Welcome to the Pro-Life Warrior Spotlight!
This is the first-ever installment in a series of interviews I hope will be a regular feature of ProLife365.com. We will shine the spotlight on men and women across the country (and the world) who are faithfully fighting against the culture of death.
I am privileged and honored that our first ever guest is former Planned Parenthood Clinic Director, Ramona Trevino. We shine the spotlight on her for her brave witness to the humanity of the unborn and the tremendous step of faith she took to get out of the abortion industry.
Kevin Kukla (ProLife365.com): Thank you for joining us, Mrs. Ramona Trevino, as we place the Pro-Life Warrior Spotlight on you. You have a powerful story of God’s grace, and we’re honored you would share it here on ProLife365.com.
Ramona Trevino: Thank you, Kevin, for giving me this opportunity to share with others what God has done in my life. I’m very happy for you and your new website. Keep up the great work!
#1. For those unfamiliar with your story, how did you become a worker for Planned Parenthood and how long did you work for them?
I managed the Sherman Planned Parenthood [in Texas] for three years. A former co-worker and friend contacted me about a position that was available. It seemed like a good fit, so I applied. Although I had heard of Planned Parenthood before, I didn’t really know a lot about the organization.
#2. Although your office did not offer surgical abortions, what services did your office provide?
My office was what they called a Family Planning Clinic. We offered well-woman exams, birth control, emergency contraception, STD testing, and urinary tract and vaginal infection treatment.
#3. You said your conversion out of Planned Parenthood began when you were first convicted of the immorality of contraception use. Can you describe the change in your view on contraception?
As a Catholic, I never quite understood the Church’s teaching on contraception. I figured it wasn’t a big deal since I took contraception primarily to manage my endometriosis. I didn’t know there were other, more natural ways, to control it. In addition to that, it prevented pregnancy, so it killed two birds with one stone in a sense.
It was during my time with Planned Parenthood that I heard the word “abortifacient” for the very first time via Catholic radio. It was explained how hormonal contraception could have the potential to end a pregnancy in its very early stage. This information shook me to my core.
I didn’t personally believe in abortion, but this information made me realize that not only could I have potentially aborted my own children unknowingly and unwilling but could do so in the future if I continued to use birth control.
I remember, after hearing this, I went back to work the next day, grabbed a pack of birth control pills, looked at the FDA insert, and found it there in fine print. It stated how “the pill” thins out the uterine lining and therefore could prevent an embryo from attaching itself to the uterine wall, thus causing an early abortion. The argument can be made that the possibility of breakthrough ovulation is rare, but knowing that life begins at conception, it wasn’t a risk I was willing to take.
This information is what caused me to seek out a pro-life OB-GYN and begin the practice of NFP [Natural Family Planning]. He also prescribed a natural way to treat my endometriosis without the use of harmful contraception. Later, I would also learn how the use of NFP would strengthen my marriage and bring me and my husband closer together.
#4. Did you find that contraceptives were being pushed on girls? And was it your experience that girls were given contraceptives in the hopes they would practice promiscuity and seek an abortion?
I think we have to be fair when we use the word “pushed.” I don’t believe that anyone working at these “family planning” clinics would describe it as “pushing.” I don’t think that employees for PP are conscious that this is what’s taking place, at least not in the way we as pro-lifers perceive it. I’ll try to explain.
Looking back at my time with Planned Parenthood, I can see now how I was indeed pushing contraceptives. When you work for an organization that makes a profit from its contraceptive sales (and abortions) it’s fair to say that Planned Parenthood wants as many women and girls to walk out with a prescription for some type of birth control method as possible. Just like a car salesman wants customers to drive away in a new car, I, too, wanted girls to walk out with birth control. It’s a business.
And there are financial goals that need to be met. I wanted to be a good manager. I did my best to meet those goals every month. I couldn’t meet my goals if I didn’t “push” services which included contraceptive sales.
I don’t believe that contraceptives were given out in hope that they would fail or with the hope that these girls would practice promiscuity. It’s not like we sat at our desks like Dr. Evil contemplating how we could contribute to abortion rates or increase the rates of promiscuity, no, and I know that’s not how you imagine it either.
But what I do believe, however, is that Planned Parenthood knows and realizes that contraception is not only the gateway for abortion, but it’s also linked to increased promiscuity.
The Guttmacher Institute, the research arm for Planned Parenthood, states that 51% of women who have abortions had used a contraceptive method in the month they got pregnant. With statistics such as these, Planned Parenthood doesn’t really have to hope for anything when selling contraceptives. The statistics speak for themselves.
When we look at the issue of promiscuity, we see that as long as young people are being promiscuous and/or sexually active, the rate of STDs increase. When girls or boys contract an STD, where do they go for testing and treatment? Does Planned Parenthood make money off of testing and treatment? Absolutely! There is no money to be made off of chastity and choosing life over abortion.
#5. I have heard you say a couple times that it was the peaceful, prayerful witness of the participants of the 40 Days for Life campaign that led you out of the industry. Can you describe your interactions with those prayerful witnesses?
There were a series of events that took place that ultimately led me out of the industry, but there’s no doubt that the prayerful witness of these people helped pave the way.
I had had interactions with “protestors” before 40 Days for Life showed up outside my clinic. It was nothing too confrontational. I would go out and talk to them just to get their point of view. They had every right to be there and I tried to respect that even though I’d often get angry with their presence.
When the people from 40 Days for Life showed up, something was different. My first interaction was with a woman who smiled and waved at me as I exited the clinic. I later found out that she wasn’t even part of the 40 Days group. Then, my next interaction was with the man who led the 40 Days campaign that year, Gerry Brundage.
