Yes, this is quite the unusual title for a blog post. This title comes from a talk I heard Abby Johnson give at the 40 Days for Life symposium that my husband and I attended last weekend in Orlando. I was so inspired by the talks of many former abortion workers that I wanted to write a blog post to share the inspiration to our local 40 Days for Life family.
Before I tell you about the symposium, I just want to preface this post by saying that throughout this summer, as I continue with my weekly prayer/outreach shift on Thursdays mornings at Planned Parenthood, I had been having some doubts as to whether or not it is wise to continue with a prayer vigil in the heart of downtown Pittsburgh. Things are just not the same since Covid. It just doesn’t feel as safe as it used to be. I also had an un-nerving experience a few weeks ago as I was driving across the Fort Pitt Bridge. I looked in my rearview mirror and saw the driver behind me taking pictures of my car (my license plate maybe?). It was even more disturbing because this person had a mask on her face, which covered her entire face, including her forehead. It was green and had a protruding snout on it…almost like a military gas mask. The rear of my car is covered with pro-life/pro-faith bumper stickers so I suspected that was why she was taking pictures. After she got her photo, she zoomed around me and took off on the downtown exit. When I got home I told my husband about it, and he advised me to remove the bumper stickers from my car…especially since I frequently have my grandkids with me. At first I agreed and said I would do it. But then….I went to see the movie, “Sound of Freedom” on the Fourth of July. If you haven’t seen it, I highly recommend it! It was not difficult to watch, as I had feared it would be. It was actually very inspiring to watch the courage of the real-life hero, Tim Ballard as he risked his life going into the most dangerous jungles of Columbia ALONE…in order to rescue a little girl from sex slavery. His personal sacrifice to quit his job with the government, just a few months shy of a pension…in order to start his own rescue organization to break up child trafficking rings…made me feel ashamed that I had even entertained the thoughts of taking those bumper stickers off my car! I came home and told my husband that if Tim Ballard can risk his life…when he had a wife and 6 small children at home…in order to rescue children from sex slavery…then I can certainly drive around with pro-life bumper stickers on my car. And we can continue our 40 Days for Life prayer vigils in front of Planned Parenthood in downtown Pittsburgh as well!
NOTE: We will be hiring security in order to keep our vigil participants safe…if we can raise the money. If you would like to donate, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will tell you how to donate.
So, my blog reflection today is all about how we inspire one another when we courageously and selflessly think of others before our own comfort and security. I now happily share the inspiration that I received from the heroes who spoke at last weekend’s 40 Days for Life symposium. Read on to find out what potato chips, pistachio nuts and strawberry shortcake have to do with abortion…and why it is so important for us to continue this spiritual battle to end it! I hope they motivate and inspire you as they did me:
First of all, we heard from Mark Houck. He is a 40 Days for Life participant in Philadelphia that our Department of Justice (or as Mark calls them, “the Department of INJUSTICE”), tried to make an example of by sending the FBI to his house and arresting him at gunpoint last fall. I am sure all of us in the pro life movement are already familiar with his story, but we got to hear him tell the entire story and it was amazing! Even my husband, who usually is not very interested in hearing speakers…he was glued to his seat, listening intently to every word that Mark spoke. Mark detailed the insanity of the entire ordeal…including his harsh treatment during his arrest and interrogation. The part of his story that struck me the most was when he told us that the six hours that they had him shackled, (wrists, waist and ankles)…to the interrogation table…was the best six hours of his life!!! He said he experienced an intense joy and felt completely united to Jesus during that time. He said that his will was never more conformed to the will of God as it was during those six hours of interrogation. That both surprised and inspired me!
The second thing he said that made the most impact on me was when he went to trial. The DOJ has a 98% conviction rate…and so he believed that he most likely would go to jail…leaving his wife and seven children without his support. He was even asking his lawyers if after his conviction he would be allowed to spend some time with his children to say goodbye before they took him away. His attorneys couldn’t assure him of that. But then…amazingly…he was offered a sweet plea deal! All he had to do was plead guilty of the charges…and he wouldn’t go to jail. He wouldn’t even have to pay a fine! Wow! I mean, that was an answer to prayer, right? Well, no. You see, his wife told him “no”. She told him that he wasn’t guilty and so he was not going to plead guilty, even if he had to go to prison. Why? Because the DOJ wanted him to plead guilty so they could establish precedent…in order to be able to prosecute MORE pro-lifers in the future! And to enable them to continue to terrorize and intimidate us to stay home and not go to abortion clinics to pray! So, just as Tim Ballard didn’t think about his own safety or the security of his pension with the government (also by the way…at HIS wife’s command!)…Mark Houck was willing to go to prison…to sacrifice himself for the rest of us. He was willing to go to jail so that we could continue with our pro-life work on the sidewalks!
