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The Military and Planned Parenthood: Parallels, Trauma, & Grief | Rehumanize Conference 2018

The Military and Planned Parenthood: Parallels, Trauma, & Grief  | Rehumanize Conference 2018

We’re ready to get started here. I’m so excited
to introduce, uh, Rachel MacNair, who will be our facilitator for this panel. She works
for Institute for — Integrated Soc — Integrated Social Analysis, thank you.
It’s the research arm of the Consistent Life Network.
Yes. Um. My brain’s not firing on all engines this morning. All cylinders. That’s how you
can tell. And then we have Annette Lancaster. Lancaster?
Lancaster, with And Then There Were None ministries, which is the ministry that Abby Johnson started
for former abortion clinic workers, helping them get out of the industry and into life-affirming
work. And then we have Thad Crouch, he’s with Veterans for Peace, and he’s also worked with
the Consistent Life Network and a bunch of other great organizations in Texas as well.
Um, so, we have Annette from North Carolina, Thad from Texas, and Rachel from…Kansas?
City, Missouri. Kansas City, Missouri, ah.
The state line goes right through the city, y’all.
Anyway, please welcome them. Okay, we’re gonna have Annette go for ten
— Annette goes for ten minutes and then Thad goes for ten minutes, and I’m gonna sit
over there and do like this when they’ve got two minutes and like this when they’ve got
one minute. And then, then we’ll move to parallels and contrasts between the two.
(Make sure the green button’s on. Oh, it needs to be green? Oh, they need it to be green.
Okay, this isn’t turning off. There we go.) Okay.
Good afternoon. So, my name is Annette Lancaster, I was formerly the health center manager of
Planned Parenthood South Atlantic. That is in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. I actually
got involved with Planned Parenthood — um, I was sought out by a headhunter. I was working
at a previous organization that was absorbed by another, larger health system, and so I
ended up looking for a job. I wanted to help people, I wanted to stay in healthcare. My
goal was really to help women. And, of course, that is the undertone lie that Planned Parenthood
sells to people. I interviewed for the Winston-Salem office first, and then didn’t get that position,
and then they actually called me back and asked me would I be interested in the Chapel
Hill location? Which was actually a lot larger than the Winston-Salem location. So of course
I was really interested — here’s this large clinic that I can be the manager of, it’s
a stand-alone clinic, they help women, they do all these different things for women, so
I’m thinking, this is great. When I got into working at the clinic, it didn’t take very
long for me to realize that it wasn’t exactly what everybody had told me that it was. It
wasn’t what they sold to me. I realized that women were being lied to — we were told
that we did the top number of mammograms and breast exams, and the first thing that I noticed
was we didn’t even have a mammogram machine. So, how were we doing all these breast exams,
and you know, helping women with breast cancer and all these things, when we didn’t even
have a breast exam machine? After a few weeks, uh, of working there, I noticed that, myself
personally, I started to have this moral decline. My jokes started becoming very dark and morbid,
um, I started drinking very heavily, drinking to the point where it was becoming detrimental
not only to my health, but to my family and to my marriage. Jumping forward, I’m happy
to say that, as of this August, I am completely sober. Thank you. I used to use that term
loosely, I would say, “Yeah, I’m sober,” and I’d have a glass here, and a glass there.
But after having deep conversations with myself I realized that I just needed to cut it out
completely, so I did do that. But…it was a really long and difficult journey for me.
I remember several times that I would have employees come to me, and they would be in
tears, working in what we called the POC room, which was Products of Conception. So, I had
my 18-year-old niece working with me at the time, this was her very first job, she wanted
to get in healthcare — and of course, I’m helping her, I’m trying to get her involved
in healthcare, so I’m like, “I can get you a job at Planned Parenthood; you can work
with me,” and it ended up being so horrific for her, causing her to have nightmares. A
lot of the things that she saw, and a lot of the things that she did. I’m happy to say
that I got her out of the industry, even though I also helped her get into the industry. But
I was able to help get her out, as well as seven other people that worked in the industry,
at that clinic, and get them involved with And Then There Were None, with Abby Johnson.
But there were a lot of things that I saw, you guys, and a lot of things that I participated
in that was just, just horrible. One of the things — it wasn’t just one situation that
got me out of the clinic and out of the industry, it was a culmination of a variety of things
— but one of the things was when I assisted in an ultrasound-guided abortion. I was not
ultrasound trained, I had never done an ultrasound before, I had never held — I had never even
held a transvaginal ultrasound. But I was doing — here I found myself, as the manager,
supposedly hired to do administrative work, and I’m holding an ultrasound for a Day Two
procedure. I’m actually watching the baby, inside of the mother’s womb, run from all
of these instruments that are being into the mother, and then being pulled out, piece by
piece. Because that’s how an abortion is performed. People say, “Oh, I’m pro-choice. I think it
should be a woman’s right.” But until you actually see the procedure done, I don’t think
people really grasp how an abortion procedure is done. The baby is actually torn apart limb-by-limb.
