In March of 2016, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medical abortions up to 70 days from the first day of the last menstrual period, using RU-486 (mifepristone) 200 mg orally, taken while in the clinic, under a “certified healthcare provider” followed in 24-48 hours by 800 mcg of misoprostol applied in the cheek. Providing medical abortions does not require a physician, only that the drugs are “dispensed in clinics, medical offices, and hospitals by or under the supervision of a certified healthcare provider.” There are about 30 categories of "health care providers" according to the FDA, including medical assistants.
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. Spontaneous miscarriages at 70 days from the last menstrual period are associated commonly with heavy bleeding and incomplete passage of the placenta. If a woman experiences a complication from a medical abortion, the abortion clinic does not provide follow-up care or admission to the hospital. The patient is sent to the closest emergency room.
Because the woman can choose a medical abortion without involving anyone else and she can drive herself to the clinic and back home, we can project RU-486 abortions will make up a large percentage of the abortions done in the U.S. Medical abortions potentially 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. In European countries they make up two-thirds of the first trimester abortions. 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.
However, some women change their minds after taking the abortion pill. Through a website developed by Dr. George Delgado and supported by a group of RNs around the country, 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 misoprostol has been taken, the pregnancy cannot usually be saved and misoprostol does cause fetal anomalies. So far, about 60% of the medical 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 them and their unborn child. These physicians adhere to the Hippocratic Oath which is no longer taken upon graduation from medical school. Written in the 5th century B.C. by Hippocrates, a Greek physician and the father of Western medicine, 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 all physicians and those they supervise returned to the principles of the Hippocratic Oath.
Dr. Kathleen Raviele is a board-certified OB/GYN and is the volunteer Medical Director for the Pregnancy Aid Clinic. She is a past-President and current member of the Catholic Medical Association. She also represents the CMA as a member of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Pro-Life Committee.
Excerpt from An Interview with Philip Rivers
Posted on Life Teen Blog, by Eric Porteous
So you grew up in a Catholic home, and you took that into your adulthood as a football player. That’s pretty rare for professional athletes, how did you do that?
I was fortunate to grow up in the Faith; my mom taught me the Faith. In North Alabama there were only like 15 of us in my county in my Confirmation class. We were quite the minority in Alabama. But one thing I remember is when I went to college at North Carolina State, the biggest thing that stuck in my head from my mom was never miss Mass. That was the thing that she definitely got across. When you go to college that’s when the Faith becomes your own. Your mom and dad aren’t waking you up and reminding you “Hey this is a good day to go to Confession.” It’s up to you.
So that really stayed with me and I made sure I never missed Mass and continued to grow in the Faith. My wife had a lot to do with it, she’s a convert and she actually became Catholic the day before we got married. There’s so many gifts from the Faith to appreciate and it strikes people differently, but the one-ness of the Church wherever you are, Raleigh, San Diego, Alabama. Every place we were was home because the Catholic Church is the same everywhere. When we went to Mass that first Sunday after moving to a new place, that was where we felt at home and were able to say “well, home is anywhere, it doesn’t matter where we live because we have the Faith.”
How are you able to make the sacraments a priority in the midst of your football schedule, especially on Sundays?
They have Mass available for us; there’s a team priest who travels with us. Obviously at home I have the opportunity to go at our parish, either earlier Sunday morning or Saturday mass. But I’ve recently starting visiting the churches in the cities we go to, and it’s that same thing – you feel at home. You’re in the opposing teams city and yet you found Mass there. That’s really special playing on Sunday and being able to go to Mass the day of the game – to play and do something you’re passionate about. I was always worried about that, to be honest, even in college thinking, “How am I going to be able to go to Mass? And if I make the NFL, then what happens?”
What kind of temptations and challenges have you had to face as a football player?
The biggest key to avoid those temptations is to not put yourself in those situations. And it’s not just as a NFL player, it’s in any work-place, in any city, anything you’re doing, anywhere after dark, after midnight. I think it’s Corinthians 11 says “bad company corrupts good morals.” If you’re not in the wrong but you continue to put yourself in tempting situations eventually you may give in. So that’s always been something I’ve lived by all the way through – don’t put yourself in those situations. Even though you may be strong enough to go somewhere and not fall into the sin, avoiding it from the get-go will certainly help.
So you’re married with eight kids, I was just wondering if there’s any marriage advice you have for any of us?
