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February 28th, 2011


I suppose it’s to be expected when one has suffered from police brutality it would eventually turn up in one’s musings.   The date was  June 17, 1989.   The place, Summit Women’s Center,  West Hartford CT.    On April 1, 1989, a rescue had taken place at the Summit Center.  (A “rescue” may be defined as an attempt to prevent the killing of babies in the womb by non-violent, passive means.) When it was learned that the rescuers had been brutalized by the West Hartford police, a bigger, better rescue was planned for June 17.

On June 17, 1989, the Center was prevented from performing any of the scheduled abortions. On both days the demonstrators’ unruly conduct required the intervention of approximately forty West Hartford police officers of the Town of West Hartford (“Town”)–a third of the town force.

I was in the June 17 contingent.   Over 250  of us invaded the abortion clinic facilities that morning and sat down.  In due course the police arrived and started to remove us.  We expected brutality and we got it.   Afterwards we were asked to write down exactly what we experienced  while it was still fresh in our memory.   I wondered whether to include on this blog the whole report, which is quite detailed,  but decided I would, just for the record:

Dorothy A. Vining, age 65, Baby Jane Doe #91, 6/17/89

We arrived at the Summit Women’s Center about 8 AM and immediately entered a side door and went up a number of flights of stairs and through an open door into the “clinic.”  I personally sat down in a hall behind a door which had been somehow secured.  We heard the sound of someone removing the hinges of the door and then the police started to remove us.  They would drag each person down a hall to a corner and then we would hear screams from around the corner but could not see what was happening.  When they reached me one officer said, “This one next,” and I was dragged by my clothing down to that corner.  They snipped the tape off my left hand.  I had protected my right hand with an orthopedic splint of leather and velcro as I have had wrist problems in the past and do typing for a living.  [A friend of mine had suffered nerve injury during the April 1 rescue.]  I told the officer this was a real splint and I really had a bad wrist.  He told me to get up and walk.  I said they could move me without injuring my wrist.  He said “no” and tossed the splint aside, as well as my purse.  This contained my  glasses, a camera, some money, etc.  I have not seen it since.

Then I went around the corner.  An officer behind me raised my left arm over my head and down behind my back and I shrieked with pain.  [I did not know this was a move that the human body is capable of!]  This particular maneuver had no purpose that I could see other than to hurt me.  They then cuffed my hands behind me quite tightly and somehow applied pressure that popped me up in the air, again screaming with pain.  [I still have in my possession a tape showing me being taken down the hall and the subsequent two screams are quite audible.]  They walked me backward to the elevator and outside, still applying pressure but lessening it somewhat as we got outside and were visible to others.  I cried out again when they pulled my head back for the picture and my picture shows me with my mouth wide open.

Coming off the bus was the same story with me walking half bent over with  them lifting up on the cuffs.  I was put down on flagstone or tile in the courthouse.  The cuffs were removed, my glasses, my shoes, as well as everything from my pockets.  A woman officer patted me down, recuffed me, and I was dragged into the courtroom and dumped.  The time was 11:30.  I was later dragged the length of the courtroom by one arm (the right).

We just sat around and watched the victims accumulate.  I had been there nine hours before any water appeared  and in the cuffs four hours before they were removed.  By that time my hands were quite swollen but when one of the women asked an officer to remove them he said I had enough room.  We had no food whatever until 8:30, and of course slept on the floor or benches, wherever we could find room.

On Sunday, 6/18, breakfast consisted of an egg and sausage sandwich, with milk or soda, and after 24 hours without food was greatly appreciated.  There was no lunch and supper consisted of two slices of white bread and a single slice of baloney.  No drink — just water, then another night on the courtroom floor.

Monday, 6/19, we got another sandwich about 8:30 for breakfast.  Judge Norco presided and the few people who chose to give their names and bail out were disposed of.  They were then left with over 100 people who had no names and would not move.  Gradually as the day went on they matched the pictures with names and we were taken rather roughly forward.  Lawyer Altham asked us to mention any injuries we had received.  At one point an officer kicked a man and Altham called it an “outrage,” saying he had seen it himself.  Judge Norco said something like “don’t let it happen again.”  Later, toward evening, they brought in some of the men from upstairs and we could hear them screaming as they approached.  One in great pain lay on the floor and a medic was asked to look at his arm.  The medic said his shoulder was not dislocated.  When asked if his arm could be broken, he replied, “I don’t have x-ray eyes.”

