Susan VanSyckle

I wish like HELL I didn’t have the right to choose that day

Susan VanSyckle
By Susan VanSyckle
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November 9, 2012 (Bound4Life.com) - Kathy and I go way back.  In fact, she was my best friend in elementary school.  We had no idea while singing karaoke and staying up late at slumber parties the pain we would go through as adults.  But we also had no idea how God would use our brokenness for His glory.  I’ve been amazed at Kathy’s heart for Jesus, passion for her family, and vigor for empowering other women.

Recently, she sent me this message.  As I sat weeping at my computer over her pain and loss, her sweet baby, and the goodness of a savior who will make all things new, I knew it needed to be shared.  And Kathy, in her immense courage, is allowing me to share her story publicly for the first time in her own words…

I feel God pulling at my heart stings to tell the truth about abortion.  I want to reach those who feel they have no other choice than their “right to choose.”

You are one of a few people that I have shared this story with.  God is calling me to share it with more but I am nervous and scared.  The truth is I have been carrying around a deep dark secret. Carrying it on my back, and dealing with it all alone because of what the consequences are if people were to hear the truth.  The truth is I no longer care what others think. The truth is I know there are others out there like me, suffering alone when they don’t have to.  The truth is…God is calling me to speak out.

The truth is when I was 19 years old I got pregnant. Upon telling my parents; they decided that I would get married. We began to plan a very quick wedding. The boy I was dating at the time turned out to be abusive. He was from an abusive home and had his father had brutally beaten his first wife in front of her two sons. The first time this boy threw me to the ground while I was pregnant I knew there was NO WAY I was going to allow this cycle to repeat. I broke off the engagement and began looking into adoption. I was only 19 and I knew I wasn’t ready to be a mom. When I told him I wanted to make an adoption plan, that I knew that was the best choice for us and the baby, he became very angry. Threatening, yelling, and screaming, he told me no one would EVER take the mother of his child or his child away from him. He wouldn’t allow it – that we WOULD be together. I became scared. Fear set in like I can’t even begin to explain. I realized that I could be a victim of abuse or I could save myself and my unborn child and choose to make this all disappear. I told him I had a miscarriage (which is what I told everyone else too).

Walking into Planned Parenthood the smell of depression and hopelessness lay thick in the room. Yes, I could actually smell it.  None of the women looked thankful that they had the “choice” to be there.  They all looked empty.  Broken.  I felt it too. I had always said I would NEVER have an abortion.  I was wrong. In my mind I believed it was the only “choice” I had at the time to protect myself and my unborn child from a life of fear and abuse.  My name was called and I headed in the back. I was scared and alone.

I hear people talking about the right to “choose.”  I wish like HELL I didn’t have the right to choose that day. I wish there had been counseling. I wish there had been adoption agencies out there trying to reach the youth. I wish THOSE things were easy access; NOT Planned Parenthood.  I wish more than anything, ANYTHING, I could have taken away MY right to choose and allow my baby to have their right to choose life.  I wish there was support out there for girls like me.  And maybe there was…but Planned Parenthood was easy to find.  Abortion is easy. Walk in, walk out.  Done.  Pregnant.  Not Pregnant.  Simple.  Except…it’s NOT that simple. They forget to tell you about the rest of the story.

The truth is they don’t tell you about the memory you live with for the rest of your life.  For awhile I was able to forget.  I had to suppress the memory in order to survive MY right to live. But slowly the memory began to resurface.  Back to the room…back to the smells…back to the empty eyes of broken women.  Back to the face of the man that literally sucked life out of my body.

Abortion is not about choice. It’s about selfishness.  It’s about desperation.  And I can say that because I have had one.  I have walked a mile in those shoes…and it’s a mile that never ends.

Recently a friend asked me if I had ever named my baby.  Immediately I thought, “No, because that would make it real!”  Then the “fetus” would become human.  Become a baby.  But I knew in that moment I needed to acknowledge that my baby is real.  I needed to mourn the loss of my child.  I realized how deep the pain still ran from my right to “choose.”  I began to pray that God would give me a name.  A few weeks ago while driving in the car I heard God speak to me: “Her name is Joy.”  Tears streamed down my face.  It was a girl!  I had had a daughter.

