Wednesday, December 27, 2017

With 6 Other States, Alabama Doesn't Protect Rape Victim Moms and Their Children, by Rebecca Kiessling

Alabama urgently needs to pass The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, to terminate the parental rights of rapists and to suspend any custody or visitation.  Last week, a rape survivor mom from our network, J.C., published her story in our Save The 1 blog, "From Age 13, My Uncle Raped and Impregnated Me, But The Judge Said It's Irrelevant."  In her custody case for her two surviving children conceived in rape-incest, DeKalb County, Alabama Judge Steven Whitmire told her that their conception was irrelevant, and granted her rapist uncle visits over Christmas.  Determined to protect her children, she's sought protection from the County Sheriff's office, imploring them to file charges against him for the years of rape.

All four of her children were conceived in rape-incest -- the first two were conceived when she was under "the age of consent" in Alabama.  J.C. miscarried her first child, and her third child died at 2-1/2 years old, due to a serious genetic disorder -- Krabbe Disease -- which was the result of the genetics involved in being too closely related.  These children died because of her uncle's actions.  In Alabama, incest is a Class C felony and statutory rape with a victim under the age of 16 is 2nd degree rape -- a Class B felony.  There is no statute of limitation for rape in Alabama, so he can be prosecuted for the rape and incest.  Yet, the judge didn't see his being a child molester as relevant to parenting.

A Fox News article from Apr. 2017 highlights the fact that Alabama is only 1 of 7 states (joining Mississippi, Minnesote, North Dakota, Wyoming and New Mexico, which has NO law providing for the termination of parental rights of rapists: In 7 US states, rape victims can be legally forced to share custody of their children with their rapist fathers
 
So exactly what needs to be done in Alabama?  Under current law, Alabama Code - Section 26-18-7, there are 8 subsections listing grounds for termination of parental rights.  At the outset, the standard of judicial review is set forth:  "If the court finds from clear and convincing evidence, competent, material, and relevant in nature. . . ."

For Alabama, all that's needed is a 9th subsection stating:
(9)  That the parent raped the other parent and the minor child was conceived as a result of the rape.

Furthermore, Alabama and other states should follow Michigan's example and also provide protection in the code on custody and visitation to authorize a judge to suspend those rights. Typically, this is how the issue of a rapist seeking parental rights first comes up -- on a paternity/child support case or other family law matter.  These mothers like J.C. need immediate relief and should not have to file an actual termination of parental rights case in order to be immediately protected by the court in a family law matter.

Yes, there may be other language under current law which a judge may decide to employ in order to do what's right and suspend or terminate parental rights, but the law should be explicit so that every judge understands what is expected of them, and that the public will not tolerate awarding parental rights to rapists.

In Michigan, with the law passed the way it was, my client in the recent Sanilac County case of national attention was able to be protected.  My client's rapist molested her when she was 12 and he was 19, but during her pregnancy, he had only been convicted of "attempted" criminal sexual conduct due to a plea deal, and then years later, Judge Gregory Ross awarded him joint legal custody and parenting time without a hearing, by simply signing an order presented to him by the Prosecutor's office in a paternity case, without my client's consent.  But the judge reversed himself because of the law passed in Michigan in 2016. The Michigan case is one with a happier ending, demonstrating the importance of getting this legislation passed in every state.

Here is detailed information on the Michigan law from Right to Life of Michigan, who made this project a priority in it's legislative agenda:
 https://www.rtl.org/legislation/PendingLegislation/RapeSurvivorChildCustody.html  Because of my experience in working with so many rape victim mothers who have fought their rapist over custody and visitation issues, I emphasized the need for authorizing judges in family law matters to be able to suspend these rights upon a finding by "clear and convincing evidence" that the child was conceived in rape.  One of these Michigan companion bills passed in 2016 addresses custody and the other addresses parenting time.

Florida passed this law unanimously a few year ago, which was the impetus to Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz co-sponsoring with Sen. Sherrod Brown the Federal Bill, The Rape Survivor Child Custody Act, signed by Pres. Obama in 2015. H.R.1257 - 114th Congress (2015-2016): Rape Survivor Child Custody Act 

The law gives an incentive to states which pass legislation with the necessary language, as follows: 

"Directs the Attorney General to make grants to states that have in place a law that allows the mother of any child that was conceived through rape to seek court-ordered termination of the parental rights of her rapist with regard to that child, which the court shall grant upon clear and convincing evidence of rape.

