On this date in 1979: Mother Teresa’s Nobel Prize lecture

© 1986 Túrelio (Wikimedia-Commons) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0 de

© 1986 Túrelio (Wikimedia-Commons) / Lizenz: Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0 de

Mother Teresa of Calcutta was awarded the Nobel Peace prize thirty-four years ago. She may be the only Nobel laureate who ever used her Nobel lecture to promote natural family planning. Her theme was love and commitment and peace, so NFP fit quite well – along with her references to the Holy Family, St. Francis, the generosity of the poor, the need for families to spend time together, why smiling is so important, and “the greatest destroyer of peace today”: abortion.


You can hear or read the full lecture at this link. Share it with the kids in your life, too, so they know this woman as a real human being, not a historical artifact.

What she wrote about families hasn’t received nearly as much attention as her work on the right to life. This is from her Nobel lecture, and it’s as compelling now as it was then.

I never forget an opportunity I had in visiting a home where they had all these old parents of sons and daughters who had just put them in an institution and forgotten maybe. And I went there, and I saw in that home they had everything, beautiful things, but everybody was looking towards the door. And I did not see a single one with their smile on their face. And I turned to the Sister and I asked: How is that? How is it that the people they have everything here, why are they all looking towards the door, why are they not smiling? I am so used to see the smile on our people, even the dying one smile, and she said: This is nearly every day, they are expecting, they are hoping that a son or daughter will come to visit them. They are hurt because they are forgotten, and see – this is where love comes. That poverty comes right there in our own home, even neglect to love. Maybe in our own family we have somebody who is feeling lonely, who is feeling sick, who is feeling worried, and these are difficult days for everybody. Are we there, are we there to receive them, is the mother there to receive the child?

M.D. Straightens Out Reporter: yes, “emergency contraception” can cause abortion

A pro-life  physician has taken up an argument that goes straight to the heart of the HHS Mandate cases now before the Supreme Court.

Donna Harrison, M.D. is executive director of the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians and Gynecologists. When she read a recent essay by a prominent reporter who disputed the abortion-inducing nature of some so-called contraceptives, she picked up her pen to set the medical record straight. Here’s a link to her article in The Public Discourse.


Dr. Harrison defends medical facts that are being challenged politically, even by some medical colleagues. In doing so, she’s standing up for the First Amendment as well as for biology.

“Levonorgestrel IUDs and Ella can and do cause embryos to die after fertilization. Americans who are opposed to the killing of unborn human beings shouldn’t be forced by the government to provide coverage for such drugs that can end a human life.”


NH GOP CD2 candidates Garcia & Lambert have a voting record on the life issues

New Hampshire’s Second District Congresswoman, Democrat Ann Kuster, has a battle ahead of her next year. There will be at least two Republicans competing to get past the GOP primary and onto the November ballot.

Col. Gary Lambert (photo from Google public profile)

Col. Gary Lambert (photo from Google public profile)

Rep. Marilinda Garcia (photo from marilindagarcia.com)

Rep. Marilinda Garcia (photo from marilindagarcia.com)

Gary Lambert served as state senator from Nashua for one term. His campaign web site highlights his experience as a Marine Corps veteran, but I still think of him as Senator Lambert. Marilinda Garcia is serving her fourth term as a state representative from Salem and is now seeking the CD2 seat. Both candidates’ web sites emphasize economic issues.

So where are they on the right to life? Their Concord records look good, based on votes in 2012. Lambert was on the short end of some Senate votes to shunt aside good bills, indicating his willingness to keep conversations going even when there was no straight-up-or-down vote at stake.

HB 217, fetal homicide (I wrote an overview of the bill here): Lambert and Garcia supported the bill. When Governor John Lynch vetoed it, Garcia voted to override the veto. The House override vote fell just short of the necessary two-thirds.

HB 228, prohibiting the use of public funds for abortion services: Garcia voted yes. When the bill got to the Senate, it was tabled, with Lambert opposing the tabling motion.

HB 1659, Women’s Right to Know (informed consent for abortion): Garcia was absent from the final House vote on the bill, but she earlier opposed a motion to kill it. The Senate killed the bill, with Lambert voting against the Inexpedient to Legislate (ITL) motion.

HB 1660, to limit post-20-week abortions: Garcia voted yes. In the Senate, where the bill was sent to interim study and never heard from again, Lambert opposed the interim study motion.

