Monday, August 9, 2010

"Low Quality of Life" = Not Deserving of Life Itself?

As I predicted, my learning experience from DC is not over with the conclusion of the Academy! 
On our way home, we spent the night with a long-time friend of the family: a man by the name of Devin who my parents met in college. I remember seeing pictures of Devin and I when I was a baby, but I was too young to really remember him, and now I was finally getting to really meet this special man who I had heard so much about.

During the last week of the Academy, we learned about how the medical field is starting to try and classify people who have a "low quality of life" as not worth living. People who are thus classified are now considered to merit the denial of lifesaving medical treatment, food and fluids, in order to hasten death and "get rid of the hassle and cost." Doctors should determine what level of care is necessary, not whether or not to provide basic care at all. We heard story after story of doctors deciding independently of families (and usually against patient's wishes) to "pull the plug" when the life was deemed no longer worth living. These stories did not just include "old people" - they ranged from infants with disabilities to teenagers who had experienced trauma.These determinations are not based on scientific medical fact about the estimated life expectancy: these are completely subjective standards that are simply value judgments, completely degrading the sanctity of human life. Who are is a doctor to decide whose life is worth living? What is scary is that 4/5 of the US do not have laws that protect patients from doctors who will hasten death in order to reduce cost if one's life is deemed no longer worth living.

To the casual observer, my friend Devin is man who would be considered to have a "low quality of life". He was born with 2 club feet, none of his four joints (elbows or knees) will bend, and his hands and fingers are twisted severely inward. He has never been able to walk without the assistance of crutches and never will. He wears special shoes with braces that allowed him to use crutches to throw his weight forward, until a few months ago when blood clots forced him to stop using the crutches to walk long distances (he's not supposed to be using them at all, but he cheats and uses them anyway to get to and from the car). He has been waiting for nine months a very special motorized wheelchair in order to even get around his house. Hopefully it will arrive soon and give it an enormous improvement in access and mobility. He can't use a regular wheelchair because he can't bend his arms in order to spin the wheels. Devin's life is FAR from worthless

When he was born in 1965, the doctor shook his head in disgust.. He suggested that his parents throw him in a garbage can and just forget about him. But even though his parents didn't understand why their son had so many physical deformities, and even though they knew that Devin's physical condition would make life challenging for the entire family - hey firmly believed that he was their responsibility and they would do everything to the best of their ability to provide for their 7th son. Dealing with Devin's problems was no small feat - he was born into rural Pennsylvania farming family with few resources or medical assistance close by - but his parents made sacrifices to get Devin the proper treatment. (even though it included 4 years in a hospital as a baby that was several hours away. They visited as often as possible - once a month). Devin's life is FAR from worthless.

Extremely smart, a tutor recognized his talent in 6th grade and urged him to continue in his education. Devin eventually entered college, attending Colorado State and majoring in Wildlife Biology. And that's where he met my parents, and through the campus ministry there became a Christian. For the last 20 years, he has faithfully worked for the US Forestry Service. He loves his job and they love him. Devin's life is FAR from worthless.

There's something you have to know about my friend Devin. He never, ever gives up. He finds a solution to any challenge. Since he can't use his hands to feet himself, he asks for his plate to be placed on a tower of boxes on the table so that it is mouth level. He has attaches his toothbrush and his cellphone on sticks so that he can hold it in his arm as he talks on the phone or brushes his teeth. He actually bought a truck 10 years ago that was customized just for him so that he could drive it with a joy stick for the right hand and a control box that is mounted on the door for the AC/turn signals/windshield wipers, etc. Going on road trips and exploring is his favorite hobby, because he is finally not bound by his limited mobility: he has traveled to over 40 of the states. He loves to read, and has now discovered the Facebook so that he can easily reconnect with his friends all over the country without ever having to leave his chair. Devin's life is FAR from worthless.

