Matt Lowell

Abortion never had a chance with us: our experience having a disabled child

Matt Lowell
By Matt Lowell
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August 17, 2011 (HLIAmerica.org)- Let me just start off saying that abortion never had a chance with us.

We found out in November 2005 that we were going to have a baby. I had just gotten out of the Army, and we had settled in Cibolo, Texas - right near San Antonio.  When we first started trying to have a baby, we were surprised at how long it took.  I have always joked about my little “swimmers,” and how they were probably swimming in circles.  So we prayed, and we told Jesus that if he blessed us with a baby, we would educate our child about Jesus and raise him/her Catholic.  Shortly after, we learned that Becky was pregnant.

Becky was the office manager for an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor and she continued to work.  She had always eaten well, and maintained a very active lifestyle of running, walking, biking, and working out; so we felt very good about everything.  Around March 2006, however, we went in for a sonogram and our entire happy existence came crashing down around us.

Becky’s doctor said that it was hard to tell, but she thought that she saw a cleft lip and palate.  But just to be sure, she was going to send us to a specialist, who told us that not only did our baby girl have a cleft lip and palate, but she also had no stomach, and problems with her heart.  He needed us to come back in a week to try another test.

After a very difficult week of waiting, the doctor reaffirmed his earlier suspicions ended the visit telling us we had “options.”  We asked, “What do you mean, options”?  And then it clicked.  He was referring to abortion.

We asked the “specialist” if we would lose our baby prematurely due to the seriousness of the problems. He said that that would more than likely happen, to which we replied that if this baby wasn’t going to make it, it would be God’s decision to terminate, not ours.  We had, after all, made a promise to Jesus.

I think we went back for one more visit, where the specialist saw the stomach.  He had to wait for Laci to open her mouth and swallow some of the amniotic fluid, and he saw it.  So now all our little girl had was a common facial birth defect. Why would a doctor suggest abortion on such a preliminary diagnosis?

But soon after, in July, Becky developed preeclampsia and was put on bed rest on a Wednesday with a stress test set up for that Sunday.  During the appointment, the doctor said that Laci was in distress, and he needed to pray about what to do.  So he left the room for about 20 minutes, came back and said we were going into surgery.  About half an hour later, Laci Faith Lowell was born.  She was about one month early, and weighed 3lbs. 15oz, and she had the most beautiful bilateral cleft lip - it was perfectly symmetrical.  About an hour later she had problems breathing and was on a MEDEVAC to Christus Santa Rosa, where she would stay for two months.

Once at Santa Rosa we started to learn of some other health problems Laci had going on. In addition to the cleft lip and palate, she was deaf, possibly blind, and had heart problems (ASD, VSD, PDA, pulmonary stenosis).  We were very concerned with her brain function, and a CT scan proved “all the parts to be there” for which we were very grateful.

When we first learned about all of her problems, I was very angry.  Not with Becky, or with Laci, but with God.  And I said it … out loud.  We even went to our church to chat with our priest.  I pretty much demanded answers from him.  I now realize that I wasn’t really rational at that point.

We visited Laci every single day she was in the NICU, and we stayed as long as they would let us.  I slept on her little table with her, Becky held her “kangaroo style” (skin to skin), we talked to her and kissed her, and held her.  As time progressed, we realized that this was a little human, despite all the issues, and she needed us to hold and love her, to be her everything.

We left the NICU in September with the order to get our baby up to 10 lbs, so she could have heart surgery.  We did, and her surgery was a success; however, she was left with a leaky pulmonary valve, which will have to be replaced periodically throughout her life.

We enrolled Laci in a place called Sunshine Cottage, a school for the deaf in San Antonio, TX, where we learned that Laci was in fact deaf in her left ear, but that she did have some hearing in her right.  Basically, she could hear anything louder than a jet engine from her right ear.  Furthermore, we learned that Laci did have some sight out of her right eye.  There was no telling how much, but she was recognizing our faces and reaching for toys.  Laci was fitted with hearing aids while we waited for her to get old enough for a Cochlear Implant.

At this point Becky and Laci were heavily involved with ECI (Early Childhood Intervention- a Texas based program).  We had a couple surgeries to fix her cleft lip and palate, and then we got a Cochlear Implant!  What a change that made!  She started crawling soon after and became very interested in communicating with us.  That little brain was working.  She started Preschool at Sunshine Cottage, and has just graduated Pre-K, getting ready for Kindergarten next year.  She is doing well, keeping up with her classmates both orally and visually. In some cases, being the youngest in her class, she is doing more than expected of her!

