Category Archives: pro-life

Assisted dying devalues the disabled

Cross Posted from The Spinoff.

Assisted dying devalues the disabled

Assisted dyingBy Dr. John Fox

At first look, it all seems so sensible: people who find no value in their lives should be allowed the choice to end them. Right? Wrong, says Dr John Fox – and here’s why.

One of my first memories is pain. It was my first hospital operation, a corrective surgery to make it easier to walk. People advanced on four year old me to remove my cast and mobilise my feet. My parents tried vainly to distract me, as I tried to find the face of my favourite nurse. I still remember that feeling of radical vulnerability, pinned to a table, trying to find words to explain what was happening, trying to feel safe.

It’s that feeling that came back to me last month, when David Seymour’s End of Life Choices bill was pulled from the ballot.

It seems so reasonable, and Mr Seymour makes the argument with the slightly rabid consistency of the convinced Libertarian. “My life, and my death, is my business”. Buttressed by really tragic and truly awful situations like those of Lecretia Seales, who would welcome pain? And of course, shouldn’t we let people who find no value in their lives make the choice to end them?

No. Here is why.

I live with a mild form of cerebral palsy and various associated problems including spastic hemiplegia. I know from first-hand experience how hard it is to be physically vulnerable, to lose control of one’s own body, how hard it can be to depend on other people, how easy it is to feel like a burden. From this angle I have every human sympathy with Lecretia Seales and others like her who show us how real, ugly and frightening death can be.

But I’m also a trustee of a disability organisation that has a 40 year history of advocating for the vulnerable. For many people we see at Elevate, suffering is a fact of life. We reject, and we resent, the idea that being sick, or even terminally ill, takes away our dignity. Many of us have incurable conditions, some much worse than mine, that would qualify under the bill’s massively broad drafting: the blind, the deaf, those with chronic pain, or long-term disability. And me.

Including us in a category of people who may be legally killed is redolent of the worst attitudes of the past.

If we were an organisation representing, say, 25 year old rugby players, we would not have to make the case that their suicide would leave society poorer. Their death would be seen as a waste, a tragedy that should be prevented, no matter what. Because we are disabled people with incurable conditions, we now have to make that case. Why?

Being sick doesn’t make your life worth less. Suicide is not medical care. And people don’t make life and death decisions by themselves. Those choices are made in a context – the same contexts we would recognise in youth or elder suicide.

When I lie on my bed, wishing my body were different, wishing I could compete on the same scale as the powerful, and questioning the value of my life, my friends and family remind me of something David Seymour’s bill forgets: Pain, like death, is a team sport.

Surrounded by solidarity, the love of caring families, and the competence of medical professionals, we can carry together the experience of suffering, find meaning and stillness inside it, say the things that should be said, and make and receive the peace we need.

I can receive the assurance than I am loved by the people close to me, that my death would leave them poorer. It’s that trust, that moment of connectedness and care, I rely on as a disabled person. And it’s that trust assisted dying attacks. It tears the trust between medical professionals and their patients that doctors will cure, not kill. It brings the spectre of killing as an option to every death bed, to every overworked administrator, to every hospital looking for budget cuts. The power of life and death hovers over every legal loophole, not in a thought experiment or an internet poll, but in real life exposing the elderly and the infirm, the vulnerable and inarticulate to appalling risks.

It’s common for people to have stereotypes and prejudices about disability and illness. It’s common for people to say “I wouldn’t want to live like that” or “We’d put down a dog who was suffering like that”. But “people”, including the Greek chorus in the media, ignore people like us, who live “like that” every single day. And vague, or even specific, safeguards, are inadequate to the task of protecting us in a society increasingly tempted to do the easy thing. It’s easy to say “if you don’t believe in the choice, don’t make it” but this ignores the effect creating the category already has on our country, and on how it values the disabled.

We already know as disabled people that we have to fight to have a job, fight to be born, fight structural prejudice, patronising assumptions, and cultural realities which call us less than, and worth less. Those challenges are likely not equal for you and me, and the impact of David Seymour’s bill would not be equal either.

Disabled people, like the very young, and the very old, depend on others seeing and protecting our value. But past platitudes about inclusion, it’s moments like this that tell us what our society really believes about the infirm and the sick. Are we “all in this together?” or do some people’s lives matter less?

Dr John Fox is trustee of Elevate Christian Disability Trust. He is a son, a brother, a grandson, a friend, and an Anglican ordinand.

