After teen pregnancy, family unites in pro-life advocacy

| Jessica Weinberger | April 26, 2016 | 6 Comments
Three generations of the Spinharney family of Holy Family in St. Louis Park plan to participate in the Life is Wonderful Family Fun Run/Walk and 5K race May 7 on Raspberry Island in St. Paul in support of Abria Pregnancy Resources. From left, Sharon and Bob Spinharney, son-in-law Jeremy Miller, granddaughter Taylor Miller and daughter Kara Miller. Dave Hrbacek/ The Catholic Spirit

Three generations of the Spinharney family of Holy Family in St. Louis Park plan to participate in the Life is Wonderful Family Fun Run/Walk and 5K race May 7 on Raspberry Island in St. Paul in support of Abria Pregnancy Resources. From left, Sharon and Bob Spinharney, son-in-law Jeremy Miller, granddaughter Taylor Miller and daughter Kara Miller. Dave Hrbacek/ The Catholic Spirit

Family gears up for Abria’s May 7 walk/run

Kara Miller knew she had choices.

Shocked and scared to find herself pregnant at age 18, this cradle Catholic knew that abortion was an option at the clinic she visited, but she knew it wasn’t an option for her. But as Miller sat crying with her boyfriend, they wrestled with the remaining choices — should they put the baby up for adoption or raise the baby themselves as a young, unwed couple?

She called out to God for a lifeline.

“I prayed and said, ‘If you want me to keep this baby, you need to start providing me with a crib and the stuff I need, because I’m basically on my own here,’” Miller, 36, recounted.

The simple tokens of a donated crib and a diaper bag served as God-directed signs that Miller and her boyfriend, Jeremy, were called to set aside their own plans for the future and begin a new family of three.

That baby, Taylor, is now 16, and Kara and Jeremy, now married, are raising their five children in Shakopee and advocating for pro-life ministries that show soon-to-be parents faced with unexpected pregnancies that abortion is not the only option.

The Millers, parishioners at Holy Family in St. Louis Park, will be participating in the “Life is Wonderful” Family Fun Run/Walk and 5K May 7 on Raspberry Island in St. Paul in support of Abria Pregnancy Resources. Opened in October 2015 in St. Paul, Abria offers medical and personal support services, as well as material assistance, for Twin Cities women and couples facing unexpected pregnancies.

Kara’s parents, Bob and Sharon Spinharney, also parishioners at Holy Family, will be walking alongside the family at the event, just as they did with Kara during her journey from a college freshman with hopes of becoming a teacher or business professional to a pregnant teen and young mother.

Called to love

Admittedly angry and upset by the news of Kara’s pregnancy, Bob and Sharon spent the first several weeks trying to understand how to live with this new reality in their family, which included two younger siblings at home.

“I went to a spiritual director, who helped me realize that I had to stop and think this through and realize that we are called to love everyone no matter what mistakes they’ve made,” said Bob, 67, a former sales executive.

Day by day, they worked to release their pride and identify ways they could help their daughter prepare for their first grandchild. Sharon offered to watch the baby full-time, and they turned to prayer with a specific focus on Mary to guide them and maintain their unity as a family.

“When it would be time to go to Mass on Sundays, we would bring our pregnant daughter,” said Sharon, also 67 and a full-time homemaker. “I was really wounded as a mother and felt betrayed, but I still had to walk in, proud of my family.”

As Jeremy was taking his high school finals, Kara went into labor and soon welcomed Taylor into the world. The couple married two years later, and by the time Kara was 23, she was at home full time with three children as Jeremy completed his college degree.

Financially tapped and emotionally exhausted, they struggled navigating adulthood, life as newlyweds and raising three young children. It was a difficult time in their marriage until they surrendered it to Christ through prayer and time in the adoration chapel.

Hope for the future

As they became more established as a family, they started taking a more active role in the pro-life movement, speaking at parenting classes, participating in Rosaries for Life and praying in front of a Robbinsdale abortion clinic with Taylor at their side. Jeremy, an information technology recruiter, also serves as a sidewalk counselor for Pro-life Action Ministries.

“When I was a kid, there weren’t as many pro-life options where people will encourage you to look into keeping the baby or adoption instead of abortion,” Kara said. “We want to be involved so people know they have another option.”

Their participation in the Abria event is a testament to how far their family has come, in both choosing life more than 16 years ago and in a different struggle for life — her father’s fight with an aggressive cancerous brain tumor they discovered on New Year’s Eve 2014.

Following radiation and chemotherapy, they received confirmation this March that the tumor had stopped growing and they could stop his intense treatment plan.

Bob plans to honor his daughter and wife by walking alongside them in support of Abria’s work.

“We need places like Abria that are positive and in the area where a lot of this is happening to give them an alternative,” Sharon said.

Kara hopes their story shows soon-to-be parents that despite any mistakes they’ve made, a beautiful blessing is in store if they choose life.

“This kid deserves every chance, and there’s so many people out there that want to give you and that baby a chance,” she said. “Don’t be afraid.”

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Category: Faith and Culture, Featured

  • Pam

    Why on earth was this walk scheduled on the same day as Race for the Cure? You’re competing for the same charity walkers. Bad planning.

    • John Capello

      So what? Do more. Complain less.

    • Sarah Mealey

      Pam, thanks for raising the question! Actually, the Kommen race is the next day, Sunday, May 8 on Mother’s Day. At Abria, we work every day with pregnant women, new moms and their babies. So, naturally, we want to celebrate life and motherhood! That’s why we intentionally set this event on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. We’ll hold this event every year on the Saturday morning of Mother’s Day weekend for that reason. We know that some folks will have to choose between the two events, but we encourage anyone who can’t participate to pledge a team or individual who is participating in solidarity with and in support of that person’s walk, run or race for LIFE. At Abria, we put a choice for life within reach for thousands of Twin Cities women and couples facing an unexpected pregnancy. We are a professional pregnancy medical clinic located at University Ave W and Vandalia, just steps from the largest Planned Parenthood in the state of Minnesota, a mega-center responsible for 4,990 abortions in 2014 along – that’s nearly 50% of all in the entire state. And we are within 5 miles of 10 colleges and universities and a dozen low income neighborhoods. If you are unable to participate in our event on May 7 but want to be a part of our growing family of supporters, please visit our website supporters.abria.org to find out more and make a secure, online donation. Or, pledge a team or participanet in our event! Show your support for Team Spinharney — or any of the nearly 100 teams and 600 individuals who have already registered. Come be a part of the fun on Saturday, May 7 at Raspberry Island! Questions? Call Sarah at 612-859-6379. God bless you all – and thank you!

    • OldJarhead

      Probably not, as a lot of pro-lifers are painfully aware of the cozy relationship between Komen and Planned Parenthood. That would put Komen and organizations like Abria on opposite sides of the Abortion issue

  • Amanda

    My story is extremely similar and my daughter is the exact same age 16. Kara I feel like we have a lot in common and maybe God is calling us to something more. If you would like to connect here is my email gavirnig@msn.com

  • Pig Farmer Bill

    The Spinharney family ROCKS!