Before that precious moment in the car, I randomly heard an audible whisper of mom. I will wake up in the middle of the night to mom and there is no one in the room.  Washing my face I hear mom and look up…no one there.  It has happened a number of times where I hear mom and there is no one around.  Shortly after hearing “Her name is Joy,” I was washing my face in the bathroom and I heard the whisper again; mom.  Then it hit me: it’s her!  It’s Joy. This incredible RUSH came over me and I knew in that moment she was telling me It’s okay.  I forgive you. I am here with Jesus waiting for you. I love you.  And it’s okay.  Since that realization I haven’t heard the voice again.  But God has placed on my heart to share this story because I know I am not alone.  I KNOW I am not the only woman sitting at Church or in Bible Study carrying this same burden.  It’s the ONE thing that Christians don’t talk about other than to point a finger at someone and telling them its murder.  I am not sure what God’s plan is for me with sharing this story. But I know that SOMEONE needs to hear it.  So I am sharing it.

If you have gone through the agony of abortion, you are not alone. And it’s OKAY to talk about it. We can’t heal unless we help each other carry our burdens. I have finally carried that baggage to the foot of the cross and left it there.  I have been forgiven.  Not only has God forgiven me but he has blessed me far beyond measure with four more beautiful children.  And he’s placed it in my heart to help fight for moms and babies.  For anyone out there that has suffered in silence, that has carried this burden on their back ashamed of the choice they made, please know you are NOT alone.

 

This is why I’m so passionate about adoption. For me, it’s not just about the babies. It’s so much about the birth mamas (and fathers as well), who need to be loved on and cared for and know that they have a hope and a future as well as their babies. THIS is what real adoption ministry is all about.

The truth is if you are pro-LIFE you are also pro-CHILD and pro-WOMAN.

I love you Kathy.  You are one of my mama heroes.  And I can’t wait for you to introduce me to Joy when we get to God’s kingdom and he makes all things new. 

UPDATE:  Since this blog was posted several days ago, Kathy and I have been inundated with stories from other women also healing from the hurt of past abortions.  In response, Kathy has created a website, Joy Has Wings, a place for post abortive women to find support and healing.  There you can find more resources for post abortive women and men and their families.

For more post abortive resources, check out:
Ramah International
Silent No More Awareness Campaign
Her Choice to Heal
Kelly Clinger’s Blog

Reprinted with permission from Bound4Life.com

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Federal court says NY allowed to ban ‘Choose Life’ plates as ‘patently offensive’

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By Ben Johnson

ALBANY, NY, May 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The pro-life message can be classified as “patently offensive,” a federal appeals court ruled last week. The new opinion came as a three-judge panel ruled that New York state was right to reject a “Choose Life” license plate on the grounds that it may grate on New Yorkers' political sensibilities.

The judges split on whether New York could deny a pro-adoption group the right to have its own license plate, although the state has in the past allowed plates endorsing political causes associated with the liberal viewpoint, such as environmentalism.

Judge Rosemary Pooler, who was appointed by President Clinton, wrote that the state's denial did not harm anyone's right to freedom of expression, because drivers “may display a ‘Choose Life’ bumper sticker — or even cover every available square inch of their vehicle with such stickers. That message will resonate just as loudly as if vehicle displayed a ‘Choose Life’ license plate.”

Judge Debra Ann Livingston, a President George W. Bush appointee, wrote in her dissent that “a proposed custom plate depicting a sun and two smiling children, and bearing the words, ‘Choose Life’ [thought] to be ‘patently offensive’” was “surprising.”

“Pro-adoption organizations should have the same speech rights as any other organization. While the district court affirmed this basic freedom, the circuit court denied free speech in favor of government censorship,” said Jeremy Tedesco, senior counsel at ADF. “The state doesn’t have the authority to target The Children First Foundation specialty plates for censorship based on its life-affirming viewpoint.”

The ruling is the lastest round in a legal battle that has raged for more than a decade and, pro-lifers say, seen state officials repeatedly suppress their First Amendment rights.

The Children First Foundation applied for the specialty license plate in 2002, but state officials say the message and design was “too controversial.” In 2004, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit on CFF's behalf.

New York's Department of Motor Vehicles repeatedly denied the “Choose Life” license plates on the grounds that the message was “patently offensive.”

The same appeals court rejected an effort to suppress the plates made by then-Attorney General Eliot Spitzer and agreed that Albany officials denied the plates based on viewpoint discrimination.

In 2006, a three-judge panel of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals noted that CFF “specifically alleges that defendants denied the picture-plate application ‘based on their disagreement with [the] life-affirming viewpoint expressed on the plate.’”