"Limits such a grant to: (1) an amount that is not greater than 10% of the average of the total funding of the three most recent awards a state received under the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program and the Sexual Assault Services Program; and (2) a one-year term, subject to renewal for not more than three additional years.
"Requires a state that receives such a grant to use: (1) 25% of grant funds for permissible uses under the STOP Violence Against Women Formula Grant Program, and (2) 75% of funds for permissible uses under the Sexual Assault Services Program."
Please note the Federal law says "shall grant," not "may grant," so if the court determines the child was conceived in rape, then terminating parental rights is not discretionary.  The Federal law is gender-specific -- "a law that allows the mother. . .", but all of the states where I've worked on this have passed gender-neutral bills because men get raped too -- particular cases of statutory rape.  In fact, I'm currently working with a father in Iowa who actually got a rape conviction, but the judge in the custody case said he doesn't believe in statutory rape and that for a 15 year old boy, having a naked woman in his bed was "manna from Heaven."  More to come on that story. . . .
In the Federal law, Congress made the following findings:  
(1) Men who father children through rape should be prohibited from visiting or having
custody of those children.
(2) According to several studies, it is estimated that there are between 25,000 and 32,000 rape-related pregnancies annually in the United States.
(3) A substantial number of women choose to raise their child conceived through rape
and, as a result, may face custody battles with their rapists.
(4) According to one study, 32.3 percent of women who were raped and became pregnant as a result of the rape kept their child.
(5) Another study found that, of the 73 percent of women who became pregnant as a result of a rape and carried their pregnancies to term, 64 percent raised their children.
(6) Rape is one of the most under-prosecuted serious crimes, with estimates of criminal
conviction occurring in less than 5 percent of rapes.
(7) The clear and convincing evidence standard is the most common standard for termination of parental rights among the 50 States, territories, and the District of Columbia.
(8) The Supreme Court established that the clear and convincing evidence standard
satisfies due process for allegations to terminate or restrict parental rights in Santosky v. Kramer (455 U.S. 745 (1982)).
(9) Currently only 6 States have statutes allowing rape survivors to petition for the
termination of parental rights of the rapist based on clear and convincing evidence that the child was conceived through rape.
(10) A rapist pursuing parental or custody rights forces the survivor to have continued
interaction with the rapist, which can have traumatic psychological effects on the survivor, making it more difficult for her to recover.
(11) These traumatic effects on the mother can severely negatively impact her ability to
raise a healthy child.
(12) Rapists may use the threat of pursuing custody or parental rights to coerce survivors
into not prosecuting rape, or otherwise harass, intimidate, or manipulate them.

Last year, I helped get this law introduced and passed in Iowa, Georgia, Michigan, and Indiana, and I was able to assist or consult in many other states.  I also got legislators in Brazil and in Malta to initiate this legislation, and whenever I speak in a nation's Parliament, I always try to get legislators to sponsor this bill.  It's not just an issue in the U.S., but globally of course.

A bill to terminate the parental rights of rapists is being reintroduced in Maryland this coming month.  Some states like Ohio got it wrong by requiring a rape conviction, when it's estimated that only 1% of rape victims ever see their rapist convicted as charged.  As Congress and the U.S. Supreme Court found, the proper standard in termination of parental rights cases is "clear and convincing evidence."

But we need more advocates for this law.  Please see if your state requires a rape conviction or if it uses the "clear and convincing evidence" standard.  And if you live in one of the seven states that has no law -- contact your legislator with this information and advocate to get this passed!  I've reached out to a handful of legislators in Alabama, but ideally, ever single one should be contacted.

If you have progress and a bill sponsor, please let me know!  I can certainly arrange for rape victim mothers to testify.  With my experience as a family law attorney, having litigated these cases myself or working on them with others, I can offer a lot of insight for legislators who may have questions.  

In addition, we desperately need a network of attorneys nationwide who also would be willing to handle these cases pro bono.  Right now, the mother in DeKalb County, Alabama is in need of a pro bono lawyer, as well as the father in Iowa.  Please contact me if you are able to assist now or in the future.

As someone conceived in rape myself, I can tell you that I would not have wanted the rapist to be anywhere near me growing up!  Our global network of rape survivor mothers and those conceived in rape is now nearly 550 strong, and we've seen this issue come up quite a bit.  These mothers and their children deserve to be protected.  Won't you help us?  

BIO:  Rebecca Kiessling is an international pro-life speaker, blogger and attorney,
advocating for the rights of rape victim mothers and their children.  She's the founder and president of Save The 1, and co-founder of Hope After Rape Conception.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

The Child is Unexpected Joy After The Trauma of Rape by Darlene Pawlik

After the trauma of rape, Save The 1 moms experience unexpected joy. There are a number of
reasons, but one of the biggest is made possible by generous donors, like you.

We thank you.

Donors make it possible for new rape survivors to find us and to engage in a community of others who truly understand the many aspects of dealing with rape conception. It is with your help that we can reach those who need us the most.

The complexity of rape conception can only be understood by those who have actually experienced it. There is anger, misplaced guilt, imposed shame, denial, relief, frustration, revulsion, love, fear, and a myriad of other emotional states that fluctuate wildly at any given moment.

Each situation differs as well. For me, the culmination of a lifetime of sexual abuse meant that I would deal with complex trauma. My biological father sexually abused me from toddlerhood and that core violation made me feel worth less than other people. It was a perfect set-up for a pimp to notice me at thirteen years old. I survived four brutal years of juvenile sex trafficking. My pregnancy was not the result of one rape, but many.

I knew it wasn't the baby's fault. She was merely a second victim of the hideous crime, but many people in our society hold onto a confused compassion. They believe that rape victims who become pregnant should submit to abortion. Saving my baby saved my life and she brings me tremendous joy everyday.

Save The 1 moms are able to find joy in knowing that there are others, many others, who have come through similar experiences victoriously. Whether parenting or placing their children for adoption, we are a safe, understanding group with which to share trials and gain perspective. So, we can find joy, even in the midst of what would otherwise be so devastating.

For those moms who have submitted to abortion after rape, your donations help to reach out to bless them with peace and hope, and resources for dealing with the aftermath of the additional trauma that abortion imposed on them. Your donations mean they hear the love and kindness of our 100% pro-life-pro-love community of believers.

