Peter Baklinski

‘Choosing Joy’: Baby Abby was only given a ‘slim chance’ of survival, but abortion wasn’t an option

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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BALTIMORE, Maryland, February 27, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Julie Leach could not shake off that uneasy feeling. She and her husband Matt had witnessed the number of pictures the sonographer had taken of their 20-week-old baby. Now Julie felt that something must surely be wrong. Matt tried to reassure his wife that the baby was probably in a weird position and that it had been difficult for the doctor to get the right picture.

But Julie’s intuition was right.

A call from the doctor’s office the next day revealed that the baby’s jaw was measuring too small. A level two sonogram confirmed that the baby had micrognathia, a condition where the jaw is not in proportion to the rest of the head and causes the infant to have problems with breathing and eating.

After the sonogram, the doctor mentioned the option of abortion, but Matt and Julie made it clear that this was not an option for them or their baby.

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Matt and Julie remember receiving the baby’s diagnosis as a “tough piece of information” but they were convicted that no human life is in vain and that they would love their baby for the “beautiful and amazing spirit” that they were certain she would possess. The parents were delighted to discover that they were having a girl.

“Naturally, this is not what we would want for our daughter. Who would? However, we know that there is a wonderful plan already set for her life and it’s our job to support her and help her to fulfill that plan.”

They named their unborn daughter Abby, which means “God is joy.”

At 29-weeks Julie began experiencing preterm labor. Because little Abby could not swallow, excess amniotic fluid had accumulated in Julie’s amniotic sac and triggered labor. Julie was ordered to a specialist hospital, two hours away from her husband and young son Caleb, where she was confined to bed rest and closely monitored for the next five weeks. During this time, Julie had two amnioreductions where doctors syphoned liters of amniotic fluid to keep her body from going into labor.

The day for labor finally arrived. Julie had made it to 34 weeks. Doctors from the NICU told Julie to wait to push until everything was set up to help Abby once she had made her grand entrance. A doctor broke Julie’s waters just after midnight, giving her permission to push.

After three more pushes, the little girl was born. Matt remembers that Abby shot out so quickly, what he jokingly calls “rocket launcher style,” that the doctor barely managed to catch her.

Abby Elizabeth Joy was born October 22, 2010. She weighed 4 lbs, and was 17 inches long. “I must say, delivering a 4 lb. baby is much easier than a full-term baby! I felt pretty darn good,” remembers Julie.

Julie says it was surreal to see her little Abby for the first time in the NICU, mixed up in a tangle of wires and tubes. “The foot wrapped in gauze is the same foot that kicked me and stepped on my bladder. The tiny hands curled up next to her mouth were in the same position they were during so many of the sonograms. The hair that we saw floating in the amniotic fluid, the same hair that was admired by so many sonographers, is every bit as long and full as everyone said.”

Later that morning, doctors told Matt and Julie that their daughter had Cerebrocostomandibular Syndrome, a rare syndrome that affects the brain, ribs, and jaw. Julie remembers that it looked as if someone had “taken a hammer” to her daughters ribs.

The doctors gave Abby a very “slim chance” of leaving the NICU alive. “They gave us lots of statistics that showed us the odds were stacked against her. They pointed out every little physical imperfection on her body, from her ears, to the bridge of her nose, to her fingers. They told us that she would never sit up, much less walk.”

The parents were asked what should be done if Abby went into cardiac arrest.

“I tearfully answered that we wanted them to do whatever they could,” said Julie.

The doctor’s response of “Oh… really?” deeply saddened the parents.

“The doctor who was supposed to be fighting for her life obviously felt that her life had little value. We were told that if she survived, she would be little more than a vegetable. While this is certainly not news that parents want to hear, we knew that God had a plan for her life and that we would love her just the way she was.”

Abby spent the first five days of her life struggling to breathe until she had an emergency tracheostomy after a failed intubation. Matt and Julie constantly prayed over their little daughter and sang to her over and over again Chris Tomlin’s song “Our God.”

Matt and Julie felt that the words of the song spoke directly to their situation.

“Our God is Healer, Awesome in Power, Our God! Our God!
And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us.
And if our God is with us, then what could stand against.”

