Pro-Life Speaking

Meeting the Amazing

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This past Wednesday night, I had the opportunity to speak at the Legacy Church in Princeton, TX, for a youth event that tied into the worldwide “See You at the Pole” gathering.  The kids sang passionately, and listened intently as I attempted to inspire and encourage.  But, the surprise that awaited me that evening was amazing.  Before service started, the pastor leaned in to whisper, “There is a family here with a baby who was born without arms or legs.  Would be willing to stay afterwards to meet with them?”  In that type of situation, my response is always, “Try and stop me!”

IMG_0319It is my pleasure to introduce you all to Stetson. Stetson is eight months old, and is a happy, bright-eyed boy who happens to have no arms or legs.  His parents were told of his diagnosis early on in the pregnancy, and as is the norm in the medical community, they were strongly counseled to abort this precious life.  His parents, however, knew that Stetson was a blessing no matter the shape of his body, and after having to change medical providers, Stetson has been given every opportunity available for his success. His parents say that he can hold his own bottle, put his pacifier in his mouth, and that daily, he continues to surprise them with what he can do.

The question we must deal with as a society is this: is Stetson’s life worth living?  We live in a world that terminates life at the first sign of trouble.  The treatment for an adverse diagnosis in a pregnancy is abortion.  At least, it is the first treatment suggested.  My parents did not know of my lack of limbs before I was born.  They have said before and continue to profess that had they known, I still would have been born.  Abortion was not an option for them, nor is it for my family.  However, in today’s world, a baby like me…like Stetson…has a very small chance of making it past the first sonogram.  Parents-to-be are listening to the advice of supposed experts both in and out of the medical community saying that they would be better off (and so would the baby) if they would abort.  I’m living proof that the advice provided in those situations is DEAD WRONG.

Simply put, we cannot know the life that will be led based on a sonogram screen or any other test conducted.  Life is an adventure, and while my adventure may not look like yours, it is no less valuable.

I praise God for Stetson and his parents.
I praise God for my own parents.
I praise God for my life.

And I cannot wait to see the amazing man Stetson becomes all due to a choice for life.

Mr. McDoniel Goes to Austin – Time to Testify

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Pro Life Speaker Chet McDoniel at Texas State CapitolI have never been one for politics.  I get too stressed and too frazzled when I hear opponents shouting at each other.  I get frustrated when I hear poorly thought out arguments that others buy into, and even more disappointed when I see some of our leaders clearly in it to make a name for themselves.  I tend to steer clear of the political arena, but sometimes God calls on you to get involved in a place where you are very uncomfortable.  I felt that call, and so Joni and I traveled to Austin, TX, on July 2nd for me to testify before the Texas House Committee on State Affairs regarding my plea for the fetal abnormality exception to be removed from the new pain capable, anti-abortion bill (HB 2).  My actual testimony can be viewed here.

Upon entering the capitol building and heading towards the registration terminal, one could feel the tense nature all around.  For the most part, things were cordial between the two sides.  At least they were at 10AM.  Registration was fast and furious when it opened up as everyone knew that only a select few would get to testify, and the committee had chosen the order as first come, first serve.  After registration, Joni and I returned to our hotel to rest up as we knew the day would be long.  We headed back to the capitol at 3PM, and it was definitely a different place.  The tense air had gotten much thicker as many more supporters had shown up for both sides.  The hearing room only held a few people, so most of us were in overflow rooms watching the proceedings on TV monitors.  Each room had multiple state troopers, and we were admonished that outbursts would not be tolerated.

As the hearing began, the representatives that were against the bill from the beginning began throwing as many roadblocks as they could think of.  From questioning the constitutionality of the bill all the way to complaining about the size of the room where the hearing was being held.  Eventually, much to his credit, the chairman emphasized that many witnesses were waiting and that those who had traveled all this way were the priority.  Rep. Turner suggested that the witnesses all could come back another day which made it obvious that he cared more about his arguments than our testimony.

Fast forward through HOURS of testimony…some good, well thought out claims, and some who obviously had not prepared nor had a clue what the bill was about…Joni and I were still waiting in one of the overflow rooms when we realized that many people who had registered alongside me had already testified.  That, along with some other needs, had us alerting our hosts, Texas Right to Life.  The director contacted one of the representatives favorable to our cause, and he asked for me to be brought into the hearing room.  I was escorted by a large state trooper, and was very glad he was there as the cordial nature from earlier in the day had broken apart into rallies, shouting, and even the pro-choice crowd chanting “Hail, Satan!”  (By the way, the satanists have declared they want no part in the debate.  When satanists throw you under the bus, you have hit a new low.)

After being ushered into the hearing room, the committee clerk came to me to say that they could not find my registration information.  He helped me enter it on his iPad, but said it was up to the chairman as to whether or not I would be called.  After all, I was now dead last on the list.  This was the biggest roadblock that Satan had thrown our way that day.  There were many others, but this one took the cake.  I simply bowed my head and asked God to make whatever he wanted to make out of the situation.  Two testimonies later, the chair announced it was now recognizing me to come testify.  I wheeled to the front of the room where the clerk lowered the microphone so that I could be heard on the video feed, and I proceeded to give my testimony.  At the beginning, many of the representatives were busy writing or in conversation, but when I dropped the bomb on them that my delivering OB left me in the corner of the room, giving me the opportunity to die, they ALL turned to listen.  Very soon, my three minutes were up, I was thanked for my testimony, and I left the room to make space for someone else.  Out in the hallway, I had two representatives come up to me to thank me for my testimony, including Rep. Turner.  One of them said that I was the first one in nearly four hours of testimony to mention that we should be considering what the baby would want in these situations.  After a few photos, we were escorted out a back way that would allow us not to have to go through the protesters.  Joni told me later that many in the room were nodding their heads during my testimony including several that were wearing orange (the chosen color for the pro-choice crowd).

Pro Life Speaker Chet McDoniel at Texas State Capitol

My time in Austin was short, and the bill passed with the exception included.  Did I change the committee’s mind?  Nope.  Did I stand up for what I believe in?  Yep.  Did I answer the call from the Lord?  I believe so.  And, THAT is what is important.  Once again, he led me to a place I had no intention of going, and once again, I found an amazing group of people to uplift and encourage in the pro-life crowd there at the capitol.  I will continue to fight for the lives of innocent babies who are unable to have a voice themselves.  Even though doctors told my parents I would never stand, I am happy to #stand4life.  (Plus, I learned more about state government in one evening in Austin than I did in my entire government class in high school!)

My Testimony as a Pro Life Speaker Before the Texas Legislature

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Before you ask, I do plan on posting an account of what happened last Tuesday before the Texas House Committee on State Affairs as I testified in support of HB 2 as a Pro Life Speaker representing myself.  In the meantime, some have asked to read my testimony, so I have provided it, below.  You may also view the testimony by clicking this video link (you’ll need to adjust the viewer to right at 5 hrs and 1 minute into the video to see my part).

I support HB 2, however, there is one portion of the bill that concerns me greatly. I fear that by allowing a fetal abnormality exception in this bill, Texas is solidifying the terrible myth that my life is not to be provided as much protection as those without disabilities. The United States claims that all life is created equal, but by allowing the euthanasia of the disabled in the womb, we contradict our own declaration.

 

In January of 1980, my parents received the shock of their lives. Sonograms were not performed on a regular basis, and since there were no signs of problems, the delivering obstetrician even allowed me to be born breach. After my delivery, though, he made a snap decision based on my outward appearance that I might have been better off dead. He performed a minimal amount of work on me to make sure I could breath, and then left me in the corner of the room to die. He had no right to make that decision then, and we have no right to make that decision now.

 

The medical community claims to know much when it comes to the predictions based on a sonogram screen and other tests. However, I have encountered countless stories in my travels all over this country as a pro-life speaker where those predictions were blatantly untrue. From parents who were told their child would have Down’s Syndrome only to find out at birth that the diagnosis was incorrect, to a family at church who were told their baby would be stillborn…only to find a very much alive baby kicking and screaming at the time of delivery. We must be willing to admit that even with the proper education, training, and years of practice, that the medical community simply cannot, and will never, know everything. How then can we trust a diagnosis of a fetal abnormality?

 

This all boils down to one thing…is my life in a body without arms worth it? My parents would tell you that they were not prepared for my arrival in 1980, yet now, they would also say that they would change nothing. I have a beautiful wife of eight years, two amazing children, Hannah age 5 and Olivia who is 15 months old. I run two successful businesses here in the great state of Texas. I can type around 35 words a minute, write with my feet, and drive a van with my feet. More than that, my life can praise God in the unusual form that my body is in. When I arrive home, my kids will nearly tackle me as they do every time I return from speaking somewhere and there will be lots of hugs, giggles, and “I love you’s!” It is at that moment, I know that my life is worth it. I ask that you remove the fetal abnormality exception to allow many other potential lives with disabilities to show you how much they are worth as well.

