Peter Baklinski

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16-year-old: ‘I regret having sex, but I’ve never regretted keeping my baby’

Peter Baklinski
Peter Baklinski
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OTTAWA, Ontario, July 20, 2012, (LifeSiteNews.com) – Defending a woman’s ‘right to choose’ often means defending abortion. Pro-choice advocates argue for the availability of that choice saying “you wouldn’t know how hard it is to deal with an unexpected pregnancy unless you’ve experienced it.”

But for Amber Kortekaas, pregnant at 16, nothing could be further from the truth. Amber recounted to LifeSiteNews what she called the “long chain of events” that resulted in her becoming pregnant at such a tender age.

It all began with the “caring, fun-loving boy” who took Amber out on dates, called her often on the phone, and made her “feel important.”

“I felt obligated to give him what he wanted,” she said. “Stupid, right?” 

Not too much later, while attending a six-week-long gliding camp for cadets in the summer of 2010, Amber began to wonder if she might be pregnant. But she blamed her body’s little abnormalities on the “stresses of being away from home.”

(Click “like” if you want to end abortion! )

“The food tasted bad because it was gross mess-food. Everything smelled bad because it was an old building,” she said. “I threw-up that one night because the food tasted bad and the room smelled terrible. I was always exhausted because they were waking us up at 5 a.m. and I was running all day.”

But Amber began to run out of excuses for the strange way her body was behaving. It was during the last week of camp that she “figured it all out.” Amber persevered through the rigorous training and received her pilot’s license, despite all the changes her young body was experiencing as a result of the pregnancy. But her elation at getting her wings was short lived, for now she faced the reality of having to return home and tell her parents what was really going on inside of her.

“The thought of telling my parents was terrifying. My mom, a very kind and religious woman, had no idea what I was doing behind her back.”

But Amber was spared the dreaded moment: She threw-up during her car ride home, and her mom “instantly” figured out why.

Instead of condemning her, Amber’s family “vowed to support” her. “I was very lucky in this way, for I know it would have all been harder if they hadn’t.”

But the relationship between Amber and her boyfriend began to deteriorate. The “caring, fun-loving boy” began to show his true colors. He became “controlling to say the least, to the point where it was abusive.” The boyfriend began to harass Amber with text messages. If she did not immediately respond to his messages, he would call her on the phone, demanding to know where she was and why she was not responding.

Amber discovered that her boyfriend had even lied to her about his past and that he had made up stories about himself to gain her sympathy.

“He at one point told me about his ex-girlfriend — who apparently cheated on him — who nearly drove him to almost kill himself when they broke up,” she said.

The quarrels between the disenchanted young couple would end in Amber’s boyfriend threatening her with his suicide if he could not get his way. They quarreled over what the baby’s last name would be, whether Amber should continue to work, where she would go to school. But most often, they quarreled over where Amber should live.

“He desperately wanted me to move out with him, but I always refused. The reasons why were numerous. One of the main reasons is that I knew that he would absolutely give me no support as I tried to finish high school.”

Amber finally began to see for herself how the young man she called her boyfriend and with whom she had created a new life was “abusing and manipulating” her.

“He lied constantly about everything. He would keep me up on the phone fighting all night. I see all of this now, but I have to admit it was hard for me to realize how suppressed and horrible I felt at the time,” she said. “I believed that he was my only friend. I didn’t want to believe that he was abusing and manipulating me, but eventually I couldn’t ignore it anymore.”

Amber continued to live with her parents, who supported her and became her lifeline. She returned to school in the fall, completing her entire semester and even managing to keep up her honor-roll grades.

“I didn’t have my friends at that time,” she recounted, “but I knew in the importance of my education.”

With the baby coming in March, Amber cut back on her studies during the spring semester, only taking one class online from her home.

On March 4th, 2011, Jonah Eden Kortekaas was born.

“I went for the natural birth, with no epidural and it didn’t take long before Jonah was in my arms,” she said. “I was elated, but exhausted and emotional.”

“He was perfect, although exhausting. But he was worth it all. He was real, living, breathing, and loving.”

The boyfriend continued to harass Amber and even managed to convince the nurses to let him stay in the hospital with her after the birth of Jonah.

“This turned out to me nothing short of a disaster,” she said. “It went further and further downhill until the last morning I was there.”

On that morning, Amber was scheduled to see a social worker as part of the hospital’s policy for new mothers under the age of 20. The boyfriend, however, was not invited to the meeting.

“When I returned from the meeting, my mom was in the nursery with Jonah and my boyfriend was in Emergency. He had had a ‘panic attack’ on the floor and was taken out.”

A nurse who had witnessed the incident pulled Amber aside saying: “You are doing so well and trying so hard. You can do better than him. Whatever happens, do not leave your baby alone with that boy.”

