Tag Archives: pro-life

“The Billboard People”

August 24, 2012

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Don’t you just love driving along a highway and seeing those billboards of cute babies? They immediately grab my attention–and yours, too, I’m sure–which is exactly what they were designed to do. Some babes pictured are newborn; some have dimpled smiles or chubby faces; some are wearing ball caps; and my favorites feature young ones with Down syndrome. These photos sport such sayings as:

  • Our hearts were beating 18 days from conception
  • The point is…you had fingerprints 9 weeks from conception
  • Look…I’m the future! Babies’ eyes develop 14 days from conception
  • Grandma says: I’ve got my daddy’s eyes! Unique DNA at conception
  • Adoption…We can live with that! 2,000,000 couples wait to adopt
  • Did you know?…I could smile and suck my thumb before I was born?

I personally appreciate their positive perspective. The babies on the billboards tug at my heartstrings, making me long to hold and protect them. Often, I have small children in the back seat of my truck, and when we zoom by these advertisements they’ll say, “Ahh, Mom…did you see that sweet little baby’s face?” Yep…that’s a baby alright! A volatile human being. Created with dignity. Worthy of life. This is the reaction that “The Billboard People” hope to gain with their campaigns.

PROLIFE Across AMERICA is the mastermind behind these powerful advertisements. It was founded in 1989 by Mary Ann Kuharski who is the Executive Director and founder of this non-profit organization. From the get-go they had a mission through billboard, TV, radio and newspaper ads to educate people who may not be reached in any other way. Today they continue being committed by encouraging people to choose life for the pre-born. They bring positive, persuasive messages by use of their hot-line number which is on all ads. This number offers information on abortion-alternatives, adoption and post-abortion help.

And it’s working!

The efforts are gaining ground

Mary Ann states on her website, “Our ads and 800# Hotline are changing hearts and saving babies’ lives.” They receive nearly 200 calls a month as a result of their billboards. Here are some examples of the comments people have made:

  •  “I’m sending a photo of my grandchild. You can show others if you wish. It’s a small way of saying “thank you” for those billboards. My grandson is here today because my daughter saw those ads and made the decision for life” (Minnesota)
  • “I hate to admit that I’m nearly six months along and still was uncertain on what I was going to do. I’m so glad I saw your ad. I truly believe adoption will be best – for the baby and me.” (Springfield, Missouri)
  • “Abortion was never an option after I saw that first billboard and learned my baby already had a beating heart (18 days after conception). I wanted life for my baby. My baby will have a future too.” (Roswell, New Mexico)
  • “Someone gave me your number and said that you would help me.” (Brooklyn, NY)
  • “Thank you! Thank you for recognizing the preciousness of babies with Down syndrome! We have a brother [with Down’s] who is such a blessing to our family!”
  • “My daughter (18) was just preparing to go off to college when she discovered she is pregnant. She is leaning toward adoption. Can you steer us in the right direction?” (St. Paul)
  • “I had an abortion several years ago. I can’t get over the greif I feel. Is there some kind of help for me?” (Austin, TX)

Mary Ann told me, “We have hundreds of billboards across the United States that are there in response to requests by donors. In 2011 PROLIFE Across AMERICA sponsored 6500 Billboards in 42 states. We did the same (6500 in 42 states) in 2010 as well. I just spoke to someone from Florida who is solely responsible for a Billboard we will post for 6 months at $500 per month.” The organization’s goal for 2012 is to have 7000 billboards erected across the nation that would promote life and family, plus spotlight the vital role of fathers.

Proof that God has a sense of humor in the cause for Life

An email from Mary Ann stated: “Who would dream that a simple road sign billboard would work to change hearts and save lives? God can use anything to reach the hearts of those He loves.”

Mary Ann Kuharski

And what does Mary Ann say was God’s joke? “He used a housewife with NO advertising background or skills to help launch this outreach!” And she talks about how this outreach was started around a kitchen table–which I’m assuming is a mighty big kitchen table. Mary Ann, who was adopted as an infant, and her husband John have 13 children, six of whom are adopted and of mixed races with “special needs.” And the grandbabies keep coming (“God’s reminder of His love,” she wrote).

The Kuharskis are parishoners at St. Charles Borromeo in Minneapolis and active members of the Knights of Columbus. Mary Ann has been the recipient of many awards including The Catholic Spirit’s “Leading with Faith,” The Catholic Daughters of the Americas’ “Catholic Woman of the Year” and “The Inspirational Award” from The United Catholic Music and Video Association. Mary Ann is a speaker and author, and she also writes a popular column about family life issues in The Catholic Servant.