And after me seeing this, and holding the ultrasound, and actually watching this, something
inside of me just woke up. I thought, “What in the world am I doing here? This is not
really helping women.” And then after that procedure, I had the same
patient come back to me and ask me, again — they had before the procedure started,
and they came back to ask me: “Do you think God is gonna forgive me for what I just did?”
You know, and…so then I’m torn, morally and with corporate life. What do I say? Do
I say what I feel? Do I say what I really think, in my heart and in my mind? Or do I
continue to tell them what I’ve been taught by Planned Parenthood? Which is the blanket
answer of, “Well, do you believe in a forgiving God? Do you think that God is going to forgive
you?” And I found myself repeating what I had been
taught by Planned Parenthood to say. It wasn’t until the last days that I was there that
I began actually opening up and telling people how I really felt.
I had women come in who were being coerced. They would come in being brought by parents,
or grandparents, boyfriends, husbands, partners, pimps, to have their abortion procedures done.
And they really didn’t want to do it. But I was being told by my regional manager
at that time, “Oh, they’re ready. They signed the paperwork, so they really wanna have — they
want it. If they didn’t want to have this done, they wouldn’t be here.”
But I found that, after a few months, my numbers of abortion procedures were going down and
down and down. Because as women came in, and they would tell me their stories, and they
would answer their questions, my response would be, “I don’t think you want to have
this procedure done today. So let’s reschedule you, or let’s just cancel your procedure altogether.”
Um, I ended up being reprimanded for that. I was told that my abortion numbers were not
as high as they were supposed to be. So then, at a meeting one day, I just came out and
asked: “Do we have an abortion quota?” Because I felt like we were herding women in, like
cattle. We were just bringing them in, like, you know, what is it that you want from me?
Do you want me to just go out on the streets and advertise, “Please come in and abort your
babies”? You know, I was starting to get frustrated at one point.
But I was told, “No, we don’t have an abortion quota. There’s, there’s no quota. You know,
we make our money off of family planning.” So again, then my question was, “Why am I
being reprimanded because my numbers are going down?” It wasn’t making sense to me.
So after a few more weeks of my numbers continually declining, I was brought into the office and
I was told — so, let me back up a little bit. My husband had been telling me for months:
“You need to go ahead and quit. We’ll be okay. We’ll be fine with just me working.” And I
was so hellbent on…”They’re not gonna break me. I can do this. You know, I can stay in
this industry. I can do this. There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m not changing.” But my husband
was telling me, “I can see you changing. The children can see you changing.”
We would tell such dark, morbid jokes — for example, um, the freezer, where we kept the
products of conception after a procedure…we called it the Nursery.
We had providers — er, abortionists — who would talk down to the women who they were
doing procedures on. They would talk about them afterwards, talked about how their body
parts were shaped, or how they were colored. It was just, it was horrific. And I wasn’t
seeing how I was changing. But after a while, I started noticing. You
know, after almost every abortion day — we did abortion procedures on Thursdays, Fridays,
and Saturdays. Sometimes we were there 10, 11, 12 hours, performing these procedures.
But after every abortion day, we always met up at a local restaurant or a bar. All of
us. And we would jokingly say that we were getting together for our “staff meeting.”
And I started to notice that I was using alcohol as a crutch — all of us were using alcohol
as a crutch — except for my 18-year-old niece, who wasn’t old enough to drink. So
I started wondering to myself, you know, “How is she getting through this?” And I realized,
after a while, she was using ZzzQuil, and NyQuil. That was what she would drink so that
she could go to sleep at night and not have these nightmares — or try to sleep through
them. So, I ended up writing a letter of resignation.
And I kept it. I didn’t put a date on it. I wrote a really nice letter, saying, “Thank
you for my time here at Planned Parenthood. You know, you’ve taught me so much, blah,
blah, blah.” But I never turned it in — and I actually had that letter with me for about
two weeks. And I would keep it with me. But my numbers were still declining, so I knew
that something was eventually gonna come. I was eventually called into the office, and
I was told: “You just don’t fit in here anymore. You don’t fit in here.”
And it was like a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. and I thought, “You are right.
I don’t fit in here, with this morbid humor.” And I had already gone to Human Resources,
and I had talked about the sexually-charged environment, about the vulgarities and the
cursing, and just, different things that went on. And I was told, “Well, this is just the
culture here.” Basically, I was being told, get over it and get used to it.
But when I was finally told, “You don’t fit in here anymore. Sign this paperwork saying
that you’re not gonna disclose any of our patient information and leave.” It was a weight
lifted off my shoulders, and I slid over that letter. When I was — because when I was
called into that office by two HR administrators with their folders, I already knew what was
coming. So I had my folder with me, and I was ready as well. So they slid me their paperwork,
and I slid them mine. But even after leaving there, there was just
so much that I had to deal with. So much that I had seen and participated in.
And I had a card that had been given to me previously — and I couldn’t remember the
name on the card, because I had actually washed it — so let me tell you this quick story.
The workers, sidewalk workers, would come, they would pray, and they would talk to us,
and of course, they would try to get us out of the industry. I would always ignore them,
I would call the police, I would have them trespassed. I didn’t want them on our property.
