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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Lisa Bourne

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Pressure mounts as Catholic Relief Services fails to act on VP in gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne
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Rick Estridge, Catholic Relief Services' Vice President of Overseas Finance, is in a same-sex "marriage," public records show. Twitter

BALTIMORE, MD, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Nearly a week after news broke that a Catholic Relief Services vice president had contracted a homosexual “marriage” while also publicly promoting homosexuality on social media in conflict with Church teaching, the US Bishops international relief agency has taken no apparent steps to address the matter and is also not talking.

CRS Vice President of Overseas Finance Rick Estridge entered into a homosexual “marriage” in Maryland the same month in 2013 that he was promoted by CRS to vice president, public records show.

Despite repeated efforts at a response, CRS has not acknowledged LifeSiteNews’ inquiries during the week. And the agency told ChurchMilitant.com Thursday that no action had been taken beyond discussion of the situation and CRS would have no further comment.

"Nothing has changed,” CRS Senior Manager for Communications Tom said. “No further statement will be made."

LifeSiteNews first contacted CRS for a response prior to the April 20 release of the report and did not receive a reply, however Estridge’s Facebook and LinkeIn profiles were then removed just prior to the report’s release.

CRS also did not acknowledge LifeSiteNews’ follow-up inquiry later in the week.

“Having an executive who publicly celebrates a moral abomination shows the ineffectiveness of CRS' Catholic identity training,” Lepanto Institute President Michael Hichborn told LifeSiteNews. “How many others who hate Catholic moral teaching work at CRS?”

CRS did admit it was aware Estridge was in a “same-sex civil marriage” to Catholic News Agency (CNA) Monday afternoon, and confirmed he was VP of Overseas Finance and had been with CRS for 16 years.

“At this point we are in deliberations on this matter,” Price told CNA that day.

ChurchMilitant.com also reported that according to its sources, it was a well-known fact at CRS headquarters in Baltimore that Estridge was in a homosexual “marriage.” 

“There is no way CRS didn't know one of its executives entered into a mock-marriage until we broke the story,” Hichborn said. “The implication is clear; CRS top brass had no problem with having an executive so deliberately flouting Catholic moral teaching.”

“The big question is,” Hichborn continued, “what other morally repugnant matters is CRS comfortable with?”

While the wait continues for the Bishops’ relief organization to address the matter, those behind the report and other critics of prior instances of CRS involvement in programs and groups that violate Church principles continue to call for a thorough and independent review of the agency programs and personnel.

“How long should it take to call an employee into your office, tell him that his behavior is incompatible with the mission of the organization, and ask for his resignation?” asked Population Research Institute President Steven Mosher. “About thirty minutes, I would say.”

“The Catholic identity of CRS is at stake,” Hichborn stated. “If CRS does nothing, then there is no way faithful Catholics can trust the integrity of CRS's programs or desire to make its Catholicity preeminent.” 

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Thousands of marriage activists gathered in D.C. June 19, 2014 for the 2nd March for Marriage. Dustin Siggins / LifeSiteNews.com
The Editors

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Watch the March for Marriage online—only at LifeSiteNews

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WASHINGTON, D.C., April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- At noon on Saturday, the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) and dozens of cosponsors, coalition partners, and speakers will launch the third annual March for Marriage. Thousands of people are expected to take place in this important event to show the support real marriage has among the American people.

As the sole media sponsor of the March, LifeSiteNews is proud to exclusively livestream the March. Click here to see the rally at noon Eastern Time near the U.S. Capitol, and the March to the Supreme Court at 1:00 Eastern Time.

And don't forget to pray that God's Will is done on Tuesday, when the Supreme Court hears arguments about marriage!

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Hillary Clinton: ‘Religious beliefs’ against abortion ‘have to be changed’

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By Ben Johnson

NEW YORK CITY, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Speaking to an influential gathering in New York City on Thursday, Hillary Clinton declared that “religious beliefs” that condemn "reproductive rights," “have to be changed.”

“Yes, we've cut the maternal mortality rate in half, but far too many women are still denied critical access to reproductive health,” Hillary told the Women in the World Summit yesterday.

