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This blog is maintained by the Ruth Institute. It provides a place for our Circle of Experts to express themselves. This is where the scholars, experts, students and followers of the Ruth Institute engage in constructive dialogue about the issues surrounding the Sexual Revolution. We discuss public policy, social practices, legal doctrines and much more.
Posted on: Friday, August 19, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published August 18, 2016 at The Blaze.
For a very short time, Puritanism was the dominant religion in America.
The need to populate a large continent led to lots of immigration of lots of people from different religions. Since then, we Americans have developed a sardonic definition of “Puritan:” a person with the nagging feeling that somewhere, someone is having fun. We have to adapt that to our current times, since now, everyone gets to have as much fun as they want.
The New Orthodoxy, the State Religion, is that abortion is a positive good. And a Pro-Choice Puritan is a person with the nagging feeling that somewhere, a woman doesn’t choose abortion.
California seems to be full of Pro-Choice Puritans. The legislature passed a bill regulating what pro-life pregnancy care centers can say, and how loudly they have to say it. Pregnancy care centers in California are required to announce that abortion is available elsewhere. The state regulates where this signage must be, and how large the type face must be.
Evidently, the Big Abortion Industry feels threatened by these centers. Even very liberal California has 167 privately financed and run pregnancy care centers. This is according to the breathless NARAL Pro-choice America “report,” modestly entitled, “Crisis Pregnancy Centers Lie.” Nationwide, according to this same “report,” there were 2,460 pregnancy care centers, 438 abortion clinics, 839 “Guttmacher clinics,” a term for which I could find no definition, and 1,720 “Guttmacher providers,” again, an undefined term.
The idea that pregnancy care centers are “tricking” or “misleading” women into having their babies is preposterous on its face. The decision to abort is a decision that can be carried out in a single afternoon. But the decision to carry a child to term has to be reaffirmed every day throughout the pregnancy. The woman can change her mind one afternoon, walk into the abortion clinic, and her baby will be gone forever.
The pregnancy care center model is to accompany the mother throughout her pregnancy. I know of centers that help mothers find work or housing. I know of centers that provide the mothers with material assistance through the child’s first year. Many centers provide classes on childcare and healthy relationships. What is so wrong with that?
The Big Abortion Industry’s claims that “crisis pregnancy centers lie,” doesn’t hold water. In a section of the “report” purporting to show how much Pregnancy Care Centers “shame and judge” pregnant women, we find these items:
Every state in America has some kind of regulation against consumer fraud. The fact is, that these “lies” do not come anywhere near meeting the legal standard for “consumer fraud.” Unless the Pro-Choice Puritans get their friends in the legislature to redefine “fraud” to mean, “failing to use the politically correct euphemisms.”
Let’s be clear: pro-life pregnancy centers are in business to provide alternatives to abortion. They do not want to refer people for abortions. The Big Abortion Industry insists on enlisting their competitors in promoting their business, because their business is not simply providing abortions.
The Big Abortion business is creating the Fantasy Ideology of the Sexual Revolution. They want to convince people that everyone has the right to act as if sex were a sterile activity with no moral or social consequences. Since this is patently untrue, the Pro-Choice Puritans must suppress those who dissent from their Orthodoxy.
If you leave people alone to follow the trail of their experience and the evidence, most people come to realize that sex does in fact make babies. Even contracepted sex sometimes makes babies. The only way to make the Fantasy Ideology appear to be true is to downplay contraceptive failure and the medical risks, psychological problems or just plain unhappiness that sometimes arises from abortion.
A pregnancy care center tells women that contraception sometimes fails. (Most of them have already learned this. Roughly half of women who come for abortions say they were using contraception the month they got pregnant. In this study, it was 54 percent. Not a typo. Look at Table 1.) A pregnancy care center tells women that abortion sometimes has negative consequences. Most of all, pregnancy care centers tell women that having their babies and being good mothers is a realistic possibility for them.
The True Believers can’t allow heresies like these to go unchallenged. That is why I say that the Pro-Choice Puritans are haunted by the thought that some woman, somewhere, wants her baby.
Posted on: Wednesday, August 03, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published July 23, 2016, at The Blaze.