Weeks went by and Abby’s breathing continued to improve. Finally, after three months, Abby was allowed to go home.

“It was one of the happiest days of our lives and a huge answer to prayer,” said Julie.

“Since we’ve been home, we have learned a ton about the ‘joys’ of home nursing, medical red tape, federal healthcare, and anatomy. We’ve had our share of unplanned hospital stays and even one helicopter ride where we very nearly lost our girl.”

The parents credit their daughter’s outcome to the power of God. Not only has Abby’s crooked and hunched spine completely straightened out, but her ribs have begun calcifying. The gaps close to her sternum have inexplicably closed up. Specialists have told the parents that she will not need to have any rib surgeries to close the remaining gaps.

Now at 16 months, young Abby still makes use of a ventilator to help her breathe at night. Not only is she crawling, but she has learned how to walk with the aid of a push-walker.

“This has been quite a journey,” the parents say, “but we are so thankful to God for giving Abby a fighting spirit. That spunkiness has helped her to make it this far and has been such an encouragement to us.”

“We have been amazed again and again by God’s grace and faithfulness to us. He has provided in ways we never could have imagined, and we know that He has chosen us to be Abby’s parents. It is not our job to question why He gave her this condition. No, our job is to love Abby and raise her to love God.”

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Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin

Two Congressmen confirm: National 20-week ban on abortion will come up for a vote shortly

Dustin Siggins Dustin Siggins Follow Dustin
By Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – A bill to end abortion in the United States after 20 weeks will move forward, and it will have the strong support of two leading pro-life Congressmen, the two Republicans told LifeSiteNews.com at the eighth annual Susan B. Anthony List Campaign for Life Summit on Thursday.

Rep. Chris Smith, R-NJ, told LifeSiteNews and the National Catholic Register that ongoing House discussions on H.R. 36, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act," will result in a pro-life bill moving forward.

"Very good language" is being put together, Smith told The Register. He told LifeSiteNews that he fully anticipated being able to support the final bill, because the House Republican caucus "wouldn't have something that would be unsupportable. Our leadership is genuinely pro-life."

In 2013, the "Pain Capable Unborn Child Protection Act" easily passed through the House of Representatives, only to be stalled by a Democratic-controlled Senate. This year, an identical bill was halted by Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-NC, and other Republicans -- surprising and angering pro-life leaders who thought its passage was assured. That bill, H.R. 36, is now being rewritten so it can be voted on by the full House, though its final wording remains uncertain.

Some fear that the House leadership will modify the bill to mollify Ellmers. She and others objected that the bill allows women to abort a child after 20 weeks in the case of rape – but only if they report that rape to the authorities.

Pro-life activists say removing the reporting requirement would take abortionists at their word that the women whose children they abort claimed to be raped. Congresswoman Ellmers has publicly stated the House leadership is considering such a proposal.

Jill Stanek, who was recently arrested on Capitol Hill as part of a protest to encourage Republicans to pass H.R. 36, said that would be "a loophole big enough for a Mack truck."

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Congressman Smith said the bill will come to the floor shortly. "The commitment to this bill is ironclad; we just have to work out some details," Smith said.

He also noted that, while a vote on the 20-week ban has been delayed for nearly three months, "we did get the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act passed, and that would have been in the queue now, so we just reversed" the order of the two bills.

Congressman Smith spoke to both outlets shortly after participating in a panel at the Summit.

Another speaker was Rep. Steve King, R-IA, who also supports the 20-week ban.

"I can't think of what” language that is actively under consideration could make him rethink his support for the bill, King said. He also told attendees that the nation was moving in a direction of supporting life.

The outspoken Congressman declined to answer further, noting "that's asking me to anticipate an unknown hypothetical."

The annual Campaign for Life Summit and its related gala drew other high-profile speakers, including presidential candidate Senator Rand Paul, potential presidential hopeful Senator Lindsay Graham, and Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus.  

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"Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience."
Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon

Pro-lifers are winning. So now they’re coming for our cupcakes?

