My Lent 2019 Book List Plans

Is this the year you really want to dive into Lent? Do you want to come out of this Lenten Season and truly feel that you've had a small share of living in the desert with Christ for 40 days? I know that I do. Maybe it's an upcoming birthday that's making me have more of a now-or-never type of attitude towards Lent. Or maybe I just acutely feel the necessity of truly modeling this for my children, and living it with my husband. Whatever it is, these are the books and resources I'm going to use this Lent to really LIVE the season from Ash Wednesday all the way through to Easter Vigil. Look them over. If something looks helpful to you, use it. If it inspires you, go with it. I hope all of these bless and encourage you.

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Hillary, Donald and the Abortion Issue

I've had it on my heart to write about this for the past 24 hours.

First I wrote out a rant, then another rant, and then I started to write something that sound like something that belonged in a medical journal. I deleted all of those and gave up.

Then today, the reading in morning prayer was this:
Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear, things that will really help them. Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed against the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ.

So in the spirit of something that I hope will help and not hurt, I offer this post.
On Wednesday night, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were both asked for their views on abortion and on future Supreme Court nominees.

This is from the transcript of Hillary's reply:

Well that is not what happens in these cases and using that kind of scare rhetoric is just
terribly unfortunate. You should meet with some of the women that I've met with,  women I've known over the course of my life. This is one  of the worst possible choices that any woman and her family has to make. and I do not believe that the government should be making it.

You know I've had the great honor travelling across the world on behalf of our country.
I've been to been to countries where  governments either  force women to have abortions like they used to do in  China,  or forced women  to bear children like they used to do in Romania  and I can tell you that the government has no business in the decisions the women have to make with their families in accordance with their faith with medical advice.  I will  stand up for that right

and also this:

Because Roe v. Wade very clearly sets out that there can be regulations on abortion so long as the life and the health of the mother are taken into account. And when I voted as a senator, I did not think that that was the case. The kinds of cases that fall at the end of pregnancy are often the most heartbreaking, painful decisions for families to make. I have met with women who have, toward the end of their pregnancy, get the worst news one could get. That their health is in jeopardy if they continue to carry to term. Or that something terrible has happened or just been discovered about the pregnancy. I do not think the United States government should be stepping in and making those most personal of decisions. So you can regulate if you are doing so with the life and the health of the mother taken into account.

Read more: 

I've talked with women over the years as well.  I know one woman who knew her baby would die shortly after birth and she did everything in her power to keep her pregnancy going until she could not stop labor any more.  Her baby with a trisomy disorder was born, and defied the odds by staying alive for a few weeks before passing away at home. During that time friends visited, they took pictures, people prayed, and they packed as much family life as they could into that short span of time.

I also know of two women who had abortions because there were maternal health complications.

The big question that always comes into the debate, "What about abortion to save the life of the mother?" Below is a video with testimony from an OB/GYN who has performed over 1200 abortions including late term abortions. It's worth a watch to hear it in his own words, but in a brief synopsis, there is never any medical reason for a baby to be dismembered and evacuated from the mother's womb for medical reasons to save the life or health of the  mother. None.  The D&E is not a life saving procedure.

But what about a situation where the mother isn't necessarily facing iminent death, but a potential risk to her health or life, especially if the baby faces a diagnosis that is incompatible with life after birth?

The Catholic church addresses this as Proportional reasoning.  I have had many discussions about elective induction of fetus with anomalies incompatible with life (EIFWAIL) . Those discussions centered around whether a particular pregnancy condition could be treated if the purpose of the treatment is to cure the mother and not kill the child, although the treatment will surely lead to the demise of the child.

Of course, that is what has been described as double effect:

The principle of the double effect is at work in each of these two directives. Actions that might result in the death of a child are morally permitted only if all of the following conditions are met: (1) treatment is directly therapeutic in response to a serious pathology of the mother or child; (2) the good effect of curing the disease is intended and the bad effect foreseen but unintended; (3) the death of the child is not the means by which the good effect is achieved; and (4) the good of curing the disease is proportionate to the risk of the bad effect. Fulfillment of all four conditions precludes any act that directly hastens the death of a child.

The linchpin here is in #4. The risk must be PROPORTIONATE to the risk of the bad effect. EIFWAIL is an elective procedure - the E stands for Elective and that means that it can be chosen or not chosen but in medical terms it is not emergent or even urgent or even immediate. It may not even be the only reasonable course of care.

This does not mean however that the mother has to be at death's door before treatment can be given. For example certainly a mother with cancer of the uterus is licit in having a hysterectomy or undergoing radiation and chemotherapy. My understanding is that it is the proportionate risk that is the key here and not necessarily how currently ill the mother is.