This year Save The 1 speakers, men and women who have been conceived by rape or incest, moms or post abortive moms from rape, and parents or children targeted for abortion due to a poor prenatal diagnosis, have reached around the globe. 

Our President, Rebecca Kiessling and one of our mom's Jennifer Christie had a huge impact from Ireland and Rebecca traveled and spoke in a number of countries in Europe, as well as South America. That means that tens thousands of people heard her in person and millions through media coverage.  Lives were impacted and public policy affected.

Here in the states, Brad and Jesi Smith, whose daughter has Trisomy 18, spoke at a number of events, as did I and others. Our message, that the people called "exceptions" in pro-life discourse are actually human beings with names, faces, value and are worthy of protection. That is literally being heard around the world because of your generous giving.

Your gifts enable us to purchase booth space at events like conventions, physician's conferences, political meetings, community events, the March for Life, and many others where we meet people who either had no idea how public policy became the way it is.  Many politicians endorsed as pro-life and even several major pro-life organizations push exceptions into laws which might protect women and children from abortion.  Some hold to the discriminatory idea that rape-conceived babies are somehow different from any other babies, or less worthy of protection.

The blog and podcasts, social media presence, our appearances and dissemination of resources are making such a difference!  We've collaborated with other pro-life organizations throughout the U.S. and globally to share our stories through documentaries, tv and radio ads, billboards, and on other websites.  Our Spanish division is thriving, our Portuguese division is growing, and we are now launching a Polish and German division, to reach more people with our stories and so noone ever has to feel alone with a difficult history.

We hope you have experienced great joy this Christmas and we are expecting a tremendously influential New Year with expanded projects to reach more people with the vital message that every human life is valuable.

You can make a tax deductible, year-end donation here today and help reach more people and Save The 1 -- the least of these.


Thank you so much for all of your support and sharing the 100% Pro-Life message.


-- Darlene Pawlik, Vice President of Save The 1, Pro-Life Speaker and Blogger. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband of 27years.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

From Age 13, My Uncle Raped and Impregnated Me, But The Judge Said It's Irrelevant, by J.C.

It was Y2K New Year’s Eve the night my uncle first began making advances toward me.  I was 12 years old and he was 19, married, with a 2 year old son.  My mom allowed his family to move in with us, and inexplicably moved them into my bedroom, since my three sisters were already sharing a room.  The inappropriate advances continued, as he and his wife argued more and more.  Eventually, his wife and son moved out, and when I was 13 and he was 20, he began molesting me in the middle of the night.  I was scared to death.
My mom and step-dad were suspicious of what was happening but were scared to say anything because my grandfather would have killed someone.  My mom and her sisters had been molested by my grandfather when they were growing up.  When my grandfather found out she had told someone, he showed up and put a gun to my mom's head, threatening to kill her if she ever breathed a word.  So my mom would tell me, "It happened to me.  I just needed to suck it up."