Jonathon van Maren Jonathon van Maren Follow Jonathon
By Jonathon van Maren

As I travel across Canada (and at times the United States) speaking on abortion and various facets of the Culture of Death, one of the things I hear often is a hopelessness, a despair that the West is being flattened by the juggernaut of the Sexual Revolution. There is a feeling among many people that the restriction of religious liberty, the continued legality of abortion, and the redefinition of marriage are inevitable.

This is, of course, one of the most prominent and successful strategies of the Sexual Revolutionaries—create an aura of inevitability while concurrently demonizing all those who oppose their new and mangled “progress” as Neanderthals on the cusp of being left behind by History. That inevitability becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, because many people don’t realize that the various battles in the Sexual Revolution actually all correlate to one another—that what we are seeing now is the end game of an incredibly vast and well-planned cultural project.

It is because we miss many of these connections that we often cannot see, with clarity, how the culture wars are actually unfolding. I read with great interest a recent column by Rev. Douglas Wilson, eloquently titled “With stirrups raised to Molech.”

“We are now much occupied with the issues swirling around same sex mirage,” he writes, “but we need to take great care not to get distracted. Why have the homosexual activists gone all in on this issue? Why is their prosecutorial zeal so adamant? We went, in just a matter of months, from ‘let’s let individual states’ decide on this, to federal judges striking down state statutes, followed up hard by official harassment of florists, bakers, and photographers. Why the anger, and why the savage over-reach? And do they really think we couldn’t remember all the things they were assuring us of this time last year?”

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It’s a compelling question, and one that I’ve heard many Christians puzzling over recently. Why do the advocates of the Sexual Revolution despise those who disagree with them so viciously? It is partly because their cultural project does not, as they claim, consist of “living and let live.” It is about compulsory acceptance of any and all sexual behaviors, with tax-payer funding for the rubbers and pills they need to ensure all such behaviors remain sterile, and extermination crews to suction, poison, and dismember any inconvenient fetuses that may come into being as the result of casual coitus.

The ancient mantra “the State has no business in the bedrooms of the nation” has long been abandoned—the emboldened Sexual Revolutionaries now demand that politicians show up at their exhibitionist parades of public indecency, force schools to impose their so-called “morally neutral” view of sexuality on children, and force into silence those who still hold to traditional values.

Rev. Wilson, however, thinks that this loud and vicious war on conscience may be about even more than that. The pro-life cause, he notes, has been very successful in the Unites States. The abortion rate is the lowest it has been since 1973. Hundreds of pro-life laws are passing on the state level. The abortion industry has been successfully stigmatized. True, the successes are, for pro-lifers, often too feeble and not nearly adequate enough in the face of such unrestrained bloodshed. Nevertheless, the momentum has turned against the Sexual Revolutionaries who have championed abortion for decades—their shock and anger at the strength of the pro-life movement evident in pro-abortion signs at rallies that read, “I can’t believe I still have to protest this s**t.”

It is because of the pro-life movement’s success, Wilson muses, that the Sexual Revolutionaries may be coming at us with such fury. “If a nation has slaughtered 50 million infants,” he writes, “they are not going to suddenly get a sense of decency over you and your cupcakes. Now this explains their lack of proportion, and their refusal to acknowledge the rights of florists. Someone who doesn’t flinch at the dismemberment of babies is not going to flinch at the dismemberment of some evangelical baker’s conscience. This reveals their distorted priorities, of course, but it also might be revealing a strategy. Is the homosexual lobby doing this because they are freaking out over their losses on the pro-life front? And are they doing so in a way intended to distract us away from an issue where we are slowly, gradually, inexorably, winning?”

It’s a fascinating perspective. It’s true—and has always been true historically—that when one group of human beings is classified as nonhuman by a society as nonhuman and subsequently butchered, the whole of society is degraded. No nation and no culture can collectively and systematically kill so many human beings without a correlating hardening of the conscience. But on the pro-life front, there has been decades of fierce resistance, hundreds of incremental victories, and a renewed energy among the upcoming generation of activists. For the Sexual Revolutionaries who thought the battle was over when Roe v. Wade was announced in 1973, this must be a bitter pill to swallow indeed.