We laughed together, shared memories, stories and jokes, got a spin up and down West Virginia's hilly roads in Devyn's truck and just enjoyed being together. Spending time with Devyn for just evening deepened my understanding of the verse that says "Nothing is impossible with God." Devyn, by the world's standards, should have every right to be depressed and stay inside wasting away because of his very severe challenges. Instead he faces each day head on, accepts the challenges as they come without complaining, and then adapts - finding a new way to accomplish tasks that seem ordinary and simple to us - eating, walking, typing on the computer, brushing one's teeth, getting into the car, buckling one's seat belt.... Ready with a laugh, a smile, or a hug (where you lean over and hug him while he leans into you with his head), Devin's life is FAR from worthless. 
My friend Devin is a perfect flesh and blood example to me that ALL life is sacred - even if the body itself is not perfect... If he ever has to go to the hospital, should he be put to death with the denial of life-saving medical treatment and food and water, because his "quality of life" is low? NO! What does quality of life even mean? By some standards, Devin could probably have a higher quality of life than most people - he appreciates the little things of life and is grateful for the gift to live another day. Every human, no matter the condition or the age or the stage of the development deserves our respect and honor.

Thank you Devin for reminding me of this important truth ... and for being an incredible man of courage and integrity who isn't afraid to try again and again AND again. I want to be like you when I grow up and never lose sight of what is truly important in life.
How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving, and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life, you will have been all of these. ~GWCarver

I'm home, safe and sound... and so is Emma!

I finally got to meet my lovely cousin Emma... she is such a joy to our family! She is settling in pretty well already, even though she's only been home 3 days. She is always ready with a smile and we look forward to getting to know her in the days and months to come. A wonderful way to come home after a summer about LIFE : to get to experience the blessing of a new member to the family myself!


Thursday, August 5, 2010

Commence[ment]: "Begin: set in motion, cause to start"

tThis evening the Academy class of 2010 had its commencement ceremony.... It literally was a sending out - a beginning, a setting into motion, causing to start.

All through out the day, we to each other kept commenting that we couldn’t believe that our time at NRLC was almost over. But really, it is NOT over. My friendship with the Academy kids that have been such a blessing are not over... the incredible relationships that have grown with the different ‘experts’ in the pro-life movement that I now consider my dear friends whom I feel privileged to work shoulder to shoulder with... these will not end tomorrow either.

But one of the most important aspects of the Academy that will not end is the gift that has been given to the six of us:  the gift of truth and wisdom and knowledge about Life, bought literally with sweat and tears through the labor of the last 37 years. All the tools, resources and skills needed to pick up the baton on this Relay for Life and carry it farther than ever before, building upon the accomplishments, successes and failures of the previous generation.

 I was telling my good friend a few nights ago on the phone that this last week a specific verse had been rolling around in my head: 'to whom much is given, much is required' (Luke 12:48)... Much has been given to me, and through God's faithfulness and mercy, I am trusting and believing that he will open doors and guide me and each of the other Academy students. Natalie actually has already been offered a job with a state RTL office, starting January! We’re all so excited for her, and we know that God will continue show each of us exactly how/where we are supposed to make a difference, our specific role in this Big Story.

Tonight, our incredible professor Burke eloquently "pontificated" (as he would say!) straight from his heart , reminding us of the incredible difficult task at hand, our important, irreplaceable role, and our commitment to Never, Ever Give Up.... he quoted Thomas Paine, whose words are as true for our crisis at hand as they were in 1776 : THESE are the times that try men's souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph. What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly: it is dearness only that gives every thing its value. Heaven knows how to put a proper price upon its goods; and it would be strange indeed if so celestial an article as FREEDOM should not be highly rated. 

What freedom are WE defending today? The FREEDOM of LIFE- at any age or stage of development. What could be more "highly rated" than that?

We still have one more full day of classes tomorrow, trying to pack in as much information as possible before the time finally runs out ... then I head back home with my lovely family on Saturday (after we rent bikes and ride around DC!). My family got to be here for the commencement, and I was so grateful that they got to my meet my new extended NRLC family.

I will continue to update this blog with more insights that I learned from the Academy and other pro-life news alerts/action points, so I hope that you will continue to check back often to see if there are any new posts. (ps: I WILL post about Obamacare, part 2 very soon, I promise). Additionally - if you know any college students - your children, your grandchildren, your friends who would like more information about the Academy so that they too can be trained up and sent out, please let me know... We want this invaluable messages of truth to be spread out as far as possible!

I thank my faithful readers and supporters from the bottom of my heart - I’m so glad that you got to journey alongside me and the other Academy students in the story that God was, is, and will continue to write upon our hearts this summer. We will never be the same - and our goal is that the world won't ever be the same either.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

OBAMACARE - is it really that scary?

