Every Life is a Gift: Shockwaves Initiative

 

Guest blog post by Georgette Forney & Janet Morana

When Robin Williams committed suicide last fall, the United States experienced a collective sense of grief that generated thousands of comments on social media outlets for an extensive period of time.

Why were people so strongly impacted by William’s death?

When death touches us personally, its impact is felt much deeper and it leaves a permanent hole where our love for that person resided. Even though the vast majority of people grieving for Robin Williams did not personally know him, we connected with his characters like Mrs. Doubtfire or Mork from Ork!  He was like family, and he brought us joy.

Over the last six years, the Silent No More Awareness Campaign has seen a similar phenomenon happening with families who have been impact by the death of an unborn child.

March For Life 2014This year the Silent No More Awareness Campaign is launching the Healing the Shockwaves of Abortion to help those who are grieving this type of loss.  This year long initiative has a special focus each month on a target population impacted by abortion such as grandparents, siblings, and immediate and extended  family members, abortion providers and a special emphasis in February and October on minority communities who are especially devastated by abortion loss.  We hope to raise awareness, heal and restore the connection they are missing for their family member lost to abortion.  Though our zip code based healing website abortionhealing.org  all touched by abortion can find healing resources and the forgiveness and peace that grieving and memorializing the aborted child can bring to a family.

The typical pattern after the procedure is that abortions are kept a secret. Whether it was the mother’s, father’s or the couples decision, the experience is kept hidden with hopes that the pain and grief will go away by denying it light. But secrets tend to gnaw at the heart and lead to painful ways to express the hurt, such as anger, depression, eating disorders, and addictions to numb the hurt. This secret pain of the abortion Shockwaves sometimes even destroys marriage and family relationships.

Testimonies of those who have had abortions describe how abortion creates a sense of isolation, feeling like they are the only one hurting, while healing can restore connection and a sense of unity amongst family members.  As people in a family heal from an abortion loss, relationships and love can once again flourish.

M4L_Generic_Meme10Every life is a gift but when a life is denied…everyone is denied the joy of knowing and interacting with that person. Look around your family. What would life be like without one of your grandchildren or siblings or nieces or nephews? Or is someone already missing in your family and painful secrets are keeping walls erected between you?

This year as the March ends at the Supreme Court we will have an historic launching of our Shockwaves Initiative with a special gathering reflecting the various target groups for our year long project.  For the first time, joining the mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents and friends holding signs and sharing testimonies of their abortion loss at the steps of the Supreme Court, we will have a former abortionist, Anthony Levatino sharing his testimony and standing with all those impacted by the Shockwaves of abortion.  Join us for this historic gathering after the March for Life.

This is why we march – we want people to realize abortion scatters hearts but healing gathers them back together.

Please visit abortionshockwaves.com for more information.

 

KIDS: Keep Infants with Down Syndrome

 

Guest blog post by Leticia Velasquez, Co-founder of KIDS (Keep Infants with Down Syndrome) and author of “A Special Mother is Born.”

Dating sites are very popular these days. You fill out a profile and find your ideal mate for life. Naturally, most profiles are a bit flattering, “energetic, attractive man who loves candlelit dinners and walks on the beach. . . .” Imagine a profile with no photo and the following description: I have mental delays and physical challenges including; heart defects, low muscle tone, hearing loss, visual impairment, spinal instability, increased tendency towards obesity and leukemia, shorter lifespan and limited prospects for happiness.

DSC_8672Most people would avoid this poor individual like the plague. Yet that is precisely the description given to women expecting a baby with Down syndrome. Nothing positive, only a laundry list of possible defects. The perfect baby she has been dreaming of has been reduced to a nightmare of neediness. No wonder from 75 to 92% of pregnant women receiving a prenatal diagnosis of Down syndrome chose to abort their baby. In one fourth of doctors’ offices, it is the doctor who holds up this list as an attorney citing evidence stating “This life is not worth living.”

The mother of the unborn baby with Down syndrome is often under relentless pressure from her spouse, relatives and even her own conscience as it is suggested “Think of your other children, what would having a baby like that do to them?” Who is speaking for the silent child at this point? As prenatal screening is performed earlier than ever, before the mother has developed a relationship with the baby in the womb, she has no idea how to counter the onslaught of bad news and, too often, has little knowledge of the positive aspects of raising a child with Down syndrome.

KIDS in 2009 March fo rLifeThat’s where advocacy groups are filling the gap. From diagnosis to adulthood, those who are blessed to know people with Down syndrome are flooding the media with joyful images of fulfilling lives lived with an extra chromosome. My group, KIDS Keep Infants with Down Syndrome, has marched in the March for Life since 2009 to call attention to the joy of life with someone with Down syndrome. When we started, we were considered a novelty, but now I am happy to say, perceptions of Down syndrome are changing.  Target, and Nordstrom’s feature ads with models with Down syndrome and a Spanish bathing suit designer chose an adorable baby with Down syndrome as her model. Award winning films like “Produce” about a man with Down syndrome whose work has become an inspiration, are available on the Internet. A TV reality show based on Tim’s Place, an Albuquerque restaurant where hugs are on the menu is coming next season.

