Andrea Tantaros lives in a world that strives for perfection. As host of Fox News Channel’s “Outnumbered,” she understands the need for perfection in a professional setting, but worries about society’s belief that life isn’t important if it’s flawed.
“This whole quest for perfection—everything is about aesthetics and being perfect. My little brother wasn’t perfect by the world’s standards, but it didn’t matter because my mother and father set an example for all of us. Even though the doctors thought he wouldn’t be perfect, he wasn’t worth giving up on,” Tantaros told the crowd at Vitae Foundation’s Dallas Pro-Life Event on February 5.
When her parents were pressured to have prenatal testing for the possibility of a special needs child, her father said it didn’t matter. They were not going to have an abortion. It was not in their “Mediterranean code,” the daughter of Greek parents explained. There were some issues at Dan’s birth, but nothing that indicated issues down the road.
As Dan got older their mother knew there was something wrong because Dan just wasn’t like the other kids. There was surgery needed for his eyes, then surgery because the plates in his head were fused. There was still no diagnosis, but they knew he was not going to ever be “normal.”
“This is devastating news for any parent because of your hopes and dreams for a child. When they are special needs, those dreams die. You just don’t know how far they are going to go in life, what their limitations will be. Their parents’ dreams were dashed,” Tantaros explained.
In Europe the value placed on life is even less than in the United States, Tantaros noted. Special needs children in her father’s home town in Greece are kept inside. They believe if you have a child with special needs, you must have done something wrong. It’s very sad.
So all the questions of “Will he do this?” or “Will he do that?” remained big question marks. Every day that he did something new was an achievement.
“Most people would describe Dan as special needs. We described him as ‘uniquely special’,” Tantaros noted.
Dan had a paper route; he worked at Borders arranging magazines. He washed cars at a local car dealership. He taught the Tantaros family to be funny, to have a sense of humor, and not to take themselves too seriously. He honed their ability to just laugh at stuff. He also taught them humility.
“We would be a lot better off if people taught their kids to be a little less judgmental, nicer, and more inclusive to people who are a little bit different,” Tantaros said. “I swear it would stop the bullying epidemic dead in its tracks. If someone would just say ‘Hey, come sit at our lunch table’ you could change a life. The same way that 82 percent (of women surveyed) said they wouldn’t have had an abortion if one person had reached out, I would have had that child. It’s taking the time to not be so ‘me centric’ and focus on someone else.”
Then this very proud sister found herself struggling for words.
“In 2013 we lost Dan,” a teary Tantaros shared. “It was the first time I teared up on the air. The outpouring from the audience was incredible. Special needs parents, people who had had abortions, especially with special needs kids, who said, ‘I just feel like I missed out on blessings that you talked about.’ I eulogized my brother and posted it online. Telling about a boy that society said was flawed and we should have discarded because he wasn’t perfect really touched a lot of lives.”
She noted the level of love that you allow yourself to reach for a person with unfathomable innocence is far beyond any love that most people will ever know. “That is their greatest gift!” she added.
Tantaros thanked everyone for attending the Vitae event because they were doing something bigger than themselves that was very powerful.
Equally powerful was the story told by event emcee, Lisa Luby Ryan. Having grown up being abused by her father, Lisa looked for love in all the wrong places. At 17 she lamented that Vitae didn’t exist, so there were no ads to help her find a life-affirming pregnancy center. Instead, it would be the first of three abortions in her lifetime.
“I turned to men to find my identity. I married for all the wrong reasons. I had two amazing children, but I was unhappy and confused. I carried so much guilt and shame,” Luby Ryan stated. “I needed a Vitae that helps you choose life. An abortion gives immediate gratification…the consequences are eternal.”
Her third abortion had a major consequence—it would have been her husband’s only child.
“It’s the Vitae’s of the world that can change lives like I wish they’d changed mine. Vitae is doing amazing things to reach women where they are, showing light instead of darkness,” Luby Ryan added.
The audience learned that Vitae is quite busy in the Dallas market with a current media campaign of television and online ads that are helping women find nine Pregnancy Help Centers with 15 locations in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. This campaign started in December and will continue through mid-March.
Vitae’s COO and Senior Market Director Anne Carmichael shared that last year Vitae’s goal was to help its collaborating Pregnancy Help Centers, coast to coast, save 10,000 lives.
“We’re still collecting December data, but already this number has climbed to 13,834 lives! Now get this, 2,098 of those lives came from the pregnancy centers here in the Dallas/Fort Worth area,” Carmichael stated.
She also showed the audience how an Internet search for abortion services that morning brought up a Vitae ad at the top of the screen.
“When Vitae ads go up, abortions go down. We couldn’t reach these women without you,” Carmichael noted.
Before Tantaros finished her keynote, she put in a plug for her upcoming book coming out in April about the culture and how it’s deteriorating.
“Where’s the message of not quitting on your baby? It’s gone, and we need to take it back because women aren’t happy, and men aren’t happy either.
An unintended consequence of the rise of feminists, Tantaros pointed out, is that they never told us about the after effects of having an abortion. The authors of “Freakonomics” say women have all this power but are less happy now.
“Why are they less happy? They are having abortions so they can have their career first; they can postpone childbearing. And guess what happens? When they get to be my age, they can’t have kids. Where was that in Glamour when I was growing up?” Tantaros questioned.
If you were unable to attend Vitae’s Dallas event and would like to donate to this life-saving mission to reach women facing unplanned pregnancies, please consider a donation of $25, $50, or $100 today. We must reach these women first or the abortion industry will surely get to them with messages of a “quick fix,” leaving “eternal consequences.”