So here we are today with our beautiful Laci Faith Lowell.  We are thankful that God never took her from us.  We are thankful that she is doing so well.  We are amazed by Laci every day.  Laci says and does things that other kids don’t do.  She just turned 5, and she commonly uses the following words correctly: great, fabulous, delicious, amazing, thanks, no thanks, and many, many, more.  Her favorite color is any shade of green, and she loves TinkerBell and princesses.  Laci is learning to fish with me, and has no fear of the bait, or the fish itself - although we are working on patience. We are so blessed to have her in our lives.  The way we look at it, God gave us Jesus to be closer to Him, and Jesus gave us Laci so we could be closer to Jesus.

Abortion never had a chance.

Reprinted with permission from HLI America


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Quebec groups launch court challenge to euthanasia bill

LifeSiteNews staff
By LifeSiteNews staff

As announced when the Quebec legislature adopted Bill 52, An Act respecting end-of-life care, the citizen movement Living with Dignity and the Physicians’ Alliance against Euthanasia, representing together over 650 physicians and 17,000 citizens, filed a lawsuit before the Superior Court of Quebec in the District of Montreal on Thursday.

The lawsuit requests that the Court declare invalid all the provisions of the Act that deal with “medical aid in dying”, a term the groups say is a euphemism for euthanasia. This Act not only allows certain patients to demand that a physician provoke their death, but also grants physicians the right to cause the death of these patients by the administration of a lethal substance.

The two organizations are challenging the constitutionality of those provisions in the Act which are aimed at decriminalizing euthanasia under the euphemism “medical aid in dying”. Euthanasia constitutes a culpable homicide under Canada’s Criminal Code, and the organizations maintain that it is at the core of the exclusive federal legislative power in relation to criminal law and Quebec therefore does not have the power to adopt these provisions.

The organizations also say the impugned provisions unjustifiably infringe the rights to life and to security of patients guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. They further infringe the right to the safeguard of the dignity of the person, which is also protected by the Quebec Charter.

In view of the gravity of the situation and the urgent need to protect all vulnerable persons in Quebec, they are requesting an accelerated management of the case in order to obtain a judgment before the Act is expected to come into force on December 10, 2015.


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Colorado baker appeals gvmt ‘re-education’ order

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By LifeSiteNews staff

A Colorado cake artist who declined to use his creative talents to promote and endorse a same-sex ceremony appealed a May 30 order from the Colorado Civil Rights Commission to the Colorado Court of Appeals Wednesday.

The commission’s order requires cake artist Jack Phillips and his staff at Masterpiece Cakeshop to create cakes for same-sex celebrations, forces him to re-educate his staff that Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act means that artists must endorse all views, compels him to implement new policies to comply with the commission’s order, and requires him to file quarterly “compliance” reports for two years. The reports must include the number of patrons declined a wedding cake or any other product and state the reason for doing so to ensure he has fully eliminated his religious beliefs from his business.

“Americans should not be forced by the government – or by another citizen – to endorse or promote ideas with which they disagree,” said the cake artist’s lead counsel Nicolle Martin, an attorney allied with Alliance Defending Freedom. “This is not about the people who asked for a cake; it’s about the message the cake communicates. Just as Jack doesn’t create baked works of art for other events with which he disagrees, he doesn’t create cake art for same-sex ceremonies regardless of who walks in the door to place the order.”

“In America, we don’t force artists to create expression that is contrary to their convictions,” added Alliance Defending Freedom Senior Legal Counsel Jeremy Tedesco. “A paint artist who identifies as homosexual shouldn’t be intimidated into creating a painting that celebrates one-man, one-woman marriage. A pro-life photographer shouldn’t be forced to work a pro-abortion rally. And Christian cake artists shouldn’t be punished for declining to participate in a same-sex ceremony or promote its message.”

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In July 2012, Charlie Craig and David Mullins asked Jack Phillips, owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop, to make a wedding cake to celebrate their same-sex ceremony. In an exchange lasting about 30 seconds, Phillips politely declined, explaining that he would gladly make them any other type of baked item they wanted but that he could not make a cake promoting a same-sex ceremony because of his faith. Craig and Mullins, now represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, immediately left the shop and later filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Division. The case now goes to the Colorado Court of Appeals as Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Craig.

“Jack, and other cake artists like him – such as those seen on TV shows like ‘Ace of Cakes’ and ‘Cake Boss’ – prepare unique creations that are inherently expressive,” Tedesco explained. “Jack invests many hours in the wedding cake creative process, which includes meeting the clients, designing and sketching the cake, and then baking, sculpting, and decorating it. The ACLU calls Jack a mere ‘retail service provider,’ but, in fact, he is an artist who uses his talents and abilities to create expression that the First Amendment fully protects."

Celebrity cake artists have written publicly about their art and the significant expressive work that goes into the artistic design process for wedding cakes.


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Prisoner of conscience Mary Wagner appeals her conviction

Tony Gosgnach
By Tony Gosgnach

TORONTO -- As promised, Mary Wagner has, through her counsel Dr. Charles Lugosi, filed a formal notice of appeal on numerous points regarding her recent, almost two-year-long court case that ended on June 12.

