Articles

Life Begins @ Conception

by Tyler Blanski
Crisis Magazine

Rainbow profile pictures and equals sign bumper stickers are an easy way to share an anthropology. In a split second you can say, without having really to say, “I believe a human person is thus and such.” Why isn’t there a sticker or profile picture that will quickly and vibrantly communicate a different anthropology? Especially when it comes to the pro-life message, where is the icon that can share the news that life begins at conception?

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Wise Counsel

by unknown
Alliance Defending Freedom

The young married couple slide quickly out of their car and onto the busy sidewalk, eyes fixed on the dark glass doors of the huge Planned Parenthood abortion center. Half a block long and three stories high, its imposing facade looms over the busy stream of students milling up and down the mile-long stretch of Commonwealth Avenue near Boston University.

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In Defense of Our First Freedom

by Christopher White
Knights of Columbus, September 2014

In his classic treatise, Democracy in America, the French political thinker Alexis de Tocqueville observed, “Religion in America … must be regarded as the foremost of the political institutions of that country; for if it does not impart a taste for freedom, it facilitates the use of it.” In surveying the United States, Tocqueville understood quickly that the practice of religion was essential to the moral fabric of this country and to its continued success as a democracy.

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2011-11-citizen-mag-coverReaching The Culture With More Than Words

by Karla Dial
Citizen Cover Story, November 2011

The refrigerator in Eleanor and Joe McCullen’s Newton, Mass., home is covered with photos. Babies alone. Babies with their moms. Toddlers. Elementary school kids. Entire families. You might expect that, considering that the McCullens, both in their mid-70s, are grandparents. The thing is, these kids aren’t relatives. They’re just a few of the hundreds of children born after Eleanor met their moms on a sidewalk outside an abortion clinic over the last 11 years.

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3 decades since Roe v. Wade

A soft-spoken grandmother braves the cold to make her case

by Adam Scott Gershenson
Boston Sunday Globe, March 2003

Eleanor McCullen keeps photographs of 15 babies on her refrigerator door. She says each picture represents a child she saved by persuading a mother not to have an abortion. The latest image shows Joseph, a six-pound-three-ounce infant born just after New Year’s.

McCullen, a grandmother of four, works with Operation Rescue, a group that aims to turn back the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade decision on abortion.

McCullen sets up shop on Commonwealth Avenue, outside the Planned Parenthood clinic, twice a week at 7a.m. She arrives with the power of her conviction, a stack of pamphlets, and a baby carrage that holds a portable battery, a VCR, and a teleivion that shows ultrasounds of babies developing in their mother’s wombs.

As women approach the clinic door, McCullen whispers, “There’s a baby in there. A little tiny person.”

She doesn’t scream or curse, which other activists sometimes do, because she considers those tactics “intimidation and harassment.” She chooses instead to offer what she calls “sidewalk counseling” and also lobbies state officials for legislation, known as “A Women’s Right to Know,” that might help curb abortions in Massachusetts.

McCullen does not attend the demonstrations by Operation Rescue outside Planned Parenthood on the second Saturday of every month. She does her work on Tuesday and Wednesday mornings, bundled in a scarf and hat with a large silver cross hanging from her neck.

On the frigid mornings, the insults and skeptical glances might make the life an activist appear thankless. But McCullen said it is a thrill to make a difference in a stranger’s life; when a woman gives birth to a baby she almost aborted, McCullen says, she thinks not just of that child, but of that child’s child, the reverberation echoing through future generations.

The overwhelming majority of people arriving at the clinic ignore her pleadings, but about one every three weeks, she says, she finds someone who listens. When she meets someone receptive, McCullen takes her to A Women’s Concern, a nearby pregnancy help center in Brookline that does not perform abortions. The ride takes just a few minutes, down Harvard to Kent Street, and McCullen drives at a slow pace, wheeling her baby blue Mercedes with the pamphlets on the seat and a large wooden Jesus on the dashboard.

The facilities at A Women’s Concern look more like a home than an office. The rooms are warm, plants are blooming, and the rugs are soft. In the back room, crates are full of diapers, stuffed animals, and teddy bears with ribbons around their necks.