Earlier this week, the Ruth Institute sent a letter of commendation and 24 white roses to Charles Chaput, the Archbishop of Philadelphia.
Our letter thanked him for “his clear teaching on marriage, family and human sexuality in the Pastoral Guidelines for Implementing Amoris Laetitia in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.”
With all the excitement of the political conventions, why would we spend our time sending flowers to an archbishop? We want to shine the spotlight on the positive things people are doing to build up society.
The archbishop’s guidelines restate the Ancient Teachings of Christianity regarding marriage, family and human sexuality. These teachings are obscured today. No less a theological heavy weight than the mayor of Philadelphia castigated the archbishop, saying the Guidelines were un-Christian!
To be fair to Mayor Jim Kenny, we have to admit that the publication of Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia, has caused worldwide confusion over Catholic teaching on marriage. Yelling at the pope has become a new cottage industry among tradition-minded Catholic writers. Pulling his words into a sexually indulgent direction has become a cottage industry among progressives of all faiths. And trying to parse out what he really meant has been a full employment guarantee for everyone.
Rather than getting involved in all that, we want to call attention to people who are implementing the unbroken teaching of the Church in a vibrant manner. Focus on what we know to be true and good. Archbishop Chaput’s Guidelines provide a clear and practical statement of ancient Catholic teaching, in the spirit of genuine mercy, incorporating language from Amoris Laetitia.
I believe that these teachings are correct, good and humane. I founded the Ruth Institute for the purpose of promoting those teachings to the widest audience possible. I don’t believe these things because I am a Catholic. On the contrary. It is precisely because I came to believe in these teachings that I returned to the practice of the Catholic faith after a 12-year lapse.
Let me discuss just one issue that has caused a lot of hand-wringing in the past 2 years. Jesus told us very clearly that remarriage after divorce is not possible. If attempted, it amounts to adultery. Why? According to Jesus, Moses only permitted a man to issue a bill of divorce because of “the hardness of your hearts.” (This is the Gospel of Matthew, Chapter 19, in case you were wondering.)
At that point, he could have said, “So, I’m going to eliminate this appalling male privilege and allow women to divorce their husbands, exactly like Moses allowed men to divorce their wives.” However, he did no such thing. He didn’t extend the male privilege. He eliminated it entirely. “From the beginning it was not so,” referring back to God’s original plan for creation. “I tell you, anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another woman commits adultery.” One of the “hard sayings” of Jesus, no doubt. But pretty darn clear.
(And please: don’t trouble me with that so-called loophole, ok? The real innovation in modern no-fault divorce law is that it allows an adulterer to get a divorce against the wishes of the innocent party. No sane person can argue that Jesus provided that “loophole” to allow the guilty party to validly remarry.)
The Church teaches that civilly divorced and remarried Catholics cannot receive communion because she is trying to implement this teaching of Jesus. A civilly divorced and remarried person is living with, and presumably having sex with someone, while still validly married to someone else. If the first marriage is still valid, the second attempted marriage is not valid, and is in fact, adulterous. What is so hard to understand about that?
You know who really understands this concept, who intuitively “gets it?” Children of divorce. Kids look into their parents’ bedroom and see someone who doesn’t belong there. “Who is this guy in bed with my mom: my dad is supposed to be there.” Or, “who is this woman in bed with my dad? My mom is supposed to be there.”
At the Ruth Institute, we know there are situations in which married couples must separate for the safety of the family. But we also know that those cases are by far not the majority of cases. No-fault divorce says a person can get divorced for any reason or no reason, and the government will take sides with the party who wants the marriage the least. The government will permit that person to remarry, against the wishes of their spouse and children.
This is an obvious injustice that no one in our society will talk about. The children of divorce are socially invisible. In fact, I bet some of them felt like crying when they read my paragraph above quoting with approval, what might have gone through their little minds. Many of them have never heard an adult affirm their feelings that something dreadfully wrong and unjust took place in their families.
Jesus knew. Jesus was trying to keep us from hurting ourselves and each other. And the Catholic Church has been trying to implement Jesus’ teaching. You may say the Church has been imperfect in her attempts and I won’t argue with you. But I will say that no one else is even seriously trying.