Examples of beautiful fundraising efforts

In 2011 PROLIFE Across AMERICA raised over one million dollars. Where does the funding come from for these life-saving billboards? Mary Ann explained:

  • High schoolers in Des Moines did a fundraiser to bring PROLIFE Across AMERICA billboards to Des Moines.
  • Annandale/Maple Lake, MN – a group of Homeschoolers came to our office to present a check. The entire amount went for Billboards in that area.
  • Witchita, KS.–There is a teacher there who encourages his class to do a fundraiser every year. It’s the only one in the area – up for a entire year – thanks to those students.
  • Nativity School, St. Paul – every year teacher Ginny Sullivan sends money from her students to sponsor a billboard. I believe they did a lemonade stand one year. (Through the Archdiocese, Mrs. Sullivan was named a “Champion for Life” recently.)
  • St. Paul, MN – the billboard located near the new Planned Parenthood abortion building is entirely sponsored by one anonymous donor and Church group.
  • Robbinsdale, MN – the billboard there is also sponsored for an entire year (as is the one above) thanks to Sacred Heart Church, CCW and individuals from that area.

Thanks Mary Ann and the staff and volunteers at PROLIFE Across AMERICA for the beautiful work that you do by educating all of us. Obviously, these billboards are successful in helping people to embrace life. For more information about the organization, or for information about donating to “The Billboard People” please visit their website.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This election is going to get hot!

August 3, 2012

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Which issues stand the test of fire?

Some points in question  are non-negotiable. Marriage should be reinforced not redefined. Protecting life from conception until natural death is paramont. Forcing the church to buy insurance that goes against her teachings is a violation of religious rights.

“When the government tampers with a freedom so fundamental, one shudders to think what lies ahead.” (Cardinal Dolan)

Watch Test of Fire–Election 2012… and then share this influential ad:

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(Thanks to my uncle, Bill McMahon, for alerting me to this wonderful ad.)

 

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A mother’s inspiring video about her blind baby boy

June 4, 2012

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One girl told Lacey Buchanan that she was a terrible person for not aborting her son.

Photo from Creative Commons

Often, it is hard for the Buchanans to go out in public with Baby Christian. Not because he is blind, but because sometimes strangers see his disability and make nasty comments. However, the story about Christian was spread via word of mouth and social media, and thankfully the young family met with more compassionate and supportive remarks. People looked beyond the baby’s deformity and saw the beauty of his giggle.

And that giggle spreads joy to others.

Lacey says:

“This is my plea to anyone considering abortion. Re-think your decision, not matter the circumstances. I am so glad I choose life!”

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5 reasons why I like the new Blessing for the Child in the Womb

May 19, 2012

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This new blessing was originally developed in March 2008 by the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities for inclusion in the Book of Blessings and Bendicional, and further refined by the Committee on Divine Worship and the body of Bishops. The introduction to the rite observes that the blessing of an unborn child “sustains the parents by imparting grace and comfort in time of concern and need, unites the parish in prayer for the unborn child, and fosters respect for human life within society. (According to Fr. Z’s blog)

“We hope the use of this blessing will provide not only support and God’s blessing for expectant parents and their child in the womb, but also another effective witness to the sanctity of human life from the first moment of conception,” said Archbishop Gregory Aymond, chairman of the Committee on Divine Worship of the USCCB.

I think it will do just that, and here’s 5  reasons why:

1. It asks God to bless the unborn baby

A few years ago when I was pregnant with twins at age 42, I had what was dubbed a “triple high-risk pregnancy.” My concern was primarily for the identical babies, and I wanted us to be blessed right away. I was working for the Archdiocese at the time in the Office for Marriage, Family and Life. A priest from Africa was down the hall, and he gave us a lovely blessing off of the top of his head. When I (notice I said “I”) received the official blessing from our church, it was geared more toward me and not the babes in the womb. A few months later, Archbishop Neinstedt asked our office to review this new Rite for the Child in the Womb, and I was honored to do so. I was thrilled to see that it not only asked God to bless the unborn child, but also to give him/her constant protection, a healthy birth, and to comfort the mother in all her anxiety. I really needed all of those requests!

2. It has a blessing for the mother 

You will notice that this blessing also asks for the blessing of the unborn baby (as stated in #1).

God, author of all life,

bless, we pray, this unborn child;

give constant protection

and grant a healthy birth

that is the sign of our rebirth one day

into the eternal rejoicing of heaven.