So I would park across the street, in a bank parking lot. One day, when I went out to my
car to take a break, I noticed that my car literally had been littered with these cards.
There wasn’t just one card on my windshield — they were all around the front, down the
sides, and around the back. And I thought, “These people are relentless! They are crazy.
Why won’t they just leave me alone? They won’t go away.”
So I took them all off of my car, and I came back into the building, and my manager, really
in a hateful way, said, “You’re gonna throw those away, right?”
And me, being the person that I am, I threw them all away except for one. And I kept looking
at it, day after day, and I would look at it, and I would read it, and I would look
it up and google the information, and then I would close the page. And I would look it
up at home, and then I would close the page. Because I thought, you know, Planned Parenthood’s
gonna find out that I’m trying to contact this organization.
Well, when I left that day, I went home. I was distraught. I told my husband: “I don’t
know if I just quit or if I got fired, but I know I don’t work there anymore.” Thank you, Annette.
You’re welcome. In one month and two days, it will be 21 years.
We were surrounded by a brick wall, barbed wire.
And the military police are saying, “Get in line.”
I was not staying in line, literally or metaphorically. I had already crossed the line, and I wasn’t
going back. I was arrested for the first time for crossing
the property line, trespassing the U.S. Army’s Fort Benning, Georgia, to protest the School
of the Americas. It was November 16th of 1997 — nine years to the day, that an El Salvadoran
death squad went into the residence of six Catholic university professors and Jesuit
priests and murdered them, and their housekeeper, and their housekeeper’s 16-year-old daughter.
The authoritarian Salvadoran government didn’t like the thoughts of peace and justice that
those Jesuits were teaching, so they not only killed them, they symbolically put some of
their brains next to their bodies. I spent many times weeping and wailing, wondering
if I had helped train any of the members of that death squad. Because from 1987 to 1989,
I was an infantry soldier assigned to Fort Benning, and I did support work for the U.S.
Army School of the Americas. The military police kept screaming, “Get back
in line!” Yet my friends from Pax Christi and Veterans for Peace, and others from around
the country, and I, we were 601 people strong, and we were already way out of line with our
government, which wanted to use our troops to support a greedy, unjust violent foreign
policy of death, domination, destruction, and waste. It was a foreign policy that was
dehumanizing. Our civil disobedience was a decision to be
obedient to our conscience. And I gotta tell ya, back then and now, and uh — is the mike
on?— in the face of feeling fear and stress that I might be imprisoned for six to eighteen
months, in the face of wondering how I might pay my rent and my bills if I was in jail,
stressing about how this arrest might possibly keep me from getting a job I wanted, in the
face of possibly being called a traitor by some of my army buddies, and lifelong friends
and family – then, and now, I stand for being someone who follows my conscience. And
I stand for being a voice for the voiceless in a system that silences them. And in the
face of strong feelings of betrayal, by the government and the army, in the face of sometimes
just feeling so angry, in the face of the temptation to react with anger and resentment,
in the face of the temptation to judge and label and put in a box and dehumanize the
government as greedy and lying, and to dehumanize the members of that death squad…I stand
for being someone who, in my mind and in my heart, rehumanizes them. Because then, in
1989, and right now, and forever, they are human beings. And I remember that I am a human
being, and I remember that I, once like them, was a soldier who would’ve obeyed almost any
order to kill. I trusted my leaders, and like them, I was psychologically resocialized and
trained to bypass my conscience and kill on command. And I remember the one who redeems
me from that greater death. In the face of those walls and that wire,
and those military police telling us to get back in line, we did not get back in line.
We stood in a circle, and we playfully sang and danced the hokey pokey. And it was, at
that point in my life, the freest I had ever felt.
It wasn’t always like that. When I was young, I wanted my life to be about
a purpose, not just making money. There’s nothing wrong with that. But I, I wanted to
be an Army ranger, and jump out of airplanes and helicopters, and kill people! For freedom,
and democracy, and human rights. I saw way too many Chuck Norris and Rambo and Arnold
Schwarzenegger movies. War looks so exciting on TV. And I went to the recruiter station,
and I said, “I wanna be an airborne ranger.” And they said, “Well, we don’t have anymore
ranger slots.” I said, “I wanna be in airborne infantry.”
They said, “We don’t have any airborne infantry slots. You could be an airborne paratrooper.”
I’m like, *scoffs*, I’m Chuck Norris, right? “When are you gonna have those slots?”
“Um, next quarter.” “I’ll come back next quarter.”
They’re like, “Hey, hold on. We’ve got an unassigned infantry assignment at Fort Benning.”
I’m like, “Fort Benning?! That’s where they have the airborne school and the ranger school!”
And he’s like, “That’s right. And every basic training class, the rangers are gonna come
by and ask the drill sergeants, ‘Who’s just really kicking butt?’ And, and they can recommend
you to be an airborne ranger.” I’m like, “Awesome!” And I signed up.
And they dropped that promise just like I dropped part of this microphone right here.
And recruiters lie. We can talk more about that later.
So I went to basic training at Fort Benning…two minutes to go, wow.
