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Tracy Winsor holding Haley Grace the first BeNotAfraid baby.

Perinatal Hospice Part 3
by Tracy Winsor,
Co-Founder, BeNotAfraid

[Editor’s note: In case you missed them, click to find Perinatal Hospice Part 1 and Part 2.]

North Carolina parents, Javier and Carolina Castro, were offered two options by their medical provider when they were told at twenty weeks gestation that their son had a lethal kidney anomaly.  Abort within the next week in North Carolina or travel to Georgia and abort sometime in the next month.

It was a friend who suggested a third option…carrying the baby to term.  She connected the couple to a local organization, Be Not Afraid (BNA), which offered perinatal hospice support to parents carrying to term following a prenatal diagnosis.  A BNA volunteer called Carolina Castro within hours.

“At first, she asked me just to listen to what she had to say,” explains Castro. “I had no hope that she had information that would be helpful for me. I had only heard of pregnancies with complications being terminated.”

7.27.16 Perenatal Hospice Article 3

Javier and Carolina Castro welcome their son, Gabriel.                         (Photo © BeNotAfraid)

The volunteer acknowledged Carolina’s feelings of shock and grief. She told Carolina that the “diagnosis day” was the worst. Often parents at diagnosis fear that the worst is yet to come when really the worst has already happened.

She said that the birth, even if it meant a death, would be easier than the diagnosis because there would be time to prepare.

She provided information regarding BNA support, and encouraged Carolina to look at the FAQ page at ww.perinatalhospice.net so that she could be fully aware of the research that supported continuing the pregnancy as well as the risks of a second trimester abortion.

She shared stories about parents she had supported who had no regrets about continuing their pregnancies. It gave them time to cherish their child’s life. She also reminded Carolina that her son had not been changed by the diagnosis; he was still the baby she had loved from the moment she knew he existed.

She shared parents videos available at the BNA website so that Carolina would feel less isolated in the experience of this diagnosis, and so that she and Javier could begin to envision the possibilities of choosing not to abort.

“This made all the difference to us,” shares Castro. “We didn’t feel alone.”

“And I remember,” Castro adds, “That when she talked about our son, Gabriel, she referred to him as our precious baby.  This was so calming in the midst of the turmoil inside my head.  She recognized him as someone who mattered.”

While the primary focus of BNA is in serving parents who have committed to carrying to term, the organization is always prepared to provide information and prolife encouragement to parents who are undecided or even abortion-minded.

BNA Co-founder, Sandy Buck, explains, “We are fully committed to the dignity of all life no matter how frail or how brief, and that commitment is not only reflected in the care we provide to the parents who decide to carry to term and the babies welcomed by our service, but also in our willingness to engage parents who are undecided.”

Carolina Castro was one such parent who ultimately decided to continue her pregnancy. The BNA volunteers who supported her and Javier in welcoming their son considered it a privilege.

On September 17, 2013, Gabriel Andres Castro was born still.

In a blog post two days later, Carolina wrote…

One thought I do have very clear in my mind and in my heart, is that yes, it was all worth it…The diagnosis (day) was the worst day.  The day when they tell you what you hoped, what you thought you had, was no more.  “Your baby is incompatible with life…”  That was the…day of darkness, of hopelessness, of fear…  

September 17th, four months later, was very different.  It was a day of celebration, of union, of unconditional love.  

Castro reflects, “I have no regrets whatsoever. I am so glad the option of carrying to term was explained to me, and so glad I listened.”

Javi and Carolina are featured in a BNA parent DVD available at the LINK HERE.  Their interview is featured in the subsection entitled, “At diagnosis, parents need information regarding the option of carrying to term.”

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Tracy L. Winsor, MPA, is Cofounder of Be Not Afraid (BNA), a private non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide comprehensive, practical, and peer-based support to parents experiencing a prenatal diagnosis and carrying to term. She can be reached directly at Tracy.Winsor@benotafraid.net.

[Editor’s note: In case you missed them, click to find Perinatal Hospice Part 1 and Part 2.]