Political campaigns come and go. Political parties come and go. In fact, nations themselves come and go. But the teachings of Jesus are forever. What we do about marriage and children and love reveals what and whom we truly love.
That is why we congratulate Archbishop Charles Chaput for his guidelines. We wish the Archdiocese all the very best. Make Marriage Great Again.
Posted on: Monday, July 11, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first posted at The Blaze on July 5, 2016.
So a radical feminist and two childless women walk into a courtroom. How do you expect them to rule on abortion or contraception? Their lives as they know them, depend on both.
In Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a Texas law regulating abortion clinics as if they were any ordinary medical facility. You have no doubt heard that this was somehow a victory for women, in the ongoing and everlasting War Against Women.
Actually, I believe there is no War Against Women, but a long-standing War Among Women. And this time, like most of the time, Elite Women prevail over “Everywoman.”
Consider the three women currently serving on the U.S. Supreme Court. Whose interests do these women actually represent?
The most senior female member of the court is Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a lifelong radical feminist. Let’s look for a moment at her personal life. Justice Ginsburg had the lifelong support of her husband in her career aspirations. Thanks to no-fault divorce, women today cannot count on a lifetime of mutual support with their husbands.
Justice Ginsburg came of age in the short historical window of time when women could still get married, have kids, go to law school, and have a career after child-bearing. Her two children were born when she was 22 and 32, in 1955 and 1965 respectively.
Thanks to radical feminism, highly educated women have a much more difficult time doing these things. They can go to law school and have a career all right. But getting married and having children sometime before menopause, not so much. Justice Ginsburg has been safely insulated from the negative fallout of the Sexual Revolution which she and her radical feminist colleagues did so much to champion.
The other two women on the Supreme Court, Justices Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor, are childless.
It is highly unlikely that the two of them understand the aspirations of women who want their babies and stable marriages. For most women, family is everything and “career” is a way to put food on the table. Elite women know nothing of Everywoman, the people who have endured the Sexual Revolution, and who do not have high status jobs as compensation.
I am acutely aware of all this because I am a bit of an outlier among my educational class. That is a fancy way of saying I am a freak. I left a tenured university position back in 1996 to give more attention to my children who needed me, and my husband who wanted me and who I, in turn, wanted. No one gives up tenure. Believe me. My friends quietly thought I had lost my mind, except for one dear friend who told me I was a counter-cultural radical.
I had been in line to become the head of my department. Obviously, that didn’t happen. I never sat on any prestigious commissions. I haven’t received a plum political appointment like my childless or male peers have. Mind you, I’m not complaining. I do not regret my choices for a moment. I have encountered plenty of other women with advanced degrees who have made similar choices with no regrets.
No, my point is different. Delayed childbearing is the price of entering the professional classes. Tenacious focus is the price of remaining in the upper echelons of those classes. Placing a high personal value on life, marriage, family and the next generation puts a woman at a disadvantage in the competition for high-end jobs.
Put another way, childless women have an advantage over mothers in the competition for power and influence. For many elite women, the Sexual Revolution has made possible their lives as they know them. They literally cannot imagine what their lives would be like without contraception, or without abortion as an easy back-up.
The Sexual Revolution has been an imposition by the elites upon the masses. From the beginning, it is the people of modest means who have suffered from no-fault divorce, and hook-ups and instability and relationship churning and non-marital childbearing.
The Everyman and Everywoman regularly vote for lawmakers who promote pro-life legislation. But elites in the judiciary consistently overturn it. And that is what happens when a radical feminist and two childless women walk into a courtroom.
Posted on: Tuesday, June 21, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first posted at The Blaze on June 1, 2016.
The image from the Huffington Post staff meeting created an immediate backlash for editor Liz Heron’s rhetorical question: “Notice anything about this Huffington Post editors’ meeting?”
Unlike many of the internet commentators, I am not interested in the ethnic diversity or ideological hypocrisy of the Huffington Post. All these editors appear to be twenty-somethings, thirty-somethings at most, with the possible exception of Heron herself. To me, this photo illustrates the most poignant sociological fact of our time: Delayed child-bearing is the price of entry into the professional classes.
Look at these eager young faces. These young ladies have high hopes for their lives.