Short answer. YES. It is very scary. okay, my post is finished. Goodnight!

just joking. The last two days of the Academy have been about health care - Obamacare and then positive alternatives to Obamacare. I am highly motivated to try and understand this issue to the best of my ability because I know that whatever happens to this federal law will directly effect me in my future career.
Warning - this post is going to be long, but hopefully it will be well worth your time. This issue effects EVERYONE and therefore must be understood. (I have condensed the information due to the nature of this format, but if you have any questions about anything that you read, please comment and I will get you answers).

Pro-Obamacare advocates point to the fact that millions of Americans are uninsured in this country - "we need to adopt this plan, this is the solution to providing care for everyone." I admit - this is a very valid problem in America, and we should work towards solving the problem (see future posting about this topic). BUT Obamacare is not the solution: This federal law limits what private citizens can choose to spend of their own funds to spend on medical treatment to saves their own lives and the lives of their own family.

This law is based on Obama's ideology that there should not be a Two Tier health care system - "rich" and poor receiving different levels of care.
I have a very basic question for you... a) Do you want to even things out by helping those who can't afford adequate health care? OR b) Do you want to limit health care available to those who CAN afford it? Obama's health law does some of A and a LOT of B. I have another question for you: should it be illegal for people to not save more than a certain limited amount for retirement, because some people didn't save at all for retirement? Should all people be required by law to live in the same square footage house, so that all is equitable? No, of course not... because in America, people are allowed to enjoy the rewards of their hard owned money to have a comfortable retirement and a house of their choice. Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, right? There is a fundamental difference between finding solutions to provide adequate care to the poor and not allowing anyone to spend more money that what is deemed  "necessary and efficient". If one is concerned about making everything equal, then this bill does exactly that. It doesn't really raise the level of the poor as much as it pushes the middle class and the wealthy down, so that all receive equal levels of below current medical standard care.

I completely understand if you don't currently believe that the law is a result of this ideology or that this law is truly as scary as it is characterized, so allow me to show you how will the law plans on accomplishing this equalization of society.

This 18-person board's entire goal is to push spending DOWN, below medical inflation. It will accomplish this goal through its complete and absolute authority to create rigid guidelines that HHS (Health & Human Services) will impose as "quality and efficiency standards" upon doctors. Doctors will be forced to comply with these standards (no exceptions) or they will lose their insurance contracts. These guidelines will lay out specific instructions about when an MRI is an appropriate medical procedure and when it is inefficient and wasteful, for example. It creates a "Cookbook Medical Care" phenomenon since doctors no longer have the right to determine what is the best decision for his/her patient - it will be decided by 'the Book'. These arbitrary, national standards of care will not be based on medical best practice, but on how to limit care so that the cost does not exceed the target budget, so that the total health care costs will be below medical inflation.

It is claimed that keeping costs below the rate of medical inflation will 'not reduce quality of care, just cut wasteful and excessive treatments.' But what is important to understand is that although the rate of medical inflation is approximately 3% higher the the CPI, or average inflation rate, the CPI is an AVERAGE. It is not economically savvy to expect all products and services to inflate at the same rate from hamburgers to automobiles... Health care has a higher inflation rate because it is a labor intensive service field where productivity levels cannot increase as much as other more technologically dependent fields such as manufacturing (which can continually increase productivity and therefore keep the cost/inflation rate lower). Reducing the cost of health care BELOW the medical inflation rate would be artificially capping essential life saving treatments, plus funding for future innovations and technological advances. Additionally, the cost of healthcare is not skyrocketing as it is purported - YES, the cost of healthcare has increased and it has become a larger portion of the family budget since 1940 - but the more accurate story is this: Productivity in other areas such as food, clothing and housing has increased dramatically (~20%) and we can get more for less money, and therefore have more disposable income to spend on healthcare and medical/technological advances. The healthcare industry has expanded widely in the last 70 years. For example in 1940, nitroglycerin was the only option for people with heart problems... then bypass surgeries were discovered (this saved lives!!!) ... and then stents were invented, making the process easier, cheaper and with more results and saved lives!!! Should we really reduce funding for stents in heart surgeries to keep down costs and instead revert back to giving nitroglycerin tablets (cheaper!!!)? The vast majority of Americans would say "NO!", because the advancements have unquestioningly increased quality of life and extended the average life span by 11 years in 70 years (from 66 to 77).