HB 1679, a ban on partial-birth abortion, which passed and is now on the books: Garcia and Lambert supported the bill, and they both voted to override Gov. Lynch’s veto. This one did not affect the legality of abortion overall; it just ruled out the killing of a partially-emerged child as an abortion method. Remember that when abortion advocates start calling Garcia or Lambert “anti-choice.”

HB 1680, abortion statistics: here’s a weird one. Rep. Garcia was the chief sponsor of a bill calling for the collection of abortion statistics. It passed, but it did nothing to bring stats reporting to New Hampshire. It was amended into nothingness.The final bill called on the Health and Human Services committee to set up a subcommittee to advise the General Court (House & Senate) “on the collection of data regarding induced termination of pregnancy statistics.” There was never any follow-up. This paper “win” was therefore not substantive. For what it’s worth, the gutted bill passed both Houses without a recorded roll call (division vote in House, voice vote in Senate).

HCR 31, commending pregnancy care centers that provide life-affirming options without doing abortions: Garcia voted for the resolution in the House, where it passed by a single vote. The Senate passed it on a voice vote.

HCR 41, urging Congress to find the U.S. grant to Planned Parenthood of Northern New England null and void: this was a way for legislators to express their annoyance at the federal government for helping PPNNE get around the state’s decision to reject its Title X contract in 2011. Garcia voted yes, Lambert voted no, and the resolution failed.

I can attest to the calm and respectful manner in which both candidates conducted themselves at the State House during hearings and discussions on these bills. They have the temperament of bridge-builders. It remains to be seen how that holds up during what is sure to be a lively campaign.




Schedule announced for New Hampshire’s March for Life January 2014

New Hampshire Right to Life has just released the schedule for next months’s March for Life in Concord. The date is Saturday, January 18, a few days ahead of the 41st anniversary of the Roe v. Wade decision.

9 a.m. at the Concord Landfill on Airport Drive: memorial service for the preborn children whose remains were found discarded in municipal trash years ago. At that time, prolife activists sought and were refused permission to relocate the remains. Every year since, prolife New Hampshire’s observance of Roe has begun with a brief public service at the landfill’s gate.

10 a.m.: Catholic Mass at St. John the Evangelist Church, 72 South Main Street, about a mile south of the State House

11:15 a.m.: rally on the State House plaza. Address is 107 N. Main, but you can just look for the golden dome. Bring a sign if you’d like, or pick one up at the rally.

Jeanneane Maxon of Americans United for Life (courtesy nhrtl.org)

Jeanneane Maxon of Americans United for Life (courtesy nhrtl.org)

11:45 a.m.: march from the State House, proceeding south on Main Street past the Feminist Health Center (an abortion facility), ending at St. John the Evangelist Church

1 p.m.: program at St. John’s parish center. Hot drinks and food will be available. It’s all free, but bring a donation if you can.

The principal speaker at the program will be Jeanneane Maxon, an attorney with Americans United for Life. I last spoke with her when she came to New Hampshire to testify in favor of the House resolution supporting pregnancy care centers in 2012. Along with the testimony by directors of PCCs in New Hampshire, Jeanneane’s calm and clear presentation to the legislative committee helped to assure that PCCs got the support from the House they deserved. Jeanneane is also on the board of Abby Johnson’s And Then There Were None, the ministry to workers who choose to leave the abortion industry.

Bundle up against the January cold and come to Concord! If the march itself is a problem for you because the weather is bitter or you have limited mobility or you’re traveling with fussy little ones, you can go straight to St. John’s at midday and meet up with the marchers as they arrive.

Photos of 2013’s event here.

Pro-life witness in Argentina a few days ago: the toughness of nonviolence

I was a kid when protests against the Vietnam War were in the news practically daily. An image sticks in my mind of a photo from back then: a young woman walking in front of a line of armed soldiers or National Guardsmen or riot police (all looked the same to me at that age), putting a flower into each gun barrel. It’s odd, what one sees at age ten on the news, persisting in memory to this day.

No one was pointing a gun at the young woman, so her silent statement for peace cost her nothing. Her statement was worthwhile, but she wasn’t at risk when she made it. I realize now the armed men in the photo were probably her age, scared to death themselves, under orders not to respond to provocation from demonstrators whose methods might have been more forceful than the young woman’s.

Both sides chose nonviolence that day. Among the long list of things I’ve learned since age ten: nonviolence is a choice. It’s not a feeling –  that would be simple passivity. It’s not necessarily pacifism, for one may embrace nonviolence while recognizing the right to self-defense. Nonviolence is a choice, and practicing it requires discipline and preparation.

