Sunday, November 16, 2008

Consecrated for Battle as a Missionary Servant of the Gospel of Life


To begin my talk let me say I am a convert, having been received into the fullness of Christianity at the Easter Vigil of 1985 at St Michael the Archangel Church. I have always had the understanding, even while a Methodist youth, that Mary or the Virgin Mary as I commonly referred to her, had a very special place in Christianity and in each of our lives. However; if you had asked me then, I would not have been able to verbalize just exactly what that meant.

As I look back on my life, I realize that Mary has taken my hand and led me most of my life even though quite frequently I went kicking and screaming….if at all. As an example, I recall sitting at my kitchen table in approximately 1975, with an old broken rosary in my hand, fumbling through a pamphlet on how to pray the rosary, that I probably picked up at St Michael’s, only to give up in frustration because I knew no one that could help me.

Another example, not quite so obvious, but still I feel the hand of Our Lady was at work…around the same time a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses came to my door. After hearing them out, I said, “I’m sorry, I’m not interested, I’m Catholic”, thinking that would make them go away…but it didn’t, so I finally had to just shut the door in their face. They did however, say to me that I needed to know the truth; and while I knew they did not have the truth, I realized, I did need to know what the truth was. About the same time Pat Robertson of the 700 Club said basically the same thing, so I began to consume the New Testament. After about 5 times of reading through, only being able to understand bits and pieces of it and not being able to make any kind of cohesive sense out of any of it, the passage “you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the Hell shall not prevail against it” hit me up side the head like a 2x4 and I instantaneously knew the Catholic Church was truly the Church established by Jesus Christ.

You’d think I would have immediately gone to my local Catholic Church and inquired about becoming Catholic. Not so, it took another 8-10 years and 3 attempts at Instructions before finally entering the Church. I tell you these things because, I see in all of this the hands of the Blessed Virgin and the battle that rages around us both seen and unseen.

When thinking about what it means to me to be consecrated to Our Lady under the title of the Immaculate Conception as a Missionary Servant of the Gospel of Life, I consider three passages of scripture. The first is Gen 3:15, which says “Then the LORD God said to the serpent: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel.” The second passage is Rev 21:1 which tells us “A great sign appeared in the sky; a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.” And finally Rev. 12:17 says, “Then the dragon became angry with the woman and went off to wage war against the rest of her offspring, those who keep God’s commandments and bear witness to Jesus.”

From these passages it is very clear we are at war. We can see the spiritual and physical dimensions of this battle of the culture of life versus the culture of death from the beginning of creation.

As a consecrated daughter of “the woman” the Immaculate One, I put on her Mantle and in doing so take on a larger portion of the battle and share more intimately with Her and the Cross of Christ. While listening always to the Blessed Mother as she whispers to me “Do whatever he tells you,” I recognize the foundation of my consecration as a missionary is spiritual; which nourishes me to fulfill the demands of the physical aspect of the battle raging in our midst.

I listen to my Mother as she says “Do whatever He tells you” and I listen to Jesus as He says "You shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.” It is only in an intimate loving relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ through prayer, frequent participation in the celebration of Mass, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, reception of the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession and all that our rich Catholic tradition contains—that we have a solid foundation upon which to defeat the evil of the culture of death.

Then nourished with the Sacraments and once again listening to my Mother say “Do whatever He tells you” I hear Jesus as He says “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” and the door opens for me to actively commit to a life of service…

Another aspect of this life of service is being ever vigilant in developing the missionary virtues that make me most effective in announcing the coming of the kingdom of God…especially through actions and when necessary through words. They also help me to confront the culture of death and the challenges it presents.

This means since Our Lady is the model par excellence of living a life of virtue, I must follow her example as she teaches me to practice SIMPLICITY. I must speak the truth in its fullness, but always with love to those around me who suffer from the very choices they make which contradict God’s law and will. I must do everything for the love of God alone letting no one or no thing come first. I must strive to be unattached to comforts and possessions, understanding they have no place in the kingdom of God and any attachment to such things will lead me away from God and His plan for my life and the love I am to give and the service I am to do for His people.