An editors’ meeting at Huffington Post. Editor Liz Heron tweeted: “Notice anything about this Huffington Post editors’ meeting?” (Twitter)
They believe that by landing this great job, they are set. Once they are established in their careers, then and only then, can they think seriously about marriage and motherhood. They do not realize that they are giving themselves over to careers during their peak fertility years, with the expectation that somehow, someday, they can “have it all.”
They are being sold a cynical lie.
Here is the bargain we professional women have been making: “We want to participate in higher education and the professions. As the price of doing so, we agree to chemically neuter ourselves during our peak child-bearing years with various types of birth control. Then, when we are finally financially and socially ready for motherhood, we agree to subject ourselves to invasive, degrading and possibly dangerous fertility treatments.”
I am no longer willing to accept this bargain. These arrangements are not pro-woman. They are simply anti-fertility. Any woman who wants to be a mother, including giving birth to her own children, taking care of her own children, and loving their father, needs a better way. Until now, we have been adapting our bodies to the university and the market. I say, we should respect our bodies enough to demand that the university and the market adapt to us and our bodies.
We cannot expect much help from establishment publications like Huff Po, establishment institutions like the Ivy League and Seven Sisters schools, and certainly not from the government.
Huffington Post is a consistent cheerleader for the sexual revolution. They have a whole page devoted to divorce. They have a regular Friday feature called “Blended Family Friday,” in which “we spotlight a stepfamily to learn how they’ve worked to bring their two families together. Our hope is that by telling their stories, we’ll bring you closer to blended family bliss in your own life!” And they are enlisting twenty-somethings to sell their propaganda.
I wonder how many of the young ladies seated at that Huff Po editors meeting have ever heard of abortion regret or considered the topic worthy of their attention? I wonder how many of them believe that hooking up is harmless, as long as you use a condom. I wonder how many of them have ever heard that hormonal contraception – especially implants and vaginal rings – increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
I wonder if any of them wish for a guy who would dote on them, and act like he really truly cares. I wonder if they have ever chided themselves for being too clingy when a relationship ended, without realizing that bonding to your sex partner is perfectly normal.
I wonder how many of them realize how unlikely childbirth after 40 really is? A recent study of IVF in Australia looked at the chance of a live birth for initiated cycles. Don’t look at the bogus “pregnancy rate:” IVF pregnancies are 4-5 times more likely to end in stillbirth. And don’t be taken in by the “pregnancy per embryo transfer.” Plenty of women initiate cycles but do not successfully make it to the embryo transfer stage.
The average Australian woman aged 41-42 years old had a 5.8 percent chance of having a live birth per initiated cycle. And women over 45 have a 1.1 per cent chance of having a live birth per initiated cycle — which is almost a 99 percent chance of failure every time.
Yes, Huffington Post is an opinion-making and opinion-leading organization. And yes, it is not right for a bunch of white, privileged childless twenty-something
women to be having such an outsized influence on public opinion. But for now, let’s give a thought to these young ladies themselves. They are being
sold a bill of goods. It is up to us, as adults, to warn them.
Posted on: Tuesday, May 31, 2016
A new metastudy shows increased risks of preterm birth for mothers who have previously had an abortion.
A meta-analysis of 36 international studies involving more than one million women has concluded that abortions are associated with “significantly higher risk” of subsequent premature births, and underweight babies.
Prematurity is, in turn, associated with far greater risk of cerebral palsy and other conditions.
Brent Rooney of British Columbia’s Reduce Preterm Risk Coalition said, “In May 2016 abortion-preemie denial became impossible.”
The study appears in this month’s American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, (behind a paywall) authored by Dr. Gabrielle Saccone and her research associates. It showed that a prior abortion or miscarriage was associated with a 52 percent increased risk of prematurity and also of greater risk of lower gestational and birth weights.
Posted on: Monday, May 30, 2016
Leave it to pro-choice political operatives to make a blackmail threat against a pro-life politician and his family. And leave it to the King of Kings
to bring light out of darkness and to write straight with crooked lines.
It seems that "an unnamed source" told Michigan State Rep. Lee Chatfield, a pro-life Republican, that they planned to make public information about his wife's abortion years ago. I suppose this was supposed to embarrass Rep Chatfield and his wife Stephanie that they would, do what, exactly? That he would stop calling for the defunding of Planned Parenthood? That he would withdraw his sponsorship of a bill to ban abortions that dismember the child?