And um, okay, some of this I’ll do in parallels. But uh, you know there was a time that I was
so proud to be a soldier, and the first time that I —
I was in a training unit, I wasn’t in combat unit, so most of my time was training our
own soldiers — but I remember this time where my drill sergeant said that I was gonna
train folks at the School of the Americas. I had never heard of it. I was like, “What’s
that?” They said, “That’s the school where our military trains these officers from Latin
America to protect freedom and democracy and fight communists.” And I was like, “Cool!” And after the first day
I did it, and I did it several days, I called my mom, and I was like, “Guess what! Instead
of training our soldiers who might maybe one day fight the Soviet Union, today I’m training
these guys that are actually fighting communists to protect democracy in South America!” And
my mother said, “I’m so proud of you, son.” I was proud of myself, too.
And uh, years later, after some prayer, and finding a Pax Christi group in New Orleans,
and after switching from a criminal justice major — ’cause I didn’t get to kill anyone
in the Army, so I thought I’d be a cop. ‘Cause gunfights look cool, and you know cops, they
always do the morally upright thing, right? Yeah.
Anyway, um, but I had this change in heart, after prayer, and I wanted to do something
else, but I went to Jesuit University in New Orleans, there was a Pax Christi group, and
they had a speaker there from Haiti asking us to get President Clinton
to put President Aristide back in Haiti, it was 1994, and we said, “Is there anything
else?” And he said, “Yes. You can close the U.S. Army School of the Americas.”
And I was like, “What is this guy talking about? He wishes more of his soldiers went
to the School of the Americas so they would learn civilian rule of law over the military,
and learn about democracy, and human rights.” And then he told me the truth. That the school
was training death squads, all over the Caribbean and Central America, that were murdering,
torturing, raping, disappearing their own citizens, who were fighting against brutal
governments to have the same rights and freedoms that we have. Some of them were fighting,
and some of them were just organizing, nonviolently — and my heart…wanted to vomit.
And after a long period of time, it wasn’t just a change of opinion, it was…it was
this painful change of identity. I identified myself as a soldier, and as a veteran, as
someone that does good, because the U.S. foreign policy’s always good, our orders are always
good…and I couldn’t stand in that identity anymore and feel good about myself.
And there’s a lot of veterans who — unlike me, because I never saw combat — who saw
combat, and who did some things they might not have even had time to think about doing,
but maybe they wouldn’t have done if they had. And they are…they’re hurting.
(Oh, [the mike] it’s gonna be needed with the parallels)
Okay. We have, uh…seven minutes devoted to the schedule for you all to discuss the
parallels that you’ve noticed between each other.
Yeah, thank you. So, one of the parallels that we’ve already heard really is, you know,
some of the lies in recruiting. Them telling me that every infantry basic training class
they’re gonna offer ranger school. There, there are a lot of — when you sign a military
contract to enlist, the military doesn’t have to keep a single thing in that contract. It
shouldn’t even legally be a contract. And when they recruit, they have, with the Leave
No Child Behind Act, the military recruiters have access to student records and student
information. And they spend hundreds — they get access to schoolchildren, and the United
States didn’t sign the Universal, the UN’s Declaration on Rights of the Child, because
the U.S. would be in violation of it for military recruiting of persons under the age of 18.
Um, another one of the parallels, like Thad was saying, not only the lies, but the leaving
you behind after you leave, when you leave the organization. When I left Planned Parenthood,
it wasn’t like leaving any other job. Um, it…the way that I can best describe it is
trying to leave a gang. Or trying to leave the mafia. It’s like blood in, blood out.
And that’s how I felt when I left Planned Parenthood. I was scared to call And Then
There Were None because I didn’t know what was going to come afterwards. And I found
out, um, not even a week or so — I think it was maybe a week or two after I’d left
Planned Parenthood — I got an email saying, “If you don’t bring back the week’s worth
of deposits that you took when you left, we’re gonna file and press criminal charges.” And
I thought, “What week’s worth of, of deposits could I have possibly taken?” When I left
that day, I turned over my keys to everyone, you know the HR people, and they literally
walked me to my vehicle. So then I start getting scared, and I told my husband, you know, this
is thousands upon thousands of dollars that they’re talking about that’s missing. And
they’re blaming me for it. As the health center manager, I’m the only one who had keys to
everything, as well as to the safe, so I had to think quickly. And I said, “Well, all the
cameras that you had there in the building? I suggest that you go back and review those
cameras, and review the tapes, and see who took the money — because I don’t have it.”
And after that — well, it wasn’t after that, it was after I mentioned Abby Johnson’s
name as well — then they backed off and left me alone.
But it’s that parallel as well, you know, they…it’s, “Not only did you leave, but
we’re gonna make you fearful that you left.” Thank you.
One of the big differences, maybe the biggest, in leaving the military before your contract
is up and, and leaving an abortion clinic is that, as difficult as it is for you, and
I’ve heard Abby’s story, to leave, when you’re in the military, it’s against the law to quit.
You, you — and the consequences are, you know, prison, and a dishonorable discharge,
and not being able to get a job you might want because of a dishonorable discharge.