I must ask Our Lady to teach me to be HUMBLE and obedient; to understand that I am a mere speck and everything good that I have and everything good that I do or ever will do is from God. At the same time I need to understand as long as I remain in God’s grace and strive to know Him, love Him and serve Him daily, He will lead me where He wants me to be. I must also avoid the noise and distraction of this world and seek silence, because it is only in quiet meditation and reflection that God’s voice can be heard.

I must ask Our Lady to show me the way of MEEKNESS gentleness and serenity toward those who approach me. I must ask for a portion of the strength she showed during Our Lords Passion in suffering quietly with forgiveness, in all instances of persecution, rejection and mocking; offering it all to the Father.

In following Our Lady’s example of MORTIFICATION I must remember she did not understand everything that was going on in her life, things did not always look very good, but she remained faithful, humble and obedient to the will of God. In the same way I must ask Mary to help me when I am confused and disappointed with the way the things in this world seem to be going. I must ask for strength to stay on course, not to be discouraged, but to continue on in the good fight. To keep upper most in my mind “the offspring of Mary win the battle”.

I must also look to Our Lady to teach me how to be ZEALOUS for the things of God and the souls of His children. I must ask for the strength to be willing to go anywhere and do anything for Christ and His Church.

It is very clear to me, Mary is my Mother and she has been “raising” me so to speak in the spiritual life. Without Our Blessed Lady, I would never have come to know and love Jesus and desire to serve Him as I do. She has lifted me up out of the gutter and has led me to, and in many instances pulled me along, to all that is good and true. Without Our Lady I would never have known the many good, faithful and holy people that I know. And, without Our Lady, I would not be here today sharing these thoughts with you.

Finally I’d like to say, while my Catholic faith is the most precious gift God has given me, the fact He has chosen me to share in this privileged calling to serve Him in this very special way by being consecrated to His Mother under the title of the Immaculate Conception as a Missionary Servant of the Gospel of Life, is so indescribably awesome, I really cannot put to words. The only thing I can really say to describe my feelings for Our Lady is to say; I love Her, I honor Her and I venerate Her, She is my Mother and my Queen. She is the General of an army and is adorned in battle array. I have been called to join Her army, and thank God I have been given the grace to say “yes”.

Friday, October 24, 2008

America's Choice 2008


This video is designed especially for undecided Christian voters. It is suitable for all ages and there are no graphic images. The goal here is to give American citizens a solid grasp of where Senators McCain and Obama really stand on the life issue, using their own words.

Millions of young lives depend on our election-day decisions. Over 35 years of hard won pro-life battles could be reversed if voters remain uninformed — especially Christian voters who alone could reclaim the rights of the unborn on November 4th.

Please help get the word out.

http://www.gloria.tv/?video=y6eo5z6hzhqufvtqd6jh
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Friday, October 17, 2008

It is Not About Party Affiliation


I have recently had two e-mail discussions concerning the upcoming election and I would like to share my part of the discussion.

This election is not and never has been about party affiliation. There are many issues being bandied about but the fact we need to recognize is; our "elected public servants" need to understand the difference between "serving the people" and "killing the people". Currently our country legally kills 1 pre-born person every 20 seconds.  Many of us need to WAKE UP!  Our Triune God who is the very essence of Love and Justice, will not allow those who turn their head, look the other way and do nothing to defend or speak up for the defenseless unborn, to go unpunished! 

1) The Catholic Church has a God given right and duty to teach faith and morals. The Church is not telling anyone how to vote, but it is telling everyone how to remain in communion with Jesus Christ.

2) While economy, health care and the Iraq issue etc. are real and we can disagree upon how to best deal with them....currently they are really a very clever diversion to the fundamental right to life.

The problem we now have of legalized abortion, began with Margaret Sanger and her program of eugenics...getting rid of the "human weeds," (Margaret Sanger), through Planned Parenthood; then we have Kinsey and his perverted sex study; then we have the sexual revolution of the 60's and in 1968 we have Pope Paul VI courageously warning the world if Humanae Vitae were not taken seriously, everything we see now ...abortion (the ultimate child abuse), degradation of women, family breakdown, violence toward women and children, sexual perversion of every kind...would become rampant.