“On a motion to dismiss, we must accept this allegation, and all reasonable inferences drawn from it, as true,” the judges ruled.

Spitzer, a Democrat who strongly supported abortion-on-demand and gay “marriage,” served as governor beginning in 2007 but resigned his office in the midst of a prostitution scandal only 15 months later.

In November 2011, a federal court ruled that “New York has run afoul of the First Amendment by giving the Commissioner unbridled discretion to engage in viewpoint discrimination.”

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Yet the case has dragged on through the appeals process.

“The state has wrongly gotten away with speech discrimination against our client for more than 10 years,” Tedesco said after last week's ruling.

He said ADF is considering its next legal move.

As of this writing, “Choose Life” license plates are available in 25 states and the District of Columbia.

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Michael Coren stands outside St. James Anglican Cathedral as he prepares to be received into the Anglican Communion on April 19, 2015. Anglican Diocese of Toronto / Facebook
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‘Official’ Catholic newspaper defends running pro-abortion piece by Michael Coren

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By Pete Baklinski
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MUENSTER, Saskatchewan, May 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- The Prairie Messenger, described as the "official Catholic newspaper for western Canada," is defending the publication of a piece last week in which ex-Catholic author Michael Coren openly advocates for abortion in the case of rape while saying the notion of “criminalizing abortion” is “repugnant.”

In his piece titled "Seamless garment," Coren — who recently left the Catholic Church to join the Anglican Communion over Catholic teaching on homosexuality — writes that the 10-year-old Paraguayan girl who seized international headlines after becoming pregnant by rape should be legally allowed to abort her baby.

“A terrified little girl victimized by those around her and forced by a government to give birth to the child of her rapist? That is not justice, that is not life, that is not right. God must be weeping,” he writes.

Criminalizing abortion, Coren writes, would “give state legitimization and authority to a minority view and what is to a very large extent a particular religious teaching.”

The Catechism of the Catholic Church takes a different position, however. In paragraph 2273, it states that “as a consequence of the respect and protection which must be ensured for the unborn child from the moment of conception, the law must provide appropriate penal sanctions for every deliberate violation of the child's rights." Catholic teaching holds that every human life is sacred since it comes from God. There is no exception for rape. 

For many years, Coren was one of the most prominently pro-life broadcasters in Canada. Calling himself a “journalist for life,” he wrote a column for The Interim, Canada’s life and family newspaper, and was a frequent paid speaker at pro-life events. The Prairie Messenger column appears to be the first time that he has publicly renounced his pro-life position.

Prairie Messenger: “We live in a diverse society where the challenges of daily living cause people to be confronted with difficult circumstances in a world where nothing is black and white."

Rebecca Kiessling, founder of Save The 1, told LifeSiteNews that she was disgusted to see an article in a Catholic newspaper that supports abortion. Kiessling, who was conceived by rape, is a public advocate for those targeted for abortion because they were conceived in rape.

“We are also told in Deuteronomy not to punish a child for the sins of the father and we are not to shed innocent blood. Doing so goes against every concept of justice. I did not deserve the death penalty for the crimes of my biological father. There is a misplaced compassion when anyone wants to kill the innocent child. Punish rapists, not babies,” she said.

Monica Kelsey, who was also conceived in rape, told LifeSiteNews that she was “deeply saddened to hear about Christians standing for the killing of an innocent child.”

“We all agree that this is a situation that deeply saddens us all, but killing this young woman’s child is not going to unrape her. It will further victimize her and, in the process, kill an innocent child.”

“As a child conceived through a brutal attack and rape where my birth mother almost died, I am deeply saddened that Mr. Coren is making an exception for this precious child's life, simply because his father is a rapist. God can get this 10-year-old child through this tough time, but why compound the issue with an abortion? This girl needs us to walk beside her, loving her and helping her make an adoption or parenting plan,” she said.

"This is a life, this is justice for this child. Saving this pre-born child's life is the right thing to do,” she added.

Dolores Castellanos, the doctor who is monitoring the 10-year-old girl in Paraguay, has confirmed that the pregnancy is developing without affecting the health of the infant or the little girl. Nevertheless, the international abortion lobby has latched onto the case as an opportunity to force the small South American country to change its pro-life constitution which currently protects life from the moment of conception.

