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Susan Michelle Tyrell

Stunning photos of baby Nathan, miscarried at 14 weeks, prove the humanity of the unborn

Susan Michelle Tyrell
By Susan Michelle Tyrell
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(LiveActionNews.org) - According to Texas law he wasn’t old enough or heavy enough to need a death certificate, but he got a proper burial anyway.

Allison’s son was 13 weeks and 4 days when she lost him. Her husband Daniel, 2 ½ year old son Matthew, along with their family, laid Nathan Isaiah to rest on September 12.

Nathan’s story is one of life and death—and ultimately life. Allison and Daniel, both 28, rejoiced in the news of their pregnancy and looked forward to February 28, 2014, their due date. After suffering a miscarriage about a year after Matthew’s first birthday, they knew they wanted more children, despite the pain of losing Matthew’s younger brother a day after discovering their pregnancy. “I did not have time to even get used to the fact that I was pregnant before blood and pain flooded our happy reality with loss,” Allison said.

Then in June, joy returned as they learned that Nathan was on his way. Excitedly they shared the news with their toddler. “We asked my son, Matthew, which he wanted, a little brother or a little sister, to which he quickly replied, ‘I want a pickle.’  (He had been on a pickle kick.)  So the nickname stuck and Nathan became known as, ‘our little pickle.’”

Allison endured an exceptional case of morning sickness that left her in bed often for two months, but was delighted when the small baby bump formed in her belly; they rejoiced at seeing this life develop.

Seeing a Certified Nurse Midwife at about 12 weeks, Allison and Daniel were thankful for the views of this pro-life provider:

“She was almost just as excited to see his little life on the ultrasound for the first time as we were, and was so passionate about what she was doing.  She affirmed to us privately, during our first ultrasound, how she could not understand how others did not see babies this young in the womb as a life.  Little did we know that her view on this would become so important to us.  She rejoiced with us when we saw him squirming around and kicking his legs and saw his heart beating so quickly—and grieved with us when we lost him.”

Allison recalls how she fell in love so early with the precious life inside her:

“He was so active that he would hardly stay still for her to get a steady reading of his heartbeat.  I cried when we saw him for the first time.  I loved him from the moment I knew he was mine, but then I heard his heartbeat with my sister-in-law’s Doppler, and he burrowed himself a little deeper into my heart, and then I saw his face on the ultrasound and his tiny feet and beating heart and was head over heels.”

The turning point for them came at 15 weeks when, visiting with Allison’s sister-in-law, they repeated an oft-requested favor—to listen to Nathan’s heartbeat on the Doppler, only this time something was different. Nathan, who was already seemingly prepping for a soccer career, had gone strangely silent. For 20 minutes she searched, but could not find the heartbeat.

After trying again the next day, Allison’s worries could not be appeased through the weekend. Feeling no symptoms of miscarriage like before, she and Daniel went to the emergency room anyway, because “I could not wait any longer to find out what was going on with my baby.”

And the news wasn’t good:

“After hours of waiting for an ultrasound, the doctor finally came in and told Daniel and I that our baby was not moving and had no heartbeat.  He said that although I should be 15 weeks along, the baby was measuring 13 weeks and 4 days. No preparation could have been enough.  I felt as though my heart stopped beating with my baby’s.”

She was sent home abruptly:

“The doctor told us that since I had no signs of miscarriage or infection that we were free to go home and follow up with our obstetrics provider on Monday.  Just like that.  No funeral home, no casket; just me, my husband, and our dead child in my womb were to drive home and wait until normal office hours.”