When Father Norman Weslin was brought in all order in the courtroom vanished and  someone  started a rosary with most of us gathered about him.  At the last decade someone asked Father to lead it, which he did, battered as he was.  It was a very moving scene.  Another powerful scene was on Saturday when a man was brought into the courtroom in great pain and there was a near riot as we rose up in outrage.  A young girl with the pen-name DAB reminded us of our non-violent stance and prayed for peace to descend.  It was a very powerful prayer and the peace was almost tangible.

By 7 PM Monday I still had not been identified and was re-photo’d, and given the letter F, and a court date of June 21.  Atty.  Altham moved for dismissal but Norco said they could hold us for 24 hours to see if they could identify us.  There were two other women in the same boat and several men.  Consequently we arrived at Niantic prison quite late.    We had been put on chairs with wheels to get on the bus and got off the same way .  En route, Lt. Davis, of Niantic, said that many of us had injuries and assured us we would not be hurt at Niantic.  He said his job was to see that we remained safe and well until we bonded out or  our court date arrived.  He also said that a person without a “dream” was a nothing in his book.

At Niantic we were given a sandwich and “juice” and asked about injuries and medical problems.  I told them my shoulder had been injured (it was comfortable at rest but I could not lift anything or make certain movements without pain.)  I expected it would heal with time.

I have no criticism of Niantic.  On Wednesday, when I and Peggy and Siena had to go back to West  Hartford,  they woke us at 6 AM and we left at 7 on a bus with other inmates, in both handcuffs and foot shackles.  We went to Hartford via New Haven, Bridgeport, and Meriden and finally arrived at 11:30 for court.  Siena was still going DM [defenseless mode] and we were informed that they weren’t going to move us anymore and if we wouldn’t move to go to court we would be cited for failure to appear and get another felony on top of our felony and that could go on a long as we liked.  Various inmates helped move Siena so we wouldn’t be left behind.  The Hartford officers said “Get her out of here,” and the West Hartford officers said, “We aren’t moving her.”  She is one gutsy little lady.

On the way to court I had the opportunity of talking with a girl, Beverly, who cried as she told me of an abortion she had had several years earlier (because she was on drugs) and told me of her rape.  She said when she is scared she feels it in her womb  (I suppose because that is where she had been injured.)  The results at court were that Peggy and I were identified and Siena was set free.  I was not present but was told Siena had pleaded guilty and burst into tears and said she wanted to go back to Niantic.

We were asked many times where our shoes were.  The inmates felt it was not right that we did not have shoes.  “Shoes is not personal property; shoes is clothing!”   There was strong pro-life sentiment among the prisoners and even many of the officers (but they did not approve of having to carry us around.)  They suggested that we thereby hurt our cause.  On the way back to Niantic two of the girls gave us woven crosses that the men make (I don’t know where) and another girl walked out of her shoes and made me take them.  She said she had more and was being freed in six days.

I bonded out on June 28  because my ears were ringing, I had a bad head cold and sore throat, I couldn’t sleep for coughing, and I felt I had left my 94-year-old mother long enough.  Bonding out was uneventful but expensive. My son, daughter-in-law and their two children came for me.  Unfortunately my shoulder, which had been smouldering, flared up as soon as I tried using it.  On June 30th I visited orthopedist, Dr. Fornshell,  (after two nights of extreme pain), had it injected with cortisone, put in a sling, with Naprosyn and Tylox prescribed.  I hope this will help explain why my typing is so lousy.  I am hoping that by July 1 I will be well enough to return to work.  They are considerably upset with me.

After more cortisone and physical therapy, my shoulder has since returned to normal.

So much for passive resistance!  No wonder the West Hartford police took off their badges.  They didn’t want to be held accountable for what they were going to do.  I have limited this report to my personal experiences because to write about the abuse  others  suffered would be much too long.

Thomas Droleskey made the following comment about the aims of Operation Rescue:

The “something” that simultaneously galvanized and polarized the pro-life community was Operation Rescue. Rescue galvanized many in the pro-life community as it held out the hope that massive sit-ins and blockages of abortuaries might singe the conscience of the nation. It polarized others in that same community, especially those who believed that we had been making “progress” in the 1980s and that we had to work through the electoral system to effect change incrementally, pragmatically. Some Catholics were critical of the whole concept of Rescue, arguing that it was wrong to adopt the tactics of Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, worse yet to entrust the leadership of such an enterprise to evangelical Protestants who believed that they had the responsibility to take Catholics out of the Church to “save” them. Despite the polarizing aspects of Rescue, however, many thousands of Catholics were among those who were arrested at rescues between late 1987 and 1994, the time that Congress passed the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances Bill (FACE), with the help, it should be noted, of a few supposedly “pro-life” senators and representatives (could you imagine them voting for a “Freedom of Access to a Concentration Camp Bill”)?   A lot of Catholics were involved in the high-level leadership of local rescues.

