Stefanie Lewallen

‘My name is Julia’: young sidewalk counselor reaching out to mothers, saving lives

Stefanie Lewallen
By Stefanie Lewallen
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June 6, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) - “My name is Julia.” That is what the sticky notes say that are carefully placed in each piece of literature a girl walking into an abortion clinic receives from young twenty-one year old seasoned sidewalk counselor Julia Pritchett, who is also the co-founder of Students for Life of America on the University of Arkansas campus. “I ask the girls to please take my literature even if they already have some from other sidewalk counselors because there is something special inside for them.”

Inside the girls each find their own handwritten sticky note with a short message. Julia includes her name, number and a personal message stating that she is out on the sidewalk because she cares for them and is there to help.  She tells the girls they can call or text her anytime they are inside the clinic.

“You never know where your number is going to end up,” said Julia. “One time I got a random call from a girl somewhere whose sister was going to have an abortion.” The girl told Julia she had saved her number from the sticky note inside the brochure and wanted her help in talking her sister, who was several states away, out of going through with the abortion. She also gets calls after she leaves the sidewalk from girls that have changed their minds about having their abortion, and from girls who need a ride somewhere else to get a pregnancy test.

Julia said some people see her as being brave, befriending girls and picking them up in their neighborhoods to give them rides and by giving out her personal information, but she does not worry about it. “Often times that is what means the most to the girl that you would put yourself in their neighborhood.” Her genuine approach to the girls on the sidewalk has given her a new best friend.

“I asked one girl what she did for a living, and when she said she was a hairdresser I mentioned I needed a haircut.  The next thing I knew she was playing with my ponytail and saying how much she could do with my hair. I made a deal with her. I told her I would come and get a haircut from her if she would let me talk to her the entire appointment.  She had to wait until after my appointment to make any decisions.”  Julia said the girl took her up on her offer, and the next day she headed to an all black barber shop in a rough part of town. Everyone got really quiet and turned around to stare at her because in walked a white girl with blonde hair. “I sat down and she put this grease in my hair, and I thought ‘oh no’ what is my hair going to look like,” Julia laughed. “Turns out I got the best haircut I have ever received.”

Not only does this new friend cut Julia’s hair to this day, but she had a change of heart about abortion. Her pregnancy test was negative, but she will not consider abortion in the future: one of the many perks of asking a girl to reconsider getting other services performed at an abortion clinic performed somewhere else. Julia is not your typical sidewalk counselor, as she likes to stand outside on days when abortions are not offered and offer to talk the girls who are going in for other services such as pregnancy tests to a local crisis pregnancy center.

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When Julia is home on break in Marion, Arkansas, she drives a short distance across the Mississippi river bridge to Memphis, Tennessee to counsel whenever she can at the three local abortion clinics known to Memphians and surrounding states as the abortion triangle because of their locations close together.  When she is back in Fayetteville, she is busy running the Students for Life chapter on her college campus.  She helped co-found the group her freshman year and will be entering her senior year this fall. “We have around 75 members and at least 30 attend each event,” said Julia. “We have a really diverse group including blacks, Asians, sorority girls, student government officers, atheists and student parents.  We have phenomenal members, not just people who are prolife, but people who are doing big things and using those platforms for pro-life.”

Julia said that most campus events are friendly, but occasionally there will be hostility when they least expect it. One time while just passing out drinks at a table and asking people to look them up on Facebook they had a girl throw a knitted uterus at a male Student for Life member. “The girl told him to stay out of her uterus because he did not have one.” Julia said, “but I do.”  The girl told Julia that she did not understand why a girl would be on that side of the issue, and that when a baby is aborted ‘why does it matter because they won’t know it will happen to them?’. They also had five or six pro-choice people show up with cameras to tape the conversations. “We always remain calm and loving,” said Julia.