 

I thank you for your time and the work you are doing to pass this bill that is of ultimate importance. Thanks, and may God bless you.

Life Today with James and Betty Robison Episode

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I have the pleasure of inviting you to view our Life Today episode that is airing today!  Watch it online via the Life Today link below, and be blessed:

Life Today with James Robison – Special Guests: Chet and Jim McDoniel

Mr. McDoniel, We Need You in Makeup

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Last night was truly a highlight of my journey in God’s grace and guidance.  God has opened more doors and paths for this ministry than I ever asked or imagined.  This most recent opportunity was an absolute blast as I got to be a guest on Life Today with James and Betty Robison.  James’ story is featured on The Gift of Life film on which my story appears, also.

Pro Life Speaker, Chet McDoniel, in the makeup room at Life TodayThe night started off with a welcome and ushering into the green room which had snacks, comfy couches, and a TV.  I could feel my head swell when the announcement was made, “Mr. McDoniel, we need you in makeup.”  Now, that’s not my favorite thing to have done to me, but I was enjoying the attention and the VIP treatment.

Soon, we were invited to join in a private dinner with the Robison’s. It was at this meal that I learned what an amazing man James Robison truly is.  As he spoke to us of his goals and convictions, I couldn’t help but be humbled.  Here I was thinking how important I was…after all, I was going to be on a world-wide syndicated television show.  James’ mission and faith was so inspiring that I quickly realized…I’m not the big shot…God is the big shot.

We filmed the show and it was an absolute blast.  James and Betty are wonderful hosts, and they allowed us to share part of our story in hopes that more people would be reached for Christ.  The 18 minute interview flew by, and soon, we were saying our farewell to the audience. I can’t wait to see the show when it airs sometime in May.  Randy Robison (James’ son) interviewed me later in the evening for the Life Today website and social media outlets.

Inspirational Speaker, Chet McDoniel, was a guest on Life Today with James and Betty RobisonAs we drove away from the studio, I was reminded of God’s infinite wisdom and grace.  I’ll be the first to tell you that I never wanted to be an inspirational speaker, and never saw myself a champion of the right to life for the unborn as a pro life speaker.  I felt the calling, but ignored God for years.  Once I relented and agreed to let God lead, my life has never been the same.  I am committed to always remember that this journey is not about me

It’s about God.  (Though, I am thankful to not have to wear makeup every day…how do you ladies do it?)

Interview on AFA Radio – Gift of Life

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I was interviewed this morning on AFA Radio about my story and the new film, “The Gift of Life” which is a wonderful documentary about the many positive stories that exist because someone chose life.  I am featured in the documentary, which is hosted by Gov. Mike Huckabee, and you can purchase it here on my site by clicking here (scroll down, and click the DVD icon to see more information about the film).

AFA Radio has a video of the interview from this morning, so take a moment and watch the clip on their site:

Chet McDoniel Speaks About “The Gift of Life”

A Wonderful Evening at The Gift of Life Premiere

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This past Wednesday, I was in Des Moines, IA, for the premiere of “The Gift of Life” documentary. This film is the best pro-life storytelling that exists in our world, today.  So many times, the term “pro-life” is received as threatening or spiteful.  The thought of life being the most important topic of this presidential campaign is dangerous to some and dismissed by others.  However, as was stated on Wednesday, if we don’t get this issue right, then all the other issues won’t matter.  I have long held the opinion that you must share and show love in order to best represent the life that Jesus calls us to live.

The Gift of Life does a wonderful job of showing the positive side of our cause while educating as it warms the heart.  Many stories of change, faithfulness, and hope are told through the wonderful cast and artful direction of the film.  The film does an excellent job sharing the emotion and wonder that is life.   Born or unborn, children deserve all we have and all we can do to provide a happy, fully-lived life.  This film is a testament to our story, and an excellent way to introduce people who may be undecided on the issue to the truths that are the pro-life movement.