Posted  by John R.  Kladde,  Director, CT Pro-Life Action Network,  April 2004, when he announced that our case against West Hartford police would finally come to trial:

A quick recap of the case: It took 3 years to file the case. It took five complaints and 8 years to finish the pleadings to start the case. Then it’s taken 4 years and three appeals of motions to dismiss to get to trial. There will be no other activity besides jury selection and trial. Bear in mind, this will be the only full jury trial in the history of Rescue.

West Hartford won, of course.  We weren’t cooperative;  they had to hurt us.  So  much for passive resistance!

Below – a glimpse of Operation Rescue in action.


It is easy to look back on those who broke the law [in Scripture] and praise them. But when the same challenges that they faced face us, we find it difficult to acknowledge that sometimes the law must be broken. That’s because now the sacrifices will be made by us. I have never broken the law. I have never been arrested. But I simply cannot guarantee that I never will. — Fr. Frank Pavone
I have heard some say that Operation Rescue is damaging to the Pro-Life Movement.  Who can be angry with an honest judgment?  I can’t — but I can disagreeWere I ever tempted to agree I would look again at pictures of people like Bishop Lynch and Bishop Austin Vaughan, for whom my respect is unbounded, and whos integrity I rust completely.  — Cardinal John J. O’Connor

February 27th, 2011


Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has a way of cutting to the quick.   However Whoopi on The View may shout that Planned Parenthood gets no federal money for abortions, however the others on The View think that “poor people” need the services PP offers, they obviously do not know that neither abortions or other services at PP are free and you should go somewhere else if you don’t have the cash or insurance.

With Planned Parenthood, You Choose–You Lose!

The person behind Planned Parenthood’s PR strategy may want to rethink the timing of their new report. Faced with dozens of criminal cover-ups, the end of government funding, and new evidence that its clinics were hiding 164 incidents of statutory rape in Kansas, this might not be the best time to remind America that your primary service is killing unborn children. This week, the organization released its latest numbers from 2009–and if they hoped to bolster their argument that they care about women’s health more than profit, this is not the document to do it. The bottom line is their bottom line. Once again, the number of abortions has climbed (332,278) while the number of adoption referrals has dropped (977). To put those numbers in perspective, if a woman walked into a Planned Parenthood clinic two years ago, she was 340 times more likely to receive an abortion than an adoption referral. Exactly what part of that statistic makes the case that this organization’s primary concern is women’s health? The nation’s largest provider of abortion is the largest recipient of Title X funds. As Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) said yesterday, there are literally thousands of centers across the country–other than Planned Parenthood–that receive federal funding and offer real care to low-income women. His legislation would help protect those women who find themselves in crisis pregnancies by ensuring that they have access to organizations that see them as patients, not dollar signs.

Here is the Face of Planned Parenthood

February 19th, 2011


The good news is that the House passed a bill to defund Planned Parenthood — a move that is long past due.  Between Abby Johnson’s blockbuster book telling about her work as director of a Texas PP and why she became prolife, and Lila Rose’s sting visits to various PP’s around the United States, their mojo has received a double whammy.  Dave Bereit of 40 Days for Life urges prayer.   Nothing could be more urgent.  Pray especially for Abby and Lila that they will stay humble and grounded amidst all  their new-found fame.

Here is a welcome letter from Dave Bereit:


Your prayers, your vigil participation earlier this week, and your calls late yesterday paid off!

The heated debate about stripping taxpayer funding from Planned Parenthood — America’s largest abortion chain — raged for more than two hours in the House of Representatives last night.

During the exchange on the House floor, Congressman Chris Smith read aloud a passage from “Unplanned” — the bestselling book by former Planned Parenthood director Abby Johnson about her conversion during a 40 Days for Life campaign. Amazing!

And today, the U.S. House of Representatives — by an overwhelming majority vote of 240 to 185 — voted to DEFUND PLANNED PARENTHOOD!!

Planned Parenthood is furious. In fact, they just sent out an “Open Letter to Congress” saying, “How could you?”

How could they? Because that’s what the American people told them to do!

The need for prayers and action is not over — it will continue next week when your legislators come back to their home districts, and in the U.S. Senate the following week … so stay tuned, and be ready to act on a moment’s notice.

Dorothy, I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that this is all happening as you and I prepare to pray, fast, stand vigil, and conduct grassroots outreach — as we launch the largest 40 Days for Life campaign in history on March 9th!