In any case, Mrs. Chatfield made her own decision to not allow herself and her husband to be manipulated by her past. She beat them to the punch and told her own story of her high school abortion. She told the story on her own terms: a story of rape, abortion, regret, forgiveness and healing.
When I read her story, I could not help but think how clueless the person who threatened must really be. Or maybe she/he/ze did not know the full story. The young Stephanie, a high school student, was obviously a victim of rape, the very sort of person the Sexual Revolutionary feminist claims to be trying to help. Stephanie did just what the feminist/sexual revolutionary playbook called for: she had an abortion. But the abortion did not solve her problem, as advertised.
I made a decision that I’ve thought about and regretted nearly every day since. It’s haunted me. It’s made me weep. It’s made it difficult to look in the mirror at times. I knew that what I did was wrong at the time, but I never imagined the weight and guilt that I would carry as a consequence.
I give Stephanie Chatfield a lot of credit for how she is handling herself. This is exactly what the Ruth Institute hopes more people will do: tell the truth about what happened to you. Reveal the lies of the Sexual Revolution. You will take the sting out of them. You will heal yourself, and heal others. As Mrs. Chatfield said:
No matter the intentions of anybody wishing to see this story go public, this I am certain of: God meant it for good and will glorify Himself through this....And to everybody reading this, remember what I had forgotten – that God is greater than our sin. I am confident that God can continue to use an imperfect person like me to bring Himself glory. And while the life vs. choice debate will continue to wage on, this I know for certain: I made the wrong choice. Yet, I plan to use my story to help girls, love others and serve as a living testimony of God’s grace and forgiveness.
This is the real, Christ-like solution to the problems of the Sexual Revolution. As I have said many times in my talks, if it is not Christ-like, I'm not the slightest bit interested in it. And if it is not Christ-like, it won't last anyway.
Share your story with us. We may include it on the Tell Ruth the Truth blog. You have no idea who may benefit from your experience.
Posted on: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
From the Cardinal Newman Society and a collection of Pro-Life Leaders on May 11, 2016.
Concerned by recent high-profile events at Catholic colleges featuring pro-abortion leaders — including Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards, Bill Clinton, Wendy Davis and Vice President Joe Biden — 29 Catholic and pro-life leaders joined a statement urging Catholic colleges to “stand firm in defending truth and the Catholic identity of their institutions.”
The statement, released today by The Cardinal Newman Society, argues that such events betray the mission of Catholic education and endanger the spiritual well-being of students.
“We urge the leaders of Catholic colleges and universities to reject the culture of death” and refuse “to honor and award speaking platforms to public advocates of abortion and same-sex marriage,” the signers of the letter stated.
“There is no sensible appeal to ‘freedom of speech’ or ‘academic freedom’ to justify university-sponsored events or activities that hold up opponents of known moral truths for special honor, as if falsehood and immorality are to be celebrated and not firmly rejected,” the letter states.
Noting that “special honor” by a college can include awards, honorary degrees, commencement speeches and invitations to deliver prominent lectures, the signers of the letter assert, “[T]here is no ‘freedom’ in presenting lectures that include one-sided advocacy for evil; the university’s free choice to present such lectures has the consequence of binding young people in the chains of falsehood and sin.”
Citing Ex corde Ecclesiae, the Vatican constitution on Catholic colleges, the letter reminds Catholic colleges of their responsibility to teach truth and to conduct all official actions in accord with their Catholic identity:
We, the undersigned, urge Catholic colleges and universities to “consecrate [their selves] without reserve to the cause of truth” by teaching and upholding the sacred dignity of all human life and of the divinely ordered institution of marriage … The truths of the Catholic faith—and indeed, all human experience—are also clear: innocent human life must be protected, and the institution of marriage between man and woman is essential for children, family, and community.
