Cluster of wheat image Grapes and vines image Cluster of wheat image
June 29th, 2013


Yesterday I was a guest at the banquet given by the Federal Correctional Institute for volunteers, in appreciation of their services. I think it was the best banquet yet. The decorations by the inmates were lovely, the food was top-notch, and the entertainment, by the women from The Camp, was memorable. The Camp is the low security section of the prison, and that is the part of the prison where we go as volunteers. FCI is a women’s prison now but a few years back it was a men’s prison and we were able to volunteer both at the Camp and at the FCI proper. All of which means we have been going there to hold prayer meetings, to fellowship and to sing, for close to twenty years.

I am the only one in our group who has a pink prison pass which means I’m supposed to be escorted wherever I go, even to the Camp. And the reason for that is that I have a previous history of being imprisoned myself. As a member of Operation Rescue under the leadership of Randy Terry back in 1988 we started to go en masse to abortion “clinics,” sit down in front of the door, and pray and sing, effectively closing the facility for the day. The police called us protesters but we called ourselves rescuers, as our purpose was to rescue the unborn babies that were scheduled to be killed that day by abortion. Over the years, according to my records, I took part in 34 rescues and was arrested 19 times. I have previously written an overview of the Rescue movement. There are many people alive today because of what Operation Rescue did in the eighties and nineties. They may well make a difference in the way the world turns!

As a result of my experience both as a prison visitor and a prison inmate, I have come to the conclusion that the populations both in and out of prison are pretty much the same. We all make stupid mistakes or sin, some of us get caught and some don’t. At the banquet yesterday it was a delight to find that one of the ladies who was a regular attendee at our prayer meetings, Aimee, had been chosen to give the welcome speech to the volunteers. Many of the ladies there have been sentenced to prison for a number of years, and Aimee was happy to inform us that this would be her LAST volunteer banquet! Go, Aimee! She will be a sterling citizen!

Some of the songs on the program were original by the inmates, others had a gospel flavor (Daughters of Grace, for example). The Sweet Caroliners turned the old song, Sweet Caroline, into one addressed to us as “sweet volunteers.” I wish I knew the name of the young woman who danced with extraordinary grace and power. I have no idea why she was in prison but I pray she will soon be free to share her talent on the outside. Everyone knows Amazing Grace, a fitting finale in which all of us took part.

As an aside, we had a spare chair at our table which was filled by a volunteer from PVS (Prisoner Visitation and Support) which turns out to be the only nationwide organization allowed to volunteer at Federal prisons and military installations. Interested?

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

December 18th, 2008


I had no sooner published my first rejoicing over the closing of the only free-standing abortion mill in our city than I was besieged with further reflections of the “I shoulda said” variety.  Over the twenty years there have been many memories, some of which I’d like to share.


Father Bill Smith always told us that the desire to witness to the evil of abortion in public was a charism, a gift from God, not given to everyone. I think all of us would testify that when we first decided it was something we needed to do we had considerable difficulty getting out of the car the first time and actually doing it.  We can also testify that we no longer think twice about it; we just do it.


We do not refer to the abortuary as a clinic.  A clinic is a place for diagnosis and treatment leading to health.  When one of the patients always ends up dead, and the other is wounded ( physically, psychologically, or both) that is not healthy.


Early on, when the abortuary was on Mill Plain Road, there was no sidewalk, and in the winter we had to make a path through the snow.   Sometimes people would drive as close as they could, splashing us or forcing us from the path.  Other times people would see us and return with hot coffee or cookies.


Also, when Medical Options first moved to Main Street, Mr. T (husband of the nurse who ran the abortuary) came out to talk with us with his young son.  “ Show her,” he said, and his son Jeremy opened his coat to reveal a T-shirt which read: “I was chosen.”  That boy would be a grown man now, probably married, maybe even blessed with children.  I have often wondered has it occurred to him that perhaps there had been brothers or sisters who weren’t “chosen.”  I wonder how he feels about having parents whose business is killing babies.  Of course, they present themselves as rendering a service to womankind, and proud of it.  But – I wonder.


During the days of Operation Rescue I was excited when I learned that a rescue was planned at Medical Options.  (See my post here explaining why we considered ourselves rescuers, not protesters.)   Since Medical Options was located on Main Street, a very central location, with a Catholic church a few doors south and another Catholic church a few blocks north, I thought that when word got around that people were being arrested for protesting abortion on MAIN STREET Christians of all stripes would rally around in solidarity.   It was one of the biggest disillusionments of my life that no such thing happened.  Our own Father Smith was there, of course, blessing us as we were removed from the premises.  But crowds of  people in prayer support?  Priests?  Pastors?  Forget about it!  I wonder what it will take for the church to finally rise up?  Will it ever?


All in all, three rescues took place at Medical Options.  In one of them the renowned pro-lifer Joan Andrews, took part.  Joan had been imprisoned in Florida for 2-l/2 years in solitary confinement for the crime of entering a abortion “clinic” and disabling the suction machine.  They would not release her  because she refused to promise that she would not do it again.  In another rescue, we actually invaded the premises and sat on the waiting room floor, refusing to move.  When the police came (the police station was right across the street) and hauled us off, we spent the weekend in jail and went to court on Monday.  If I recall correctly, we were released, “time served.”  One of us, Audrey, sent a letter to the newspaper complaining that in jail they took our coats away and the cells were cold with only a metal bench to lie on and no blankets.  When we tried to block the cold air coming from a vent in the ceiling with toilet paper they threatened to take our toilet paper away.  On the other hand, we remember happily one officer who brought us candy bars!


Years ago Medical Options employed “clinic escorts” who wore orange vests and were supposed to see that patients were not interfered with when they arrived for an abortion.  One day I had arrived early and was walking up and down alone, wearing my sign, and there were four such escorts lined up across the driveway.  As I was praying that someone would soon come and join me, a priest that I did not know appeared out of nowhere.  After he greeted me, he went up to the “escorts” and asked, “Are you pro-life or pro-death?”  I don’t think the question had ever been put to them so clearly before and they were taken aback.    What a blessing he was!  Actually, the priest was still a brother at that point,  later ordained a priest, and now pastors a church in Arizona.  A Danbury native, he would still visit and pray with us whenever he was in town.

The last time! The Gang, Medical Options, December 2008

The last time! The Gang, Medical Options, December 2008

After all those years of praying together, we “picketeers” have become like a family.  We are birds of a feather, with spiritual bonds that can be closer than blood bonds.  We don’t know what we will be doing with ourselves every Tuesday and Saturday morning, now that the “clinic” is closed.   Activists that we are, we are praying about what we are called to do next, but we will surely continue to keep in touch with each other.  We located an advertisement by Medical Options saying they had moved, but of course when we call they won’t say where they have moved to.   Time will tell.

Medical Options Advertisement

Medical Options Advertisement


There are six things which the Lord hates, seven which are an abomination to him:  haughty eyes, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that make haste to run to evil, a false witness that breathes out lies, and a man that sows discord among brothers.

–Proverbs 6:16-19

August 25th, 2008


When I put my blouse on this morning my thoughts went back to Atlanta, Georgia, July, 1988. I was in a prison camp with sundry other prolifers, including the renowned Randy Terry and a rather feeble priest whose name I don’t recall. We were allowed to wear our own clothes in the camp but after a few days some of us badly needed a change. A call went out to Christians on the “outside” who brought clothing for us and that’s where my blouse came from. It has served me well.

We called ourselves rescuers although the media and the prison staff called us protesters. We were protesting abortion, yes, but the primary aim was to save the lives of babies scheduled to be killed on the particular morning of the rescue. We were pledged to be passive, to accomplish our goal by putting our bodies between the pregnant Moms and the abortionist. We would sit at the door of the “clinic” until the police carried us off. In the meantime our counselors would talk to the mothers and offer them help to deal with the pregnancies they wanted to end. Over the years when Rescue thrived, thousands of babies’ lives were saved in this way.