Julia is a psychology major and holds seminars and training sessions for beginners and well as seasoned sidewalk counselors as she likes to weave some professional counseling techniques into her sidewalk experiences.  “I like to talk to people about understanding. It is hard to put yourself in the place of a woman in a crisis pregnancy. We must understand how she feels before we talk to her.”

One exercise she uses during her training is to have participants write down their deepest darkest secret on a piece of paper and pass it folded up to the person next to them.  She then asks, “What could this person do to make you feel safe enough to share with them?”  Everyone is usually very relieved when their secrets are passed back to them, and they find out no one will read their secret. 

“I had a friend give me some really good advice. She said there is so much good information out there that we can’t invent the wheel, but we can add to it.”  That is precisely what Julia is doing as she adds a lot of her master level class counseling skills to her approach on the sidewalk. She wants to teach others what she is learning.

Sharing with others comes naturally to Julia. She remembers first learning about abortion issues in a ninth grade government class where the rape exception was being discussed. “I thought about it for a few minutes and I thought ‘no, if it is not right in one circumstance then it is not right in any circumstance’. One day I didn’t know about this, and the next day I did. I knew I could tell people about something I had just learned. I figured everyone would be just as shocked as me, that they just did not know. That was the moment it clicked for me.”

Julia is obviously making a difference. Recently as she stood on the sidewalk outside an abortion clinic, the clinic workers called the police and ten squad cars showed up. Julia and her fellow team members of Precious in His Sight ministry in Memphis were doing nothing wrong, so the police could do nothing and eventually left. “I was shocked and a little stunned to see that many squad cars,” said Julia.

Sidewalk counseling is where her heart lies, and she hopes to work in the pro-life field after graduation with an emphasis on helping post-abortive women. “People are scared to take this chance,” commented Julia on helping women outside the abortion clinics. “But you can have hard conversations with people if they know you care about them.”

If you would like to know more about starting a Student for Life of America please visit the National Website at www.studentsforlife.org. Stefanie Lewallen is a Pro-Life Writer and Speaker, local 40 DAYS FOR LIFE Campaign Director and a member of Precious in His Sight Sidewalk Counseling team in Memphis, Tn.

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Ben Johnson and Andy Parrish

Did Minnesota’s Planned Parenthood lie about illegal organ harvesting?

Ben Johnson and Andy Parrish
By Ben Johnson

MINNEAPOLIS, MN, September 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) - Somebody in the abortion industry is breaking a Minnesota law that bans the sale or donation of aborted babies' body parts.

That's the conclusion of numerous elected officials, who are renewing calls to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos about the harvesting and sale of fetal organs and tissue.

Dozens of Republican state legislators asked Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton to investigate the abortion provider after the Center for Medical Progress released videos detailing the little-known practice. The sale or donation of fetal organs or tissue is illegal under state law.

The local Planned Parenthood affiliate - Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota (PPMNS) - said that it had never been involved in fetal tissue donation.

However, in the latest video released by CMP, the head of a biological company says it has an abortion facility operating in Minnesota.

Perrin Larton, the Procurement Manager for Advanced Bioscience Resources, Inc. (ABR), says she procures fetal organs and tissue from abortion facilities "in San Diego, in Oregon, in Minnesota, and soon we will be starting in New Jersey and Philadelphia."

At the heart of the issue is a Minnesota state law that requires abortion facilities to dispose of aborted babies' bodies "by cremation, interment by burial, or in a manner directed by the commissioner of health." To do otherwise is a misdemeanor.

Thus, ABR's research would be illegal in any case.

As it turns out, ABR has been registered as a non-profit in the state of Minnesota since April 2009. Its location is listed as 1010 N. Dale St. in St. Paul.

A former ABR employee, Deborah Heap Tierney, listed her occupation on LinkedIn as "procurement specialist" at the company, in Minnesota, from February 2009 - two months before ABR's business filing as a nonprofit - to November 2009.

