Friday, January 30, 2009

Poster of Preborn Baby At Prayer Service Saves a Life

Poster for prayer service saves a life
By Dave Hrbacek
Thursday, 22 January 2009

Ultrasound image on display at Jan. 22 cathedral service; Archbishop Nienstedt encourages pro-lifers to be a generation of radical love

Bobbie Hallman was attempting to carry out a simple task — make a poster from an ultrasound image.

Bobbie Hallman, left, and her daughter, Annie, hold a poster of an unborn child in the womb that was displayed at the Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul Jan. 22. The image caused an employee of the print shop that made the poster to choose not to abort her unborn child. – Photo by Dave Hrbacek / The Catholic Spirit
She ended up saving the life of an unborn child.

The drama unfolded at a local print shop. She had agreed to make several posters for use in the Prayer Service for Life at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Jan. 22, which was held on the 36th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade U.S. Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion on demand in America.

About three weeks before the event, she brought in a handful of small ultrasound pictures that she received from the clinic where her husband, Dr. Kevin Hallman, works in River Falls, Wis.

She showed them to a woman working behind the counter and asked for help making the poster. As she would soon discover, the woman was struggling with an unplanned pregnancy.

“I could see her eyes well up with tears and she walked away,” said Bobbie, formerly of St. Joseph in West St. Paul who now lives in River Falls with her husband and children. “The other lady [behind the counter] said, ‘Oh, you’ll have to forgive her. She’s 12 weeks along right now and she’s not sure if she’s going to keep the baby.’ ”

Just like that, Hallman was thrust to the front lines of the abortion debate. She chose not to try to talk the woman into keeping her baby. Instead, she kept her focus on the poster.

The woman eventually came back to the counter and the two continued looking at the ultrasound pictures Bobbie had brought to pick some for the posters. One stood out — a picture of a fetus at 12 weeks.

“She said, ‘I think you have to use the 12-week one,’ ” Bobbie said. “And, I said, ‘I think I do, too.’ And so, we worked it out and we blew it up [into a poster].”

Text of Archbishop Nienstedt's address at Prayer Service for Life
My brothers and sisters in Christ, especially my young friends, how good and important it is to be here this morning, in support of life and the culture that allows it to flourish. You are the bright promise of a new day in this country, a day when the promises of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are truly secured for all, born and unborn.

As you all know very well, we live in a time and in a world when threats against the well-being of the human person are nearly always present – from a consumerist culture that informs us that our personal worth is dependent on what we own, to the rampant greed that has left our country and our world in such economic difficulty, to wars and famines and oppressive political regimes that terrorize so many. Truly, we live in a world that now more than ever desperately needs the healing power of Jesus Christ’s redeeming love. ... More
Choosing life

In the meantime, people standing in line nearby began to look at the ultrasound pictures, too. Eventually, the pictures found their way back into the hands of the pregnant employee.

“She looked at them individually again and she said, ‘I can’t abort this baby.’ ” Bobbie said. “She said, ‘I was thinking about aborting this baby. I thought it was just a tissue. And, look at this.’ She was pointing to the fingers and the eyes.”

Then, the woman began to cry and the print shop fell silent. In this unpredicted, uncontrolled, unbelievable encounter, a frightened pregnant woman saw the truth about abortion and the truth about life. And, without any type of a sermon being uttered.

“It was touching for me, it was a miracle for her,” Bobbie said. “I remember once Mother Teresa said that she was nothing but a pencil in the hand of God. And, sometimes, we forget that, I think — that we are his instruments and we have to listen and serve each other and help each other.”

Before she left the shop, Bobbie gave the woman her husband’s telephone number and said he would be happy to give her a free ultrasound. Bobbie said she found out later that the woman did, in fact, come in for the free visit.

Challenged to love radically

Such news, no doubt, would have delighted the standing-room-only crowd at the cathedral that attended the prayer service. Those who came saw the poster that persuaded the print-shop employee to not abort her baby, plus a second poster that was placed in the sanctuary along with the first.

They heard brief remarks by Bobbie’s 12-year-old adopted daughter, Annie, plus two other children. They also heard an impassioned speech by Ann Marie Cosgrove, who once had an abortion and subsequently founded Silent No More Minnesota, a nonprofit organization that educates people about the physical, emotional and spiritual effects of abortion.

Finally, they heard words of encouragement and exhortation by Archbishop John Nienstedt, who had special words of thanks to young people in attendance.

“You are the bright promise of a new day in this country,” he said. “God is shining on you. He wants you to stand up, he wants you to stand up and be counted. In a world full of abuses and injustices, it is my belief that none stand so in need of our attention and prayerful opposition as the grave evil of abortion.”

Bobbie Hallman is an example of what Archbishop Nienstedt said pro-life people need to be.

“We must be willing to be pro-life people 24/7, not just when we are about the important business of marching or protesting or lobbying,” he said. “I solemnly challenge you to be a generation of radical love, the seed from which a new people can be born.”

Bobbie is hoping to see the woman at the print shop next year at the prayer service, along with her newborn child.

Whether or not that happens, the image of that encounter is written on her heart as clearly and unmistakably as the poster that now stands as proof that there are ways to win the battle against abortion — one life at a time.

“I just think it’s an absolute miracle that this happened,” Bobbie said. “This picture saved a soul.”

An estimated 5,000 people gathered on the State Capitol steps in St. Paul Jan. 22 for the 36th annual Minnesota Citizens Concerned for Life March for Life. Photo by Dianne Towalski / The Catholic Spirit
March to the Capitol

Following the prayer service, an estimated 5,000 people participated in the annual March for Life at the State Capitol to urge lawmakers not to cut funding for the Positive Alternatives program as they deliberate over the state’s budget deficit. The program provides grants to organizations that provide abortion alternatives.

The legislative agenda of Minne­sota Citizens Concerned for Life, which sponsored the event, also calls for a ban on sex-selection and saline abortions as well as a ban on taxpayer funding of abortion.

According to the most recent figures available, Minnesotans paid $1.6 million for elective abortions in 2006, MCCL said, adding that taxpayers now fund 28 percent of all abortions in the state.

Several pro-life elected officials spoke at the march, including Gov. Tim Pawlenty.

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