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Showing posts with label late term abortions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label late term abortions. Show all posts

11 December 2020

Ex-Saltshaker: "It's a sick, twisted, hateful cult'


Former member describes his time with RV Saltshakers as 'Hellish'



Gabriel Macias was 15 years old when he joined the hate group RV Saltshakers. Years later, Macias regrets his time with the group.


By Brad Smith


JACKSON CO., Ore – Gabriel Macias has regrets about his time with the Southern Oregon hate group, the RV Saltshakers – and he hopes that others will avoid the mistakes he made.

“Don’t join them. Stay the hell away from them, that’s my advice,” he said. “Just stay away from them.”

Macias is a native Oregonian, growing up in Medford and the surrounding area. His father was a “habitual criminal” and Macias was a foster child for a number of years. He’d spent a long time with a foster family who were very conservative Christians. That upbringing left an impact on him and by the time he started living with his grandmother, he was “very religious.”

However, Macias said the absence of a father figure or any strong support system bothered him.

“I guess, in a way, that’s how I fell in with the Saltshakers,” he said.

In 2015, Macias saw the Saltshakers protesting and he decided to check it out.

“It was in the fall. That’s when it happened,” he said. “I was at the Ashland High School and one day, right across the street, I saw these people – they had signs, megaphones, they were chanting. I was curious, very curious. So, I went over to talk to them.”

That’s when Macias first met Jon Clement, the Saltshakers’ leader, and Mason Goodknight of the Community Outreach Evangelism or CORE, based out of Roseburg. Both men took an interest in him.

“They were very friendly, welcoming,” he said. “They asked me a lot questions, they started talking to me about God, Jesus, things like that. They seemed like they wanted to be my friends.”

And, Macias said, that is part of the trap.

“Many in the Saltshakers, especially Clement and senior members, are predatory,” he said. “I mean, they find your weaknesses and target them, that’s how they get your guard down and get you to join. They knew I didn’t have a strong support system, they knew my father wasn’t a part of my life. Clement and Goodknight, along with the others, acted like they were more than friends, like surrogate family members.”

Macias said he wasn’t the only one targeted that way.

“There were other kids they did the same thing too,” he said. “And adults who were targeted because they didn’t have much of family themselves. They were lonely and felt a need to be wanted, liked. Saltshakers filled that void for them.”

Clement, Goodknight and others in the Saltshakers/CORE group were “aggressive,” using megaphones to scream at people and provoking others to argue. Macias watched as women walked up to a Planned Parenthood clinic and “were swarmed by Saltshakers who yelled and screamed at them.” Saltshakers would also follow women down the street, waving signs and picture of aborted fetuses in their face.

“It was all very intense and very intrusive,” he said. “Looking back at it now, it was wrong and sickening. How can you treat people like that?”

Clement has been vocal about Saltshaker tactics over the years. In interviews, he admitted that intimidation was a “valuable tool.”

“It’s how we get our message across and let others know that we’ll never back down,” he said.

To the Saltshakers, what they perceive as “God’s law” overrules actual laws.

“Rules and regulations mean nothing to them,” Macias said. “They’ll push everything to the limit, just enough to get their message across. Now, when I was with them, they never talked about doing anything violent. It was just getting in people’s faces, yelling, screaming, harassing. Things like that.”

What bothered Macias the most was how Saltshakers “weaponized their kids.”

“Parents would bring their kids to these protests and it was very disturbing,” he said. “Kids would be holding these signs and pictures, saying things they didn’t understand – it was wrong. It bordered on child abuse; I feel. And, then they exposed other kids to those awful pictures and they felt it was the right thing to do.

“It was sickening.”

Macias said he went to an SOU Raiders game and passed out religious tracts. When the Saltshakers went to the 2016 Boatnik event in Grants Pass, he was there.

“I was like the dutiful soldier,” he said. “I went along and did my duty and received the praise and attention I felt I needed. Again, that void needed to be filled and the Saltshakers did just that.”

Meantime, Macias was also dealing with another secret: Being a closeted gay teen.

“Looking back at it, that was a big thing,” he said. “I was living this double life and we know how that will eventually tear people apart. I thought I could fill this void by being with the Saltshakers and it didn’t last long. I wasn’t being myself, I was not a nice person. I lashed out at my grandmother and others close to me. I didn’t like who I was.”

A year after being with the Saltshakers, Macias said he knew things had to change.

“It was time to come out, to come clean with myself and everyone else,” he said. “I had to do it before I imploded. So, I posted everything on Facebook. It felt good but there was a backlash from the Saltshakers.”