Gerry approached me after he overheard me talking with the woman I had encountered on my way out. He was loving, compassionate and understanding. It was this peaceful approach that really allowed me to open my heart even more to the seeds that were being planted by God.
Gerry spoke intelligently and I appreciated that. He was also non-judgmental. I asked for his prayers and the prayers of the others. I felt those prayers every day for the duration of those 40 Days and beyond.
#6. Is there a single moment that occurred that caused you to quit working for Planned Parenthood? Or was it a series of events?
The short answer? It was a series of events. It was a combination of Catholic radio, Lent, partaking in the Sacraments, praying the Rosary, 40 Days for Life, Divine Mercy Sunday, and God’s GRACE! But I always single out 40 Days for Life because this was truly God’s grace working through human form. I could see God in these people.
#7. You have indicated in previous interviews that you were never for abortion or contraception, but rather you would leave people to make their own decisions. Now that you have converted to being pro-life, what fallacies do you find in this view you had and that others maintain?
If you know that a human life begins at conception (and science confirms this) then how can you willingly turn the other cheek when lives are being destroyed all in the name of “choice?” I wasn’t “for” abortion, but who was I to tell someone what they could do with their life? Only God could judge them. Who was I to judge? And furthermore, who was I to tell a girl whether or not she should be taking contraception.
This is the mentality to which so many of us fall victim. We think that because we are not the ones choosing an abortion that our hands are clean somehow. My epiphany came one night when I realized that at the end of my life I will stand before the Lord and he will ask, “What did you do? Did you know about abortion? And what did you do?” Everything became crystal clear at this point.
We can’t look the other way while women are aborting their children at the rate of approximately 3,400 per day. If we look the other way and keep silent, then we, too, have blood on our hands.
God will indeed hold us accountable for not speaking for those who cannot speak for themselves, not to mention for not speaking up for these men and women who are broken and lost. The women and men who are going to the abortion facilities need our love, too.
In fact, we will be held accountable for every failed opportunity we had to speak up for what is right. Just imagine how different our world would be if we all followed our convictions. I’m not saying it’s easy, but we’re all called to defend what is right and just no matter how difficult.
#8. In your opinion, how should pro-life people approach workers for Planned Parenthood or other abortion providers? What should our attitude be toward those workers?
We should always approach EVERYONE charitably and respectfully. It is only by love that hearts and minds can be converted. God IS love, therefore, when we approach others with love, they will eventually see God in us. We have to be a true reflection of Christ and to see Christ in others.
We should always remember that we are ALL sinners in need of Christ’s mercy. When we approach abortion workers with this in mind, it will make it easier. Christ’s mercy is available to everyone, no exceptions.
#9. Now that you are in the pro-life movement, what advocacy work have you been doing? Do you have any speeches or events planned in the near future we can be looking out for?
Let me begin by saying that I think anyone who supports a culture of life (in any way) can call themselves a pro-life advocate. The men and women who pray daily for an end to abortion, sidewalk counselors, pregnancy care center workers and the countless others who support the pro-life cause are ALL advocates.
Some people give their time and treasure to the cause and others are advocates just by being open about their beliefs. Adoptive parents, foster parents, mothers and fathers raising their kids to defend life at all stages are all pro-life advocates.
I’m just Ramona. I’m doing the best I can to promote a culture of life. I know that God has called me to something very special and I can only hope I answer the call in a way that is pleasing to the Lord.
For now, I’ve chosen to keep things low key for personal reasons, but eventually, that will change. I am, however, available to speak publicly when given the opportunity. I share my testimony in the hope that it will inspire and give hope to others.
My next speaking engagement will be in St. Louis, MO, July 18-19, at a retreat sponsored by Our Sorrowful Mother’s Ministry. In addition to my speaking, I’m also one of the program advisors for Sidewalk Advocates for Life. I encourage everyone to check out their website, www.sidewalkadvocates.org.
#10. How has your faith deepened through this journey and how have your husband, children, and family responded?
Oh wow, Kevin! I don’t even know how to give a short answer to this question. My faith has grown in ways I could never have imagined nor hoped for.
I used to think that I was a woman of faith and a “Christian,” but I’m barely beginning to truly understand what that means. I consider myself to be a baby Catholic even though I’m a cradle Catholic. I didn’t enter fully into the Church until 2005, but even then, I didn’t know what I know now.
It feels as though I’ve been reborn and I’m barely beginning my life. There’s so much left to learn about my faith. Every day I’m growing more and more in my spiritual life and it’s fantastic!
This experience has definitely affected my family in a profound way. As a family, our faith has grown stronger and my marriage is the best that it’s ever been. My husband and I have always had a great marriage, but now, it’s even better. Things are not perfect, that’s not what I’m saying at all. We still have our struggles, as families do, but life is good! Praise be to God!
Thank you again for your time, Ramona. You are an example to us of the need to trust in the Lord. Your conversion gives us all encouragement to fight the good fight and to remember there are more souls at stake than just the babies. God bless you!
I just want to thank you, Kevin, for what you are doing with prolife365.com, and for giving me this opportunity. You’re so right. There are more souls at stake, indeed. I pray for all of those who are lost in the dark and I pray that together with God’s grace we can help bring them to the light. God bless you!
What an awesome testimony, don’t you think?
What is it about Ramona Trevino’s story that you found most compelling?
What do you think about her remarks about contraceptives and abortifacients?
Please sound off below!