 

Lord, who have brought to this woman

the wondrous joy of motherhood,

grant her comfort in all anxiety

and make her determined

to lead her child along the ways of salvation.

3. It has a blessing for the father

Isn’t it great that Daddy can be a part of this blessing? He needs all the Grace he can get, too!

Lord of all ages,

who have singled out this man

to know the grace and pride of fatherhood,

grant hin courage in this new responsibility,

and make him an example of justice and truth

for this child.

4. It has a blessing for the family

Siblings, grandparents, aunties, cousins…they all play an important role in forming this child. How nice for them to receive a blessing! (Plus, this shows the brothers and sisters–who are often left out– how important they are!)

Lord, endow this family

with sincere and enduring love

as they prepare to welcome this child into

their midst.

 

Lord, you have put into the hearts of all men and

women of  good will

a great awe and wonder at the gift of new life;

fill the parish community

with faithfulness to the teachings of the Gospel

and new resolve to share

in the spiritual formnation of this child in Christ

our savior,

who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

5. It can be used within the Mass or outside of it

I told a priest that this was a nice feature because sometimes a woman hasn’t told anyone that she is expecting yet. If the blessing is done during the Mass, and it is done in a general style (meaning that she doesn’t have to stand up or go to the altar), then she doesn’t call attention to herself. Having a blessing of a baby in the womb during Mass is a great way to witness to the congregation, and encourage people to embrace Life.

Having a blessing outside of Mass (hospital, home, chapel…) is nice, because the whole family could be a part of it, and it could offer a different type of privacy if needed.

(See whole text at the USCCB website)

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Kalley Yanta Speaks Candidly to Cecile Richards of Planned Parenthood

March 28, 2012

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The president of Planned Parenthood, Cecile Richards, asked women to speak out about access to the new women’s birth control benefit. Former news anchor, Kalley King Yanta, answers Ms. Richards’ invitation by letting her voice be heard via You Tube–and boy, does Kalley speak the Truth!

In the video, she explains that the pill does not allow a female to embrace life because of the side effects it has on the lining of the uterus (see second video below). Kalley is very honest about what birth control did to her during what she calls her “Prodigal Daughter Years”–a time when she made unhealthy choices. She bravely states, “It enabled and prolonged my promiscuous lifestyle…until I finally woke up and learned the truth about how the pill works.”

I agree with the comment made by sulu80:

“BRAVO!!! Thank you for your candor and your courage to stand up against the most evil “health care” institution in the world! Thank you for finding your voice and shooting straight from the hip. We need to also pray for the women Cecile Richards exploits. God bless you!”

Another viewer has a good point:

“She is trying to alert women to a medical fact: the pill causes intrauterine death of the conceived child. Most women do not realize this. It is not a religious belief, it is a scientific medical fact that you don’t want to deal with.”

Unfortunately, not all of the comments are positive, however (and the ones I list below were the “clean” ones):

“Kalley smells like a shitty diaper.” (By jongalbreath) and, “Stay out of my lady parts.” (Unknown)

Which brings me to the following reply with which I must agree:

“Man, it saddens me to see the vile comments made here, presumably by those who wave the flag of tolerance continuously. Whatever happened to civility?”

And lastly, ignatius814 stated:

“This is fantastic! Cecile, I’m still waiting for you to post your reply here.”

Watch the video!

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View this educational video about the pill and learn how it is an abortifacient:

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(Please read my other blog about Kalley Yanta’s video series on marriage between one man and on woman by clicking here.)

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“Do Not Be Afraid!”

March 25, 2012

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March 25th marks the date of the Annunciation. It is the day that Gabriel proclaimed the good news to Mary that Christ would be born within her. This year – because the date lands on a Sunday – we are celebrating that feast on March 26th.

I don’t normally see this blog as a place for my personal stories but this day is special  – so bare with me.

It was on March 25th some nine years ago Christ was born within me too.

In 2003 my children were attending a Catholic school.  As part of the Lenten practice, they were offered the sacrament of reconciliation as part of their school day.  Though I was a cradle Catholic and my children attended Catholic School, I had not visited that sacrament since my Confirmation. For me that was when I was in 4th grade!  Prompted by what I now understand as the Holy Spirit, but at the time felt like the guilt of expecting my children to go to confession when I didn’t go myself – I made an appointment to visit the new priest at our church.  The objective of my appointment was to argue with him the teachings of the faith.  Filled with misconceptions and pride,  I descended on this poor priest as if I would be able to convince him to “set the church right.”  At that time I rarely went to Mass, never prayed and and I certainly didn’t know that the date of my appointment fell on the feast day of the Annunciation. I didn’t know what a feast day was and I would have had to look up the word “Annunciation” if I even knew how to spell it.