Some Saltshakers told Macias that he needed to repent or he would “burn in hell.”

“People I thought who were my friends said that I was a horrible sinner and some even called me ‘Judas,’” he said. “See, in their view, Jesus is all about hellfire, damnation and brimstone. A vengeful wrath of judgment and it just went against everything I believed in. There’s no love or mercy. It’s all about hellfire and damnation.”

Macias eventually relocated to Eugene and “basically started over.” He then ended up in southern California and found love. Now, he and his husband have been getting through 2020 like everyone else – and are happy, despite the social upheavals of a pandemic and a volatile election year.

“We visited family in Oregon earlier this year,” he said. “All in all, life’s good. We’re getting ready for the holidays and hoping for a better 2021. I think everyone is.”

Macias heard of people taking a stand against the Saltshakers and their allies. He decided it was time to speak out.

“What they’re doing is horrible and disgusting,” he said. “It did things to me and it’s traumatized me. I’m working it out and I hope other people will hear my story, leave the group and get help. Toxic hate and bigotry are the Saltshakers’ message. It has nothing to do with love. It has nothing to with Jesus or what he taught us. The Saltshakers aren’t Christians. They’re about hate. That’s what people need to know. But I also know that you can walk away, forgive yourself and put that hate behind you. That’s what I did. Others can do it as well.”


06 December 2020

Local hate group crawls out of the cyberspace cesspool



 The local hate group RV Saltshakers ended their social media exile last month. The SS Facebook page went dark in the wake of hatemongering leader Jon Clement and failed street preacher Ryan Clark were arrested after recklessly firing shotguns from a boat last October. Grants Pass cops nicked the pair after people in nearby parks claimed birdshot flew over their heads.

As reported, Clark took a plea deal and will serve ten days in custody, either jail or house arrest. He also got  18 months unsupervised probation and had to surrender his shotgun. Clement is in court on Dec. 14.

Clark and convicted child abuser Trevor Emptage will, no doubt, continue to harass innocent people and spread the Saltshakers' message of hate.

It's a shame that Anonymous or other hacktivists haven't taken action.

Yet.


20 July 2020

Woman recalls her loss amid abortion controversy



Note: This was originally written in November 2016. The Rogue River Press publisher opted not to run it because she felt the right to life side didn't have enough of "their side" presented. The Oregon Right to Life group didn't have anyone to interview -- they told me to find someone on Facebook. So, the story never ran.

By Brad Smith
On Oct. 19, 2016, as she watched the third and final presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, Jillian Schoene found herself angered by one remark made by the latter: “You can take the baby and rip the baby out of the womb in the ninth month, on the final day.”
The following day, both social media and news outlets were filled with reactions from doctors, nurses and other healthcare specialists, all of whom asserted that Trump was wrong. In The New York Times, Dr. Aaron B. Caughey, the chairman of obstetrics and gynecology at the Oregon Health and Science University, stated that such procedures do not occur in the United States. The doctor cited situations if the woman’s life was at risk – but even then, labor would be induced or a cesarean section performed. Moreover, he added, the term abortion would not be used. In those cases, it is called the induction of labor for a nonviable pregnancy.
Schoene found herself upset as she read the reactions.
“(Trump’s) lack of knowledge really got to me,” she said. “He didn’t know what he was talking about and he made it sound so cavalier. I know – because I had to make a terrible choice that no parent should have to make. You shouldn’t say something like that unless you have all the facts.”
Schoene and her husband had always wanted a family and they were “thrilled beyond belief” after learning she was having a baby.  Learning they were going to have a girl, Schoene and her husband picked out a name – Annabelle Rose. For several weeks, their lives were filled with medical checkups and preparations for Annabelle Rose’s arrival. In August 2012, Schoene had what she thought was a routine checkup with her doctor and at the time, she was 22 weeks pregnant.
The routine checkup took a “shocking turn” when her doctor gave her some news, Schoene said.
According to test results, the doctor said Annabelle Rose had a form of skeletal dysplasia, a genetic condition that would not allow her rib cage to grow. Schoene said it meant that from her daughter’s very first breath after being born, the ribs would prevent her lungs from expanding.

“In other words, she physically wouldn’t be able to breath,” she added. “Along with that, the doctor found other physical and mental developmental complications. It was very heartbreaking to hear. I can’t explain how surreal it is to have a conversation in which your doctor carefully and calmly explains to you that your baby girl will suffocate at birth.”

