Born and Preborn

For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you, when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them. Psalm 139:13-16~

“Born and preborn.” That’s how my friend ended the Pledge of Allegiance every time she said it.

In January of 1979, she answered the phone when I called to reserve my seat on the bus for my first March for Life. We’ve been dear friends ever since.

She resides in a home now. I hope she is aware of the news of the day.

It’s sad that someone leaked the decision draft for Dobbs v Jackson Women’s Health Organization. I hope SCOTUS moves quickly to officially release the decision. If it is as it appears, there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth from the other side.

Yet the abortion business will continue in states like New York, New Jersey, Illinois, and others who prepared for this day by codifying Roe and Doe (Roe‘s companion case)–enacting unlimited abortion until birth for any reason.

Other states have prepared in the opposite way for Roe‘s fall. Pro-abortion entity the Guttmacher Institute says 26 states are ready to “ban” abortion (with limitations).

Our Pennsylvania governor takes pride in his previous service as an abortion escort. He walked pregnant women from their cars and talked to them so they couldn’t hear pro-life people offering alternatives to death for their children.

He is a guaranteed veto on any pro-life bill our majority conservative legislature will pass. His successor must be pro-life if we are to provide any measure of protection for unborn children who are still suffering across our state and at the hands of experimenters at the University of Pittsburgh.

We have marched and talked and prayed and marched some more since Roe and Doe came down in 1973. We felt devastation in 1992 when Casey (a very different Pennsylvania governor) v Planned Parenthood came down too. But now this day has arrived.

Even so, the fight for life goes on. While it appears that the generation calling itself the pro-life generation may finally have succeeded, every generation must stand to protect life.

Dred Scott, Roe, Doe, and Casey were bad decisions. Justice demanded they be overturned. Justice is late for 62 million children, the inconvenient, the imperfect, the wrong gender.

Perhaps today, justice is at the door. For born and preborn.

Photo Credit: WebMD

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

HEADlines: Carrying the Torch for Life

Published on January 22, 2022, in the Mustard Seed Sentinel.

In January of 1979, I had two children, a husband and a house, and cable television. The cable company ran scrolling public service announcements, and for the first couple of weeks of that New Year, one announcement, in particular, kept catching my eye.

The message declared that buses would be heading toward Washington, DC, to mark the sixth anniversary of Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, the US Supreme Court decisions that eradicated every abortion regulation in every state.

Two phone numbers ran along the bottom. I called one or the other at different times, finding out what was involved, what I’d need to arrange for my children for the day, what I’d need to wear and bring with me, and how much it would cost. I learned that the two numbers led me to sisters with multiple children, (They would have 14 between them, one or two not yet born).

On January 22, I got on the bus while it was still dark. I had a sandwich and most of a large bag of M&Ms in a brown paper bag. I had on my new boots and coat and thought I looked great.

When we arrived, we walked from the Ellipse to the Capitol where we heard many inspiring speakers. It was a balmy 50-something degree day. I carried one or two of the layers I’d piled on to protect me from the expected cold.

We visited our legislators and walked back to meet our bus—late, even though, or more likely because, one of the organizing sisters Anne was leading our way.

We sat down on the bus physically exhausted. Remember the new boots? I wanted to chop my own feet off.

But we were internally energized.

Over the years, Anne became a mentor to me. My own mother had passed away in 1975. This woman was a wise sage who walked with me through my adventures of young motherhood, held my hand through my years as a single mom, and celebrated with me as I married again.

Her house was a must-stop for me and my kids on trick-or-treat nights. Halloween came before Election Day, which made for enlightening conversation and the chance for me to gather poll working materials.

But Anne was not one-dimensional. She was a fully engaged mother who made amazing homemade pierogis and, with her children, designed elaborately painted (not just dyed) eggs for Easter. She was a Registered Nurse.

And she was our community’s spokeswoman for life. Despite the plates she kept spinning at all times, she was humble.

When I would ask her: How do you do it all—eight kids, a husband, a house, a job, along with volunteer work? She would say, “Sometimes, not very well.”

For anyone who knew her, she led the way by example, sponsoring refugees from Vietnam and housing unmarried pregnant girls.

On January 22, 1980, I stayed home with a new baby. Iranian radicals had invaded the US embassy in Tehran capturing the diplomatic staff. Like today, inflation was high, in double-digits. That winter brought the Miracle on Ice—the 1980 Olympic hockey victories that garnered the gold medal for the US team. I adjusted to having three children, attended the March again in 1981 with my baby, missed 1982 caring for another new baby, attended in ’83, and carried my unborn son, my youngest, there in 1984.

Most of the following years, we attended, various children and I. One year when I had to work, Anne took my younger daughter with her.

When my kids went along, they knew the trip involved a long walk followed by hot chocolate in a legislator’s office. They learned about peaceful protest. They learned about life.