I don’t have a whole lot of time to talk about conscientious objection, but I used to help
conscientious objectors, if someone wants to talk later, but conscientious objection —
most soldiers don’t even think it’s — many soldiers don’t even know they can apply for
it. They think it was from when you were drafted, and they don’t even know they have the right
to do it. The chaplains themselves, that interview people for conscientious objection, are often
asking them all kinds of questions like, “What are you? You’re a Southern Baptist? What are
you? You’re a Catholic?” They’re asking them questions like about Baptist and Catholic
theology and social teaching…that is not criteria for being con — your own personal
belief, is it sincerely and deeply held, and are you opposed to all war? You couldn’t participate
in any war? So, I wanna say here today, we’re in this Catholic university: it’s against
the law to fully practice your Catholicism in the military because if you wanna say,
“Hey, I’m willing to fight and kill to defend my country in a just war, but I’m not gonna
take part in an unjust war” — if you don’t know what those are, come talk to me afterwards
— that’s against the law. If you become a military pacifist, no war? Legal.
The Supreme Court heard a case about this in 1971. The vote was eight to one — didn’t
matter how many thousands of years there’s been church teaching on Just War. No.
Incidentally, seven of those nine justices also voted on Roe, also reinstated the death
penalty. Just saying. Um. Let’s see. Oh, another thing is, is some
of the language that’s really dehumanizing. You heard “POC,” you know there’s so much
stuff in the military, you know. It’s an enemy, then it’s not an enemy, it’s a target, then
it’s not a target, it’s “tango” because that’s the phonetic alphabet for T, and you kill
someone, and it’s “tango down.” You fire a missile, and it’s “package is delivered.”
Um, and then — I’m really sorry, Aimee, I’m gonna say the “C” word — “collateral
damage” are innocent people that, you know, when you look at modern warfare — depending
on who you’re reading it could be as high as 90% or maybe as low as 40% of the people
killed by militaries are not our enemies, they’re innocent civilians. They’re women
and children. And we justify that by calling it “collateral damage.”
And many of us in this country will think about that and what terrorists do and think
that’s okay, and I ask this question: What action do you think our nation or our country
could do, or has done, that you think would justify some other country bombing your neighborhood,
burning down your house, killing your children, and calling them collateral damage? It was the same way at Planned Parenthood.
A lot of the verbiage and a lot of the terms that we used were very dehumanizing. Like,
I said, we called the POC freezer “the Nursery.” Not only that, a lot of the providers, as
they were working with women, they would make just rude and crude remarks, like I said,
about their vaginas. About the shape, or the smell, or, just rude and crude things. I remember
I had a provider one time tell a woman, you know, she said she couldn’t take the procedure,
“Well, obviously something was stuck in there before — so you can take this.” You know,
just, and you would think to yourself that it would be shocking to hear, but after you
hear that so many times, and after you hear providers say this to women, you start dehumanizing
the women, and you start thinking the same thing for the next client, and the next patient
that comes through. “Well, why are you crying? Why are you acting like this is painful? You
had something in there before.” And we would actually laugh at these jokes and at these
crude and rude things that the doctors would say, and we would mimic it. We would repeat
it. And we would say it to other people. Okay. We are on time this, so, do you have
something more pressing to say? No.
Um, real quickly, can I — you know, in the military, mimicking and repeating is mandatory.
There’s marching cadences. There’s songs about killing. Drill sergeants saying, “What is
the spear of a bayonet?” and you’re saying, “To kill! Kill! Kill!” We’re marching, singing
songs — this is in the 1980s — we’re still singing songs, racist songs, about Vietnam,
about killing “gooks,” we’re using the word “gooks” for Asian people. We’re singing songs
dehumanizing women. Um, the Army, after WWII, realized enough people weren’t firing at the
enemy, so they employed social psychologists to, to resocialize people to kill. We went
from bullseyes to pop-up targets that pop down real quick, so you only have a second
to shoot. They brought in, during my training, a supposed
Russian officer, they made up some story about why he got to address us, and he was insulting us, and
saying, “If your capitalist system is so good, why did you even enlist in the Army? It’s
because your mothers and sisters don’t make enough money on the street.” And I was taking
notes, that Russians were a-holes and I could not wait to go to war and kill these a-holes.
This is using psychology intentionally to dehumanize people. Thank you. (Okay, I’m supposed to get this thing to go
green. It’s on, it’s on, it’s on, it’s on? It is on. There we go. It’s green.) Alright. Um, I was sitting, contemplating
back in the 1980s about this whole debate, over whether abortion constitutes killing
or not, and I thought, well — you know, let’s go a little deeper than just, the philosophical
premises and all this, let’s see if people who are doing abortions react to them the
same way people react to killing people. Well, I mean, we knew about combat veterans,
they had battle fatigue, well the current fancy name for that was Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder. And uh, this is a diagnosis where you have a really bureaucratic set of stuff
in the American Psychiatric Association manual, and a much looser definition in the International
Classification of Diseases by the World Health Organization, but basically, Post-Traumatic
Stress Disorder has become a very well-developed concept coming out of the American war in
Vietnam. I mean, it had been developed, but it then became much more clearly defined.