Schoene’s doctor urged her to seek out other opinions. So, she went to the Oregon Health and Science University and consulted with doctors there. Again, the results were the same and Schoene found herself facing an agonizing decision. “I had two choices: Carry Annabelle Rose to term and watch and listen as she tried to take a breath, but couldn’t – suffer as she gasped for air – or induce delivery at 23 weeks and allow her to quietly and less painfully pass away.”

It was very traumatic, Schoene said, but she knew the right choice had been made.

“My husband and I didn’t want Annabelle Rose to slip away like that. But, the reality was a horrible one,” she said. “What kind of mother would I be if I allowed my baby girl to suffer like that?”

In Oregon, such medical procedures are legal. According to Mary Nolan, executive director of Planned Parenthood Advocates of Oregon, they are rarely performed.

“We are talking about planned, wanted pregnancies,” she said. “That’s what happened with Jillian. She wanted that baby – but something went wrong. These so-called ‘late term abortions’ total up to one percent or so of procedures performed in the state. That’s one percent – a hundred or so procedures.”

According to the Guttmacher Institute, a research and policy organization focused on reproductive health issues and rights in the United States, of the more than 1 million abortions performed in the United States in 2011, about 12,000, or 1.3 percent happened after 21 weeks, more than halfway through a 40-week pregnancy. In that same year, in Oregon, 65,900 of the 758,988 women of reproductive age became pregnant. 68 percent of these pregnancies resulted in live births and 16 percent in induced abortions, while the rest miscarried. The Institute also reported that in 2011, 10,690 women obtained abortions in Oregon, producing a rate of 14.1 abortions per 1,000 women of reproductive age. Some of these women were from other states, and some Oregon residents had abortions in other states, so this rate may not reflect the abortion rate of state residents. The rate decreased 18 percent since 2008, when it was 17.2 abortions per 1,000 women ages 15 to 44. Abortions in Oregon represent 1.0 percent of all abortions in the country.

“Overall, unwanted births and abortions have been dropping for some time,” Nolan said. “It’s because we have better family planning, better access to contraceptives and more realistic approaches to sex education these days. That’s what we want to see.

“However, in cases like Jillian’s, women need to have that choice available to them. “

Liberty Pike, communications director of the anti-choice organization, Oregon Right to Life, felt that Trump’s statement was valid. “These horrible things happen. It’s very barbaric and it needs to be stopped.” However, Pike did not provide data on such alleged procedures.

Pike’s organization opposes abortions – even in cases of rape and incest – but does feel that the procedures are necessary only when the mother’s or infant’s life is at severe risk. The organization also opposes Oregon’s death with dignity law.

“I really do feel sorry for (Schoene),” she said. “No parent should be put in that situation. I’m glad that she consulted her doctor about it – but what if the doctor was wrong. What if both doctors consulted were wrong? Mistakes can happen. That could have been the case here. Even if the mother carried the infant to full term,” Pike said, “there could have been a chance of life. Again, doctors can make mistakes. We here at ORTL, as I stated before, feel abortions are only necessary when the mother’s or infant’s life is at risk. Was the infant really at risk?”

Schoene said she developed a “good, strong relationship” with her doctor and trusted the diagnosis.

“My doctor knew there was something wrong. We discussed my options and I was urged to seek out another opinion,” she said. “I had one of the best doctors at OHSU examine me and the diagnosis was the same. To even suggest that everyone I talked to was ‘wrong,’ well, that’s ludicrous. I would even say ‘deluded.’”

Schoene said she felt fortunate to be in Oregon, where she could have the medical procedure done.

“I know some people might think I’m terrible and I’ve even been called a murderer,” she said. “Contrary to what those people say, I loved my daughter. I wanted Annabelle Rose to be a beautiful, healthy girl and I wanted to watch her grow up. I wanted so many things.

“Then, that one day in August, it all changed.”

Time passed. Schoene and her husband moved forward with their lives. A few years later, during another routine checkup, Schoene learned she was pregnant.

“I was excited but apprehensive,” she said. “I thought about my daughter during that time. I didn’t want to go through this again. However, I now have a highly energetic boy named Cole and he gets excited about Halloween and Christmas. I’m so glad that we have him. He’s everything that we ever wanted.”

Since her experience, Schoene has worked hard to keep women’s access to healthcare and their right to choose intact. She has testified before legislative hearings and shared her experiences whenever possible. By doing that, Schoene hopes people will have a better understanding of why she has made her choices. – and why other women make similar choices.

"No one should ever have to make that decision," she said. "At least, here in Oregon, if someone has to, they have options available to them."


Cancel Culture: It Happened to Me

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