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.”

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“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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Vatican’s doctrine chief: ‘Absolutely anti-Catholic’ to let bishops conferences decide doctrine or discipline

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By John-Henry Westen

VATICAN, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has rejected outright the idea floated by Germany’s Cardinal Reinhard Marx that various bishops’ conferences around the world would decide for themselves on points of discipline or doctrine. 

“This is an absolutely anti-Catholic idea that does not respect the catholicity of the Church,” Cardinal Müller told France’s Famille Chrétienne in an interview published today

The question was raised because Cardinal Marx, the head of the German Catholic bishops’ conference and a member of Pope Francis’ advisory Council of Nine, told reporters that the German bishops would chart their own course on the question of allowing Communion for those in “irregular” sexual unions.

“We are not a subsidiary of Rome,” he said in February. “The Synod cannot prescribe in detail what we should do in Germany.”

Vatican Cardinal Müller remarked that while episcopal conferences may have authority over certain issues they are not a parallel magisterium apart from the pope or outside communion with the bishops united to him.

Asked specifically about Cardinal Marx saying that the Church in Germany is “not a subsidiary of Rome,” the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith said pointedly “the president of an Episcopal Conference is nothing more than a technical moderator, and as such has no special teaching authority.”  He added moreover, that the dioceses in a particular country “are not subsidiaries of the secretariat of an Episcopal conference or diocese whose Bishop presides over the Episcopal Conference.”

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The CDF head warned that “this attitude makes the risk of waking some polarization between the local churches and the universal Church.” He did not however believe that there was the will for Episcopal conferences to separate from Rome.

The important interview also saw Cardinal Müller contest the notion that the pastoral practice or discipline could change while retaining the same doctrine. “We can not affirm the doctrine and initiate a practice that is contrary to the doctrine,” he said.

He added that not even the papal Magisterium is free to change doctrine. “Every word of God is entrusted to the Church, but it is not superior to the Word,” he said. “The Magisterium is not superior to the word of God. The reverse is true.”

Cardinal Müller rejected the notion that we would have to modify Christ’s unflinching words totally forbidding divorce and remarriage.  We cannot “say that our ministry should be more cautious than Jesus Christ Himself!”  Nor could we, he added, say that Christ’s teaching is out of date or that “we need to correct or refine Jesus Christ because He lived in an idealistic world.” 

Rather, the cardinal said, bishops must be ready for martyrdom.  Quoting Jesus he said, “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and if we speak all kinds of evil against you because of me.”

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‘Groundbreaking’: Kansas may become first state to ban dismemberment abortions

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By Ben Johnson

TOPEKA, KS, March 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Kansas will become the first state in the country to ban a procedure in which unborn children are dismembered in the womb, if Gov. Sam Brownback signs a bill that recently passed the state legislature.

The state House passed a ban on dilation and evacuation (D&E) abortions, called dismemberment abortions in common parlance, by 98-26 on Wednesday.

The Unborn Child Protection from Dismemberment Abortion Act, which had already passed the state Senate in February 31-9, now heads to Gov. Brownback's desk.

Brownback, a staunch defender of life, is expected to sign the act into law.

"Because of the Kansas legislature's strong pro-life convictions, unborn children in the state will be protected from brutal dismemberment abortions," said Carol Tobias, president of the National Right to Life Committee, which has made banning dismemberment abortions a national legislative focus.

The procedure, in which an abortionist separates the unborn child's limbs from his body one at a time, accounts for 600 abortions statewide every year.

Nationally, it is “the most prevalent method of second-trimester pregnancy termination in the USA, accounting for 96 percent of all second trimester abortions,” according to the National Abortion Federation Abortion Training Textbook.

“It’s just unconscionable that something happens to children that we wouldn’t tolerate being done to pets,” Katie Ostrowski, the legislative director of Kansans for Life, told The Wichita Eagle.

Leading pro-life advocacy groups have made shifting the debate to dismemberment a national priority, with similar legislation being considered in Missouri and Oklahoma. Mary Spaulding Balch, J.D., who is NRLC's director of state legislation, called the bill's passage in Topeka “groundbreaking.”

"When the national debate focuses only on the mother, it is forgetting someone," she said.

