Mary Wissink, pictured here with her dad, Al. Photo courtesy Mary Wissink

Mary Wissink, pictured here with her dad, Al. Photo courtesy of Mary Wissink


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SPOKANE, Wash. (RNS) Arriving home from school on Jan. 22, 1973, Mary Wissink noticed her mother was unusually animated.

The dining room table was pulled away from the wall for a festive meal. The linens were ironed. The smell of turkey, dressing and sweet potatoes wafted through the house. Mom was polishing the silver.

Wissink, then a sophomore in high school, realized her mother had come home from work early to prepare a feast.

“Mary,” her mom said, “today you have the right to your own body.”

It was the day the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed the legality of a woman’s right to an abortion. Wissink and her family have been celebrating Roe v. Wade anniversaries ever since.

“She was so excited,” Wissink recalled. “I don’t think it’s something we think about now. The younger generation doesn’t think about how hard these women — our moms, older sisters, grandmas — worked to get their own rights.”

This year, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho will join Wissink in her celebrations by hosting “Celebrate Roe” parties throughout the region to commemorate “reproductive justice.”

“We celebrate Roe v. Wade annually because it represents great progress in women’s health care, access and rights,” said Karl Eastlund, CEO of PPGWNI.

Around the country, celebrations such as these are often overshadowed by protests on this divisive issue. Thousands took to the National Mall in Washington, D.C.,  on Wednesday (Jan. 22) during the annual March for Life.

Paul E. Rondeau, executive director of the American Life League, said celebrating Roe is evil.

“To celebrate Roe is to deny natural law, to deny science, to deny common sense … to put oneself before the life of God’s own children,” he said.

But legalizing abortion was always something Wissink’s mom, also named Mary, was vehement about. When she was a high schooler in the 1940s, her friend and classmate was raped. The classmate had an abortion, hemorrhaged and as a young teenager was forced to have a hysterectomy.

Wissink said her mother, who died in 2003, could never tell the story without crying.

“She had to watch her friend go through that,” she said. “She had no resources. There was no safe place for her to make that decision. It really hit my mom hard.”

The story stuck with Wissink and she said it continues to fuel her to fight for women’s rights. The story also changed her father, Al. He was studying to become a Jesuit priest when he fell in love with her mother.

Wissink said she’s often asked how she can be Catholic and favor legalized abortion.

“It’s because I’m Catholic that I feel this way,” she said.

Each year on Jan. 22, she celebrates the Roe v. Wade anniversary with friends and family and with an elaborate meal, either at home or at a restaurant. She also drinks a dry martini in honor of her mother.

“Women should have the right to affordable and good health care and the right to make their own decisions,” Wissink said. “That’s why we need to celebrate Roe v. Wade.” 

 YS/MG END SIMMONS

7 Comments

  1. ‘Woe to those who call evil good and call good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.’ (Isaiah 5:20) Celebrating the destruction of our unborn children…tragic.

    • Well put Philip I wanted to add that those who feel Abortion aka Murder are also guilty of Murder and that is something to concern yourself with.

      1 John 3:15
      Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer: and ye know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him.

      The little child could easily be your neighbor or your bother or sister in Christ some day. You cannot have love or Christ in you when you think the killing of children for convenience is acceptable.

      Abortion Techniques:

      At Eight Weeks

      At eight to nine weeks the eyelids have begun forming and hair appears. By the ninth and tenth weeks the preborn child sucks her thumb, turns somersaults, jumps, can squint to close out light, frown, swallow, and move her tongue.

      At this early stage of development, suction abortions are performed using a smaller tube, requiring little dilation of the cervix. This is called “menstrual extraction.” However, if all the fetal remains are not removed, infection results, requiring full dilation of the cervix and a scraping out of the womb.

      Suction Aspiration

      Suction Aspiration (click for larger image)This is the most common method of abortion during the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. General or local anaesthesia is given to the mother and her cervix is quickly dilated. A suction curette (hollow tube with a knife-edged tip) is inserted into the womb. This instrument is then connected to a vacuum machine by a transparent tube. The vacuum suction, 29 times more powerful than a household vacuum cleaner, tears the fetus and placenta into small pieces which are sucked through the tube into a bottle and discarded.

