August 2, 2013

Bill Nemitz: 'A Christian does not need therapy'

By Bill Nemitz

Looking for the fine line between religion and human psychology?


Tune in to NewsRadio 560 WGAN at 7:08 a.m. today to hear columnist Bill Nemitz talk about this column and other issues.

Try the narrow sidewalk outside Planned Parenthood of Northern New England on Congress Street in downtown Portland.

"It's a battle going out there," said Donna Hebert, one of two co-founders of the weekly anti-abortion demonstrations that this week echoed all the way down to City Hall. "Every week we're out there, it grieves my heart greatly."

"It doesn't have to do with me," insisted Leslie Sneddon, the other co-founder. "It has everything to do with the Lord."

Ah, but it does have to do with them.

Each woman, many years ago, had not one, not two, not three ... but four abortions.

Each now considers herself a repentant murderer.

And while each could have benefitted greatly from a few hours on a grief therapist's couch at some point in her life, Hebert and Sneddon instead use their piece of sidewalk to tell other women -- loudly enough that the City Council began deliberations this week on whether to protect Planned Parenthood with a buffer zone -- how they should be living their lives.

"A Christian does not need therapy," said Hebert, 45, in a telephone interview from her home in Waterboro. "A Christian has the wonderful counselor, the mighty God, the everlasting father, the Prince of Peace. His name is Jesus Christ. It's written in the Book of Isaiah."

Echoed Sneddon, 52, from her home in Richmond: "We're just making a diagnosis. And when I do have the opportunity to speak to a woman, I give her the law: If you die tonight with the sin of murdering your child on you, what does it say in the Bible? There will be no murderers, liars, fornicators, drunkards – you will go to the lake of fire."

Goodbye professional help. Hello biblical metaphor.

Hebert, who is half-Okinawan, said she was a 15-year-old model and TV actress in Tokyo when she first got pregnant.

"I was forced to have an abortion by my mother, my boyfriend and my boyfriend's family," she said. "I was devastated. It traumatized me. I did not want to do it. I wanted to have the baby. It was a very hard, hard time for me."

It soon got worse.

"The second (abortion) happened one month after the first," Hebert said. "They put an IUD in me and it did not work."

Her third abortion came when she was 17. The fourth followed at 19. That's when Hebert went home to Okinawa and one day met a woman who presented her with the "true gospel."

Its message?

"I was a sinner and I needed a savior," she said. "I had broken God's law. I was guilty of lying and stealing and murdering. And I definitely was a murderer – I murdered my children."

Sneddon, who grew up in Colorado and "tried a little bit of everything" for birth control, first got pregnant when she was 19 and living on her own in Hawaii. She mistakenly went to a pro-life counseling center thinking it was an abortion clinic – she remembers fleeing what she then called "propaganda" and getting the abortion at a nearby hospital.

Sneddon's second abortion was done in Aspen, Colo. Her third and fourth came a year apart in her mid-20s, at a clinic in Florida.

She remembers how mortified she was to enter the Florida clinic for the second time and see the same doctor waiting, once again, to do the procedure.

"I hope I never see you again," Sneddon told him.

"I hope you never come back here again either," he replied.

A compassionate moment between a woman and her physician?

(Continued on page 2)

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