Last week, TV actress Amy Brenneman told the women’s magazine Cosmopolitan that she has never regretted her abortion.Brenneman said she felt prompted to tell her story after asking Nancy Keenan, the former president of the radical pro-abortion group NARAL, why the pro-abortion movement is losing support while the pro-life movement is gaining it.“She answered with one simple word: ‘stories,’” Brenneman said. “This makes sense to me. I am a storyteller by trade, after all. I believe that we connect and learn by the specifics of stories, our own and others’.”“I have never, not for one moment, regretted my abortion. My husband of 20 years and I became parents when we had built a home to nurture our children. Indeed, being a parent has only strengthened my commitment to reproductive justice as access to legal abortion allows children a fighting chance to be born into families that desire them and can support them,” she said.Now, Rep. Diane Black, a Tennessee congresswoman, has written an open letter to Brenneman.Black was a registered nurse for 40 years. Her letter follows:I read with interest your February 29th column in Cosmopolitan magazine about your personal experience with abortion. While we approach this sensitive issue from different viewpoints, I thank you for sharing your story. I agree that women, regardless of their opinion, should talk honestly about this matter. I also know that some who, like me, identify as pro-life and oppose abortion have not always conveyed that opinion with the compassion and empathy that should be afforded to this topic on both sides of the debate, and for that I am sorry.CLICK LIKE IF YOU’RE PRO-LIFE! Like you, I know what it is like to be single, pregnant, and uncertain of what the future holds. I was carrying my youngest child to term when my first husband left me amid the demons of alcoholism. Later, in my career as an emergency room nurse, I met other young women in this same precarious position. I believe that the pro-life community has a responsibility to those women. It is why I have long supported the work of my local crisis local pregnancy center and other nonprofits that offer real, tangible help to women in this very situation – everything from diapers and formula to counseling and prayer.I want you to know that I agree with you on the need to defend every woman’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” As you and I know, this has not historically been the case and I am keenly aware of those whose shoulders I now stand on as a woman who cannot only vote but can also serve in Congress.I want every young girl, including my two granddaughters, to be able to – as you say – “choose their destiny.” I believe that protecting those rights, however, starts with protecting the most foundational right of all: the right of a preborn, human being with a beating heart to see the light of day. A young woman cannot choose her destiny if her life is cut short in the womb.When we frame abortion as a means of female empowerment, we don’t tell the full story. Indeed, studies show that abortions worldwide disproportionately impacts baby girls. Consider a 2012 report in Britain’s Daily Telegraph on abortion practices in India, where there are believed to be as many as eight million cases of female sex-selective abortion over the last decade, a phenomenon that is now affecting the country’s overall gender ratio.
I say this not to shame any woman who has made the difficult decision to have an abortion but rather in hopes of raising the consciousness of this nation so we can enact needed protections for these members of the human family.
Specific to your concerns on the Texas abortion law now in question before the United States Supreme Court in the case of Whole Woman’s Health vs. Hellerstedt, I readily admit my own bias. That said, I believe the standards you call “onerous” and “unnecessary” to be quite modest.
As you know, the disputed Texas law has two key provisions. First, it requires abortionists to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles so that a patient receiving an abortion can be quickly transferred in the event of complications and, secondly, it requires abortion clinics to abide by the same safety standards and licensing requirements as other outpatient surgery centers in the state. To be clear, the law does not attempt to illegalize abortion at any stage of pregnancy.
I passionately believe in protecting the unborn, but I also believe equal attention must be devoted to protecting their mothers. While I disagree with the choice of abortion, I do not believe any woman should lose her life at the hands of an unregulated, unsafe abortion clinic or a fly-by-night abortion doctor. That is what this law aims to prevent.
It is my hope that women’s advocates – and you are certainly a needed and influential one – will take a deeper look at this law and applaud these commonsense standards rather than attempt to turn back the clock and strip them away.
From a letter to Cardinal Barnabo by John Neumann, bishopI have labored with all my powers to fulfill the duties of my office
Indeed, I have apparently delayed too long in writing to the Holy See the letter promised by the Archbishop of Baltimore in the name of the council. However, this delay was not without reason. For the council was scarcely finished and I was discussing the division of Diocese of Philadelphia and my translation to a new see with one of the Fathers of the council, when the Father intimated to me [that he did not know] whether that could more probably be hoped for, since the Holy See thought that I would resign from the episcopate, or wished to resign. In the same way when the Archbishop of Baltimore informed me of the designation of a coadjutor, he added that in the event that I should persevere in the desire to resign, the Holy See would permit me to give the title of the ecclesiastical property to the same coadjutor.
I was no little disturbed by the fear that I had done something that so displeased the Holy Father that my resignation would appear desirable to him. If this be the case, I am prepared without any hesitation to leave the episcopacy. I have taken this burden out of obedience, and I have labored with all my powers to fulfill the duties of my office, and with God’s help, as I hope, not without fruit. When the care of temporal things weighed upon my mind and it seemed to me that my character was little suited for the very cultured world of Philadelphia, I made known to my fellow bishops during the Baltimore council of 1858 that it seemed opportune to me to request my translation to one or the other see that was to be erected (namely in the City of Pottsville or in Wilmington, North Carolina). But to give up the episcopal career never entered my mind, although I was conscious of my unworthiness and ineptitude; for things had not come to such a pass that I had one or the other reason out of the six for which a bishop could safely ask the Holy Father permission to resign. For a long time I have doubted what should be done….