Investigators want to know: If organ donation was illegal, what was she procuring, and who acted as ABR's supplier?

"Why is the nation's largest and oldest fetal procurement company in Minnesota in the first place, let alone four miles from Planned Parenthood Minnesota?" said State Representative Mary Franson, R-08B, in a statement sent exclusively to LifeSiteNews. "Minnesota law requires a dignified and sanitary disposal of fetal remains. Sales or donation of fetal remains is not permitted."

"Advanced Bioscience Resources admits in a recent video that they procure fetal tissue in Minnesota. That alone is illegal and criminal," State Rep. Kathy Lohmer, R-39B, told LifeSiteNews. "I am calling on Ramsey County Prosecutor John J. Choi to investigate these claims and if true to pursue criminal charges against them."

But what about Planned Parenthood? Did it tell the truth when it denied ever having participated in ABR's organ harvesting business?

State Rep. Matt Dean, R-38B, sent a letter on July 24 to Sarah Stoesz, the president and CEO of PPMNS, to find out. He asked for the affiliate's "official policy on the donation of fetal tissue."

Echoing Cecile Richards, Stoesz replied on August 3, "I want to be absolutely clear." Although Planned Parenthood "believes strongly in the value of fetal tissue research...PPMNS does not participate, and has never participated, in any type of tissue donation program that would involve providing fetal remains (with reimbursement of expenses or otherwise) to any commercial vendor or to any other entity for the purpose of medical research."

When asked for official policy, she responded, "PPMNS does not and never has donated tissue of any kind and, accordingly, does not have a policy dedicated to this issue."

She then said that one of its policies requires that state law be followed on the disposal of aborted babies' remains, and the policy was adopted in 2011. She sent a copy of their policy, which was signed by Stoesz and two other PPMNS officials on July 27 - three days after Dean's letter.

Gov. Mark Dayton accused Republicans of "full-time grandstanding," saying, "As far as I'm concerned there's no basis for an investigation at taxpayer expense into a private nonprofit organization that has stated they don't engage in those practices here in Minnesota."

Lt. Gov. Tina Smith - who was part of the Planned Parenthood affiliate's leadership - agrees. Smith is a former vice president for external affairs at PPMNS.

Minnesota House Speaker Kurt Daudt, R-31A today told LifeSiteNews through a spokesperson that the state's Democratic leadership has turned a blind eye to a burgeoning scandal, and justice must be enforced at once.

"Speaker Daudt is outraged by the developments with Planned Parenthood," Susan Closmore, state House Republican communications director, told LifeSiteNews. "Speaker Daudt has called on Governor Mark Dayton to investigate this issue."

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Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

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Vatican: It’s ‘impossible’ for transsexuals to serve as godparents

Sofia Vazquez-Mellado
By Sofia Vazquez-Mellado

MADRID, September 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews)- After Alex Salinas, a woman living as a man in San Fernando, Spain, claimed her parish priest had allowed her to be the “godfather” for the baptism of her two nephews, local bishop of Cadiz and Ceuta, Don Rafael Zornoza took the matter up with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The response, which strongly affirms Church teaching on the nature of gender, was published yesterday on the diocese’s website.

“On this particular case I inform you of the impossibility of admission,” read the response. “Transsexual behavior publicly reveals an opposition to the moral demand of resolving the problem of sexual identity according to the truth of one’s own sex. It is therefore evident that said person does not comply with the requirement of leading a life of faith and to the function of godparent (CIC, can 874 §1,3).”

“This is not seen as discrimination, but merely as the recognition of an objective lack of requirements that by their nature are necessary to take on the ecclesiastic responsibility of being a godparent,” it concluded.

The prelate explained how Pope Francis has confirmed this doctrine on several occasions and quoted his last encyclical Laudato Si: “Human ecology also implies another profound reality: the relationship between human life and the moral law, which is inscribed in our nature and is necessary for the creation of a more dignified environment.”