You know the rest of the story, I am sure. After a jury of his peers deliberated for only ONE HOUR…he was fully exonerated and won his freedom! With much emotion and gratitude, at the moment the verdict was read, Mark looked at the judge and said a heartfelt “THANK YOU!”. But the judge just looked back at him and said, “No, thank YOU!!!”
The courage of one man, Mark Houck, has served to inspire many pro lifers, Christians, patriots and all lovers of justice and freedom…which our nation has always stood for. It is a privilege to have met and heard Mark’s story and I hope it inspires you as it did me.
Next, I was inspired to hear Dr. Haywood Robinson, MD, former abortionist and now part of 40 Days for Life’s national team give a talk about the spiritual nature of abortion. He spoke about how the abortion workers are not our enemies. They are victims of our true enemy, which is Satan.
The most moving part of his talk was when he demonstrated how our prayers are heard by God, and how beautiful it is when we all unite our prayers. He called up four or five team members (including another former abortion worker)...who each spoke a different language. One at a time he asked each to begin to pray in their own language. The first one began in English, and while he was still praying the next began to pray in Spanish. As they two of them continued praying, the third began in an Asian language, and the last two joined in with other languages. As their prayers blended to create a beautiful background harmony, Dr. Haywood continued with his talk about how God hears us and surrounds us with His protection as we pray and work to rescue babies, moms and dads and abortion workers from destruction. It was so moving to watch!
Lastly, I was inspired by the talk of Abby Johnson, former Planned Parenthood director. And now we come to the Title of this blog post, “Potato Chips, Pistachios, Strawberry Shortcake…and ABORTION?” I will explain:
You see, Abby usually is very up-beat and funny in her talks. I have seen and heard her many times in the past, and always love hearing her talk. But this one was different. It was much more serious and sobering. She spoke about the hundreds of former abortion workers that she works with to help find healing…spiritually and emotionally. She said that many of them, including herself, suffer from PTSD. Their trauma can be triggered by seemingly random things. For instance, there is a woman who attends the healing retreats that cannot be around anyone eating potato chips because the sound of the crunching chips reminds her of the sound the babies skulls made as the doctors would crush them with the forceps.
Abby said she learned that she cannot have pistachio nuts at her healing retreats because the cracking open of the shells triggers memories of the baby’s tiny bodies being cracked open as they are reassembled on the trays in the POC room.
Another converted abortion worker found out the hard way that she can no longer serve strawberry shortcake to her family…as she was sent into a full blown panic attack when she went to pour the red strawberry gel onto the cake…and instead of strawberries, saw the red goo that she would empty out of the suction canisters.
Abby herself was sent into a PTSD panic attack just recently, when she received a gift that someone sent her of a styrofoam cooler of Omaha Steaks. As she opened the cooler and the smoke of the dry ice hit her face, she was taken back to the time when she would pack the baby’s organs and bodies into similar coolers to be sent to the labs for research.
All of this reminded me of the seriousness and the necessity of our work on the sidewalk. I realize that we need to be able to laugh and to enjoy Christian fellowship with each other…that is a good thing! We do receive much joy when doing this work for God…that is for sure! But at the same time, we cannot allow ourselves to forget the reality of what it is that we are up against. This is not a battle against flesh and blood, but against principalities and powers of darkness. These workers are experiencing things similar to those who worked in the German concentration camps. It kills their souls…unless they are converted and rescued.
You know, it isn’t really the blood and gore that the abortion workers see that causes the trauma. I mean, my own daughter is a surgical assistant and takes part in the most gruesome of surgeries…I don’t know how she does it. She sees people die all the time. She sees blood, organs, infections and really gross stuff. But it is not traumatic to her because she is not taking part in anything that is wrong. Normal surgeries are not wrong. They are meant to heal. And so, when abortion workers experience the same blood and gore that my daughter sees on a daily basis…it really does not traumatize them either…BECAUSE THEY DO NOT BELIEVE THAT IT IS WRONG. It is only after the Grace of God is able to penetrate their wounded and hardened hearts…that the Light of Truth enters into them…that they realize the horror of what they did. It is then that they are traumatized.
God always heals and restores. He brings good from evil. He uses 40 Days for Life to do just that. Here are just a few photos from the symposium that show the joy that God brings us through this pro life work:
That’s all of the photos…sorry that I am so bad about remembering to take pictures! But I hope I was able to share some of the joy and inspiration that I received at this symposium, and I hope you will use this inspiration to convict you of the need to take part in our fall 40 Days for Life campaign.
We will kick off the campaign with a Mass at Divine Mercy Parish, Epiphany Church, on Tuesday, September 26th, followed by a Eucharistic Procession to Planned Parenthood. The fall campaign runs from September 27th through November 5th. It will be important to maintain a constant prayer vigil for these 40 days, so that the light of Christ can shine into this most darkest place, so that lives and souls may be saved!
Thank you and may God bless you!