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I have to say that being here tonight is a landmark for me. It is the very first time that I have been asked to stand up and give testimony as to the consequences of my decision, 14 years ago now, with a girlfriend at the time, to have an abortion. I use the word abortion since it is a readily acceptable and recognisable term in our world and indeed has become a normal part of our vocabulary. However, I came to understand the harsh truth, which no one likes to hear, namely that I was fully responsible for the killing of my baby. So, as I stand here before you guilty of the most horrible and callous of acts (which, incidentally, had it taken place after the appearance of my baby at birth I would have been sharing this with you from a prison cell) it is my hope and prayer that by sharing my heart and my story it will give other fathers too, who have been responsible for the death of their baby, the courage to stand out too and join the ranks with many others like me. Unquestionably, we, especially, have a moral duty to play our small part in stopping this modern day holocaust of the unborn and warning/preventing others from making the biggest mistake of their lives. Now to my story. If someone had said to me some 14 years ago that Id be standing up in front of a group of complete strangers confessing one of the most personal and tragic events of my life Id have laughed at their most unfortunate and sick sense of humour ! Even, my earliest school reports referred to me as a very shy individual and truthfully that has not changed BUT one thing has. I have since the abortion been and am now grounded in the Truth. This has set me free and enables me to do what I am doing tonight. I shall explain more about what I mean by this later. However,14 years ago, judged by the worlds standards, anyone looking at me from the outside would have seen a well educated and grounded individual with all the trappings of success. I was working in London at the time, as a qualified professional, earning a very respectable salary, with 2 investment flats, one in prime Islington, north London, and the other in central Bath with views over the city. The picture is made complete when I say that I had also a little country cottage with my girlfriend at that time with her 2 lovely dogs to boot. I also had a handsome, 18 hand, part thoroughbred, chestnut horse - you get a good idea of my worldly grounding. As is often the case, when everything looks and feels to be so good in your life something is just around the corner.... and boy it was. I remember when my girlfriend told me she was pregnant and how she had forgotten one day to take her contraceptive pill, thinking that the chances of getting pregnant were so remote that it would not matter ! The crushing, gutting, shameful, heart palpitating, out of control feeling I experienced was like nothing I had experienced before ! When everything else in my life seemed to have always been so sorted and to be going places, and when all my other girlfriends had taken the necessary precautions not to get pregnant, this wasnt in any way shape or form ever on my radar of worldly ambition. On the other hand, cohabiting and contracepting with girlfriends was just a part of the enjoyment which went with the worldly lifestyle. Never any real commitment since cohabiting, after all, was not marriage but it offered all the attractions and fun, all on my own selfish terms. Upon hearing that my girlfriend was pregnant , I recall the overwhelming feeling I had was one of shame. Shame, because I knew that I could not tell my family what I had done, as it would have caused great hurt and feeling too that my family would think much the worse of me for it if I did. The fact was also, that I did not consider my relationship at the time to be heading towards marriage. As I said, I just wanted the freedom and fun. It was all such a mess that had to be taken care of as quickly and efficiently as possible. The decision therefore to abort the pregnancy was done, at least for my part, for the most despicable and cowardly motives. I gave no real thought to my girlfriend or the life I was responsible for creating through indulging my own sexual appetite. I could feel only that the sooner it was all taken care of the easier it

would be for me to get on with my life and continue living for all its pleasures, without any rules or moral codes. The abortion cost a mere 100 in cash and, for my part, all I had to do was get money from the cash till, give it to my girlfriend and wait outside the building until my child had been killed and my girlfriend had been mortally and physically wounded. What a cop- out and what a stinking coward I was! It was all over in a matter of an hour- what a relief it felt - but oh it was to cost me much, much more!!!! Not long after this and within a year of my having moved in with my girlfriend I started to get a bloating feeling which was the start of a period of ill health, extensive medical tests and great unhappiness. It resulted in my moving out of the cottage and being signed off work for about 9 months. In that time I needed only to be away from everyone and everything so retreated to my parents second home in the wilds of North Yorkshire. I knew that apart from needing to recover physically I also had come to realise that really I just wanted and needed out of my relationship, the reality of which was going to be far from easy. Matters were made doubly difficult however, because the cottage was in my name, with a mortgage also in my name and my girlfriend was not only hurt but wanting neither to move or to sell. With hindsight I can clearly see now that the abortion had been a visible point from which there had been a marked decline in the relationship and which culminated ultimately in many confrontations with my girlfriend and my leaving her. The principal trigger however had been my decision in the first place to cohabit