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Uniting for Life

Winter, 2001

National Pro-Life Religious Council, Inc.,
109 2nd St. N.E.
Washington, 20013


Protecting the Unborn by Sharing the Gospel

By Dennis Di Mauro, Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

I am becoming more and more convinced that in order to win the minds of others on the abortion issue, we must share with them the gospel of Jesus Christ. The reason I believe this, is because I invariably find that people of faith seem to most fully understand the value of every human being. Only through a relationship with Jesus Christ, can one fully understand His love for each and every one of us, including the tiniest unborn babies.

Have you ever met someone new at a pro-life event? Sure you have! We all meet people who are committed to saving the unborn at pro-life rallies, at the local Life Chain, or at the NRLC convention.

And I bet I know one of the first questions you asked that new friend. You probably asked, "What church do you attend?" That is because when we meet a pro-lifer, we naturally assume that he or she is religious. As pro-lifers, our faith has everything to do with our beliefs about the sanctity of life. And thank God for that!

So this begs the question of whether the average secular American can ever really be consistently pro-life. It is possible, if one examines all the facts, to come up with a rational humanistic decision based solely on the scientific evidence, and to decide after weighing all the facts that one should hold to the preciousness of human life from the moment of conception. That person might also choose to protect that life in all instances that it might be threatened. But experience has shown us that that almost never happens.

The average American is easy to convince when a face is placed on the abortion question. This was shown during the partial-birth abortion debate when a large majority of Americans cringed at the idea of a little baby having its brains sucked out in the third trimester. Only the most hard-hearted individual had no sympathy for putting a defenseless child through such an ordeal.

But the stem cell debate has really shown a spotlight on the views of John and Jane Q. Public. John and Jane don't really understand what all the fuss is about. These embryos are so small, they say, and after all, killing a few tiny embryos could cure so many of the living from such terrible and painful diseases. What's wrong in using these embryos for such a noble purpose?

Why don't John and Jane Q. Public get it? Maybe it's because no one has ever told John and Jane about Jesus, and about how precious they are in God's eyes. Maybe no one them has told them about how God loves them and knit them together in their mother's womb (Psalm 139:13). And maybe no one has told them that God has a specific plan for them, and a mission for their lives (Jeremiah 1:5). And finally, maybe no one has told them that that little embryo is a human being that God has given the spark of life and through which he will spread His kingdom of love. 

But when we take it upon ourselves to reach out to our brothers and sisters and share the real Jesus with them, the Jesus of the Bible, we really get to the root of the matter and provide them with some essential facts needed to understand the sanctity of every human life. So I want to urge everyone who wants to share the pro-life message to spend at least as much time sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those that don't know Him as well. These two messages really do go hand in hand. In fact, the gospel really completes that intricate painting of Life which to John and Jane Q. Public looks only half completed. Once God shines His light, their eyes are opened to the truth of his creation of a human being from the moment of conception. Without Jesus, that tiny pre-born baby is just one more helpless Who in Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who, screaming for his life without anyone able to hear his voice.

NPRC Statement on Human Cloning By Advanced Cell Technology

Washington, DC. November 26 - The National Pro-Life Religious Council, representing constituent groups within Catholic, Evangelical Protestant, old line Protestant and Orthodox churches, denounces in the strongest possible terms the cloning and destruction of human embryos recently announced by Advanced Cell Technology of Worcester, Massachusetts. We unite our voices, clergy and laity, to urge Dr. Michael West and his company immediately to cease and desist their activities in this regard. We also appeal to all similar companies and research groups to suspend any human cloning activity .... With the Church through the ages, we believe that God is the creator of human beings, who are indeed created in God's image. Therefore, no human agency is qualified to play God by manufacturing human beings and/or by deciding who is of value and who is not. In the mean time, we also ask that churches, religious organizations and pro-life advocacy groups urge their constituents to immediately contact their US Senators and US Representatives to express support for the Weldon-Stupak bill (H. R. 2505) that will ban human cloning and the destruction of human embryos.