Prairie Messenger is a weekly Catholic newspaper published by the Benedictine monastic community at St. Peter’s Abbey in Muenster, Saskatchewan. The Diocese of Saskatoon, the Archdiocese of Saint Boniface, and the Archdiocese of Regina are among those that promote the newspaper.

When LifeSiteNews asked Prairie Messenger News Editor Rev. Peter Novecosky, OSB, why it ran a piece from an ex-Catholic who advocates for positions at extreme odds with clear Catholic teaching, spokesperson Maureen Weber responded: “Because we have much to gain by listening to the voices of others.”

“To carry only Catholic columnists who repeat the catechism would mean never hearing and acknowledging the voices of those who are living the hard realities of life on the peripheries, as Pope Francis puts it. Other columnists present other viewpoints that reflect these difficult life issues. Our readers can address these issues when they are presented and, as thinking adults, they need to do more than repeat rote answers.”

Weber said that the editors of Prairie Messenger “refuse to see abortion as a single issue, but rather, as a seamless garment of protection for all of life, both the unborn and the born, support for women, for work toward alleviating the poverty that leads so many women to make desperate decisions, restorative justice rather than harsh sentences with no possibility of rehabilitation, defence policies, health care, policies on the disabled, the aged, euthanasia and assisted suicide.”

“We live in a diverse society where the challenges of daily living cause people to be confronted with difficult circumstances in a world where nothing is black and white,” she said.

Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, criticized in 2013 those who champion the Church’s moral vision as a “seamless garment” while ignoring actual occasions of real injustice.

“The ‘seamless garment’ image was used to great effect to root the Church’s response to various moral issues — from nuclear proliferation to poverty — within the overarching teaching on the sanctity of human life, from natural conception to natural death,” he said.

“Unfortunately, however, it is also true that the image of the ‘seamless garment’ has been used by some theologians and Catholic politicians, in an intellectually dishonest manner, to allow or at least to justify turning a blind eye to instances of abortion, contraception, or public funding for embryonic stem cell research, as long as these were simultaneously accompanied by opposition to the death penalty or promotion of economic development for the poor - issues which are also part of the fabric of Catholic moral teaching,” he said.

The Prairie Messenger, which acts as the newspaper for a number of dioceses in Western Canada, has faced criticism in the past for opposing Catholic teaching.

In a July 2004 Catholic Insight article titled “A flawed stewardship,” Joe Campbell of Saskatoon, SK, called the Prairie Messenger’s editorial stance “disappointing” for taking what he called a “cafeteria approach to teachings on faith and morals, accepting some while rejecting others.”

Campbell criticized then-editor Rev. Andrew Britz, OSB, for failing to support Church teachings on issues such as the male priesthood, contraception, fornication, and homosexuality.

“Not only has Fr. Britz failed to support certain teachings, but he has repeatedly challenged them. He has managed this in three ways: through his editorials; through regular columnists he has retained; and through unbalanced coverage of certain events and issues,” he wrote at that time.

Jim Hughes, national president of Campaign Life Coalition, told LifeSiteNews that a Catholic publication should publish what the Catholic Church teaches.

“Why they would allow this to be published is certainly beyond me. I think it behooves a Catholic publication to stand-up for what the Church actually teaches. Without some counter argument in defense of Church teaching right along side this piece, I think it's wrong to run something like that,” he said.

Contact info for respectful communcations:

Diocese of Saskatoon (home of Prairie Messenger) 
Bishop Donald Bolen
Ph: 306-659-5824 ext. 824
Email: [email protected]

Prairie Messenger 
Rev. Peter Novecosky, OSB
Ph: 306-682-1772
Email: [email protected]

Archdiocese of Saint Boniface
Most Rev. Albert LeGatt, DTh
Ph: 204-237-9858
Email: [email protected]

Archdiocese of Regina
Archbishop Daniel Bohan
Ph: (306) 352-1651
Director of Communications
Bobbi Yanko - ext 230
Email: [email protected]

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Lisa Bourne

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BREAKING: Dutch bishops’ aid group funding Planned Parenthood, Marie Stopes

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By Lisa Bourne

May 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Cordaid, the Dutch arm of the Vatican’s charitable umbrella Caritas Internationalis, is openly promoting contraception and says access to birth control is vital for the good of women in developing countries. The group has also given money to leading international abortion providers Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International.

Cordaid defended itself when questioned by LifeSiteNews. Calling itself a “proud member” of Caritas Internationalis, a representative said that “access to affordable and good-quality family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare are crucial to strengthening the position of women in developing countries and to lowering the rate of unwanted pregnancies.”

