Arrival: Pro-Life Women’s Conference 2018

Months of planning and watching the pennies have brought me here to St. Louis, or rather St. Charles, Missouri. The third annual Pro-Life Women’s Conference is a few hours away.

From the conference web site: This is a three day event by women and for women to proclaim that women’s empowerment cannot be attained by the oppression of other human beings. Many groups are represented: And Then There Were None, Feminists for Life, the Radiance Foundation, Sidewalk Advocates for Life, Americans United for Life, and more.

The groups aren’t as important as the individuals here. Knowing that And Then There Were None is here is one thing. Listening to a woman who used to work in the abortion industry and who found ATTWN’s help in transitioning to other work is something else entirely. Continue reading “Arrival: Pro-Life Women’s Conference 2018”

Catching Up: Marching for Life in D.C. as Roe Turns 45

If you’ve had your fill of March for Life coverage, my apologies for this post (and please tell me where you’re getting your news).

The first March for Life in Washington was 44 years ago, one year after the Roe v. Wade abortion decision was imposed by the Supreme Court.  There’s been a march every year since then. I’ve been to six or seven of them.

t-shirt from March for Life 2018
I traveled to the March with a group from my parish, part of a six-bus caravan.

Never have I been part of a larger march than I was last January 19. The weather was surely a factor: full sun, mid-forties. Yet that doesn’t account for most of the marchers, who chartered their buses months ago.

I didn’t count noses. It’s tough to count from the midst of a sea of humanity. I’ve since seen back-and-forth posts from attendees at the March for Life and the following day’s “women’s march,” with squabbles over crowd size that sound like some chief executive tweeting about who’s got a bigger button.

I can assure you of a few things: the March for Life is not a diminishing phenomenon. It continues to attract marchers of all ages. It’s also a rallying point for new pro-life coalitions and groups (like the former abortion workers of And Then There Were None) that couldn’t have been imagined back when Nellie Gray organized the first March for Life in 1974.

March for Life 2018
The view from mid-crowd at March for Life 2018, passing by National Archives in Washington.

I missed the President’s pre-March rally video-link greeting, choosing instead to meet with a group from New Wave Feminists who were hosting a rally of their own before joining the March. If you think all pro-lifers are alike, NWF will burst your bubble. And it’ll be fun.

During the March, I lost track of my marching companions not once but twice. It was tough to stay in touch with them even via text, as the sheer number of people making social media posts from the March affected local cell service. No problem: this was a good day to make new friends and to bump into old ones.

Next year’s March for Life in D.C. will be on Friday, January 18, 2019.

 

From ATTWN: Sidewalk Advocacy, Through the Eyes of the Workers

And Then There Were None has just released its latest short video, and you’re encouraged to share it on whatever platforms you use. Here, a few former abortion industry workers share their thoughts on what pro-life witness looked like to them from inside their clinics. Some approaches were more effective than others, which is no surprise.

“We Love Them Out”: 5 Good Minutes With Meagan and Laura of And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None was founded by Abby Johnson in 2012, and in five years, hundreds of abortion-facility workers have come through ATTWN’s assistance program. All have left the abortion industry, with help from the only organization dedicated to offering spiritual and material support for such a decision.

How?

“We love them out.” That’s from Laura Ricketts of ATTWN, who with Meagan Weber represented the group at an exhibit table at the 2017 Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. They love their work, and it shows. They kindly and quickly agreed to an impromptu interview with me, which I found more constructive than anything happening on the main stage.

How do you get someone who’s doing abortion work to approach you?

Laura: The short answer is love. We love them out. The longer answer is we have several initiatives that we follow through on, including sending handwritten cards into the abortion clinics to reach out to the workers.  We do a mailing of postcards that have our information inviting them to look us up, letting them know that they can quit, we can help. Sometimes we send flowers to the clinic. If there’s a situation that happens in a community, something specific surrounding that clinic, whether it’s something horrible that might have happened with a patient, or whether there are some unkind – well-meaning, but unkind – pro-life people on the sidewalk, we will send an apology into that clinic and say “I’m sorry.”

How many people have been assisted by ATTWN?

Meagan: To date since we were founded in 2012, we’ve received over 380 workers into our assistance program. That includes seven full-time abortion-providing doctors. We’ve transitioned them all out of the industry into life-affirming work and hope & healing in Christ.

What do well-meaning people do that makes your job harder?

Meagan: Graphic imagery. Inflammatory language such as abortion mill, abortuary, murderers – I mean, yes, abortion is an act that is complicit with murder. But who comes to Jesus Christ because you’re saying “you’re a dirty rotten sinner”? Same concept. We want to affirm their value as a human being, uniquely and distinctly created by God first and foremost. I’d also say trespassing on property [doesn’t help]. We have to flip that and say if we had a bunch of Planned Parenthood employees come into our pregnancy centers and go to the waiting room, [they’d be] violating the privacy of women who are seeking our services. And then they would be telling them “they’re lying to you, They’re not going to give you truthful information about your pregnancy and your options, and it’s your right to have an abortion…” We would never tolerate that happening. So we need to make sure we’re not doing that to them. If we’re truly concerned for the woman who goes into the clinic, who did not receive our information on the sidewalk, we should wait for her, be there for her on the way out.

Laura: Creating an environment around the clinic that feels unsafe or hostile is going to drive the women into the clinic for their abortions faster. And it’s also going to make the workers inside the clinic very distrustful of people who do call themselves pro-life who are scaring them a little bit.

Learn more about And Then There Were None at prolove.com and abortionworker.com and on Facebook. Learn more about Laura’s own work as a birth and bereavement doula at filumenabirth.com, and about Meagan at her Facebook page.


Abortion investigators charged in California; another undercover video released

From LifeSiteNews.com: David Daleiden and Sandra Merritt of the Center for Medical Progress have been charged in California with 15 felony violations of recording confidential conversations in connection with CMP’s undercover investigation of body-parts trafficking by Planned Parenthood affiliates.

Texas authorities tried the same thing awhile ago, and later had to drop the charges.

CMP isn’t backing down. Today, it released a new video featuring a conversation with an Arizona abortionist. The abortion provider talks about Arizona’s law requiring care for children who survive attempted abortion. Seem that the determination of whether a child has survived depends in part on who’s in the room.

Coincidentally, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America is spearheading a #PinkOut day on social media, encouraging PP supporters to sport pink pro-PP profile images and posts. And Then There Were None, an organization for former abortion workers, suggests an alternative: