April 21st 2018

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY The deeper causes of Australia's social malaise

GENDER POLITICS Queensland proposes transgender birth certificates

CANBERRA OBSERVED Malcolm at 30 (polls): the cloud on Turnbull's horizon

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Cardinal Pell firmly denies sex abuse allegations

NATIONAL AFFAIRS Sydney Archdiocese aims to eliminate slavery in supply chain

RURAL DEVELOPMENT Irrigation along Fitzroy River proposed and opposed

LIFE ISSUES Abortion Rethink Summit: the case for care

VERBATIM WA food, drink producers face shortage of carbon dioxide

HOUSING AFFORDABILITY Land costs: economist Henry George's solution

ELECTRICITY Will Turnbull lose three out of three?

ECONOMICS Trade wars: tariffs unlikely to be fired in anger

SEX AND TEENS How about support for the abstaining majority?

VISUAL ARTS Layers of meaning in Botticelli's La Primavera and The Birth of Venus

MUSIC Is it good?: Or, do we just like the sound it makes?

CINEMA The Death of Stalin: Black comedy of a dark time

BOOK REVIEW Cool head on topic that generates heat

BOOK REVIEW Life's not so bad: from the outside



OPINION What a republic would really mean for Australia

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Abortion Rethink Summit: the case for care

by Anne Lastman

News Weekly, April 21, 2018

Recently, over several days in March (17–22), I had the pleasure of attending the Abortion Rethink Summit in Queensland. It promised to be a different but good conference. I was invited to speak first at the conference and later at Brisbane’s Parliament House to politicians on Tuesday March 22.

I say it promised to be different and indeed it was. The difference being that an active abortionist, Dr Leah Torres, was also invited to attend and speak. This abortionist is known to one of the organisers and the organiser wanted the abortionist to experience a pro-life conference in order to hear experiences.

I must say that at first I was concerned about this person being at the conference, but when I saw her I didn’t see two horns coming out of her head. She was visibly attractive and quiet, though an ugly photo of her has been used consistently in the media, along with words of denigration.

The media uses this tactic to sway public opinion. When someone is favoured, an attractive image is used. This emphasises the “niceness” of the person. When a negative perspective is being insinuated, an ugly, unposed image is used. This is a media ploy which has been used since Adam was a lad.

Controversial guest

She sat with her friend the organiser and listened intently to all the speakers, most especially to a panel of post-abortive women and their sufferings. She listened intently about abortion coercion. I know she listened to my talk, as I several times looked at her and saw her looking at me and listening.

I didn’t feel that I could go up to her during coffee breaks or lunch breaks –that is, at social moments – because of my own experience and of course the experience of the more than 2000 women and handful of men who have sought my help over the 22 years of my work.

However, although I couldn’t go and shake her hand, I was surprised at myself because I did not feel animosity towards her. (Perhaps next time I can approach her, if these organisers organise another such conference.)

The conference was very well attended: about 100 people in all. Among them were abortion survivors, doctors, politicians, pastors, and representatives of family groups and youth groups. Indeed there was quite a large number of youthful attendees. There were also representatives from pregnancy centres who spoke about their activities and work. And some counsellors who practise post-abortion grief work.

I was delighted to see others working in the post-abortion grief field because it is such needed work. Indeed, I believe that counsellors in post-abortion grief and sexual-abuse grief are the two most needed therapeutic practitioners of the future.

Perhaps I would even add sexual-addiction therapists because of our over-sexualised society and the introduction of sexual information to children who are incapable at their young age of processing such information.

It was encouraging for me to see others doing my kind of work, as well as other therapy work, so that, if the time comes when health issues get too big or some other thing interferes in my own work, I know that there will be others who will continue to do a marvellous job.

There was much constructive dialogue among the attendees and their different charisms and it seemed that much was learned from the event.

The conference itself went extremely well, although after the event a tsunami exploded on Facebook: some other pro-lifers attacked the idea of the invitation to Dr Torres to attend and even attacked those who attended.

It seemed like the fury of all hell had broken loose. Some even suggested that giving Dr Torres a platform would give the impression that abortion is OK. This was far from the truth, because at the conference, Dr Torres heard much about the pain associated with abortion, both pre abortion and post abortion, and about the work that is being done, usually on shoestring budgets (or free), to deal with this pain; and this gave her the opportunity to listen to truthful personal stories about the abortion experience and its consequences.

Never discount moments of grace

I cannot say or know whether Dr Torres was moved or if perhaps in some way a seed may have been planted for a future change of heart in relation to her work. Only God knows and sees into the heart. However, I am reminded of the case of Dr Bernard Nathanson. He was a huge pro-choice abortionist who aborted tens of thousands of babies, including his own. But after seeing an ultrasound of an abortion in real time, and his involvement in a film called The Silent Scream and writings (The Hand of God), together with seeing good and faithful people outside his abortion clinic, he stopped his work of baby killing and became a pro-lifer and converted to Catholicism in the process.

I am also reminded of Dr Kathi Aultman, another American abortionist who was a director of Planned Parenthood in Jacksonville. Dr Aultman has referred to herself in these words: “I’m a mass murderer”. There came a moment in her life when she realised what she was a part of and then stopped and is today a very vocal defender of babies in the womb.

These moments of grace come for everyone and we can hope and pray that Dr Torres will also one day experience the same moment of grace and respond accordingly.

We pro-lifers from around the world work till we drop and still we can save only a few babies (important as this is) or change a law which can always be manipulated. But when an abortionist has a moment of clarity and “sees” and has a change of heart, then tens of thousands of babies are saved.

Perhaps we ought to incorporate into our efforts this charism of changing hearts and minds of abortionists and ask God’s grace for them, then we might see the nightmare of abortion slowly implode on itself.

Many other medical people – doctors, nurses, abortion clinic workers – and others have walked away from the gruesome job of baby killing because of a moment of clear vision when they saw clearly that the abortion that they had believed to be a right meant the actual killing of a pre-born human baby.

If this conference has planted a seed in a person’s soul, then it has been worth it. Because, when an abortionist stops their work, tens and even hundreds of thousands of babies will not die. Surely this is a good thing and something all of us hope for and long to see.

Anne Lastman is the founder of counselling organisation Victims of Abortion (www.victimsofabortion.com.au, PO Box 6094, Vermont South, Victoria, 3133, Mobile: 0408 175 033). She is the author of two books, Redeeming Grief, about abortion and its consequences on women and society, and Hidden Pain, on childhood sexual abuse.

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April 4, 2018, 6:45 pm