Pray hard.

This is the moment we’ve all been working for!

For Life,

David Bereit
National Director
40 Days for Life


February 17th, 2011


Quite a day for an old lady!   It started out with mass at St. Joseph’s and amid other homey functions like eating, cleaning, washing my down jacket, a little painting, going through the mail, watching some TV, and sundry other duties, these were the highlights.

1. Somewhat like the revolution in Egypt, the internet pulled together a prayer vigil outside of Planned Parenthood facilities across the nation  for an hour at noon today. In our own town in Connecticut ten of us gathered at our PP on Main Street,and prayed that it  would cease its death-dealing activities and actually be pro-parenthood.   In the past Planned Parenthood had promoted cute FREE Valentines complete with condoms, urging users to have “safe sex.”  We all know (as does PP) that so-called “safe sex” often fails and the result is another customer looking for an abortion.    The abortion, however, is not free.  Today’s weather, amazingly, reached the sixties and we prayed in the sunshine amid huge mounds of snow.  We ended up our little prayer session singing  God Bless America and Amazing Grace.

2. Sister Dolly called from Florida to tell me that Jeopardy was featuring the two all-time Jeopardy winners in a contest with Watson, a specially built computer, with no on-line access. She knew I’d want to watch it. I told her I was watching at the time but after her call realized I had fallen asleep watching and she had awakened me. I WISH I KNEW WHO WON THAT CONTEST!!

(As I read this later, it turns out it was a three-day competition, and all three nights I fell asleep before the program was over.  I understand Watson Won.  Now maybe people believe me when I explain that I wake up early because I go to sleep early, the the going to sleep early doesn’t seem to be under my control.)

3. Today is brother Bob’s birthday. My little brother just turned 85 and we had a nice little chat. He is back in Connecticut after visiting his family in California and in Boston. At his advanced age, he is still quite a gadabout.  What a blessing that all of my siblings are still alive!

4. In the midst of catching up on email, following folks on Facebook, and generally keeping tabs on what goes on in the world, I came across this gem of a video, an overview of abortion, to top off my day.

An Overview of Abortion (Graphic images, Viewer discretion advised)



February 13th, 2011


It’s an advertisement for GE, but it is also a very well done heart-warming, life-loving look at the unborn child in 4D ultrasound.    Enjoy THE FIRST TIME EVER I SAW YOUR FACE.

This most shocking video tells it all from both sides.


When the time comes … when we face that awesome moment, the final judgment, I’ve often thought, as Fulton Sheen wrote, that it is a terrible moment of loneliness.   You have no advocates; you are there alone, standing before God–and a terror will rip through your soul like nothing you can imagine.  But I really think that those in the pro-life movement will not be alone.  I think there will be a chorus of voices that have never been heard in this world but are heard beautifully and clearly in the next world–and they will plead for everyone who has been in this movement.  They will say to God, “Spare him, because he loved us!” — Congressman Henry Hyde

February 11th, 2011


No, not curtains for me, at least not quite yet. When I saw my internist for my check-up a few days ago, he asked, “How have you been?” He got a kick out of  my response, “I see signs of continuing.” I thought, “I’d better write that down.”

The curtains of which I speak are my white fiberglass bathroom curtains that have been in place for perhaps twenty years, maybe thirty, I don’t know. We’ve been in this house for fifty years now and it seems they’ve always been there. I was sitting in the bathtub this morning and enjoying the glint of the sunshine on the curtains. At this point in February we have  topped the all time record for snow in Danbury, so any sunshine is much appreciated.   And sunshine glistens on fiberglass as it does on no other fabric.

What ever happened to fiberglass?  I don’t recall that clothing was made of it but I remember it as a drapery fabric.  Nowadays fiberglass fabric is for sale but it seems to be used mostly in ships.  I guess it doesn’t mildew; I wonder why it doesn’t break.   Anyhow I take my bathroom curtains down when they seem dusty and douse them in the bathtub after a bath, rinse, and rehang.   It’s all very easy and they look as good as they ever did.  And they glisten in the sunlight!

The curtains are very simple, one piece for the top half of each window, cafe-style, decorated at the bottom with two rows of fancy machine stitching, light blue and dark blue, to match the bathroom.  At this point I find it a challenge to even thread my sewing machine, it is so seldom used.  The machine attachments make zigzag decorative stitching very easy.

My fiberglass curtains have served me well and I’d do it just the same again.   I expect it will be curtains for me before my bathroom curtains finally retire.