and indulge myself sexually using contraception. So, with my physical health in such a poor way, depression set in too, with all the stress of thinking how I was going to extricate myself from the relationship without all the trouble. In my heart of hearts however I knew that trouble was unavoidable because of all the hurts and confrontations that had preceded my leaving. To give you a better idea as to my physical condition at that time I should tell you that I was hardly eating a thing, since food just seemed to disagree with my system causing me to feel bloated and sick. Indeed, my breakfast lunch and supper comprised, for many months, of having cartons of ensure plus- complete nutrition drinks usually reserved for the very elderly and infirm. This was all I could cope with. Coupled with this, I was sleeping for a mere 2 -3 hours every night, waking up at around 3 every morning. Suffice to say the days were very, very, very long!!!! A time came when I realised I really was in a bad way when I found myself rocking on my spine one night in the bath. I had just lost so much weight, going down to about 7 stone from nearly 12. At that stage I made a conscious decision to start eating out of concern for what would happen if I continued as I was. As I said, I was signed off work for about 9 months but the time came eventually when I remember my father telling me that the best thing for me was to get back into life and work again, which I did, albeit extremely reluctantly. Upon returning to work and feeling very much out of my depth, and out of control I would find myself however at lunchtimes sitting in on a Catholic Mass, near to the office. I think really I was looking for some help but not knowing where to go. I think, having been raised to go to Mass on Sundays, in my childhood, it just seemed natural to return when everything in my life had given way. What I found, as a result of being at Mass, was that I would feel buoyed up beyond words. In particular, it seemed so often that the scripture readings for the day and the priests sermon had been written for and were directed just for me. It would not be an exaggeration to say that often after leaving Mass I had a spring in my step and felt an inner strength, Peace and joy that I could not even begin to describe. Needless to say although extricating myself from my relationship was indeed very difficult I found the strength to do it, I knew from God.

That was and has been the start of a long spiritual journey, along the road of which I have physically and spiritually experienced the love and mercy of an incredible God, who is also Our Father. Each of us, I believe, in time of most need, is only a heartfelt prayer away from an answer to the meaning and purpose of their life. You see, my spiritual journey with God has now brought me to a place where instead of living in the past and being filled with regret I am living in forgiveness and great hope. I see my story now as being less about a man who killed his defenseless baby in the womb but more about a man who despite killing his baby discovered and experienced forgiveness and came to find the Way, the Truth and the Life in a loving God who sent His son Jesus to die for us all. I discovered that Jesus really did establish a Catholic Church, which in the sacrament of Confession is empowered to forgive even the most serious and heinous of sins. I received and experienced Gods Grace too, through confession, which has given a shy, weak man like me the strength and courage to stand before you and speak so openly, on a matter that most would hide from the world. To God be the glory for rescuing me from my pit of sin and for the happiness, peace and healing I have come to experience through His Catholic church. However, having said that there is SO much work to be done in reaching out to save the unborn babies and their parents. Indeed, If I had one message to give to you fathers out there tonight it would be that if you too lost your fatherhood like me, by killing a defenseless child, you can, should and must, for your own good, regain your manhood by becoming a hero for the unborn and saving their lives. This is true fatherhood and true manhood. After all, all men by our very nature are called to become and to be heroes, life savers, leaders and protectors for those most in danger . There can be no more powerful a witness to your manhood and ultimate dignity than by being seen on the streets and outside any building where babies are killed ( and where men and women like me either will be wounded or have been ) and offering them love, compassion but above all a mans special strength and protection- especially in the face of hostility. As Father Frank Pavone, of Priests for Life, said to me (albeit through EWTN ) along the lines of; men be men and give up your day job. Do what real men do and save the lives of children from the modern day holocaust- that is abortion. Very finally, I cannot finish except by giving our great Lord and Father the ultimate and final word as to His utter Love, faithfulness, forgiveness and mercy. As a result of my despicable act, even though I knew I was ultimately forgiven, I knew in my heart that there was a price to pay for my sin. So, when eventually I did get married to my gorgeous wife, I felt convinced that I neither deserved another child nor would be blessed with one. That being the price I would pay for my wrong. Nevertheless, I took my unworthiness before the Lord and prayed for a child, knowing fully that I should suffer for the consequences of what I had done and saying that I would completely accept and submit to His justice- but that if there was any way..... WELL, He did hear my heartfelt prayer! On 12 March 2011, only 7 days before the feast of St. Joseph, Hannnah, Grace Mary was given to us !!!! TO GOD BE THE GLORY, THE HONOUR AND THE PRAISE- NOW AND FOREVER.SACRED HEART OF JESUS- - HAVE MERCY ON US IMMACULATE HEART OF MARY- PRAY FOR US ST JOSEPH -PRAY FOR US