The full text of the letter follows, along with the names of those who signed in support of the statement:
Committed to the Truth of Life and Marriage
An Appeal by Catholic and Pro-Life Leaders to Catholic Educators
We, the undersigned, urge Catholic colleges and universities to “consecrate [their selves] without reserve to the cause of truth” (Ex corde Ecclesiae, 4) by teaching and upholding the sacred dignity of all human life and of the divinely ordered institution of marriage, and by refusing to honor and award speaking platforms to public advocates of abortion and same-sex marriage.
Most recently, we are gravely concerned by scandals at three Catholic universities:
The Church’s expectations for Catholic education are clear: “A Catholic University’s privileged task is ‘to unite existentially byintellectual effort two orders of reality that too frequently tend to be placedin opposition as though they were antithetical: the search for truth, and thecertainty of already knowing the fount of truth.’ …Any official action orcommitment of the University is to be in accord with its Catholic identity” (Ex corde Ecclesiae, 1; General Norms, Art. 2, §4).
The truths of the Catholic faith—and indeed, all human experience—are also clear: innocent human life must be protected, and the institution of marriage between man and woman is essential for children, family, and community.
There is no sensible appeal to “freedom of speech” or “academic freedom” to justify university-sponsored events or activities that hold up opponents of known moral truths for special honor, as if falsehood and immorality are to be celebrated and not firmly rejected. (Such honors include awards, honorary degrees, commencement speeches, and invitations to deliver prominent lectures.) Moreover, there is no“freedom” in presenting lectures that include one-sided advocacy for evil; the university’s free choice to present such lectures has the consequence of binding young people in the chains of falsehood and sin.
We urge the leaders of Catholic colleges and universities to reject the culture of death and instead stand firm in defending truth and the Catholic identity of their institutions.
[NOTE: The following sign in their individual capacities. Titles and affiliations are provided for identification only.]
Father Shenan J. Boquet
President, Human Life International
L. Brent Bozell, III
President, Media Research Center
President and Chief Counsel, Thomas More Society
President, National Organization for Marriage
President and co-founder, American Life League
Dr. E. Christian Brugger
J. Francis Cardinal Stafford Professor of Moral Theology, St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
Executive Director, National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools
Mary Rice Hasson
Fellow, Ethics and Public Policy Center
President, Students for Life of America
Founder, And Then There Were None
Jennifer Kimball Watson
Director, Culture of Life Foundation
Stephen M. Krason, J.D., Ph.D.
President, Society of Catholic Social Scientists
Philip F. Lawler
Editor, Catholic World News
Maria McFadden Maffucci
Editor, Human Life Review
Jeanne F. Mancini
President, March for Life Education and Defense Fund
Jennifer Roback Morse, Ph.D.
Founder and President, The Ruth Institute
Nikolas T. Nikas
President and General Counsel, Bioethics Defense Fund
President and CEO, Healing the Culture
Father Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life
Patrick J. Reilly
President, The Cardinal Newman Society
Steven Jonathan Rummelsburg
Senior Fellow, American Principles Project
President, Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM)
Andrew T. Seeley, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Institute for Catholic Liberal Education
President, Catholic Advocate
Executive Director, Human Life Alliance
Executive Director, Children of God for Life
President, Ethics and Public Policy Center
Eugene J. Zurlo, KCHS
Chairman Emeritus, Catholic Radio Association
Posted on: Wednesday, May 11, 2016
by Ryan MacPherson
Reprinted, with permission of the author, from LifeDate (Lutherans for Life, Fall 2013)
Abortion is a men’s issue. Yes, abortion is also a women’s issue. And it certainly is a children’s issue—a child’s life is at stake. But abortion is a men’s issue—a fact too readily overlooked these days.
In 1992, the U.S. Supreme Court took men out of the picture by declaring in Planned Parenthood v. Casey that no state may guarantee a man the right to share in the decision of whether his wife or girlfriend would preserve or abort their child. Every woman would have the “right” to make that choice alone. Even minor girls would, in some instances, be permitted to abort a child without informing their own fathers or mothers.
No matter what the courts say, abortion genuinely remains a men’s issue. Human nature can have it no other way—every baby has a dad. God has designed men to care for women and to protect children. When men fail to do so, they suffer guilt. When men are prohibited from doing so, they suffer a loss of masculinity. But so long as abortion is framed as a “woman’s right” or as a “women’s health issue,” the men who suffer do so largely in silence—struggling with great inner turmoil.