I discovered that, uh, people were not thinking in terms of getting PTSD from killing, even
for combat veterans. You know, you, you get shot at, you’re traumatized. Your buddy dies,
you’re traumatized. But the idea that you get traumatized from shooting somebody, at
that point, wasn’t in the literature. I searched high and low, and I found a couple spots where
they talked about committing atrocities, but not just your normal killing that is expected.
So I said, well, before I even look at abortion, I’m gonna have to look at it: is killing traumatizing
across combat veterans, executions, uh, criminal homicides, and police who shoot in the line
of duty? Police who shoot in the line of duty is the exception that proved the rule — there
was a huge amount of literature saying, yes, they were traumatized by doing the shooting,
but that was because it was the criminal’s fault, not theirs. So, all the more that they
were virtuous people that they felt bad about it. But the soldiers never got to feel bad
about it. That was not supposed to happen. So I worked through, and if you want to get
webpages’ worth of more information, you can go to, that’s P as
in Perpetration, I as in Induced, T as in Traumatic, and S as in Stress. So, Perpetration-Induced
Traumatic Stress, which is that form of PTSD which is caused by acts of, actually causing
the, the, usually killing, but torture will do it as well. Ah, if you really want to get
into it, I have a book called Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress, and that’s, you know, different
chapters on different people. But then the answer, when we went back to, when I went
back to looking at abortion staff, the answer was…yeah. Now, there was — there was
a study that showed that, the, the government had pulled together all these stats of like
1,638 combat veterans, and I was able to take that, that information because it was publicly
available, and there was one question: “Did you kill or think that you killed anyone in
Vietnam, yes or no?” Which is a ridiculously poor way of asking the question, but that’s
all I had. So I divided people into two, and sure enough, the PTSD was higher in the folks
that had killed, and then when I took intensity of combat into account, it wasn’t just that
the people who’d killed had heavier combat — once I pulled that out, there was still trauma
from killing. And, as I said, you can go to the sources if you want more of the study
than that, but that’s what we have to study. The American database is it, uh, the Israelis
have done some, but mainly, there’s very little information on soldiers as a whole. However,
in the next edition of the diagnostic manual of the American Psychiatry Association — I
was at that time dealing with version number four — in version number five, they explicitly
said, in the explanations that went with the diagnosis, that you could get it from, from
killing people. So that progress was made. However, it was entirely, you know, if you’re
in the military. No idea of executions, certainly no idea of abortion.
Um, a word about moral injury: basically what happened is that the Veterans’ Administration
and psychiatrists started up this idea of moral injury and it took the place of Perpetration-Induced
Traumatic Stress, and it has a lot of advantages over it, in terms of that they pay attention
to whether you’re drinking or not — I mean, why drinking wouldn’t be a possible symptom
of PTSD is just purely a historical thing, since, you don’t have to have all of the symptoms,
and obviously goes with being traumatized, and with moral injury, and spiritual problems
go with moral injury and feeling guilty goes with moral injury. The problem with moral
injury is that, by definition, you have to have felt bad about what you did. So, you
shoot an enemy soldier who’s getting ready to shoot you, if you hadn’t done that, you’d
be dead now, you feel fine about that, but the three-year-old child who got caught in
the crossfire — moral injury for the three-year-old child, but not for the enemy soldier. But
with Perpetration-Induced Traumatic Stress, it includes the enemy soldier, and this is
crucial because most violence is done by people who believe it to be justified at the time
of their doing it. And, I mean, you can get to a point where, where what you’re doing is suffering
the trauma and finally it becomes a moral injury. And then you get out of there. But, the fact
is that there’s traumatization, you’re being traumatized all along, because the human mind
is not suited for killing people. That’s what I have to say. Um, resources. Can I say a little bit about that? Oh, let
me grab this. So, uh, just an obvious, glaring example of what could be moral injury or,
or PITS, is when you have drone operators here in the United States flying — so they
are no way in danger — and they, you know, they’re killing people, and they have trauma.
And something else that we’ve noticed in the veteran community — sometimes you can have
someone with really bad PTSD, and they have panic attacks, and their…..and when they,
at some point, calm down or are less stressed and not having panic attacks, they can start
putting memories together, so, and then they’ll have, sometimes have moral injury, where they’re
feeling very guilty, and ashamed, and you have someone that you’re really concerned
about suicide, maybe from PTSD, and then they were fine, and then they were counseling other
people for PTSD, and then they started evaluating what they had done, and commit suicide for
moral injury. And, so there’s some resources for that. Ah, one is, um, The Soul Repair
Project, which you can look for online, the Soul Repair Project will have resources for
veterans with, with moral injury around the country that you can find. Another resource
for moral injury is uh, the Catholic Peace Fellowship, in South Bend near Notre Dame
University, they have a ministry called David’s Heart, and it’s after, in the Bible, there’s
David’s heart, remember he was grieving after war, uh, and Saint Augustine talked about,
uh, a deep-felt, a deep-felt, heartfelt grief, which we think is similar to moral injury.