The fact that anyone demonstrates by casting his or her vote, in favor of not only abortion by any means through all 9 months of pregnancy, but also votes that a baby surviving an abortion has no right to life, disqualifies him or her from receiving the support of anyone of good will. This history of a pro-abortion, anti-life stand constitutes a major flaw in the character of this person and disqualifies him or her from playing any role in making decisions that will ultimately affect the lives of families, since this person has already demonstrated they have no problem with the killing of the most innocent and defenseless of family members.

While voting is one extremely important way to help bring about an end to abortion, the pro-life cause is truly quite complex and is about respecting the dignity and sanctity of every human life from the moment of conception to natural death. It is also about education; of teaching chastity, modesty of dress, morals, family unity and values;  helping struggling men, women and children in a variety of ways; respecting ones parents and caring for them physically, emotionally and spiritually as they enter their last days here on earth; bringing healing back to the lives of hurting people, helping our country to return to wholesomeness and showing others the peace and joy found in knowing,loving and serving Jesus Christ.

Ultimately the only way any of the issues being discussed in this election will be rightly affected will be when enough people are on their knees and in communion with Jesus Christ.

For this reason people (particularly Catholics) need to put away their relativistic ideas and opinions and take heed to the moral teaching of Jesus Christ through His Church.

“The greatest destroyer of peace today is abortion, because it is a war against the child — a direct killing of the innocent child — murder by the mother herself. And if we accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another?”
— Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta

View the PDF link below for a detailed explanation of what I have very briefly and inadequately covered.

Let's continue praying for one another and the election.

http://alumni.belmontabbeycollege.edu/votersguide
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video

Monday, October 13, 2008

Knowing, Loving and Serving Jesus Christ


Stewardship Talk, October 11 & 12, 2008

Knowing, Loving and Serving Jesus Christ
Patricia Arthur, October 10, 2008

 

What I would like to convey in this talk is that stewardship is really all about knowing, loving, and serving Jesus Christ.

As I was preparing for this talk I ran across a document called An Invitation to Help Change the World.  I found that the “Invitation to Stewardship”, is an invitation from Christ.  It is a call to everyone, everywhere to renew the face of the Earth. This is a call to listen to the voice of the Holy Spirit speaking of gratitude and responsibility.  Stewardship is not simply making donations or taking care of the building and grounds.  Although it is that, it is much, much deeper, very profound and the rewards are far greater than the sacrifice. It is a spirituality—a way of life—made up of the following four parts:

  • Receiving the gifts of God with gratitude
  • Cultivating them responsibly
  • Sharing them lovingly in justice with others, and
  • Standing before the Lord in a spirit of accountability

It is up to us to determine how we will live out this stewardship way of life.

We should think of God's gifts in broader terms, not simply the material goods or security we may enjoy…but the broader gifts of God are:

  • Our faith, hope, love, and joy
  • Our family love and relationships with others
  • Our time, intelligence, talents, and skills
  • Our imagination, compassion and  vision; and
  • Creation in all its splendor

Our Catholic tradition teaches us at all times in our lives, we have an opportunity—and a responsibility—to share what we have been given.

Stewardship begins with remembering our Baptism, when we became followers of Jesus Christ. Everyone has a calling, which is another way of saying that our walk with God is personal.

I realized it is not by accident that our Archdiocese is having the Parish Vocation Cross Initiative at this particular time. We are all encouraged to consider responding generously to God's call to a priestly or religious vocation, as well as to the sacred single or sacred married life.

As Catholic stewards we are also called to take care of the world around us:

  • We are called to work as partners with God in the redemption of the world.
  • We are called to respect human life and dignity.
  • We are called to protect the natural environment.
  • We are called to share our gifts of time, talent, and treasure with others, and,
  • We are called to communicate our enthusiasm.

When we spend time in prayer and reflection upon Scripture we can recognize our gifts from God. Then we will discover how best to use those gifts for the benefit of others—and of course, invite others to discern and share their gifts, also.