Pro-life men in Argentina assaulted by abortion promoters

Some men from Argentina showed me nonviolence in action last weekend. They were praying outside the cathedral in their town, which was under threats of vandalism from abortion advocates gathered nearby for a conference. The abortion advocates confronted the men, who continued to pray. The men were then assaulted. The abortion demonstrators sprayed paint onto the mens’ crotches and faces,  scrawled swastikas on the men, and pushed their breasts against the mens’ faces. The men refused to respond in kind, remaining steadfast in prayer. The demonstrators failed to get into the cathedral, where 700 people were at prayer.

A video of the incident is here along with an article from LifeSiteNews.com. It isn’t pretty, but you ought to watch it to understand what abortion advocates were willing to do that day.

photo from LifeSiteNews.com of men in prayer outside cathedral in San Juan, Argentina, after assault by abortion advocates

photo from LifeSiteNews.com of men in prayer outside cathedral in San Juan, Argentina, after assault by abortion advocates

Spray paint, swastikas, unwelcome physical contact: violence? You bet it is. Imagine if the people at prayer were women, and the demonstrators were men. Everyone would recognize the violence fast enough in that case.

Now imagine what could have ensued if the men had fought back. Surely some of them wanted to. Get away. Stop profaning my church and mocking my faith. Stop killing children. Such thoughts must have crossed some minds, I think. The provocation was unmistakable and probably nearly irresistable. And yet each man there – without exception, if news reports are accurate – decided to respond to violence with peace and prayer.

Would I have had the self-discipline to do that? I’d like to think so. But really, what would I have done? Every fiber of my being would have wanted to push back and scream. Not doing so would require not only an act of will but also practice and study. I need to develop self-discipline as I’d develop a muscle. It would be silly for me to expect it to come through for me if I never worked it out.

You’ve got to be tough to be peaceful

The Argentinean men may have been strangers to one another until that day, for all I know. If so, more power to them. Preparing as a group for nonviolent action is a much less daunting project than going it alone.

Martin Luther King, Jr. knew about the value of unity and organization to nonviolent public witness. Add his Stride Toward Freedom: the Montgomery Story to your Basic Books list. It’s about the 1955-56 boycott of public buses in Montgomery, Alabama, in an effort to break segregation. Public officials went so far as to put an injunction on carpools, which people were using as a device to avoid using the buses. Ultimately, the boycott worked, and segregation of the buses was declared unconstitutional. The boycott had to last a year in order to prevail, though. Impatience and violence would have undermined the effort. In his book, King outlined some aspects of nonviolence that were critical to the Montgomery effort.

  • Nonviolent resistance isn’t for cowards. It is passive physically, but strongly active spiritually. King pointed out that the weekly mass meetings associated with the boycott always included prayer, and that ministers took the lead exhorting participants to Christian love and nonviolence.
  • Nonviolence does not seek to defeat or humiliate an opponent, but rather to win friendship and understanding.
  • Nonviolence is directed against the forces of evil rather than the persons doing evil.
  • Willingness to accept suffering without retaliation is crucial. King frequently repeated the theme that unearned suffering is redemptive.
  • Have faith in the future and in God’s Providence; “the universe is on the side of justice.”
  • Avoid not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. Motivation must be love, not hate.

All those things ring true where the right to life is concerned, except that the last item – avoiding internal “violence of spirit” – gives me pause. Abortion kills children. The abortion industry fights to prevent accountability for outcomes to women’s health. It wants my money. It has destroyed my confidence in the medical arts, as I see abortion apologists at the state house fight conscience protections for health care professionals who choose not to participate in abortion.

Makes me mad, all that. I can’t pretend to view the landscape with satisfaction. There is real urgency to the call to build a culture of life. To do so with conviction and persuasiveness, without giving way to anger – the “violence of spirit” of which Dr. King wrote – is a challenge I’ll probably have to face every day of my life.

Strategy or tactic?

Pope Benedict XVI in 2007: “It is thus understood that nonviolence, for Christians, is not a mere tactical behavior but a person’s way of being, the attitude of one who is convinced of God’s love and power, who is not afraid to confront evil with the weapons of love and truth alone.”

An attitude, not a tactic. The same attitude held by the men on the steps of the cathedral in Argentina. An awesome challenge to me, really, and to all of us.

Speaking of attitude, I treasure a letter I received in 1996 from Pastor Bob Mears in New Hampshire, may he rest in peace. A man had been convicted back then of murdering two abortion facility workers in the Boston area, and a few activists in our area were being careful not to make any public comment about the convicted man, even to condemn his actions. “Not our issue,” said these people. They were totally wrong and I said so. So did Pastor Mears, in much more articulate fashion. I wrote to him to thank him for his outspokenness. He replied with this note.