Um, Shawn Storer, who runs that, has told me stories of Vietnam veterans, thirty years
after the war, who are Catholics, who would not go to Communion because they thought that
there was no way God could ever forgive them for what they did. So that’s a resource, those
are resources for veterans, for moral injury, and for PTSD, there’s all kinds of things,
of course there’s the Veterans’ Administration. Uh, again, the great resource that I have
for abortion workers is Abby Johnson’s organization And Then There Were None. I definitely suffered
moral injury working in the abortion clinic, um, when I first went my first retreat and
actually calculated the number of abortion procedures that I had participated in and
seen, it was almost like I could relate to, relate it to, the Holocaust. And I was so
down on myself, um, but just that resource, of having And Then There Were None, and the
resource of having the retreats, the spiritual healing, it was, it was wonderful, and I’m
glad that that resource is there for ex-abortion workers. And the Catholic Peace Fellowship actually
has retreats for veterans, and also for their family members and current military. There’s
several more resources that I can name, I wanna say, if you only remember one resource,
to help both veterans and people in the military, I would say it is the G.I. Rights Hotline.
There are people who answer those calls almost 24/7, they’re well trained. If they can’t
directly help you, they will find a resource for you — and some of those I’m gonna give
you, obviously, there’s the Veteran Suicide Hotline, um, you know, and being with other
people, other veterans of the military who have had similar experiences, you get this
a lot, where people, combat vets, they’ll say, “Well, people, they just don’t understand
me. They don’t get it.” So there’s Veterans for Peace, there’s Iraq Veterans Against War,
there’s all kinds of groups like that. If you — there’s again, the Veterans’ Administration
— if you know someone that’s in the military, ah, and wants to know their rights, G.I. Rights
Hotline — if they’re wanting to get out, they can call the Center on Conscience and
War. They’ve been around for 75 years, helping people apply for conscientious objection,
they figure out other ways to get out. There’s also — the Catholic Peace Fellowship also
helps with that, not only with Catholic and Christian troops. This is really interesting
because it’s another, it’s a big difference between the abortion industry and the military.
The military’s recruiting program is massive, um, so there’s actually all kinds of counter-recruiters
and counter-recruiting information, and what we have that I don’t think we necessarily
have with the abortion industry is the opportunity to talk to children that are of recruiting
age, and teens and young adults of recruiting age, because more than likely, a military
recruiter’s gonna call them. They spent $600 million on their annual recruiting budget,
and they didn’t make their numbers. [Wooh!] Yes! Thank you.
There’s a national network opposing the militarization of youth, and they’re a great group, there’s
plenty of local groups around. Um, Planned Parenthood does the same thing;
Planned Parenthood has billboards up, um, they actually go into, starting as early as
elementary schools, they have anti-bullying, um what do you call it, campaigns, and that
is their way of getting into the schools to talk to children. They supposedly also do
sex education campaigns, but that’s their way of getting in and starting as early as
elementary school. [It’s grooming.] Yeah. It’s grooming. That’s basically what
they’re doing. They’re grooming. So when children, as early as elementary school, they see Planned
Parenthood come in for the anti-bullying campaigns, then they see Planned Parenthood because of
the sex education, then when they become sexually active, and they need to go to a clinic, for
— even if it’s just family planning, if they want birth control — the first thing
they’re gonna think of is, instead of their regular local OBGYN or regular clinic, they’re
gonna think Planned Parenthood, because they’ve been groomed from such an early age to come,
and Planned Parenthood is your “friend.” And another thing that Planned Parenthood
does is, they try to separate the child from the parent; and so, their thing is, “Planned
Parenthood: we’re your friend. You know, your parents are not gonna understand, so you need
— you can come to us, you can talk to us about anything.” And one of the things that
was shocking to me, when I started working at Planned Parenthood, was — there was something
called a judicial bypass. So, you know, even if your child comes in as early as twelve
years old, and they’re pregnant, if they say, “I have a fear that I’m gonna be beaten or
I’m gonna be put out of my home if I tell my parents that I’m pregnant,” they can go
to, they can get a judicial bypass, they can go to the courts, there’s a certain judge
that will sign this judicial bypass, and they can have someone who’s of the age eighteen
or older, just anyone, bring them into the clinic, and they can have this abortion procedure
without parental consent. Okay, the next thing on the agenda was “How
to be effective: what to say and not to say to troops, veterans, and abortion clinic workers.” Super quick — Aimee gave me permission to
jump in. We have so many clients from all walks of the industry, and so I wanted to
add to what Annette was sharing based on some testimonies from some of our other clients
who worked as community advocates. They actually — Planned Parenthood has a program where
community advocates — this is somebody who doesn’t even actually work at the abortion
clinic, they work for Planned Parenthood, they’re doing community service projects,
like gardening for little old ladies, and things like that — and what they’re doing
is, they are training students to be the sex educators in their schools as peer educators,
and these teens are being groomed to be future abortion workers. That is their goal, is that
they can train up these students to then start interning and working with Planned Parenthood,
so that is an actual recruiting program that they do have. [It’s the same sort of psychological manipulation