EXCHANGE LIMITS on what people can pay for insurance
I'm sure that you've heard of the state insurance exchanges that come with the Plan.... the exchange idea is not inherently bad (more choices for insurance is a good thing!) but the problem lies in the fact that the exchange will not be governed by the free market but by the government's heavy hand.  HHS will exclude insurers whose plans inside or outside the exchange allow private citizens to spend whatever they decide is "excessive or unjustified" on their own health insurance with their OWN money. It essentially imposes premium price controls to ALL plans, period. Exclusion from the exchange basically ensures that the insurer will soon be out of business. The phrase, "IF YOU LIKE YOUR PLAN, YOU CAN KEEP IT" has been touted everywhere, but the catch with that is that you can keep your plan unless it undergoes a significant change (key point: significant is not defined and therefore is open for interpretation... is a $20 premium increase significant? Is the addition of one more medical test to the plan significant?) Once a plan has changed "significantly" then it must now become a qualified HHS insurance company, subject to limits like every other insurance company. 

SHARED DECISION MAKING/Regional Decision Making Resource Centers
With this new law, "decision making aids will be implemented so that America can make better, rational decisions regarding treatment." Although this sounds wonderful, these centers could be known as the Propaganda Boards. The main goal will be to discourage excess (key: discourage excess = limit/ration care, even if the patient wants to pay for it). How? With phrases like, "you don't really need it, right?" This is not an exaggeration because the organizations serving as the advisors already have such things posted on their websites:
"In many people with a stable heart condition, medications are just as good as stents or bypass surgery."  (Do we really want to revert back to 1940's medical practice?)        
"Whether or not they receive treatment, men diagnosed with early prostate cancer will die of something else."  (Basically - so we are not going to treat prostate cancer - its not worth it)           
"At the end of life, too many people receive inexpensive treatment." (This statement only looks at the amount of money spent on people who have died but doesn't take into account how many more people were saved in the medical emergency because of the expensive, life saving treatments)       
"Women who wait 4 weeks on a treatment plan who have been diagnosed with breast cancer do not have more negative results." (Oh really? I should feel good that it is taking so long to get a treatment plan even while the cancer is spreading?)
ETC, ETC, ETC.... see for yourself at sites like and look at the DID YOU KNOW box.

I know that not many who are not on Medicare likes spending so much money on the old, but the limits put on Medicare in this law are disastrous! HHS has been given standardless discretion to reject any Medicare Advantage plan - which was the plan that allowed senior citizens to add their own funds to supplement the government subsidy - and therefore avoid rationing of care they wanted to save their own lives But under this new plan, the elderly would NOT be allowed to add their own money period, and would have to be subjected to the medical care standards that are determined by cold, money conscious bureaucrats and not their personal doctor. The result would be that the vast majority of the Baby Boomer generation would be considered as lives not worth living, and life-saving medical treatment in an emergency will be expressly denied. And the person and the family won't be able to do anything at it.

This new law limits "excessive health care"... by limiting what insurers can provide ..... by completely restricting what doctors are legally allowed to provide .... by limiting what private citizens can spend on their own healthcare, even if they want to spend the money.

What is "excessive health care" by the way? Donald Berwick, the new Administrator for Obamacare wrote that, "Most metropolitan areas in the United States should reduce the number of centers engaging in cardiac surgery, high-risk obstetrics, neonatal intensive care, organ transplantation, tertiary cancer care, high-level trauma care, and high-technology imaging." This is excessive care?
If I someday need a heart surgery at the age of 64, I won't be allowed to spend my own money to buy insurance to have the surgery and prolong my life 20 years? Exactly. If I someday have a high-risk pregnancy with my second child, I will be denied treatment - possibly endangering my life and the life of my baby? Exactly. If my baby is born prematurely, I will not be allowed to spend my own money to do everything I can to try to allow my child the chance to grow up and live a happy life? Exactly. If my kidney fails at the age of 51, I cannot spend my own money on insurance to put my name on the list for a transplant? Exactly. If my mom gets cancer and there is a revolutionary cancer treatment available that will extend her life 5 years, I am not allowed to use my money to purchase that treatment? Exactly. If I get into a car accident tomorrow and suffer head trauma, under the new law my parents wouldn't be allowed to use their resources to try and save my life? Exactly. I won't be able to access CAT or a PET scan to detect early cancer growth at the age of 72? Exactly. Please tell me what is so excessive about this healthcare?