I would have then called myself a Pro- Choice Catholic! (Who knew that 6 years later I would be working on the Archbishop’s staff as the Respect Life Coordinator.)

What happened at that meeting changed my life.  As Father patiently waited out my arguments on contraception, abortion and the anti- woman establishment that I saw as the Catholic Church, he offered some education, but most of all he offered me compassion.  At one point I remember getting up to leave – I didn’t want to hear what he had to say.
Out of no where he said to me, “Sharon, what are you afraid of?” The words hit me like a ton of bricks.  I sat back down, cried for 5 minutes and entered into a confession – a real confession; a confession of my life, of all my fears and my pain.

When angels appear in the bible – it seems they always start out with the phrase “Do not be afraid. ” Our common idea of angels is  cute little cherubs or gentle looking young men with wings.  But angles – must be awesome – and I don’t mean in the way that we say pizza is awesome.  Fired by the Holy Spirit and carrying the message of God – they appear to us as something we ARE afraid of. Is it the wings of fire, glowing with bright light or with a voice that booms of an orchestra or organ?  What is it that we are afraid of?

Ultimately, I think we are afraid of the message that they bring; the message of knowing ourselves and of seeing ourselves as who we really are.  We are afraid because we cannot comprehend the idea that if anyone knew the real us – the us that only God knows – that we could really be loved in return.  We also are afraid of what God may ask of us if we accept that love and try to return it.

On the day that the angel Gabriel came to Mary and said “Do not be afraid” Mary carried Christ within her for nine months. She carried her love for Him through his death on the cross.

Was she afraid of what God might see in her heart?

Was she afraid of what saying yes to God might mean?
I don’t know, but her  “Fiat” meant that not only would she carry God within her womb, but that God would carry her and would always be with her.

I realize now just how unprepared  I am to carry God within me to anyone. I realize how unqualified I am to work for Life.  I realize how unworthy I am to even receive the Eucharist at Mass. But when I say ‘Yes” I don’t have to be afraid, because like Mary – God carries me too.

So this Lent, I ask – how long has it been since your last confession and “What are you afraid of?”

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A Mother’s Love Saves her Preemie

March 15, 2012

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Little Jamie Ogg and his twin sister were born prematurely last year in Australia. Jamie weighed a mere two pounds and was not breathing. When doctors told his parents that their son didn’t make it, the mom, Kate, cuddled with his lifeless body for two hours, skin-to-skin, which is referred to as “Kangaroo Care”; a practice used in many hospitals today even for healthy newborns.

After receiving two hours of his mother’s love and warmth, Jamie Ogg embraced life by taking a breath and reaching out for his mommy’s finger.

A miracle!

Enjoy this happy video:

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Want to go to a great movie? See ‘October Baby’

March 5, 2012

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This is what Relevant Radio has to say about the film: 

October Baby is a coming of age story of Hannah, a beautiful 19 year old college freshman. In spite of her energetic (if somewhat naïve) personality, Hannah has always felt like an outsider. Something is missing. She has always carried a deep seeded sense that she has no right to exist.

When she discovers she was adopted it comes as a shock, but Hannah’s world is rocked even more when she learns why she was never told before – because she was the survivor of a failed abortion. Desperate for answers, she embarks on a road trip with some friends (including her oldest and closest friend Jason) to find her biological mother. In the process she unexpectedly discovers hope, love and forgiveness.

This uplifting and beautiful film may change the way you look at the world, your loved ones… and life.

Rating:PG-13

Release Date: March 23, 2012

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Is This Whitney Houston Song Pro-Life? I Think So

February 13, 2012

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Licensed under Creative Commons

It sure seems to me like this Whitney Houston song has a pro-life message. I saw this piece posted on Jill Stanek’s blog today, and I was touched. Whitney writes: “How could I throw away a miracle?…When love grows inside you, there’s a miracle in store for you.”

I wish someone could have reached this talented woman and encouraged her to embrace life before it was too late.

Lyrics from her song Miracle which is from her third album “I’m Your Baby Tonight”: 

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How could I throw away a miracle?

How could I face another day?

It’s all of my doing

I made a choice

And, today, I pay

My heart is full of pain

 

How could you understand the way I feel?

How could you relate to so much pain?

