Susan VanSyckle

I wish like HELL I didn’t have the right to choose that day

Susan VanSyckle
By Susan VanSyckle
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November 9, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - Kathy and I go way back.  In fact, she was my best friend in elementary school.  We had no idea while singing karaoke and staying up late at slumber parties the pain we would go through as adults.  But we also had no idea how God would use our brokenness for His glory.  I’ve been amazed at Kathy’s heart for Jesus, passion for her family, and vigor for empowering other women.

Recently, she sent me this message.  As I sat weeping at my computer over her pain and loss, her sweet baby, and the goodness of a savior who will make all things new, I knew it needed to be shared.  And Kathy, in her immense courage, is allowing me to share her story publicly for the first time in her own words…

I feel God pulling at my heart stings to tell the truth about abortion.  I want to reach those who feel they have no other choice than their “right to choose.”

You are one of a few people that I have shared this story with.  God is calling me to share it with more but I am nervous and scared.  The truth is I have been carrying around a deep dark secret. Carrying it on my back, and dealing with it all alone because of what the consequences are if people were to hear the truth.  The truth is I no longer care what others think. The truth is I know there are others out there like me, suffering alone when they don’t have to.  The truth is…God is calling me to speak out.

The truth is when I was 19 years old I got pregnant. Upon telling my parents; they decided that I would get married. We began to plan a very quick wedding. The boy I was dating at the time turned out to be abusive. He was from an abusive home and had his father had brutally beaten his first wife in front of her two sons. The first time this boy threw me to the ground while I was pregnant I knew there was NO WAY I was going to allow this cycle to repeat. I broke off the engagement and began looking into adoption. I was only 19 and I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom. When I told him I wanted to make an adoption plan, that I knew that was the best choice for us and the baby, he became very angry. Threatening, yelling, and screaming, he told me no one would EVER take the mother of his child or his child away from him. He wouldn’t allow it – that we WOULD be together. I became scared. Fear set in like I can’t even begin to explain. I realized that I could be a victim of abuse or I could save myself and my unborn child and choose to make this all disappear. I told him I had a miscarriage (which is what I told everyone else too).

Walking into Planned Parenthood the smell of depression and hopelessness lay thick in the room. Yes, I could actually smell it.  None of the women looked thankful that they had the “choice” to be there.  They all looked empty.  Broken.  I felt it too. I had always said I would NEVER have an abortion.  I was wrong. In my mind I believed it was the only “choice” I had at the time to protect myself and my unborn child from a life of fear and abuse.  My name was called and I headed in the back. I was scared and alone.

I hear people talking about the right to “choose.”  I wish like HELL I didn’t have the right to choose that day. I wish there had been counseling. I wish there had been adoption agencies out there trying to reach the youth. I wish THOSE things were easy access; NOT Planned Parenthood.  I wish more than anything, ANYTHING, I could have taken away MY right to choose and allow my baby to have their right to choose life.  I wish there was support out there for girls like me.  And maybe there was…but Planned Parenthood was easy to find.  Abortion is easy. Walk in, walk out.  Done.  Pregnant.  Not Pregnant.  Simple.  Except…it’s NOT that simple. They forget to tell you about the rest of the story.

The truth is they don’t tell you about the memory you live with for the rest of your life.  For awhile I was able to forget.  I had to suppress the memory in order to survive MY right to live. But slowly the memory began to resurface.  Back to the room…back to the smells…back to the empty eyes of broken women.  Back to the face of the man that literally sucked life out of my body.

Abortion is not about choice. It’s about selfishness.  It’s about desperation.  And I can say that because I have had one.  I have walked a mile in those shoes…and it’s a mile that never ends.

Recently a friend asked me if I had ever named my baby.  Immediately I thought, “No, because that would make it real!”  Then the “fetus” would become human.  Become a baby.  But I knew in that moment I needed to acknowledge that my baby is real.  I needed to mourn the loss of my child.  I realized how deep the pain still ran from my right to “choose.”  I began to pray that God would give me a name.  A few weeks ago while driving in the car I heard God speak to me: “Her name is Joy.”  Tears streamed down my face.  It was a girl!  I had had a daughter.

Before that precious moment in the car, I randomly heard an audible whisper of mom. I will wake up in the middle of the night to mom and there is no one in the room.  Washing my face I hear mom and look up…no one there.  It has happened a number of times where I hear mom and there is no one around.  Shortly after hearing “Her name is Joy,” I was washing my face in the bathroom and I heard the whisper again; mom.  Then it hit me: it’s her!  It’s Joy. This incredible RUSH came over me and I knew in that moment she was telling me It’s okay.  I forgive you. I am here with Jesus waiting for you. I love you.  And it’s okay.  Since that realization I haven’t heard the voice again.  But God has placed on my heart to share this story because I know I am not alone.  I KNOW I am not the only woman sitting at Church or in Bible Study carrying this same burden.  It’s the ONE thing that Christians don’t talk about other than to point a finger at someone and telling them its murder.  I am not sure what God’s plan is for me with sharing this story. But I know that SOMEONE needs to hear it.  So I am sharing it.

If you have gone through the agony of abortion, you are not alone. And it’s OKAY to talk about it. We can’t heal unless we help each other carry our burdens. I have finally carried that baggage to the foot of the cross and left it there.  I have been forgiven.  Not only has God forgiven me but he has blessed me far beyond measure with four more beautiful children.  And he’s placed it in my heart to help fight for moms and babies.  For anyone out there that has suffered in silence, that has carried this burden on their back ashamed of the choice they made, please know you are NOT alone.

 

This is why I’m so passionate about adoption. For me, it’s not just about the babies. It’s so much about the birth mamas (and fathers as well), who need to be loved on and cared for and know that they have a hope and a future as well as their babies. THIS is what real adoption ministry is all about.

The truth is if you are pro-LIFE you are also pro-CHILD and pro-WOMAN.

I love you Kathy.  You are one of my mama heroes.  And I can’t wait for you to introduce me to Joy when we get to God’s kingdom and he makes all things new. 

UPDATE:  Since this blog was posted several days ago, Kathy and I have been inundated with stories from other women also healing from the hurt of past abortions.  In response, Kathy has created a website, Joy Has Wings, a place for post abortive women to find support and healing.  There you can find more resources for post abortive women and men and their families.

For more post abortive resources, check out:
Ramah International
Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Her Choice to Heal
Kelly Clinger’s Blog

Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.com


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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.”

Click "like" if you are PRO-LIFE!

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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