The abortion lobby has made clear that it is uncomfortable engaging in a public relations tussle on this ground.

Elizabeth Nash, the senior state issues associate of the Guttmacher Institute, said that dismemberment is “not medical language, so it’s a little bit difficult to figure out what the language would do.”

On the state Senate floor, Democrats tried to alter the bill's language on the floor by replacing the term “unborn child” with fetus. “I know some of you don’t believe in science. But it’s not an unborn child, it’s called a fetus,” said state Senator David Haley, D-Kansas City.

If the bill becomes law, the abortion industry has vowed to fight on.

Julie Burkhart, a former associate of late-term abortionist George Tiller, said the motion's only intention is “to intimidate, threaten and criminalize doctors.”

“Policymakers should be ashamed,” she said, adding, “if passed, we will challenge it in court.”

Gov. Brownback has previously signed conscience rights protections and sweeping pro-life protections into law.

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Anne Hendershott

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How NOT to move beyond the abortion wars

Anne Hendershott
By Anne Hendershott

March 26, 2015 (CrisisMagazine.com) -- A few years ago, when an undergraduate student research assistant of mine—a recent convert to Catholicism—told me that he was planning to meet with a well-known dissenting Catholic theology professor who was then ensconced in an endowed chair at a major metropolitan Catholic university, I told him: “Be careful, you might end up liking him too much.” I jokingly told my student not to make eye contact with the theologian because he might begin to find himself agreeing with him that Catholic teachings “really allow” for women’s ordination and full reproductive rights—including access to abortion.

I was reminded of that conversation this week when I began reading a new book by yet another engaging Catholic theology professor at a major metropolitan university who also claims (pg 6) that the argument he puts forward in his book, Beyond the Abortion Wars, is “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine.” Written by Charles Camosy, associate professor of theology at Fordham University, the new book purports to be in line with Catholic teachings and promises “a way forward for a new generation.” But, Camosy delivers yet another argument for a woman’s right to choose abortion when confronted with an unborn child that he has described—in the past—as an “innocent aggressor.”

Indeed, Camosy has spent much of his career trying to convince us that he knows Catholic teachings better than the bishops. Criticizing Bishop Olmsted for his intervention and excommunication of a hospital administrator for her role in the direct abortion at a Phoenix Catholic hospital, Camosy suggested in 2013 that “the infamous Phoenix abortion case set us back in this regard.” Implying that Bishop Olmsted was not smart enough to understand the moral theology involved in the case, Camosy claimed that “The moral theology in the case was complex—which makes the decision to declare publicly that Sr. McBride had excommunicated herself even more inexplicable. The Church can do better.” For Camosy, “Catholics must be ready to help shape our new discussion on abortion. And we must do so in a way that draws people into the conversation—not only with respectful listening, but speaking in a way that is both coherent and sensitive.”

This new book is likely Camosy’s attempt to “draw people into the conversation.” But, there is little in his book that is either coherent or sensitive. Claiming to want to move “beyond” the abortion wars, Camosy creates an argument that seems designed to offend the pro-life side, while giving great respect to those who want to make sure abortion remains legal.

Especially offensive for pro-life readers will be Camosy’s description of the abortifacient, RU-486 as a form of “indirect abortion.” The reality is that RU-486, commonly known as the “abortion pill,” effectively ends an early pregnancy (up to 8 weeks) by turning off the pregnancy hormone (progesterone). Progesterone is necessary to maintain the pregnancy and when it is made inoperative, the fetus is aborted. For Camosy, who claims that his book is “consistent with settled Catholic doctrine,” this is not a “direct” abortion. To illustrate this, Camosy enlists philosopher Judith Jarvis Thompson’s 1971 “Defense of Abortion”—the hypothetical story of the young woman who is kidnapped and wakes up in a hospital bed to find that her healthy circulatory system has been hooked up to a famous unconscious violinist who has a fatal kidney ailment. The woman’s body is being used to keep the violinist alive until a “cure” for the violinist can be found. Camosy makes the case—as hundreds of thousands of pro-choice proponents have made in the past four decades—that one cannot be guilty of directly killing the violinist if one simply disconnects oneself from him. Likewise, for Camosy, simply taking the drug RU 486 is not “directly” killing the fetus. He writes:

The drugs present in RU 486 do not by their very nature appear to attack the fetus. Instead, the drug cuts off the pregnancy hormone and the fetus is detached from the woman’s body…. Using RU 486 is like removing yourself from [Judith Jarvis Thompson’s] violinist once you are attached. You don’t aim at his death, but instead remove yourself because you don’t think you have the duty to support his life with your body…. Some abortions are indirect and better understood as refusals to aid (pp 82-83).