It Must Be OK - It's Legal; But Will God Forgive Me?

By Georgette Forney & Dana Henry
National Organization of Episcopalians for Life

How does a woman, a girl, make the decision to abort her baby?

Georgette: As I drove down Interstate 96 on my way to work in late September I remember thinking to myself, It must be okay, after all it's legal, but why do I feel so uneasy about this? I was 16 years old at the time and I didn't know God, so I prayed to my grandfather who had died six months earlier, "Please help me, I can't have this baby, no one will want to marry me, I can't take care of it, everyone will know I'm not a good girl. Please forgive me."

Dana: "I was a Christian, a volunteer youth leader, and my father was Senior warden on the vestry at our evangelical, pro-life, Episcopal Church. Good girls from our church did not get drunk at college, have sex and get pregnant. I did not have the courage to come home with the news of my pregnancy and risk disappointing my family and my church. I was so ashamed and disgusted with myself. I developed tunnel vision. I just needed to solve my "problem", and abortion was my quick-fix solution. The consequences of looking bad, of admitting to my sin were too much to deal with -- it was so much easier to just make it all go away. I told the father of my unborn child that I had decided to have an abortion, and he agreed to split the cost with me. I used my Christmas money. He never tried to talk me out of the abortion, it was his child too.

What thought process does she go through to conclude that having an abortion is the best solution to her problem; an unwanted, unplanned pregnancy? If the girl is young, it is especially difficult because she is used to thinking only of short term future concerns, the role of motherhood seems foreign and ill fitting. For some, the choice to abort isn't really a choice but a way to deal with the threat of what she'll lose if she has her baby. Parents threaten eviction, boyfriends threaten to leave, both threaten withdrawal of love, so she must choose between people she loves or a child that she perceives threatens those relationships. If she is older, a baby threatens her college plans, career opportunities or financial security.

The decision to have an abortion focuses on the woman, but the father of the baby can positively or negatively influence the decision. Many women want the father of the baby to be a knight in shining armor and save her (and the child) from going to the clinic. But an attitude and unspoken message of back off, this is my decision will short circuit the dream. The cultural message men get says they can't tell a woman what to do with her body; so they often remain silent. The decision is made, now what?

Georgette: Going into the clinic that morning my heart was numb. I refused to let myself think about what I was doing. During the examination I was informed that I was further along than I thought, and I had better do it today, before it was too late. They offered me a pill to relax me, but said, if I took it I couldn't change my mind. When my turn came to go into the room I remember wanting to turn and run, but it was too late. I had taken the medicine. I laid on the table with my feet in the stir-ups and the doctor came in. I don't remember him but I remember the loud sound of the machine. It sounded like a big vacuum, which is what it is. When they shut the machine off, the nurse walked by me holding a container, I asked her if that was my baby? She said don't worry, relax dear.

Tears streamed out of my eyes as I fell into a dreamy sleep. I could hear noises in the room but I couldn't move. I laid there along time, and it was dark when I came to, and they told me to dress and go home. I left and went to my sister's house for the weekend. I remember laying in bed that night feeling lost, alone and empty.

Dana: The father of my baby drove me to the clinic. He sat in the waiting room for 3 hours all alone. The people at the clinic were very nice. I gave them all false information about myself because I was terrified that they would somehow tell my parents about this choice I was making. The counselor at the clinic, sensing my shame and fear, said to me, "Are you sure that you want to go through with this?" God had given me a way out, but I didn't take it. I began to weep as the doctor inserted the needle into my cervix, and the nurse next to me held my hand. I sat up during the abortion and told the doctor to stop I had changed my mind. He told me that he was halfway through -- it was too late. I had killed my baby. It was horrible and painful. As I left through the back door of the clinic, they handed me packs of birth control pills -- it was finished.