I think the biggest thing is to be with your best friend, and it starts right there, that’s the key I believe. NFP [Natural Family Planning] has a lot to do with the strength of our marriage. It allows the understanding that we’re on the same page. There’s discipline and sacrifice that comes with that so we’re able bond in many different ways. And the thing I’m most thankful for is that we’re both in the Church because you have an immediate bond. I don’t know any of these people here today but I already feel like we’re buddies just because we have that connection to the Church. That was important for my wife to be Catholic as well; she’s been great for me and also as a mom and wife.
Thanks so much for taking the time today to talk, is there anything that you would like prayers for?
Yeah, I can give you many intentions, but I’d certainly be humbled if you prayed for my family and for all the unborn.
Philip Rivers is currently the Quarterback for LA Chargers. He grew up in Decatur, Alabama in a devout Catholic home and attended North Carolina State University in Raleigh, NC. In 2004 he was drafted to the NFL. Philip and his junior high school sweetheart and wife Tiffany have 8 children and live in San Diego, CA.
Written by Kristie Clover
I was recently at the park with my daughters. We were having so much fun digging in the sand. We piled wet sand into our buckets and patted it down firmly. Then we carefully flipped it over to reveal a section of our castle kingdom. We repeated this several more times until our empire was complete. Some parts more crumbly than others, but we loved it.
It doesn’t seem to matter which sand toys we bring to the park or the beach, the favorite toy is always the shovel (which is why I have so many). There is something about digging that my kids just can’t get enough of. They love to see just how deep they can get their holes. The real excitement is when they reach the clay under the sand area or if water starts to seep into their hole from the moisture beneath the surface.
They can sit there for ages digging and digging. That morning we just sat and giggled as we tried to see who could dig the deepest hole the fastest. Yet, it never fails…the walls of our sunken masterpiece cave in.
I can usually see it coming. The deeper we dig the more I can see the sandy walls appear susceptible. A few grains of sand start to crumble down and soon we have a landslide. As an adult I know it’s just a matter of time before it happens. The kids? Nope. They don’t see it coming. They are always shocked when it happens. They just dig and dig with no expectation that all their hard work will soon come crumbling down.
Sitting there with my girls I realized that so often this is exactly what happens in our lives. We make commitments to a variety of good things: fun activities for the kids, Bible studies, sports teams, dance classes, AWANA, weekend trips, small groups, service projects, ministry opportunities, and more. The list could go on and on. These are all great things. Yet, it always seems like we are pressuring ourselves to do it all.
Then when we’re a few weeks into our commitments, we find the “walls” of our life caving in on us and our family. We keep digging and digging and trying to find some way out of our overwhelming schedules, but there’s no stopping the landslide of exhaustion and stress that starts falling in on us.
So, how can we possibly find joy in this season?
Obviously, the best thing to do is to avoid it in the first place. But life happens. Sometimes we schedule margin and don’t overcommit, yet things pop up and there it is…that feeling of being overwhelmed.
It perplexed me for ages when people told me to “rely on the Lord for His strength.” Sounded good, but how? Well, after 5 kids, it only takes me about 5 minutes some mornings to be at the end of my own strength. I’ve had to learn how to lean on the Lord and really seek Him for my source of joy.
First, I really try to make getting in the Word first thing in the morning a priority, even if it’s just a Psalm or a Proverb. My whole mode changes when I do.
Second, I try to be honest with the Lord throughout the day. I tell him when I’m overwhelmed and ask for His strength. I feel like the secret really lies in this verse:
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.”
The more I put into practice “presenting” my needs to the Lord, the more I’ve found that His crazy peace does come…even in the chaos.
A few practical tips to avoid the avalanche effect:
1) Pray over your schedule and commitments before you make them.
2) If you’re married, talk to your spouse and really prioritize what’s best for your family for that season.
3) Remember that it really is a season. So, if you are overcommitted right now, just learn from your mistake and adjust next time.
4) Try to say “no” to ask many things as possible, even things you have going on right now.
5) Change your mindset. Sometimes I just have to look around and be thankful for what we do have going on.
Again, life happens. As moms, it’s just one crazy, adventurous day after another. Walls may crumble and even fall in, but the more we are intentional about building our lives, and our days, on the Rock the sifting sands won’t affect us as much.
Blessings and joy,
Kristi Clover is a Christian, homeschooling mom to five kids ranging from teens to tots and wife to her high school “crush.” Aside from her family (and chocolate), she’s passionate about encouraging women in their faith and inspiring them in their daily lives as moms, by offering “simple solutions for a more joy-filled life.” Kristi is a down-to-earth writer and an energetic speaker who loves to share about her adventures in marriage and motherhood at KristiClover.com — and on her new podcast, the Simply Joyful Podcast.