I know what it’s like for someone to have that fear instilled in you, but I don’t understand allowing horrific things to happen to your children without one ounce of remorse.  My step-dad just wouldn’t speak up and still won’t.  He is very passive and people easily take advantage of him because he doesn’t defend himself, let alone his family.
It just became a thing that my Uncle Lenny started sleeping in my room more frequently.  One day, child services showed up at our house and said there was a call stating that my mom was letting a man sleep with her daughter.  They brought my mom, my uncle and me into the living room, and I just fell mute.  My mom and my uncle controlled the conversation and denied the allegations.  She never told the social worker that the man was her brother, so they didn’t find any cause to intervene, and closed the case.  
I'm sure you’re wondering why I didn’t speak up and my answer is:  I don’t know.  I wish I would have now, but then It was almost a way of life.  I didn’t feel I had any choice in what happened to my body.  What if I would have told -- what then?  I would go to live with a family member? They were each as bad as the last.
When I became pregnant at 14 years old, my mom freaked out!  She told me she wasn’t getting into trouble for this crap, so she took us to Tennessee to get married because it was out of state and they figured no one would make the connection that we were closely related.  I don’t even know if he was divorced yet, but my mom signed papers to emancipate me so she wouldn’t be responsible for me any longer.  But we got into a fender bender that day and never made it to the court house.  
A couple of months later, at 15 years old, I started bleeding and went to the doctor’s office.  I ended up miscarrying that pregnancy.  Surprisingly, this doctor never made a call to child services, and never inquired of me as to who got me pregnant.  Today I realize it was this doctor’s responsibility to report this situation.  I could have been freed back then.
My mom then moved the family to Florida with my grandfather, but said she didn’t have a room for me.  I was stuck with my uncle.  My whole family assumed I was his responsibility.  It’s just bizarre to contemplate, but this was the Hell I lived in.
I always felt my mom could have stopped the abuse from happening, but my grandfather pushed for it.  I guess he didn’t want his son to get into trouble because he was just as much of a creep.
My uncle and grandfather took me back to Alabama, where I became pregnant again by my then 22 year old uncle when I was 15 years old.  This son is now 14 years old.  Regardless of the horrible circumstances -- conceived in incest, I loved my baby and would do anything to protect him.
I withdrew from school and homeschooled through my 10th grade year.  I hated school, though I got good grades. It was painful that I had to see all these kids who seemed to have it all going for them, while I was trapped living in a Hell with no hope to get out.
My uncle had always been verbally abusive, with pushing, shoving, and jealous rage.  But when I became pregnant with my son, the abuse intensified. Lenny would tell me, “I have a son.  I don’t want another one!"  Well too late – he should have thought about that before molesting his under-aged niece.  I think his anger came from fear, fear of being caught or going to jail.  He would choke me, sling me around by my hair, try to crash the car with us in it, and beat me.
I would go to my mom’s and beg her to help me leave -- to get away from him.   She would tell me that we had children together, and if anyone found out the "secret," I would go to jail and my kids would be taken away.  She convinced me of this and I believed her.  I’ve kept this secret until now. 
This abusive life continued until I left him for good.  It just progressively got worse and worse each time.  When I did try to leave, he even had his sisters come after me and beat me.
When my son was born, I instantly loved him.  From the very first time I laid eyes on him, my love was unconditional.  But I was terrified the hospital staff would somehow find out the big secret and take him away from me.  He received my maiden name.  Under “Father” on his birth certificate, it is "unknown" because the family all said it was best, to keep Lenny safe. 
At 18, I got pregnant by my uncle for the third time.  My son was sickly and the doctors wouldn’t listen to me.  After a lot of doctor visits and my persistence, my son was sent to a children’s hospital where he was eventually diagnosed with Krabbe Disease -- a disease where children inherit a defective gene from both parents.  I remember the doctors asking us if the two of us were related, because they said the odds of having an autosomal recessive disease are much higher when tge two parents,are related.  Again, I was terrified because he was there and because my mom had convinced me that my children would be taken away.
The day my son was diagnosed, I was six months pregnant in my 4th pregnancy, with my 3rd son.  At this time, the doctor informed me that I shouldn’t have any more children with this man and should consider aborting my pregnancy.  I was stunned a doctor would suggest such a thing.
My son’s life expectancy was 13 months, and at 13 months, he coded and had to be life-flighted to Children’s Hospital.  That was on a Friday, and Saturday, I went into labor with my 3rd son and gave birth on that Sunday.  I signed my release papers and went to live in the Ronald McDonald house with a toddler and a newborn so I could visit my son in the ICU during visiting hours.  His life story is a story in itself.
The whole time my son was there, I felt safer because my uncle was at home, working, partying, and having sexual relations with others.  I was free from him, even if just for a short while.  My main focus was my children.
After about six months, my son finally got to leave the hospital and came home on life support. I was his caregiver and had a nurse to come watch him while I slept at night.
My uncle was always an alcoholic, but he started doing drugs as well.  I hated him. The very sight of him turned my stomach.  He stole my life. 
My son died on January 9, 2008 and that changed everything for me.  I was able to start distancing myself from my uncle and I went to work.  He hated it -- the more independent I was, the more abusive he became. So he demanded we marry on January 22, 2008.  I knew it wasn’t going to last and that I would soon find a way out, but I did what would keep the peace at the time.
The night I knew I had to get out soon, he had been threatening me early in the morning, and I hid.  He turned the power off, and I heard him cocking the shot gun.  I spent my whole life trying to get away from him, but at that moment, I knew that if I didn’t do it soon, he would seriously hurt me or likely kill me.
I got up one morning for work -- right after him, I loaded my car down and left.  I never went back to him.  
I filed for divorce in 2008, but he refused to cooperate, and then he filed for a divorce.  After gaining the courage to leave him, I was abandoned by my family and after a year or so, I found myself homeless.  With no funds to hire an attorney and too ashamed to tell the court about the rape and incest, my uncle had legal custody of my sons for two years, and wouldn’t even allow me to see them for six months at a time.
I was able to get on my feet.  I married a wonderful man, and we were able to regain custody of my two sons in 2012.  However, I still lived with the shame surrounding the abuse.  I didn’t even tell my own husband.  He found out two years ago and he was very angry that I had kept this from him.  At that point, I told him that I was afraid that my children would be taken away.  He was very understanding, telling me it wasn’t my fault and that I was a victim.  This is the first time I was able to really open up about it because someone cared.  That gave me the courage to fight harder for my children.
With the support of my husband, in 2015, I went to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Dept to report the rape and incest.  Because there is no statute of limitations, the Sheriff pressed charges, but only for the rape and not the incest because, he said, “it wasn’t necessary.”  It went to a Grand Jury, who found my uncle not guilty, saying there was not enough evidence!
The Sheriff’s office told me how common these cases were despite thinking they don’t happen often and said that, most of the time, nothing ever gets done with them because too much time has passed or the jails just can’t hold them.  I was told, since he is not an immediate danger or currently raping me, odds are he would walk free, and he did. 
All of this time, my uncle has had a court order for unsupervised visits, but I’ve been in contempt of court for the last two years.  I finally broke my silence this week and told the court about the rape and incest because there was an emergency hearing for him to see my sons at Christmas. 
At my hearing on Dec. 21, 2017, in DeKalb County District Court, Judge Steven Whitmire struck my pleading from the record and said I wasn't allowed to mention the rape or incest.  I kept telling him "This is not in the past.  That man is my Uncle!"  But the judge said it's irrelevant and awarded my rapist three days of unsupervised visits during the holidays.  