There was a time, in the early days of Rescue, when what we did, just sitting down and refusing to move, received a just punishment for a charge such as simple trespass. We did not usually have to deal with more than a few days in jail or a modest fine. FACE (Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances) and RICO (Racketeer Influence and Corrupt Organization Act), which were laws passed specifically to protect abortion, seriously upped the cost of resisting abortion. It was the fear of these laws, of years in jail, of thousands of dollars in fines, that stifled the Rescue movement and made killing unborn babies a deed legally protected by the government itself.

According to John Cavanaugh O’Keefe the need to resort to such Draconian laws as FACE and RICO was a clear measure of Rescue’s success. He writes:

FACE posed a question. “You say that zygotic dots and blastular mulberries and embryonic humanettes are your brothers and sisters. I don’t consider dots and mulberries to be members of my family. And you know what? I don’t think you believe that either. But if you want to keep saying that stuff, let’s test your words. You would go to jail for years to protect your little sister. Will you do the same for a slimy fetus?”

Is that “slimy fetus” a being worthy of protection? There is a DVD available called Baby Steps which shows 4-D ultrasound images of babies as they roll, yawn, blink, spin, smile and stretch throughout 16 stages of development from 8 to 34 weeks of pregnancy. It is a real eye-opener. This is obviously neither slime nor blob, but a creature of marvelous complexity. From a scientific standpoint, it is incontrovertible that a human being is formed when the sperm fertilizes the ovum. Everything is there in that tiny package — it has only to grow and develop. That zygotic dot has a full complement of 46 chromosomes and a lifetime supply of human DNA. YOU were once a little package such as that. (Click here for the diary of an unborn child.)

From a Christian point of view there is no question whether the unborn child is a person worthy of protection. Consider that when the the angel Gabriel announced to Mary that she was to bear the Son of God she “went in haste” to visit her cousin Elizabeth who was also pregnant. It was just days after Christ’s conception when they met, yet Elizabeth exclaimed “blessed is the fruit of thy womb” and the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leapt for joy at the presence of Jesus. The Greek word for the baby in Elizabeth’s womb is brephos, exactly the same word that is used to describe Christ in Luke 2:12: “You will find a babe {brephos} wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger.” No Christian can read the description in Luke and believe that killing an unborn child is a matter of no import.

There have been totally non-violent prolifers who have spent several years in jail due to the vagaries of the venues where they were arrested. Many others have months of incarceration to their credit. This is called “walking the walk.” Many of us however, have responded to the above question by saying we might go to jail for a few weeks to save a fetus, but not for years.

Richard John Neuhaus (FIRST THINGS, June 1999, pg. 85) writes:

…for more than twenty-five years there have been thousands of people who have stood vigil at America’s abortuaries, who have prayed, counseled, and sometimes gone to jail, in order to prevent the rest of us from averting our eyes from the horror. It is not the only way of being prolife or even of being a prolife activitist, but they are heroes and heroines, and we are all in their debt.

As Operation Rescue languished, it seems to me that the willingness of Christians (and even Catholic prelates) to confront abortion in the streets has increased. It is true, as Francis Schaeffer wrote, that each abortion mill exists with the permission of the Christians in that community. Praying and peaceful picketing are still relatively risk-free and more and more rosaries are being prayed where and when abortions are being done. Father Frank Pavone’s Priests for Life has been doing a masterful job. Among the others who have visibly witnessed to the evil of abortion in the streets the names of Msgr. Phillip Reilly, Bishop Austin Vaughn, Bishop George Lynch, Cardinal Francis George, Fr. Benedict Groeschel, Bishop James McHugh, Bishop Paul Loverde, Bishop William Lori, and Father Michael Scanlon come to mind. There are many others.

Proverbs 24:11 still challenges us. “Rescue those who are being taken away to death…If you say, ‘Behold, we did not know this,’ does not he who weighs the heart perceive it?”

We cannot say “We did not know this.” The right to kill the unborn is a hot topic in the current elections. I pray (and know) that there will always be Christians who are willing to put their bodies and lives on the line for their unborn brothers and sisters. Jesus was a Rescuer (some translate it Savior) who laid down his life that others might live. There is no more noble calling.


PASTOR RICK WARREN: At what point does a baby get human rights, in your view?