Liberal politicians use “reproductive health” as a blanket term that includes abortion. However, Hillary's reference echoes National Organization for Women (NOW) president Terry O’Neill's op-ed from last May that called abortion “an essential measure to prevent the heartbreak of infant mortality.”

The Democratic presidential hopeful added that governments should throw the power of state coercion behind the effort to redefine traditional religious dogmas.

“Rights have to exist in practice, not just on paper. Laws have to be backed up with resources, and political will,” she said. “Deep-seated cultural codes, religious beliefs, and structural biases have to be changed.”

The line received rousing applause at the feminist conference, hosted in Manhattan's Lincoln Center by Tina Brown.

She also cited religious-based objections to the HHS mandate, funding Planned Parenthood, and the homosexual and transgender agenda as obstacles that the government must defeat.

“America moves ahead when all women are guaranteed the right to make their own health care choices, not when those choices are taken away by an employer like Hobby Lobby,” she said. The Supreme Court ruled last year that closely held corporations had the right to opt out of the provision of ObamaCare requiring them to provide abortion-inducing drugs, contraceptives, and sterilization to employees with no co-pay – a mandate that violates the teachings of the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies.

Clinton lamented that “there are those who offer themselves as leaders...who would defund the country's leading provider of family planning,” Planned Parenthood, “and want to let health insurance companies once again charge women just because of our gender.”

“We move forward when gay and transgender women are embraced...not fired from good jobs because of who they love or who they are,” she added.

It is not the first time the former first lady had said that liberal social policies should displace religious views. In a December 2011 speech in Geneva, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said perhaps the “most challenging issue arises when people cite religious or cultural values as a reason to violate or not to protect the human rights of LGBT citizens.” These objections, she said, are “not unlike the justification offered for violent practices towards women like honor killings, widow burning, or female genital mutilation.”

While opinions on homosexuality are “still evolving,” in time “we came to learn that no [religious] practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us.”

Her views, if outside the American political mainstream, have been supported by the United Nations. The UN Population Fund stated in its 2012 annual report that religious objections to abortion-inducing drugs had to be overcome. According to the UNFPA report, “‘duty-bearers’ (governments and others)” have a responsibility to assure that all forms of contraception – including sterilization and abortion-inducing ‘emergency contraception’ – are viewed as acceptable – “But if they are not acceptable for cultural, religious or other reasons, they will not be used.”

Two years later, the United Nations' Committee on the Rights of the Child instructed the Vatican last February that the Catholic Church should amend canon law “relating to abortion with a view to identifying circumstances under which access to abortion services may be permitted.”

At Thursday's speech, Hillary called the legal, state-enforced implementation of feminist politics “the great unfinished business of the 21st century,” which must be accomplished “not just for women but for everyone — and not just in far away countries but right here in the United States.”

“These are not just women's fights. These have to be America's fights and the world's fights,” she said. “There's still much to be done in our own country, much more to be done around the world, but I'm confident and optimistic that if we get to work, we will get it done together.”

American critics called Clinton's suggestion that a nation founded upon freedom of religion begin using state force to change religious practices unprecedented.

“Never before have we seen a presidential candidate be this bold about directly confronting the Catholic Church's teachings on abortion,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League.

“In one sense, this shows just how extreme the pro-abortion caucus actually is,” Ed Morrissey writes at HotAir.com. “Running for president on the basis of promising to use the power of government to change 'deep seated cultural codes [and] religious beliefs' might be the most honest progressive slogan in history.”

He hoped that, now that she had called for governments to change religious doctrines, “voters will now see the real Hillary Clinton, the one who dismisses their faith just the same as Obama did, and this time publicly rather than in a private fundraiser.”

Donohue asked Hillary “to take the next step and tell us exactly what she plans to do about delivering on her pledge. Not only would practicing Catholics like to know, so would Evangelicals, Orthodox Jews, Muslims, and all those who value life from conception to natural death.”

You may watch Hillary's speech below.

Her comments on religion begin at approximately 9:00. 

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