This was all that Amber needed to hear. She now knew what she had to do.

“There it was, the last devastating blow in our relationship,” she said. “I broke up with him the next day.”

Amber fought for and won custody over her baby, with her ex-boyfriend being granted only supervised access.

With the boyfriend out of the way, Amber recalls that her life “really started getting better.” She began making new friends. She began to understand the purpose of boundaries, which she says helped her in building better relationships with people.

“I began feeling good about myself,” she said.

The young mom says that all her struggles have been worthwhile for the sake of her son.

“The thought that I could have so easily destroyed something so wonderful, still scares me to this day.”

“Yes, I am left out of many things, but I don’t feel as if it is the end of the world. I have a son who loves me, and I love him more than anything. I have fun, and am still enjoying life.”

Amber says that while she “regrets having sex”, she “never regrets” her decision to keep her baby. She likes to compare her “young and naive” sexual activity resulting in pregnancy to drinking and then causing a car accident.

“To me, the choice is when one decides to drive after drinking. One is responsible for whatever happens after that choice to drive. Likewise, the choice is when one decides to have sex. One is responsible for whatever happens after that choice.”

Amber saw the entire matter as very simple: Her choice, she says, was when she was with her boyfriend. Once she conceived, there was no longer any ‘choice’, but simply ‘responsibility’.

Amber pointed out that while the last two years of her life have been hard, nevertheless, through the challenges she has “become a better person”.

“I feel proud that I was able to take responsibility for my actions, face the consequences and make the best of them.”

“I love my baby. I regret having sex, but I have never regretted keeping my baby. Life doesn’t end when there is an unexpected pregnancy, it begins.”

Editor’s Note: Amber graduated from high school with the help of her Mom who looked after Jonah in the mornings while she attended class. Amber participated in online classes in the evenings while Jonah slept. The young mom looks forward to beginning post-secondary education at the University of Ottawa this September. “I am taking the next step,” she said.

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Dr. Miriam Grossman speaks to large audience in Mississauga, Ontario Steve Jalsevac/LifeSite
Lianne Laurence

VIDEO: How DO you to talk to kids about sex? US sex-ed critic gives practical tips

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

MISSISSAUGA, ON, August 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – Talking to their children about sex is “anxiety provoking to say the least,” for parents, says American sex-ed expert, Dr. Miriam Grossman.

“Some people just can’t even do it, and that’s okay,” the New York-based psychiatrist told the crowd of 1,000 who packed a Mississauga conference hall August 18 to hear her critique of the Ontario Liberal government’s controversial sex-ed curriculum.

After Grossman explained how the Liberal sex-ed curriculum is dangerously flawed and ideologically driven, she used the question-and-answer session to give parents much appreciated and sometimes humorous practical advice on how to teach their children about “the birds and the bees.”

“If you feel you can’t do it, maybe there’s someone else in the family or in the constellation of people that you know you can trust that could do it,” said Grossman, author of “You’re teaching my child WHAT?” and an internationally sought-after speaker on sex education.

A child, adolescent and adult psychiatrist with 12 years’ clinical experience treating students at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) clinic, Grossman said explaining sexuality and procreation to children is “a process,” that “shouldn’t ideally happen all at once. A child is not a miniature adult, and absorbs…new information differently than adults do.”

And parents need to be sure just what their child wants to know.

To illustrate this, Grossman referred to her earlier story about a father who gave his son every detail on human procreation after the boy asked him, “Dad, where do I come from?”

After the father finished, his son replied, “Well, that’s funny, because Johnny told me that he came from Montreal.”

“Try to find out what your child is really getting at, and, don’t give it all at once,” Grossman said. “You start with a little bit at a time…and you know, there’s so many variables here, and people have their own traditions and their own ways of explaining things, and something that might be right for my family might not be right for your family.”

She also advised that, when confronted with a four, five, six or seven-year-old asking about a pregnant woman, or where babies come, a parent can ask, “What a good question that is. What do you think?”

And parents can also legitimately put off the discussion when appropriate, telling the child, “That’s really not something you need to know about right now.”

“Wow, what a novel idea: Telling a child that they could wait until they’re older to discuss that subject,” Grossman said, adding that parents wouldn’t brook a six- or even fifteen-year-old child asking how much money they made or had in the bank. “Excuse me? Not every subject has to be an open book.”

However, the time will come when a child needs to know “about how her body’s going to change, about reproduction, about how a new life is created.”

That time, Grossman advised, is puberty, or “as puberty is beginning,” and this is especially so for girls, who, if unprepared for the surprise onset of menstruation “might think [they’re] dying.”