Allison was sustained not only by her family, but by her faith. “I know that the Lord gave me a peace beyond my understanding during this time, and there was such a stillness and a quietness before the Lord.  I did not know what to expect.  I didn’t know what is usually done in this situation.  All I knew is that I didn’t want to rush the hand of God.  I didn’t want to move out of fear or doubt, but out of trust in Him.  I knew He was right there with me.  I knew that He was weeping with me.  I knew that I could trust Him. “

Still the issue of Nathan’s death was a physically present one because after a miscarriage, the baby has to be removed from the mother’s body. Allison didn’t understand everything, but she knew two things:

“From that moment I only had two requests from the Lord.  I didn’t know what to expect and how things would go, but I knew that I absolutely did not want my baby ripped apart in an abortion-like procedure and discarded in some trashcan like he was worthless.  I wanted to have my baby and take him home and give him the dignity of a burial. “

Her doctor confirmed the miscarriage the next week and, unlike in the ER, allowed them to see pictures on the ultrasound of Nathan, revealing the features of the life of her son.  The experience in the exam room further proved the power of unborn life to the family. Allison added, “A young nursing student was in the room with us, and as we saw our little baby and wept over his loss in the exam room.  This awakened, even more, a roar inside my heart for others to see Nathan’s little life.  To know of his significance, to understand that he was our son, a baby, fashioned in my womb by his Creator, fearfully and wonderfully made.”

Cherishing life is part of Allison’s family, and her sister Amy recalls,

“She said she didn’t want someone to just ‘suck her baby’s body out of her,’ that this little one deserved to be honored more than that. She understands sometimes that is necessary but she, we all, prayed it wouldn’t be her necessity.

And then the answer came:

“They told me that a D&C is not as effective after 13 weeks in removing everything that needed to be removed and that I would need to be induced and have the baby in the hospital in Labor and Delivery, and that I would be able to take my baby home and bury him.  A surge of validation, satisfaction, thankfulness, and relief flooded my heart!  Just four days sooner and my baby’s body would have possibly been subjected to unspeakable horrors and possibly discarded like waste.  How could such a thing be? “

The next day, they went to the delivery room where Allison was induced, but refused pain medications. “I wanted to feel the pain and to let the reality of it wash over me,” she said.  “I wanted to be very present and to feel every contraction.  I felt it was my honor to labor for my son.” After over 9 hours of labor, Nathan’s body came out of the womb.   He was named Nathan Isaiah because “Nathan means, ‘gift of God’ because Nathan was a great gift from our Lord, and Isaiah means ‘salvation,’ because the greatest gift God has given us is salvation through His only son, Jesus."

But the most stunning witness of life was their perfectly formed son. Allison said, “His little body was so perfect with ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes.  He had a nose, a mouth, two little eyes and ears.”

And the family wanted him buried properly.  As Amy notes, “You see, until 20 weeks gestation a baby doesn’t require a death certificate or to be legally buried in a cemetery.”

In fact, Texas law says:

“A fetal death certificate must be filed for any fetus weighing 350 grams or more, or if the weight is unknown, a fetus aged twenty weeks or more; the certificate must be filed with the local registrar within five days of the date of fetal death by the institution or person who is responsible for the disposition of the fetal remains. “

Since Nathan, at 13 weeks and 4 days and  6 oz., was neither 20 weeks nor 350 grams, they were free to take him home and bury him on a spot of land where Allison and Amy grew up in East Texas.  Reading the Bible, praying, worshiping they thanked God for the life they had gotten to know in the womb and had gotten to hold after death . “It was simple and beautiful,” Allison said. “It honored the Lord and Nathan.  It shouted significance about a life that many would disregard. “

Amy adds, “My heart is heavy. He was so perfectly formed. No one can deny that 13 week and 4 day old baby wasn’t a baby. He is delicately put together. You can see every detail. I know God will use him to bring glory to His kingdom and for that, I am thankful."

As the family grieves, the pictures of the life they lost tells the story no one with eyes can clearly deny, even at a time when abortion is legal and common, the blob many see is actually a life.

Nathan Isaiah will always be remembered, and the entire family’s prayer is that his life would remind others of the value of all life.

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Reprinted with permission from LiveActionNews.org. 

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Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signs the state's Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
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Indiana faces backlash as it becomes 20th state to protect religious liberty

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By Ben Johnson

INDIANAPOLIS, IN, March 27, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – On Thursday, Indiana became the 20th state to prevent the government from forcing people of faith to violate their religious beliefs in business or the public square.

Gov. Mike Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (SB 101) into law, saying the freedom of religion is a preeminent American value.

“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion, but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack by government action,” Pence said.