Seems as though nothing

Can comfort me

So, today, I pray

That someone should listen

 

For nothing should matter

Not when love grows inside you

The choice is yours

There’s a miracle in store

Nothing should matter

Not when love grows inside you

A voice of love is crying out

“Don’t throw love away”

There’s a miracle in store

 

How could I let go of a miracle?

Nothing could ever take its place

Thought I was looking

Out for myself

Now, it seems the pain

Is all that I have gained

 

I wonder if I could be your miracle

I wonder if I could spare you pain

Seems as though nothing

Will comfort me

Lord, ‘less, today, I pray

That you should come listen

 

Don’t ever throw away your miracle

Don’t let it slip away

So nothing should matter

 

No, nothing should matter

Not when love grows inside you

The choice is yours

There’s a miracle in store

No, nothing should matter

Not when love grows inside you

A voice of love is crying out

“Don’t throw love away”

There’s a miracle in store…for you

 

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Tickled Pink: Thank you Komen!

February 1, 2012

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I was on the phone with Susan G. Komen’s PR person about four years ago. I was working for the Archdiocese at the time, in the Office for Marriage, Family and Life. “Why do you give funding to Planned Parenthood?” I asked her. She stated that the grants they gave helped pay for breast cancer screening. I told her that I thought that was fishy. Interestingly, Live Action News reports:

“In the tapes, a Live Action actor calls 30 Planned Parenthood clinics in 27 different states, inquiring about mammograms at Planned Parenthood. Every Planned Parenthood, without exception, tells her she will have to go elsewhere for a mammogram, and many clinics admit that no Planned Parenthood clinics provide this breast cancer screening procedure. ‘We don’t provide those services whatsoever,’ admits a staffer at Planned Parenthood of Arizona. Planned Parenthood’s Comprehensive Health Center clinic in Overland Park, KS explains to the caller, ‘We actually don’t have a, um, mammogram machine, at our clinics.’  “

However, some claim that Planned Parenhood (PP) does do breast examinations. And Interestingly enough, Planned Parenthood’s own Annual Reports have shown that breast exams have actually decreased at the organization since it began receiving money from Komen.

Whatever the case may be, I’m glad Komen has finally seen the light. For now, they will not renew their grants to PP–like they have the past five years–which totaled hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Why did Komen make this decision?

  • I think one of the reasons Komen has decided to truly embrace life, and turn away from Planned Parenthood, is because of the pressure many people were putting on them for giving to an organization that is guilty of killing millions of pre-born children. When I worked for the Archdiocese, our seminarians at St. John Vianney contacted me with a troubling question: For Lent, these good men were going to go without lunch and donate the money they would have spent (perhaps a total of $25,000) to Komen’s Race for the Cure. But they had heard that Susan G. Komen had ties to Planned Parenthood. Was this true? After I sent them information confirming their fears, they decided to give their sacrificial donation to another charity and voice their frustrations. I was proud of them, and I’m sure they went on to teach this discovery to their flocks.
  • Also, it is important to recognize that this decision came  a few months after a new executive vice president, Karen Handel, was hired at Komen. Handel ran for governor of Georgia in 2010 and was endorsed by Sarah Palin. She is very pro-life and supports pregnancy-help centers. (She’s my new hero!)
  • And, Komen’s new donor requirements do not allow the charity to fund any organization under investigation and Planned Parenthood is currently being investigated for using federal money to fund abortions. But, Komen could reissue grants to Planned Parenthood if nothing comes of the investigation.
Please thank Komen
Anyone who speaks up for life knows that it is not always easy. Staff at this breast cancer charity giant need to be thanked so that they will have the strength and courage to persevere. Please read the letter below–which was sent to me by Sharon Wilson (Coordinator of Life for the Archdiocese)– and let Komen know that you are tickled pink with their life-affirming decision by going into your email and sending your thank you to news@komen.org:

Dear Director,

Yesterday it was announced that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the largest global funder of breast cancer research, has restructured its grant criteria in a way that will effectively defund Planned Parenthood. For many years pro-life individuals and organizations have asked Komen to stop funding the abortion giant.

Komen will, no doubt, receive many emails denouncing its decision. Komen needs to hear from pro-life people who will applaud its decision.

While there may be other issues we will encourage Komen to address, right now they should be affirmed for defunding Planned Parenthood.

Please encourage your networks to write to news@komen.org and say: “Thank you for defunding Planned Parenthood!” It’’s that simple!

Expressions of thanks from you and those in your network will help to ensure more positive changes at Komen in the future.

This will make a huge difference.

Thanks.

Sincerely in Christ,

Tom Grenchik

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