Dear Mrs. Kolb, Thanks for your note of 6/24. I believe the issue of violence is crucial. We are Christians first and Americans second. For us the example and teaching of Jesus are decisive. Can you imagine Him wielding an attack weapon like Rambo? He calls us to take up the cross, not the sword. It’s a much more effective weapon because you don’t have to lay down the truth and justice when you use it. Blessings to you – Bob Mears

In which I do my part to help President Obama spread the word about his “health care” plan

Just so we’re clear:

“We’re not going back,” Mr. Obama said. “We’re not repealing it as long as I’m president. I want everybody to be clear about that. We will make it work for all Americans.”

“It,” of course, is the President’s health care plan. I will refer to it here as Obamacare, despite the re-branding that is part of the President’s new-and-improved effort to promote it. The quote above was from a speech yesterday kicking off a series of appearances, a road show, to convince people that the fouled-up web site for signups is being de-fouled even as he speaks.

And the HHS mandate? That term hasn’t passed Mr. Obama’s lips lately, if ever. In case you’re wondering if he stands behind it, defends it, and thinks it’s an integral part of the plan, check out a line that appeared in yesterday’s speech and has already been used by the President’s surrogates:

Already, because of the Affordable Care Act, preventive care like mammograms and birth control are free through your employers.

The President would have us believe that a $500 mammogram and a $10 birth control prescription are identical as “preventive care,” presumably because he thinks pregnancy and cancer amount to the same thing. “Mammogramsandbirthcontrol” has become one word in the White House lexicon, occasionally varied with “cancerscreeningsandbirthcontrol.” It’s all the same, says the traveling salesman.

“I’m going to need some help in spreading the world. I need you to spread the word about the law …Tell your friends. Tell your family.”

Glad to oblige.

First, I refuse to take health advice from any individual or any bureaucracy that cannot distinguish between a mammogram and birth control pills. The medical professionals who colluded in the development of Obamacare policy should be ashamed of themselves for calling fertility suppression “preventive” care.

Second, the President is once again not being straight with his audience – either the adoring fans he had at yesterday’s speech, or the American public he likes to address on television – about the fact that he is determined to roll the First Amendment flat, using Obamacare as the steamroller. The HHS mandate to force participation in a program providing “free” birth control is a direct denial of the religious freedom rights of Americans who dissent from the Administration’s view that there is no moral aspect to birth control and abortion. Catholics who accept Catholic teaching (and what a world, in which I have to include that modifier) are not the only people affected. Evangelical Protestants, among others, have gone to court over this.

Third, looking at the lawsuits challenging the mandate, two have arrived at the Supreme Court. In the case involving Hobby Lobby, the plaintiffs say they only object to a few of the birth control methods defined as “preventive” under the President’s law, namely the ones that actually induce early abortions rather than prevent fertilization. The President isn’t commenting on the very real possibility that the U.S. Supreme Court will declare that abortive agents are the same as contraceptives. We have already seen from the list of “preventive” services under the health care law that biology has been put at the service of politics. No one familiar with twentieth century history should be able to contemplate that without recoiling.

So there are three things the President won’t tell you: “preventive” is a misnomer, the First Amendment is at stake, and science and politics are in bed together.

What would I do instead, you ask? Repeal the mandate. We can debate ways and means and web sites once the First Amendment is restored to its proper place. But first, simply repeal the mandate.

I wrote last February (“Memo to the President: Mandate 2.0 is still a failure“) about how the mandate was not being fixed by the Administration despite a few tweaks. Then, as now, the President was seeking public comment. I am nothing if not responsive to such appeals. Much of what I wrote then still holds today.

You cited advisors at the “Institute of Medicine” who concluded that it is much cheaper for women to be chemically altered than to have babies. Sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs made it into the Mandate as well. No corresponding concern for the cost savings attendant upon male contraception and sterilization made it into your guidelines for “preventive” services.

…Your contempt for my religion still permeates your health care plan. It is a matter of deep religious belief for me that fertility is a gift, to be regulated by means consistent with human dignity, and at no point considered to be a public health problem. And if you call contraception “preventive,” then you are calling fertility a problem.

…Women aren’t broken and they don’t need fixing. If only you hadn’t called contraception for women a “preventive” service, we wouldn’t need to have this conversation. How ironic that an Administration that has claimed “being a woman shouldn’t be a pre-existing condition” has codified precisely the opposite.