Written by Carroll Keen
From pre-school to college, classes are starting up all over, and Pregnancy Aid Clinic is no different. Our fall parenting classes are about to begin. And we’re growing! Beginning in September we will be offering pre-birth classes, post-delivery classes, and classes just for dads. Our clients who bonded during summer classes are looking forward to seeing each other and their class leaders again. Our clients who have not yet been to parenting classes are signing up online. Classes are filling up. So what do parenting classes offer? Here’s a sampling:
As a person who spent about 30 years in education, I am so heartened when I see people come tentatively into the first class (much like the awkward first day of school so many of us have experienced) and grow in knowledge and confidence as the weeks go by.
Our clients/students have experiences to share, which enrich us all in discussions and enable them to support one another. They connect and help each other build stronger families, not only in class, but also beyond our walls. The ripple effect is one of those intangibles we can’t really measure, but often we get a glimpse of when we see clients exchanging phone numbers, hear from a client that she learned of us from someone who was our client in the past, and see our students welcoming each other back to class with a big hug...and so we begin again.
Carroll is the newly employed Director of Education at the Pregnancy Aid Clinic but not new to the clinic. She has been a volunteer since the summer of 2011, primarily facilitating parenting classes. In her past she has worked with all ages of students from pre-school through adults in graduate level courses. In the last 17 years prior to “retirement,” she had been teaching high school gifted students. Carroll and her husband of 44 years, Tom, are currently parishioners at The Cathedral of Christ the King where she was Religious Education Coordinator for 5 years.
Carroll and Tom have 2 children, 2 grandchildren and another on the way!
From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. Luke 12:48
What have we been given by God? Wow! What a deep question. A free will, the choice to accept or reject God and all He has given us, the right to life from conception to death, eternal life… and the list goes on.
I always thought the above scripture was solely about money, but it is about ALL God has given you. Are you using your talents, your mind, your voice, your money, your energy, and your home for the glory of God? It is when you say, “Here I am Lord, use me to your service” (and mean it!) then God will lead you in service to Him.
To have a relationship with God and understand His tremendous love for us can’t just be a truth in our head. It has to be fully understood and accepted in our heart. How does that happen? Life is a journey and we grow in faith if we keep an open heart. Being able to quote what you believe and living your faith are two different things. And sometimes God has to bring you to the foot of the cross to make this transition happen.
For me, while at a former position many years ago, I stood up for my beliefs. And I lost a lot for doing so – my job, my home, my stability and self-confidence. So how could God let this happen? Well, God had a plan for me. I had to lose the material things to truly embrace those beliefs fully into my heart. I stood up for what I believe was right in God’s eyes and he gifted me with a strength and love for him that I never imagined was possible.
Challenges in my life continue, tragedy occurs, the rain comes and then the sun comes out. God is always with me. Through the sadness, I know He is holding me. Through the joy, He is holding me. Thanks be to God.
We should use what He has given us not only in our life on earth, but also to make a difference in the future when we are gone. When the end of our life comes, once again we will be alone with Jesus. What will we tell Him we have done with all He gave us? We all know we can’t take anything material with us. How do we prepare?
There are 4 things you must do now to prepare what God has given you, for the future:
Diane Duquette has 30 years experience in financial services and planned giving. As the previous Director of Planned Giving at the Catholic Foundation of North Georgia, she has spoken widely and done dozens of end of life planning seminars. We are blessed to have her as our Director of Development at PAC.
God has given a lot to Diane. She has 3 children, 3 grand-children, and 2 beautiful great-grandchildren. She has a wonderful talent for gardening and painting, and a love for art in all forms.
Written by Annette Nellums
Sunday was Father’s Day. When I reflect on the significance of “father” it brings many thoughts to mind. In Genesis 1:27 it is written: “So God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.”
What is important for children to learn is the essence of manhood and womanhood (femininity, not feminism); men are innately the protectors and providers; women are innately the nurturers and guardians. One is not subservient to the other but complements the other. How does a boy learn to treat women if he never witnesses how it is done? How does a girl learn how to be treated if she never sees her mother treated with respect?
My own father, the youngest son of European and Middle-Eastern parents, adored my Irish mother and would do anything for her. Over a 20 year span they had seven children and he loved us all unconditionally. He died suddenly of a massive heart attack when he was only 51, leaving my mother to cope alone with 5 children under 17. By then I was married with three children, and it wasn’t until he was gone that I became aware of how he had influenced my life.