At the center, every service is free. Women come for pregnancy tests or counseling, and workers promise them if they keep their baby, the staff will help them. McCullen said that the help does not end when the woman gives birth. The center assists with adoptions, throws baby showers for the mothers, and helps the parents find work.

Tammy Reyes, the nurse manager, said she faced an unwanted pregnancy when she was in college. She thought briefly about abortion but instead gave birth and now has “a wonderful little boy.”

Reyes, an evangelical Protestant, said she often shows women Lamaze videos but steers clear of showing any graphic footage of abortions.

“We’re not shocking anybody into anything” she said. “That’s not effective anyways.”

McCullen always offers to take her passengers back to Planned Parenthood, but she said she has never had to make the return trip. When she tried recently to take a reporter back to the clinic, she lost her way.

Operation Rescue says it convinced 71 women at Boston-area clinics that perform abortions not to have abortions last year, and six so far this year.

The group’s February demonstration outside the clinic was peaceful. While police officers and Planned Parenthood escorts looked on, dozens of protestors stood behind metal barricades, singing religious songs and offering Hail Marys. Others knelt on the ice-covered sidewalk, holding rosary beads in their bare, outstretched hands.

Robert Letourneau, a self-employed truck driver from Tewksbury, said his desire to confront what he sees a great injustice lead him to get out of bed on that freezing-cold morning.

“We’ve got to take on the elements to prove our faith,” he said. “We offer this up as penance.”

Several of the demonstraters said they are still grappling with the legacy of John Salvi, an anti-abortion activist who in 1994 shot and killed two workers in separate Brookline women’s health clinics offering abortions, wounding five others.

Under the terms of the bill which Operation Rescue is backing, patients would be told more about risk associated with the procedure, and about alternatives. It would also require a 24-hour waiting period for women seeking abortion.

State Representative Kathleen M. Teahan, a Whitman Democrat who sponsored the bill, said the law would give women the kind of detailed information they would receive before any other kind of operation. She said women needed to know more facts about fetal development to make an informed decision.

“Right now the information giving out is very brief and doesn’t get into detail,” Teahan said. “Even if you were getting braces or teeth extracted, the doctor would lay out more information.”

McCullen said feminists should applaud the bill.

“The clinics don’t empower women,” she said. “They tell them you can’t work, go to school, and have the baby. We let them know they have choices.”

Pam Nourse, Planned Parenthood’s vice president of public affairs, said the 24-hour wait proposal would cause undue hardship for working women and women who live far from clinics. She said Planned Parenthood already informs women of there options and noted that it is the largest adoption referral agency in the state.

Whether or not the law passes, demonstrators will probably continue to gather outside of Planned Parenthood.

McCullen says her greatest weapon in the fight against abortion is the sympathy she offers to women in distress.

“We try to be gental,” she said. “First we love the moms, then we love the babies.”

McCullen said that for many years she drove passed Planned Parenthood and yelled support to the demonstrators, but only joined their ranks four years ago, when she experienced a spiritual awakening. She said that she has found her calling and that she would be ashamed of herself if she didn’t speak out against an act she likens to mass murder. Passers-by may holler at her to get a job or to get a life, but McCullen said she is convinced she is helping women find a satisfying way out of a difficult situation.

“No one wants to have an abortion,” she said. “It’s against human nature.”


The Forgotten Fathers: What About Abortion’s Negative Impact on Men?

by Lauren Enriquez
LifeNews.com, June 2013

With the Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision in 1973 came the legalization of the ultimate usurper of fatherhood: abortion. Forty years later, America faces the unpleasant reality that, thanks to abortion and the sexual revolution, the role of fatherhood has rapidly made an about-face. Fatherhood has gone from being an unquestioned ingredient in family life to a variable that occurs in the family dynamic only when circumstances are aligned just right.

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Do Embryos Have Souls?

by Rev. Tadeusz Pacholczyk
Making Sense Out of Bioethics, March 2008

They often suppose that the Catholic Church teaches that destroying human embryos is unacceptable because such embryos are persons (or are “ensouled”). While it is true that the Church teaches that the intentional and direct destruction of human embryos is always immoral, it would be incorrect to conclude that the Church teaches that zygotes (a single-cell embryo) or other early-stage embryos are persons, or that they already have immortal, rational souls. The magisterium of the Church has never definitively stated when the ensoulment of the human embryo takes place. It remains an open question…

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