      Dilation and Curettage (D&C)

      This method is similar to the suction method with the added insertion of a hook shaped knife (curette) which cuts the baby into pieces. The pieces are scraped out through the cervix and discarded [Note: This abortion method should not be confused with a therapeutic D&C done for reasons other than pregancy.]

      12 Weeks
      At Twelve Weeks

      By the end of the third month all arteries are present, including the coronary vessels of the heart. Blood is circulating through these vessels to all body parts.

      The heart beat ranges during this fetal period from 110 to 160 beats per minute. All blood cells are produced by the liver and spleen, a job soon taken over by the bone marrow. White blood cells, important for immunity, are formed in the lymph nodes and thymus.

      Vocal chords are complete, and the child can and does sometimes cry (silently). The brain is fully formed, and the child can feel pain. The fetus may even suck his thumb. The eyelids now cover the eyes, and will remain shut until the seventh month to protect the delicate optical nerve fibers.

      14 weeks: Muscles lenghten and become organized. The mother will soon start feeling the first flutters of the baby kicking and moving inside.

      15 weeks: The fetus has an adult’s taste buds and may be able to savor the mother’s meals.

      16 weeks: Five and a half inches tall and only six ounces in weight, eyebrows, eyelashes and fine hair appear. The child can grasp with his hands, kick, or even somersault.

      Eighteen week pre-born baby
      At Eighteen Weeks

      The fetus is now about 5 inches long. The child blinks, grasps, and moves her mouth. Hair grows on the head and body.

      20 weeks: The child can hear and recognize mother’s voice. Though still small and fragile, the baby is growing rapidly and could possibly survive if born at this stage. Fingernails and fingerprints appear. Sex organs are visible. Using an ultrasound device, the doctor can tell if the child is a girl or a boy. The one on the left is a baby girl.

      Dilation and Evacuation (D&E)

      This method is used up to 18 weeks’ gestation. Instead of the loop-shaped knife used in D&C abortions, a pair of forceps is inserted into the womb to grasp part of the fetus. The teeth of the forceps twist and tear the bones of the unborn child. This process is repeated until the fetus is totally dismembered and removed. Usually the spine must be snapped and the skull crushed in order to remove them.

      Salt Poisoning (Saline Injection):

      Saline Injection Used after 16 weeks (four months) when enough fluid has accumulated. A long needle injects a strong salt solution through the mother’s abdomen into the baby’s sac. The baby swallows this fluid and is poisoned by it. It also acts as a corrosive, burning off the outer layer of skin. It normally takes somewhat over an hour for the baby to die from this. Within 24 hours, labor will usually set in and the mother will give birth to a dead or dying baby. (There have been many cases of these babies being born alive. They are usually left unattended to die. However, a few have survived and later been adopted.)

      Six month pre-born baby
      At Six Months

      Seen here at six months, the unborn child is covered with a fine, downy hair called lanugo. Its tender skin is protected by a waxy substance called vernix. Some of this substance may still be on the child’s skin at birth at which time it will be quickly absorbed. The child practices breathing by inhaling amnionic fluid into developing lungs.

      Prostaglandin Chemical Abortion

      Prostaglandin Abortion (click for larger image)This form of abortion uses chemicals developed by the Upjohn Pharmaceutical Co. which cause the uterus to contract intensely, pushing out the developing baby. The contractions are more violent than normal, natural contractions, so the unborn baby is frequently killed by them — some have even been decapitated. Many, however, have also been born alive.

      Hysterotomy or Caesarean Section

      Used mainly in the last three months of pregnancy, the womb is entered by surgery through the wall of the abdomen. The technique is similar to a Caesarean delivery, except that the umbilical cord is usually cut while the baby is still in the womb, thus cutting off his oxygen supply and causing him to suffocate. Sometimes the baby is removed alive and simply left in a corner to die of neglect or exposure.