I’m terrified.  I had to fire my court-appointed attorney because she didn’t want me to tell Judge Whitmire my children were conceived in incest and told me that it wouldn’t matter.  I'm astonished that she was right!  But this is far from over.

My voice hasn’t been heard.  I won’t be silenced any longer and I want to encourage others to do the same.  I want to advocate for laws to terminate the parental rights of rapists.  No rapist should have parental rights – especially a child molester.
On Dec. 20th, I went back to the Sheriff’s office stronger and bolder than ever, and this time, I was sent to the District Attorney’s office and the D.A. says that with DNA evidence proving he’s my uncle, as well as proof of my pregnancies at 14 and 15, they shouldn’t have any problem prosecuting him on the incest and statutory rape charges.
My son died, as well as my first unborn child, because of this man’s actions and I have to live with that for the rest of my life.  My uncle did more than molest me – he took my child’s life.  He caused both of those deaths because of the genetics involved.  He should be charged for raping me, and also for the death of my son, and my unborn child who I miscarried.
I was a shy little girl who wouldn’t raise her hand and speak out in class, but now, I am outspoken and one hell of a go-getter. One of my favorite quotes is, "The pain you feel today, is the strength you feel tomorrow."  To anyone else who has been abused, don’t let your past define you in the sense of dictating your present choices. 
I was so mad at God when I found out my baby was dying.  I cried out:  “After all this crap I’ve been through, you now take my baby too?!” I didn’t see why, but now I do and I will not let my son's death be in vain!  I will avenge his death if it is by protecting my sons and helping other girls in similar situations.
So I ask you, what are you going to do to advocate for victims?  Don’t tell me “abortion” because this wasn’t the babies’ fault.  Every child has a purpose.  Help rape victim mothers so that they can be protected from the rapist!
BIO:  J.C. is a wife, mother of 5, and is keeping her identity private at this time.

Save The 1 President Rebecca Kiessling -- an attorney herself who has handled this kind of case in Michigan, has been networking to find pro bono legal counsel for J.C..  If you would like to assist with this effort, or if you would like to help contribute to a legal fund for J.C., please contact Rebecca

Gov. Wolf Thinks My Grandchild Wasn't Worth Saving, by Michele Snook

I saw the recent news that Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the 20 week abortion ban here in Pennsylvania, highlighting the fact that the ban had no rape exception -- even though he knows darn well he would have vetoed the bill anyway. This makes me so angry that politicians think that innocent children like my grandchild are not worth saving. These children are our future! One of these children killed in the womb could have discovered a cure for cancer, become president or hundreds of other amazing things.

I am a mother of a child who was raped and impregnated when she was just a child herself at the age of 11, and I have been raising that child conceived in rape as my own for the last 13 years. To be exact, she turned 13 the day the Governor released his statement on his veto.. And this is her birthday gift from our Governor?!

Like most young pregnant rape victims, my daughter's pregnancy wasn't discovered until
later in the pregnancy. Not that my daughter would have considered abortion, but this 20 week abortion ban would have protected the life of my granddaughter -- especially if the rapist had tried to coerce my daughter into aborting. You see, my granddaughter's DNA was the evidence used to put this child molester in prison. But with abortion, the rapist would have been protected. Gov. Wolf's veto will protect rapists. The baby actually helped my daughter heal because her life gave my daughter someone else to fight for. But Gov. Wolf doesn't understand that.

I can honestly say abortion is wrong, knowing what I know today. Would I have wanted my granddaughter aborted? No! With her special needs, it's extremely hard parenting her some days, but her life still has value and she is worthy of life.

So that being said . . . ,

Dear Governor Wolf:

You say that this bill was criminalizing a woman's "right to health care." What about the rights of the unborn child? What about my granddaughter's life that you criminalize? The bill did not deny a woman the right to prenatal care. It didn't even prevent women from obtaining an abortion -- it just said there was a cut off date. The bill was trying to protect unborn babies from dying the most heinous of deaths.

To Mayor Kenney:

You claim second trimester abortions are safe. But sir, that is a bold-faced lie. They're never safe for the baby. And, the further along a woman is, the more dangerous it is. There's a greater chance of becoming infertile, needing an emergency hysterectomy due to the uterus being punctured, or even her worst-case scenario of death. You also claim it is victimizing the victim to expect her to carry "a rapist's baby." But is not that child made up of 50% of her DNA, making that child the rape victim's baby? Last time I checked, we humans are made up of 46 chromosomes and 23 come from each parent.

Instead of trying to stop a bill that protects life, why don't you get a bill passed that truly helps rape victims who have been impregnated by taking the rights away from rapists, without requiring the obstacle of a getting a rape conviction? And if she's lucky enough to get a rape conviction, why not make termination of his parental rights automatic? Then people like myself and my daughter who was raped and impregnated at 11 years of age would not be in the situation we're in today.

She made the difficult decision that an adult -- let alone a child -- should not have to make to have her daughter in her life as her sister, and I have been raising this child as my own for the last 13 years. But I am only her legal guardian because if my daughter were to give up her rights, he could get custody in Pennsylvania. So I cannot legally make my granddaughter my own, because Pennsylvania law protects the rapist, not the victim or her innocent child. This is traumatizing my daughter far more than carrying a child for 9 months and loving that child. So Gov. Wolf and those who support his veto -- you are all wrong in your assumptions.