Physician-Assisted Suicide

10 Things You Should Know about Physician-Assisted Suicide

Physician-Assisted Suicide

1. The option of physician-assisted suicide is becoming more prevalent across the United States.

It is currently legal in Oregon, Washington, California, Vermont, and most recently, Colorado. It is soon to be legal in Washington, DC. Its legality in New Mexico is delayed due to a court challenge and it is allowed in Montana on the basis of a court order. There are legislative proposals currently being considered in roughly half of the other states.

2. Physician-assisted suicide is more often about maintaining control than ending intractable pain and suffering.

Over the seventeen years it has been legal in Oregon, participants have been asked to indicate their reasons for choosing assisted suicide. Whereas 92% have indicated a loss of autonomy (control) and 89% a lack of enjoyment of life, only 25% have indicated they are choosing it because of intractable pain or the fear of intractable pain.

3. Those championing assisted suicide are choosing to call it “Aid in Dying.”

This has far reaching implications for it means their agenda will lead to eliminating the need for physician involvement and the necessity that it be a voluntary act by the individual whose life is coming to an end.

4. Physician-assisted suicide will not continue to be strictly a personal, voluntary choice.

Though current laws require it to be voluntary, many anticipate on the basis of the equal protection clause in the 14th amendment that the option of aid in dying will be extended to those who are incapable of making a voluntary decision to ingest the lethal medications (or physically do so).

5. The freedom to choose assisted suicide may lead to a feeling of obligation.

Recognizing that continuing to live may be a burden on others, some may feel obligated to end their lives as a means of relieving loved ones of the burden and cost of giving end of life care.

6. Physician-assisted suicide is not the only option when experiencing a difficult death.

Palliative care is coming of age in the modern world of medicine. Much can be done to relieve both physical pain and the emotional, existential suffering that can accompany it.

7. Physician-assisted suicide does not guarantee a painless, dignified death.

In the majority of cases, after the lethal medication is ingested, patients who have opted for assisted suicide fall asleep and die comfortably within several hours. However, sometimes the medication causes vomiting, other distress, and/or does not lead to death for a number of hours or days.

8. Physician-assisted suicide is not strictly a personal decision that only impacts the one who chooses it.

We tell stories lauding the bravery of the first responders on September 11, 2001 but all too frequently view suicide as an act of weakness. We know that having a near relative who commits suicide increases the risk of suicide.

9. The prescribing physician is morally complicit in the assisted suicide.

A patient once told me, “All you have to do is write a prescription; I am the one responsible for my choice.” My response was to ask, “If I was a gun salesperson and someone told me they were buying a gun to kill themselves, did I not have the obligation to refuse to sell it to them?”

10. The church must equip God’s people to make God-honoring end of life choices.

Throughout a believer’s life, there may be a continuous struggle to submit to God’s control. But when my earthly life comes to an end I want to be fully surrendered to God and be able to rest in Jesus. Choosing assisted suicide would be just the opposite—taking rather than surrendering control.


Real life, Real love

In real life, real love requires a real person. Research has found that after men are exposed to pornography, they rate themselves as less in love with their partner than men who didn’t see any porn. On top of that, another study found that after being exposed to pornographic images, people were more critical of their partner’s appearance, sexual curiosity, sexual performance, and displays of affection.

Addiction

AddictionOnce addiction sets in, the user has a whole new set of problems, because addiction damages the part of the brain that helps you think things through to make good choices— the brain’s limit setting system.  For more than 10 years, studies have shown that drug addictions can cause the brain’s frontal lobes to start shrinking. While “frontal lobe” sounds really technical, basically it’s the part of the brain that controls logical problem solving and decision making. But recent studies have found that it’s not just drugs that cause that kind of damage—the same problems show up with other kinds of addictions, such as overeating, Internet addictions, and sexual compulsion.

Get the Facts on Pornography © 2013 FIGHT THE NEW DRUG

Developing Individual

The Developing Individual

The first in a series of 12 amazing facts that prove the unborn child’s humanity in the 1st trimester. This information is courtesy of Life Site News.


Science tells us the human embryo is a “developing individual” while in the womb. Physical changes occur quickly from the moment of fertilization.

Modern science indisputably recognizes the preborn child as a new human being. As Dr. Micheline Matthews-Roth of Harvard Medical School says: “It is scientifically correct to say that an individual human life begins at conception, when egg and sperm join to form the zygote, and this developing human always is a member of our species in all stages of its life.” Dr. Jerome Lejeune – the scientist who discovered Down syndrome – agreed: “Life has a very long history, but each of us has a very neat beginning – the moment of conception.” (More science on life’s beginning here.)