Being the oldest, and the only girl for 15 years, we were very close. Daddy was my cheerleader, my compass, my rock and he disapproved of nearly every boyfriend I ever had. Fathers are the standards, whether positive or negative, by which girls measure other men. They set the bar, and though I didn’t realize it at the time, he was very influential in my choices. He knew, even before I knew it myself, that Marc was the right one for me.
Marc, my husband, and I had 6 children in 10 years, 5 boys and one girl. He worked hard, sometimes at two jobs, but he never complained. He did what had to be done. When the children were small I often felt overwhelmed, wondering why God had given me children to raise, because I was sure I wasn’t doing a very good job. When Marc came home they rushed to meet him. “Daddy’s home!” He rarely raised his voice in anger and the worst punishment our children could receive was the knowledge they had disappointed him. He also stepped into the father role for my younger siblings, whose ages began at only 2 years older than our oldest child.
Five of our children are married, four have children. Our sons followed their father’s example. They treat their wives and daughters with respect and as a result, their daughters have self-respect and their sons cherish the women in their lives. Our daughter chose a man whose personality is very different from Marc, but who shows the same core goodness and respect for her and their daughter, which she learned to expect.
In January another generation will begin with the birth of our first great-grandchild whose father, our oldest grandson, will no doubt continue what began over a century ago.
Please pray for fathers and sons everywhere. Pray that we can resurrect those high standards so that many more young men will know the loving influence of a strong father to guide, to teach, to set the example of true manhood in their lives.
Annette Nellums has been a volunteer at Pregnancy Aid Clinic since 2015. She and husband Marc have been married for 58 years, have 6 children, umpteen grandchildren and a great-grandbaby on the way. God Bless!
Written by Marla Brown
This Mother’s Day has been bitter sweet for me as I watched my only daughter graduate from college with honors. A picture perfect example of a strong, confident woman ready to seize life and turn the page to a new chapter in life. In the past, I’ve often regretted so many things that I could have done better with her. I could have been home more, been more patient, more fun, more interested, loved her father more, protected her more and on and on. But as I watched her take the stage with that brilliant smile, I knew that it was enough, because God made it so. After all, she is His daughter too. I’ve just had the honor of calling her mine for a short while.
I’ve made lots of mistakes and have so many regrets. Yet, God knew it would be so which is why He chose to reveal himself every time I had to ask for forgiveness. With each failure, I got stronger and so did she. At only 21 years old, I am sometimes in awe of her brilliance. All the time I was praying for her to have the compassion and empathy to love and grow, He was teaching me to do the same. There have been times when she has made such powerful statements to me that prove she has felt God’s grace even though I couldn’t possibly have known how to show her. I was probably too young and immature to have a child. It seemed like the next logical step in my young life. I thought it was my decision but have come to know it was a decision made for me. And my life is so rich today because of the gift of being called her mother.
When I think of the most beautiful mother of all time, our Blessed Virgin Mary, I am humbled to be given this title. After the birth of my daughter, I lost three other babies and selfishly felt deprived of those lives lost through pregnancy. And yet, the gift of my daughter and two future stepsons would complete a big part of my life’s purpose. It is not our right to define the boundaries of what seems to be a perfect family. Our blessed Mother Mary certainly didn’t have what initially seemed like the best-choreographed plan. Pregnant before marriage, young, poor and unequipped to care for God’s only living son. And her son, despite having divine insight and knowledge, would need to know and understand family through her own inexperienced example.
I often hear many mothers say, “My child is my life.” I prefer to think that my children help define my life. But I have come to know that God is my life and he breathes His lessons and love through my children. If we listen closely and follow His direction, the gift of a child continues to give back to us in so many ways. And it is our responsibility to care for this precious gift as best as we can despite our hesitations and inadequacies. This graduation weekend with my daughter took my breath away. She is stronger and better than I ever was at her age. It wasn’t my own doing. But I am so very thankful He chose me to fulfill this plan with and through her.
Marla Brown is our fearless, dedicated leader at Pregnancy Aid Clinic. Under her direction, our mission has flourished! Please comment below if you feel moved by her story or have something similar to share.
Written by Aaron Bartlone
They were 17. She was a cheerleader and he was a football player. They were popular seniors in a small, rural high school and had an ongoing adolescent romance since they were 15. They were in love and inseparable!
On a warm afternoon in September of 1985, she approached him exiting the locker room following football practice. She had something weighing heavy on her; something she needed to tell him. She was pregnant. She found a quiet moment and just said it. The emotions were heavy but at the same time the two had little appreciation of what this meant. How did this happen to us? Why us? What does all this mean? What will we do? When will we tell our parents and friends? They felt empty and alone and clinged to each other.