While these politicians jockey to look good in public opinion, my family lives in constant fear that when the man who raped my daughter is released from prison, he could be given visitation or even custody some day.

To the Executive Director of New Voice for Reproduction Justice:

Instead of promoting abortion as a means of controlling reproduction, how about spending your time educating and promoting respect for women instead? How about working to punish rapists and protect these mothers from the rapist?

And lastly, to Dr. Erica Goldblatt Hyatt:

You say women can somehow have freedom through the vetoing of this bill and can just trust the science. Well to that I say, if you really are trusting the science, then you would know that science has proven over and over that life starts at conception and the unborn child as young as 12 weeks can feel pain. So you are torturing an innocent baby when you rip them apart, while alive, when you perform a "D and E" procedure. You use the pregnant rape victim as an excuse to keep even late-term abortion legal for any reason.

To those who have been raped, I can't tell you how sorry I am that it happened to you, but trust me, killing an innocent baby is not going to make the pain go away or make you forget it any faster. But I can tell you that the minute you hold that child, you will feel love, because I know I did when my daughter's baby was born.

At first, I didn't want to see her because I was afraid I wouldn't be able to love her, and all babies deserve to be loved by their families. But when I held her, that fear disappeared and all I saw was my daughter in her. Even with all of these issues, I would not give her up for anything. She is as much my child as my other two are and I know my daughter loves her as much as she does her brother.

Life and death decisions should not be based on fear and prejudice, and neither should public policy. Shame on you Governor Wolf.

BIO: Michele Snook is a mother of two, grandmother to one, and a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child, by Paula K. Peyton

Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child,

I’m going to call it what it was — bullying. You thought you were so smart when
you called my son “a spawn of Satan,” “Satan’s rape baby,” and “evil,” among other things. And you thought you were right to “warn” me of the dangers of bringing him into the world.

In your mind, he was just an extension of his rapist father, guaranteed to bring nothing but pain and heartache to me and to the world. And I know for sure you were uncomfortable and sometimes even mad about my decision to keep a child conceived in rape. You couldn’t imagine why in the world someone would want a baby you saw as being so worthless and loathsome, and when you realized I loved him, you eventually bullied him the way you’d been bullying me and trying to push me into aborting him.

Just like all bullies, you overlooked all the important things about my son and focused on something that was irrelevant and completely out of his control — his conception. And like all bullied children, he deserves better representation than the words you chose for him.

The reality is that this baby makes people smile everywhere he goes. He’s pretty smiley too! He has brightened the days of the elderly in a nursing home. Tuesday he dressed up like an elf to attend an angel tree party our church puts on for underprivileged kids from the elementary school nearby, and the kids were so excited to see him.

He makes people happy because he is a joyful, radiant light. This is the child you bullied — this sweet, giggly baby. And I’m the mom you tried to bully into aborting him.

Many times during pregnancy, I wondered how the Virgin Mary would’ve fared had she been a single, pregnant teenager in this century. Born into a poor family in the hills of Galilee and betrothed to a humble carpenter, Mary’s life seemed like one that would always remain humble and lackluster. And it was the womb of this poor, unmarried, young lady who God chose to bless with the life of Jesus.

Mary often comforted me during those late nights during my pregnancy when I was awake in bed thinking about the the way you treated my son. I’d think about her faith, the shaming and bullying she must’ve gone through in her own day and age, and that humble birth we celebrate each December. Her own son – our Lord and Savior – was the target of infanticide soon after his birth. We read about this in Matthew: the Magi announced the birth of the real King of the Jews, angering King Herod (the people’s choice), who then attempted to preserve his power by ordering the murder of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem to make sure Jesus was eliminated.

The Massacre of Innocents, as it is known, is fairly similar to what goes on today with the targeting of babies for abortion. Babies being born to poor, single, and/or teenage mothers are bullied by weak minds, like yours, which can only envision them as inconvenient pulls on already strained systems of government aid. And I can speak from experience about the bullying of children conceived in rape. I watched and listened while you berated my baby boy while he bounced in my womb, his only “offense” being his audacity to continue living.

I wonder if Mary were living in today’s world, would our modern Mary’s friends support her and welcome the Christ child with love? Or would they bully her unborn son the way you bullied mine and pressure her into making him a statistic through abortion, the same way you “encouraged” me?

Based on my experiences with you, I’m sad to say I believe it would be the latter. And if Jesus Christ, having been bullied and targeted for the circumstances of his conception and birth, could be killed before he had the chance to save the world, what other gifts are we all missing out on when women are bullied into aborting the babies who would bring them?

The cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating diseases? The ending of human trafficking, the development of nuclear weaponry, and war? Or, perhaps, all of the above and more.

I don’t know what all the gifts my 2-month-old son has brought with him to the
world are yet, though it is obvious that joy is one of them. I’m sure that will be more evident than ever when he plays the baby Jesus in the church Christmas pageant on the 24th.

When I think of my son Caleb’s own story: conceived in rape, bullied, targeted for abortion, born, loved… well, he didn’t come to save the world, but in many ways, he saved me by giving me a reason to continue living after the devastation of rape. You saw the opposite – the fake news you invented to avoid facing the truth, which is that a child conceived in bad circumstances is a child as worthy of life as you.

That’s why you called him horrible names and bullied him before he could even exit the womb. And it’s why you tried your best to convince me that he was an “evil,” unwelcome “spawn of Satan,” rather than a gift of God.