Recombinant DNA technologies, discovered after abortion was legalized throughout the U.S. indisputably prove that the unborn child “is a whole human being from the moment of fertilization, that all abortions terminate the life of a living human being, and that the unborn child is a separate human patient under the care of modern medicine.”

Countless medical textbooks – from various science specialties – agree. From the very first moment, a human being is a human being.

Rape, Incest and Abortion

Rape, Incest, and Abortion: Searching Beyond the Myths

By David C. Reardon, Ph.D.

“How can you deny an abortion to a twelve-year-old girl who is the victim of incest?”

Typically, people on both sides of the abortion debate accept the premise that most women who become pregnant through sexual assault want abortions. From this “fact,” it naturally follows that the reason women want abortions in these cases is because it will help them to put the assault behind them, recover more quickly, and avoid the additional trauma of giving birth to a “rapist’s child.”

Whose Welfare?

But in fact, the welfare of a mother and her child are never at odds, even in sexual assault cases. As the stories of many women confirm, both the mother and the child are helped by preserving life, not by perpetuating violence. Sadly, however, the testimonies of women who have actually been pregnant through sexual assault are routinely left out of this public debate. Many people, including sexual assault victims who have never been pregnant, may be forming opinions based on their own prejudices and fears rather than the real life experiences of those people who have been in this difficult situation and reality.

For example, it is commonly assumed that rape victims who become pregnant would naturally want abortions. But in the only major study of pregnant rape victims ever done prior to this book, Dr. Sandra Mahkorn found that 75 to 85 percent did not have abortions. This figure is remarkably similar to the 73 percent birth rate found in our sample of 164 pregnant rape victims. This one finding alone should cause people to pause and reflect on the presumption that abortion is wanted or even best for sexual assault victims.[1]

Why not abort?

Several reasons were given for not aborting. Many women who become pregnant through sexual assault do not believe in abortion, believing it would be a further act of violence perpetrated against their bodies and their children. Further, many believe that their children’s lives may have some intrinsic meaning or purpose which they do not yet understand. This child was brought into their lives by a horrible, repulsive act. But perhaps God, or fate, will use the child for some greater purpose. Good can come from evil.

The woman may also sense, at least at a subconscious level, that if she can get through the pregnancy she will have conquered the rape. By giving birth, she can reclaim some of her lost self-esteem. Giving birth, especially when conception was not desired, is a totally selfless act, a generous act, a display of courage, strength, and honor. It is proof that she is better than the rapist. While he was selfish, she can be generous. While he destroyed, she can nurture.

Adding to the Trauma

Many people assume that abortion will at least help a rape victim put the assault behind her and get on with her life. But evidence shows that abortion is not some magical surgery which turns back the clock to make a woman “un-pregnant.”

Instead, it is a real life event which is always very stressful and often traumatic. Once we accept that abortion is itself an event with deep ramifications for a woman’s life, then we must look carefully at the special circumstances of the pregnant sexual assault victim. Evidence indicates that abortion doesn’t help and only causes further injury to an already bruised psyche?

But before we even get to this issue, we must ask: do most women who become pregnant as a result of sexual assault want to abort?

In our survey of women who became pregnant as a result of rape or incest, many women who underwent abortions indicated that they felt pressured or were strongly directed by family members or health care workers to have abortions. The abortion came about not because of the woman’s desire to abort but as a response to the suggestions or demands of others. In many cases, resources such as health workers, counselors and others who are normally there to help women after sexual assault pushed for abortion. Family pressure, withholding of support and resources that the woman needed to continue the pregnancy, manipulative an inadequate counseling and other problems all played a role into pushing women into abortions, even though abortion was often not what the woman really wanted.

Whose Decision?

Further, in almost every case involving incest, it was the girl’s parents or the perpetrator who made the decision and arrangements for the abortion, not the girl herself. (See Accomplices in Incest for an example.) None of these women reported having any input into the decision. Each was simply expected to comply with the choice of others. In several cases, the abortion was carried out over the objections of the girl, who clearly told others that wanted to continue the pregnancy. In a few cases, victim was not even clearly aware that she was pregnant or that the abortion was being carried out.

“Medical Rape”

Second, although many people believe that abortion will help a woman resolve the trauma of rape more quickly, or at least keep her from being reminded of the rape throughout her pregnancy, many of the women in our survey who had abortions reported that abortion only added to and accentuated the traumatic feelings associated with sexual assault.