Gov. Pence, a possible dark horse candidate for president in 2016, cited court cases brought by religious organizations and employers, including Catholic universities, against the HHS mandate. “One need look no further than the recent litigation concerning the Affordable Care Act. A private business and our own University of Notre Dame had to file lawsuits challenging provisions that required them to offer insurance coverage in violation of their religious views.”

The new law could also prevent Christian business owners from being compelled to bake a cake or take photographs of a same-sex "marriage" ceremony, if doing so violates their faith. In recent years, business owners have seen an increased level of prosecution for denying such services, despite their religious and moral beliefs.

The state's pro-life organization applauded Pence for his stance. "Indiana's pro-life community is grateful to Gov. Mike Pence for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law,” said Indiana Right to Life's president and CEO Mike Fichter. “This bill will give pro-lifers a necessary legal recourse if they are pressured to support abortion against their deeply-held religious beliefs.”

“RFRA is an important bill to protect the religious freedom of Hoosiers who believe the right to life comes from God, not government,” he said.

The state RFRA is based on the federal bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-NY, and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993. The Supreme Court cited the federal law when it ruled that Hobby Lobby had the right to refuse to fund abortion-inducing drugs, if doing so violated its owners' sincerely held religious beliefs.

In signing the measure – similar to the one Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer vetoed – Pence and the state of Indiana have faced a torrent of venom from opponents of the bill, who claim it grants a “right to discriminate” and raises the spectre of segregation.

"They've basically said, as long as your religion tells you to, it's OK to discriminate against people," said Sarah Warbelow, legal director of the Human Rights Campaign, a national homosexual pressure group.

The Disciples of Christ, a liberal Protestant denomination based in the state capital, has said it will move its 2017 annual convention if the RFRA became state law. The NCAA warned the bill's adoption “might affect future events” in the Hoosier state.

Pence denied such concerns, saying, "This bill is not about discrimination, and if I thought it legalized discrimination in any way I would've vetoed it."

The bill's supporters say that, under the Obama administration, it is Christians who are most likely to suffer discrimination.

"Originally RFRA laws were intended to protect small religious groups from undue burdens on practicing their faith in public life,” said Mark Tooley, president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy. “It was not imagined there would come a day when laws might seek to jail or financially destroy nuns, rabbis or Christian camp counselors who prefer to abstain from the next wave of sexual and gender experimentation. And there's always a next wave.”

The bill's supporters note that it does not end the government's right to coerce people of faith into violating their conscience in every situation. However, it requires that doing so has to serve a compelling government interest and the government must use the least restrictive means possible. “There will be times when a state or federal government can show it has a compelling reason for burdening religious expression – to ensure public safety, for instance,” said Sarah Torre, an expert at the Heritage Foundation. “But Religious Freedom Restoration Acts set a high bar for the government to meet in order to restrict religious freedom.”

Restricting the ability of government to interfere in people's private decisions, especially their religious decisions, is the very purpose of the Constitution, its supporters say.

"Religious freedom is the cornerstone of all liberty for all people,” Tooley said. “Deny or reduce it, and there are no ultimate limits on the state's power to coerce."

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Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting.
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Porn is transforming our men from protectors into predators. Fight back.

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By Jonathon van Maren

Since I’ve gotten involved in anti-pornography work, I’ve met countless men who struggle, fight, or have beaten pornography. Each person seems to deal with the guilt and shame that accompanies porn use in a different way—some deny that it’s “all that bad,” others pretend that they could “stop whenever they want,” many insist that “everyone is doing it,” and most, when pressed, admit to a deep sense of self-loathing.

One worry surfaces often in conversation: What do my past or current struggles with pornography say about me as a man? Can I ever move past this and have a meaningful and fulfilling relationship?

I want to address this question just briefly, since I’ve encountered it so many times.

First, however, I’ve written before how I at times dislike the language of “struggling” with pornography or pornography “addiction,” not because they aren’t accurate but because too often they are used as an excuse rather than an explanation. It is true, many do in fact “struggle” with what can legitimately be considered an addiction, but when this language is used to describe an interminable battle with no end (and I’ve met dozens of men for whom this is the case), then I prefer we use terminology like “fighting my porn habit.” A semantic debate, certainly, but one I think is important. We need to stop struggling with porn and start fighting it.