As my children grew up and got busy with school, jobs, and their own families, I began to take students to Washington for the March. In 2002, that meant a few phone calls from parents wanting reassurance of safety in the wake of 9/11 the previous September. The trip came off without incident.

I write as we plan another trip to DC, this year on January 21—the Friday closest to the anniversary—a change from the vision of Nellie Gray, the March’s founder who insisted the event be held on the 22nd every year. This alteration allows for an extended program, helps those who travel from afar (and many do), and more easily facilitates visiting legislators.

Except this year.

Because of COVID, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has forbidden Marchers from entering legislative offices. We are to be allowed inside public buildings only to use the restrooms.

So be it. We go anyway.

It’s been a few years since Anne has gone. Her years of activism were a flaming torch she has passed to those of us still able to make the trip. May we carry it well.

From our private school, we’re to be a small group, my husband and me, several students, a parent, and grandparent or so.

COVID and perhaps the aftermath of January 6 cancelled the March last year.

Pro-lifers head to DC this year with renewed hope, unprecedented hope of seeing Roe and Doe turned into their own grave. Anticipating this turn of events, 15 states are said to have “codified” Roe. Three have absolutely no restrictions “throughout pregnancy.” That means a woman could be in labor, change her mind, and have her baby killed before birth. Others allow abortion until viability, a slippery definition reliant on guesswork and subject to “exceptions” that allow the killing of the allegedly less than perfect.

Further, nineteen states allow “caregivers” to refuse treatment to newborn abortion survivors. Living, breathing little ones, left to die.

Perhaps Roe and Doe will die this year.

There is still much work to be done.

We March on our feet.

We pray on our knees.

We carry the torch of life to the next generations.

Photo Credit: thetexan.news

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduIce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Pioneers Who Light Our Way

I was a high school junior in 1972 when she sat on the stage of our local high school. She wasn’t the speaker for the assembly that day. But she had arranged for the speaker to come.

The speaker was a woman who’d survived the Holocaust. She spoke about how it all began with abortion. It was abortion that devalued human life enough that other ways of killing the perceived-to-be-less-than-us became thinkable, then doable.

Remember, that was 1972. That was before Roe v. Wade (and Doe v. Bolton) legalized abortion in the US until birth.

I don’t remember the name of the speaker on stage. But several years later I would meet the woman who’d recruited the speaker and arranged for the assembly.

And she would become a lifelong friend and mentor.

In 1979, as the mother of two toddlers, I decided to go to the March for Life. I called a phone number within an announcement scrolling across my television screen about buses for the event.

It was the woman who’d sat on that stage when I was a schoolgirl who answered the phone.

She was the mother of eight–the oldest were teens. Her youngest a bit older than my firstborn. She became a kindly sort of aunt to my children.

I still quote her to people. As I was having a minorly uncomfortable medical test recently, I told the technician something my friend first said to me decades ago: “If you eat a frog for breakfast, nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Yes, it’s a silly saying. But silly sayings are sometimes a good way to put discomforts and inconveniences into perspective. The best way to discern the inconveniences from actual life problems. The best way to discipline yourself to put the unpleasant task first.

And in such ways, friends give their wisdom to us for us to pass on to others. I’ve repeated the saying to students many times.

When I struggled with my growing family, she encouraged me with her humility. I asked her once how she managed her family, her job as a nurse, and her ministry for life.

She replied, “Well, sometimes not very well.”

As I write, I’ve just come home from a fundraising dinner for our local crisis pregnancy center. My friend was always among the last to leave this yearly event. She was the first to receive an award from the organization for being a champion for life. But I like to think of her as a pioneer. For few trumpeted warnings about what would follow 1972. She was one of the few.

She can no longer attend such gatherings. She’s now widowed and in a home. Because of COVID, I am unable to visit her.

She didn’t live a perfect life. None of us ever does. But I remember the kind spirit, the love, the devotion to truth and right.

Pioneers blaze the trail for those who follow after them. It’s up to us who follow to carry on.

And only hope to do as well.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. Restoring the Shattered is published through Morgan James Publishing with whom I do share a material connection. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Red Parts of Blue States Looking to Split

The two teens stood across from me at the March for Life Expo in January. They weren’t yet old enough to vote. But perhaps when they are, they’ll cast their ballots to excise their part of Virginia to make it part of West Virginia–a harkening back to our Civil War. (Or our first Civil War?)

They are frustrated by legislators from the northern part of the state threatening to limit gun ownership and having voted to expand “abortion rights” more broadly than all but a few places around the world.

They are not alone in that way of thinking. Those hoping for Southern Virginia’s secession to West Virginia have company in Oregon, some of whose voters want to become part of Idaho. California also has its own initiative brewing. But that effort isn’t pushing to become part of an existing state. The plan calls for the establishment of the 51st state–New California.

Imagine what these efforts–if successful–might lead to.