 

It’s been a fascinating week in American politics. No doubt your inbox, social media feeds and the news have been filled with “RNCinCLE” posts, news, pictures, commentary and videos. Many of our pro-life friends from Georgia have been in Cleveland for the GOP Convention and some went a week early to serve on Committees ranging from the Rules Committee to the Platform Committee, which we take a special interest in. As Convention week comes to a close, we wanted to share some good news for unborn children and prolife advocates.

It may not have been mentioned in the long list of policy positions during Republican Nominee Donald Trump’s speech to the RNC Convention last night, but the cause of the unborn child was certainly not ignored by the Republican Party. It started with the Platform Committee. The issue of Life is traditionally expected to be a key issue on the platforms of both the Republican and Democratic national conventions. The Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio started by exhibiting a strong stance for Life with its recently adopted platform. (The full text of Prolife Plank is included at end of this article.)

In what has been touted as their “most pro-life platform”, the Republican National Convention’s delegates resoundingly adopted the proposed platform with a voice vote. The platform’s section on “The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life” begins with the following statement:

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed.

The platform goes on to endorse legislation that extends 14th amendment protections to unborn children. The platform also condemns the spending of taxpayer dollars on funding organizations that perform or promote abortions in addition to calling for a ban on using body parts from aborted fetuses for research. Furthermore, this platform also commends Republican legislators at the federal and state levels for leading the charge to provide children with health care coverage before birth.

The Chair of the Republican National Convention’s 2016 Platform Committee, United State Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyoming) has a perfect 100% Pro-Life Voting Record from the National Right To Life Committee.

We at the Georgia Life Alliance salute the Republican National Convention & the Republican Party for their renewed and robust support for the cause of Life.

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Republican Platform

We The People: A Restoration of Constitutional Government

The Sanctity and Dignity of Human Life 

Faithful to the “self-evident” truths enshrined in the Declaration of Independence, we assert the sanctity of human life and affirm that the unborn child has a fundamental individual right to life which cannot be infringed. We support a human life amendment to the Constitution and endorse legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children. We oppose using public revenues to promote or perform abortion or fund organizations which perform or advocate it and will not fund or subsidize health care which includes abortion coverage. We support the appointment of judges who respect traditional family values and the sanctity of innocent human life. We oppose the non-consensual withholding or withdrawal of care or treatment, including food and water, from people with disabilities, including newborns, as well as the elderly and infirm, just as we oppose active and passive euthanasia and assisted suicide.

Republican leadership has led the effort to prohibit the barbaric practice of partial-birth abortion and permitted States to extend health care coverage to children before birth. We urge Congress to strengthen the Born Alive Infant Protection Act by enacting appropriate civil and criminal penalties on healthcare providers who fail to provide treatment and care to an infant who survives an abortion, including early induction delivery where the death of the infant is intended. We call for legislation to ban sex-selective abortions – gender discrimination in its most lethal form – and to protect from abortion unborn children who are capable of feeling pain; and we applaud U.S. House Republicans for leading the effort to protect the lives of pain-capable unborn children in the District of Columbia. We call for a ban on the use of body parts from aborted fetuses for research. We support and applaud adult stem cell research to develop lifesaving therapies, and we oppose the killing of embryos for their stem cells. We oppose federal funding of embryonic stem cell research.

We also salute the many States that have passed laws for informed consent, mandatory waiting periods prior to an abortion, and health-protective clinic regulation. We seek to protect young girls from exploitation through a parental consent requirement; and we affirm our moral obligation to assist, rather than penalize, women challenged by an unplanned pregnancy. We salute those who provide them with counseling and adoption alternatives and empower them to choose life, and we take comfort in the tremendous increase in adoptions that has followed Republican legislative initiatives.

For the full platform language CLICK HERE.

Georgia Life Alliance is the National Right to Life Affiliate in Georgia.  To support our work on behalf of the unborn in Georgia, CLICK HERE.

Dr. Kathleen Raviele

By GUEST AUTHOR: Kathleen M. Raviele, MD FACOG

When abortion was legalized in the U.S. in 1973, under any circumstances, the one limiting factor was the availability of physicians willing to perform the procedure. Despite identifying themselves as “pro-choice”, most physicians had a distaste for actually participating in the procedure. Those who did perform abortions were marginalized by the medical community. As a result, abortion clinics had to import abortionists, even from other states, to come in over the weekend, as they lined up the women for a procedure lethal to their unborn babies and potentially dangerous for them.