Bishop Zornoza also quoted Benedict XVI on the “ecology of man,” as “man too has a nature that he must respect and that he cannot manipulate at will.”

“The acceptance of our bodies as God’s gift is vital for welcoming and accepting the entire world as a gift from the Father,” continued Zornoza quoting Francis. “Thinking that we enjoy absolute power over our own bodies turns, often subtly, into thinking that we enjoy absolute power over creation. Learning to accept our body, to care for it and to respect its fullest meaning, is an essential element of any genuine human ecology.”

The bishop went on to explain that if parents are unable to find a suitable person to qualify as godparent, the priest can baptize the child without godparents, “which are not necessary to celebrate this sacrament.”

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“Words have been attributed [to me] which I have not pronounced,” he noted, referring to the media falsely reporting his approval of Salinas as godfather. He explained he had reached out to the Congregation “due to the complexity and the media relevance this matter has reached, and keeping in mind the possible pastoral consequences of any decision on the matter.”

Local media reported that the baptism, scheduled for this September, has been cancelled, and that Salinas’ sisters will not baptize their children until the bishop changes his mind.

Salinas, who had declared herself to be a “firm believer,” has now claimed to be an “apostate” due to the Church’s rejection, reported Spain’s EFE.

In a petition started by change.org, Salinas wrote she didn’t understand why “the Catholic Church denies me the possibility of being a godfather” if Spanish authorities have already changed her name from Alexandra to Alexander in her official IDs.

The petition falsely celebrated a “victory” after Salinas claimed she was being allowed as godfather.

Mainstream media, which initially reported Salina’s “celebration,” have not yet reported on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith’s response.

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Forced abortions at Canadian clinics central to cover-up of 12-yr-old’s abuse: pro-life leaders

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By Pete Baklinski

WINNIPEG, Manitoba, September 2, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) -- A renowned Canadian judge is calling for an investigation into why two Canadian abortion centers failed to report an underaged girl who was forced by her stepfather to undergo two abortions after being repeatedly raped by him, one at the former Morgentaler Clinic in Newfoundland and the other at a Winnipeg, Manitoba hospital.

Retired Manitoba justice Ted Hughes told CBC News that the province of Manitoba should investigate how a 12-year-old girl with a previous record of abortion could be given another abortion and not have providers bring the child to the attention of welfare officials.

"I'm surprised that child-and-family-services, the ministry, isn't taking an aggressive stand. I would have expected that, because, unquestionably this child was in need of protection," said Hughes, who received national attention last year when he made 62 recommendations for improving the child welfare system after investigating the 2005 murder of 5-year-old Phoenix Sinclair.

"Do I think this should be looked into? I certainly do,” he said.

After making these concerns public yesterday, Manitoba's Office of the Children's Advocate stated on the same day that it has launched an investigation, but that its findings will not be made public.

Pro-life leaders say the girl’s experience at the hands of abortionists is an indictment of the entire industry.

“Abortion centers are not health care centers. They are businesses, and their product is dead babies, professionally emptied uteruses. So they have a vested financial interest in not asking any questions,” said Jonathan Van Maren, communications director of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, to LifeSiteNews.

On Friday, the girl’s 35-year-old stepfather was sentenced to 16 years in prison for sexual assault that began in 2011 when the girl was 11 and continued for over two years, during which the girl became pregnant twice. The stepfather traveled across country for the first forced abortion at the former Morgentaler Clinic in St. John’s, Newfoundland. He then took the girl closer to home for the second forced abortion at the Health Sciences Centre in the Women's Hospital in Winnipeg.

"He arranged abortions for both pregnancies, including cover stories," said Justice Christopher Martin at the sentencing, describing the man’s crimes as "shockingly calculated and cruel” and “among the worst nightmare scenarios.”

The man was arrested in 2012 after sexually assaulting his step-daughter’s best friend and the girl’s mom after breaking into their home. He cannot be identified to protect the victims.