February 10th, 2011


I knew a priest who said that he had always felt a special camaraderie with fellow priests. They had similar educations, similar lives, similar challenges, they even believed in the same God. “But now,” he said, “I first have to find out of they accept Humanae Vitae before I know that we’re on the same page.”  All Catholic priests don’t seem to teach the same things anymore.

Never before has the Catholic church been a place where you could believe anything you wanted to – to have your “own” truth. It has always been a church where Jesus was Lord, adultery was a sin, chastity was a virtue, marriage was between a man and a women, babies were a blessing, and sex was designed for both bonding and babies.

We had, in our parish, a few years back, a priest who spoke against abortion. Two people got up and walked out following his homily. I wasn’t present at that time but I would hope he spoke about God’s forgiveness, about the people of God who come to the aid of pregnant women in distressful situations, about loving arms waiting to adopt babies, about trusting the God who is Love and who also said Thou Shalt Not Kill.  He should have said that killing babies is intrinsically wrong but there are degrees of culpability and God’s mercy waits in the confessional.   We need to have the courage to say what we believe.

I have blogged often about marriage, homosexuality and contraception and my views (which I believe are the views of our church) are here for all to read. Jesus did not start a namby-pamby church that just says “don’t be mean.” Because of his love for us, God has given us guidelines for life. Things always work out better His Way. We need to be challenged to follow God’s teachings and his leadings.

I would urge anyone who does not get the Real Catholic YouTube videos to log on to and sign up. You won’t be disappointed.

Here is Michael Voris telling the difference between Pew Sitters and Real Catholics.


We know that all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to his purpose. — Romans 8:28

February 3rd, 2011


I have written before about the episodes of vertigo I have been experiencing for about the past thirty years. I hate that feeling of falling into a vortex, spinning around and around, with that sinking feeling in my stomach. Yes, it will settle down after some minutes and I can be up and about and get something to eat or go to the bathroom. Usually, I can also do my shopping, go to church, etc., etc. But it is truly bothersome to know that if I lie on my left side that terrible dizzy feeling will overwhelm me again.

In the past, after a week or so, I’d be back to normal. This last time it started on New Year’s Eve and it’s still lurking there. I know if I lie on my left side I’ll be dizzy again. About a week ago coming out of morning mass I ran into an old friend, Mev, and we exchanged, “How’ve you beens?” It  seems Mev, too, has been plagued with vertigo. She promised to send me instructions for a series of maneuvers that are supposed to get the errant canalith in my inner ear back to a spot where it won’t bother me.  According to the literature,  calcium carbonate particles (70% of cases occur in older women) tend to break off the “gelatinous blanket” in the utricle and get into the semicircular canal where they stimulate the hairs in the canal with the message that the body is in motion.

Over ten years ago my neurologist had treated one of my bouts with vertigo by putting my body through a series of movements, after which I was supposed to sleep upright that night, and my vertigo ceased. This time around I had done some googling on my computer but had not come up with this particular treatment. It seems it is right there, in Wikipedia, and my friend Mev was kind enough to mail it to me.

From Wikipedia:

The Epley maneuver (or Epley’s exercises) is a maneuver used to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). It is often performed by a doctor or a physical therapist, but can be performed by the patient at home. This maneuver was developed by Dr. John Epley and first described in 1980.

The procedure is as follows:

1. Sit upright.
2. Turn your head to the symptomatic side at a 45 degree angle, and lie on your back.
3. Remain up to 5 minutes in this position.
4. Turn your head 90 degrees to the other side.
5. Remain up to 5 minutes in this position.
6. Roll your body onto your side in the direction you are facing; now you are pointing your head nose down.
7. Remain up to 5 minutes in this position.
8. Go back to the sitting position and remain up to 30 seconds in this position.

The entire procedure should be repeated two more times, for a total of three times.

Youtube offers the following visual help, slightly different from the above instructions; there are also other videos at this site.  I enjoyed the comments after the videos, especially the ones saying, in effect, “This worked for me!”

It is said that medication is not helpful in cases of BPPV.  I know my neurologist did not prescribe any but the one time I went to the emergency room when I was awakened at night with acute dizziness they gave me an IV drip and meclizine (Antivert).  When the current episode began a month ago I took meclizine for the first two weeks because it was on hand and then stopped after reading that it was not helpful for this kind of dizziness.  I noticed no difference in my symptoms but have to say meclizine really helps me to sleep well.  I think the meclizine is more valuable for the nausea sometimes associated with vertigo than the dizziness.

At this point (a week after I started this post)  I have done the Epley maneuvers several times, improving my technique by watching the videos.  It did not work right away but I have presently been free of vertigo for four days!!