It is an incredible challenge to live in imitation of the life of Christ. We all face obstacles, opportunities, and challenges, living in a fast-paced society with many responsibilities.

Nourished by the Sacraments of Holy Communion and Confession along with our rich Catholic tradition—the door opens for us to actively commit to a life of gratitude and responsibility; to thank God for his endless gifts, and then to decide what we can do to help the world. When we accept God’s call to stewardship we can expect, that He who is the giver off all gifts will not be outdone in generosity.  Through the gift of His grace we can expect to be rewarded by:

  • Making a difference in people's lives
  • Becoming an active member of a fulfilling Catholic community
  • Discovering talents inside us, waiting to be used
  • Letting go of our worries and setting realistic goals in our spiritual, family and work life and,
  • Experiencing the amazing increase in God's presence that comes with a partnership with the Lord

The call to stewardship that I have felt in my own life is a commitment to giving honor and glory to God through pro-life and pro-family ministries and it is a serious business, because life is a serious enterprise that has supernatural and eternal consequences. It is a commitment to respond to the evil of the culture of death that dominates our modern society.

The foundation of all pro-life work is spending time with Jesus in prayer; especially in front of the Blessed Sacrament.  To solidly establish our Gabriel Project Ministry at St Ann’s and St Joseph’s Parishes we began a monthly day of Adoration before the Blessed Sacrament, specifically for the Gabriel Project and for an end to abortion and sins committed against life.

The help and support the Gabriel Project offers to women experiencing a difficult pregnancy, provides an opportunity for many of these women to “choose life” for their babies.   Without our emotional, spiritual and material support; many of these women may feel as if they have “no choice” but to seek the services of one of the abortion facilities in the city.  Gabriel Angel volunteers show love and compassion to these women and their babies, whose own families may have abandoned them or may be encouraging them to seek an abortion.

Not long ago we had a weekend to sign-up for 40 Days for Life which is a focused pro-life effort that consists of: 40 days of prayer and fasting, peaceful vigil, and community outreach.  While all aspects of 40 Days for Life are crucial in our effort to end abortion, the most visible component in our community is the peaceful prayer vigil outside the Planned Parenthood facility located at 86th and Georgetown Road.

While Father Glenn and I were at the abortion site Friday, I turned to see a car leaving the facility.  A young man….really a boy, was driving and the girl sitting in the passenger seat was obviously sobbing hysterically.  I could see her arms and upper body sort of flinging around and tears came to my eyes as I shared her pain. 

No talk on Pro-Life would be complete without acknowledging the enormous amount of work that Sister Diane Carollo, S.G.L. does on the Archdiocesan level through the Office for Pro-Life Ministry.  She has a roster of about 50 active volunteers, but needs many, many more to continue her work and add additional programs to the Pro-Life ministry.

The Pro-Life Office is committed to promoting the Gospel of Life in its fullness.  Through evangelization and education contemporary life issues are addressed.  The topics of abortion, embryonic stem cell research, reproductive cloning, capital punishment, euthanasia and end of life issues, are included routinely in communications with individuals, parishes and groups.   Respect Life packets are distributed throughout the archdiocese thereby encouraging year-round education and evangelization in the local parishes.

The Pro-Life Office also conducts outreach to mothers and their infants referred to us for material assistance by social service agencies, hospitals and clinics throughout the city.  Annually, Birthline volunteers serve thousands of poor women and babies by providing material resources.

Another aspect of the Birthline ministry involves outreach to abortion-minded women on the crisis hotline.  Telephone volunteers communicate to pregnant women that human life is sacred, and that the life of the unborn child is precious in God’s sight.  Hundreds of expecting women have been presented with life-giving options on the Birthline hotline in the past six years.

Another significant pastoral outreach of the Pro-Life Office is to women and men suffering from the aftermath of abortion.  Trained volunteers serve as facilitators, spiritual companions, retreat directors and support personnel for Rachel’s Companions, Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats and Rachel’s Network.  These post-abortion ministries focus on reconciliation, healing and peace, in our Catholic tradition.

The Pro-Life Office promotes and schedules the Mass for the Helpers of God’s Precious Infants apostolate which is celebrated at St. Michael’s, the third Saturday of each month. This month on October 18th Father Glenn will be the celebrant.