Rape, Incest and Abortion

This is easy to understand when one considers that many women have described their abortions as being similar to a rape (and even used the term “medical rape), it is easy to see that abortion is likely to add a second trauma to the earlier trauma of sexual assault. Abortion involves an often painful intrusion into a woman’s sexual organs by a masked stranger who is invading her body. Once she is on the operating table, she loses control over her body. Even if she protests and asks the abortionist to stop, chances are she will be either ignored or told that it’s too late to stop the abortion.

Strong Association

For many women this experiential association between abortion and sexual assault is very strong. It is especially strong for women who have a prior history of sexual assault, whether or not the aborted child was conceived during an act of assault. This is just one reason why women with a history of sexual assault are likely to experience greater distress during and after an abortion than are other women.

Research also shows that women who abort and women who are raped often describe similar feelings of depression, guilt, lowered self-esteem, violation and resentment of men. Rather than easing the psychological burdens experienced by those who have been raped, abortion added to them. Jackie wrote:

I soon discovered that the aftermath of my abortion continued a long time after the memory of my rape had faded. I felt empty and horrible. Nobody told me about the pain I would feel deep within causing nightmares and deep depressions. They had all told me that after the abortion I could continue my life as if nothing had happened.[2]

Those encouraging, pushing or insisting on abortion often do so because they are uncomfortable dealing with sexual assault victims, or perhaps because they harbor some prejudice against victims whom they feel “let it happen.” Wiping out the pregnancy is a way of hiding the problem. It is a “quick and easy” way to avoid dealing with the woman’s true emotional, social and financial needs. As Kathleen wrote:

I, having lived through rape, and also having raised a child “conceived in rape,” feel personally assaulted and insulted every time I hear that abortion should be legal because of rape and incest. I feel that we’re being used by pro-abortionists to further the abortion issue, even though we’ve not been asked to tell our side of the story.

Trapping the Incest Victim

The case against abortion for incest pregnancies is even stronger. Studies show that incest victims rarely ever voluntarily agree to abortion.[5] Instead of viewing the pregnancy as unwanted, the incest victim is more likely to see the pregnancy as a way out of the incestuous relationship because the birth of her child will expose the sexual activity. She is also likely to see in her pregnancy the hope of bearing a child with whom she can establish a truly loving relationship, one far different than the exploitative relationship in which she has been trapped.

But while the girl may see her pregnancy as a possible way of release from her situation, it poses a threat to her abuser. It is also poses a threat to the pathological secrecy which may envelop other members of the family who are afraid to acknowledge the abuse. Because of this dual threat, the victim may be coerced or forced into an unwanted abortion by both the abuser and other family members.

In my best interest?

For example, Edith, a 12-year-old victim of incest impregnated by her stepfather, writes twenty-five years after the abortion of her child:

Throughout the years I have been depressed, suicidal, furious, outraged, lonely, and have felt a sense of loss . . . The abortion which was to “be in my best interest” just has not been. As far as I can tell, it only ‘saved their reputations,’ ‘solved their problems,’ and ‘allowed their lives to go merrily on.’ . . . My daughter, how I miss her so. I miss her regardless of the reason for her conception.”

Abortion businesses who routinely ignore this evidence and neglect to interview minors presented for abortion for signs of coercion or incest are actually contributing to the victimization of young girls. Not only are they robbing the victim of her child, they are concealing a crime, abetting a perpetrator, and handing the victim back to her abuser so that the exploitation can continue.

Parent Plead Guilty

For example, the parents of three teenaged Baltimore girls pleaded guilty to three counts of first-degree rape and child sexual abuse. The father had repeatedly raped the three girls over a period of at least nine years, and the rapes were covered up by at least ten abortions. At least five of the abortions were performed by the same abortionist at the same clinic.[3]

Sadly, there is strong evidence that failing to ask questions about the pregnancy and to report cases of sexual abuse arewidespread at abortion clinics. Undercover investigations by pro-life groups have found numerous cases in which clinics agreed to cover up cases of statutory rape or ongoing abuse of minor girls by older men and simply perform an abortion instead.

