Kristen Walker Hatten

How I became pro-choice, before I became pro-life

Kristen Walker Hatten
By Kristen Walker Hatten

February 7, 2012 ( - It is my third week on the job. I am 24 years old. I think this place is pretty cool because it’s in downtown Dallas and they don’t care that I have my nose pierced. The offices are upstairs in a historic building with hardwood floors. I have my own giant office and a huge, ornate antique desk.

My boss is in her early 30s and just finished grad school at Columbia. She is the rich daughter of the rich owner of the business. I get the feeling she hired me because she thinks I am young and rad and she herself wishes to remain young and rad.

She asks me to go with her to run an important weekly errand. I feel important. I feel that her car is important. It is a BMW. It is very clean inside, with no sign of her two-year-old daughter but a sippy cup in the console. The upholstery is spotless. It smells like achievement.

She is talking to me about working with the mentally ill while earning a psychology degree. She uses the phrase “mentally ill” a lot. She tells me about a woman who stabbed her infant son with a fork, a prostitute who bit another prostitute’s finger off, and a janitor who was hiding body parts in a fridge. They were all “mentally ill.” She feels sorry for them and says that people don’t get it.

“People don’t get it,” she says.

She tells me that most homeless people are mentally ill, most murderers are mentally ill, most perpetrators of domestic violence are mentally ill, and most drug abusers are mentally ill and trying to self-medicate.

I sit there and nod as she drives through downtown, watching the homeless people walk by, the multifarious crackheads who harass me for change every day as I journey from the bus stop to my office and back again. Mentally ill, I think.

She is explaining to me how people don’t understand that prison isn’t the answer, being “tough on crime” isn’t the answer. She tells me we need more social programs, more treatment for these people, more public understanding of mental illness, better shelters, more rehab programs and halfway houses.

“People don’t get it,” she says.

She takes a left at an intersection. “I’m gonna go a back way,” she says. “I always do this.”

A few minutes later she slows the car dramatically and pushes the button that lowers her window. She sticks her arm out. I duck my head and look out. Across the street from us is a squat, tan brick building. In front of it on the sidewalk are about five people. A few of them are holding signs. One of the signs has a close-up of a smiling infant. There are two middle-aged women with scarves on their bowed heads praying a rosary.

That’s when I realize where we are. I guess I knew there were abortion clinics. I just never thought about it. And I suppose I knew people sometimes protested. But again, I had never thought about it.

My boss’s hand is stuck out the window of her BMW. She crawls past the clinic with her middle finger up. No one notices her so she comes almost to a stop. The person behind her honks his horn. The protesters look in our direction. They see her middle finger. They seem neither shocked nor offended. They just look at us. My boss grins at them and then at me with a gleam in her eye.

She yells, “Go home!” at the same moment the person behind us honks again. Her voice is drowned out. She is a little embarrassed and steps on the gas too hard and fast. The BMW lurches forward and she clears her throat and rolls up the window.

It’s only years later that I see the desperate awkward grasping pettiness of her actions. At that moment, though, I am enthralled. This woman is standing up for the oppressed. She is a crusader for human rights against the barbarians who would throw the mentally ill in jail for murder when it isn’t their fault. She stands up to the intolerant zealots who harrass women and assail them with judgmental nonsense when they seek to exercise their right to choose what to do with their own bodies.

I have never given abortion much thought until this day. It will be years before I have even the faintest idea of what it really is, what it does, or what it means.

In the coming years, I will only think about abortion when someone questions whether or not it should be legal. Then I will loudly and angrily argue for abortion “rights.” About three years later, I will have a conversation in which I finally, for the first time ever, learn some facts about abortion, and I will leave that conversation pro-life, and remain so.

Driving past the abortion clinic, watching my boss flip the bird to a group of praying strangers, I only have the foggiest notion of what “pro-choice” means. Like “mentally ill,” it has an ephemeral quality to it, a sense of non-meaning, as though it’s not so much a phrase as a magic blanket that can stretch to cover anything we wish. But I like the sound of it. It sounds inclusive, warm, reasonable.


I think the words in my head and decide I like them. I like the club I belong to now. I will worry about the details later. Or maybe I won’t.

Sitting there in my boss’s Bimmer, I feel a sense of pride and belonging. I am a smart, liberated, enlightened young woman. I am a feminist and a believer in human rights. I am one of the sane ones, the caring ones, the indispensable right-thinking ones.

I am pro-choice.

Click “like” if you want to end abortion!

Reprinted with permission from Live Action’s blog.

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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