Although my coadjutor has proposed to me that he would take the new see if it is erected, I have thought it much more opportune and I have asked the Fathers that he be appointed to the See of Philadelphia, since he is much more highly endowed with facility and alacrity concerning the administration of temporal things. Indeed, I am much more accustomed to the country, and will be able to care for the people and faithful living in the mountains, in the coal mines and on the farms, since I would be among them.
If, however, it should be displeasing to His Holiness to divide the diocese, I am, indeed, prepared either to remain in the same condition in which I am at present, or if God so inspires His Holiness to give the whole administration of the diocese to the Most Reverend James Wood, I am equally prepared to resign from the episcopate and to go where I may more securely prepare myself for death and for the account which must be rendered to the Divine Justice.
I desire nothing but to fulfill the wish of the Holy Father whatever it may be.
Please pray for Christmas miracle.
His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI
The Apostolic Palace
The Vatican City State
February 25, 2013
Most Holy Father,
Even as we are saddened by your departure from the throne of Saint Peter, we trust your judgment and have complete assurance that you are acting for the good of the Church. At this moment we wish to express our gratitude for your self-sacrificing ministry as the Chief Shepherd of the Church, and for your entire life of service to God’s People.
Tomorrow night we will gather as a parish to offer a Solemn Mass of Thanksgiving for your ministry as Supreme Pontiff. To this Mass we add our personal prayers and Lenten penances for your intentions. We beg the heavenly Father to grant you health, long life, and a peaceful conclusion to your remaining years on earth.
Even as we now begin to pray that the Holy Spirit may guide the Cardinals of the Holy Roman Church in their supreme duty of choosing a worthy successor to your Holiness, we renew our love and obedience to you, the Vicar of Christ on earth, and beg you, of your paternal goodness, in these final hours of your Pontificate, to grant the members of our parish your Apostolic Blessing. On behalf of all my parishioners, with filial affection, I remain,
Your obedient son in Christ,
(The Rev. Msgr.) Douglas A. Raun
St. Thomas Aquinas Parish
Rio Rancho, N.M.
From a letter to Proba by Saint Augustine, bishop
On the Lord’s Prayer
We need to use words so that we may remind ourselves to consider carefully what we are asking, not so that we may think we can instruct the Lord or prevail on him.
Thus, when we say: Hallowed be your name, we are reminding ourselves to desire that his name, which in fact is always holy, should also be considered holy among men. I mean that it should not be held in contempt. But this is a help for men, not for God.
And as for our saying: Your kingdom come, it will surely come whether we will it or not. But we are stirring up our desires for the kingdom so that it can come to us and we can deserve to reign there.
When we say: Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, we are asking him to make us obedient so that his will may be done in us as it is done in heaven by his angels.
When we say: Give us this day our daily bread, in saying this day we mean “in this world.” Here we ask for a sufficiency by specifying the most important part of it; that is, we use the word “bread” to stand for everything. Or else we are asking for the sacrament of the faithful, which is necessary in this world, not to gain temporal happiness but to gain the happiness that is everlasting.
When we say: Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us, we are reminding ourselves of what we must ask and what we must do in order to be worthy in turn to receive.
When we say: Lead us not into temptation, we are reminding ourselves to ask that his help may not depart from us; otherwise we could be seduced and consent to some temptation, or despair and yield to it.
When we say: Deliver us from evil, we are reminding ourselves to reflect on the fact that we do not yet enjoy the state of blessedness in which we shall suffer no evil. This is the final petition contained in the Lord’s Prayer, and it has a wide application. In this petition the Christian can utter his cries of sorrow, in it he can shed his tears, and through it he can begin, continue and conclude his prayer, whatever the distress in which he finds himself. Yes, it was very appropriate that all these truths should be entrusted to us to remember in these very words.
Whatever be the other words we may prefer to say (words which the one praying chooses so that his disposition may become clearer to himself or which he simply adopts so that his disposition may be intensified), we say nothing that is not contained in the Lord’s Prayer, provided of course we are praying in a correct and proper way. But if anyone says something which is incompatible with this prayer of the Gospel, he is praying in the flesh, even if he is not praying sinfully. And yet I do not know how this could be termed anything but sinful, since those who are born again through the Spirit ought to pray only in the Spirit.
“America is not a secular state. As historian Paul Johnson once said, America was ”born Protestant.” It has uniquely and deeply religious roots. Obviously it has no established Church, and it has non-sectarian public institutions. It also has plenty of room for both believers and non-believers. But the United States was never intended to be a ‘’secular” country in the radical modern sense. Nearly all the Founders were either Christian or at least religion-friendly. And all of our public institutions and all of our ideas about the human person are based in a religiously shaped vocabulary. So if we cut God out of our public life, we cut the foundation out from under our national ideals.”“As Chicago’s Cardinal Francis George said recently, too many Americans have ”no recognition of the fact that children continue to be killed [by abortion], and we live therefore, in a country drenched in blood. This can’t be something you start playing off pragmatically against other issues.”