Planned Parenthood

In 2002 a judge found a Planned Parenthood affiliate in Arizona negligent for failing to report a case in which a 13-year-old girl was impregnated and taken for an abortion by her 23-year-old foster brother. The abortion business did not notify authorities until the girl returned six months later for a second abortion. A lawsuit alleged that the girl was subjected to repeated abuse and a second abortion because Planned Parenthood failed to notify authorities when she had her first abortion. The girl’s foster brother was later imprisoned for abusing her.[4]

Finally, we must recognize that children conceived through sexual assault also deserve to have their voices heard. Rebecca Wasser-Kiessling, who was conceived in a rape, is rightfully proud of her mother’s courage and generosity and wisely reminds us of a fundamental truth that transcends biological paternity: “I believe that God rewarded my birth mother for the suffering she endured, and that I am a gift to her. The serial rapist is not my creator; God is.”

Similarly, Julie Makimaa, who works diligently against the perception that abortion is acceptable or even necessary in cases of sexual assault, proclaims, “It doesn’t matter how I began. What matters is who I will become.”

That’s a slogan we can all live with.

~~~

Originally published in The Post-Abortion Review 2(1) Winter 1993. Copyright 1993 Elliot Institute.

Learn more:

Victims and Victors: Speaking Out About Their Pregnancies, Abortions and Children Resulting From Sexual Assault
Special Report on Sexual Assault Pregnancy and Abortion
Rape Hurt My Mother, But Abortion Devastated Her
I Was 17, Drugged and Raped … But Abortion Wasn’t Best for Me
Women Who Have Experienced Pregnancy From Sexual Assault Plead for Public Hearings

Resources to share:
The Hard Cases: New Facts, New Answers

 

Citations:

1. Mahkorn, “Pregnancy and Sexual Assault,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, eds. Mall & Watts, (Washington, D.C., University Publications of America, 1979) 55-69.

2. David C. Reardon, Aborted Women, Silent No More (Chicago, IL: Loyola University Press, 1987), 206.

3. Jean Marbella, “Satisfactory explanations of sex crime proved elusive,” Baltimore Sun, Oct. 31, 1990; M. Dion Thompson, “GBMC, doctor suspected nothing amiss,” Baltimore Sun, Oct. 31. 1990; “Family Horror Comes to Light in Story of Girls Raped by Father,” Baltimore Sun, November 4, 1990; Raymond L. Sanchez, “Mother Sentenced in Rape Case,” Baltimore Sun, Dec. 6, 1990.

4. “Planned Parenthood Found Negligent in Reporting Molested Teen’s Abortion,” Pro-Life Infonet, attributed to Associated Press; Dec. 26, 2002.

5. Dr. George Maloof, “The Consequences of Incest: Giving and Taking Life,” The Psychological Aspects of Abortion, David Mall and Walter Watts, eds (Washington, DC: University Publications of America, 1979) 84.

CitizensGO – Free Speech in Thames

Free Speech in Thames

via CitizenGO

Dear Friends of life,

Please sign this petition to support the right of free speech and
assembly.

A group of courageous pro-lifers have been assembling peacefully for an hour on Friday mornings over the last five years outside the Thames Hospital, when abortions are being performed. They peacefully pray and give witness to the right to life of unborn children and to protest at the violence inflicted on women, the second victims of abortion. They have a permit for this activity, which has been issued by the Thames Coromandel District Council.

Very recently a group of Green Party/ALRANZ pro-abortion activists, were issued with a permit to mount a counter demonstration at exactly the same time and same place. This group has been harassing the pro-life group and have stated that they will not stop until the pro-life group is driven off the street.

We believe that the pro-abortion group have contrived to make a false accusation to the Council and to the Police that one of the pro-life protesters has assaulted a woman. They have now petitioned the Council to cancel the pro-life group’s permit. The Green Party support abortion and we believe that they are using this situation as a test case with the intention of seeking to having the law changed, to impose a bubble zone around every hospital and clinic in New Zealand, where unborn children are being aborted. They seek to prohibit any person praying, or protesting against the killing of the innocent within that zone.

Again we encourage you to sign this petition in support of the right to free speech and assembly.

Value

 

Human life has value

On account of what it is

As being the One God’s image

In essence being His

 

https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/value/

 

In response to the question of What is Human Worth? the Washington Ethical Society answers thus:

Attributing worth to human beings is accepting on faith and acting as if each person has within himself or herself the possibility for kindness, fairness, joy, and the capacity to create ethical relationships. Given this capacity for goodness each person deserves to be treated with dignity.

http://teepee12.com/2016/10/02/value-versus-price/ 

http://angloswiss-cat-chronicles.com/2016/10/02/daily-prompt-feline-values/ 

https://impossiblebebong.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/value/ 

https://lovewhatislove.wordpress.com/2016/10/02/what-we-value-most/ 

What are Sikhism’s beliefs on Abortion?

I want to explore and consider the question of what worldviews other than Christian think about the question of abortion.

Firstly, What are Sikhism’s beliefs on Abortion?