One of the problems with Obamacare is a misunderstanding of what health care actually is for. The importance of healthcare is not the ability to run to the doctor with a sore throat or joint pain (though that has its place.) Healthcare and healthcare insurance is there to provide care for MEDICAL EMERGENCIES. This is when the majority of people need care... when they are really sick. If we eliminate all costly and expensive medical procedures, we are eliminating the foundation of why we even practice medicine and why we continually invent and research cures for debilitating diseases. Let's just let everyone die when they are sick, okay? What?

The emphasis in Obamacare has shifted from Curing to Caring... This has also happened in England with their government run health care system (among other European countries). England's focus is on taking care of and appeasing the masses (the voters!) by caring services, like ambulance rides to and from the hospital - it will even pick up your prescription at the pharmacy. Doctors will perform house calls - isn't that so very convenient? But this means that their care is limited to 1940 technology contained in a little black bag, instead of a doctor's office full of supplies (a cheaper visit though). But the patients who really need care are not allowed to receive it. When many patients need dialysis or a kidney transplant for example, instead of telling them that they are not allowed to receive life saving treatments (because it is "excessive"...) they are told, "We're sorry, there's nothing we can do for you", accompanied by a number for hospice.

The numbers speak for themselves. The cancer survival rate compared to the United States versus the UK is astounding. According to BBC, "The study showed the US had the highest five-year survival rates for breast cancer at 83.9% and prostate cancer at 91.9%.... The UK had 69.7% survival for breast cancer, just above 40% for colon and rectal cancer and 51% for prostate cancer... Spending on health care was a major factor, the study of 31 countries said. Researchers said that higher spending often meant quicker access to tests and treatment. Access to diagnostic equipment is key, say experts."

Obamacare reduces specialists, increases primary care/basic level of care physicians, decreases (even regresses) the release of new drugs and new technology, and reduces the life expectancy by completely limiting what individuals can spend on healthcare even if they want to spend the money.

I hope that this attempt at explaining the convoluted, complex 2000+ page law helped clarify at least one thing: We must repeal Obamacare before the majority comes into effect 2014. Our lives, and the lives of those we love the most, literally hang in the balance.

For more information about Obamacare see:

(Next post topic: "America can Afford Non-Rationed Healthcare For ALL!)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Not just a listener

Some excerpts from church on Sunday that really spoke to me ... especially in regards to learning how to defend the rights of the unborn... 
As I clearly was reminded at the Holocaust Museum on Saturday, inaction and apathy is action. Most of Europe did nothing as the Jews were marched away to the death camps - I do not wanted to be counted in that number when history looks back at America and its fight for the unborn. I want to be counted as a Righteous Gentile, who risked everything for what was right. 
Not merely a listener of the word, but a doer. 

"Speak, O Lord"
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

James 1:19-27 Listening and Doing                                                                                 My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires.Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless. Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans (I think this includes the unborn!) and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Our Emma

GOTCHA DAY 7/26/2010
Welcome to our family Emma!!!
Emma, Dayton, Joyce, Esther
The Blakes have been together with Emma for a week now - its been a really hard week since Emma was in foster care and seems to miss her foster mom. Joyce writes, "We've now been with Emma for almost a week and still trying to see what personality immerges . . .she's 17mo, but developmentally she is 10-12.  While she has the walking mechanics down, she has no motivation to do so.  She cries alot more than I remember Esther crying, and Dayton can not be too far out of sight or she cries - we just weather thru it and we play together alot, sing alot (which she sings back and is really cute.)  Esther and I asker her if she was just a mello kid and she shook her head a definite YES.  We laughed and laughed - she was trying to figure out what was so funny." 

Please pray for them as they board the plane for the US next week - they will need all the prayers they can get traveling with two little munchkins! 

Can't wait to meet this adorable girl - she arrives home only a few days before I arrive back from DC. I will post pictures so that you can see the reunion of Richardsons & Blakes! 