When the Supreme Court took pity on Jane Roe and said she had a right to decide whether or not she wanted to be pregnant, do you think any of them thought about the procedure to end a pregnancy? This comment by Frederica Mathewes-Green captures society's solution of abortion: We advise her, Go have this operation and you'll fit right in. What a choice we made for her. She climbs onto a clinic table and endures a violation deeper than rape; the nurse's hand is wet with her tears then is grateful to pay for it. Grateful to be adapted to the social machine that rejected her when pregnant. And the machine grinds on, rejecting her pregnant sisters.

But will God forgive me?

Georgette: When I woke up the next morning I decided to pretend the day before hadn't happened; it was just a bad dream and I refused to let myself think about what I had done. I stayed that way for 19 years except when I became a Christian 6 years later, I asked God to forgive me for my sins. But I knew in my heart I had committed the one sin that is unforgivable, I killed my own child. So my relationship with God was limited because I knew I was unforgivable. I continued living day to day in denial except I would feel guilt when I heard the word abortion and on Sanctity of Life Sunday.

Dana: After the abortion I went back to my dorm and I was convinced that I was going to bleed to death. I deserved it. Nobody, knew what was going on; I was all alone. I sat in the stairwell of my dorm, just weeping and weeping - that was the only time I grieved. After that, I pretended I was fine while inside I carried my pain. No one knew my secret. I was able to sit through Sanctity of Life Sunday at church and agree that all women who had abortions were murderers of the worst kind. I asked God to forgive me for my abortion every day - I wasn't able to receive his forgiveness, I kept waiting for him to punish me. I knew I would never be able to forgive myself.

Women were made to nurture life. Once she is pregnant, she is a mother whether she acknowledges it or not, and the decision to end that life inside her will always (if she is honest with herself) cause her to question the moral and spiritual implications of her decision. The good news is that the answer is yes, God does forgive! But, accepting that forgiveness is the hard part. Only when women are encouraged to mourn and grieve the loss of their child can we begin to accept forgiveness and forgive ourselves. We had surgery, but we've never begun the healing process until we finally let the truth of our abortion set us free. Now, God has forgiven us! We have mourned our children, we've named them, we have forgiven ourselves and we have learned the power of grace and mercy. Everyday Dana and I regret our decisions to abort Sarah and Elizabeth, but we are grateful for the promise of seeing them in heaven.

Dana and I decided to share our stories to put a face on the reality of abortion. We want everyone to know that even though abortion is legal, and God does forgive, it's not OK.

Forbidden Grief

A book review by Fr. Frank Pavone

In her book to be released in 2002, my friend Dr. Theresa Burke writes,

"There is no social norm for dealing with an abortion. There are no Hallmark cards for friends who have had an abortion, declaring either sympathy or congratulations. We don't send flowers. We don't have any ceremonies, either joyous or mournful. We have no social customs or rules of etiquette governing acknowledgment of an abortion. Instead, we all try to ignore it."

The book, "Forbidden Grief," with which Dr. David Reardon also collaborated, demonstrates that grief after abortion is neither expected nor permitted in our society. Drawing from their vast experience of post-abortion counseling, the authors illustrate some of the ways that this "disenfranchised grief" eats away at the personality, and results in harmful and bizarre behavior.

As a graduate student, Theresa Burke led a weekly support group for women with eating disorders. The meeting exploded out of control one night when, unexpectedly, the topic of abortion arose. Six of the eight participants had had abortions. This led Theresa to begin exploring the connections. One woman explained, "I am never hungry when I binge…I eat because I am full. Full of anger, hurt, sadness, and loneliness. I throw up because that is the way I empty myself of those feelings."

Every thought and emotion we have is connected to other thoughts, emotions, and memories. Connections to the negative memories associated with abortion are often overlooked, even by professional therapists.

Forbidden Grief reveals many of the connections. For example, those who undergo a trauma often re-enact that trauma, in a subconscious effort to articulate, understand, and master it. One client became obsessed with pregnancy after her abortion. She explains, "I used to go to the maternity section in department stores…I usually had a towel stuffed in my pantyhose to make it look like I was pregnant…but as soon as I'd get in my car I would cry my head off…I'd rip the towel out of my belly to dry my tears. I'd tell myself, you're not pregnant…this is just a stupid towel."