Guru Granth Sahib Ji has given us a thought process using which we can determine right or wrongness of the moral issues. Abortion is a complex issue involving numerous possible solutions to numerous situations. Life is sacred. Gurbani is clear that taking a life is wrong. Since, we do not know with 100% surety at what stage of pregnancy does life begin, we cannot decide for the fate of the child. Therefore, abortion is wrong as long as the life of the mother is not in danger.

Who are we to decide the fate of the child? Who are we to decide whether the child gets to live or not, even if life does not begin at early stage of pregnancy, abortion at an early stage would still be killing the potential of life for the child, making abortion immoral.

While Sikhism denounces abortion, allowance in circumstances such as when the life or health of the mother is judged by competent medical authority to be in serious jeopardy, or when the fetus is known by competent medical authority to have serious defects that will not allow the baby to survive beyond birth. In all other cases such as unfit parents, rape, failed contraceptive, social and economic factors abortion is wrong. Those who are unable to raise a child because of number of different reason; adoption is a wonderful alternative that should be considered.

If there is no prospect of marriage to the man or woman involved and the mother not willing to accept or able to accept the unwanted child, placing the child for adoption by parents who will love the child and care for the child is a wonderful option. There are many couples who long for a child and cannot have one.

Thames Time

I was once given a Tamborine and asked to join in what seemed to be a mass gathering of people with somewhere to go. I had nowhere to be so I took hold of the Tamborine and joined the march. I later learned that it was a demonstration against some of the oil giants by a left leaning environmentalists. Interesting because at that stage I was still a member of the Green Party.

After that I took part in what I thought was an all too peaceful protest as a response to the war in Iraq. The group seemed too content to stick to the footpath as we made our way from the centre of a city to the middle of a large and populous park. That time I was prepared with anti war slogans painted on my person and an over ambitious desire to walk in and into the flow of traffic.

These days I lean more to the right, though political ideology is very much in submission to theology. It’s been over ten years since I’ve been part of anything resembling a public demonstration but today it was rekindled as I shared a street corner with former comrades representing ALRANZ.

A much more peaceful demonstration, I stood holding a sign that refuted the notion that abortion is a matter of social Liberty. Featuring an image of what I guess was a 16 week old preborn human being, the sign said “Abortion is not my choice.”

But why was I there? Why I had I gotten up in the dark, kissed goodbye to my family to arrive in Thames at 7:15?

Once a week, every weeks or five years, a small but faithful group of men and women have stood near the Thames hospital offering those considering abortion another option. Organisational and independent voices converging around a common cause: to love and support women and their children.

Recently there has emerged a counter-demonstration. Calling for an end to the supposed harassment and judgement of women seeking to exercise their bodily autonomy, representatives of ALRANZ have begun to take their place alongside the faithful. Their claims suggest that the peaceful sidewalk attendants are contributors to the shame and stigma surrounding abortion. Their signs and banners reflected that with slogans like “Stop the harassment of women accessing abortion” and “Stop judging…” along with “Toot for choice”. And toot they did.

Thames Time

The counter demonstrators out numbered “us” but despite my satirical comments and news of previous weeks gatherings I felt neither fear nor intimidation. Rather, a spirit of peace was very much resident within my heart as I faced passing traffic with my sign.

In their attempt to politicise the situation, the ALRANZ representatives, one of whom is an employee of the local body council, have pushed for demonstration by permit only. And so the opposing groups have each applied and were granted permits to stand on the same corner one the same day at the same time. What I saw in miniature today has apparently been more aggressive as the ALRANZ group jostled for prime position. And unlike other weeks, today there were no chants, no slander, any noise coming in response to the “Toot for choice” sign.

There, on the adjacent corner, stood Daniel. Another employee of the local body council, it seems Daniel was there to ensure permit conditions were being adhered to. Boldly, wanting a panoramic shot of the action, Kate approached the adjacent corner and in addition to photos got into conversation with Daniel. Kate was able to question the lucidity of the situation, especially as it related to the councils issuing of permits and the alleged harassment. No sooner had the conversation become fruitful than Daniel’s coworker interrupted, gaining his attention and spouting some diatribe about having to call on some men after previously feeling unsafe.

Permitted our position until 9:30 am, the ALRANZ crew rolled up their banners shortly after 9, leaving the faithful to continue their quiet presence, before promptly disassembling.

an ongoing testimony of God's grace