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Lisa Bourne

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‘Prominent’ Catholics attacking Archbishop Cordileone are big donors to Pelosi and pro-abort Democrats

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

Note: To sign a petition supporting Archbishop Cordileone, click here

SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 17, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Big donors to the Democrat Party and pro-abortion Nancy Pelosi are among those publicly harassing San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone for protecting Catholic identity in the area’s Catholic high schools.

A big-ticket full-page ad ran April 16 in the San Francisco Chronicle attacking the archbishop and calling Pope Francis to oust him for his efforts to reinforce Catholic principles in the schools.

A number of prominent San Francisco-area residents identifying as Catholic are signatories of the ad, and several are wealthy donors to Democrat entities and pro-abortion politicians, Catholic Vote reports.

Federal Election Commission records indicate Charles Geschke, Adobe Systems chairman and previous head of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco, gave more than $240,000 to Democrat groups, as well as $2,300 to Nancy Pelosi and $4,000 to John Kerry, both politicians who claim to be Catholic but support abortion and homosexual “marriage.”

Also on the list is political consultant and businessman Clint Reilly, who gave nearly $60,000 to Democrat organizations, along with $5,000 to Barack Obama, whose administration vehemently promotes abortion and homosexual “marriage” and has continually opposed religious liberty. Reilly gave $4,600 to Pelosi as well.

Another individual in the ad attacking the archbishop who also gave big campaign donations to California pro-abort Democrats was Lou Giraudo, a former city commissioner and business executive who contributed more than $24,000 to Nancy Pelosi, $6,000 to Dianne Feinstein and $4,300 to Barbara Boxer.

Nancy Pelosi herself challenged the archbishop for his stance on Catholic teaching last year when she tried to pressure him out of speaking at the March for Marriage in Washington D.C., claiming the event was “venom masquerading as virtue.”

The archbishop responded in a letter that he was obliged “as a bishop, to proclaim the truth—the whole truth—about the human person and God’s will for our flourishing ... especially the truth about marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The April 16 ad attacking Archbishop Cordileone was the latest in an ongoing assault since the archbishop took steps in February to strengthen Catholic identity in the schools and clarify for faculty and staff in handbooks and contract language the long-standing expectation that they uphold Church principles. 

It said Archbishop Cordileone has “fostered an atmosphere of division and intolerance” and called on Pope Francis to remove him.

“Holy Father, Please Provide Us With a Leader True to Our Values and Your Namesake,” the ad said. “Please Replace Archbishop Cordileone.”

The Confraternity of Catholic Clergy (CCC), a national association for priests and deacons, condemned Archbishop Cordileone’s harassers in a statement, saying the archbishop “teaches in conformity to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.”

“The character assassination and uncharitable venom being cast upon a bishop merely defending the doctrines of his religion is appalling and repugnant,” the CCC said. 

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“It is totally inappropriate, improper and unjust for the media and others to vilify and brutally attack him when he is doing precisely what an ordained minister and pastor of souls is obligated to do,” the group stated, “namely, speak the truth in season and out of season.”

Those behind the attack ad said the proposed handbook language was mean-spirited, and that they were “committed Catholics inspired by Vatican II,” who “believe in the traditions of conscience, respect and inclusion upon which our Catholic faith was founded.”

The Archdiocese of San Francisco denounced the ad upon its release, saying it was a misrepresentation of Catholic teaching and the nature of the teacher contract, and a misrepresentation of the spirit of the Archbishop.

“The greatest misrepresentation of all is that the signers presume to speak for “the Catholic Community of San Francisco,” the archdiocese responded. “They do not.”

The CCC pointed out that just as physicians are expected to be faithful to the Hippocratic Oath, bishops, priests, and deacons are expected to be faithful to the Church, its teachings and its authority, “since their objective is the salvation of souls, not a popularity contest.” 

In openly declaring their support for Archbishop Cordileone, the group urged the media and others to show “prudence, civility, and fair-mindedness” toward those with whom they disagree.

“He took an oath to be faithful to the Gospel,” the Confraternity stated of Archbishop Cordileone, “and in the words of the disciples in the New Testament, ‘better to obey God than men.’”

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