Another rode horseback regularly without padded pants, until she bled profusely, hence re-enacting the abortion. One way or another, we ritualize our grief.

We also sometimes try to trivialize it when we know it's too much to bear. Dr. Burke describes a dorm party in which the students, many post-abortive, played "Baby Soccer." The broken heads of dolls were kicked around the room gleefully, their eyes gouged out with darts, their cheeks burned with cigarette butts.

Other post-abortive individuals increase their risk-taking behavior, hoping they will get caught or hurt. After all, they know they are guilty, and may seek an experience to confirm that.

When society trivializes abortion, people suffering from it will, cry out by their actions, "I'm not OK! I'm in tremendous pain! Can anyone help me?" We need to tell them we know that pain, and that it makes sense to grieve. Only then can healing begin.

Belonging to God

By Rev. James Lamb, Executive Director, National Lutherans For Life

Pro-lifers rightly avoid using language that treat pre-born children as if they are property or commodities. "Reproduction" and "products of conception" make us think of factories and assembly lines. People talk about who "owns" the embryos frozen in fertility clinics as if discussing property rights. There are "price lists" for the selling of fetal body "parts." Embryonic stem cell research is sparking efforts to "produce" embryos so their stem cells can be "harvested" and then "sold" for research. All of these dehumanize the pre-born child and ignore the fact that all life is a gift from God.

As Christian pro-lifers, however, there is a proper use of such language. Pre-born children "belong" to God because they are the "work" of His hands. Pre-born children belong to God and are His "property" because He "purchased" them with a price.

"You are not your own; you were bought at a price." (1 Corinthians 6:19- 20)

Not our Own: We are not are own. All of us belong to God because we are the work of His hands. "Your hands made me and formed me," says the Psalmist (Psalm 119:73). Job tells us where God's workshop is when he declares that it was God who "made me in the womb" (Job 31:15). Belonging to God as the work of His hands is not something that happens after we are born. We belong to Him from the moment of conception, Therefore, it is not for lack of compassion for women in crisis pregnancies that we oppose abortion. It is because life is a gift and belongs to God from the moment of conception. That is why in such difficult situations we do not choose to love one or the other. We choose to love them both.

Bought with a Price: All of us belong to God because we have been bought with a price. The word "bought" here is the everyday word used in the market place. It implies ownership. You buy it; it's yours. Now it may seem strange that God would have to buy something that already belongs to Him. Sin is the reason for that. Sin separates us from the one who made us. But God still loved what He made and paid the penalty for that sin. It cost Him dearly "not with gold or silver, but with His holy precious blood and innocent suffering and death."

The purchase price included a purifying. This is implied when Paul says, "Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit" (1 Corinthians 6:19). When we believe in Jesus as our Savior and confess our sins, we are pure enough for God Himself to live in us! "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).

Belonging to God is not just a message that moves us to love the pre-born. Belonging to God also gives us a powerful message of forgiveness and purity that those who have been crushed by an abortion decision need to hear. Those who have made this decision feel anything but pure. They may even feel they have committed a sin that is too big to be forgiven. Nevertheless, they too belong to God. He made them. He bought them with a price. Confession of their sin will not only lead to forgiveness but purity! The God who made them and purifies them lives in them. His presence will strengthen them and support them in the process of healing and hope.

There is certain language that dehumanizes people and treats them as if they are but "products" or "commodities" to be produced, bought, or sold. We should avoid such language. We need not avoid the language of Scripture, however. There we are told that all human life belongs to God because it is the work of His hands. There we are told that all human life has been bought with a price and forgiveness of sins and purity has been purchased for all. Belonging to God is definitely a pro-life message!

Home. Questions and answers. Newsletters. Audio clips. Press releases. Member organizations. Join us. Contact us.

Questions and answers.
Audio clips.
Press releases.
Member organizations.
Join us.
Contact us.