The young girl, who is now 15, called both abortions "murder" in a victim-impact statement.

While legal and human rights experts are busy pointing fingers at who might be ultimately responsible for failing to help this girl as a victim of sexual assault, hardly anyone wants to point a finger at the abortion industry itself.

But Canadian pro-life leaders say the blame for this girl’s ongoing abuse rests primarily with the abortion establishment.

“By providing this abortion service for this young victim without asking any questions and without bringing in social services, these abortion providers were essentially protecting this incestuous stepfather and child rapist and setting up a situation that allowed him to continue abusing this poor little girl. They were protecting the perpetrator, not the victim,” Mary Ellen Douglas of Campaign Life Coalition told LifeSiteNews.

Douglas said that what this girl experienced in the hands of abortion providers proves that the abortion industry does not really care about women.

“It says they don’t care anymore for this young girl than they do for the little victims that were in her womb. They don’t care about the girl, they don’t care about the baby. All they do is provide death,” she said.

Natalie Sonnen, Executive Director of LifeCanada, said that legalized abortion in Canada has created a situation that “favours the abuser, without doubt.”

“Thousands of women and girls are susceptible to coercion by these men who get away with their crimes and are propped up by the industry. It is an absolute tragedy that these girls or women can be forcibly aborted and then sent back into the abusive relationship again. We have known for years that coerced abortion is a huge problem that our society refuses to address, for fear of offending the sacrosanct abortion establishment,” she told LifeSiteNews.

Various attempts have been made by pro-life politicians to introduce bills that would offer women some protection from coerced abortion, but with no success.

In 2008, Alberta Conservative MP Ken Epp saw his bill titled The Unborn Victims of Violent Crime reach second reading before it was squelched by Prime Minister Stephen Harper who was keeping his promise to steer clear of the abortion issue. The bill would have allowed for separate punishments for killing an unborn child in a violent attack on a pregnant mother.

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In 2010, Tory MP Rod Bruinooge introduced a private member’s bill in 2010 called Roxanne’s Law that would have made it an offense to coerce a woman to seek an abortion. The bill was named after Roxanne Fernando, a Winnipeg woman beaten to death by her boyfriend in 2007, after refusing to get an abortion. Again, following Harper’s lead, the bill was only supported by half of the Conservative caucus and a handful of Liberals and failed to pass first reading.

Jonathan Van Maren, communications director of the Canadian Centre for Bioethical Reform, criticized politicians and the abortion industry for opposing the above bills that could have helped the young girl if they had been passed.

“The term ‘pro-choice’ rings hollow for many women and girls who are coerced into having an abortion, or feel that they are pressured into having an abortion against their will. Yet, the abortion industry and most of our politicians opposed Roxanne's Law, which would have made it illegal to do so.”

Van Maren said that far from securing women’s freedom, abortion-on-demand has reached a point where it is now being used as a “tool of oppression, not only for the pre-born child who is, as this poor girl tragically recognized, murdered, but also for those women and girls who bear the scars of their lost children and the trauma of being forced into this so-called government funded service against their will.”

Mike Schouten, Campaign Director for WeNeedALaw.ca, said that Canada’s continual resistance to regulating abortion has manifested itself in what he called a “real life tragedy.”

“While it is understandable that we focus on the rapist and the callousness of his crimes we also do well to collectively ask ourselves how we have come to live in a society that cares so little about the health and well-being of women, and in this case a young girl,” he told LifeSiteNews.

"This tragedy is a direct result of individualizing abortion to the point where the maximum amount of energy is put into protecting the so called ‘right to choose’ and little or no effort into actually caring for the health of this young girl."

"This sad story is another indication that a time of reckoning is coming whereby Canadians come to understand that abortion does not liberate a woman. Rather, it brings a host of new problems, and in this tragic case allowed for the continued abuse of a vulnerable young girl,” he said.

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