Satan’s only offering here arrived through you in the form of your ignorant statements, and I thank God for the wisdom to have seen that from the beginning, just as I thank him for giving each person inherent worth and value. That includes my son as much as it includes anyone else!

And you... well, know that I forgive you and pray for you. I pray you see your error. I pray you find truth. I pray you get to meet the baby who changed my life in every good way. I pray you let yourself experience God through my child — each and every time he smiles, there’s nothing to feel but the warm love of God.

And I pray you won’t feel compelled to bully another child, regardless of how he or she was conceived. Because whether we’re talking about the real baby Jesus or the baby who plays Jesus in a pageant and an elf at a Christmas party, all babies deserve more than you’ve given my son.

May you do better in 2018. May you build up instead of bullying and tearing down. May you love yourself enough to begin loving others.


Sincerely, 
The elf’s mom

BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.
Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child,

I’m going to call it what it was — bullying. You thought you were so smart when
you called my son “a spawn of Satan,” “Satan’s rape baby,” and “evil,” among other things. And you thought you were right to “warn” me of the dangers of bringing him into the world.

In your mind, he was just an extension of his rapist father, guaranteed to bring nothing but pain and heartache to me and to the world. And I know for sure you were uncomfortable and sometimes even mad about my decision to keep a child conceived in rape. You couldn’t imagine why in the world someone would want a baby you saw as being so worthless and loathsome, and when you realized I loved him, you eventually bullied him the way you’d been bullying me and trying to push me into aborting him.

Just like all bullies, you overlooked all the important things about my son and focused on something that was irrelevant and completely out of his control — his conception. And like all bullied children, he deserves better representation than the words you chose for him.

The reality is that this baby makes people smile everywhere he goes. He’s pretty smiley too! He has brightened the days of the elderly in a nursing home. Tuesday he dressed up like an elf to attend an angel tree party our church puts on for underprivileged kids from the elementary school nearby, and the kids were so excited to see him.

He makes people happy because he is a joyful, radiant light. This is the child you bullied — this sweet, giggly baby. And I’m the mom you tried to bully into aborting him.

Many times during pregnancy, I wondered how the Virgin Mary would’ve fared had she been a single, pregnant teenager in this century. Born into a poor family in the hills of Galilee and betrothed to a humble carpenter, Mary’s life seemed like one that would always remain humble and lackluster. And it was the womb of this poor, unmarried, young lady who God chose to bless with the life of Jesus.

Mary often comforted me during those late nights during my pregnancy when I was awake in bed thinking about the the way you treated my son. I’d think about her faith, the shaming and bullying she must’ve gone through in her own day and age, and that humble birth we celebrate each December. Her own son – our Lord and Savior – was the target of infanticide soon after his birth. We read about this in Matthew: the Magi announced the birth of the real King of the Jews, angering King Herod (the people’s choice), who then attempted to preserve his power by ordering the murder of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem to make sure Jesus was eliminated.

The Massacre of Innocents, as it is known, is fairly similar to what goes on today with the targeting of babies for abortion. Babies being born to poor, single, and/or teenage mothers are bullied by weak minds, like yours, which can only envision them as inconvenient pulls on already strained systems of government aid. And I can speak from experience about the bullying of children conceived in rape. I watched and listened while you berated my baby boy while he bounced in my womb, his only “offense” being his audacity to continue living.

I wonder if Mary were living in today’s world, would our modern Mary’s friends support her and welcome the Christ child with love? Or would they bully her unborn son the way you bullied mine and pressure her into making him a statistic through abortion, the same way you “encouraged” me?

Based on my experiences with you, I’m sad to say I believe it would be the latter. And if Jesus Christ, having been bullied and targeted for the circumstances of his conception and birth, could be killed before he had the chance to save the world, what other gifts are we all missing out on when women are bullied into aborting the babies who would bring them?

The cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating diseases? The ending of human trafficking, the development of nuclear weaponry, and war? Or, perhaps, all of the above and more.

I don’t know what all the gifts my 2-month-old son has brought with him to the
world are yet, though it is obvious that joy is one of them. I’m sure that will be more evident than ever when he plays the baby Jesus in the church Christmas pageant on the 24th.

When I think of my son Caleb’s own story: conceived in rape, bullied, targeted for abortion, born, loved… well, he didn’t come to save the world, but in many ways, he saved me by giving me a reason to continue living after the devastation of rape. You saw the opposite – the fake news you invented to avoid facing the truth, which is that a child conceived in bad circumstances is a child as worthy of life as you.

That’s why you called him horrible names and bullied him before he could even exit the womb. And it’s why you tried your best to convince me that he was an “evil,” unwelcome “spawn of Satan,” rather than a gift of God.

Satan’s only offering here arrived through you in the form of your ignorant statements, and I thank God for the wisdom to have seen that from the beginning, just as I thank him for giving each person inherent worth and value. That includes my son as much as it includes anyone else!

And you... well, know that I forgive you and pray for you. I pray you see your error. I pray you find truth. I pray you get to meet the baby who changed my life in every good way. I pray you let yourself experience God through my child — each and every time he smiles, there’s nothing to feel but the warm love of God.