In the past, I was asked what I would have done if this had happened to me.  As a mom who has lost a baby at 23 weeks, and as a mom who has 6 healthy children, I have had a lot of time and reason to contemplate this type of question as it relates to my role as a Catholic wife and mother within the framework of my Catholic Faith.

To me, it doesn't matter if the life I am given to mother lasts a day in the womb or goes on to live 100 years once out of the womb. A life is a life. It is a child given to me. A child that I will have the opportunity to love always, and perhaps get the chance to raise to adulthood, but perhaps not.

Each child is an eternal being of priceless worth. The time on earth is fleeting, the time beyond forever. So to me it does matter whether I get to carry the child for days or months, or if the child is carried to term and dies then. That life is a gift and I would not end it prematurely. My own child I carried inside of me for at least a week when he had already passed. And even carrying his body was a significant gift. I mentioned previously that the word "casket" means the carrier of something precious and I certainly felt that as I carried my child he was still precious and still mine before he was born and I had to submit him for burial.

It does make a difference, even if the outcome could never be the gift of a living child. The time together NOW can still be very precious and a gift if you are open to that.Finally from the articles I have since read and blogged on, it appears that there is NOT a standard set of risks to the mother that will absolutely occur with a doomed pregnancy. Interestingly, when my own child had already passed and I stated that I wanted to wait to deliver on my own, none of the doctors I talked to suggested that there was a grave or urgent need to induce labor quickly.

So what I would do is take a watchful waiting approach. I would write letters to this child for his/her baby book, and to place in the casket. I would buy a special rosary to touch to my child when it is born as a secondary relic. I would certainly keep up regular appointments and watch for signs of a problem, but until that time I would just let nature take its course. Because I did those things with my son, I am content and even have a happy memory of that very sad time in my life.That's what I would do.

Other women have made that choice too.

Which brings us back to our candidates and choice. Hillary seems to have myopic vision when it comes to abortion - as if it is the cure all for whatever is bad for women. And because abortion has become cloaked in the constitution, at least as interpreted by the SCOTUS back in the 70s and protected from that time forward, that seems to be the hill she's willing to die on. But the reality is that even when women do make the difficult decision to end the lives of their babies, even for very serious reasons, there is still a lot of pain and angst about it - even many years later. Abortion doesn't take the pain away.

We don't do death well in this country. We hide it away in hospitals or nursing homes, we make it look pretty in the nursing home, and we try not to deal with it in the meantime. Maybe that's why young women today don't know how to deal with it or how to face it. My 11-year-old and I are reading The Yearling right now, and the author very matter-of-factly discusses the many miscarriage, still births and infant deaths of the main characters. We don't do that any more, and when we do acknowledge it (this is national pregnancy month after all) it's hidden in blue and pink balloons, teddy bears, and baby angels.  Maybe what would really help women is a hospice type service for couples who are facing the loss of a pregnancy, where the baby can be delivered naturally with the parents supported, the baby can die a natural death surrounded by the people that love him, and let the parents grieve on their own timetable without ever having to wonder if they made the right "choice" or wonder years later if the dismemberment of their child was painful.

Neither Donald or Hillary mentioned anything like that. But we can be assured that if Hillary is elected, she won't pursue anything like that either. She will put up more SCOTUS justices who support abortion, any time, any place, for any reason, and no amount of sensible regulation will be allowed to stand if it is even slightly perceived as standing in the way of abortionist and the baby.

For this reason alone, she needs to be stopped, and we need to vote accordingly. A third party candidate, doesn't have a prayer of winning this election. It's unfortunate, but true. Many of my millenial friends, and even some of my own children are voting their consciences and are voting third party.

But I'm old enough now to know that elections have consequences. I used to think those consequences wouldn't have a major impact on my life, but now after living through eight years of the current administration and losing my health care, I know that I can't be that cavalier about it.

 I know Trump is far from being a saint, but his true talent is being able to put the right person in the right job. Imagine a cabinet and SCOTUS that actually reflected pro-life ideals! That's what is at stake in this election.

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    "As a practical matter, we vote to tell everyone else which choice best represents the direction which we want the country to go. When you vote, you gain a certain power that a non-voter doesn’t have; the power to change America.

    "Hence voting lesser evil sends the wrong message; it’s sending a message of compromise. In effect, a defensive vote says “I will settle for a good America, not the best America possible.” I urge you not to settle.

    "Remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten. In other words, if you want change, then create change.

    "Even if once in your life you missed the chance to cast that mythical deciding ballot, the harm from selecting the wrong person in one election is more than offset by a lifetime of giving voter support to the lesser of two evils rather than standing up for what you believe.