Political pundits speak of the conservative part of my own Pennsylvania in terms of the T across the north and through the center with Philadelphia in the east and Pittsburgh in the west–although Pittsburgh sometimes joins the T.

The T carried our Keystone State for Trump in 2016–even the heavily Democratic Cambria County–coal country.

If voters in the T decided to follow suit with southern Virginia voters, the bulk of Pennsylvania might also join West Virginia–or ally with rural voters in New York to form a 52nd state.

Even the bluing state of Texas could end up splitting over voter ideology.

It sounds far-fetched. But perhaps we are closer to making such dividing lines than we realize.

Rural voters want to keep their guns. On farms or in nearby forests, guns have practical purposes completely unrelated to crime and unfathomable to many city-dwellers.

Conservative and liberal voters can only remain at an impasse over abortion. Room for compromise on this issue is scant because the unborn one either lives or dies. There is no state of in-between.

While these proposals for state-splitting are still in their infancy–or perhaps in their early childhood–it seems a good time to consider some of the ramifications.

For example, would Philadelphia decide to become part of New Jersey? Could Jersey support the costs of the City of Brotherly Love that rural PA taxpayers have helped to bear for decades?

What if the rural/conservative voters of every state thought it best to cut themselves free from every city that wanted to limit guns and fund abortions at any time during gestation?

Would cities’ leaders moderate some of their views to stem the traffic moving to a new place? Would rural folks bend? Can both sides occupy a middle ground for long?

Beyond the disputes over abortion, gun control, and other divisive pursuits, both city and countryside struggle with opioid addiction, isolation, loss of purpose.

The answer is the same whether in unity or division. Shining light into the darkness. The darker the night, the easier it is to perceive the light.

Shine your light while you can. Where you can. All you can.

Photo Credit: Unsplash

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Youth on the March

“Young people are the heart of the March for Life. And it’s your generation that is making America the pro-family, pro-life nation.” President Donald Trump

Young people truly were the heart of this year’s March. And there is a great strength of character to be found among the crowd.

Notably this year, Nick Sandmann came back with fellow students from Covington Catholic. You may remember that last year a radical liberal accosted Sandmann trying to engage him. But he stood silently, working to appear pleasant, working not to provide a negative reaction.

Yet the media lambasted the teen. Remember that; he was a teen, a high-schooler. Sandmann and his family received death threats because of broadcast media assumptions about his “smirk”.

Just days before this year’s March, CNN settled with him over their misrepresentation of his reaction to the opposing protester. Other media outlets have yet to settle or be called to Sandmann’s day in court.

Days before this year’s March, Sandmann tweeted that he would not be bullied or surrender. He came.

Others came too.

Darlene Pawlik was one of them who manned a booth at the EXPO, one of the pre-March events. She had been conceived in rape–which sounds like enough of a story for anyone. But then she spent years being trafficked across several states in the Northeast.

Darlene’s website explains her ministry of loving the traumatized. “[V]ictims and survivors of abuse have trouble with trust,  it’s hard for us to develop relationships. Recidivism happens when trauma bonds with abusers are stronger than healthy, nurturing ones.”

Darlene helps us understand how to help the traumatized. She speaks up on behalf of the one percent–those conceived in rape who are subject to a death sentence in the womb because of the circumstances of their conception. Circumstances beyond their control.

She spent hours on her feet baring her soul to help others avoid the torture she endured for years. Young girls often surrounded her.

This year’s March for Life was historic because it’s the first one a president attended in 47 years. But the legacy of the event will emanate from the Nick Sandmanns and the Darlene Pawliks.

Perhaps someday there will still be a March for Life that only reminds us of the days of legalized killing.

If that day comes to pass, we will owe praise to God–and to the Sandmanns and Pawliks who came and spoke their hearts in action.

Photo Credit: Penny Starr, Breitbart

Nancy E. Head’s Restoring the Shattered is out in paperback! Get your copy here!

Permissions: You are permitted and encouraged to reproduce and distribute this material in any format provided that you do not alter the wording in any way, do not charge a fee beyond the cost of reproduction, and you credit the author.

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the entities I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Abortion: The Issue that Never Dies

“The so-called right to abortion has pitted mothers against their children and women against men. It has sown violence and discord at the heart of the most intimate human relationships.” ― Mother Teresa.
Forty-four years after Roe v. Wade and  America finds that the issue will just not go away. There was an expectation that a generation or two growing up with this “right” would not be able to find its way back. The issue would dissolve into acceptance. The procedures would be legal, safe, and rare.
Many did not walk down that road of thought.
But rare it is becoming. We have looked through the window of the womb and many of us have found ourselves.
The shift in thinking today seems to spring from a scientific view–not a religious one. An accusation in the early days of the argument was that those who opposed abortion sought to impose a religious view on the non-religious. Continue reading “Abortion: The Issue that Never Dies”