“The actual nitty-gritty about the birds and the bees and intercourse” can “be told in bits and pieces, or it can be told all at once, if you feel it’s necessary,” she said, adding that it’s beneficial if the parent acknowledges his or her awkwardness, because the child will think: “This must be such an important subject that my mother or my father is sitting there squirming, but he’s doing it anyway. I’m really loved.”

“And the children need to understand that as you grow up, you change a lot, not only physically but emotionally,” Grossman said, “and what may seem odd or disgusting when you’re ten years old, or whatever age, it becomes something very special and beautiful when you’re older and you’ll understand it later. You don’t have to understand it now.”


Know your child and guard your home

But as an essential foundation for this discussion, parents must both know their children and guard their home from the encroachments of a culture that Grossman described as “very, very sexualized” and “really horrible.”

“Children need parents who are loving but are also firm and authoritative,” she asserted.  “They don’t need best friends. They need us to guide them, to know what they’re doing, to be on top of what they’re doing.

So parents need to be aware of whom their child is “hanging around with, and what kind of movies are they watching…what’s going on with your child.”

“You need to know that anyway, even if it’s not about sex education,” she pointed out. “Try and know your child. Every child is different.”

And Grossman emphasized that it is “extremely important to be careful about what your child is exposed to in the home, in terms of television and Internet, obviously.”

Children need to understand that “just like you have garbage you take out of the house, you put it in the garbage bin, it’s dirty, it smells…there are other things that also don’t belong in the house.”

And children learn quickly what is, and is not, permissible inside the home, Grossman said. “Me, I keep kosher…If I go into a store, my kids know from a very young age, we don’t eat that.”

So they are used to the idea of “the world outside and the inside world, of inside your home, and inside your heart as well.”

Parents can also convey this by telling their children that “the world is an upside-down place, and sometimes the most special, holy subjects are…just thrown in the gutter. And that’s a bad thing. In our family, in our tradition, we don’t do that.”

“Sexuality is one of the subjects that in this upside-down world, it is sometimes just in the gutter,” she said. “And so I want you to tell your child to come to me when you have questions, I will give you the straight story about it.”

Grossman herself is “not even sure,” as she stated in her seminar, that sex education should be in the schools: “I believe sex education should be at home for those parents that want to do it.”

She also noted that parents “can make mistakes. We all make lots of mistakes but it’s okay, you can always come back and do it differently,” adding that this is “another wonderful message for your child. You know what, it’s okay to make mistakes, you can always go back and try and fix it.”

Grossman urged parents to visit her Facebook page, website and blog. “I have so much information you can get there that you’ll find useful,” and added that she will be publishing books for children, and has posted her critique of New York City’s sex-ed curriculum, which is similar to Ontario’s.

The parental backlash to that sex-ed curriculum, set to roll out in the province’s publicly funded schools this September, has been “amazing” Grossman noted.

Grossman’s seminar was sponsored by Mississauga-based HOWA Voice of Change along with the Canadian Families Alliance, an umbrella group representing more than 25 associations and 200,000 Ontarians opposed to the curriculum. The report on her devastating critique of the sex-ed curriculum can be found here, and the video here.

Ontario readers may find information and sign up for a September 2 province-wide protests at MPPs offices here. So far, there are protests planned for 92 of Ontario’s 107 constituencies. The parents’ movement seeking removal of the curriculum is urging all concerned citizens to join this special effort to influence individual Ontario legislators.

See related reports:

Ontario’s dangerous sex-ed is indoctrination not science says U.S. psychiatrist to large audience

Videos: US psychiatrist tells parents “stand firm” against dangerous sex-ed

See the LifeSiteNews feature page on the Ontario sex-ed curriculum containing nearly 100 LifeSite articles related to the issue

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Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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Did the pope just endorse a gay children’s book? Of course not, says Vatican

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

ROME, August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- While mainstream media is gushing with news today that Pope Francis allegedly praised a children’s book that promotes gender theory, the Vatican is decrying what they called the "manipulation" of a cordial letter from an official in the Secretariat of State to suggest that the Vatican is promoting teachings contrary to the Gospel.

Italian children’s author Francesca Pardi was reported by The Guardian to have submitted a parcel of children’s books promoting the acceptance of homosexuality and gender theory to Pope Francis in June after Venice’s mayor Luigi Brugnaro publicly banned the author’s newest book, Piccolo Uovo (Little Egg), from children’s schools. The book was criticized by pro-family leaders for promoting non-natural family structures of two men and two women.

In a letter accompanying the books, Pardi wrote: “Many parishes across the country are in this period sullying our name and telling falsehoods about our work which deeply offends us. We have respect for Catholics. ... A lot of Catholics give back the same respect, why can’t we have the whole hierarchy of the church behind us?”