    "The history of third parties in America is that they serve as the vanguard for new ideas. It is these ideas that make the world go round. If a Third Party begins to draw votes, one or both of the two big parties steal their ideas."


    1. Thank you for sharing that Alyson. I'm pasting it here for reference.

      What you described I would not call an abortion. You had a pre-term cesarean section delivery to treat your own medical condition. That is totally what the Catholic church would consider the good of curing the disease proportionate to the risk of the bad effect, which would be continuing the pregnancy.

      I'm so sorry that happened to you. In my pregnancy loss resources there are some articles and things that you might find helpful. My own baby is enshrined in the Book of the Life at the Shrine of the Holy Innocents. You could enroll the name of both of your babies there and print of a commemorative certificate for them both. Perpetual prayers are offered for the children in the book and I found that and the certificate to be very helpful in my own healing.

      My own baby died in the womb. I carried him for a while inside of me before I finally went into labor and delivered him. While I was very sad to know that he would not live a long life with us, I savored the time he was inside of me and felt very close to God during that difficult time. After he was born, my husband and I held him for a long time and gazed at his little face. My one regret, and something I never had any control over, was that we didn't get to spend at least a few moments with him alive; my only memories of him are still.

      I wish you much peace.


      I had to have a late term abortion. It was the worst moment in my life. What made it even worse was the State of Utah had made it illegal.
      I had one dead twin. The other had severe Spina Bifida. It was so bad that his brain had developed outside his head, and his spine was open clear to the lumbar level. There was ZERO hope, and no medical miracle that could save him. Our dreams were shattered. These twins were from IVF. I was forty, and there would be no more pregnancies.
      I lay on the hospital floor, bawling hysterically, for twelve hours, waiting for an ethics committee of the health care corporation to decide my case justified what had to be done. My health was in danger due to the dead fetus. My husband and I consulted our LDS Bishop, who assured me I needed to do what I had to do, that it was even within LDS guidelines to do so. He reminded me I had six kids (a blended family) at home who needed their mother to live.
      The abortion was terrible. It was done very gently, by Caesarean section, leaving the babies in their amniotic sacs. The living baby passed very quickly.
      It was horrific. I think it even affected my dear physician, as he had never had to end a pregnancy before. I developed PTSD for which I had to be treated for years, mostly because of the fact I had to have it at all.
      No woman should have to have the state have a say in the most painful decision she will ever make. Nobody is tearing babies apart in late term. They are always humanely done, only in situations where there is a non-viable or severely defective fetus and/or the mother's health is at risk.
      Please don't vote for a candidate or a party that would make these decisions for the women who will die or be forced to carry unviable fetuses to term. This is a decision that is so painful and so terrible. Only the parents of the baby and a physician should be involved in the decision.
      This post is public. Please share it.

  3. Trump's and HIllary's answers were exactly what I thought they were would be, which is why, as much as it makes me shutter, I will be voting Trump. "It will go back to the states". States, one by one, will discuss the moral issue. They will develop guidelines by the people who are elected to represent their smaller groups of people. The consequences may vary. Some states may maintain a much more liberal stand on abortion and others may eliminate it almost completely.

    There are two cases I am familiar with. One is "life and health", which includes ectopic pregnancies. My daughter has had two and both babies had to be removed. That is, medically, an abortion. So the idea of "end to all abortion" is very scary. I think you made the argument here for medical emergencies, but many, including my daughter, fear that the all or nothing approach of the anti abortion movement could kill people like her.

    On the other hand a close friend, who is an OB nurse, did multiple ultrasounds. Her fifth child had no kidneys. It was later in the pregnancy, so she had to go to a different state, pay loads of money and had a D&C abortion. Since the delivery was almost entirely whole, the physical recovery was quick. She and her husband went back to the work of raising a family. It started slowly, but things snowballed quickly. By the end of the year the she and her husband were in divorce proceedings. The abortion, completely destroyed the fabric of their family. It haunts the children (all were in their early tweens and teens), grandparents and aunts and uncles. Things were "complicated still" when a good friend of theirs delivered a baby without kidneys and the baby lived on dialysis until kidneys were placed. "Maybe if" haunts the family.

    Maybe by adding programs like to every hospital, women, like the one above comment, could see the benefit to society of holding on to that baby until natural death. Maybe women, like my daughter will be able to go through the agony of losing babies because they landed in the wrong area, will not have to fear being forced to carry a baby who would kill her. Maybe the use of RU 486- which was used by 5.8 million people last year- will continue to abort fetuses so it looks as if the teen pregnancy rate is all but gone.

    IMHO, we, as a society, have to view all sides. This never should be an "all or nothing" debate.

    And so, we need to have that national discussion again, and Trump seems to be the catalyst.


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