Pro Life Speaker, Chet McDoniel, and Gov. Mike HuckabeeI was afforded a chance to meet one of my heroes.  I don’t have much desire to meet Hollywood stars, music legends, or any other figure that America deems popular.  My heroes are people who are true to their word and who fight for what is right.  So, that’s why meeting Mike Huckabee was such a true honor.  Governor Huckabee has fought tirelessly for the sanctity of life, and was the driving force behind the creation of this film.  What was even more amazing was how truly honored he was to meet me.  Even though it was a hurried moment when we met, the sincerity in his eyes and his words were felt through my entire being.  Governor Huckabee has the ability to make you feel as if you were the only person in the room, and that is born out of a genuine spirit that is hard to find in today’s world.  He said he was moved by my story, and was so excited to get the chance to meet me.  He then brought me out on stage at the film’s conclusion to introduce me to the crowd.  The other cast members soon joined us, and I am so proud to have been a part of this production.  My meeting with Mike Huckabee was a moment I will never forget.

Pro Life Speaker, Chet McDoniel, and Fmr. Speaker, Newt Gingrich

Four Republican candidates for president were there and I was able to talk briefly with Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.  They, too, were genuine as we exchanged greetings.  I must say, however, that while Rick Perry and Michelle Bachman were both in attendance, neither stayed to watch the film.  I felt that decision on their part was very disrespectful, and I really appreciate Speaker Gingrich and Senator Santorum for not only staying to watch the documentary, but also for staying an hour afterwards to talk with folks about the emotions that were experienced while watching the film.

All in all, it was a fantastic evening, and I cannot say enough about the Citizens United film, “The Gift of Life.”  If you consider yourself pro-life, you must see this film and you will be uplifted by it.  If you have a different viewpoint, I encourage you to open your mind and heart to listen to these stories.  Either way, I promise you will be encouraged by the hope and love shown in this film.

The Gift of Life Documentary Feat. Pro Life Speaker

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This past summer, a documentary film crew contacted me regarding being featured in a project that Mike Huckabee was hosting. We agreed to a day of filming, and I am proud to announce the trailer for that film has been released. As a Pro Life Speaker, it is very important that this message gets spread around as much as possible as the film showcases the positive view of every life being worth living. Please take a look at the trailer below, and please visit “The Gift of Life” to learn more about how you can promote this awesome testimony for the pro life cause.

Pro Life Speaker, Chet McDoniel, in “The Gift of Life”

Purchase the film on our site.

Article on Pro-Life Speaking in Harrisburg, PA

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I recently got the chance to inspire attendees at the Morning Star Pregnancy Services banquet in Harrisburg, PA.  My family got to join me, and we had a blast in the nearby town of Hershey, PA, eating tons of chocolate.  Instead of me telling about the banquet, check out this article written by one of the attendees:

“I’ve enjoyed the life I’ve been given,” Chet says.

Granted, he does face challenges. He cannot walk long distances, so he uses a wheelchair. He must use his feet to drive and to type—but for him, that’s normal.

He fully recognizes that, in this age of extensive prenatal testing and ultrasounds, someone like him could easily be aborted. But, as he told the hundreds of people gathered at the Pennsylvania pregnancy center banquet, “We cannot know what life will bring.”

Read the complete article here: http://lifenews.com/state5019.html

Where Am I Going, Again?

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Last week, we got to spend some time in Johnson City, KS. I know…I had to look it up, too! Johnson City is in the far southwestern corner of the state and is only a few miles from the Colorado and Texas borders. It was quite literally the “middle of nowhere.” While a remote destination, the people of Johnson City, KS, couldn’t have been a nicer bunch!

Our trip began at a Wednesday night service at Fields Memorial Wesleyan Church to a group of teenagers and adults. We had a wonderful evening of pizza, worship, and a message to get those in attendance to ponder what it means to be a positive Christian. I believe that’s the only way Christians can serve and carry out God’s will in the world…we must be a happy people!

On Thursday, I began the morning at Stanton County High School, speaking to the students there about truly living life for all it’s worth, and about not letting any obstacle get in your way. We had a blast during the question and answer time that I always try to incorporate in my school presentations. The students asked questions for a good thirty-five minutes and we had a great discussion on how to approach others with disabilities…along with some fun stuff like answering how I play Rockband 2!

Thursday night, I spoke at the Life Support Crisis Pregnancy Center’s Annual Banquet. This event was the main reason for being in Johnson City, KS, and the banquet was wonderful. So many people showed up that the hosts had to put out more tables! We met so many people with their own stories of hope and inspiration, and I loved being able to encourage and support Life Support in their efforts. We had a fabulous time with Lisa (the Exec. Director of Life Support) and her wonderful family! We felt right at home in Johnson City!