SEN. OBAMA: Well, you know, I think that whether you’re looking at it from a theological perspective or a scientific perspective, answering that question with specificity, you know, is, is above my pay grade.


MR. BROKAW: Senator Obama saying the question of when life begins is above his pay grade, whether you’re looking at it scientifically or theologically. If he were to come to you and say, “Help me out here, Madame Speaker. When does life begin?” what would you tell him?

REP. PELOSI: I would say that as an ardent, practicing Catholic, this is an issue that I have studied for a long time. And what I know is, over the centuries, the doctors of the church have not been able to make that definition. And Senator–St. Augustine said at three months. We don’t know. The point is, is that it shouldn’t have an impact on the woman’s right to choose. Roe v. Wade talks about very clear definitions of when the child–first trimester, certain considerations; second trimester; not so third trimester. There’s very clear distinctions. This isn’t about abortion on demand, it’s about a careful, careful consideration of all factors and–to–that a woman has to make with her doctor and her god. And so I don’t think anybody can tell you when life begins, human life begins. As I say, the Catholic Church for centuries has been discussing this, and there are those who’ve decided…

MR. BROKAW: The Catholic Church at the moment feels very strongly that it…

REP. PELOSI: I understand that.

MR. BROKAW: …begins at the point of conception.

REP. PELOSI: I understand. And this is like maybe 50 years or something like that. So again, over the history of the church, this is an issue of controversy. But it is, it is also true that God has given us, each of us, a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And we want abortions to be safe, rare, and reduce the number of abortions. That’s why we have this fight in Congress over contraception.

My Republican colleagues do not support contraception. If you want to reduce the number of abortions, and we all do, we must–it would behoove you to support family planning and, and contraception, you would think. But that is not the case. So we have to take–you know, we have to handle this as respectfully–this is sacred ground. We have to handle it very respectfully and not politicize it, as it has been–and I’m not saying Rick Warren did, because I don’t think he did, but others will try to.

MR. BROKAW: Madame Speaker, thanks very much for being with us.

REP. PELOSI: It’s my pleasure. Thank you.




Like many other citizens of this nation, I was shocked to learn that the Speaker of the House of Representatives of the United States of America would make the kind of statements that were made to Mr. Tom Brokaw of NBC-TV on Sunday, August 24, 2008. What the Speaker had to say about theologians and their positions regarding abortion was not only misinformed; it was also, and especially, utterly incredible in this day and age.

We are blessed in the 21st century with crystal-clear photographs and action films of the living realities within their pregnant mothers. No one with the slightest measure of integrity or honor could fail to know what these marvelous beings manifestly, clearly, and obviously are, as they smile and wave into the world outside the womb. In simplest terms, they are human beings with an inalienable right to live, a right that the Speaker of the House of Representatives is bound to defend at all costs for the most basic of ethical reasons. They are not parts of their mothers, and what they are depends not at all upon the opinions of theologians of any faith. Anyone who dares to defend that they may be legitimately killed because another human being “chooses” to do so or for any other equally ridiculous reason should not be providing leadership in a civilized democracy worthy of the name.

Edward Cardinal Egan
Archbishop of New York
August 26, 2008


Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee. Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

May 11th, 2008


Yesterday I attended the funeral mass of a fellow rescuer – that’s what we called members of Operation Rescue, “the largest peaceful civil disobedience movement in American history.” We would sit and pray in front of abortion “clinics” in numbers sufficient to block the entrance in order to prevent the deaths of unborn children scheduled to the aborted. Since we refused to move, we had to be carried (or dragged) away. As our numbers increased the punishments became harsher, and many rescuers spent weeks and months locked up for their trouble. Jim, quiet, gentle, loving, totally harmless, was such a man. God rest his soul.

It came to mind during the mass that the next day was Mothers’ Day, and that I had written a poem on Mothers’ Day in 1992 when I was in the Erie County Jail in Buffalo NY. Though I’m not much of a poet, I offer what I wrote that day in memory of and as a tribute to those who cared enough about the unborn to lay down their lives (after a fashion) for the most helpless and vulnerable among us. Read the rest of this entry »