As a result, drug combinations were developed to abort the woman without surgery. Approved for use by the FDA in 2000, the original regimen was 600 mg (three 200 mg tablets) of mifepristone orally on day 1, followed by 400 mcg of misoprostol orally on day 3. Mifepristone, also known as RU-486,  binds to progesterone receptors, preventing progesterone from supporting the pregnancy. This can be likened to a deep sea diver losing the oxygen in his tanks. Misoprostol then causes the uterus to contract and expel the baby and placenta. The FDA initially approved this regimen up to 49 days from the first day of the last period but Planned Parenthood used it off-label later in pregnancy and with different regimens.

About 3% of women who take RU-486 have to have a D&C because of bleeding and incomplete passage of tissue. Early on, 8 women died in the U.S. because of a pelvic infection with Clostridium Sordelli after using the misoprostol vaginally. It should be kept in mind that the reporting of complications from abortion in the U.S. is voluntary with several states never reporting them, including California. Despite just being handed a few pills for the woman to take herself, the cost of a medical abortion as of 2009, the year of the most recent data, is $490 which is higher than the $470 fee charged for a surgical abortion. If a woman experiences complications from either procedure, the abortion clinic does not provide follow-up care or admission to the hospital.

Medical abortions will expand the number of abortions in the U.S. and the world. By 2011 they accounted for 36% of abortions before 9 weeks in the U.S. The woman can choose abortion on impulse, she can drive herself to the clinic and back home and no one else needs to know. Medical abortions cause more bleeding than surgical abortions and the further along she is in pregnancy, the greater the bleeding and the more likely she will also need a D&C. In March of 2016, the FDA approved medical abortions up to 70 days from the first day of the last menstrual period using mifepristone 200 mg orally in the clinic, under a “certified healthcare provider” followed in 24-48 hours by 800 mcg of misoprostol taken buccally. Medical abortions do not require a physician, only that it is “dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider.” Spontaneous miscarriages at 70 days are associated much more commonly with heavy bleeding and incomplete passage of the placenta.

Some women change their minds after taking the abortion pill. Through a website developed and manned by Dr. George Delgado and a group of RNs, patients are finding they can stop their medical abortion on www.AbortionPillReversal.com. Dr. Delgado’s office puts them in touch with a physician in their area who can start them on high doses of progesterone to override the effects of the mifepristone. The protocols were developed based on case reports. Mifepristone does not cause fetal abnormalities, but if the second drug has been taken, the pregnancy cannot usually be saved and misoprostol does cause fetal anomalies. So far, about 60% of the abortions have been reversed at the request of the mother. Even if the abortion cannot be stopped, these women encounter caring physicians who treat them with respect and concern for their unborn child. These physicians adhere to the Hippocratic Oath, written in the 5th century B.C. by Hippocrates, a Greek physician and the father of Western medicine. Sadly, it is no longer administered to medical students at graduation. The oath states “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my ability and judgment, but never with a view to injury and wrong-doing. Neither will I administer a poison to anybody when asked to do so, nor will I suggest such a course. Similarly I will not give to a woman a pessary to cause abortion.” If only physicians and all healthcare providers returned to the principles of the Hippocratic Oath.

 

Dr. Kathleen Raviele is a board-certified ob-gyn in the private practice of gynecology in the Atlanta area. She is a revert to the Catholic faith and has been an NFP-only gynecologist since 1991. She is certified to teach four methods of NFP and is a medical consultant for the Creighton program as well as having helped develop the Marquette Method of NFP. She is a past president of the Catholic Medical Association and a former board member of Georgia Right to Life. She currently serves on the board of the Catholic Medical Association as a presidential advisor and as a consultant to the Pro-Life Secretariat of the USCCB. She is the volunteer Medical Director for the Pregnancy Aid Clinic.

A part of the GLA Medical Alliance, Dr. Raviele has advised Georgia Life Alliance on issues related to her profession since early 2015.