      Eight month pre-born baby
      At 30 Weeks

      For several months, the umbilical cord has been the baby’s lifeline to the mother. Nourishment is transferred from the mother’s blood, through the placenta, and into the umbilical cord to the fetus. If the mother ingests any toxic substances, such as drugs or alcohol, the baby receives these as well.

      32 weeks: The fetus sleeps 90-95% of the day, and sometimes experiences REM sleep, an indication of dreaming.

      Partial-Birth Abortion

      Five steps to a partial birth abortion:
      1.Partial Birth Abortion Guided by ultrasound, the abortionist grabs the baby’s legs with forceps.

      2.The baby’s leg is pulled out into the birth canal.

      3.The abortionist delivers the baby’s entire body, except for the head.

      4.Partial Birth Abortion The abortionist jams scissors into the baby’s skull. The scissors are then opened to enlarge the skull.

      5.The scissors are removed and a suction catheter is inserted. The child’s brains are sucked out, causing the skull to collapse. The dead baby is then removed.

      Newborn baby
      At 40 Weeks

      The baby, now approximately seven and a half pounds, is ready for life outside its mother’s womb. At birth the placenta will detach from the side of the uterus and the umbilical cord will cease working as the child takes his first breaths of air. The child’s breathing will trigger changes in the structure of the heart and bypass arteries which will force all blood to now travel through the lungs.

  2. How sad is this – rejoicing at the death of babies. I think the words of Blessed Mother Teresa says it all..

    “I feel the greatest destroyer of peace today is ‘Abortion’, because it is a war against the child… A direct killing of the innocent child, ‘Murder’ by the mother herself… And if we can accept that a mother can kill even her own child, how can we tell other people not to kill one another? How do we persuade a woman not to have an abortion? As always, we must persuade her with love… And we remind ourselves that love means to be willing to give until it hurts…”
    ― Mother Teresa

  3. What the liberal commentators won’t do to continue the “narrative” they want presented to the world.

    The protest to Roe does not center on victims of rape or incest or those whose pregnancies are a direct threat to the women themselves. The protest centers both on the Supreme Court venturing where the Constitution gives it no clear right and on the notion that pregnancies can rightfully be terminated at whim.

    “Planned Parenthood”? That taxpayer-subsidized outfit is least of all concerned with planning pregnancies for married couples. It exists primarily as an abortion mill.

    Wissink wants Roe upheld for all the wrong reasons. Indeed, her friend should not have had to endure the consequences of that rape, but pro-abortion people aren’t about to make distinctions that could interfere with choice-under-any-circumstances.

    “Catholic”? Yes, because Catholic clergy have given licence to every manner of corruption by their silence, their timidity. Comes from the environment they’ve been schooled in for many years prior to ordination, and it may also come from a certain “mousy” personality trait. I lived with and among enough of them for a long enough time to know what I’m talking about.

    • The big problem with the anti-choice crowd is they have the delusional belief that their sense of self-righteousness will trump the rights of a person to make private decisions. It never does.

      Plenty of activities bring down the wrath of the self-righteous but are perfectly legal because they are private matters. Just because you don’t like what someone does, it doesn’t automatically entitle you a right to prevent it.

      It doesn’t matter whether you think a woman having an abortion is a cruel victim or a dirty whore. None of them have to answer to your judgment or anyone else on the subject. A woman can terminate a pregnancy on a whim or out of necessity because it is her body the fetus is growing in. Possession being 9/10th of the law. There is a recognized right of privacy. One you would rather override because you think your judgment is so superior that all women must relent in the face of it.

      There is nothing more private than decisions concerning one’s own body. Since nobody but the mother is capable of keeping a fetus alive, nobody but the mother is capable of making a decision on the subject. Her will is the only thing which keeps a fetus alive. Unless you can take possession of a fetus, you are SOL. Biology is a harsh mistress.

      Frankly the idea of “rape and incest” exceptions is silly. It is just anti-choice people trying to sound reasonable. You show that the reality is such ideas are a sham. They want to ban all abortions under all circumstances. Why bother mitigating it dishonestly?

  4. Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    In many secular media quarters there was broader, better and fairer coverage of the March on Washington by pro-lifers than at this site. Is this a religious news site or a pro-abortion propaganda site??.

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