that Thad was talking about, in military recruiting and training.] Right, and it’s very — So do you want to address what to say and
not to say to abortion workers? Oh. So, um, one thing to say — well, I wanted
to address also, um, one of the slogans that And Then There Were None has is “Nobody grows
up wanting to be an abortion worker,” and so Planned Parenthood is working on trying
to change that, by grooming the children, and having them want to grow up to be abortion
workers. But things to say and not to say to abortion
workers. So, I always tell people, when you’re a sidewalk advocate or you’re outside, the
best thing you can do is just be human. Rehumanize. Be human, and talk to the abortion workers
like they’re normal people. You know, “How’s your day going?” You know, “Your outfit looks
nice,” or, you know, just be a normal human being. When you’re out there with a bullhorn,
and you’re screaming scriptures, and you’re calling them murderers, and you’re being just
completely negative, you’re not gonna grasp their — well, you’re gonna grasp their attention,
but you’re gonna grasp it in a negative way. They’re gonna, you know, they’re gonna have
a manager, who was like I was, who’s gonna call the police, and have you trespassed from
the property. Um, one thing I remember is there was a sidewalk advocate when I was working
at Planned Parenthood, she would never scream out scriptures, she would never hardly even
say anything but “good morning” or “good afternoon.” She was always there, she would come, she
would kneel, she would be on the sidewalk, and she would pray. She was the one who caught
my attention, moreso than any of the other people that were out there screaming, you
know, their explicits with their bullhorns. So, the thing, if you don’t take away anything
else, but just remember this, is to just be human when you’re talking to the abortion
workers. We have, um, another, a client who went through a very traumatic experience,
and actually lost a family member, and she had sidewalk workers who were yelling at her,
you know, “This is why you lost that family member, because you’re working here.” That’s
not — that’s not the way to go about it. You know, the best way would’ve been, you
know, “I’m sorry that you lost your loved one.” You know, “What can we do for you? Can
we pray for you?” or “I am praying for you.” But to be negative, and to — we had people
who would come and bring miniature-sized baby coffins to the clinic and just have them all
over the sidewalks, and you know, giant crosses and crucifixes. That grasps attention, but
that grasps the wrong type of attention. You’re not looking for negative attention, you’re
trying to do relationship-building with the abortion workers, so you want to be able to
have a conversation with them, and the only way somebody’s gonna want to have a conversation
with them is if you’re loving and if you’re genuine with them. So that’s the one takeaway
that I would have. Thank you, Annette. I, I think one of the
things we’re gonna find here talking is that, whether you’re pro-life and talking to an
abortion clinic worker or a peace activist talking to a soldier — which, I don’t find
that super difficult, I find it more difficult to be a peace activist talking to a politician,
but — um, but anyhow, or you want to abolish the death penalty and you’re talking to, you
know, someone who’s wanting to execute people, that it’s really about being human, isn’t
it? Isn’t it? And so, before I talk about what to say or not say, I really want to talk
about how to be. Like, don’t be triggered and angry and resentful
and presumptuous in these conversations. You know, you’re not — there’s a way to talk
to someone where you can almost predict they’re gonna get defensive and judgmental and feel
attacked and attack you back, and communication’s not gonna happen there, right? So, look at
yourself — do some meditation, do some therapy, some contemplative prayer, some reevaluation
counseling, just some catharsis for whatever you’re upset about. Um, ah, you can get training
in these types of things with reevaluation counseling, Landmark Forum, they have communication
courses, authentic relating games — a friend of mine has a thing called Vision Force where
there’s an honor window where you can look at how you’re judging people and switch that
to, “What is it they’re standing for?” So, talking — one of the things that I found
effective, and I learned from Vision Force is, if there’s someone that — I had one
time a conversation with the former commandant of the School of the Americas, and if you
didn’t catch it I don’t like the School of the Americas. There was a protest of the School
of the Americas and lobbying in D.C., and there were like, I don’t know, 400 people
there to close the School of the Americas. Colonel Trumble felt so strongly about standing
up for the school that he showed up on his own, facing 400 people. And I saw him on a
park bench, eating, and I walked up to him, and, and this is what I said. I said, “Hey,
Colonel Trumble,” I said, “Listen. I used to be with the 29th infantry regiment at Fort
Benning and did support work for the school,” so I got related, right? Get related to people. And I said, “Listen, I’m here for this protest — I know we disagree on the School
of the Americas, but I have to tell you. There’s 400 people opposing what you’re up to, and
you came here on your own, and even though we disagree, I just, I just wanna give you
props, I want to respect you for that.” Um, and when you do something like that, people
can drop their wall, and they don’t feel judged, and they’re not guarded, and you can — you’re
more likely to have a conversation. If you can — even if you disagree with someone,
if you can get what they’re standing for, you know, like someone who might be really
pro-war, they’re standing for safety and security, you know. And what their emotion is, and have
them really feel like they were “gotten,” you know? Like, you feel them. And then, you
can — oh, wrap it up? Alright. So, ah — I think, actually, that’s a beautiful ending
right there. Okay. It’s a very beautiful ending point. We are over time, so the, the Q&A will
have to be, like, over lunch — these folks will be here. So if you have a burning question,
go straight to them and ask them. So let’s go to lunch!

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