Science is contributing to the wave of positive news about Down syndrome with six promising clinical trials of medicine to help ameliorate cognitive delays and suggestions on how the diagnosis of Down syndrome can be made in a more patient friendly manner. After all, there are two patients involved! A 2011 survey of families who include someone with Down syndrome by Dr. Brian Skotko provides insight into day to day life; ninety-nine percent of parents were happy with their child with Down syndrome and those with Down syndrome reported an equal amount of happiness with their lives. Ninety seven percent of siblings reported that they had become better people thanks to their sibling with Down syndrome.

n1213717587_30044789_5508I know this to be true as our entire family has become more compassionate, more giving, and more able to stop and smell the roses since our youngest daughter Christina was born with Down syndrome in 2002. Now we just want to help the world to see as my friend Eileen Haupt, the co-founder of KIDS says,” Doctors can tell you about the challenges which come with a child with Down syndrome but they can’t tell you about the love they bring.”

 

 

8 Things You Need to Know About the 2015 March for Life

 

We are only 8 weeks away from the world’s largest pro-life rally!  The March for Life is held in Washington, D.C. every year on the tragic anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court decisions, Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton that legalized abortion on demand.  Whether you attend every year or 2015 will be your first, make sure you know these eight things about the 2015 March for Life!

 

BannerGiveAway-Twitter1.  First and foremost, until December 31, you can enter to win a $500 travel voucher, 2 nights at the Downtown DC Renaissance Hotel, and backstage passes to the March for Life rally!

 

2.  The 2015 March for Life theme, is Every Life is a Gift, focusing on preborn babies who receive a diagnosis of a fetal abnormality. You can read more about our theme in The Hill and Breitbart News.

 

3.  2015 is also the 25th Anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation that prohibits discrimination based on disability. Yet babies diagnosed with disabilities, or “perceived disabilities,” in the womb are targeted and aborted at rates of nearly 60%-90%.

 

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4.  You can download the March for Life Trip Planner to assist with all aspects of planning, and making the most out of your trip!

 

5.  On January 21, 2015, you can attend the March for Life Conference, which consists of a Law Conference for law students and legal advocates, Capitol Hill 101 legislative advocacy training, a Culture of Life seminar on the 2015 theme, and a Youth Rally. All events are free, but you need to register.

 

6.  The March for Life Expo is also free and open on Wednesday, January 21, and Thursday, January 22. This is a great opportunity to connect with pro-life organizations and ministries and pick up pro-life resources and gear.

 

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7.  Are you a student? Submit your entry for the March for Life Student Contest, “Every Selfie Has a Story,” and you could win a $100 iTunes gift, a $500 donation to a pro-life charity of your choice, and more!

 

8.  Finally, there are many related events happening around the March for Life. Be sure to check out our website for the listing that’s being constantly updated!

 

If you want to keep apprised of all the March for Life happenings, be sure to sign up for emails, or follow us on Twitter and Facebook!

2015 March for Life Theme

“Every Life is a Gift”

Op-ed in The Hill, “Every Life is a Gift,” by Jeanne Monahan.

Op-ed in Breitbart News, “March for Life: Every Life is a Gift,” by Bethany Goodman

Down Syndrome Awareness Month Briefing

March for Life Holds Policy Discussion on the Value of Every Human Life
Washington, D.C.—October is Down Syndrome Awareness Month, and The March for Life Education and Defense Fund will be hosting “Every Life is a Gift,” a panel discussion on how individuals with a disability live full and beautiful lives on Thursday, October 23, 2014 at the Capitol Visitor Center, HVC 201 from 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM ET. “Every Life is a Gift” will be the theme of the 2015 March for Life this coming January. Since developing babies who receive a difficult prenatal diagnosis (such as Down Syndrome, Trisomy 13 or 18, Spina Bifida, etc.) have a much smaller chance of being brought to term by their mothers and fathers, the March for Life Education and Defense Fund’s discussion will feature leading experts on cutting-edge research to improve the lives of individuals with disabilities and offer opportunities for a full life and improved support for their families.Speakers at the event include:

  • Jeanne Monahan, March for Life Education and Defense Fund
  • Mark Bradford, Jerome Lejeune Foundation
  • Chuck Donovan, Charlotte Lozier Institute
  • Dana Hecht, Family Relations Director, Jill’s House
  • Heather Trammel, Down Syndrome Society of Northern Virginia
  • Documentary Preview of “Flashes of Color,” In Altum Productions

The March for Life in Washington, D.C., began as a small demonstration on January 22, 1974, the first anniversary of the now-infamous Supreme Court decisions in Roe v Wade and Doe v Bolton and rapidly grew to be the largest pro-life event in the world.  The peaceful demonstration that has followed on this somber anniversary every year since is a witness to the truth concerning the greatest human rights violation of our time, legalized abortion on demand.

For more information, please contact Ryan Hughes at RHughes@SBPublicAffairs.com
or (703) 739-5920. ###