Each man has a unique story, but some basic patterns connect their stories with one another. Men whose children have been aborted need healing, they need redemption, and until they experience these they cry alone. Men whose fatherhood has been cut short struggle over their identities. They feel inadequate as leaders. They have difficulty with commitment. Abortion drives a wedge between mom and dad, whether married or not. Past abortions also have ongoing significance, as when a man whose child was aborted by his girlfriend later marries and attempts to become a responsible husband and father while memories from the past haunt him.
Some men pressure their girlfriends to have an abortion. Other men hope for their child’s life, but feel powerless against the “it’s a woman’s body” argument that leaves the mother of the child calling all the shots. Guilt and sorrow are universal.
When Michel Sauret (author of Child, Hold Me) learned that his girlfriend, Heather, was pregnant, his initial impulse was to seek an abortion—despite his Christian faith. That’s how society had programmed him to escape from an “inconvenient” situation. In one breath, Michel “hated the idea of abortion even being available and tempting,” but simultaneously that temptation warped his mind into thinking “it was a choice … no more threatening than the color of wall paint.”
When Heather miscarried, a whole new set of emotions surfaced. After they married, Michel and Heather struggled against infertility for years. These experiences taught them that God’s gift of children is not something to be toyed with. In time, God blessed them with a child; moreover, God’s forgiveness in Christ enabled them to come to terms with their past.
Men who have been entangled by the snare of abortion often experience guilt, remorse, hopelessness, and—if Christ is proclaimed—redemption (Kevin Burke, et al., Redeeming A Father’s Heart: Men Share Powerful Stories of Abortion Loss and Recovery):
Just as God forgave Saul, the great persecutor of the early church, transforming him into Saint Paul, the great evangelist to the Gentiles, so also God redeems men who have been entangled by the sin of abortion. Some of these men have become, like Saint Paul, powerful spokespersons who proclaim, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). Other men are still waiting to hear comforting words like these—might you be the one to tell them?
Posted on: Monday, May 09, 2016
by Fr. Mark Hodges
This article was first published at Life Site News on March 23, 2016.
JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri, March 23, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Democrats in the Missouri House fiercely opposed a parental notification bill.
Currently, Missouri law allows pregnant girls to get an abortion without their parents' even knowing if a judge agrees to it. Without a judge's agreement, one parent must approve in writing. A new bill just passed the Missouri House last Thursday, requiring both parents to be notified.
The bipartisan vote, 121-34, requires the approving parent to verify that the girl's other parent has been told. The second parent need not approve of the abortion.
Abortion advocates were fiercely opposed to the bill.
Rep. Rocky Miller (R-Lake Ozark) said he sponsored the legislation to support parental rights and families because parents should be informed of such a major, life-changing decision by their daughter. He said his own daughter found herself in just such a situation and, with parental encouragement and support, decided to give life to her child.
Supporters say the bill not only supports parents, but also may help scared young teens avoid major, life-debilitating regret later on.
Rep. Miller noted that the bill makes exceptions for girls living in unsafe homes, and a girl can bypass her parent's notification with a judge's permission. Furthermore, the bill has no criminal penalties, so if the approving parent doesn't inform the other for whatever reason, the worst he or she could face is a lawsuit.
Nevertheless, pro-abortion Democrats argued that parents do not have the right to know of their adolescent daughter's abortion. Rep. Stacey Newman (D-St Louis Co) brought religion into her argument, going so far as to say parents do not have the right to "force" their religion on their own children.
"You cannot force another teen to follow your ... religious beliefs," Newman said to Missouri parents.
"Abortion is potentially dangerous, both physically and emotionally," Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute told LifeSiteNews. "Allowing young girls to get abortions without telling their parents puts the girls at risk."
Morse is president of the global non-profit, dedicated to fostering a cultural movement to end family breakdown in society. She says parental notification is not an onerous burden on a teenage girl, but is in her best interests.
"We need to support our young girls, not treat them like rugged individualists," Morse reasoned. "If a fourteen year-old girl babysits for your family, you take her home, you don't send her out to fend for herself."
Thirty-eight states have parental notification laws, four of which require both parents' notification. Only three states require both parents' approval for their teenage daughter's abortion.