Perhaps there are some readers who will find Camosy’s argument convincing, but I am not sure that many faithful Catholic readers will agree that it is consistent with settled Catholic doctrine.

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As one who is hardly a bystander in the abortion wars, I wanted to like this book. As an incrementalist who celebrates every small step in creating policy to protect the unborn, I had high hopes that this book would at last begin to bridge the divide. A decade ago, in my own book, The Politics of Abortion, I joined the argument begun by writers like Marvin Olasky in his Abortion Rites: A Social History of Abortion in America, that it is more effective to attempt to change the hearts and minds of people than to create divisive public policy at the federal level. I share Charles Camosy’s desire to end the abortion wars—but this war cannot end until the real war on the unborn ends. This does not mean that the two sides cannot work together—battling it out at the state level—where there is the opportunity for the greatest success. But, complex philosophical arguments on whether RU 486 is a direct or indirect form of abortion are not helpful to these conversations.

Camosy must know that we can never really “end” the abortion wars as long as unborn children are still viewed as “aggressors” or “invaders” and can still be legally aborted. Faithful Catholics know that there is no middle ground on this—the pro-life side has to prevail in any war on the unborn. It can be done incrementally but ground has to be gained—not ceded—for the pro-life side. Besides, Camosy seems a bit late to the battlefield to begin with. In many ways, he seems to have missed the fact that the pro-life side is already winning many of the battles through waiting periods, ultrasound and parental notification requirements, and restrictions on late term abortion at the state level. More than 300 policies to protect the unborn have been passed at the state level just in the past few years. The number of abortions each year has fallen to pre-Roe era levels—the lowest in more than four decade.   Much of these gains are due to the selfless efforts of the pro-life community and their religious leaders. Yet, just as victory appears possible in many more states, Camosy seems to want to surrender by resurrecting the tired rhetoric—and the unconscious violinists—of forty years ago.

While it is disappointing, it is not unexpected considering Camosy’s last book lauded the contributions of Princeton’s most notorious professor, Peter Singer—the proponent of abortion, euthanasia and infanticide. Claiming that Singer is “motivated by an admirable desire to respond to the suffering of human and non-human animals,” Camosy’s 2012 book, Peter Singer and Christian Ethics: Beyond Polarization, argues that, “Though Singer is pro-choice for infanticide, on all the numerous and complicated issues related to abortion but one, Singer sounds an awful lot like Pope John Paul II.”  In a post at New Evangelical Partnership for the Common Good, a progressive organization led by Rev. Richard Cizik (a former lobbyist for the National Association of Evangelicals who was removed from his position because of his public support for same sex unions, and his softening stance on abortion) Camosy wrote that he found Singer to be “friendly and compassionate.”  Camosy currently serves on the Advisory Board of Cizik’s New Evangelical Partnership—where he has posted Peter Singer-like articles including: “Why Christians Should Support Rationing Health Care.”

One cannot know the motivations of another—we can never know what is in another’s heart so it is difficult to know why Charles Camosy wrote this book. It must be difficult to be a pro-life professor at Fordham University—a school known for dissenting theologians like Elizabeth Johnson. But, if one truly wants to advance a culture of life in which all children are welcomed into the world, it would seem that inviting Peter Singer to be an honored speaker to students at Fordham in 2012 is not the way to do it, nor would claiming that RU-486 “may not aim at death by intention.” Perhaps it is unwise to continue to critically review Camosy’s work from a Catholic perspective because it gives such statements credibility—and notoriety. But, as long as Camosy continues to claim that his writings and policy suggestions—including his newly proposed “Mother and Prenatal Child Protection Act”—are “consistent with defined Catholic doctrine,” faithful Catholics will have to continue to denounce them.

Reprinted with permission from Crisis Magazine. 

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