These thoughts, reflections, and responses were inspired by and/or direct replies to comments, questions, and concerns people posted on my Facebook wall and e-mailed to me regarding links and information I provided about: Obamacare, Komen, Planned Parenthood, contraceptives, Natural Family Planning, pregnancy resources, pro-life prayer vigils, women’s health, the teachings of the Catholic Church…
Whose Place Is It Anyway?
The biggest issue in all of this is that people have been hurt, people have been lied to, people have been judged. What each of us needs to do is be more open and loving to those around us. If you had come to one of the clinics where a 40 Days for Life campaign is held, not one person involved in the vigil would have done anything except pray for you, and with you if you were willing. If you had been open to it on the way in or the way out, they would have offered you information about post-abortion healing. The people outside of an abortion clinic who are praying and gently offering information if people are open to it are there to offer hope and other options to women who feel they don't have a choice in the matter.
Engaging in Discussions and Debates
I think respect and kindness certainly need to be our goal through all of this. I've found the more I discuss these matters openly with people, the more we have in common, a deep compassion, love, and concern for those who are suffering. We may have different views about some things, but the bottom-line is we want people to feel loved, listened to, and cared for not judged, hated, forced or condemned.
Mandatory Ultrasounds before Abortions
Scientific studies have shown that woman who see an ultrasound are more likely to see with their own eyes that a person is growing inside of them. Studies have shown that 70-90% of people choose life when they are given the opportunity to see an ultrasound. The presumption isn’t that these women haven’t thought things through, though a frighteningly high number of women have reported that they were being coerced or forced by boyfriend, husband, or family member into having an abortion, but that they haven’t been given all of the options available to them.
To Rape Victims
What happened to you was terribly wrong, beyond horrifying, and the scars both emotionally and physically from rape and then an abortion, are more than I can fathom living through. The most important element in this debate is that God can bringhealing in every single one of these situations. If we are open to the love that is unconditional and the healing that only the Lord can bring, then He can use even the most terrible things others have done and heal us from those hurts and go so far as to bring some good from them which is far beyond our ability to imagine, especially in the midst of the pain. Lord God Almighty, open the hearts and minds of Your Children to your love, peace, gentleness, and compassion, so that we may be a vessel of healing for others. Amen.
My Private Investigation of a Pregnancy Resource Center
One of the things that I did while still in college was go and play “devil’s advocate” at a local pregnancy resource center in Roanoke. I went in and didn’t tell them anything about me, but I treated it as a sort of investigation/research project, because I wanted to discover what a young woman would experience if she came in facing an unexpected pregnancy. I asked about their counselors, their training, their programs. I got them to give me a beginning to end summary of what they would do when a woman calls or comes in. I asked them what they say and do when someone is leaning towards having an abortion.I can still clearly remember one of the things the director told me is essential when they are training new counselors; the people have to be concentrated most on listening and being there for the woman. So many often try to tell her what to do and haven’t given her a moment to think things through on her own, ask questions, get information, find out her options, and make an informed decision. She said that not everyone who took the counselor training was fit to be the type of counselor they’re looking for.
They want the women to feel safe, listened to, and not feel like they’re being hit over the head with a Bible. Though I’m most definitely pro-life and in favor of spreading the Gospel, I found it appropriate and extremely comforting that they listen first, offer information, and listen some more. Of course, there are some women who leave there and do end up getting an abortion, but at least they know there is somewhere they can go and be listened to and not coerced. A number return at some point later for another ministry offered by a number of pregnancy resource centers: post-abortion healing.
Helping Mothers and Their Babies
I completely agree that our society and individuals can do a much better job of ministering to women facing unexpected pregnancies. I have been truly humbled by how much one person can make a difference when it comes to listening and being there. You’re right that those who are looking at the situation from the outside and aren’t willing to walk alongside a woman who is facing an unplanned pregnancy, aren’t going to have the compassion that comes from journeying with a woman who finds herself pregnant and scared. I am certain I would not have the same level of understanding and compassion if I had not been willing to be there in whatever ways she needed for a woman recently who was in an awful situation.
Redirecting Your Charitable Donations: Go Red