And I pray you won’t feel compelled to bully another child, regardless of how he or she was conceived. Because whether we’re talking about the real baby Jesus or the baby who plays Jesus in a pageant and an elf at a Christmas party, all babies deserve more than you’ve given my son.

May you do better in 2018. May you build up instead of bullying and tearing down. May you love yourself enough to begin loving others.


Sincerely, 
The elf’s mom



BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.
Dear People Who Bullied My Unborn Child,

I’m going to call it what it was — bullying. You thought you were so smart when
you called my son “a spawn of Satan,” “Satan’s rape baby,” and “evil,” among other things. And you thought you were right to “warn” me of the dangers of bringing him into the world.

In your mind, he was just an extension of his rapist father, guaranteed to bring nothing but pain and heartache to me and to the world. And I know for sure you were uncomfortable and sometimes even mad about my decision to keep a child conceived in rape. You couldn’t imagine why in the world someone would want a baby you saw as being so worthless and loathsome, and when you realized I loved him, you eventually bullied him the way you’d been bullying me and trying to push me into aborting him.

Just like all bullies, you overlooked all the important things about my son and focused on something that was irrelevant and completely out of his control — his conception. And like all bullied children, he deserves better representation than the words you chose for him.

The reality is that this baby makes people smile everywhere he goes. He’s pretty smiley too! He has brightened the days of the elderly in a nursing home. Tuesday he dressed up like an elf to attend an angel tree party our church puts on for underprivileged kids from the elementary school nearby, and the kids were so excited to see him.

He makes people happy because he is a joyful, radiant light. This is the child you bullied — this sweet, giggly baby. And I’m the mom you tried to bully into aborting him.

Many times during pregnancy, I wondered how the Virgin Mary would’ve fared had she been a single, pregnant teenager in this century. Born into a poor family in the hills of Galilee and betrothed to a humble carpenter, Mary’s life seemed like one that would always remain humble and lackluster. And it was the womb of this poor, unmarried, young lady who God chose to bless with the life of Jesus.

Mary often comforted me during those late nights during my pregnancy when I was awake in bed thinking about the the way you treated my son. I’d think about her faith, the shaming and bullying she must’ve gone through in her own day and age, and that humble birth we celebrate each December. Her own son – our Lord and Savior – was the target of infanticide soon after his birth. We read about this in Matthew: the Magi announced the birth of the real King of the Jews, angering King Herod (the people’s choice), who then attempted to preserve his power by ordering the murder of every baby boy in the vicinity of Bethlehem to make sure Jesus was eliminated.

The Massacre of Innocents, as it is known, is fairly similar to what goes on today with the targeting of babies for abortion. Babies being born to poor, single, and/or teenage mothers are bullied by weak minds, like yours, which can only envision them as inconvenient pulls on already strained systems of government aid. And I can speak from experience about the bullying of children conceived in rape. I watched and listened while you berated my baby boy while he bounced in my womb, his only “offense” being his audacity to continue living.

I wonder if Mary were living in today’s world, would our modern Mary’s friends support her and welcome the Christ child with love? Or would they bully her unborn son the way you bullied mine and pressure her into making him a statistic through abortion, the same way you “encouraged” me?

Based on my experiences with you, I’m sad to say I believe it would be the latter. And if Jesus Christ, having been bullied and targeted for the circumstances of his conception and birth, could be killed before he had the chance to save the world, what other gifts are we all missing out on when women are bullied into aborting the babies who would bring them?

The cures for cancer, HIV/AIDS, and other devastating diseases? The ending of human trafficking, the development of nuclear weaponry, and war? Or, perhaps, all of the above and more.

I don’t know what all the gifts my 2-month-old son has brought with him to the
world are yet, though it is obvious that joy is one of them. I’m sure that will be more evident than ever when he plays the baby Jesus in the church Christmas pageant on the 24th.

When I think of my son Caleb’s own story: conceived in rape, bullied, targeted for abortion, born, loved… well, he didn’t come to save the world, but in many ways, he saved me by giving me a reason to continue living after the devastation of rape. You saw the opposite – the fake news you invented to avoid facing the truth, which is that a child conceived in bad circumstances is a child as worthy of life as you.

That’s why you called him horrible names and bullied him before he could even exit the womb. And it’s why you tried your best to convince me that he was an “evil,” unwelcome “spawn of Satan,” rather than a gift of God.

Satan’s only offering here arrived through you in the form of your ignorant statements, and I thank God for the wisdom to have seen that from the beginning, just as I thank him for giving each person inherent worth and value. That includes my son as much as it includes anyone else!

And you... well, know that I forgive you and pray for you. I pray you see your error. I pray you find truth. I pray you get to meet the baby who changed my life in every good way. I pray you let yourself experience God through my child — each and every time he smiles, there’s nothing to feel but the warm love of God.

And I pray you won’t feel compelled to bully another child, regardless of how he or she was conceived. Because whether we’re talking about the real baby Jesus or the baby who plays Jesus in a pageant and an elf at a Christmas party, all babies deserve more than you’ve given my son.

May you do better in 2018. May you build up instead of bullying and tearing down. May you love yourself enough to begin loving others.


Sincerely, 
The elf’s mom



BIO:  Paula K. Peyton is a writer, mother to Caleb and now a pro-life blogger for Save The 1.  She resides in Memphis, TN.
Read her prior 

From Victimhood to Motherhood, I Chose Joy