed and anxious.  Everyone involved on the government’s side of the case seemed to want to force Elisa to abort her child.  During the first hearing, the court-summoned doctor recommended abortion and sterilization in stark terms, saying, “End this pregnancy and tie her tubes.”

By the next week, the heat was on.  Petitions were being signed, voicemail boxes were full, and the judge, Egan Walker, banned cameras from the courtroom, although he allowed the press to stay. The government was looking less sure of itself.  The doctor who originally reported Elisa’s pregnancy to the court and caused the trial in the first place backpedaled furiously once he was put on the stand and in front of the news media, refusing to recommend an abortion.  On the phone that night, Guinasso sounded hopeful.

Week three brought a miracle.

Judge Walker called everyone in for a private meeting.  Behind closed doors, he said he wanted to take abortion off the table.  He said he wanted to continue the hearings in a less confrontational manner, focusing on how best to care for Elisa and her baby both before and after the birth.  All he needed was for everyone to agree … which they did.  Walker announced his decision at the next scheduled hearing, at which point I received an e-mail sent from Jason Guinasso’s cell phone.  It began: “Call me!  We won!!”

Thirty frantic minutes of typing later, I hit “send” on my last news story about the Bauer case and immediately burst into tears.  The full import of what we had accomplished hit me in that moment.  By shining the light of truth on that courtroom, I wasn’t just covering a shocking story or generating hits for a website.

I was giving our readers the information they needed to help save a life. Make no mistake – LSN shaped the national narrative on this story. 

We covered it for what it was – a forced abortion story in the process of unfolding.  Because we were there from the beginning, and we were there in-depth, the mainstream media was forced to not only cover the case, but acknowledge the truth of it. 

It would have been easy for them to contact the district attorney who told me, “This investigation is not designed to force Elisa to have an abortion,” and leave that quote unchallenged. 

Our coverage didn’t leave them room to do so.  We kept the pressure on and, in the end, it saved a little baby’s life.

Later, Jason Guinasso would write to me:

“You and LifeSitenews were a huge part of what we were able to accomplish.  We were able to tell our story through you to the public.  The result was a national discussion on the power of the judiciary, the rights of the disabled, the rights of parents/guardians, and the rights of the unborn.  More importantly, you mobilized an army of people to begin praying for us.  I know that the prayers of the saints caused the hearts and minds of the judge and our adversaries to change 180 degrees.” 

“Suffice to say,” he wrote, “I will forever be grateful for your support.  You should know that I especially appreciated how you applied what I recognized as basic standards of journalism to your interviews of me and in your fact gathering generally.  It is so incredibly important to maintain your integrity as a journalist.  As far as I am concerned, you are a journalist of the highest quality in both work product and character.”

I cried again, reading that.  But glowing words of praise aside, he’s right.  LSN has incredibly high standards of excellence for both our research and our writing.

If it’s not the truth, we don’t print it, and we dig deep to make sure we have the facts you won’t find anywhere else. When you read an LSN story, you can share it and act on it with absolute confidence, knowing that everything has been verified.

Next time you do, you just might save a life. 

Your support saves lives.  Help us reach our campaign goal with a donation today.
(Click Here to Donate)


Kirsten Andersen
Washington D.C. Correspondent
LifeSiteNews.com

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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 millions 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."

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

"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.

Click "like" if you want to defend true marriage.

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
Thaddeus Baklinski Thaddeus Baklinski Follow Thaddeus

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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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