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Reality Set In

Facebook status today: nauseated and teary today... the realities and horrors of the abortifacient RU486 and late term abortions of babies who intensely feel pain is hitting close to home. 

Today something clicked. I don't exactly know what. I've known about the violence of abortion for years, I've seen the graphic images. But today was different. 

As we were discussing chemical abortions today, the pill RU486, I had a running movie in my brain of this 17 year old girl ... scared, feeling alone, overwhelmed, in crisis. Thinking she has no other choice, she flips through the yellow pages to find an abortion clinic number. She didn't want to get pregnant - she never thought it would happen to her, that only happened to other people. She saw an ad that offered a safe alternative to the surgical abortions - those seemed scary and dangerous. This seemed like a good way to "get rid of it" easily and quickly. She drives herself to the clinic and is given an ultrasound by a tech - "the pregnancy is 8 weeks along". Then she has an appointment with the doctor over a video conference. After the short exchange, a locked box opens and several pills lie inside. RU486 and Prostaglandin. I saw in my mind the girl reassuring herself that everything will soon be okay as she grabs the pills and leaves. 

Next, as I heard the lecture, I saw the girl's face - filled with fear and with grimacing with pain from cramps as she is laying on the bathroom floor groaning. She has been bleeding. Severely bleeding ... all alone, as the pill starves her baby to death and wrecks havoc on her body. No doctor or nurse or parent is close by to help her. She doesn't know that there's been a complication, that there's an infection and that she is dangerously ill, and could die if she doesn't go to the hospital. She takes the Prostaglandin to initiate contractions, and eventually she sees her tiny, bloody baby..... in the toilet. It is now that she begins to realize the consequence of her actions. She wishes she could turn back time, but there is no going back.

At this point my movie turned off. I felt nauseous. 
Nauseous as I couldn't stop imagining what is advertised as an "easy, do it yourself, safe abortion" that is truly a nightmare and a horror for mother and baby. A baby, at 8 weeks, and an inch long with all fingers and toes present, and all major body parts including the heart, brain, spinal cord, organs. The violence. The lies. The veiling of the truth - the truth that the the "pregnancy" is a tiny human being - the truth that this pill could endanger her health or take her life - the truth that this pill  ends the life of her baby. 

The next hour in our morning was devoted to talking about unborn pain - I learned that a baby at 20 weeks has the highest density of pain receptors that he will ever have in his entire life. The basic nervous system is developed - nervous tracts, spinal cord, brain, thalamus, cortex. The capacity to feel pain in astounding because the inhibitors to block pain have not developed. And yet, babies at 20 weeks are ripped limb from limb in the abortion procedure. Arms and legs torn off, then the skull crushed. I was couldn't help but replay the image in my mind of what it must look like, and then trying to imagine the pain that I would experience is someone cut off my arm ...except only worse, MUCH worse. How degrading is it upon our society that we think of abortion as a solution to society's problems? Surely we can come up with other, more life affirming solutions in our advanced day and age to things like poverty besides offering to kill our children? 

Even though we have talked about aspects of abortion for two weeks now, today as we were finishing practicum, I started crying. 

Even though I fully know all the history that led up to the enactment of Roe v Wade and subsequent court decisions, I still couldn't help but ask, How did this happen? How did abortion become normal? Safe? "Good for women"? A "Choice"? 

Today reaffirmed what I already knew: I will NEVER be content to live a simply normal, happy-go-lucky life. Although I knew about the realities before, the movies that played over and over in my mind today, the movies that elicited nausea and tears, brought the importance of fighting for life to a new urgency more than ever before.

I know that all is not lost. I am not hopelessness or full of despair. No, on the contrary. God is on the move. There has been SO much progress made in our country to protect babies lives than 30 years ago. But, as everyone who has been already been working day in and day out for so long has told us this last month - we still have a ways to go. And I and so many of my peers, are apart of advancing the cause for life into the new wave of defending life. 

Today has not brought only sadness and grief... As I was talking to my friend on the phone this evening, I realized how excited that I was too. New doors are and will continue opening up for me (and for the other Academy kids too) to start making even more of a difference. 

You and I are here for 'Such A Time As This'. It cannot be denied or ignored. There are too many babies dying every day. Each of us has an integral role to play.