Secondly, pornography does do devastating things to one’s sense of masculinity. We know this. Pornography enslaves men by the millions, perverting their role as protector and defender of the more vulnerable and turning them into sexual cannibals, consuming those they see on-screen to satisfy their sexual appetites.

What often starts as mere curiosity or an accidental encounter can turn into something that invades the mind and twists even the most basic attractions. I’ve met porn users who can’t believe the types of things they want to watch. They haven’t simply been using porn. Porn has actively reshaped them into something they don’t recognize and don’t like. 

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Porn is this generation’s great assault on masculinity and the role of men in society. It is essential that we win this battle for the sake of society’s survival. Contrary to what the gender-bending and family-morphing progressive elites claim, good husbands and good fathers and good church leaders are necessary for a healthy society. But pornography is destroying marriages, creating distant and disconnected fathers, and, metaphoricaclly castrating men, hindering their ability and desire to make a positive difference in the society around us.

So, with this sobering set of facts in mind let’s return to the question: what do pornography struggles, past and present, say about a man?

The proper way to respond is with everything that is good about masculinity. We have to fight pornography as men have fought countless evils throughout the ages. We need to fight pornography to protect women, and wives, and children, and our society at large. This is how pornography threatens society, by castrating men, and turning them from protectors into predators. Rooting out the evil in our own lives allows us to better fulfill the role we are called to perform in the lives of others. Battling our own demons enables us to battle the wider cultural demons. Every day without porn is another bit of virtue built. Virtue is not something you’re born with. Virtues are habits that you build. And one day without porn is the first step towards the virtue of being porn-free.

Many men ask me if men who have had past porn addictions are cut out for being in a relationship or working in the pro-life movement or in other areas where we are called to protect and defend the weak and vulnerable. And the answer to that is an unequivocal yes. Our society needs men who know what it means to fight battles and win. Our society needs men who can say that they fought porn and they beat porn, because their families and their friends were too important to risk. Our society needs men who rose to the challenge that the evils of their generation threw at them, and became better men as the result. And our society needs men who can help their friends and their sons and those around them fight the plague of pornography and free themselves from it, too—and who can understand better and offer encouragement more relevant than someone who has fought and been freed themselves?

So the answer to men is yes. Fight pornography. Beat pornography. And join the ranks of those who support their fellow men and women still fighting. Lend them support and encouragement. We cannot change the fact that porn has left an enormous path of destruction in its wake. But we can change the fact that too many people aren’t fighting it. We can change our own involvement. And we can rise to the challenge and face this threat to masculinity with all that is good about masculinity.

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Red Alert!

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By John-Henry Westen

I don’t like having to do this, but we have always found it best to be totally upfront with our readers: our Spring fundraising campaign is now worrying us! 

You see, with just 6 days remaining, we have only raised 30% of our goal, with $125,000 still left to raise. That is a long ways to go yet.

We have no choice but to reach our minimum goal of $175,000 if we are going to be able to continue serving the 5+ million readers who rely on us every month for investigative and groundbreaking news reports on life, faith and family issues.

Every year, LifeSite readership continues to grow by leaps and bounds. This year, we are again experiencing record-breaking interest, with over 6 million people visiting our website last month alone!

This unprecedented growth in turn creates its own demand for increased staff and resources, as we struggle to serve these millions of new readers.

And especially keep this in mind. As many more people read LifeSite, our mission of bringing about cultural change gets boosted. Our ultimate goal has always been to educate and activate the public to take well-informed, needed actions.

Another upside to our huge growth in readers is that it should be that much easier to reach our goal. To put it simply: if each person who read this one email donated whatever they could (even just $10) we would easily surpass our goal! 

Today, I hope you will join the many heroes who keep this ship afloat, and enable us to proclaim the truth through our reporting to tens of millions of people every year!

Your donations to LifeSite cause major things to happen! We see that every day and it is very exciting. Please join with us in making a cultural impact with a donation of ANY AMOUNT right now. 

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