From that moment, nothing would ever be the same again. The couple concealed the pregnancy as long as possible and waited 6 months to share the news when physically it was no longer possible to hide it. They experienced many difficult moments with family, faculty and friends including, “why didn’t you tell us earlier so we could have got you an abortion?” The small town lent itself to the shame associated with the pregnancy. At 17 years old, it was very hard to process what the options were and what help was available. Information was not readily available and help was scarce. The couple never wavered and never thought of anything besides having their baby through the grace of God guiding them.
These teenagers went on the have their baby boy about 2 months before their high school graduation. Not exactly the dream scenario anyone has. Those next coming years were extremely difficult; trying to raise a son with the help of grandparents, commute to college and work long, hard hours to make a living. With the fortunate guidance of a caring Catholic Priest, they waited 4 years to marry upon completion of their college degrees.
And then they went on to bring 7 wonderful children into this world by the grace of God.
This couple was my wife Lisa and myself. We understand the challenging situation that an unplanned pregnancy brings. We appreciate how easy it is to choose abortion over life when facing this crisis. We know that good, faith-filled people can find themselves at these crossroads and many are not as fortunate as us. And we understand the need for pregnancy resource centers across our country that bring options, compassion and hope.
I am fortunate to have persevered through the difficult moments in my life because they have made me who I am today. The opportunity to serve on the PAC Board of Directors is an amazing blessing to support this life-saving ministry in a way that I could not have even fathomed.
If our story lifts one person out of the darkness, then it was all worthwhile.
Life is always the right choice. Let’s help everyone make it.
Aaron Bartlone is the Vice Chairman of the PAC Board of Directors. He and his wife Lisa live in Milton GA with their 7 beautiful children. In his free time, (and we are not sure how he has free time) Aaron loves to play tennis, the keyboards and bass guitar.
We adore his positive uplifting spirit, his personal passion for our mission and are so blessed to have him on our board. Thanks for all you do for our mission Aaron!
Written by Heather Williams
“We feel like that day we walked into the clinic was the day we accepted responsibilities. We also feel that our daughter wouldn't be with us if it weren't for you all. We were way ahead of the game thanks to you all. Parenting class always made our week. We enjoyed every second of it and definitely appreciated all the help.” – Client “J”
Imagine being a teenager, pregnant, and feeling like the world is against you. Imagine having everyone in your family pushing you to have an abortion, to give up on the child that is growing inside of you. Imagine your child’s life being lessened to a choice. That’s where this young woman found herself. “J” felt as if she had to choose between her child’s life and her family.
In becoming a young mother, she knew that there would be challenges that she would need help and support to navigate through. I remember “J” crying, stating that she didn’t know how she would provide for her child and she had no clue how to raise a baby. Surrounded mostly by negativity and very little support, “J” found a safe haven at Pregnancy Aid Clinic.
After meeting with her and her boyfriend, I strongly encouraged them to attend our weekly parenting classes. Initially they seemed against the idea. To my surprise, one Thursday evening the couple walked in with some hesitation. We immediately greeted them and did our best to make them feel comfortable. It was clear that the couple was uncomfortable in this setting.
Week after week the couple continued to come to class. Week after week their attitude around parenting began to be more and more positive. I wish I could say that I was the person that made these young parents comfortable and encouraged. I may have been a part of it, but I attribute the change to what I call our “hidden gems”.
You see, we are just a vessel. Our classes are here to inform and educate our parents. Attending our classes also allows for parents to get materials needed for the baby. But the most beneficial and most rewarding result for both teacher and student is the relationship and community building that happens among the class members. We become a family.
For many of our clients, family support and connection is lacking. It’s amazing to watch the class members rally around one another, offering their words of support, guidance, encouragement and love. They become each other’s advocates. I’m often amazed and brought to tears when I sit back and listen to them offer praise and reassurance to a parent that may be going through a difficult time, or when I hear about how they have connected outside of the clinic.
“J” came into PAC feeling defeated and alone. I believe that it was because of our awesome clients and volunteers surrounding her with love that she was able to push through. These people are our “hidden gems.” Parents that attend classes connect and grow with other parents in a positive way. They form bonds. They gain support. They are encouraged and become stronger families together.
Heather Williams is passionate about working with women and families. She loves working with PAC clients, helping them meet their needs and watching them grow. Heather is currently working towards her Masters of Divinity and enrolled in an Organizational Leadership program. She is one of our most fantastic "hidden gems" at PAC.
Dr. Kathleen M. Raviele MD, FACOG
Medical Director, Pregnancy Aid Clinic