A new report by the Lepanto Institute details evidence of numerous violations of Church teaching from Cordaid's own website.

In 2012 Cordaid started a program called “Making sexual and reproductive health services work for the next generation” in Burundi, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Cordaid: “Access to affordable and good-quality family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare are crucial to strengthening the position of women in developing countries and to lowering the rate of unwanted pregnancies.”

“There is a clear need for sex education and contraception in the African Great Lakes region,” Cordaid wrote of the program. “Its aim is to provide a better future for young generations, reduce childbirth mortality among women through more effective family planning and alleviate poverty among families.”

It began another contraception program the following year in Burundi, Congo, and Rwanda. A Cordaid program distributed condoms in the Congo in 2012, and another worked to provide condoms and other contraceptives in Malawi in 2013, while a third provided condoms in Sierra Leone in 2011 and 2012.

The Cordaid website also shows that it gave the Philippines Planned Parenthood affiliate €220,491 in 2013 for a teen sex ed program, and partnered with another affiliate in Sierra Leone in 2013 and 2014. Cordaid gave a Marie Stopes affiliate over half a million Euros in 2013 to provide birth control, including sterilization.

Cordaid is not only a member but also a co-founder of Caritas Internationalis, the Vatican’s coalition of Catholic relief, development, and social service organizations. There are 165 members in some 200 countries and territories across the world, and Cordaid is Caritas Internationalis’ local affiliate for the Netherlands.

The head of Caritas Internationalis was released from her position in 2011 amidst internal changes requested by the Vatican, prompted by concerns over the development agency’s Catholic identity. The following year Pope Benedict XVI ordered a reform of Caritas Internationalis.

The Lepanto Institute’s Michael Hichborn criticized Cordaid’s open flaunting of its membership in Caritas Internationalis while obviously disobeying Church teaching.

"With Cordaid boasting its proud membership in Caritas Internationalis while simultaneously fully admitting to dispensing contraception and funding Planned Parenthood and Marie Stopes International, Caritas has an obligation to expel Cordaid from its rosters," he told LifeSiteNews.

Responding to LifeSiteNews’ inquiry into the report’s specifics, in addition to stating that women benefit from “family planning” services and expressing importance in reducing “unwanted pregnancies,” Cordaid insisted it is not involved in providing abortion.

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“Cordaid's instruments of family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare do not include abortion,” the relief group said.

Cordaid also said it had the esteem of those with whom it collaborates. “Our partners, governments and our funding partners respect the way we, as a proud member of Caritas Internationalis, fulfil our role to build bridges between faith based and non-faith based organizations in north and south.”

“The catholic social teachings are the fundament of our identity and work,” the group added. “The fundamental elements of the catholic social teachings, subsidiarity, solidarity, bonum com unum and human dignity, inspire and guide us in our mission to build flourishing communities in the world’s most fragile and conflict affected areas.”  

LifeSiteNews sent inquiries to Caritas Internationalis regarding Cordaid’s activities in conflict with Church teaching, and did not receive a response before press time.

Hichborn decried the thought of Catholics in the Netherlands funding anti-Catholic initiatives. "Are the bishops of the Netherlands aware of what Cordaid is doing?” he asked. “Do Catholic parishes in the Netherlands take up collections for Cordaid? The Catholic faithful need to be made aware of what is happening in our Church."

Cordaid’s full statement to LifeSiteNews:

As a Catholic organization, Cordaid has long experience in healthcare in developing countries, especially sexual and reproductive healthcare.

In our programs one of our aims is to build bridges between citizens and governments, partners in the North and partners in the South, and bring together both religious and non-religious organizations.

Our long experience has taught us that good, complete and timely information and access to affordable and good-quality family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare are crucial to strengthening the position of women in developing countries and to lowering the rate of unwanted pregnancies. Cordaid's instruments of family planning and sexual and reproductive healthcare do not include abortion.

Our partners, governments and our funding partners respect the way we, as a proud member of Caritas Internationalis, fulfil our role to build bridges between faith based and non-faith based organizations in north and south. The catholic social teachings are the fundament of our identity and work. The fundamental elements of the catholic social teachings, subsidiarity, solidarity, bonum comunum and human dignity, inspire and guide us in our mission to build flourishing communities in world’s most fragile and conflict affected areas.   

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