In January of each year, hundreds of youth from the archdiocese participate in the Rally and

March for Life in Washington, D.C., on the anniversary of Roe Vs. Wade. In the nation’s capital, our youth join tens of thousands of other young people from across the country to peacefullyand prayerfully protest legalized abortion.

Pro-Life seems to be my passion in life, what is yours?  We can all do something…we can all do more.  There are many, many ways we can each give of ourselves and our time.  There are many ministries through which we can serve God by giving of ourselves, whether it be the Prayer Chain, Monthly Adoration, Track Work, Working at the Festival….wherever God’s call leads us.  All we need to do is look around or open our Church Directory to see a list of things to choose from.  We need also to recognize that giving with equal measure of our time and our talent is really just another aspect of the Legacy for Our Mission, it is another part of what we are going to leave for Our Children and the Future.

I’d like to end with a couple of quotes.  Mother Theresa said, “Jesus made it very clear. Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do it to me. “

 And finally Mother Angelica says, “We are all called to be great saints…don’t miss the opportunity.”

 

References used:  An Invitation to Help Change the World, Msgr. William P. Fay, General Secretary, USCCB, (November 12, 2003).

 

 

 

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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Pro-life meeting

"Planned Parenthood is the number one enemy of unborn babies, and of American families," declared Eric Scheidler, Communications Director of the Pro-Life Action League, at the conclusion of a closed-door summit of pro-life leaders on September 18 on how to confront Planned Parenthood. The summit was the first of its kind, drawing pro-life leaders from across the nation to share strategies for defending American families from Planned Parenthood. This meeting had many interesting aspects to it. One of the leaders Joe Scheidler commented about how great it was to see young people at the meeting. so now the question. How do we get all of the younger generation involved. Many of the teens I know their parents grew up in the lie of Contraception and the lie of abortion. So they will try to spread that lie to their children but now it is our turn to teach the younger generation about the truth. There are more and more of the younger generation being feed up by the results of this lie and searching for the truth now we need to start to help them understand how to live that truth. As future priest it will be part of what you are dealing with for if we don't get the message of not doing it out then we have to go through the healing processes with them. Either way we will be dealing with these issues how great it is to save someone before they are hurt by it.

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Padre Pio

As priest and future priest it is always good to have an example of someone who is living around our times and was able to follow Christ so beautifully in his life. One of the aspects that we sometimes overlook was his obedience to Christ. There were times where people saw what the Church was doing to Padre Pio as a great injustice but when we see how he followed what they wanted done even if he didn’t like his obedience became an example to all. Padre Pio became Saint Padre Pio because of this. There will be many times where we might not understand why something is being asked of us but when we follow that example we too can show others how to live as examples of obedience in the world today.

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40 days for life

There are different pro-life events going on through out the US one of the is the 40 days for life. Many of these programs can be good if for nothing else then awareness, and to help people get involved in the pro-life movement so it is good to see what these are before we dismiss them. Here is what the 40 days for life is about.

Abortion is a topic that most people shy away from because it is such a 'touchy' subject. But if we all were informed with the truth of abortion, and the harm it is doing to our society, then I believe more people would be passionately pro-life. Many people want a society of "choice" but what this "choice" is resulting in is everyday thousands of innocent babies are denied life. Thousands of women suffer in silence because others tell them its 'no big deal'. We need to stand up for what is right, and that is what 40 Days for Life is all about. 40 DAYS FOR LIFE IS A FOCUSED PRO-LIFE CAMPAIGN WHICH THROUGH PRAYER, FASTING, AND PEACEFUL VIGIL AIMS TO END ABORTION IN AMERICA. ♥ PRAYER:Praying for the unborn, for women who are hurting physically and emotionally, for abortionists and anyone involved in abortions is so necessary and powerful. During these 40 days please turn your prayers to the safety of the unborn and the conversion of hearts of those who support abortion.FASTING:Fasting is a powerful form of prayer and sacrifice. It can include anything such as giving up a certain food, abstaining from alcohol, spending less time watching TV, on the internet, or anything that distracts you from God. Fasting helps us to reach beyond our own limitations with God's help.CONSTANT VIGIL:An important part of 40 Days for Life includes constant vigil outside an abortion clinic or planned parenthood facility. This is a powerful witness to the clinic's patients, doctors, nurses, and to the community that we will not be silent about the harmful truth of abortion. I understand that this aspect of 40 Days for Life isn't for everyone. But I encourage you to at least participate with us in prayer and fasting, because God can work miracles through those devotions. The campaign is from September 24th through November 2nd.