[The Administration issued modified regulations to determine which religious institutions could get a waiver from the mandate.] … Instead of one executive agency (HHS) deciding what’s religious, you are turning the matter over to another executive agency, the IRS, that has been making that determination for years. The new regs also exempt non-profit religious organizations that meet four criteria, or jump through four hoops, to the satisfaction of whatever agency is going to implement this whole policy. Seldom do the American people have cause to be glad the IRS is going to define religion, but at least by bringing the tax people into it, you are making an effort at consistency. [I need to take back that last sentence. When I wrote it last February, I hadn’t heard of Lois Lerner.]

But what about individuals? What about groups that do not hold themselves out to be “religious” but are nonetheless animated by a respect for life that makes the Mandate abhorrent to them? What about a business owner – someone who owns a hobby store, as an example – who has religious objections to providing contraception and abortion-inducing drugs by way of employee health insurance?… Individuals have religious liberty AND conscience protection under our Constitution, and those protections are not forfeited when individuals form groups or run businesses.

Like the man said, I need you to spread the word about the law. Tell your friends.


“This Adoption is Irrevocable”: a post from The Harvest is Abundant by Catherine Adair

Reblogged from The Harvest is Abundantpro-life veteran Catherine Adair writes about the recently-finalized adoption of her daughter, Ava. Catherine is also the author of “Dear Clinic Escort,” which was reblogged in Leaven for the Loaf last May.

Catherine Adair

Catherine Adair

“This adoption is irrevocable.” With those words the judge pounded his desk and declared to the world that we were now the legal parents of a girl we had taken into our hearts and home almost two years prior. Nothing could have prepared us for the joy that we felt at that moment, as we became parents for the fifth time, this time by way of adoption.
I am the last person I ever thought would adopt a child. I didn’t even want children after my abortion over 20 years ago. I felt unworthy of being a mother. After working in an abortion clinic, where I participated in thousands of first and second trimester abortions, I was determined not to have children. But here I was, married with children, being asked to help a young mother and her baby, and I knew God wanted us to say “yes” to this child.
We became involved in Ava’s life simply to help her parents, who were struggling to care for her. She was only seven weeks old. An acquaintance’s daughter was going to be entering drug treatment and we were asked to take the baby for 90 days. DCF was already involved as the baby had been born early and drug-addicted. We had no idea we would be adopting her almost two years later.      I cried the first time I saw Ava. She had been neglected and was so tiny, she still looked like a newborn. She cried a lot and was difficult to comfort. My usual ways of calming babies didn’t seem to comfort her. She screamed hideously and thrashed in her crib. She was more easily startled than any baby I had cared for. This went on for months. Her intense screaming during the night left us frazzled and stressed out, wondering why she couldn’t settle.
Visits from social workers became part of our regular schedule, while visits with her Mom and Dad were sporadic. We hoped that her mother would take advantage of the help being offered to her, but the difficulties in her life seemed to make it impossible. She loved her daughter, but deep down inside I think she knew she couldn’t parent her.
After about 18 months, the courts decided that they would terminate the parental rights of Ava’s birth parents. The plan then shifted from reunification to adoption, and the choice to adopt Ava was an easy one. By then she was calling us Mama and Dada, we thought of her as our daughter, and our four other children and extended family were besotted with her. We couldn’t imagine life without her. It took another six months, but just after her second birthday, on National Adoption Day a few weeks ago, we were officially a family of seven.
I know that we would not have adopted our daughter if we were not prolife. Being prolife has shown us that we are to do everything God asks of us, even taking in the children of others. Since joining the prolife movement about four years ago, I have been astonished by the lengths people go to in order to hep mothers and children. Adoption, fostering, and helping mothers in need is much more prevalent amongst my prolife friends than in my former prochoice world. When I worked at Planned Parenthood, there was no empathy for the child and no kindness toward a mother wanting to give birth to her child. Abortion was seen as the responsible choice for poor women, drug addicted women and victims of abuse.
Forced birthers, fetus fetishers, women haters – all prolifers have had these words slung at them at some point. “You don’t care about babies after they are born,” the claim, “you only want to control women and force them to have babies.” This rhetoric from proabortionists is a common refrain. I believed all of it when I worked for Planned Parenthood. I believed the lie of “every child a wanted child.” I thought abortion was a responsible choice. I didn’t understand that a child’s worth wasn’t determined by a mother’s choice. I now understand that every life, every child in the womb, has inherent worth and dignity that comes from God. I am grateful and humbled that He chose our family as Ava’s forever family.