Recently, I heard someone say that she felt like she was just waking up to the pro-life movement.
That’s how I feel, too.
I don’t know why it’s taken so long for me to realize what’s happening in our “civilized” society—in which the lives of thousands of preborn babies are legally terminated each year.
I guess it never seemed to be my “issue.”
You know, that thing we latch onto and develop a passion for?
In my younger years as a nurse, I was focused on developing my skills in critical care.
Then it was on to the hospice world and focusing on end-of-life needs.
After that, a family caregiver, and embracing the blessing of those years of caring for my mom.
Besides, abortion is such a hot-topic issue that it wasn’t something I really wanted to plunge into talking about with those in my world who are more liberally minded.
So, for most of my life, that’s exactly what I’ve done.
I haven’t talked about it and haven’t considered what it meant to me on a personal level.
Until I attended a lecture in June of 2015.
When does life begin?
I was attending a conference hosted by the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity at Trinity International University in Deerfield, Illinois.
My mom had died just two weeks before, so my time there was a bit of a blur for me.
However, one lecture in particular planted a seed in my heart regarding the pro-life point of view.
It was about defining the beginning of life in the womb, and I distinctly remember the graphic on the screen showing a sperm entering the egg, marking the moment of fertilization.
When the professor presented her evidence-based support for this moment being the beginning of life, I thought, “That’s nice. That’s her passion and she’s devoting her career to it.”
Standing at the threshold of Heaven
Honestly, in the next few years after that, I didn’t think much more about abortion and pro-life issues.
I was knee-deep in my grief and trying to figure out how to live in a world without my sweet mom.
But my spiritual life underwent a significant shift after Mom’s death, and I believe it had a lot to do with getting to travel with her to the threshold of Heaven.
There, as she took her last breath, I almost felt like I got to have a glimpse over her shoulder into our eternal Home, and knew that Jesus was waiting to take her hand as she let go of mine.
From that moment on, my relationship with Him became deeper and more intimate than it’s ever been.
As my grief slowly lessened, I was able to return to my work on the novel I’d been plodding to finish over the previous decade.
The one Mom said would be “a classic someday” (Well, you know, moms say stuff like that).
There’s a longer story behind my novel, Final Moment, but the bottom line is that although it focuses on the last 60 seconds before death, God surprised me by insisting that I also include a story thread about abortion.
You may smile when I say I was surprised and that God insisted—but other novelists will know what I’m talking about.
Sometimes you’re just writing along and then your character does something out of the blue that you never saw coming.
And if you’re writing with God, I believe that often happens through the prompting of the Holy Spirit.
Anyway, that’s how the opening scene of my book ended up with my 16-year-old protagonist, Charlie, walking into an abortion clinic.
Weeping through my research
At that point, my knowledge about the abortion industry was pretty limited.
As a nurse, I was familiar with the process and had met women over the years who’d had abortions.
In church, I’d been exposed to various pro-life fundraising events, but had never actually participated.
So, I started digging into some research—which was just about the same time that the movie, Unplanned hit the theatres.
It’s the true story of Abby Johnson’s journey from being a director of a Planned Parenthood clinic to being a leader in the pro-life movement.
I bought it online and curled up on the couch to watch it without realizing I should’ve grabbed a box of tissues before I started.
Before long, tears were streaming down my cheeks, and I wept during the scene in which Abby (played by Ashley Bratcher) finally understood what she’d been involved in all those years.
If you haven’t seen the movie, the trailer is below.
If, like me, you haven’t really been paying attention to what’s been happening to preborn babies all these years, prepare to have your heart broken and your sleepy perspectives changed.
What happened next
No, I didn’t go out and start leading on the pro-life frontlines, but I did start learning more about the individuals and organizations who are heroically doing exactly that—and have been for many years.
Since 40 Days for Life and President Shawn Carney are profiled in the movie, I started there, and found out how many lives are being saved and changed through their faithful commitment to peaceful prayer campaigns outside abortion clinics.
Here’s a glimpse into the organization’s origins and progress:
As a result of their efforts, 40 Days for Life reports that:
- 17,994 lives have been saved since 2007.
- 107 abortion centers have closed.
- 211 abortion workers have quit.
Speaking of quitting abortion workers, I also learned that Abby Johnson had started her own organization, And Then There Were None, which helps abortion clinic workers leave the abortion industry.
Here’s what Abby says about her organization’s efforts:
Then I found out that actress Ashley Bratcher had started something of her own, too, the Unplanned Movie Scholarship which are educational scholarships to help moms who are facing unplanned pregnancies “so that they can continue pursuing their dreams while raising their babies.”
Discovering what Bratcher was doing also led me to the global organization she was partnering with to do it: Heartbeat International (HBI), which provides access to an extensive network of pro-life pregnancy help organizations throughout the world. The organization’s website highlights the results of their global efforts:
- 1.5 million clients served each year
- 300,000 mothers choose life
- Nearly 250,000 free ultrasounds performed
- Over 2,800 affiliates around the world
HBI offers a vast array of amazing resources, so please visit the website to check them all out.
One of those amazing resources is the Option Line, which recently reached a milestone of four million contacts, as highlighted in this video with President Jor-El Godsey:
Another amazing HBI resource is the Abortion Pill Rescue® Network (APRN), which provides hope for women who take the first pill of the chemical abortion pill protocol and then regret it.
Recently, I was blessed to be a contributor for HBI’s Pregnancy Help News and interviewed an APRN provider who is making a tremendous difference in the lives of the women and babies she touches. You can read the article here: “A ‘nudge from God’ – one doctor’s journey to serving other women through Abortion Pill Rescue.”
Of course, there are thousands of pro-life organizations operating at the local level in various contexts throughout the world, offering a variety of resources for support—like Hands of Mercy Everywhere, a beautiful Christian home for teenage girls, teen mothers and their babies that’s located near us in Belleview, Florida.
As far as my ongoing involvement in the pro-life movement, I’m not exactly sure what God has planned for me yet.
I do know that now that I’m awake to the devastating effects of abortion in our society, there’s no going back to my previous slumber.
And that whatever it looks like, it’ll include the love and compassion God wants me to extend, offering the grace and hope only He can provide through Jesus.
Feature photo by Manuel Schinner on Unsplash.