Posted on: Tuesday, April 12, 2016
by Jennifer Roback Morse
This article was first published at The Blaze on April 12, 2016.
Non-Catholics may be wondering why Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation, “Amoris Laetitia” or “The Joy of Love,” has Catholics in an uproar. Has the Pope changed Catholic doctrine? Has he left the doctrine officially intact, but changed pastoral practice so much that the doctrine is annulled? Now that I have taken the weekend to read it, I am convinced that Amoris Laetitia is a gift to the Church and the world.
What the Catholic Church does is important to everyone, no matter their faith. The Catholic Church is the largest institution still standing against the ideological fraud known as the sexual revolution. Everyone who is trying to deal with the fallout from this massive social upheaval has a stake in what the Catholic Church says and does. If Pope Francis were to change Catholic teaching, the purveyors of the revolution would be dancing in the streets.
And meaning no disrespect, but speaking bluntly: If the revolutionaries take down the Catholic Church, they will squash the rest of you like bugs.
So let me assure you: There is no change in official Catholic doctrine in Amoris Laetitia.
As for pastoral practice, Pope Francis is encouraging pastors to treat the lost, the wounded, the confused with as much sensitivity as possible. He intends it as an open invitation to the millions of souls who have been harmed by sexual sin, whether Catholic or not, to come home to the Catholic Church and draw closer to Jesus.
I can relate to the need for something like this document. Let me share a bit of Catholic “inside baseball.” I am what we call a “revert.” I was raised Catholic but left the Church for a period of time, and came back. So, I can’t be called either a “convert” or a “cradle Catholic.”
When I returned the Church after my prodigal period, my canonical situation was pretty simple. (By “canonical,” I mean what “canon law” or church law, would say about my situation. More inside baseball.) I was only on a second marriage.
But I had a whole pile of sexual sins. Like the Prodigal Son, by the time I finally came to my senses, I was desperate. I confessed having an abortion to Fr. Bob Cilinski, the chaplain of the campus ministry program at George Mason University at that time. (By the way, priests are not permitted to tell what we say to them in confession. But we can say anything we want! Let me say, how grateful I am to Fr. Bob and all the other confessors I’ve had.)
Fr. Bob was the first person who understood why I was upset about having an abortion. I had spoken to numerous therapists. Not one of them even considered the possibility that abortion was related to my emotional distress.
During that first confession in 12 years, Fr. Bob did not go down a checklist of possible sins. “Now, I cannot give you absolution unless you are sorry for all these sins.” I shudder to think what would have happened if he had. I would have freaked out and run out of there, more upset than before. And I certainly was in no position to have a theological discussion about each and every aspect of Church teaching.
I didn’t ask. He didn’t ask. He gave me absolution for the big sin I came in to confess.
He did tell me I should come to Mass, but not receive communion. He helped me seek an annulment. But I could not go to Communion, unless and until I received a declaration of nullity. (A declaration of nullity is an official finding by a church tribunal that my first attempted marriage had never been a valid marriage.)
In other words, he did not move the goalposts to make it easier and more “pastoral” for me. He stood by the Church’s teaching in every particular way and he set me on the path to a closer encounter with Jesus. Along that path, I eventually came to see that the Church was correct about premarital sex, cohabitation and contraception too. I confessed those sins too, in due course.
By the way, this confession took place in 1988, during the pontificate of Pope St. John Paul II. According to the sexual revolutionaries, those were the dark days of doctrinal rigidity and all-around Catholic meanness. The fact is, Catholic priests have been quietly accompanying people in a pastoral manner for quite some time. Priests know better than anyone the wreckage left in the wake of the sexual revolution. Even the ones who don’t preach about it as much as I would like are still guiding people toward Jesus.
While I do wish Pope Francis had been more clear on some points, I consider Amoris Laetitia a gift to the Church and the world. No matter your faith tradition, I urge you to read the document. Start with chapters 4 and 5.
You will find Pope Francis to be like a wise grandfather or great-uncle sitting across the kitchen table. You can imagine him sharing a cup of coffee or bouncing a baby on his knees. He invites all of us to love one another, and teaches us how. That is gift enough.