Justice Fergus O’Donnell of the Ontario Court of Justice rejected every application made by the defence – including for access to abortion center records, public funding, standing for a constitutional challenge and for expert witnesses to be heard – before he found Wagner guilty and sentenced her to five months in jail on a charge of mischief and four months on four counts of failing to comply with probation orders.

He further levied two years of probation, with terms that she stay at least 100 metres away from any abortion site. However, because Wagner had spent a greater time in jail than the sentence, she was freed immediately. She had been arrested at the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site on Lawrence Avenue West in Toronto on August 15, 2012 after attempting to speak to abortion-bound women there. She then spent the duration of the trial in prison for refusing to sign bail conditions requiring her to stay away from abortion sites.

Wagner is using the matter as a test case to challenge the current definition of a human being in Canadian law – that is, that a human being is legally recognized as such only after he or she has fully emerged from the birth canal in a breathing state.

Wagner’s notice states the appeal is regarding:

  • Her conviction and sentence on a single count of mischief (interference with property),
  • Her conviction and sentence on four counts of breach of probation,
  • The order denying public funding,
  • The order denying the disclosure of third-party records,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts on the applicant’s constitutional challenge concerning the constitutional validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code,
  • The order denying the admission of evidence from experts concerning the construction of Section 37 of the Criminal Code,
  • The probation order denying Wagner her constitutional rights to freedom of speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion on all public sidewalks and public areas within 100 metres of places where abortions are committed,
  • And each conviction and sentence and all orders and rulings made by O’Donnell.

In the notice of appeal, Lugosi cites numerous points on which O’Donnell erred:

  • He denied Wagner her constitutional right to make full answer and defence.
  • He denied Wagner her right to rely on Section 37 of the Criminal Code, which permits “everyone” to come to the third-party defence and rescue of any human being (in this case, the preborn) facing imminent assault.
  • He decided the factual basis of Wagner’s constitutional arguments was a waste of the court’s time and that no purpose would have been served by having an evidentiary hearing on her Charter application because, in the current state of Canadian law, it had no possibility of success.
  • He misapplied case law and prejudged the case, “giving rise to a reasonable apprehension of bias and impeding the legal evolution of the law to adapt to new circumstances, knowledge and changed societal values and morals.”
  • He accepted the Crown’s submission that it is beyond the jurisdiction of the courts to question the jurisdiction of Parliament legally to define “human being” in any manner Parliament sees fit.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code is not beyond the powers of Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982.
  • He ruled Section 223 of the Criminal Code does not violate the Preamble to, as well as Sections 7, 11(d), 15 and 26, of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
  • He denied Wagner standing to raise a constitutional challenge to the validity of Section 223 of the Criminal Code.
  • He ruled that Section 223 of the Criminal Code applied generally throughout the entire Criminal Code and used it to deny unborn human beings the benefit of equal protection as born human beings under Section 37 of the Criminal Code.
  • He denied the production and disclosure of third-party records in the possession of the “Women’s Care Clinic” abortion site, although the records were required to prove Wagner was justified in using reasonable force in the form of oral and written words to try to persuade pregnant mothers from killing their unborn children by abortion.
  • He denied Wagner the defence of Section 37 of the Criminal Code by ruling unborn children did not come within the scope of human beings eligible to be protected by a third party.
  • He ruled Wagner did not come within the scope of Section 37 because she was found to be non-violent (in that she did not use physical force).
  • He ruled the unborn children Wagner was trying to rescue were not under her protection.
  • He denied Wagner the common-law defences of necessity and the rescue of third parties in need of protection.
  • He denied Wagner public funding to make full answer and defence for a constitutional test case of great public importance and national significance.
  • He imposed an unconstitutional sentence upon Wagner by, in effect, imposing an injunction as a condition of probation, contrary to her constitutional rights of free speech, freedom of expression, freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.

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Among the orders Lugosi is seeking are:

  • That an appeal be allowed against conviction on all counts and that a verdict of acquittal be entered on all counts,
  • That Section 223 of the Criminal Code be found unconstitutional  and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, as well as the unwritten constitution of Canada,
  • That the sentence be declared unconstitutional and contrary to Section 52 of the Constitution Act, 1982, and the unwritten constitution of Canada or that a new trial be conducted, with Wagner permitted to make full answer and defence, be given standing to make a constitutional attack on Section 223 of the Criminal Code, with the admission of expert witnesses,
  • That the Women’s Care Clinic abortion site be made to produce third-party records pertaining to patients seen on August 15, 2012 (when Wagner entered the site),
  • And that there be public funding for two defence counsels at any retrial and for any appeal related to the case.

No date has yet been established for a decision on the appeal or hearings.

A defence fund for Wagner’s case is still raising money. Details on how to contribute to it can be found here.


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