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Sex Ed issues

There are many issues that as Priest we have to be aware of in the pro-life area one of them is how Sex Ed is being pushed by Planned Parenthood. There are many dangers with how they are doing this. So here is a good article to kind of bring us along in what is happening out there. by Katie Walker Released September 15, 2008WASHINGTON, D.C. (15 September 2008) – "Planned Parenthood's sex education programs for even the youngest kids are equivalent to sex abuse," said American Life League Vice President Jim Sedlak. The nation's largest abortion chain released a commercial September 12, claiming Illinois legislation that would have taught sex education to kindergartners was actually designed to protect kids from child predators. "Planned Parenthood is the real predator," Sedlak said. "Planned Parenthood has been promoting their agenda via sex ed programs from the very beginning. These programs have plagued our society for almost fifty years, and have fueled the hedonistic culture that is killing our kids." Planned Parenthood's former medical director, Dr. Mary S. Calderone, cofounded the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States in 1964. The organization is the dominant force designing sex education programs in the United States. Since 1964, sex education has permeated public school districts across the nation. Recently, legislation, like Illinois Senate Bill 99 in 2003, has targeted sex education at even the youngest school children, under the guise of teaching them to guard against sexual predators. The National Center for Health Statistics reported in July 2008 that teen pregnancy rates are going up for the first time since 1991. Many blame Planned Parenthood's campaign to get states to refuse abstinence funding. Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, issued a statement in March 2008, admitting one in four teenage girls has an STD. Dr. Melvin Anchell, noted author of A Psychoanalytic Look at Today's Sex Education, said one reason for this shift is that that sex education disrupts natural, healthy mental and emotional growth. "If misguided adults, sex educators or child molesters cause the child to linger in these … sensual stages, an arrest in further sexual growth may occur." Sedlak agrees."Planned Parenthood's calculated targeting of young children jeopardizes kid's emotional and psychological health," he said "Despite the detrimental effects of sex education, the abortion business continues to shove these programs down the throats of our youngest and most innocent children. It's time we stand with parents to end Planned Parenthood's sex abuse."

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From Contraceptions to Abortifacients

This excerpt from the Facts of Life by Brian Clowes helps us to see where the battle on Contraception is going. It is important to realize some of these difference so when we are talking to people we might be able to give them a better answer then it is all the same.

The Future of Pro-Life Activism. The current paramount objective of "reproductive" research is to find the ideal abortifacient — one that will kill the preborn child every time without side effects to the woman. This emphasis on abortifacients, rather than contraceptives, has come about because abortifacients in general eliminate or greatly reduce user error, whereas contraceptives, which always remain under the control of the user, have much higher failure rates than abortifacients and are therefore less effective. In other words, abortifacients are much more efficient at ending pregnancies than contraceptives are at preventing them. The average user effectiveness rates of oral contraceptives, IUDs, Norplant and Depo-Provera are about 94 percent, and the average user effectiveness rates of the male and female condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms and sponge are only about 83 percent. This means that as women change their preferences from surgical abortion to chemical abortion, the future of pro-life activism lies not as much outside the abortion mills as it does inside and outside the major pharmaceutical corporations. Of course, no matter how effective abortifacients are at killing preborn children, just as they did with contraception, pro-abortionists will demand surgical abortion as a "backup." After all, abortifacients have been freely available since the mid-1960s, but have not significantly affected the abortion rate. This means that we will always have abortion mills — at least, until the law or public outrage shuts all of them down.

This is what they want us to believe about the Planned Parenthood ideas.

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The Vatican on youtube