The Guardian is reporting that Pardi has now “found an unlikely supporter in Pope Francis,” who through his staff has responded to the author and is presented as “praising her work.” It quotes the following from a July 9 letter to Pardi from the Vatican.

“His holiness is grateful for the thoughtful gesture and for the feelings which it evoked, hoping for an always more fruitful activity in the service of young generations and the spread of genuine human and Christian values,” wrote Peter B. Wells, a senior official at the Vatican Secretariat of State, in a the letter The Guardian is reporting it has seen.  

While the letter gently calls the author to use her talents to spread “genuine human and Christian values,” The Guardian takes it as the pope’s endorsement of gender theory.

“Pope Francis sends letter praising gay children's book,” the paper’s headline states. “Italian book that explores different family types including same sex was banned by mayor of Venice, but pontiff becomes unlikely supporter,” reads the subtitle.

In a press release that Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi sent to LifeSiteNews on Friday, the vice speaker of the Vatican, Ciro Benedettini, made clear that the friendly reply letter to the author in no way approves of attitudes or positions that are contrary to Catholic teaching and the Gospels.

The Vatican's statement also says that in the original letter from the secretariat of state Wells merely "acknowledged receipt" of the materials sent by Pardi, and also made clear that the letter was private and not meant for publication. 

"In no way does a letter from the Secretary of State intend to endorse behaviors and teachings not in keeping with the Gospel," says the statement, decrying the "manipulation" of the letter.

Benedettini said the blessing of the pope at the end of the letter was meant to be for the author herself, and not to affirm positions concerning gender theory that are contrary to the Church's teaching. Using the letter to this end is erroneous, he said.

Pope Francis has strongly condemned the notion of “gender theory” on numerous occasions, saying that it is an “error of the human mind that leads to so much confusion.”

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Lisa Bourne

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Poll suggests most US Catholics wrongly believe Pope Francis backs gay ‘marriage’

Lisa Bourne
By Lisa Bourne

August 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A considerable majority of U.S. Catholics are in conflict with Church teaching on abortion and marriage, a new study says, and a startling number of those also believe Pope Francis backs homosexual “marriage.”

Despite Church teachings, Catholics in America also closely parallel the general populace in their support for abortion and homosexual “marriage,” falling short in the Biblical call to be “in the world but not of the world.”

The findings suggest what many Catholics have said is a climate of confusion in the midst of the Francis pontificate. Concerns over that confusion prompted a coalition of pro-family groups to respond with an international petition effort asking the pope to reaffirm Church teaching, drawing more than a half-million signatures.

The survey, conducted by Public Religions Research Institute, found that 60 percent of all U.S. Catholics favor legalized homosexual “marriage,” compared to 55 percent of all Americans. Likewise, 51 percent of Catholics think that abortion should be legal in all or most cases, with 53 percent of the general population holding this view.

The Catholic Church teaches that marriage is a sacramental union between one man and one woman, mirroring Christ and the Church respectively as bridegroom and bride.

The Church also teaches that life begins at conception, that each human life possesses dignity as a child of God and is to be afforded protection, making abortion an intrinsic evil.

Catholics, accounting for 22 percent of adults in the U.S. population, have a favorable view of Pope Francis, the study said, but they are very confused about his take on homosexual “marriage.”

Of the Catholics who back homosexual “marriage,” 49-percent also think the leader of the Catholic Church backs it along with them. Fifteen percent of those Catholics who oppose homosexual “marriage” also mistakenly believe Pope Francis supports it.

Pope Francis has made numerous statements in support of life, marriage and family, but the confusion remains.

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"After Ireland and the U.S. Supreme Court both approved same-sex 'marriage,' a strong reaffirmation of Church teaching could save the sacred institution of marriage, strengthen the family and dispel the lies of the homosexual revolution," TFP Student Action Director John Ritchie stated.  "Young Catholics -- even non-Catholics -- look to the Church as a beacon of morality and stability in our Godless culture, but some of our shepherds have issued confusing statements."

TFP Student Action is a part of the lay Catholic organization American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property, and is part of the alliance behind the Filial Appeal, the petition asking the Holy Father to reinforce Catholic teaching at the Vatican’s upcoming Synod on the Family in October.

Ritchie explained how the confusion was aiding the Church’s enemies, and warned of the potential consequences.

"This prayerful petition asks Pope Francis to clear up the moral confusion that's been spreading against Natural and Divine Law," he said. "If the enemies of the family continue to chip away at holy matrimony, the future of the family and civilization itself will be in even more serious peril."

At press time more than 500,000 signature had been gathered for the appeal, including five cardinals, 117 bishops and hundreds of well-known civic leaders.

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